A Chapter In A Declining Empire

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Everyone not yet anesthetized by the anti-Russia hysteria, should read Robert Parry’s The Rise of the New McCarthyism. The estimable Parry argues for similarities between today’s overheated political antics and those of an earlier time. He likens the relentless Russia-baiting of 2017 with the red-baiting of the post-war period often identified with Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy.

But that is not quite right. Labelling the post-war delirium, characterizing the anti-Communist frenzy of the period as “McCarthyism” places far too much weight on that sole figure. True, Joe McCarthy exploited the climate, pushing the absurdity of the times to even more absurd levels. Yet we overlook the causes of the poisoned atmosphere just as surely as we would if we labelled this moment we live in as “Maddowism,” after the woman committed to exploiting the mania for ratings, after Rachel Maddow’s prodding anti-Russian sentiment to ever greater heights.

Political fever, like that of 1919 in the US, 1920-22 in Italy, the 1930s throughout Europe, 1946 and 2003 in the US, and again today in the US, is usually driven by crises– threats or perceived threats to the system. It reflects weaknesses or vulnerabilities resulting from economic distress or international conflict. Whether the threat is real or perceived, identifiable or mythical, ruling classes use a crescendo of fear and alarm to foster an atmosphere of conformity and compliance.

During and after World War I, the Bolshevik revolution frightened the US ruling class into its first “Red scare,” an orgy of war-induced patriotism and media-crazed fear of mythical Red barbarity, an orgy resulting in mass arrests and deportations.

Similarly, the victory of the Soviet Union, the expansion of socialism, the intensifying struggles for national liberation, and a domestic left third-party challenge to two-party hegemony spurred the ruling class to spark a second Red scare. A critical mass of consensus was quickly achieved, persisting throughout the Cold War. Thus, it is misleading to say, as Parry does, that “…the 1950s version was driven by Republicans and the Right with much of the Left on the receiving end, maligned by the likes of Sen. Joe McCarthy as ‘un-American’ and as Communism’s ‘fellow travelers.’”

In fact, except for the “fellow travelers,” most of the non-Communist left and most liberals gleefully joined the red-baiting hunting party for “subversives.” Those who didn’t enthusiastically join the mob did little or nothing to diminish the campaign. Certainly, when the purges began to target the moderate anti-Communists, liberal voices did pathetically stir.

Consequently, those familiar with the history of Cold War US repression are not surprised by liberal complicity in the anti-Russia madness today. It should be no surprise that the liberals and the petty-bourgeois left betray the truth, make common cause with the forces of hate, distrust, and prejudice. In times of crisis, that’s what they too often do.

Outside of a few notable voices, liberal/left intellectuals are buying the anti-Russia frenzy. Despite the fact that US security services have an unbroken record of lies and manipulations, they are today manufactured to be the saviors of US “democracy.” The entertainment industry has cast “deep throat” Mark Felt– a crazed, disgruntled FBI official, bitter because he didn’t inherit the directorship from J. Edgar Hoover– as the hero of the Watergate debacle. Industry moguls stretch credulity to portray him as the courageous forerunner of the sleazy James Comey.

How quickly the liberals have forgotten the shame of 2003, when a ruling class-induced frenzy of lies and distortions prompted an unprovoked US invasion of a sovereign country. Have the scoundrels fabricating “evidence” against Iraq left or have they been removed from the State Department, the CIA, the FBI, etc.? Or are they still there, now busy spinning lies against Russia?

Liberals and the weasel-left should heed Parry’s warning: “Arguably, if fascism or totalitarianism comes to the United States, it is more likely to arrive in the guise of “protecting democracy” from Russia or another foreign adversary than from a reality-TV clown like Donald Trump.” Apart from flirting with war, the new consensus against Putin and Russia further erodes the remaining vestiges of democratic life in the US. Fear has brought us an Orwellian destruction of privacy and freedom, along with a murderous foreign policy and, now, a shamefully uncritical conformity.

War by Other Means

If “The New McCarthyism” is an inaccurate description of our times, what would be more suitable? Perhaps “The New Cold War” would be more appropriate since US aggression is both global and endless. The US is conducting war or war-like actions in Africa, the Middle East, South America, the Caribbean, and in Asia. Any and every country that fails to accept US global leadership becomes a target for US aggression.

This constitutes a desperate attempt on the part of US elites to maintain their place at the top of the hierarchy of imperialism, their ultimate mastery over all global affairs.

After the arrogant declaration of victory in the Cold War and the presumption of global governance, matters begin to fall apart for the champions of US global dominance. Former clients like Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Saddam Hussein began to defy US hegemony. States like Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador choose paths independent of the US template for the global economy. Other states like Yugoslavia, Cuba, and DPRKorea refused to acknowledge that socialist economic relations were outlawed in the post-Soviet era. Still other states like Iran, post-Yeltsin Russia, Libya, and Syria reject US interference in their and their neighbors’ affairs. And, of course, the world’s largest economy (PPP)– PRChina– does not accept a subordinate role in global affairs.

In short, the US role as self-appointed world policeman has been answered with far-from-servile acceptance by the world’s people.

The US response to resistance has been violence. Uncountable deaths and injuries from invasion, occupation, and remotely-mounted attacks have been visited upon combatants and civilians alike. The stability of numerous countries has been disrupted, usually under the cynical banner of human rights. Over the last two decades or so, US imperialism has restructured its aggression, relying more and more on surrogates, drones, and economic aggression, but with the same deadly results.

Obama’s cabal of liberal interventionists has refined and expanded the tactic of imposing international sanctions, a particularly brutal, but seemingly high-minded form of aggression.

We should not deceive ourselves. International sanctions may masquerade as a mechanism of civil enforcement, but they are, in fact, acts of war– war by other means. The current world balance of forces allows the US to cajole, intimidate or manipulate UN member states to endorse strangling the economies of US adversaries under the guise of UN sanctions. The UN virtually rubber stamps the US initiatives to cut the lifelines of countries, organizations, even corporations that dare to ignore US dictates Similarly, the EU and NATO act as sanction lapdogs.. The consequences of sanctions can be just as destructive, as death-dealing, as overt military aggression. Shamefully, even Russia and PRC– the victims of sanctions– have collaborated on these sanctions in recent years, an opportunistic approach meant to ingratiate themselves with US leaders.

At the same time, no UN economic sanctions have been imposed upon the serial human rights violator, the apartheid state of Israel– merely calls, resolutions, and condemnations.

In a toxic atmosphere of incredulous “sonic” attacks charged to Cuban authorities, provocative claims of Russian government meddling in everything from the electric grid to Facebook, allegations of Venezuelan drug trafficking, suspicions of Chinese espionage, and the many other marks of induced paranoia, the fight for truth is the only escape, the only response to the ugly throes of a diseased, embattled empire. Most assuredly, the empire is in decline, though most of its citizens are unaware, sheltered by a thick curtain of deceit.

  • DHFabian

    The fact that this article appears at all shows some progress. The only dark spot was the routine anti-Israel comment. That, too, is a very complex issue that has been bent and exploited to a degree where the popular spin contradicts the facts, but that’s a debate for another time.

  • AlanMacDonald

    Israel is an important border-fort of the Empire (for the MiddleEast portion of the GAP countries, as Thomas Barnett class them), but Israel is not the metropole of this disguised global capitalist Empire, which is nominally HQed in, and merely ‘posing’ as, our former country!.

  • Helen4Yemen

    Jabotinsky – The Iron Wall – 1923

    My readers have a general idea of the history of colonisation in other countries. I suggest that they consider all the precedents with which they are acquainted, and see whether there is one solitary instance of any colonisation being carried on with the consent of the native population. There is no such precedent. The native populations, civilised or uncivilised, have always stubbornly resisted the colonists, irrespective of whether they were civilised or savage. And it made no difference whatever whether the colonists behaved decently or not.

    Colonisation can have only one aim, and Palestine Arabs cannot accept this aim. It lies in the very nature of things, and in this particular regard nature cannot be changed.

    Let us consider for a moment the point of view of those to whom this seems immoral. We shall trace the root of the evil to this – that we are seeking to colonise a country against the wishes of its population, in other words, by force. Everything else that is undesirable grows out of this root with axiomatic inevitability. What then is to be done?

  • Helen4Yemen

    “We shall spread in the whole country in the course of time ….. this is only an arrangement for the next 25 to 30 years.” Chaim Weizmann:(1937)

    “Area: from the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates”. (Herzl Complete Diaris – page 711)

  • Helen4Yemen

    Ben Gurion: We must use force and remove all the Arabs and take all the land.

    Letter from David Ben-Gurion to his son Amos, written 5 October 1937

    Obtained from the Ben-Gurion Archives in Hebrew, and translated into English by the Institute of Palestine Studies, Beirut

    Oct 5, 1937

    Dear Amos,

    I was not angry at you, but I was very sorry indeed that there was no reply from you. I cannot accept the excuse that you have no time. I know you have a lot of work at school, in the field, and at home, and I am happy that you are so preoccupied with your studies. But it is always possible to find free time if necessary, not only on Sabbath days but even during weekdays. Your excuse that I keep moving from one country to another is not convincing. You can write to me in London. Here they [the Jewish Agency office] always know where I am, and they are efficient in forwarding my mail. As to the question of my membership in the executive committee [of the Jewish Agency], I shall explain to you in person if I meet you in Tel Aviv upon my return. Here what I want to talk about is the conflict you are experiencing between your reason and your emotions with regard to the question of the state. Political matters should not be a question of emotions. The only thing that should be taken into account is what we want and what is best for us, what will lead to the objective, and which are the policies that will make us succeed and which will make us fail.

    It seems to me that I, too, have “emotions” [quotation marks in original. Hebrew: regesh]. Without these emotions I would not have been able to endure decades of our hard work. It definitely does not hurt my feelings [regesh] that a state is established, even if it is small.

    Of course the partition of the country gives me no pleasure. But the country that they [the Royal (Peel) Commission] are partitioning is not in our actual possession; it is in the possession of the Arabs and the English. What is in our actual possession is a small portion, less than what they [the Peel Commission] are proposing for a Jewish state. If I were an Arab I would have been very indignant. But in this proposed partition we will get more than what we already have, though of course much less than we merit and desire. The question is: would we obtain more without partition? If things were to remain as they are [emphasis in original], would this satisfy our feelings? What we really want is not that the land remain whole and unified. What we want is that the whole and unified land be Jewish [emphasis original]. A unified Eretz Israeli would be no source of satisfaction for me– if it were Arab.

    From our standpoint, the status quo is deadly poison. We want to change the status quo [emphasis original]. But how can this change come about? How can this land become ours? The decisive question is: Does the establishment of a Jewish state [in only part of Palestine] advance or slow down the conversion of this country into a Jewish country?

    My assumption (which is why I am a fervent proponent of a state, even though it is now linked to partition) is that a Jewish state on only part of the land is not the end but the beginning.

    When we acquire one thousand or 10,000 dunams, we feel elated. It does not hurt our feelings that by this acquisition we are not in possession of the whole land. This is because this increase in possession is of consequence not only in itself, but because through it we increase our strength, and every increase in strength helps in the possession of the land as a whole. The establishment of a state, even if only on a portion of the land, is the maximal reinforcement of our strength at the present time and a powerful boost to our historical endeavors to liberate the entire country. We shall admit into the state all the Jews we can. We firmly believe that we can admit more than two million Jews. We shall build a multi-faceted Jewish economy– agricultural, industrial, and maritime. We shall organize an advanced defense force—a superior army which I have no doubt will be one of the best armies in the world. At that point I am confident that we would not fail in settling in the remaining parts of the country, through agreement and understanding with our Arab neighbors, or through some other means. We must always keep in mind the fundamental truths that make our settlement of this land imperative and possible. They are two or three: it is not the British Mandate nor the Balfour Declaration. These are consequences, not causes. They are the products of coincidence: contingent, ephemeral, and they will come to an end. They were not inevitable. They could not have occurred but for the World War, or rather, they would not have occurred if the war had not ended the way it did.

    But on the other hand there are fundamental [emphasis original] historical truths, unalterable as long as Zionism is not fully realized. These are:

    1) The pressure of the Exile, which continues to push the Jews with propulsive force towards the country

    2) Palestine is grossly under populated. It contains vast colonization potential which the Arabs neither need nor are qualified (because of their lack of need) to exploit. There is no Arab immigration problem. There is no Arab exile. Arabs are not persecuted. They have a homeland, and it is vast.

    3) The innovative talents of the Jews (a consequence of point 1 above), their ability to make the desert bloom, to create industry, to build an economy, to develop culture, to conquer the sea and space with the help of science and pioneering endeavor.

    These three fundamental truths will be reinforced by the existence of a Jewish state in a part of the country, just as Zionism will be reinforced by every conquest, large or small, every school, every factory, every Jewish ship, etc. Our ability to penetrate the country will increase if we have a state. Our strength vis-à-vis the Arabs will likewise increase. The possibilities for construction and multiplication will speedily expand. The greater the Jewish strength in the country, the more the Arabs will realize that it is neither beneficial nor possible for them to withstand us. On the contrary, it will be possible for the Arabs to benefit enormously from the Jews, not only materially but politically as well. I do not dream of war nor do I like it. But I still believe, more than I did before the emergence of the possibility of a Jewish state, that once we are numerous and powerful in the country the Arabs will realize that it is better for them to become our allies.

    They will derive benefits from our assistance if they, of their own free will, give us the opportunity to settle in all parts of the country. The Arabs have many countries that are under-populated, underdeveloped, and vulnerable, incapable with their own strength to stand up to their external enemies. Without France, Syria could not last for one day against an onslaught from Turkey. The same applies to Iraq and to the new [Palestinian] state [under the Peel plan]. All of these stand in need of the protection of France or Britain. This need for protection means subjugation and dependence on the other. But the Jews could be equal allies, real friends, not occupiers or tyrants over them.

    Let us assume that the Negev will not be allotted to the Jewish state. In such event, the Negev will remain barren because the Arabs have neither the competence nor the need to develop it or make it prosper. They already have an abundance of deserts but not of manpower, financial resources, or creative initiative. It is very probable that they will agree that we undertake the development of the Negev and make it prosper in return for our financial, military, organizational, and scientific assistance. It is also possible that they will not agree. People don’t always behave according to logic, common sense, or their own practical advantage. Just as you yourself are sometimes split conflicted between your mind and your emotions, it is possible that the Arabs will follow the dictates of sterile nationalist emotions and tell us: “We want neither your honey nor your sting. We’d rather that the Negev remain barren than that Jews should inhabit it.” If this occurs, we will have to talk to them in a different language—and we will have a different language—but such a language will not be ours without a state. This is so because we can no longer tolerate that vast territories capable of absorbing tens of thousands of Jews should remain vacant, and that Jews cannot return to their homeland because the Arabs prefer that the place [the Negev] remains neither ours nor theirs. We must expel Arabs and take their place. Up to now, all our aspirations have been based on an assumption – one that has been vindicated throughout our activities in the country – that there is enough room in the land for the Arabs and ourselves. But if we are compelled to use force – not in order to dispossess the Arabs of the Negev or Transjordan, but in order to guarantee our right to settle there – our force will enable us to do so.

    Clearly in such event we will have to deal not only with the Arabs living in Eretz Israel, since it is very probable that Arabs from the neighboring countries will come to their aid. But our power will be greater, not only because we will be better organized and equipped, but also because behind us stands a force still greater in quantity and quality. This is the reservoir of the millions in the Diaspora. Our entire younger generation of Poland, Romania, America, and other countries will rush to our aid at the outbreak of such a conflict. I pray to God that this does not happen at all. Nevertheless the Jewish state will not rely only on the Jews living in it, but on the Jewish people living in every corner of the world: the many millions who are eager and obliged [emphasis original] to settle in Palestine. There are not millions of Arabs who are compelled or willing to settle in Palestine. Of course it is likely that Arab adventurers and gangs will come from Syria or Iraq or other Arab countries, but these can be no match for the tens and hundreds of thousands of young Jews to whom Eretz Israel is not merely an emotional issue, but one that is in equal measure both personal and national.

    For this reason I attach enormous importance to the conquest of the sea and the construction of a Jewish harbor and a Jewish fleet. The sea is the bridge between the Jews of this country and the Jewish Diaspora – the millions of Jews in different parts of the world. We must create the conditions that will enable us in times of necessity to bring into the country in our own ships manned by our own seamen, tens of thousands of young men. Meanwhile we must prepare these young men while they are still in the Diaspora for whatever task awaits them here. I am confident that the establishment of a Jewish state, even if it is only in a part of the country, will enable us to carry out this task. Once a state is established, we shall have control over the Eretz Israeli sea. Our activities in the sea will then include astonishing achievements.

    Because of all the above, I feel no conflict between my mind and emotions. Both declare to me: A Jewish state must be established immediately, even if it is only in part of the country. The rest will follow in the course of time. A Jewish state will come.

    My warm greetings [Hebrew: Shalom Rav].

    When do you return to Kadoorie [agricultural school]? Write to me. Show this letter to your mother and sisters.


    Your father

  • Helen4Yemen

    Please tell me how any people at confirmed genetic ties of 0% to any region can consider that region to be their ancestral land?

    Alan Dershowitz DNA results
    99.9% European
    0% Middle Eastern

  • Jack

    Yemen’s Houthi That Helen4yemen supports and admires, were responsible for the killings of 9,646 civilians — 8,146 men, 597 women and 903 children — from Jan. 1, 2015 to Sept. 30, 2016

  • Jack

    Yemen’s Houthi that you support and admire, were responsible for the killings of 9,646 civilians — 8,146 men, 597 women and 903 children — from Jan. 1, 2015 to Sept. 30, 2016

  • kevinzeese

    Aren’t you describing one side of a war? From wikipedia:

    Hadi escaped from house arrest on 21 February and made his way to Aden, where he renounced his resignation, condemned the Houthi takeover, and attempted to reassemble his government. He declared Aden to be Yemen’s provisional capital.

    Fighting broke out over Aden International Airport on 19 March after Hadi dismissed a general in Aden, Abdul-Hafez al-Saqqaf, whom he suspected of being loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh, widely believed to be an ally of the Houthis.[171] The next day, a quadruple suicide bombing ripped through two mosques in Sana’a while hundreds of Houthis were praying there. The Revolutionary Committee declared a “state of general mobilisation” in response to the events and launched a military offensive directed at Hadi’s holdouts, whom the Houthis accused of being in league with al-Qaeda.[172][173]

    Since the clashes at the airport and the Houthis’ southward offensive, the media has increasingly described the deteriorating situation in Yemen and the escalating clashes between the two factions claiming to represent the legitimate government as a civil war.[173][174][175][176]

    Several states led by Saudi Arabia also mounted a military intervention in Yemen codenamed “Operation Decisive Storm”. The Saudi-led coalition sided with Hadi’s government in Aden, shelling Houthi positions from land and sea and hitting them with airstrikes.[177]

  • kevinzeese

    It seems like the primary victims here are the Yemenis. And, it also seems like it should be described as a civil war. Aren’t their deaths on both sides, and isn’t the slaughter primarily of Yemenis? Aren’t the US, Saudis and UAE, the outsiders joining a civil war for their own geopolitical purposes?


    The U.S. is enabling civil war and a humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Isn’t it time Congress had a say in our involvement?

    Daniel DePetris
    October 9, 2017 4:00 AM

    The ongoing civil war in Yemen was instigated by the region’s major powers, with Iran on one side and a Saudi Arabia-led coalition of Persian Gulf states on the other. The fighting — especially airstrikes by Saudi and United Arab Emirates pilots — has devastated Yemen, one of the Arab world’s poorest nations. It has created what three U.N. agencies call “the world’s largest humanitarian crisis”: Sixty percent of the Yemeni population is “food insecure”; 700,000 have been infected with cholera, a deadly disease spread by a lack of clean water and sanitation.

  • mwildfire

    I’m not so sure most US citizens are unaware that the empire is in decline (or even that it is an empire). I don’t think most are consciously and clearly aware of these facts, but I think they sense it. It’s a lot of what “Make America great Again” means–it’s certainly not a rejection of empire, but a rejection of the decline–including the increased corruption, not that the Trump team has any intention of challenging that, but most of his base would like to believe he does.

  • Jack

    You yourself write ” US, Saudis and UAE, the outsiders joining a civil war”
    But here you have Yemenite Houthi’s who instead of fighting with Outsiders and keeping their own Yemenite brothers alive.
    Are slaughtering thousands of innocent Yemenite civilians……
    Helen4yemen supports those killers…. but she has a fool mouth on others………….

  • Helen4Yemen

    “Hadi escaped from house arrest on 21 February and made his way to Aden”

    The Houthis had a successful coup in September of 2014 and they had already negotiated a power-sharing agreement when the deposed president fled Sanaa and came to Aden to recruit an army to fight the Houthis. Hilarious! Aden was not a different country but part of Yemen where the Houthis had a successful coup. From September to March, the Houthis left Aden alone but when the stupid former “president” fled, they came after him and that was when the war began. The Saudis worry that through the Houthis that Iran will have a foothold in Yemen.


  • Helen4Yemen

    Let me tell you how Jack found this blog: he is obsessed with me and everyday he tries to find where I might be commenting. My Disqus account is private and therefore he does a google search on my Disqus ID and sometimes he does find where my recent comments are. He follows me around – he just has an obsession. I never respond to his comments.

    Certainly the Houthis are victims. There never was any hint of a sectarian animosity in Yemen. In fact, South Yemen used to be the only communist Arab country ever, and when war erupted between North and South Yemen, there was no difference between Shia and Sunni Yemenis in their dislike for what they considered the godless South and they were united against the South.

    I have assembled many links about the Houthis – see below. People can learn a lot form them. Specially the writings of former Ambassador to Yemen, Stephen Seche (whom I just admire and like a lot) have to taken seriously, because the ambassador has nothing to gain by siding with either side but his truthfulness is so refreshing.
    The Houthis fought many wars against the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime but when he was deposed, he looked immediately for the enemy of his now current enemies – the Houthis – and made an alliance with them. The reason the Houthis were able to hold on to the regions they conquered for so long have to do with the alliance they forged with Ali Abdullah Saleh and neither is strong enough without the other. That created a stalemate.

    Just imagine a successful coup in Mexico and the US immediately starts to bomb Mexico. That is what is happening in Yemen when a foreign country, Saudi, meddled in internal affairs of Yemen. Perhaps for the West, it is a great opportunity to sell killing machines and therefore, they do not want the war to stop.

    People need to undrstand that the Houthis are Yemenis and indigenous to their region and they have been victimized by the Saudi regime for decades, interfering in their affairs, even in the way they conduct their religious affairs.