Tag Archives: American empire

Unipolar Moments Never Last More Than a Moment, by Martin Sieff

Unipolar moments are usually brief unimoments. From Martin Sieff at strategic-culture.org:

American leaders, politicians, policymakers and pundits are fond of talking about the “Unipolar Moment” and “Hyper Power” position that they imagine the United States enjoys in the world.

Totally lacking from this fantasy are any inconvenient historical facts.

The US Unipolar Moment (insofar as it existed at all) lasted less than a decade from the break-up of the Soviet Union at the end of December 1991 to June 15, 2001. The US “moment” barely made it into the 21st Century.

On that epochal day of June 15, 2001, two major events happened. First, US President George W. Bush gave a speech in Warsaw pledging to integrate the three tiny Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania into NATO as a prime strategic goal of the United States.

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The Uncomfortable Hiatus, by James Howard Kunstler

Things that cannot continue must change. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

And so the sun seems to stand still this last day before the resumption of business-as-usual, and whatever remains of labor in this sclerotic republic takes its ease in the ominous late summer heat, and the people across this land marinate in anxious uncertainty. What can be done?

Some kind of epic national restructuring is in the works. It will either happen consciously and deliberately or it will be forced on us by circumstance. One side wants to magically reenact the 1950s; the other wants a Gnostic transhuman utopia. Neither of these is a plausible outcome. Most of the arguments ranging around them are what Jordan Peterson calls “pseudo issues.” Let’s try to take stock of what the real issues might be.

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Our Rulers’ ChiCainery, by Robert Gore

Iraq War Dead

John McCain is buried, may his philosophy soon follow.

Now they lay his body down
Sad old men who run this town

“Kings,” Steely Dan (Walter Becker and Donald Fagen), 1972

Novelists can align their stories with whatever deeper truth they’re trying to convey. Real life is seldom so neat, but the death of John McCain can neither be separated from nor understood without appreciating its symbolic elements. The mourning functionaries and hagiographic media that laid McCain to rest symbolically buried, without realizing it, the philosophy he so epitomized. Send not to know for whom the bell tolled, it tolled for what they so fervently believe.

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The Tectonic Plates of Geopolitics Are Starting to Shift, by Michael Krieger

Many countries, including formerly reliable US vassals like South Korea and Pakistan, are moving away from the American empire. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

The United States is currently waging economic warfare against one tenth of the world’s countries with cumulative population of nearly 2 billion people and combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $15 trillion.

These include Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, North Korea and others on which Washington has imposed sanctions over the years, but also countries like China, Pakistan and Turkey which are not under full sanctions but rather targets of other punitive economic measures.

In addition, thousands of individuals from scores of countries are included in the Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Nationals who are effectively blocked from the U.S.-dominated global financial system. Many of those designated are either part of or closely linked to their countries’ leadership…

But in recent months it seems that America’s unwavering commitment to fight all of the world’s scourges has brought all those governments and the wealthy individuals who support them to a critical mass, joining forces to create a parallel financial system which would be out of reach of America’s long arm. Should they succeed, the impact on America’s global posture would be transformational.

– From the recent article: The Anti-Dollar Awakening Could Be Ruder and Sooner Than Most Economists Predict

The peak of American empire has already come and gone, a reality not yet widely appreciated due to the continued dominance of the global financial system by the U.S. dollar, still the world’s preeminent reserve currency. U.S. leaders have always used the USD as a weapon, but it’s only in recent years that geopolitical rivals and long-standing allies alike have started to come to an increasingly vocal understanding that the unipolar role played by the U.S. in the world’s centralized financial system is well past its expiration date.

I think history will show Trump’s decision to unilaterally scrap the Iran deal (JCPOA) was the catalyst that caused much of rest of the world to get serious about creating alternative financial rails on which to conduct global business. Nation-states the world over are coming to the obvious conclusion that it’s virtually impossible to execute independent foreign policy in the content of a global financial system so completely dominated by the U.S.

To continue reading: The Tectonic Plates of Geopolitics Are Starting to Shift

Weaponizing the US Dollar Is Accelerating Global De-Dollarization, by Federico Pieraccini

You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, if catching flies is your quest. Turn the dollar into vinegar and other countries turn to alternatives. From Federico Pieraccini at strategic-culture.org:

Donald Trump has in just over two years abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), ditched the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), withdrawn the US from the Paris climate agreement, and unilaterally removed American participation in the Iranian nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Some of these decisions have undoubtedly received popular support from far beyond America’s shores. Washington’s withdrawal from the TPP was welcomed by the People’s Republic of China. During the Obama presidency, Xi Jinping strongly protested the exclusion of Beijing from the TPP. In the case of the TTIP, European allies for the most part were strongly opposed to the treaty because European multinationals would be subjected to sanctions and fines from American authorities.

The climate agreement, placing important limits on CO2 emissions as well as imposing regulations governing pollution, has been strongly resisted by US energy oligarchs. The withdrawal from the Paris accord has satisfied a substantial proportion of Trump’s donors linked to the hydrocarbon industry and beyond. Finally, the abandonment of the JCPOA was praised by Riyadh and Tel Aviv, two essential partners in Trump’s domestic and foreign strategies.

Observing the consequences of these political choices in the months since, it is easy to see how the world has reacted in a more or less similar fashion, which has been by ignoring the United States and emphasizing cooperation amongst themselves. The TPP, with its agreements between 11 countries, has remained in place without Washington. The development of relations between ASEAN and China continues on without Washington’s participation. While the TTIP has been halted, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), is in its final approval stage, an agreement between Canada and the EU that bypasses the American-inspired TTIP. The Iran deal remains in force despite Washington’s cowardly withdrawal, and the five countries remaining in the Iranian nuclear agreement have every intention of respecting the JCPOA, which had been negotiated over a number of years.

To continue reading: Weaponizing the US Dollar Is Accelerating Global De-Dollarization

I Remember When America Was A Free Country, by Paul Craig Roberts

Kids growing up today have no idea what it is like to live in a free country. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:

I remember when America was a free country. You could get on an airliner without an ID. Driving licenses didn’t even have photos. If a friend was coming through your city on a flight and had a few hours layover, you could meet them inside the airport for lunch or dinner. You could meet friends, children, and relatives at the gate or see them off at the gate. Parents could actually put children on the plane and grandparents could take them off.

Your flight ticket was good at any airline. If something happened to your flight or you missed it, you could use the ticket on another airline going to the same place. On international flights you were permitted two free stopovers prior to your destination. If you were going to Athens, Greece, for example, you could first visit Paris and then Rome. It worked both ways, over and back. So one air ticket, six cities.

I can remember when you could enter a Manhattan office building without having to show an ID, be looked up on a list, and cleared in, and when you could check in a hotel without an ID and paid your bill when you checked out, with cash if you preferred. The only evidence of your name was the one you gave when you checked in.

Cars didn’t beep at you and neither did appliances nor construction machinery. The world was a quieter, less noise-disturbed place.

Common sense was more prevalent. Today it is hard to find any common sense. The British parliament is debating a law that would criminalize upskirt photographs. The “invasion of privacy” would have a price tag of two years imprisonment. Yet government can invade our privacy at will with street cameras, traffic cameras, read our emails, listen to our telephone calls, monitor our credit card purchases. Serious kinds of privacy invasion run amuck, but parents cannot find out if an underaged daughter is pregnant or has VD.

As kids we ran free. Heaven help a parent that permitted that today.
Oh, but times are more dangerous today we are told. What made today more dangerous? Failures in public policy. The government has made life more dangerous and less free.

To continue reading: I Remember When America Was A Free Country

How the Last Superpower Was Unchained, by Tom Engelhardt

The fall of the USSR may have been the worst thing to ever happen to the US. From Tom Engelhardt at tomdispatch.com:

Think of it as the all-American version of the human comedy: a great power that eternally knows what the world needs and offers copious advice with a tone deafness that would be humorous, if it weren’t so grim. If you look, you can find examples of this just about anywhere. Here, for instance, is a passage in the New York Times from a piece on the topsy-turvy Trumpian negotiations that preceded the Singapore summit. “The Americans and South Koreans,” wrote reporter Motoko Rich, “want to persuade the North that continuing to funnel most of the country’s resources into its military and nuclear programs shortchanges its citizens’ economic well-being. But the North does not see the two as mutually exclusive.”

Think about that for a moment. The U.S. has, of course, embarked on a trillion-dollar-plusupgrade of its already massive nuclear arsenal (and that’s before the cost overruns even begin). Its Congress and president have for years proven eager to sink at least a trillion dollars annually into the budget of the national security state (a figure that’s still rising and outpaces by far that of any other power on the planet), while its own infrastructure sags and crumbles. And yet it finds the impoverished North Koreans puzzling when they, too, follow such an extreme path.

Clueless is not a word Americans ordinarily apply to themselves as a country, a people, or a government. Yet how applicable it is.

And when it comes to cluelessness, there’s another, far stranger path the United States has been following since at least the George W. Bush moment that couldn’t be more consequential and yet somehow remains the least noticed of all. On this subject, Americans don’t have a clue. In fact, if you could put the United States on a psychiatrist’s couch, this might be the place to start.

To continue reading: How the Last Superpower Was Unchained