The End of the American Empire
Here are excerpts from two articles on the end of American Empire. In this election year, we should begin to pay attention. The Democratic and Republican parties have never before been in such agreement about our having become the aggressor: exporting terror, munitions and wars in attacks on smaller and less powerful nations. This surrender to corporate wars for billionaires must not stand.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are reading from the same page. They advocate eight more years of simultaneous and expanding wars, thousands of avoidable drones and more troubling presidential assassinations. Now that murder without trial the new American “justice, ” we have created millions of new enemies and are demonstrably less secure.
This house of cards will fall.
This surrender to unprovoked aggression in unnecessary wars for profit will bankrupt the nation and cripple the planet.
It’s later than you think, and it’s wake-up time.
There is only one candidate who offered peace and progress.
Her name was Jill Stein and what she offered still stands as the only vetted solutions for a sustainable future and a healing planet: the Green New Deal.
~Timothy Martin Flanagan: editor, writer, publisher and semi-retired educator
How America will collapse (by 2025)
Graphic from Beforeitsnews.com
The demise of the United States as the global superpower could come far more quickly than anyone imagines. A realistic assessment of domestic and global trends suggests that in 2025, just 8 years from now, it could all be over except for the shouting.
“Despite the aura of omnipotence most empires project, a look at their history should remind us that they are fragile organisms. So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly bad, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, 11 years for the Ottomans, 17 years for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, 22 years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003.
Future historians are likely to identify the Bush administration’s rash invasion of Iraq in that year as the start of America’s downfall. However, instead of the bloodshed that marked the end of so many past empires, with cities burning and civilians slaughtered, this twenty-first century imperial collapse could come relatively quietly through the invisible tendrils of economic collapse or cyber-warfare.
...Available economic, educational, and military data indicate that, when it comes to U.S. global power, negative trends will aggregate rapidly by 2020 and are likely to reach a critical mass no later than 2030. The American Century, proclaimed so triumphantly at the start of World War II, will be tattered and fading by 2025, its eighth decade, and could be history by 2030.
…Ordinary Americans, watching their jobs head overseas, have a more realistic view than their cosseted leaders. An opinion poll in August 2010 found that 65 percent of Americans believed the country was now “in a state of decline.” Already, Australia and Turkey, traditional U.S. military allies, are using their American-manufactured weapons for joint air and naval maneuvers with China. Already, America’s closest economic partners are backing away from Washington’s opposition to China’s rigged currency rates. As the president flew back from his Asian tour last month, a gloomy New York Times headline summed the moment up this way: “Obama’s Economic View Is Rejected on World Stage, China, Britain and Germany Challenge U.S., Trade Talks With Seoul Fail, Too.”
…Economic Decline: Present Situation
Today, three main threats exist to America’s dominant position in the global economy: loss of economic clout thanks to a shrinking share of world trade, the decline of American technological innovation, and the end of the dollar’s privileged status as the global reserve currency.
… Add to this clear evidence that the U.S. education system, that source of future scientists and innovators, has been falling behind its competitors. After leading the world for decades in 25- to 34-year-olds with university degrees, the country sank to 12th place in 2010. The World Economic Forum ranked the United States at a mediocre 52nd among 139 nations in the quality of its university math and science instruction in 2010. Nearly half of all graduate students in the sciences in the U.S. are now foreigners, most of whom will be heading home, not staying here as once would have happened. By 2025, in other words, the United States is likely to face a critical shortage of talented scientists.
Economic Decline: Scenario 2020
After years of swelling deficits fed by incessant warfare in distant lands, in 2020, as long expected, the U.S. dollar finally loses its special status as the world’s reserve currency. Suddenly, the cost of imports soars. …Washington is finally forced to slash its bloated military budget. Under pressure at home and abroad, Washington slowly pulls U.S. forces back from hundreds of overseas bases (more than 900 at this point) to a continental perimeter.
By now, however, it is far too late.
… The world pays next to no attention as the American Century ends in silence.
Oil Shock: Present Situation
One casualty of America’s waning economic power has been its lock on global oil supplies. Speeding by America’s gas-guzzling economy in the passing lane, China became the world’s number one energy consumer this summer, a position the U.S. had held for over a century. Energy specialist Michael Klare has argued that this change means China will “set the pace in shaping our global future.”
By 2025, Iran and Russia will control almost half of the world’s natural gas supply, which will potentially give them enormous leverage over energy-starved Europe. Add petroleum reserves to the mix and, as the National Intelligence Council has warned, in just 15 years two countries, Russia and Iran, could “emerge as energy kingpins.”
Oil Shock: Scenario 2025
The United States remains so dependent upon foreign oil that a few adverse developments in the global energy market in 2025 spark an oil shock. ..
The oil shock that follows hits the country like a hurricane, sending prices to startling heights, making travel a staggeringly expensive proposition, putting real wages (which had long been declining) into freefall, and rendering non-competitive whatever American exports remained. With thermostats dropping, gas prices climbing through the roof, and dollars flowing overseas in return for costly oil, the American economy is paralyzed. With long-fraying alliances at an end and fiscal pressures mounting, U.S. military forces finally begin a staged withdrawal from their overseas bases.
Within a few years, the U.S. is functionally bankrupt and the clock is ticking toward midnight on the American Century.
Military Misadventure: Present Situation
Counterintuitively, as their power wanes, empires often plunge into ill-advised military misadventures. This phenomenon is known among historians of empire as “micro-militarism” and seems to involve psychologically compensatory efforts to salve the sting of retreat or defeat by occupying new territories, however briefly and catastrophically. These operations, irrational even from an imperial point of view, often yield hemorrhaging expenditures or humiliating defeats that only accelerate the loss of power.
Military Misadventure: Scenario 2014
So irrational, so unpredictable is “micro-militarism” that seemingly fanciful scenarios are soon outdone by actual events. With the U.S. military stretched thin from Somalia to the Philippines and tensions rising in Israel, Iran, and Korea, possible combinations for a disastrous military crisis abroad are multifold.
…World War III: Present Situation
In the summer of 2010, military tensions between the U.S. and China began to rise in the western Pacific, once considered an American “lake.” Even a year earlier no one would have predicted such a development. As Washington played upon its alliance
with London to appropriate much of Britain’s global power after World War II, so China is now using the profits from its export trade with the U.S. to fund what is likely to become a military challenge to American dominion over the waterways of Asia and the Pacific.
…A New World Order?
Even if future events prove duller than these four scenarios suggest, every significant trend points toward a far more striking decline in American global power by 2025 than anything Washington now seems to be envisioning.
…If only 15 years remain, the odds of frittering them all away still remain high. Congress and the president are now in (collusion); the American system is flooded with corporate money meant to jam up the works; and there is little suggestion that any issues of significance, including our wars, our bloated national security state, our starved education system, and our antiquated energy supplies, will be addressed with sufficient seriousness to assure (any sort of) soft landing…
Europe’s empires are gone and America’s imperium is going. It seems increasingly doubtful that the United States will have anything like Britain’s success in shaping a succeeding world order…
Alfred W. McCoy is the J.R.W. Smail Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, “From the Cold War to the War on Terror.” Later this year, “Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State,” a forthcoming book of his, will explore the influence of overseas counterinsurgency operations on the spread of internal security measures here at home.
Read the entire article here…
April 13, 2016 Another take on…
The End of the American Empire
I’m here to talk about the end of the American empire. ..
Congress may be on strike against the rest of the government, but our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines remain hard at work. Since the turn of the century, they have been kept busy fighting a series of ill-conceived wars—all of which they have lost or are losing. The major achievement of multiple interventions in the Muslim world has been to demonstrate that the use of force is not the answer to very many problems but that there are few problems it cannot aggravate. Our repeated inability to win and end our wars has damaged our prestige with our allies and adversaries alike. Still, with the Congress engaged in a walkout from its legislative responsibilities and the public in revolt against the mess in Washington, American global leadership is not much in evidence except on the battlefield, where its results are not impressive.
…We borrowed the money to conduct these military activities abroad at the expense of investing in our homeland. What we have to show for staggering additions to our national debt is falling living standards for all but the “one percent,” a shrinking middle class, a rising fear of terrorism, rotting infrastructure, unattended forest fires,
and eroding civil liberties. …
Small wonder that both U.S. allies and adversaries now consider the United States the most erratic and unpredictable element in the current world disorder. ..
Amidst this inexcusable confusion, our Congress now routinely asks combatant commanders to make policy recommendations independent of those proposed by their civilian commander-in-chief or the secretary of state. Our generals not only provide such advice; they openly advocate actions in places like Ukraine and the South China Sea that undercut White House guidance while appeasing hawkish congressional opinion. We must add the erosion of civilian control of the military to the lengthening list of constitutional crises our imperial adventurism is brewing up. In a land of bewildered civilians, the military offer can-do attitudes and discipline that are comparatively appealing. But American militarism now has a well-attested record of failure to deliver anything but escalating violence and debt.
...The National Security Council is a cabinet body established in 1947 as the Cold War began to discuss and coordinate policy as directed by the president. It originally had no staff or policy role independent of the cabinet. …In many ways too, the NSC staff has evolved to resemble the machinery in a planetarium. It turns this way and that and, to those within its ambit, the heavens appear to turn with it. But this is an apparatus that projects illusions. Inside its event horizon, everything is comfortingly predictable. Outside—who knows?—there may be a hurricane brewing. This is a system that creates and implements foreign policies suited to Washington narratives but detached from external realities, often to the point of delusion, as America’s misadventures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria illustrate. And the system never admits mistakes. To do so would be a political gaffe, even if it might be a learning experience.
Abroad, our allies watch and are disheartened by what they see. Our client states and partners are dismayed. Our adversaries are simply dumbfounded. And our influence is ebbing away.
…We need a peaceful international environment to rebuild our country.
To achieve this, we must erase our strategy deficit. To do that, the next administration must fix the broken policy-making apparatus in Washington. It must rediscover the merits of measures short of war, learn how to use military power sparingly to support rather than supplant diplomacy, and cultivate the habit of asking “and then what?” before beginning military campaigns.
When he was asked in 1787 what system he and our other founding fathers had given Americans, Benjamin Franklin famously replied, “a republic, if you can keep it.” For two centuries, we kept it. Now, if we cannot repair the incivility, dysfunction, and corruption of our politics, we will lose our republic as well as our imperium.
Remarks to East Bay Citizens for Peace, the Barrington Congregational Church, and the American Friends Service Committee on April 2, 2016 in Barrington, Rhode Island.