Empires Are A Secret Until They Start Falling

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In the past, we have written about the 2020s as a decade when the United States Empire will end. This is based on Alfred McCoy’s predictions (listen to our interview with him on Clearing the FOG). Sociologist and peace scholar John Galtung believes US Empire will fall much faster, losing world dominance by 2020. Much of what he predicted when he said this in 2016 is happening now. In particular, there is a rise in “reactionary fascism” or a desire to go back to the “good old days,” the cost of maintaining the empire is taking an increasing economic toll and other countries are starting to rebuke the US, both its requests for military assistance and its unfair economic demands.

What this means for people in the United States and around the world depends on whether we can build a mass popular movement with the clarity of vision, skills, and solidarity necessary to navigate what is and will surely be a turbulent period. There are no guarantees as to the outcome. Failure to act could result in a disastrous scenario – at best, that the US will continue to try to hold onto power by waging economic and military warfare abroad weakening the economy at home and undermining necessities such as housing, healthcare, education and the transition to a Green economy. At worst, as Galtung describes, there could be “an inevitable and final war” involving nuclear weapons. 

The People’s Mobilization to Stop the US War Machine and Save the Planet is next weekend. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS. You must register in advance for the Monday night solidarity event. RSVP at bit.ly/RSVPapathtopeace. And sign the Global Appeal for Peace here.

When Empire Is In Decline

Alfred McCoy says that it is only when empires are in decline that people begin to recognize they live in an empire and start to talk about it. While discussion of empire hasn’t broken into the corporate media, it is certainly happening in the independent media. A concerted effort by a popular movement could bring it to the fore, just as Occupy changed the political dialogue about wealth inequality and the power of money. People in the US need to face some stark realities when it comes to declining US global power.

For starters, the United States does not currently have the capacity to wage a “Great Power Conflict” even though that is the goal of the national security strategy. The loss of its manufacturing base and lack of access to minerals necessary for producing weapons and electronics means the US does not have the resources to fight a great war. Much of the US’ manufacturing has been outsourced to other countries, including those targeted by US foreign policy. Resources necessary for weapons and electronics are in China, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Venezuela. It’s no surprise that the US is maintaining a military presence in Afghanistan, has increased its presence in Africa through AFRICOM and is struggling to wrest control of Venezuela.

Despite these attempts, the US is not having success. There is no military solution for the US in Afghanistan. As Moon of Alabama explains, the Taliban has taken control of more territory than it has had since the US started the war and has no reason to negotiate with the US. He advises, “The U.S. should just leave as long as it can. There will come a point when the only way out will be by helicopter from the embassy roof.”

Alexander Rubinstein writes the failures in Afghanistan can be attributed to Zalmay Khalilzad, currently the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation. Khalilzad has led US foreign policy in Afganistan and Iraq since the presidency of George W. Bush, and before that worked with Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, who provided crucial support for the Mujahideen to draw the Soviet Union into a quagmire. The writing is on the wall that the US must leave Afghanistan, but that is unlikely to happen as long as people such as Khalilzad and Elliott Abrams, who has a similar ideology, are in charge.

As the US-led coup in Venezuela continues to fail due to a lack of support for it within the country, resilience to the effects of the unilateral coercive economic measures (sanctions) and exposure of attempts to create chaos and terror by paramilitary mercenaries, the US grows increasingly desperate in its tactics. There has already been a failed assassination attempt against President Maduro, a US freight company tied to the CIA has been caught smuggling weapons and the US and its Puppet Guaido have been implicated in a terrorist plot as the failed coup enters a more dangerous phase. This week, the Organization of American States voted to invoke a treaty, the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR), which would allow military intervention. Mexico strongly opposed that possibility. This comes as Venezuela has strengthened troops at the Colombian border after discovering terrorist training camps on the Colombian side. With allies such as Russia and China, an attack on Venezuela would not only hurt the region but could go global.

Despite the Asian Pivot under President Obama during his first administration and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s comment this week that the US is directing a lot of energy toward China, analysts predict the US will fail to achieve dominance in the Asia-Pacific. China is purchasing weapons from Russia that are superior to US systems, is strengthening its military coordination with Russia through drills and is expanding its global ties through the Belt and Road Initiative. Matthew Ehret writes in Strategic Culture, “Those American military officials promoting the obsolete doctrine of Full Spectrum dominance are dancing to the tune of a song that stopped playing some time ago. Both Russia and China have changed the rules of the game on a multitude of levels….”

Protests in Hong Kong, as we described in a recent newsletter, are being used to stoke greater anti-China sentiment in the US. As often occurs, the sophisticated propaganda arm of US-backed color revolutions excites leftist activists, but each day it becomes clearer just how deep the US’ influence is. K. J. Noh provides a helpful guide – a list of seven signs a protest is not a popular progressive uprising. One sign is Hong Kong protesters are supporting a bill in the US Congress, the so-called “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.” The bill would allow the United States to sanction Hong Kong officials.

Andre Vltchek attended a recent protest and interviewed some of the participants. He found the democracy protesters have little grasp on the oppression Hong Kongers faced under British colonization, they attack anyone who disagrees with them and they are destroying public infrastructure. One of the protest leaders, Joshua Wong, is openly meeting with figures connected to US regime change efforts, and NED-backed organizations are planning an anti-China protest in Washington, DC on September 29. Their new propaganda symbol is a Chinese flag with a Swastika on it. No surprise that was evident at the protests in Hong Kong this weekend.

The US is already at war with China with battlefronts on trade and the Asian Pacific. The propaganda around Hong Kong showing prejudice against China is part of manufacturing consent for the conflict between the US and China, which will define the 21st Century. US militarism is also escalating to involve space. This week, the US conducted its first space war game and Putin warned of a space arms race.

Our Tasks as Activists

It was good news this past week that President Trump asked John Bolton, a white supremacist neocon who disrupted any attempts at negotiation, to resign from his position as National Security Adviser. Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report writes, “Every sane person on the planet should be glad to see Bolton go.” But, even with Bolton gone, the US War Machine will rage on with bi-partisan support. Whether Trump starts to live up to his campaign rhetoric of non-intervention remains to be seen. The appointment of Michael Kozak as the new US envoy to Latin America is a bad sign.

Almost two centuries of Manifest Destiny that went beyond North America to spread US Empire across the globe will not end overnight. It will take a concerted effort to build a national consensus against the dominant ideologies of white supremacy and US exceptionalism to change the course of US foreign policy. Fundamental tasks of that effort include education, organizing and mobilizing. Below are some examples of each.

Education:

The Palestinian Great March of Return, a weekly nonviolent protest in Gaza demanding the right of return granted by the United Nations, continues and each week Israelis injure and murder unarmed Palestinians. Abby Martin and Mike Prysner of The Empire Files produced an excellent documentary about it, “Gaza Fights For Freedom,” and are touring the country to raise awareness. Listen to our interview with Abby Martin on Clearing the FOG. Find a showing near you or organize one.

The United States uses unilateral coercive measures (sanctions) that are illegal under international law to wage war on other countries. The Treasury Department currently lists 20 countries sanctioned by the US, but the US also uses threats of sanctions to wield power. Sanctions are warfare, even though they are not commonly viewed that way. They result in the suffering and death of mostly civilians. Kevin Cashman and Cavan Kharrazian explain how sanctions work, why they violate international law and how they threaten global stability.

Organizing:

Alison Bodine and Ali Yerevani encourage activists to avoid the organizing pitfall of getting caught up in debates about the internal politics of countries targeted by US imperialism. Our tasks, as citizens of imperialist countries, are to stop our governments from intervening in the affairs of other countries and demand they respect international law. We also have a task of building solidarity with civilians of other countries. It will require a global mass movement to address major issues such as the climate crisis, wealth inequality, colonization, and violence.

Citizen to citizen diplomacy is critical in building this mass movement and solidarity. Ann Wright, retired from the military and State Department, writes about the challenges of citizen to citizen diplomacy as she tours Russia. Ajamu Baraka, national organizer of Black Alliance for Peace, reminds us that war and militarism are class issues in his address to an international meeting of trade unions held in Syria.

We are strong believers in breaking out of the confines of the narrative presented by corporate media about countries outside the US. Our trips to Iran and Venezuela this year were invaluable learning experiences. We hope to visit more targeted countries. An effort that came out of these trips is the new Global Appeal for Peace, first steps toward creating an international network to complement the more than 120 non-aligned movement countries that are resolved to respect international law and sovereignty and take action to create peace and prevent the catastrophic climate crisis. Sign on to this effort at GlobalAppeal4Peace.net.

Mobilizing:

The People’s Mobilization to Stop the US War Machine and Save the Planet starts next weekend. On Saturday night, Black Alliance for Peace is sponsoring a discussion, “Race, Militarism and Black Resistance in the ‘Americas'” in the Bronx. On Sunday we will rally and march to the UN with Embassy Protectors, Roger Waters and many more. On Monday night, we have a special solidarity night at Community Church of New York. Registration is required as there will be high-level representatives of impacted countries speaking about the challenges they face. Click here to register.

Rage Against the US War Machine will take place October 11 and 12 in Washington, DC. This is the second annual event organized by March on the Pentagon. Click here for details.

We also ask you to join the Embassy Protectors Defense Committee. Sign the petition to drop the Trump administration’s charges against us for protecting the Venezuelan Embassy this spring. We are facing up to a year in prison and exorbitant fines even though it was the US State Department that violated the Vienna Convention by raiding the embassy in May. We will tour Northern California in October and are planning more tours to raise awareness that the struggle to end the US  coup and interventions in Venezuela continues.

John Galtung predicts that the fall of the US Empire could have a devastating impact on domestic cohesion in the United States. As the US loses its position of global supremacy, we have an opportunity to fundamentally reshape what we as a nation represent. We can become cooperative global citizens in a world free of oppression, violence, and poverty if we do the work of joining in international solidarity for these goals.

 

  • voza0db

    My dear Modern Slave Friends…

    I just hope you realize, sooner than later, that when “Empires” Fall they require a great deal of blood to try and maintain the status for as long as possible.

    And to counteract such Fall and Violence and Death only one way is viable. Unfortunately we are Uman Animals so “popular resistance” with the modern actions won’t work.

    Just look at the behavior of the governments when large herds of modern slaves try, via manifestations or strikes, to “change” the sub-systems…

    If you don’t realize this… We won’t stand a chance against the SRF!

  • LitFamLucas

    Pick something to write about, and stick by it. I’ve read this article three times and i still don’t know what the hell you guys are taking about. You mentioned so many different things that have nothing to do with the main point you guys are trying to make.

  • Stansfield Smith

    It is not good to underestimate the people who run the US. They are quite intelligent, resilient, and resourceful. And they still have great reserves of power. The US movement against them is inexperienced, mostly politically naive, still maintain many illusions about the American system, is barely organized, is divided, has no recognized good leadership and is mostly marginalized. To expect this to lead to an end of the US empire is not realistic.

  • voza0db

    I bet none of those in illusion will understand what you just explained!

  • History301

    I agree with everything pointed out in this week’s newsletter but don’t expect the general public to understand it in much detail. Americans are one of the most propagandized societies on earth and that’s a real problem Popular Resistance and others have taken on with some success, but I think we have a real long road ahead before war will no longer be peace.

  • mwildfire

    I’m afraid you’re right. The key is that the powers that be control virtually all media, and have psychology experts on staff to couch their propaganda in terms that will be appealing to different factions.

  • Good broad brush piece on the falling US Empire. There are rough times ahead but with enough people working toward a singular vision, a favorable future is possible.

  • There are two things that stood out for me in this article.

    For one, it illustrated just how much is transpiring at once. An awful lot for anyone to wrap their minds around. It can make you dizzy – where to focus? do I have the energy? do I have the time? can I make a difference? and so on.

    The second thing in this article that caught my eye was the phrase “…Citizen to citizen diplomacy is critical…” A phrase that can be applied in so many different settings.

    So I read this article yesterday and I found myself thinking about it this morning over coffee. For what it’s worth to anyone, I’ll share a few of those thoughts.

    A little background first… a few years ago, it dawned on me that something was really rotten in our society (locally and globally). And this drove me to begin doing research to see just where is the rot and how did it get this way. Not having an extensive background in economics or politics or history, or…well you get the picture, I first had to do a lot of reading to broaden my understanding of these topics. I read about Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, American Economic History, Austrian Economics, different versions of Global History, Books written by the wealthy 1%, Books written by the poor 1%, Human rights movements in a variety of countries, governance systems in various countries, indigenous cultures, ancient cultures, modern cultures, and so on and so on until I felt I had a fairly good understanding of where we (people) have been and how we came to be where we are today.

    There are a number of conclusions I’ve drawn from this research. I’ll just share a few of them that may be of use to anyone who reads this…

    Throughout history, every single Nation and every single Culture I studied has entered into conflict with one another – no one, not way back during the Persian Empire and up to present day is innocent of doing something horrible to someone else for their own gain. Not one.

    On a different aspect, there was a decision made by people (this excludes some indigenous cultures) a long time ago that has had enormous ramifications on society and our planet. That decision was to conquer nature versus work with nature. We chose to go to war with nature instead of cooperating with and nurturing our natural environment. Why? To begin with, I think we just didn’t know any better. Everything seemed so plentiful we thought we could just take what we needed to infinitum. Only when a food source died out – like the buffalo or fertile soil – did it dawn on us that maybe limits did exist. But did we stop our plunderous ways? No, we just moved to greener pastures and repeated the process. If other people already inhabited our greener pasture, we went to war and confiscated it from them. The conquered that survived the war became tools the conquerors used to produce what they viewed was a better life for themselves. We still do this today – for fossil fuels, fresh water, cheap labor, precious metals, agricultural land, fishing grounds, etc. And through our arrogance, we thought we could transform nature into something better – plants became synthetic pharmaceuticals, synthetic fertilizers, synthetic herbicides – livestock could be made to grow faster with injected hormones and produce higher yield (not die or get sick) with synthetic antibiotics – today, we think we can improve upon the human by editing their DNA. Instead of making things better, we’ve created toxic food, water, and soil; plants and animals including ourselves are at risk of extinction or have already become extinct.

    Switching gears a little… In the early 1800’s something pivotal took place in the US of A that I doubt many people are aware of. A group of businessmen in Albany, NY began discussing the cost of drunkenness on society (yes, this was pre-prohibition).

    “Imagining their entire town as a capitalized investment and its inhabitants as income-bearing inputs of human capital that could be plugged into output-maximizing equations of economic growth, the Albany businessmen’s novel investmentality measured progress and well-being by pricing the effect certain labor and consumption patterns had on market productivity and capital accumulation.”… “As use of these investmentality metrics spread, the maximization of monetized market production and consumption became a chief statistical objective of American social policy, concurrently transforming prices into the standard unit Americans used to value not only their goods and businesses but also their future, their communities, their environment, and even their own selves.” – The Pricing of Progress by Eli Cook.

    By monetizing life, commerce acquired priority status over the welfare of citizens. And Americans exported this dogma all over the world.

    A further conclusion I’ll share concerns relationships between individuals. We’ve done a terrible thing by defining gender specific roles. Men are perfectly capable of nurturing and women are perfectly capable of hunting. By designating Men as the providers and protectors we condemned them to spend their lives working to support the family and become maimed and die in wars. By designating Women as child rearers and homemakers, we confined their bodies and minds to a box and made them dependent on Men for even the most basic of needs. No wonder there are conflicts and power struggles in relationships; neither gender is able to be a whole person. And while the feminist movement has opened up more options for women and some men have been enabled to participate in the homemaking and child rearing parts of life, the prejudices are still very present in today’s society. For the most part, people are not allowed to be nor valued for who they are as a full individual.

    This brings me almost to the end of this lengthy comment. It concerns me that while we may have evolved industrial and communication methods, we really haven’t evolved as beings. All we’ve really accomplished in our thousands of years of existence is to make life more complicated (albeit perhaps somewhat more comfortable for a percentage of the population). This leads me to believe that should these various social ‘change’ movements achieve their objectives we will only, over time, recreate our same parasitic and cannibalistic culture. That is, unless we make a consciousness paradigm shift and begin to evolve as beings.

    We need to learn how to be happy and help others be happy.

    Does having a lot of ‘stuff’ may us happy?
    Does ruling over someone else make us happy?
    Does harming something or someone make us happy?
    Does having tons of money while someone else has little to none make us happy?
    Does being healthy while others around us are sick make us happy?

    Look around. When’s the last time you saw someone happy – on TV – on the street – at work – at home?

    I believe if you really sit down and think about this you will conclude that those things like loads of money, power over others, societal status, lots of ‘stuff’, do not make us happy.
    So what does? Maybe it’s a good meal in our bellies that someone who cared about us cooked. Maybe it’s putting a smile on someone else’s face by opening a door for them. Maybe it’s giving time and attention to our family. Maybe its relaxing with good friends. Maybe it’s really really basic stuff.

    Maybe, all we really need to do to be happy and foster happiness is simplify what constitutes our lifestyles and spend more time just enjoying being a being.

    It’s not that hard to create a simple world. It’s really hard to fix a complex one.

    Maybe instead of marching in the street day after day, we could all just stay home from work and enjoy our day.
    Silence can be very loud.

  • Alan MacDonald

    This Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Empire (and Emperor Trump) can be taken down, if ‘we the American people’ just work together as the Hong Kong people are doing in a people’s people “Political/economic & social Revolution Against Empire” — 2020 can be like 1776, but without the Muskets:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/16/opinion/republicans-democracy.html#commentsContainer&permid=102550637:102557847

  • Alan MacDonald

    Kevin and Margaret, this Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Empire (and faux-Emperor Trump) can be taken down, if ‘we the American people’ just work together as the Hong Kong people are doing in a people’s peaceful “Political/economic & social Revolution Against Empire” — 2020 can be like 1776, but without the Muskets:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/16/opinion/republicans-democracy.html#commentsContainer&permid=102550637:102557847

  • Alan MacDonald

    BTW, Kevin this is a question I posted on an older PR article, but will ask here on this newer / current article:

    Kevin, do you know WTHell happened to that great site resistandprotest — which ended in 2018??

    Do you know of any similar sites to locate demonstration, march, and
    protest events/actions by: Issue, Date, Location/State, etc??

    Is anyone thinking, planning, building such a valuable tool for late 2019 into the critical 2020??

  • kevinzeese

    I don’t remember the site. We do a calendar on Popular Resistance of protests we are aware of.

    KZ
    *@KBZeese*
    *Build power and resistance*
    *Popular Resistance*
    *www.PopularResistance.org *
    *Shift Wealth:** Economic Democracy*
    *Its Our Economy *
    *www.ItsOurEconomy.US *

    *Democratize the MediaClearing the FOG (Forces of Greed)
    Radio http://www.ClearingTheFOGRadio.org *

  • Alan MacDonald

    Thanks, Kevin.

  • Alan MacDonald

    Kevin, the “Times” is starting to be quite open to seriously revolutionary criticism.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/24/us/politics/democrats-impeachment-trump.html#commentsContainer&permid=102722126:102722126

    Y