What Happened (or What Is Happening) to the US Empire?


Satoshi Ashikaga – TRANSCEND Media Service

This article refers to Professor Johan Galtung’s claim that the US empire will fall by 2020. Its main purpose is to explore current and recent events that may be related to that claim.


(1) China currently owns a little over $1 trillion of the US national debt. If China dumps that amount of the US national debt, it could cause the collapse of the finance of the US government. That means that the loss or expense, if any, of $1 trillion of the US government could trigger the collapse of the finance of the US government.

(2) Some study shows that the total cost of the Iraq War was a little over $1 trillion. From (1) and (2), it can be said that if the United States launches an Iraq War-size new war, whose war cost is a little over $1trillion or more, the finance of the US government could collapse.

If the United States wages a war with Iran, it is obvious that the total war cost will exceed $1 trillion, because Iran is geographically much larger than Iraq, so that the US forces need to deploy many more US soldiers than in the case of the Iraq War. See the map.

How about Venezuela? Is the US military forces ready to fight with the Russian-backed Venezuelan forces? If the US forces begin to invade Venezuela, it could become a Syrian War in Venezuela! How many years might it take to complete the war? How about the estimated war cost for all these years? It can easily be understood that the war cost will be, then, extraordinary when one considers the study of the war cost of the Iraq War.

In addition, the US national debt clock is clicking. In February 2019, for example, the amount of the US national debt was $22 trillion. Nine months later, in November 2019, the amount of the US national debt reached $23 trillion! Due to the compound interest method, the speed of the increase of the US national debt is being accelerated as time passes by. Next time, in eight months another $1 trillion will be added to the US national debt. Then, in seven months another $1 trillion will be added. Then, in six months….. And so on. The US national debt is working as a financial time bomb against the US government. No substantial measure has been taken to reduce the US national debt so far, except to relay on the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) that encourages the government to simply print more money.

On the other hand, the US economy, including the banking system, the military industrial complex, and more, urgently requires war. Without war, the US economy could die. That is how the US economy is structured. However, the launch of a new war could lead the US government to the financial collapse, as mentioned above. Some study indicates that post-9/11 wars costs $6.4 trillion through FY2020.

Unfortunately for the US Empire, the finance of the US government at the time of 9/11, 2001 and that today are significantly different.

This article, not only revealing the fact that the US Empire has become a paper tiger, also discusses the background of the paper tiger-ization of the US Empire.

The Fall of the US Empire and Then What? – TRANSCEND University Press

Galtung: U.S. empire will fall by 2020:


What Is the US/American Empire? American Empire Defined:


American Empire:


As the US Dollar Declines, So Does the US Empire

The phrase “The Fall of the US Empire” sounds dramatic. Actually, however, the fall of the US Empire is not necessarily so dramatic. The US Empire has continued to decline rapidly over the decades.

The US dollar is one of the main indicators which show the current situation of the US Empire. The value of the US dollar has declined over the decades. Already in 2011, the United Nations warned like this: U.N. sees risk of crisis of confidence in dollar

A huge scale financial crisis of the US economy is now being submerged. This crisis is not yet emerged on the surface, but it is clear that a serious financial crisis could happen to the US economy. That crisis could also seriously affect the economies of the rest of the world.

U.S. Dollar Will Collapse When This Upcoming Event Happens

The U.S. Dollar, as the World Currency, Is Slowly Collapsing.: The economic impact of the death of the dollar is huge

Dollar Collapse Scenarios and How to Protect Yourself

However, a possible emergence of a hyper inflation onto the surface of the US economy might take time. No one can predict exactly when it will happen. In any case, many economists around the world believe that “it” will happen sooner or later.

That is why prominent economists such as Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, suggests that the world prepare a new or alternative international currency. The Growing Challenges for Monetary Policy in the current International Monetary and Financial System

That is why China, Russia and many other major countries are purchasing gold.

Russia and China buy tons of gold getting ready for dollar collapse

Russia and China ‘Furiously’ Buying Up Gold As “a Global Currency Crisis – Albeit Unstated – is Underway”

Why Are So Many Countries Buying Gold

That is why JP Morgan decided to launch its digital currency. JP Morgan: Planning for a Digital Currency Future

That is why China is waiting for the best timing to launch its digital currency. China’s official digital currency is nearly ready: The country may use it to create stability

Now, a huge amount of the US dollars is about to be circulated in the market from this autumn until the US presidential election in November 2020. US Fed announces return to asset purchases

That huge scale circulation of the US dollar might well be called “QE” (quantitative easing), but this time the US government does not want to call it “QE”.– Quantitative easing – also known as printing money – is an economic solution for uncertain times

The Trump administration is fully aware that “a sudden extreme fall of the value of the US dollar” (= a hyper inflation) could happen, so that the government decided to send Judy Shelton, a well-known advocate for the gold standard, to the FRB. For the Trump administration, Shelton is a kind of insurance in case of a possible sudden extreme fall of the US dollar. The Trump administration wants to depreciate the US dollar to a certain level, but the administration does not want a sudden extreme fall of the US dollar.

Trump picks another Fed member who believes in the gold standard. This one really means it

Current Military Situation of the US Empire

The Paper Tiger Pretends:

It seems that since sometime between the spring 2019 and the early summer 2019 the US Empire has become a “paper tiger”. It means that the US Empire does not have enough funds anymore to support its military, political and economic relations with the US allies in the world. That also means that the US Empire does not have enough funds anymore to wage a new war or to begin a new invasion.

However, it is necessary for the US Empire to pretend that the US Empire is always ready to launch a new war or to begin a new invasion. The US government sent the US troops to Columbia near Venezuela. The US government sent some military airplanes to the US airbases in the Middle East near Iran. But that was it! The US President Trump faked; he cancelled the US military attack ten minutes before it.

– “5,000 troops to Colombia”: U.S. threats against Venezuela increase
US B52 bombers arrive in Qatar over unspecified Iran threat: – Trump confirms that the US was 10 minutes away from striking Iran before he called off the attack

By now, some people are aware that was Trump’s business bluffing pattern to threat his business customers and/or business opponents. Currently the US President and the owner, as a real estate mogul, of the Trump Organization are the same person. He is applying his business bluffing pattern to the US foreign military policy. As such, the US President Trump’s words to Syria, to Iran, to Venezuela and/or to other countries are now nothing but the bluffs to these countries in the official form of the US foreign policy.

China Is Calling Trump’s Bluff on His Trade War, and We’re All Going to Literally Pay For It
– Trump is seen as all bluff and no policy on Iran:
– Turkey Calls Trump’s Bluff: The paper tiger as the US Empire, pretending that he is still a real tiger, roars like that.


(3-2) Why Is It Now Impossible for the US Empire to Launch a New War?:

One may argue that even poor military forces such as the Bosnian Serb army was able to launch a war, “why is it now impossible for the US Empire to launch a new ar or to begin a new invasion?” There are five main answers to that question as follows:

(a) The first answer:
The amount of the US national debt is $22 trillion as of 2019. And the amount is steadily and rapidly increasing.

– National debt tops $22 trillion for first time in U.S. history

The United States National Debt Clock

National debt of the United States: “As of June 2019, federal debt held by the public was $16.17 trillion and intragovernmental holdings were $5.86 trillion, for a total national debt of $22.03 trillion.”: –

Government Debt & Inflation: United States’ national debt per capita from 1990 to 2018 (in U.S. dollars):

As such, a possible collapse of the US dollar, if happens, could cause a hyper-inflation. As mentioned above, the value of the US dollar has continued to decline, especially over the last few decades.

– The Risk of Hyperinflation in the United States – The fatal damage to the US economy, if occurs by the hyper-inflation, could seriously affect the economies of the rest of the world. The fall of the US Empire also means the critical economic damage to the rest of the world.

Now, the world economy itself seems to be entering into a new recession.

World economy is sleepwalking into a new financial crisis, warns Mervyn King: Past crashes spawned new thinking and reform but nothing has changed since 2008 banking meltdown, says former Bank of England boss

Global recession a serious danger in 2020, says UN


(b) The second answer:

The end of the petrodollar is just around the corner. The end of the petrodollar means the end of the US dollar as the world number one reserve currency. The petrodollar system has brought great advantages, including huge revenues, to the United States.

The Rise of the Petrodollar System: “Dollars for Oil”: “The petrodollar system originated in the early 1970s in the wake of the Bretton Woods collapse….A petrodollar is a U.S. dollar that is received by an oil producer in exchange for selling oil and that is then deposited into Western banks.”:
However, those good old days are about to be gone. Not only that, the end of the petrodollar means a drastic decrease of the revenue of the US government. Meanwhile, a tremendous amount of the US national debt is constantly increasing, as mentioned above.

– How Petrodollars Affect The U.S. Dollar
– How Important is the Petrodollar to US Economic Stability?

This Marks The Beginning Of The End Of The Petrodollar System: Saudi Arabia and other major countries, including China, are preparing for the end of the petrodollar.

– Saudis Threaten to End Petrodollar

China to ‘Compel’ Saudi Arabia to Trade Oil in Yuan – Ending Petrodollar as World Reserve Currency
– How the Developments in Saudi Arabia May Foretell Collapse of Petrodollar – Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia, And The Petrodollar:

“Toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a longstanding Saudi goal. But a President Trump makes that unlikely.

That’s not good for Saudi Arabia’s position in the Middle East, nor its relationship with the US. This is just one of the ways President Trump will hasten the death of the petrodollar.” The end of the petrodollar could cause the fall of the US economy.

The End of the Petrodollar System Could Lead to United States Economic Collapse: – Petrodollar is Ending and Economic Collapse in United States Draws Ever Nearer (Flood of Unwanted Dollars Will Return to U.S.)

The End of the Petrodollar Will Slaughter the U.S. Dollar

– Preparing for the Collapse of the Petrodollar System, Part 1

– Preparing for the Collapse of the Petrodollar System, Part 2

– Preparing for the Collapse of the Petrodollar System, Part 3

– Preparing for the Collapse of the Petrodollar System, Part 4

(c) The third answer:
This answer lies in the difference between the tactics and weapons of poor military forces in many other countries and those of the US forces. The attack of poor military forces is sporadic, and they use traditional or age-old weapons (and perhaps a few newly purchased military tanks and/or jet fighters or the like).

On the contrary, the attack by the US forces is intense, meaning that they use an enormous amount of bullets, shells, rockets, missiles and more, days and nights, all day and all night (not sporadic at all!), for weeks or for months. Besides, these weapons, used by the US forces, are ultra-expensive ones. Even one missile costs millions of dollars! Hundreds of thousands of ultra-expensive hi-tech bullets, shells, rockets, missiles and more are intensively spent all day, all night, for weeks and months, especially in the initial or primary phases of the war. In other words, millions of dollars are intensively spent all nights, all days, for weeks and months one after another! So, the total cost of the battle reaches billions of dollars!

Even the loss of a new jet fighter plane, if occurs during the war, could seriously affect the tax payers’ pockets. The loss of military planes could happen from time to time in the war-zone. Even if without any loss of the military planes, think of its maintenance cost, spare-parts cost and other relevant costs! These costs for ultra-expensive military planes are also ultra-high. The same thing can be said to those countries that could afford to purchase the ultra-expensive US military planes.

– This Chart Explains How Crazy-Expensive Fighter Jets Have Gotten

Sticker Shock: Iraqi F-16s $165 Million Each: “The planes are going to cost $3 billion (extra spares and services could drive the total cost to $4.2 billion). That base price, without the options, works out to more than $165 million a plane — more than the current estimated $154 million price tag on the much more modern — so-called fifth generation — F-35. (The Pentagon stopped buying F-16s back in 1995; it paid an average of $17 million per plane).”:

(d) The fourth answer:

After the initial battle, the occupation is necessary. Tens of thousands of US soldiers are to stay in the enemy land for years. In the case of the Iraq War, for example, approximately one hundred thousand US soldiers constantly stayed in Iraq for years. The US government financed these one hundred thousand soldiers’ living costs and fighting costs for years! Even under the occupation, the battle continued. President George W. Bush declared the US victory in the Iraq War on May 2, 2003. From then on, however, a tremendous amount of the cost of this war began to drastically increase.

– Bush declares victory in Iraq

– Cost of Iraq War, Its Timeline, and the Economic Impact

– Financial cost of the Iraq War

– Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion: study

– Iraq War: 190,000 lives, $2.2 trillion – That was the case of the Iraq War only. Think of those relevant war costs of the Afghan War, of the Syrian War, and of a possible invasion of Venezuela, if implemented.

(e) The fifth answer:

After the war, the social wealfare and medical costs for these soldiers/veterans are necessary for the rest of their lives! These costs are, needless to say, an enormous burden for the US government! How many US soldiers in total have stayed in Iraq during and after the Iraq War so far, for example? And their social wealfare and medical costs for the rest of their lives in total?

– America’s National Debt Bomb Caused By The Welfare State

– Pentagon Struggles with High Cost of Health

Care– Potential Costs of Veterans’ Health Care

Imagine: If the US soldiers fought and stayed in Syria and in Venezuela for years, how much their social wealfare costs and medical costs for the rest of their lives would be?

After those five answers mentioned above, let me quote the following words: “All empires have perished due to economic hardships.”

(3-3) How to Withdraw from the Wars That the United States Initiated:

Considering all those astronomical costs as mentioned above, the US government is fully aware that it is now impossible for the US Empire to launch a new war or to begin a new invasion. It was and is necessary for the US government to withdraw from the wars that the US government initiated.

The Obama administration, for instance, decided to withdraw from the “War on Terror” (initiated by the G.W.Bush administration). To do so, the Obama administration needed to complete the “official story of 9/11 – Osama Bin Laden – War on Terrorism” by announcing the assassination of Bin Laden.

– Osama bin Laden Killed: ‘Justice Is Done,’ President Says

The Trump administration, for instance, needed to complete the “official story of ISIS/ISIL terrorist group” by announcing the assasination of al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS/ISIL.

Donald Trump announced an ISIS leader was killed in a US raid. Who was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?

No third party verifications have been conducted for these two assassinations so far. However, in that context, the verifications were not very important. The point here was that these US administrations needed the official excuse to withdraw the US forces from Afghanistan and from Syria. Such official excuses were necessary for these administrations to avoid a possible criticism from their political opponents that the US government abandoned the “War on Terrorism” and the “War on ISIS/ISIL terrorist group”. The US Empire is now unable to afford to continue these wars.

During the G.W.Bush administration, especially in its first term, the financial situation of the US government was not extremely bad and/or the administration did not foresee the drastic increase of the war cost and its relevant costs. Not only the “War on Terrorism” but also the “War on the ISIS/ISIL terrorist group” were reportedly initiated by the Bush administration.

– Former U.S. Military Official Says George W. Bush Created ISIS

For The Record, Yes, George W. Bush Did Help Create ISIS

(3-4) The US National Debt and QE:

Meanwhile, the banks of the US require more huge amounts of circulation of the US dollar. QE1, QE2, QE3, QE4, and now another QE type asset purchase by the US government! In general, QE itself could hardly cause a hyper-inflation. To save the market from a recession, a QE is very necessary and important.

However, many times of QEs or an excessive amount of and many times of QEs might increase the risk of a hyper-inflation, especially when the government has a huge amount of debt. Anyone knows that an excessive amount of the circulation of the currency in the market could bring about a hyper-inflation.

– Why has US government debt increased as a consequence of quantitative easing, when QE essentially means “printing money”?

Even in 2007, during the second term of the Bush administration, the United Nations warned:
– UN Warns: US Debt Could Trigger Dollar Collapse

Meanwhile, John Bolton kept pushing Trump to go to war. It was not Bolton’s job to consider the US financial situation. His job was to show his boss possible political and military strategies in the US foreign policy. Trump did not need Bolton anymore, because the US Empire became a paper tiger. No money, no war. Therefore, no Bolton is necessary anymore.

– Trump fires John Bolton as national security adviser:


So, what the US government can do now? Some possible options include covert operations (by CIA) and some propaganda war through mass media and social media. These activities require less costs.

However, without waging a large or middle scale war every few years, the US economy gets stuck. The US military complex and the US banks could face a tremendous financial crisis. That is how the contemporary US economic structure is built.

– “The US Needs War Every 4 Years To Maintain Economic Growth”

– America needs a new war or capitalism dies

– On Capitalism and Eternal War


If the definition of the “fall of the US Empire” includes the “paper tiger-zation of the US Empire”, the fall of the US Empire actually occurred in 2019!

While the US Empire was preparing to withdraw from the wars that the US government initiated, the People’s Republic of China was celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2019. The parade of the celebration showed what kind of country the PRC has grown to become after seventy years of the birth as a new China.

– YouTube: China celebrates 70 years of communist party rule – BBC News: (1:53):


China is about to become a new superpower.

– 2019 Pentagon Report to Congress on Chinese Military Development:

– The Future: China’s Rise, America’s Decline:

– The Rise and Future of China as an Economic Power:

– China at 70: The Growing Pains of a Rising Power:


“The Fall of the US Empire – And then What?” A possible answer to that question may be as follows: “The Rise of China!”


Satoshi Ashikaga is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. Having worked as researcher, development program/project officer, legal protection/humanitarian assistance officer, human rights monitor-negotiator, managing-editor, and more, he prefers a peaceful and prudent life, especially that in communion with nature. His previous work experiences, including those in war zones and war-torn zones, remind him of the invaluableness of peace. His interest and/or expertise includes international affairs, international law, jurisprudence, economic and business affairs, project/operations or organizational management, geography, history, the environmental/ecological issues, audio/visual documentation of nature and culture, and more.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 25 Nov 2019.

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