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Donald Trump and the Coming Fall of American Empire


#1

Donald Trump and the Coming Fall of American Empire

Jeremy Scahill, The Intercept

Even as President Donald Trump faces ever-intensifying investigations into the alleged connections between his top aides and family members and powerful Russian figures, he serves as commander in chief over a U.S. military that is killing an astonishing and growing number of civilians. Under Trump, the U.S. is re-escalating its war in Afghanistan, expanding its operations in Iraq and Syria, conducting covert raids in Somalia and Yemen, and openly facilitating the Saudi’s genocidal military destruction of Yemen.


#2

I VERY much appreciate Jeremy Scahill and all the excellent journalism he is doing but this has got to be one of the most anthropocentric pieces coming from a progressive that I have ever read.

No mention of anything other than humans and it smacks of supporting imperialism. Bizarre at best----- but it sure “sounds” smart.

I wonder what the few remaining indigenous communities in the world that are trying to live in harmony with nature would think of all these fancy words and “analysis” . . .


#3

Anyone who sees this article, please go and press on the link to the radio interview between Jeremy Scahill and Dr. Albert McCoy. It will blow your mind. It will fill in any gaps of evidence intentionally left behind in the covert acts and secret communications of the fourth branch of US government. You’ll see the pattern so clearly through which our current Administration is stumbling. This interview is lengthy but time we’ll spent to reveal what is being kept from us and the world, what the 4th branch attempted for decades to keep from publication.


#4

Yes, very well reported, Jeremy Scahill!. AND VERY, VERY TRUE!


#5

No proof is given as to why China’s military will surpass that of the United States. Nor is there any reason given why China’s military advantage would be such bad thing. Economically this article is a farce as well if we consider a country to be superior to someone else just because of their abundance of slave labour. After all, anyone who has visited China is immediately astonished at the immense environmental damage, absence of open spaces and the endless battered landscapes. I wish more authors would abandon these artificial yardsticks for measuring ‘progress’ and instead concentrate on the immediate problems we face like the dawn of the planets sixth mass extinction driven by over consumption, corporate capitalism, crippling poverty, gross income inequality and the undermining of democracies around the globe.


#6

Trump is a symptom of bad governance, for which all pay. Congress is always ready to start a war or bust the budget. “Citizen Power”, by ex-Senator Mike Gravel, posits that US citizens have the right to a national referendum on “power to the people”. Democracy can’t be delegated. We’re condescended to. Switzerland has true democracy, and why not the USA? If it were up to us, we the rabble would never allow our government to break bad, the way it has.


#7

[quote=“Space_cadet, post:5, topic:43470”]   “No proof is given as to why China’s military will surpass that of the United States.” [/quote]

I’m not sure how much explicit proof is needed. Where has our military “succeeded” lately – in Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan? And if we do get into a serious non-nuclear land war with China where are we going to get the steel needed to make guns and build tanks – from China??

[quote=“Space_cadet, post:5, topic:43470”]  “I wish more authors would abandon these artificial yardsticks for measuring ‘progress’ and instead concentrate on the immediate problems we face like the dawn of the planet’s sixth mass extinction driven by over-consumption, corporate capitalism, crippling poverty, gross income ine­quality and the undermining of democracies around the globe.” [/quote]

Wall Street measures “progress” by the growth of the GDP, which has been a disappointing (to Wall Street) 2% or so lately; “they” would like to see growth in the 3.5% to 4.5% range.  But wouldn’t 4% economic growth imply a 4% growth in production and therefor a 4% growth in consumption of natural resources?  A “mere” 4% growth in resource consumption would require a doubling of manufacturing, mining, oil production etc. in only about 18 years — just what the planet needs!  And according to some we have already passed 'peak copper, ‘peak oil’, etc. . . .

[quote=“snowyphile, post:6, topic:43470”]  “Switzerland has true democracy . . . why not the USA?” [/quote]

Maybe 'cause Wall Street, Big Pharma & Big Oil already own Congress, and Russia owns the White House??


#8

Reading this article at The Intercept, I was disappointed by the complete lack of understanding of economics by Dr. McCoy. He states that the ending of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency will lead to serious inflation in the US and basically an economic collapse. This is simply totally wrong. A nation’s currency is based on its economic strengths and its debts. The reserve currency business gives us a bit of free interest as dollars float around the world. It does not amount to jack shit. Also, if the dollar is weakened, this is good for American jobs and will lead to greater US exports. Now, having said that, the remainder of the article and points made are very good.


#9

Here are the concluding paragraphs of the full Intercept interview with the proud imperialist McCoy:

JS: And is that (decline of U.S global hegemony) , is that in your opinion a bad thing?

AM: Well, yes it is, and I here, you know I speak, you could call me, you know a narrow American. But, okay, every empire—if you think we’ve had empires in the world for about four thousand years. Some have been more benign and beneficent, others have been absolutely brutal. If you want to go to the most brutal empire, I think in human history, the Nazi empire in Europe. It was an empire. It plundered. Much of that mobilization of labor was just raw exploitation. It was the most brutal empire in human history and it collapsed. The Japanese Empire in Asia, which was arguably the biggest empire in history, was a second runner-up for raw brutality, they collapsed. The British Empire was relatively benign. Yes, it was a global power, there were many excesses, many incidents, one can go on, but when it was all over, they left the Westminster system of parliament, they left the global language, they left a global economy, they left a culture of sports, they created artifacts like the B.B.C.

So the US empire has been, and we’ve had our excesses, Vietnam, we could go on. Afghanistan. There are many problems with the US exercise of its power but we have stood for human rights, the world has had 70 years of relative peace and lots of medium size wars but nothing like World War I and World War II. There has been an increase in global development, the growth of a global economy, with many inequities, but nonetheless, transnationally, a new middle class is appearing around the globe. We’ve stood for labor rights and environmental protection. Our successor powers, China and Russia, are authoritarian regimes. Russia’s autocratic, China’s a former communist regime. They stand for none of these liberal principles.

So you’ll have the realpolitik exercise of power, all the downsides with none of the upsides, with none of the positive development. I mean we’ve stood for women’s rights, for gay rights, for human progress, for democracy. You know we’ve been flawed in efficacy, but we’ve stood for those principles and we have advanced them. So we have been, on the scale of empires, comparatively benign and beneficent. And I don’t think the succeeding powers are going to be that way.

Moreover, there are going to be implications for the United States. Most visibly, I think that when the dollar is no longer the world’s unchallenged, preeminent, global reserve currency, the grand imperial game will be over. Look, what we’ve been able to do for the last 20 years is we send the world our brightly colored, our nicely printed paper, T-notes, and they give us oil and automobiles and computers and technology. We get real goods and they get brightly colored paper. Because of the position of the dollar. When the dollar is no longer the global reserve currency, the cost of goods in the United States is going to skyrocket.

We will not be able to travel the world as we do now. We won’t be able to enjoy the standard of living we do now. There will be lots of tensions that are going to occur in the society from what will be a major rewriting of the American social contract. This will not be pleasant. And arguably, I think it’s possible if we look back, we could see Trump’s election and all the problems of the Trump Administration as one manifestation of this imperial decline.

I love it. Both the U.S. and Brits are “benevolent” imperialists. “Cognitive dissonance” defined.


#10

I read the article at the Intercept and agree fully with your point.

It’s the one part of McCoy’s statement that I found not only completely out of line with what I know about the British and American Empires but also bizarrely dissonant with everything else he says.

Along the same lines he doesn’t seem to grasp the profound difference between China’s projection of soft power versus US bullying by militaristic and economic means. He seems more concerned that China’s expanding economy will eventually make China’s military greater than the US, rather than the vastly more important point that China is actually making cooperative partnerships around the world, the exact opposite of the American hard power approach.

In my opinion the Decline and Fall of the American Empire has been fueled more by bullying abroad and the concomitant hollowing out at home than by the rise of China.


#11

When reading comments listed at the time of my composing my own comment here, one of the factors I find fascinating is the reference to economics among commentors, with military falling significantly behind, and then no attempt at analysis of the current state of the United States. Absent throughout to this point is attention to sociological and anthropological consideration. This when I believe all other variables more forthrightly considered arise from these concerns. American society has become fractured, indeed perhaps splintering into a kind of anarchy of isolated individuals. Economics perhaps initiated this, and the internet accelerates it. But, still, at bedrock, exposed is a foundational flaw within American culture (that anthropological thing). Simply, individualism, with espousal of constituent freedom, as an ideal has bred disintegration of the society of which individualism has been a cultural tenet. Unacknowledged in the American tradition of espousal of individualism was a tension; it has been individualism within the confines of communal identity. Now it is communal identity has gone, leaving a dog-eat-dog individualism of social destruction. With this has come an individual despondency in realization of the inability of oneself to effect one’s own life. And, thus, the citizenry of the United States has come to the realization of the parents in “The Monkey’s Paw”: be careful of what you wish, for you may receive it.


#12

All empires are evil.


#13

As I commented on the Intercept:

"This was apparent to a few from this 2003/5 time-frame on.

However, unlike what the ‘American Empire Projects’ books and authors suggested, this is not ‘per se’ an American Empire but the first in world history; ‘effectively-disguised’, ‘truly-global’, and crony ‘capitalist-fueled’ EMPIRE which is only nominally HQed in, and merely ‘posing’ as, our former country.

And an effective diagnosis of this unique Disguised Global Capitalist EMPIRE nominally HQed in America includes it’s seven (7) sectors; corporate, financial, militarist, media/propaganda, extra-legal, CFR Plot-Tanks, and dual-party Vichy-political sectors.

A few dozen public intellectuals, academics, authors, and deep ‘students of Empire’ metastasis have known this for quite some years, like Morris Berman, Robinson, Shoup, Glennon, Gindin, du Rivage, Kinzer, Blum, Wolff, Hudson, Hedges, Parenti, and Scahill, et al."

Unfortunately fewer than the required 3% to 5% of Americans of the leftish-lite, pseudo-progressives, on the supposedly informed alt-media sites have shown any serious interest in understanding ---- nor certainly firing a; loud, public, sustained, but peaceful “Shout heard round the world” that “this is no kind of democracy, but is an EMPIRE ‘posing’ as a normal country” — then the citizens of America can non-violently bring down this Empire as fast or faster than average Russians bought down that ‘next-to-the-last’ “Evil Empire” on earth (which Ronald Reagan merely shouted “bring down that wall’ and called it an
"Evil Empire” without even understanding that all Empires are Evil).

The secret to the ease with which American citizens can bring down this truly last Empire-on-earth, is that since the Soviet Empire collapsed, and certainly since Francis Fukuyama wrote “The End of History” and mistakenly said that “free-market democracy” (whatever unicorn myth that is) had expunged the very concept of Empires any longer existing in history, the simple presence, shouting-out, ‘exposing’, and ripping the mask off the fact
that millions of American people are shouting that their country is a damn EMPIRE, will shine the light of truth that will cause that VEMPIRE to collapse in a New York 'Crooked Developer’s) minute ---- without the masses of people who follow your lead ever having to put their own lives on the line, as you have, Chris.

If as few as 3% of American people merely go out into the streets (as millions of women already have shown can be done) and used a focused, strategic, and unmistakable ‘message’ that the ‘media/propaganda-sector’ of the Empire can’t confuse or divide intodozens of divided voices and chanted some simple but plain-speaking confrontations against EMPIRE it will collapse simply because the U.S. can’t be called an EMPIRE by its own citizens — and only we Americans can do so without being shot down in unlimited numbers and with total impunity (which, as has already been proven in several Middle Eastern countries, this U.S. HQed and Disguised Global Capitalist EMPIRE can and has done to ‘others’ in the territory countries).

As Vonnegut famously said, " And so it goes"

WakeTF-up people.


#14

I posted on the Intercept’s site and paid particular attention for the coming, and here, global poisoning/warming crisis that threatens us all.


#15

I’ll return to the Intercept site tomorrow to read more comments, and here also.


#16

I suppose McCoy’s guess is a good as anybody’s. Of course China has a lot of problems to deal with such as population of 1.4 billion that is on the older side compared with the US. Inferior universities compared with the US. A problem of how to increase innovation in an autocratic society. Some not so friendly countries on its borders such as Russia and North Korea. It is also close to Japan which it is not exactly on good terms with it. It has also had some issues with another big neighbor, India, which is rapidly developing economically. China still has several hundred millions people living in extreme poverty. It probably has greater economic inequality than any other large country and certainly more than the US. It is full of polluted rivers and cities with extreme air pollution. Most of its largest cities are on the coast and are very vulnerable to sea level rise. One problem it doesn’t have is free elections in which an ignorant buffoon can be elected as the leader of the country. Democracy is far better than authoritarianism but as we just found out it does not always produce one of the desired results, competent leadership.


#17

Government for the stupid and by the stupiid.


#18

As Pogo said: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”


#19

Time to start over. No military, no federal reserve and no foreign powers controlling our congress .


#20

And what about no controlling the government of foreign countries?