Tag Archives: US empire

When Should the US Go to War? by Doug Bandow

Remember the good old days when the watchwords of US foreign policy were: avoid foreign entanglements. Those days are long gone, but they should be reinstated. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

The U.S. is the most militarized and warlike nation on earth. Most Americans don’t think of their nation that way. Indeed, stating this fact often generates anger and outrage. However, what other state has gone to war so often since the Cold War ended? Certainly not the countries most likely to be on the Right’s “to bomb” list – China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, or Venezuela, individually or collectively.

The tally of nations droned, bombed, invaded, and/or occupied, threatened with war by the US, or attacked by other nations aided by America, over the last three decades is long: Afghanistan, Haiti, Iran, Iraq (twice!), Kenya, Libya, North Korea, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Serbia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Uganda, and Yemen. Others have been hit with financial war in the form of immiserating sanctions, which sometimes do as much economic damage as military action.

Many of these conflicts were small scale. However, their consequences were usually large. For instance, Iraq resulted in hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties and destabilized the entire region. Yemen is a humanitarian disaster. Afghanistan’s and Libya’s civil wars drag on. Having failed to force the Assad regime from power, US troops remain, illegally occupying Syrian oil fields in order to hinder that desperate country’s economic recovery. Threats against Iran and North Korea easily could have turned out as wars worse than Iraq.

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The Big Skedaddle, by Jeff Thomas

Now, more than ever, productive people will go where they’re treated well. It’s a lesson the US government will learn to its sorrow. From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:

Skedaddle
In the early twentieth century, there was an exodus out of Europe.

George, my paternal grandfather, looked around England, where the family had been since the eleventh century, and decided that a national fdecline had begun.

Although England was still very much an empire, it had fallen into the decline that ancient Rome had experienced before it. Where it had once expanded its possessions and profited from them, it was now spending millions of pounds maintaining them. The less profitable colonies were becoming a liability and the more profitable ones were breaking away.

In addition, the British class structure was beginning to break down. The ruling class were becoming lazy and unproductive and, increasingly, were bleeding the lower classes in order to continually expand their own idle privilege.

Worse, Britain had fallen into a seemingly never-ending series of wars. Wars have always impoverished countries, creating the necessity of increased taxation. And in the early twentieth century, all of Europe was spoiling for a war that was to become the “Great War.”

Historically, these conditions always have led to decline in a nation or empire, leaving the new generation of adults with a worse future than their antecedents had had. Continue reading

All Civilian Lives Are Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others, by Danny Sjursen

Foreign lives certainly don’t matter much to the US government. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

Planet Earth circa 2020: this is Orwell’s world; we’re just living in it.

Who better to resurrect in this pandemic-protest moment than a leftist so lefty he ditched a life of relative English privilege to fight Franco’s fascists in the Spanish Civil War – only to turn communist dogma’s fiercest critic and earn the ire of his former friends on the intellectual Left? After all, today’s – like Orwell’s – time of disease, rebellion, and endless war reminds one of perilous power of platitude. Old Georgie’s literary “newspeak” forebodings – “War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength” – remain relevant, naturally, but now we’ve added the reform-snuffing “All Lives Matter” to the mix.

For the sake of personal sanity, I’ll table the domestic racial justice applications of this absurd non-concept. Instead, let’s test it in another field of perennial morbidity: America’s endless imperial wars. Do all foreign lives matter? Surely at least the civilian ones should. I mean, Ellen and Michelle’s born-again-buddy George W. Bush kicked off this latest round not of expeditionary war not in the name of mere (post-9/11) counter-terror, but a veritable and fantastically grandiose “Freedom Agenda.” Only, in practice – cue Orwell’s head-shaking about universalist theories in general – Washington’s agenda has proven rather uneven to say the least. In fact, when it comes to foreign civilian lives – even the wee babes among them – Orwell’s cheeky Animal Farm wisdom consistently applies: some lives matter more than others.

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In An Insane World, Madness Looks Moderate And Sanity Looks Radical, by Caitlin Johnstone

One sad aspect of today’s world is that it’s so insane it leads many sane people to question their own sanity. From Caitlin Johnstone at medium.com:

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There are no moderate, mainstream centrists in the US-centralized empire. They do not exist.

It’s not that moderate, mainstream centrism is an inherently impossible position. In a healthy world, that’s exactly what the predominant worldview would be. But we do not live in a healthy world.

There are no moderate, mainstream centrists anywhere in the tight alliance of nations which function as a single empire on foreign policy, because that functional empire is built upon murder, terrorism, exploitation, oppression, ecocide and the stockpiling of armageddon weapons.

People who support the status quo of this empire are called “moderates”, but, just like the so-called “moderate rebels” of Syria, they are in fact violent extremists.

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Doug Casey on What Happens Next for China—Collapse or War with the US?

The two alternatives presented in the title are not mutually exclusive. War has ushered in many a collapse. From Doug Casey at internationalman.com:

China Collapse

International Man: While many have been distracted by the unrest in the US, tensions with China are soaring.

Recently, Beijing passed a national security law that would undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy. What comes next for US-China relations?

Doug Casey: I lived in Hong Kong, on and off, from 1985 to 2005. When I first moved there, it was a Chinese city, but there were a lot of Western expats.

When I returned most recently, it had transformed into a Chinese city with very few expats. They’d all gone to Singapore.

What’s happening in Hong Kong is unfortunate, but frankly, it’s none of our business. Unfortunate things are happening in a hundred places around the world. You just can’t solve other people’s problems for them, nor should you try. Nobody likes a busybody.

As I’ve said so many times in the past, the US government has got to stop sticking its nose in other people’s business. The US has been acting as the world’s self-appointed cop since at least WWII, as often as not stepping in on the side of the bad guys—whether it knew it or not— and bankrupting itself while making enemies in the process.

In the case of Hong Kong, my view is that the Beijing regime is totally wrong, but it would be a disastrous error for us to get involved.

The same goes for the South and East China Seas, which were in the news a few years back. The US is sending a bunch of aircraft carriers there to show the flag, which is dangerous and provocative and none of our business. Just as it would be none of China’s business if the US decided to make the Gulf of Mexico its own private backyard sea. Should China try to contest that? Should China step in if Mexico decided the Gulf is really its territorial water?

The fact is that Chinese and US businessmen get along just fine. If the Chinese prove to be unethical or dishonest, a US business should just stop working with the firm that cheats them. Why should the US government be involved?

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Washington Complains: China is Doing What We Always Do! by Doug Bandow

It’s hard to believe that a refreshingly honest guy like Doug Bandow was once in the goverment’s foreign policy blob. From Bandow at theamericanconservative.com:

Beijing is using threats and aid to pressure other governments to toe the line. Wherever did they get that from?

In a new official strategy of confrontation against the People’s Republic of China, the Trump administration has announced its intention “to compel Beijing to cease or reduce actions harmful to the United States’ vital, national interests and those of our allies and partners.”

Explains the strategy paper:

Given Beijing’s increasing use of economic leverage to extract political concessions from or exact retribution against other countries, the United States judges that Beijing will attempt to convert [One Belt One Road] projects into undue political influence and military access. Beijing uses a combination of threat and inducement to pressure governments, elites, corporations, think tanks, and others—often in an opaque manner—to toe the CCP line and censor free expression. Beijing has restricted trade and tourism with Australia, Canada, South Korea, Japan, Norway, the Philippines, and others, and has detained Canadian citizens, in an effort to interfere in these countries’ internal political and judicial processes.

All true. But which government pioneered the use of economic resources to reward and punish other nations? Hint: it was not China.

The U.S. has long used foreign aid as walking around money for the secretary of state. Countries with American bases have always gotten more cash, as have nations that have made peace with American allies, such as Egypt and Jordan.

In contrast, governments that have crossed Washington have lost money. In 1956, the Eisenhower administration punished Egypt’s Nasser government by revoking its offer to finance the Aswan High Dam. In 1990, Secretary of State James Baker told Yemen’s UN ambassador, “that was the most expensive no vote you ever cast,” after he voted against the UN Security Council resolution authorizing war against Iraq.

 

Duterte Does the Right Thing for a Change, by Walden Bello

The US empire will probably break up little by little, as the British empire did. From Walden Bello at antiwar.com:

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s termination of a key military pact with the United States, the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which governed the deployment of US troops in the country, has evoked varied responses. In some liberal and progressive circles, the move provoked trepidation owing to Duterte’s perceived closeness to Chinese President Xi Jinping. Others were disoriented by the fact that the agent of a change they had long wanted had also been responsible for thousands of extrajudicial executions in his “war on drugs.” Adding to the confusion was President Donald Trump’s facetious reaction to Duterte’s move, saying “it’ll save us money.”

It cannot be denied, however, that the termination of VFA was a positive, historic step from the point of view of the national interest of the Philippines. In recent years, much local attention has focused on China’s incursions and outright grabbing of maritime formations claimed by the Philippines in the South China Sea, officially renamed by the Philippine government as the West Philippine Sea. Like many U.S. dependencies, the Philippines has had a Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with Washington that dates back to the Cold War era and serves as the legal touchstone of the VFA. Not surprisingly, as frictions with China increased, Philippine presidents from Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s to Benigno Aquino III in more recent years invoked the MDT to get the United States to back up the Philippines’ territorial and resource claims in the Spratly Islands group. In response, Washington has consistently said that the MDT does not obligate the United States to support the Philippines’ territorial claims because it “does not interfere in sovereignty issues.” Essentially, Washington was saying, “you’re on your own” as far as the Spratly Islands were concerned.

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Avoid Vipers’ Nests, by William Gudal

The US goes around poking vipers’ nests, then complains when the vipers strike. From SLL reader William Gudal:

The United States has been poking, prodding and punching Iran ever since 1953 when Kermit Roosevelt, the CIA and Britain overthrew the government of Iran and installed and then financed and supported one of the most brutally repressive, police state, jackbooted governments ever. If the people of Iran were a little upset in 1979, well you can only wonder.

The United States, implementing its guiding policy of “exceptionalism” inaugurated its quest for empire in 1898 when it acquired and colonized Cuba (puppet government), Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines (million dead). Since then there has existed almost no restraint on the U.S. thirst for power and control. The list is almost endless.  The central guiding foreign policy objective of the United States is to install U.S. controlled puppet governments whenever and wherever it can. When it meets resistance, it gets angry, to wit: Iraq, Libya, Panama, Afghanistan.

The U.S. has had its beady eye on Iran for over 70 years. Britain began ogling Iran early in the twentieth century, for geopolitical, economic (world’s 2nd largest non-sand oil reserves) and geographic reasons. The U.S. adamantly seeks to deny Iran its naturally significant role in its sphere of the world. Like the United States, Iran has what the U.S. calls its “significant interests”. Apparently the U.S. is entitled to its significant interests and “security” concerns, but others are not. It’s a one way street.

Iran is a large country with a large population. It has an ancient history. Ever hear of the Persian Empire which stretched from Greece to Egypt to India? It has a well-educated citizenry. Its economy has been squeezed dry by U.S. economic sanctions which until recently would have been equated with a declaration of war.

A military officer vising a neighboring country is mutilated by a drone from a country located 5000 miles away. Who granted the approval to take this life? Who has the right to take this life? This can only be described as insanity. The world has truly lost its mind. The best U.S. policy would be to let Iran alone. But the military industrial complex must be thrown its red meat. The U.S. economy is almost entirely dependent on war or preparation for war, at least at the  critical margin. Moreover, it’s time to rally around the leader in time of the November election. We worry about the Middle East yet the U.S. southern border is wide open to any evil which comes this way. Madness.

Another Stupid War, by Michael Blitzkrieg

The upside of the Iran situation is that it will hasten the demise of the American empire. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

All I wanted to do this week was work on part 2 of my localism series, but circumstances quickly got the best of me. The assassination of Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani was an event of such historical significance, I feel obligated to detail my thoughts on what it means and how things unfold from here, especially given how much of a role geopolitics and questions of empire have played in my writings.

First off, we need to understand the U.S. is now at war with Iran. It’s an undeclared, insane and unconstitutional war, but it is war nonetheless. There is no world in which one government intentionally assassinates the top general of another government and that not be warfare. You can argue the U.S. and Iran were already engaged in low-level proxy wars, and that’s a fair assessment, but you can’t say we aren’t currently in a far more serious a state of war. We are.

Soleimani was not only a powerful general, he was a popular figurewithin Iran. Unlike other blows the U.S. and Iran have inflicted upon one another, this cannot be walked back. There’s no deescalation from here, only escalation. Even if you want to pretend this didn’t happen and turn back the clock, it’s impossible. This is a major event of historical proportions and should be seen as such. Everything has been turned up a notch.

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The Illusion of Control, by Robert Gore

The US empire may be history’s last.

The illusion of control that has sustained the US’s nominal government and its behind-the scenes power since World War II is fading both at home and abroad. In many areas the US military is no longer unquestionably superior and in some is demonstrably inferior. As military prowess goes so goes the American empire. Amplifying the decline and compounding its severity are the US’s perilous finances, deteriorating economy, and mounting political unrest.

That US military power was never all it was cracked it up to be was apparent to astute observers after the Korean War, and was obvious after Vietnam. Possible escalation and humanity’s extinction precluded use of nuclear weapons. However, in both Korea and Vietnam local populations, with assistance from outside allies, withstood mind-boggling barrages of conventional bombs and munitions to gain in Korea a stalemate and in Vietnam a victory.

Vietnam demonstrated the difficulty for invaders of fighting determined insurgents using guerrilla tactics—usually labeled terrorism—defending their home territory. The insurgents know the territory and the language and often enjoy the covert support of the local, ostensibly non-combatant population. In Vietnam they also received covert and overt support from China and the USSR.

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