The Fall of the US Empire-And Then What?
EDITORIAL, 1 Sep 2014
Is the title of a book published by TRANSCEND University Press in 2009, now in second printing, and several translations including Chinese. There were two subtitles indicating answers: Successors, Regionalization or Globalization? – US Blossoming or US Fascism?
What is the situation today, five years later?
Successors? UK is militarily with USA to keep Anglo-America as a dominant world force even if a shadow of 50 years ago; France tries to keep its hold on former colonies in Africa; they use NATO-North Atlantic Treaty Organization for military and EU-European Union for political support. In empires the local elites line up to do the killing; yet the Western powers have mainly to do that themselves.
China is very active economically abroad, some of it structural violence; however, the military component has not been used aggressively.
Russia went into the “near abroad”, CIS-Commonwealth of Independent States, Ukraine; but for other reasons. The gift of Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 was a mistake to be corrected as conditions changed; and Moscow, not Kiev, proposes federal solutions for “one country, two nations”. In short, no successors.
Regionalization? Yes. Islam and Latin America-Caribbean, as OIC-Organization of Islamic Cooperation and CELAC-Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños, slowly; EU struggling. African Unity suffered a major setback when Gaddafi was eliminated; but the Union is there even if under strong Anglo-American influence, e.g., to rout Al-Shabah. They have tried that before; maybe dialogue would be better than bombing?
Globalization? No. Fight between two economic blocs; USA-EU to keep the dollar as global currency, BRICS-Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa for several alternatives.
US Blossoming? None; the bottom 20, 70 or even 99% have too little or no increase in buying power, hence too low domestic demand.
US Fascism? Yes, indeed; if by fascism we mean use of massive violence for political goals. US fascism takes three forms: global with bombing, droning and sniping all over; domestic with military weapons used across race and class faultlines; and then NSA-National Security Agency spying on everybody.
A deeply tragic development. Such an innovative country and nothing better to offer than macro bombing, meso droning and micro sniping. We sense the military-industrial complex at work–the bomb industry upfront–but dubious intellectuals are also in it:
“Even as Mr. Obama presses Russia to stop fomenting a virtual civil war in Ukraine, he is trying to collaborate with Moscow in a diplomatic campaign to force Iran to scale back its nuclear program. Even as he pressures Iran over its nuclear program, he finds himself on the same side as Tehran in combating a rising Sunni insurgency in Iraq. Even as he sends special forces to help squelch those insurgents, he is trying to help their putative allies against the government in Syria next door.–While defending Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas rockets, he sent Secretary of State John Kerry to work with Egypt to force a ceasefire–the same Egypt to which Mr. Obama cut financial aid for a while because it came to power after the military overthrew the previous government” (Peter Baker, “Crises cascade and converge, putting Obama to test”, INYT, 24 July 2014).
Good job, Mr. Baker. The answer by a former security aide to Obama, Gary Samore, from an autistic bubble, is less brilliant:
“You name it, the world is aflame. Foreign policy is always complicated. We always have a mix of complicated interests. That’s not unusual. What’s unusual is there’s this outbreak of violence and instability everywhere. It makes it hard for governments to cope–“.
Mr. Samore: all Made in the USA, a USA meeting itself in the door.
Washington wanted Ukraine into NATO to encircle Russia even more; USA-UK made the coup against democratically elected Mossadegh in Iran in 1953 ushering in 25 years of a brutal Shah dictatorship; the brutal IS-Islamic State is a highly predictable outcome of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 killing the Baath-Saddam alternative; the Syrian situation was always more complex than Assad against an opposition and much due to Israeli influence on US policy; Israeli bombing in Gaza up to genocide is partially of US making; the Muslim Brotherhood came into power to get Egypt out of the US-Israeli grip; the Egyptian military is bribed by the USA itself and both want it that way, dictatorship or not.
There are other factors, but the common denominator is us, US.
Change that policy and the world would be easier to cope with.
But, the problem is whether Washington is too autistic to think thoughts beyond its bombing-droning-sniping obsession.
The Guardian, 9 July 2014: “Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown. Social science is being militarized to develop social tools to target peaceful activists and protest movements.” The US military is turning inward, obviously to protect the white 1% who feeds them.
Furthermore, of course (28 August, Internet), the shocking, not exactly surprising, news: “Israel Police train U.S. police officers and have exchange offices in New York <> Tel Aviv–US police forces train in Israel and learn from how Palestinian resistance is subdued”.
And that is by the same military means that brought the two countries into being. The more militarized the more dehumanized and the more dehumanized the more lethal; fed psychologically by anti-Arab and anti-Black racism, and by exceptionalist claims from the ruling elites.
Militarized class and race war is the worst approach possible. What the USA needs is imitative, solidarity, cooperation for a better USA; they will reap fear, apathy, withdrawal, revenge, spiraling violence. Already hurting the US image abroad and far from halting the decline and fall of the US Empire, it will speed up the decline and fall of the USA itself. Will they trigger a world war as a cover-up?
Moreover, it comes on top of another sad phenomenon in the USA: the increasing collective shootings all over the country, geographically and socially, in addition to the usual homicides and suicides, bad enough. The standard analysis is to psychiatrize the murderer, searching for a profile and its likes in society to prevent more shootings.
Another approach would focus on the shootings as a collective, slow suicide of a US incapable of solving its countless problems, even addressing them, to the point that people simply give a damn, kill what they see as the problem including, often, themselves. General demoralization has such consequences, like the suicide epidemic at the end of the Austrian-Hungarian empire and beyond, lasting to our days.
Farewell, USA? Not at all. Pull yourself together, Stop It!
Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. He is author of over 150 books on peace and related issues, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.
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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 1 Sep 2014.
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