The Rise and Fall of the American Empire
Imperial decadence: is it inevitable?
(AntiWar.com) -- by Justin Raimondo --
If we look at American foreign policy under Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, what strikes the non-partisan observer is a sense of continuity – and an escalating aggressiveness.
President Clinton moved with force into Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo, the latter two in support of a Muslim minority that was fighting for independence against Serbia. The result: a permanent US “mission” (under NATO auspices) in both Bosnia and Kosovo, and the establishment of a de facto protectorate in Haiti. He also moved against Iraq, bombing constantly during his two terms in office and maintaining draconian sanctions that killed as many as a half a million Iraqis, mostly children and the aged.
In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush launched two major wars – and a worldwide covert “shadow war” – that represented a Great Leap Forward for the American Empire. We invaded Iraq, and occupied it: we invaded Afghanistan, and set up the conditions for the longest war in our history. The Bush presidency also set the stage for future interventions, ratcheting up tensions with Iran, and extending our reach into the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus, taking on Russia in the bargain.
President Obama took office as the “antiwar” candidate, criticizing the Iraq invasion while advocating an escalation of the “neglected” Afghan front. Iraq, he argued, was a “diversion” away from our central task, which was fighting terrorism (and al-Qaeda) in Afghanistan – and in Pakistan, as well. This last was an important addition to our enemies list, one that went little noticed at the time but has since loomed large in this administration’s sights, as the stealthy but steady expansionism of the frontiers of empire pushes forward...
In Iraq and Afghanistan, we are making the transition to a more traditional form of imperialism, following the Roman model: setting up protectorates which are allowed to run their own affairs internally – as long as they don’t conflict with US objectives, and permit a contingent of US troops to stand guard over the frontiers of empire.
Those frontiers are being pushed ever onward, and this is clearly the goal of the Obama administration in Pakistan – the next American target – as well as Libya. Yet this is also, for Washington’s empire-builders, an era of consolidation, when the military conquests of the previous administration are to be formalized and “legalized.”
At home, too, the empire is being institutionalized, and given a formal structure, as the President defends his supremacy in the foreign policy and military realm – so far successfully. Although the Founders abhorred imperialism, and are no doubt turning in their graves over the ongoing usurpation of Congress’s authority to make war, the White House has blithely gone about its business, ignoring its congressional critics – and this has been the case since the days of Harry Truman, who sent US troops to Korea without consulting the elected representatives of the people.
A few years ago there was a discussion among foreign policy wonks about whether America should ditch its anti-imperialist heritage entirely and become an empire. I had to laugh at this “debate,” for America has been an empire in fact if not in form since the end of World War II, and is now reaching the pinnacle of its power. Which is to say: it’s downhill all the way from this point.
The American empire may be expanding, but the economic foundations on which it rests are in fatal disrepair...
Yet I don’t buy it – not the pessimism, but the “naturalism” of this Spenglerian concept of the American nation-state as a living breathing organism, ruled by the same youth-maturity-senility progression that defines the lives of individuals. States have no separate existence from the human beings that spawned them, and these individuals have free will. The pattern of imperial consolidation – “humanitarian” wars of “liberation,” followed by occupation and the installation of American garrisons in the newly-integrated provinces – is not the inevitable the result of some natural law in the evolution of great nation-states...MORE...LINK
Chris Moore comments:
I believe economic incentive played huge role in the creation of our bankrupt Empire. The pimps and pushers of Big Government knew if they created economic incentive for what amounts to a massive government program, the mechanics of the process would take care of themselves.
So on the Left, they created all manner of Big Government institutions and special interests that would ensure government growth at home; on the Right, they created the military-industrial complex, to assure aggression and growth abroad. Together, they created a massive constituency of tens of millions who together with their dependant families formed the democratic imperative to grow Empire in order to keep the Big Government Ponzi scheme going, which is where we’re at today.
It is the Left-Right, ear-whispering pimps and pushers that have to be held to accounts if we are ever to untangle this mess. A good litmus test for who this might be is anyone eroding, undermining or ridiculing the U.S. Constitution as “anachronistic,” or “outdated,” because the Constitution was explicitly designed to keep this ear-whispering Parasite Class and its predations at bay.