Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Another One Bites The Dust

The American Empire is crumbling. Chris Hedges writes:

Nearly all the roughly 70 empires during the last four thousand years, including the Greek, Roman, Chinese, Ottoman, Hapsburg, imperial German, imperial Japanese, British, French, Dutch, Portuguese, and Soviet empires, collapsed in the same orgy of military folly. The Roman Republic, at its height, only lasted two centuries. We are set to disintegrate in roughly the same time. This is why, at the start of World War I in Germany, Karl Liebknecht called the German military, which imprisoned and later assassinated him, “the enemy from within.”

Mark Twain saw it coming:

Mark Twain, who was a fierce opponent of the efforts to plant the seeds of empire in Cuba, the Philippines, Guam, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, wrote an imagined history of America in the twentieth-century where its “lust for conquest” had destroyed “the Great Republic…[because] trampling upon the helpless abroad had taught her, by a natural process, to endure with apathy the like at home; multitudes who had applauded the crushing of other people’s liberties, lived to suffer for their mistake.” 

And the historian Alfred McCoy has chronicled the process:

The historian Alfred McCoy writes “In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power.” “Often irrational even from an imperial point of view, these micromilitary operations can yield hemorrhaging expenditures or humiliating defeats that only accelerate the process already under way.”

The death blow to the American empire will, as McCoy writes, be the loss of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. This loss will plunge the United States into a crippling, and prolonged depression. It will force a massive contraction of the global military footprint.

The ugly, squalid face of empire, with the loss of the dollar as the reserve currency, will become familiar at home. The bleak economic landscape, with its decay and hopelessness, will accelerate an array of violent and self-destructive pathologies including mass shootings, hate crimes, opioid and heroin overdoses, morbid obesity, suicides, gambling, and alcoholism. The state will increasingly dispense with the fiction of the rule of law to rely exclusively on militarized police, essentially internal armies of occupation, and the prisons and jails, which already hold 25 percent of the world’s prisoners although the United States represents less than 5 percent of global population. 

Canada is closely tied to the United States. Our challenge will be to keep our distance, as the rot from within destroys our southern neighbour.

Image: Pinterest


Northern PoV said...

"be the loss of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency."

can't happen soon enough, but it will be a bumpy ride

"Our challenge will be to keep our distance,"

A physical impossibility given the 'longest undefended border in the word", eh?

interesting times indeed!

the salamander said...

.. A great and truly useful post..

In my view the USA is well on its way
After all. a nation that elected Donald Trump
with a fair percentage of the population still clinging to him
Is laughable, ignorant, dull and dim-witted

It's as if Lead and Mercury poisoning is rampant
Mad Hatters Disease - believe your own mythology or fantasy

Owen Gray said...

It'll be a rough ride, PoV. So we should be prepared.

Owen Gray said...

It really is a case of Mad Hatters Disease, sal. And it won't end well.

The Disaffected Lib said...

Yes, the American empire is wobbling but I'm not sure comparisons with the decline of dominant nations from centuries past are particularly helpful. In this case I suspect Hedges of bending facts to his arguments.

In previous transitions there was usually another state willing and able to dominate the world community. China would seem to fit that bill but, if what climate science says awaits us over the next 20 years, Beijing could find global commerce a bit dystopian. Globalism may fade. Regional influence could become more important and valuable than global aspirations.

All of those formerly dominant nations shared something in common that no longer exists - the opportunity to exploit growth. Growth came from colonialism - locking up foreign resources and markets - and technical innovation (Industrial Revolution) and the advent of cheap, abundant fossil energy.

China's "belt and road" initiative may be its 21st century variant of colonialism but that road seems to be developing potholes. As we've seen even in Canada, China has also been active in locking up our resources, something we may need to revisit.

What will balance of power mean in a no-growth global economy? Will powerful nations see the futility in maintaining indefensibly expensive militaries? Will they instead test their high tech prowess against their rivals?

The answer to almost all of these questions is, "who knows?"

Anonymous said...

Don’t think for one minute that Canada will get off without some sort of infiltration from the U.S. should it fail. Why right here in Alberta a rise to establish an exclusively militarized police force is the plan by the Kenney goverment. There are people here that believe in Trump and also want to break away from Canada. People who dislike social services and who do accept their pensions and any other money that comes their way need to simply move to the U.S. and enjoy the delights of that country. Anyong

Owen Gray said...

Colonies used to serve as cauldrons of resources for empires. But the climate crisis has challenged the whole nature of colonialism, Mound. In our brave new world, they may be little more than expensive black holes.

Owen Gray said...

It's interesting that many people who admire the United States have chosen not to live there, Anyong.

the salamander said...

.. To Mound's comment ..

China is all powerful in terms of military ..
But China's water sources are disappearing
Its soil is to a great extent dead or toxic
and the seas are heating up and sealife migrating north

Canada should expect an astonishing west coast influx
Environmental - agriculture, fishery refugees bailing out early
People trying to keep children alive & seeking arable land & water

The fastest growing population on spaceship earth
need fish for protein ..
Meanwhile, the Japanese harpoon 'whales for science'
just off Iceland where whale tourism is a huge thing

Owen Gray said...

We seem hellbent on our own destruction, sal.

Trailblazer said...

Any thread on the demise of the US gets the keyboards clicking..
Canada needs to distance itself from the US particularly on foreign affairs.
Entering into US foreign wars should be avoided and trade should be monitored as I believe it only a matter of time for them to stake a claim to Canada water supplies.

With recent attacks on voting rights in the US they are sliding into failed state status.
I have also noticed that since the death of Rush Limbaugh right wing radio has become even more confrontational .


Anonymous said...

Some 100,000 US and allied troops marched in and marched out, tens of thousands of lives were lost and several trillion dollars were spent, but Afghanistan lived up to its reputation as the graveyard of empires. And for what? The Global War on Terror was a colossal unforced error.


Owen Gray said...

The downward spiral becomes more and more painful to watch, TB. We must keep our distance from a crumbling empire.

Owen Gray said...

Exactly, Cap. Afghanistan has been the graveyard of empires. And the pattern repeats itself yet again.

e.a.f. said...

simply keep the border closed. of course as the U.S.A. deteriorates and violence increases we in Canada can expect several million Americans to apply for refugee status. How that is to be handled will be something we ought to be looking at now. The other issue Canada needs to start preparing for is the U.S.A. at war within, and Canada having a large enough military to prevent it from spilling over into our country. We do have a border over 3000 miles long and it will have to have personnel there to prevent unwanted types coming into our country, not legitimate refugees, but those who chase them. We will also have to be prepared, as will Mexico to handle people who have been injured in fighting. We may well see the formation of new countries within what will have been the U.S.A. The first we can expect is Texas to leave and then I'd suggest we could be looking at a country made up of California, Oregon, and Washington State. Given Washington and California already have large military basis, as a new country they are good to go. we may also see the rise of city states. We aging baby boomers won't be around to see it happen, but we might want to ensure our grandchildren are ready for that world. Supply lines will disappear and lettuce in winter maybe rare.

Owen Gray said...

Things will get difficult if the United States falls apart, e.a.f, because our two economies are closely linked.