Tag Archives: American empire

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

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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

What Will Kill the American Empire? by Bill Bonner

Perhaps 95 percent of what the US government does every day does not comport with the Constitution. More remarkable still is that nobody seems to care. From Bill Bonner at bonnerandpartners.com:

All earthly empires die. Is this the end? Only God knows.

– St. Augustine, 413 AD

POITOU, FRANCE – Yesterday, in advance of the G7 pow-wow this weekend, Donald Trump tweeted his position on trade:

If we charge a country ZERO to sell their goods, and they charge us 25, 50 or even 100 percent to sell ours, it is UNFAIR and can no longer be tolerated. That is not Free or Fair Trade, it is Stupid Trade!

He’s got that nearly right. Trade barriers are certainly not free. And fairness has nothing to do with it. They are just stupid.

Empire Dies

We’re not going to tolerate this anymore, said the American president. If the foreigners do stupid things… well, by golly… we will, too! If they tax our stuff, we’ll tax theirs.

We are sneaking up on our prey, hiding in the tall grass until we get a good, clean shot.

Our target: the U.S. government and how it has changed. Since when, we wonder, did it care about how other nations abuse their citizens or mangle their economies?

Since when did the U.S. president – on his own say-so – get to decide how much we pay for our cars or our spaghetti?

We’ve been trying to understand how the federal government could be one thing – on paper – and an entirely different thing in reality.

Not that we have any particular fascination with government. But the feds now have immense powers that are nowhere granted in the Constitution… and they’re using them to wreck the economy… and put the U.S. into a nightmare of debt, inflation, depression, repression, war, and revolution.

Those are the kinds of things you get when an empire dies.

On paper, this Decline and Fall ought to be easily avoidable. A show of hands in Congress and you can balance the budget and bring the troops home.

But things ain’t necessarily what they seem. What is written on paper is not necessarily the same as what is.

And sometimes, people – individually and collectively – blow themselves up… and light the fuse with their own matches.

So… let’s have a look.

To continue reading: What Will Kill the American Empire?

Why The Empire Never Sleeps: The Indispensable Nation Folly, by David Stockman

The graveyard of history is filled with the graves of “indispensable” nations. From David Stockman at davidstockmanscontracorner.com, via theburningplatform.com:

Like the case of Rome before it, the Empire is bankrupting America. The true fiscal cost is upwards of $1.o trillion per year (counting $200 billionfor veterans and debt service for wars), but there is no way to pay for it.

That’s because the 78-million strong Baby Boom is in the driver’s seat of American politics. It plainly will not permit the $3 trillion per year retirement and health care entitlement-driven Welfare State to be curtailed.

The Trumpite/GOP has already sealed that deal by refusing to reform Social Security and Medicare and by proving utterly incapable of laying a glove politically on Obamacare/Medicaid. At the same time, boomers keep voting for the GOP’s anti-tax allergy, thereby refusing to tax themselves to close Washington’s yawning deficits.

More importantly, the generation which marched on the Pentagon in 1968 against the insanity and  barbarism of LBJ’s Vietnam War have long since abandoned the cause of peace. So doing, boomers have acquiesced in the final ascendancy of the Warfare State, which grew like topsy once the US became the world’s sole superpower after the Soviet Union slithered off the pages of history in 1991.

Yet there is a reason why the end of the 77-year world war which incepted with the “guns of August” in 1914 did not enable the world to resume the status quo ante of relative peace and prosperous global capitalism.

To wit, the hoary ideology of American exceptionalism and the Indispensable Nation was also, ironically, liberated from the shackles of cold war realism when the iron curtain came tumbling down.

Consequently, it burst into a quest for unadulterated global hegemony. In short order (under Bush the Elder and the Clintons) Washington morphed into the Imperial City, and became a beehive not only of militarism, but of an endless complex of think-tanks, NGO’s, advisories and consultancies, “law firms”, lobbies and racketeers.

The unspeakable prosperity of Washington flows from that Imperial beehive. And it is the Indispensable Nation meme that provides the political adhesive that binds the Imperial City to the work of Empire and to provisioning the massive fiscal appetites of the Warfare State.

To continue reading: Why The Empire Never Sleeps: The Indispensable Nation Folly

America’s Unsustainable Empire, by Patrick J. Buchanan

Will America be the next in a long line of empires that have gone broke? From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

Before President Trump trashes the Iran nuclear deal, he might consider: If he could negotiate an identical deal with Kim Jong Un, it would astonish the world and win him the Nobel Peace Prize.

For Iran has no nuclear bomb or ICBM and has never tested either. It has never enriched uranium to bomb grade. It has shipped 98 percent of its uranium out of the country. It has cameras inside and inspectors crawling all over its nuclear facilities.

And North Korea? It has atom bombs and has tested an H-bomb. It has intermediate-range ballistic missiles that can hit Guam and an ICBM that, fully operational, could hit the West Coast. It has shorter-range missiles that could put nukes on South Korea and Japan.

Hard to believe Kim Jong Un will surrender these weapons, his ticket of admission to the table of great powers.

Yet the White House position is that the Iran nuclear deal should be scrapped, and no deal with Kim Jong Un signed that does not result in the “denuclearization” of the peninsula.

If denuclearization means Kim gives up all his nukes and strategic missiles, ceases testing, and allows inspectors into all his nuclear facilities, we may be waiting a long time.

Trump decides on the Iran deal by May 12. And we will likely know what Kim is prepared to do, and not prepared to do, equally soon.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron is in D.C. to persuade Trump not to walk away from the Iran deal and to keep U.S. troops in Syria. Chancellor Angela Merkel will be arriving at week’s end with a similar message.

On the White House front burner then are these options:

Will North Korea agree to surrender its nuclear arsenal, or is it back to confrontation and possible war?

Will we stick with the nuclear deal with Iran, or walk away, issue new demands on Tehran, and prepare for a military clash if rebuffed?

Do we pull U.S. troops out of Syria as Trump promised, or keep U.S. troops there to resist the reconquest of his country by Bashar Assad and his Russian, Iranian, Hezbollah and Shiite allies?

Beyond, the larger question looms: How long can we keep this up?

To continue reading: America’s Unsustainable Empire

The Republic Becomes the Empire, by Garet Garrett

This incisive essay is more relevant now that it was when it was first published in 1952. From Garet Garrett at lewrockwell.com:

We have crossed the boundary that lies between Republic and Empire. If you ask when, the answer is that you cannot make a single stroke between day and night. The precise moment does not matter. There was no painted sign to say, “You now are entering Imperium.” Yet it was a very old road and the voice of history was saying: “Whether you know it or not, the act of crossing may be irreversible.” And now, not far ahead, is a sign that reads: “No U Turns.”

If you say there were no frightening omens, that is true. The political foundations did not quake; the graves of the Fathers did not fly open; the Constitution did not tear itself up. If you say people did not will it, that also is true. But if you say therefore it has not happened, then you have been so long bemused by words that your mind will not believe what the eye can see, even as in the jungle the terrified primitive, on meeting the lion, importunes magic by saying to himself, “He is not there.” That a republic may vanish is an elementary schoolbook fact.

The Roman Republic passed into the Roman Empire, and yet never could a Roman citizen have said, “That was yesterday.” Nor is the historian, with all the advantages of perspective, able to place that momentous event at any exact point on the dial of time. The Republic had a long unhappy twilight. It is agreed that the Empire began with Augustus Caesar. Several before him had played emperor and were destroyed.

The first who might have been called emperor in fact was Julius Caesar, who pretended not to want the crown and once publicly declined it. Whether he feared more the displeasure of the Roman populace or the daggers of the republicans is unknown. In his dreams he may have been seeing a bloodstained toga. His murder soon afterward was a desperate act of the dying republican tradition, and perfectly futile. His heir was Octavian, and it was a very bloody business, yet neither did Octavian call himself emperor.

To continue reading: The Republic Becomes the Empire

The Next Empire, by Jeff Thomas

The rest of the world grows increasingly weary and wary of the American empire. From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:

Throughout history, political, financial, and military leaders have sought to create empires. Westerners often think of ancient Rome as the first empire. Later, other empires formed for a time. Spain became an empire, courtesy of its Armada, its conquest of the New World, and the gold and silver extracted from the West. Great Britain owned the 19th century but lost its empire due largely to costly wars. The US took over in the 20th century and, like Rome, rose as a republic, with minimal central control, but is now crumbling under its own governmental weight.

Invariably, the last people to understand the collapse of an empire are those who live within it. As a British subject, I remember my younger years, when, even though the British Empire was well and truly over, many of my fellow Brits were still behaving in a pompous manner as though British “superiority” still existed. Not so, today. (You can only pretend for so long.)

But this does suggest that those who live within the present empire—the US—will be the last to truly understand that the game is all but over. Americans seem to be hopeful that the dramatic decline is a temporary setback from which they will rebound.

Not likely. Historically, once an empire has been shot from its perch, it’s replaced by a rising power—one that’s more productive and more forward thinking in every way. Yet the US is hanging on tenaciously, and like any dying empire, its leaders are becoming increasingly ruthless, both at home and abroad, hoping to keep up appearances.

Warfare is often the death knell of a declining empire—both in its extreme financial cost and in its ability to alienate the peoples of other countries. In the new millennium, the US has invaded more countries than at any other time in its history and appears now to be in a state of perpetual warfare. This is being carried out both militarily and economically, as the US imposes economic sanctions on those it seeks to conquer.

This effort has become so threatening to the world that other major powers, even if they do not have a history of being allies, are now coming together to counter the US.

To continue reading: The Next Empire