What Next after the End of the U.S. Empire?


David Adams | Transition to a Culture of Peace – TRANSCEND Media Service

11 Dec 2023 – In the short term, as we discussed last month, there is not an effective means to stop the Israeli genocide of Palestine. Perhaps in the long term Israel can be stopped by boycotts, divestment and sanctions, much as overcame South African Apartheid. But there is another factor we did not discuss: Israel depends completely on the support it receives as part of the US Empire. With the end of that Empire, Israel will not be able to survive.

The U.S. Empire is not yet dead, as shown by the votes on decisions November 7 at the United Nations General Assembly’s Third Committee. In its three-hour session, its countries supported the tactics of mercenaries and economic sanctions, while opposing resolutions to promote democracy, human rights and cultural diversity. The map showing these countries (shown above) is a precise delimitation of the Empire: USA and Canada, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey and Israel.

These are the countries that support NATO’s war against Russia in the Ukraine and Israel’s war against Palestine.

Signs are mounting that the Empire is coming to an end. For example, an analysis by CNN on December 5 suggests that the flow of weapons and equipment to Ukraine is being cut off by the US Congress. The CNN analysis concludes that “While Ukraine’s survival is at stake, so is the reputation of the United States as a global leader.  . .  the shift in the GOP’s worldview – away from its internationalist roots and toward an isolationist “America First” stance favored by Trump – has changed assumptions about US power. The political forces that could reshape the world in a Trump second term are already at play. . . ” Behind this political shift, according to the analysis is an economic crisis in the USA: “Biden’s crumbling approval ratings are limiting his capacity to sell continued massive aid to Ukraine to a public that is becoming more skeptical amid daily struggles in the US, including over high food prices.”

As we have previously discussed in this blog, the economic crisis in the United States puts the country at risk of civil war. This, of course, would clearly mark the end of the Empire.

An essential aspect of the conflict in the UN General Assembly Third Committee on November 7 was the fact that the resolutions on mercenaries, sanctions, democracy, and human rights and cultural diversity were introduced by Cuba on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. Cuba has taken a leadership position in this movement. In October of this year, Cuba hosted the meeting of the Group of 77 of the Non-Aligned Movement which was attended by heads of state from Latin America, Africa, and Asia including Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, Colombian President Gustavo Petro, as well as United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and diplomats and delegations from more than 100 countries. They called for reform of the international economic system. See map shown above for the Group of 77, which is clearly the mirror image of the U.S. Empire.

Another evidence of the decline of the U.S. Empire was the annual vote at the United Nations that condemns the U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba. This year the only countries voting agains the resolution were the US and Israel, whereas in earlier years the US was joined by its allies in the Empire.

As the U.S. Empire declines, what will come after? It is clear that the U.S. Empire is a culture of war, but will we then have a culture of peace?

As we have discussed previously in this blog, the BRICS coalition is likely to become dominant after the decline of the U.S. Empire. Their summit in August 2023 included not only the original members, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, but also admitted as new members Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran,Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

But would a world dominated by BRICS be a culture of peace? Since the BRICS is dominated by China, much depends on the future of their policies. This is what we wrote previously in this blog.

“Will the Chinese be able to resist peacefully the provocations of the U.S. Empire such as those connected with Taiwan? Faced with such provocations in the Ukraine, the Russians fell into the trap of war: we must hope that the Chinese will not do so in Taiwan.”

(On the deepest level, over the course of world history, the culture of war has been maintained because it enables economic exploitation via slavery, colonialism and neocolonialism.)

Continuing from the previous blog: “Will China really promote a culture of peace in their economic relations with other countries, or will they end up exploiting them? . . . the New Development Bank, established this year in China by the BRICS countries, may help countries of the South to escape from economic sanctions. And trade with China has now outstripped trade with Europe and North America for the countries of South America. Will these new trade relations independent of Europe and North America enable the countries of the South to escape from exploitation? We hope so, but only time will tell.”

What Future for Democracy?

Taking a long view of history, I suggest that the vote at the UN Third Commission on the resolution entitled “promotion of a democratic and equitable international order” marks the beginning of the end of bourgeouis democracy. As mentioned above, all countries of the U.S. Empire voted against it.

Bourgeois democracy was precisely described a century ago by Vladimir Lenin: “A democratic republic is the best possible political shell for capitalism, and, therefore, once capital has gained possession of this very best shell … it establishes its power so securely, so firmly, that no change of persons, institutions or parties in the bourgeois-democratic republic can shake it.”

Bourgeois democracy reached its zenith in the British and U.S. Empires, which, of course, were very profitable for capitalists. The list of billionaires grows each year at an obscene rate!

But the British Empire is past and the U.S. Empire is crumbling. And with this, bourgeois democracy is crumbling. Erdogan, Bolsonaro, Trump, Orban in Hungary, now Javier Milei in Argentina, Giorgia Meloni in Italy and  Geert Wilders in the Netherlands. On the horizon, Le Pen in France. People are voting against the bourgeoisie and voting instead for fascism. Trump has said that when he is elected he will establish concentration camps for immigrants and leftists.

Why are people voting against the bourgeoisie? The analysis is simple; it is economic! They are sick and tired of watching the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. As Lenin reminds us, this is the essential purpose of bourgeois democracy.

But will Cuba and the Group of 77 develop a new form of democracy?

It seems unlikely. Think of the Democratic Republic of Korea or the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Most of the non-aligned countries are turning towards alignment with the BRICS alliance of countries. And what is their approach? China has reverted to a perpetual ruler. Russia has returned to the equivalent of Tsarism. India’s politics could best be described as “tribal.” South Africa is corrupt. The exception is Brazil. Like other countries in Latin America, Brazil is developing a culture of peace which can support a true democracy, but the government of Brazil with President Lula has not yet firmly recovered from the regime of Bolsonaro; the legislature remains in the hands of right-wing forces, and the army waits in the wings for a possible return to military dictatorship.

Is this the end of democracy? Yes, if that means democracy tied to the state and its culture of war.

But there are still democratic elections for local authorities. And Mayors for Peace boasts thousands of members around the world dedicated to the culture of peace.

If there is a future for democracy, it is not linked to the nation-state which has come to monopolize the culture of war. Instead, it could be developed with a culture of peace managed by a United Nations in the hands of the mayors of the world instead of member states.

I have imagined such a future here in many previous blogs as well as in my little utopian novella, “I have seen the promised land.”

It’s not easy to imagine a world without the nation-state, a world governed instad by a United Nations in the hands of mayors, but we can try, at least in theory. Here is what I wrote in this blog on March of 2018:

The construction of walls, the defense of borders and the demand for visas are among the very few functions of the state that cannot be done better by local authorities, on the one hand, and by a renewed United Nations and regional organizations, on the other hand. Walls, borders and visas go along with the most intensive function of the state which is war and war preparations, along with the taxation that supports them. Other than these, we could do without the state. Management of justice, agriculture, commerce, education, energy, labor, healthcare, transportation and communication which extend beyond the local level can already, for the most part, be managed by the various agencies of the United Nations and regional organizations.

We should not take for granted that organizations already exist that manage effectively on a global level: World Health Organization, International Civil Aviation Organization, International Maritime Organization, International Telecommunication Union, Universal Postal Union. Others may not yet be effective, but with a democratic United Nations, they could become functional: International Criminal Court, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization, International Atomic Energy Agency, World Trade Organization, International Labour Organization. This list exhausts the replaceable state functions listed above.

Will human civilization still be alive in the 22nd Century? And will it have achieved a new democracy without the nation-state? Time will tell. Too bad we will not be there to see!


Dr. David Adams is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment and coordinator of the Culture of Peace News Network. He retired in 2001 from UNESCO where he was the Director of the Unit for the UN International Year for the Culture of Peace.  Previously, at Yale and Wesleyan Universities, he was a specialist on the brain mechanisms of aggressive behavior, the history of the culture of war, and the psychology of peace activists, and he helped to develop and publicize the Seville Statement on Violence. Send him an email.

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One Response to “What Next after the End of the U.S. Empire?”

  1. axel says:

    Under sweet speeches about local self-government and global governance of the UN, the author of the article is trying to push the idea of ​​a global world government. What is the UN? This is a community of officials approved (let’s not lie to ourselves) by elites, oligarchs and transnational corporations. Nice try Dr. Adams, but no.