The price of empire is a nation’s soul. From Umair Haque at eand.co:
It’s a striking fact of today’s world that the two rich societies in shocking, swift, sharp decline are America and Britain. Nowhere else in the world, for example, are real income, life expectancy, happiness, and trust all plummeting, apart from maybe Venezuela (No, “but at least we’re not Venezuela!” is not the bar to aim for, my friends.) Their downfall is, of course, a self-inflicted catastrophe. But the interesting question is: why? And what does it tell us about what it takes to prosper and thrive in the 21st century, which is something that America and Britain clearly aren’t doing, and maybe aren’t capable of doing?
Here’s an equally curious observation. America and Britain aren’t just any countries. They are the former hegemons of the world’s most powerful empires. Britain, until the first half of the 20th century, and America, picking up where Britain left off. Is this just a strange cosmic coincidence — that it is the two greatest empires of the most recent past who are the ones seemingly most incapable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century? There aren’t coincidences that great, my friends. Such tides of history always whisper lessons to be learned. What is this one trying to urgently teach us?
That there is a price to empire. A grave and ruinous one. And that price has grown over the centuries — so high that now, it is not worth paying anymore.Let me explain what I mean — because it is not just about spending too much money and grasping too high. Not at all. It is about the kind of a place and people such a country ends up limited to being — and perhaps can then never really easily outgrow.
Collapse, like Ernest Hemingway once said about bankruptcy, happens slowly at first, then quickly. From the Saker and Dmitry Orlov at thesaker.is:
The word ‘catastrophe‘ has several meanings, but in its original meaning in Greek the word means a “sudden downturn” (in Greek katastrophē ‘overturning, sudden turn,’ from kata- ‘down’ + strophē ‘turning’). As for the word “superpower” it also has several possible definitions, but my preferred one is this one “Superpower is a term used to describe a state with a dominant position, which is characterized by its extensive ability to exert influence or project power on a global scale. This is done through the combined-means of economic, military, technological and cultural strength, as well as diplomatic and soft power influence. Traditionally, superpowers are preeminent among the great powers” this one, “an extremely powerful nation, especially one capable of influencing international events and the acts and policies of less powerful nations” or this one “an international governing body able to enforce its will upon the most powerful states“.
I have mentioned the very visible decline of the USA and its associated Empire in many of my articles already, so I won’t repeat it here other than to say that the “ability to exert influence and impose its will” is probably the best criteria to measure the magnitude of the fall of the USA since Trump came to power (the process was already started by Dubya and Obama, but it sure accelerated with The Donald). But I do want to use a metaphor to revisit the concept of catastrophe.
If you place an object in the middle of a table and then push it right to the edge, you will exert some amount of energy we can call “E1”. Then, if the edge of the table is smooth and you just push the object over the edge, you exercise a much smaller amount of energy we can call “E2”. And, in most cases (if the table is big enough), you will also find that E1 is much bigger than E2 yet E2, coming after E1 took place, triggered a much more dramatic event: instead of smoothly gliding over the table top, the object suddenly falls down and shatters. That sudden fall can also be called a “catastrophe”. This is also something which happens in history, take the example of the Soviet Union.
Posted in Business, Collapse, Debt, Economy, Financial markets, Geopolitics, Government, Insurrection, Morality, Politics, Society
Tagged American collapse, American empire
Of the empire’s sea of woes, Syria might the most woeful. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
The U.S. lost in Syria. Donald Trump finally had the courage to admit that to the world when he ordered the pull out of all U.S. troops there.
Syria was to be the sparkling jewel in the Empire of Chaos’ Crown. A masterstroke of realpolitik which would advance every major U.S., Israeli and Saudi objective while thoroughly destabilizing the Levant and setting the stage for wiping out Iran and eventually Russia.
If the Assad government fell Syria would become something worse than Libya. It would become a source of abject chaos for decades to come. And the formation of greater Kurdistan would put advanced U.S. and Israeli military assets on Iran’s doorstep.
Carving up Syria, Iraq and possibly even Turkey, once Erdogan was removed from power, would put the U.S. and Israel in control of the oil assets to fund a jihadist-led insurgency across all of central Asia.
Moreover, the chaos would ensure a steady stream of refugees into Europe to destabilize it. That chaos would lead to further political integration of Europe under EU control.
Posted in Collapse, Eurasian Axis, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Media, Politics, War
Tagged American empire, Deep State, President Trump, Russia, Syria
In his own way, Trump has done more to dismantle the American empire than anyone else. From Gilbert Doctorow at antiwar.com:
Survival in the Age of Trump is today on many minds. For some, the issue is whether our whimsical, volatile president will undo 70 years of alliance (read: empire) building here and now. For others, it is whether he will finally realize his campaign promises to be the Great Disrupter and fulfill the wishes of the vast majority of the American public to live at peace with the world.
The turning point was Donald Trump’s announcement a week ago on Twitter that he ordered the U.S. military to withdraw the 2,000 or so American ground troops from Syria. This was initially greeted with skepticism by our dissident community and also by one international actor which is very interested in avoiding confrontations, not to mention armed conflict with the United States on and over Syrian territory, namely the Russian Federation.
But the shrill denunciations that the announcement precipitated among US political elites and media, followed by the resignation of the US Secretary of Defense, “mad dog” General James Mattis the day after the announcement, made it plain that the withdrawal order will be implemented within thirty, sixty or, at the outer limit, ninety days. Moreover, the US military further released to the public the news that following the removal of US ground troops in Syria the American air offensive in Syria would come to an end. And it was confirmed that the President had ordered the American military presence in Afghanistan to be halved, meaning the departure of 7,000 soldiers according to a timetable still to be defined.
That US interventions cause the terrorism they are ostensibly supposed to squelch is a truth that’s been so obvious for so long that only a neoconservative could miss it. From Craig Murray at craigmurray.org:
Even the neo-con warmongers’ house journal The Guardian, furious at Trump’s attempts to pull US troops out of Syria, in producing a map to illustrate its point, could only produce one single, uncertain, very short pen stroke to describe the minute strip of territory it claims ISIS still control on the Iraqi border.
Of course, the Guardian produces the argument that continued US military presence is necessary to ensure that ISIS does not spring back to life in Syria. The fallacy of that argument can be easily demonstrated. In Afghanistan, the USA has managed to drag out the long process of humiliating defeat in war even further than it did in Vietnam. It is plain as a pikestaff that the presence of US occupation troops is itself the best recruiting sergeant for resistance. In Sikunder Burnes I trace how the battle lines of tribal alliances there today are precisely the same ones the British faced in 1841. We just attach labels like Taliban to hide the fact that invaders face national resistance.
History is littered with empires that came to ruin hitching their policies to insignificant nations. From Martin Sieff at strategic-culture.org:
George Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel was right – Again: The only thing the human race learns from history is that it learns nothing from history.
In 1914,the British Empire, largest in human history and one of the longest-lasting, charged into World War I to defend “gallant little Belgium” whose King Leopold over the previous 30 years had carried out one of the longest, largest genocides of all time, killing 10 million people in the Congo.
Germany, wealthiest, most prosperous nation in Europe, blundered into the same needless war when feckless Kaiser Wilhelm II causally gave sweeping approval to Austria-Hungary to annihilate the tiny nation of Serbia. Millions of brave and idealistic Russians eagerly volunteered to fight in the war to protect “gallant little Serbia.” Most of them died too. There is no record that any of the Serbian leaders after the war visited any of their mass graves.
Now it is the United States’ turn.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Media, Politics, War
Tagged American empire, British Empire, Russia, Ukraine
The Western nations are not going to vote themselves out of the mess they find themselves in. It’s going to take regime change, i.e. revolution. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:
How does the West get away with its pretense of being an alliance of great democracies in which government is the servant of the people?
Nowhere in the West, except possibly Hungary and Austria, does government serve the people.
Who do the Western governments serve? Washington serves Israel, the military/security complex, Wall Street, the big banks, and the fossil fuel corporations.
The entirety of the rest of the West serves Washington.
Nowhere in the West do the people count. The American working class, betrayed by the Democrats who sent their jobs to Asia, elected Donald Trump and the American people were promptly dismissed by the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton as “the Trump deplorables.”
The Democrats, like the Republicans, serve power, not the people.
In Europe we see the squashing of democracy everywhere.
British prime minister May has turned Brexit into subservience to the EU. She has betrayed the British people and has not yet been hung off of a lamp post, which shows how acceptance the British people are of betrayal. The British people have learned that they do not count. They are as a nothing.