“Decline and Fall” of the US Empire – Introduction to the American Edition

EDITORIAL, 19 Mar 2018

#526 | Johan Galtung – TRANSCEND Media Service



The Fall of the US Empire-And Then What? Successors, Regionalization or Globalization? US Fascism or US Blossoming? by Johan Galtung, TRANSCEND University Press (2009) ISBN: 978-82-300-0492-0




“Decline and Fall” of the US Empire.  What is an empire?

Not just power, but power–economic, military, cultural, political–also exercised by the client states for the empire.

Never put so clearly and briefly as on New York license plates: New York: The Empire State. With pride, but here seen as a vicious form of structural violence to be abolished and transformed into relations of cooperation mutual and equal benefit, with empathy.

There is some good news.  With USA itself declining and falling. They may see the empire as cause of the decline, and decide to build good relations all over, WIN-WIN as the Chinese express it.

But that may also decide the opposite, that the loss of empire is the cause, and try to create client states as quickly as possible.

There is that “special relation” to the UK, and judging from what happened in Libya, Denmark and Norway seem to share that relation; their prime ministers even being appointed Secretary General of NATO. Why?

An educated guess: the four countries share Protestantism, evangelism, one way or the other.  Saying that we are not suggesting that the issues are religious, but close to half a millennium in the same religious community builds a large measure of solidarity. The EU members proclaiming they will no longer fight US wars in Bratislava November 2016 were not Northern European Protestant but Catholic rather, with Germany divided, in many regards.

Trump contributes by making USA an impossible leader to follow. As long as he is in command–and nobody knows how long that will last, before he is removed by impeachment, Amendment 25, or the old US tradition of killing inconvenient presidents–rebuilding the US empire is difficult. The same applies to an English-speaking community adding to Anglo-America Canada-Australia-New Zealand. The latter two may prefer to jump onto the Chinese bandwagon, with mandarin or not.

However, there is the present effort to make Saudi Arabia a US client state, fighting US wars in Yemen, etc. But an unstable Center with an unstable client make a more than doubly unstable empire. More Gulf countries could be added, but they are all Muslim and former Western colonies, in for basic change. The ultimate power rests with the numerous imams, and they may share the Saudi Arabian population’s view that the Islamic State is a true carrier of Islam as opposed to Saudi Arabia using the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca-Medina as mass tourism, for profit.

In short, I stand by my prediction that by Year 2020 the US empire is gone. In the UK, Labour will put an end to it. In Denmark-Norway, political-public opinion. The English-speaking countries will certainly celebrate their cultural community, imitating U.S. basic English and basic pop culture.  Maybe also enriching it.

America itself may look at the map and discover that they are located in North America, with two neighbors, big in population and in land, and conclude that MEX-US-CAN, Mexuscan, makes a lot of sense. At least worth contemplating. Making USA not America First as somebody proclaims while producing America Last. But America Normal.



Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of TRANSCEND International and rector of TRANSCEND Peace University. Prof. Galtung has published more than 1500 articles and book chapters, 500 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service, and more than 170 books on peace and related issues, of which more than 40 have been translated to other languages, including 50 Years100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives published by TRANSCEND University Press. More information about Prof. Galtung and all of his publications can be found at transcend.org/galtung.

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3 Responses to ““Decline and Fall” of the US Empire – Introduction to the American Edition”

  1. Mika Chang says:

    Still beating the dead “US-will-collapse” horse? Yawn.

    More self criticism Johan. Learn, accept, admit, adjust.

  2. Gary Corseri. says:

    Mika Chang–does “self-criticism” apply to yourself, too? You know, like: “Learn, accept, admit, adjust”? Just what have you learned, accepted, admitted, adjusted to? Johan’s 100+ books, 1000+ articles, plays, talks, work with the U.N. and in universities around the world have helped millions to perceive and work for a better world. Perhaps you would profit from a re-reading of Robert Burns’ great poetry:

    “O would some power the giftie gie us/ to see ourselves as others see us.” (O would some power the gift to give us to see ourselves as others see us.)


    • Mika Chang says:

      Dear Gary

      Of course it applies to me as well. It applies to everybody. If a person is not able to stop up once in a while and say “you know what? I made a mistake. My action/prediction/claim/… was wrong”, then that person is not honest.

      The fact that Johan has published numerous books, articles etc does not elevate him into being an infallible saint. Yes, he has published countless brilliant essays and arguments, but also a whole lot that is less-than-impressive. Don’t sanctify people just because you happen to agree with their main points.

      Johan is generally very strong on peace as a concept, idea and way forward. Less so in his understand of economics, and his infatuation of his own dislike of US politics and unwillingness to apply same criteria for e.g. Russia and China is so predictable it is mildly amusing. His confusion with regard to Trump was (and is) Johan trying (and failing) to mold the reality into his own pre-determined form.

      Johan predicted “hyper inflation” in the US. Hasen’t happened. Nor has the bleeding of jobs or other calamities he foresaw. The US is not bankrupt, not will be so. Actually the debt problem is likely much worse in China, but Johan is strangely silent on this. His only views on Chinese economics seem to be to parrot the “silk road” propaganda out of Beijing.

      I’ll offer an alternative to Johan’s 2020 vision. The US will be stronger than ever. The economy growing robustly, unemployment falling to lowest levels since the sixties, the “tariff-wars” will have been closed down after understandings are reached with China and the EU, the US involvement in Afghanistan will be winding down, a tacit agreement reached with Russia over Syria, the facilitations of understanding between Israel and (as a start) Saudi Arabia will yield results, North Korea will accept that they have reached the end of the line with Trump and engage in real negotiations for the first time. The US’ supremacy in science, technology and higher learning will continue to grow. Most Nobel prize candidates in sciences will continue to come out of the immense and immensely growing US university environments.

      I’m not a “trumpkin”, but the world is often very different from the bleak version Johan offers.

      Lets revisit in 2,5 years time. :-)