Kinetics of Empire

ANGLO AMERICA, 25 Jul 2016

Paul Edwards – Information Clearing House

23 Jul 2016 –  All life systems have laws that govern them, identified or not. Many are beyond human capacity to catalog and comprehend. But not all.

Newton said that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and nailed that to the wall of physics. Social sciences can’t match such precision. John Stuart Mill observed that against great political power, a small resistance does not have a small effect: it has no effect at all. One could argue sentimentally, of course, but history tends to bear him out.

Are there laws that govern empires? Formed by conquest and exploiting subject nations, they must have the might both to subdue and to rule. (Viz. Rome, Czarist Russia, Nazi Germany, Victorian England)

Another constant is that their intake of loot from abroad and from bleeding their own people is endlessly consumed in fueling the engine of dominion until the running balance goes negative. Then imperial recession begins.

A third is that as the capacity to rule its colonies fails, repression at home must increase to quash incipient rebellion. The death camps of Hitler and the gulags of Stalin were final solutions to largely domestic concerns.

These may or may not be laws, exactly, but they are common to the genus and it is abundantly clear by now that America belongs to it.

No point in recounting our expeditionary insanities. Everyone’s memorized them. They’re the recurring nightmares of our collective consciousness.

Routine police murder of blacks is the obverse of the horrific brutality our mercenaries inflict on the peoples of countries we’ve destroyed. Imperial murder abroad necessitates commensurate racist homicide at home.

This is how it works. And the darkest reality is that all our killing power–and there is much in reserve; our deluded elite may yet provoke world war–is useless to maintain our shabby and corrupt hegemony, shattered as it now is by a long string of appalling, degrading, and shameful failures.

Kipling wrote of Britannia waning but his words frame the end of all empires: “Far-called, our navies melt away; On dune and headland sinks the fire: Lo, all our pomp of yesterday, is one with Nineveh and Tyre!”

Imperial America is functioning predictably, robotically, on kinetic principles it cannot alter. The Last Best Hope of Humankind has evolved into a cruel, blind, autonomic Death Star, hurtling inexorably toward its end. Ironically, the fact of the Exceptional Nation’s demise will be entirely unexceptional.

No one can say what the trigger mechanism will be or what will follow. Imperial dissolution is as complex as expansion and less predictable.

There was general and total disintegration in Rome. Systemic breakdowns in Bourbon France and Romanov Russia led to revolutions that tore those societies apart. The pulverization of Banzai Japan and Nazi Germany led through ashes to reconstitution. And war bankruptcy and implosion sank Great Britain from great
power to welfare basket case.

What will be undeniably unique in the American Empire’s end is the scale on which disintegration will occur. Never in history has so mighty a power been so inextricably and irremediably entangled with so much of the world.

Whether our dissolution comes through annihilation by war or evisceration through financial meltdown, it will be the greatest act of state terrorism ever inflicted on humankind. In this catastrophic imperial suicide, the collateral damage will be the world.


Paul Edwards is a writer and filmmaker in Montana.

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5 Responses to “Kinetics of Empire”

  1. Liz Connor says:

    Thank you, Paul, for a great literary piece of writing (there are far too few of them around these days) and for quoting those wonderful Kipling lines.

    And thank you too for this paragraph:

    ‘Imperial America is functioning predictably, robotically, on kinetic principles it cannot alter. The Last Best Hope of Humankind has evolved into a cruel, blind, autonomic Death Star, hurtling inexorably toward its end. Ironically, the fact of the Exceptional Nation’s demise will be entirely unexceptional.’

    And then there’s your final salvo!

    All I can say further is ‘Wow!’

  2. Thomas Krogh says:

    The funny thing about the US-is-about-to-collapse porn, is the unwillingness of its propoents to learn from history. Even as they claim to do so.

    No – absoluty no – country has had its future and certain path towards collaps and destruction predicted as many times as the USA.

    From its inception, over the abrupt death of “manifest destiny”, the Civil War, the isolationist phase up to WW1, Hitlers/Imperial Japan’s view of the US as declining “hot air”, the civil rights violence, the trauma of Vietnam, the stagflation of the late 70’ies, the Japanese out-competing the US in the 80’ies and so on and so on. Every single one of these – and countless others – has triggered the collapse-industry, and yet every single one of the doomsday predictions fell flat. *Every* single one.

    Galtung alone has predicted the collapse for decades, starting with his – today utterly comical – assesment that the Soviet economy would “soon” overtake the US’s declining ditto, back in the 70’ies.

    Yet all these wizards and seers has yet to reflect on why their predictions has failed so miserably.

    Why is this? Inability to accept the fact that the US will survive much as today? Inability to connect the dots? Inability to understand whu and how the economy is moving and evolving, and why and how the US is better positioned to gain from those trends?

  3. Deldano says:

    I wish you a long life Krogh. So we can have this conversation in due time.
    You should read Galtung’s Fall of The U.S Empire to know what he is talking about. You seem not to have done your homework and if you have, not to have understood his approach. But that matters little, as we are sitting here, pop corn in hand watching the US having to pick Trump or Hillary and the machines the atand for.

    • Thomas Krogh says:


      I have read the book – as well as the points from it Galtung has re-iterated here. As you will know.

      Galtung’s problem (not only his, plenty of other “seers” has commited same banal errors) is his inability to understand modern Economy, including the Economy of the US. Such as his insistance that that the US was “basically bankrupt”, because he didn’t understand the difference between (national) income and (national) assets, his insistance that manufacturing “things” is more valuable than the knowledge/service economy etc. That – coupled with his use of urban legends concerning the US infrastructure, undermines his whole set of predictions, as economy is an integrated part of his set of assumptions.

      Galtung’s lack of understanding economy was among the roots of his comical prediction about the Soviets overtaking the US’ economy, as it is for his laughable “2020” prediction.

      The point Galtung misses (as do most other in the “collapse-industry”) is that the US draws it strength from a science/technology/innovation base that not only feeds the other pillars of power, but is – in the US – stronger and more effective than ever before.

      • deldano says:

        Maybe you are right about Galtung’s reading of the conomic powerbase of the US. But you really shoould get yourself some pop corn – enough for you to watch the show, whether more of the same or blossoming as you predict or accelerated decline of the pax americana as Galtung considers more likely.

        I doubt you have read the Fall of the U.S empire by Galtung. But that matters little. What matters is that we shall see.

        Also, please provide me with a specific source of the original statement by galtung on how the USSR will overtakee the US production. It is called prognosis. And if his conditions for calling that shot were articulated, the whole gambit may be FAR less ridiculous than you make it appear here. So: provide the EXACT source where Galtung talks that stuff please. I’d like to check up on that.