America’s Fragile Future


The U.S. mainstream’s flailing about over alleged Russian “meddling” in American politics reflects a nation that is rapidly losing its global dominance and fearful of even the slightest challenge, as Gilbert Doctorow explains.

By Gilbert Doctorow

Does the United States have a future as a great power?

President Donald J. Trump and President Emmanuel Macron on July 13, 2017. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Twenty years ago posing this question would have seemed absurd. The United States was fully self- confident about its position as the sole surviving superpower in the world. It faced virtually no obstacles or objections to its performance on behalf of the “public good,” a process that supposedly brought order to the world either through the liberal international institutions that it helped to create after World War Two and dominated, or through unilateral action when necessary via “coalitions of the willing” aimed at bringing down one or another disruptive malefactor on a regional stage.

From many voices abroad it heard “amen” to its claims of exceptionalism and farther-seeing vision that came from its standing taller, as Secretary of State Madeleine Albright put it. The “indispensable nation.”

Fourteen years ago, when America prepared for its ill-conceived invasion of Iraq and encountered loud resistance from France and Germany, backed up by Russia, it became possible to wonder whether U.S. global hegemony could last. The disaster that the Iraqi adventure quickly became within a year of George W. Bush declaring “mission accomplished” rolled on and progressively diminished the enthusiasm of allies and others hitherto on the U.S. bandwagon for each new project to re-engineer troublesome nations, to overthrow autocrats and usher in an age of “liberal democracy” across the globe.

Still, the doubts were discussed sotto voce. Governments tended to conform to what the Russians colorfully call “giving someone the finger in your pocket.” Observers spoke their piece privately against the violations of international law and simple decency that the United States was perpetrating — and against the swathe of chaos that followed American intervention across the Greater Middle East. But such persons were on the fringes of political life and drew little attention.

What has happened over the past couple of years is that doubts about the competence of the United States to lead the world have been compounded by doubts about the ability of the United States to govern itself. The dysfunction of the federal government has come out of the closet as an issue and is talked about fairly regularly even by commentators and publications that are quintessentially representative of the Establishment.

In this connection, it is remarkable to note that the September-October issue of Foreign Affairs magazine carries an essay entitled “Kleptocracy in America” by Sarah Chayes. This takes us entirely away from the personality peculiarities of the 45th President into the broader and more important realm of the systemic flaws of governance, namely the extraordinary political power wielded by the very wealthy and the self-serving policies that they succeed in enacting, all at the expense of the general public that has stagnated economically for decades now, setting the stage for the voter revolt that brought Trump to power.

And in an op-ed essay in The Washington Post on Sept. 1, which was remarkable precisely for its identification of the failing political culture in Washington, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, says the following:

“Congress will return from recess next week facing continued gridlock as we lurch from one self-created crisis to another. We are proving inadequate not only to our most difficult problems but also to routine duties. Our national political campaigns never stop. We seem convinced that majorities exist to impose their will with few concessions and that minorities exist to prevent the party in power from doing anything important.”

McCain himself was until now a major contributor to the poisonous political climate in Washington, to partisanship that tramples patriotism under foot. One thinks of his unprecedented attack on fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul several months ago whom he accused of “working for Putin” because the senator from Kentucky refused to vote for the accession of Montenegro to NATO.

Permanent Gridlock

Gridlock in the federal government is nothing new. In the past decade, work of the federal government came to a standstill when Congress and the President could not agree to the conditions under which the federal debt ceiling would be raised. Such an eventuality was just narrowly averted in the past few days.

The U.S. Capitol. (Photo credit: Architect of the Capitol)

Public exposure and ridicule of a sitting president for personal failings, such as the case of Bill Clinton’s sexual transgressions, have been exploited for political gain by his opponents whatever the cost to national prestige. We have lived through that crisis of the political elites and the Republic survived.

What is new and must be called out is the loss of civility in public discourse at all levels, from the President, from the Congress and down to the average citizen. The widely decried unsubstantiated personal attacks that otherwise would be called defamation during the 2016 presidential electoral campaign were symptomatic of this all-encompassing phenomenon. It signifies a dramatic decline in American political culture that the whole world sees and is beginning to act upon in self-defense.

Let us start with President Donald Trump, who is attacked daily by the liberal media that represents the lion’s share of all television programming and print publications, media that vehemently opposes Trump’s domestic and foreign policy positions. In their determination to ensure either his impeachment or effectively to strip him of powers, they speak of Trump the way cheaply printed caricatures for the masses lampooned Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette before the French Revolution.

The President is publicly described by his compatriots as an imbecile, a rabid racist, a misogynist, a volatile and impulsive narcissist whose finger on the nuclear button gives us all goose pimples: this cannot be ignored by the wider world outside U.S. borders and it is not ignored.

To be sure, Donald Trump has brought a good deal of this ignominy on himself by his intemperate comments on daily events, particularly at home but also abroad, where silence or a nod to conventional verities would be the better part of valor. He keeps his own counsel on foreign affairs and erroneously believes that his instincts are superior to the advice of experts.

In his kitchen cabinet, there are no experts. In the official cabinet, he has for his own reasons assembled a group consisting mostly of neoconservatives and liberal interventionists, who made it easy for him to get their confirmations in the Senate but who are all pulling in the direction opposite to the America First concepts of nonintervention in the affairs of other states that he set out in his electoral campaign.

Trump changes direction daily, even on matters as critical as the likely U.S. response to the ongoing crisis on the Korean peninsula. The tactic of unpredictability was an approach he said in the campaign he would use against enemies, in particular against terrorist groups, not to tip them off about U.S. intentions in advance and weaken the effect of eventual U.S. military strikes. But it makes no sense when applied to all other current business, which requires a firm hand on the tiller and sense of continuity and predictability, not constant disruption.

Undoing Bonds

The net result of Donald Trump’s first six months in office has been to undo the bonds of mutual confidence with America’s allies and friends, and to put America’s competitors on notice that America’s role in the world is up for grabs.

President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush (with First Lady Michelle Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush) walk to a White House event on May 31, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Foreign policy has opened up as a topic for discussion here in Europe ever since Donald scattered the chickens by his loose talk about NATO and America’s commitment or non-commitment to the Article 5 provision of “all for one and one for all.” This has given impetus to the long-spluttering plans to create a European Union army as an alternative to NATO, and as a rallying point for federalists in what will be a two-speed Europe.

During the two terms of Obama, meddling in the internal politics of China and Russia, repeated hectoring over their alleged human rights and rule of law violations, but still more importantly the wrong-headed policy of simultaneous containment of these two giants through construction of military alliances and bases at their borders put in motion a strategic partnership between them that was once improbable but is now flourishing. The Russia-China axis is underpinned by vast joint investments and promises to remake the global power balance in the decades to come.

Now, with Trump, the damage to American power in the Pacific region is spreading. His ripping up free trade accords and his incautious rhetoric regarding possible military strikes against North Korea have pushed both Japan and South Korea to explore actively and urgently how Russia can be befriended, at a minimum, for the sake of greater leverage against the big ally in North America. This has been demonstrated with perfect clarity by the meetings of Vladimir Putin with Japanese premier Shinzo Abe and South Korean president Moon Jae-in at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok over the past couple of days.

Russia’s evolving political entente with both South Korea and Japan is providing support for the launch of ambitious foreign investment projects in its Far East as announced at the Forum. These include one which has the potential to re-shape the imagination of regional populations for a generation to come: revival of plans to build a $50 billion rail-auto bridge linking Hokkaido with the Russian island of Sakhalin, thus uniting Japan with the continent and facilitating freight shipments across Russia to Europe.

For its part, South Korea announced infrastructure investments for the Northern sea route linking South Korea with European markets through sea lanes kept open by Russian icebreakers. Like the Chinese One Belt One Road, these plans all dramatically reduce the importance to world trade of the long-standing U.S.-policed sea lanes off Southeast Asia up to and through the Suez Canal.

Of course, the low point in America’s image in the world today under Trump is not entirely new. By the end of his two terms in office, George W. Bush had driven American prestige to what were then all time lows even among Europeans. There was a brief resurgence of American popularity at the start of Barack Obama’s tenure in office. But that was quickly dissipated by his failure to deliver on the pledges of his campaign and inaugural address, as the Guantanamo Bay prison remained open, as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continued, and as drone strikes proliferated.

Opening a Void

But Donald Trump has shaken up the world order by repeatedly questioning the public good that the United States claimed to be delivering these past decades, opening a void without projecting a new vision of global governance. In the meantime, the unique value of America’s commitment to the public good is being eroded as other countries step forward with infrastructure and other plans that provide practical improvements in the public sphere.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

It is commonplace today within the United States to put all blame for the shocking decline in political culture at the door of President Trump with his boorish language and behavior. However, as we noted from the outset in citing Senator John McCain’s recent op-ed, Congress has contributed mightily to the erosion of civic values by its vicious and counterproductive partisanship.

And yet a still greater threat to American democracy and to the sustainability of America’s great power status has come from the inverse phenomenon, namely the truly bipartisan management of foreign policy in Congress. The Republican and Democratic leaderships have maintained strict discipline in promotion of what are nearly identical neoconservative (Republican) and liberal interventionist positions on virtually every foreign policy issue before Congress.

Committees on security and foreign affairs invite to testify before them only those experts who can be counted on to support the official Washington narrative. Debate on the floor of the houses is nonexistent. And the votes are so lopsided as to be shocking, none more so that the votes in August on the “Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act.” This measure moved sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Russia from the category of Executive Order to federal law. In the Senate, the bill passed 98 to 2. In the House, the vote was 419 for, 3 against. Such results remind us of the rubber-stamp legislature of the USSR, the Supreme Soviet, in its heyday.

That particular vote was still more scandalous for its being drafted and passed without any consultation with U.S. allies and friends, though its intent is to control their commercial and credit policies with respect to the target countries under sanction.

For Europeans, in particular, this puts into question their ability to pursue what they see as great economic benefits from trade and investment with Russia and Iran. In this sense, Congress demonstrated that it is pursuing a still more radical program of America First than the President. This in-your-face unilateralism works directly to the detriment of America’s standing in global forums.

The New McCarthyism

It would be comforting if the problems of our political culture began and ended with the elites operating in Washington, D.C. However, that is patently not the case. The problem exists across the country in the form of stultifying conformism, or groupthink that is destroying the open marketplace for ideas essential for any vital democracy.

Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wisconsin, who led the “Red Scare” hearings of the 1950s.

Some of us have called this the new McCarthyism, because the most salient aspect of groupthink is the ongoing hysteria over alleged Russian “meddling” in U.S. domestic politics. The denunciations of “stooges of Putin” and the blacklisting from both mass and professional media of those known to deliver unconventional, heterodox views on Russia and other issues of international affairs is reminiscent of what went on during the witch hunt for Communists in government and in the media during the early 1950s.

However, no one is being hounded from office today. There are no show trials, as yet, for treasonous collusion with Russia. So, it would be safer to speak of an atmosphere of intimidation that stifles free debate on the key security issues facing the American public. Absence of debate equates to a dumbing-down of our political elites as intellectual skills atrophy and results in poor formulation of policy. The whole necessarily undermines America’s soft power and standing in the world.

Groupthink in America today did not come from nowhere. Debilitating conformism was always part of our DNA, as is the case in a great many countries, though its emergence has been episodic and in varying degrees of severity. The present acute manifestation in the United States goes back to the mass paranoia which followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks when the George W. Bush administration introduced the Patriot Act, gutting our civil rights in exchange for the promise of security.

Though the revelations of Edward Snowden have shown the extent and potency of the instruments of surveillance over the general population that were introduced by the Bush administration after 9/11, there was enough of state control exposed in the Patriotic Act text to silence anyone with doubts about U.S. government policies at home and abroad. When the harsh personalities of President Bush’s immediate entourage were replaced by the liberal-talking officials of Barack Obama, people breathed easier, but the instruments of surveillance remained in place, as did the neocon middle and senior officials in the State Department, in the Pentagon, and in the intelligence agencies.

Thus, for a whole generation the Washington narrative remained unchanged, giving encouragement in communities across the land to neocon-minded administrators and professors of American universities, publishers and owners of our mainstream newspapers, and other arbiters of public taste. That is quite sufficient to explain the current atmosphere of intimidation and groupthink.

It is improbable that any Humpty-Dumpty successor to Donald Trump can put the pieces back together again and restore American dominance to where it was at the close of Bill Clinton’s first term as president. Given American hubris, will our political class accept an equal seat at the global board of governors or just walk away from the table?

Gilbert Doctorow is an independent political analyst based in Brussels. His latest book Does Russia Have a Future? was published in August 2015. His forthcoming book Does the United States Have a Future? will be published in September 2017.

110 comments for “America’s Fragile Future

  1. September 16, 2017 at 20:33

    A thoughtful analysis, summarized with brevity and common-sense.

  2. D.H. Fabian
    September 16, 2017 at 02:56

    The US is just one on a list of nuclear-armed countries. We’ve been on a slow economic downhill slide since the 1980s, with the US overall quality of life going from a rating of #1 down to #48. The US shut down/shipped out millions jobs, losing over 5 million manufacturing jobs alone since 2000. The US pursued the longest, most expensive war in this country’s history, and we don’t have the money or means to rebuild. Years of work went into splitting apart the “masses,” pitting us against each other by class, race, and political ideology. How does the concept of “greatness” apply today?

  3. Joe_the_Socialist
    September 15, 2017 at 21:02


    Fragile, your ass! The power is there. Take it.





  4. ritzl
    September 15, 2017 at 10:50

    “Civility…” is a post-WWII artifice and/or vestige from the need to agree to win that war. The rule on “civility” from 1800 (e.g. “The Wasp”) to 1940 anti-FDR rags was that there was NONE. Quite the opposite.

    I remember reading one “Wasp” article that claimed Jefferson had sex with animals (in flowery 18.C language of course).

    Inciviliity is a good thing. It creates navigable, polar choices/choice spectrums. It challenges pols to ascend to leader behavior to make those presented choices. The fact that we have no leaders today (or have non-functioning pseudo-leaders who melt down completely in the face of any criticism whatsoever, i.e. Clinton) is due to the false sense of morality/effectiveness (or something equally reflective of a void of character-building experience – rendering modern US pols completely incapable of addressing real-world issues/required course changes) that “civility” generates by definition. Certainly public civility.

    Shorter version: Civility is a bug, NOT a feature…

  5. hatedbyu
    September 15, 2017 at 10:37

    a lot of reading of posts….

    what’s great is that everybody’s got such a different idea on why things are the way they are……

    just more proof that none of us are right.

  6. Herman
    September 15, 2017 at 09:40

    So what do we do? Although the comments are different in many ways, they seem to agree that there is too much power in too few hands and until that is corrected, nothing will change. I think a growing number of people acknowledge that the “system” is rigged so that taking power from the few and distribute it to the many is impossible. Media becomes more concentrated, banks get bigger, the super rich become richer and our elected officials more steadfastly obedient to power. There are no trust busters riling up the masses

    What is going to happen? In the past, there have been reform movements and hopefully some will emerge now. But there is a troublesome formula which has been created or just arose that causes the victims to fight among them selves about their grievances like race and sex. There is a whole army out there ready to tear our president to shreds over real and supposed distain for their grievances. They just happen to be useful idiots who do the bidding of those in power who don’t trust a maverick in the White House.

  7. September 14, 2017 at 23:15

    Congress will return from recess next week facing continued gridlock as we lurch from one self-created crisis to another.

    • hatedbyu
      September 15, 2017 at 10:38

      gridlock is good.


  8. Alex
    September 14, 2017 at 21:34

    The US never should have been a “world power.” (((Globalists))) got the Fed Reserve and IRS in 1913 and by 1917 the US was involved in a major FOREIGN war that had nothing to do with us. And the US has been in almost constant wars since. The US was just being used for its resources. None of this benefited us.

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 14, 2017 at 22:38

      What you stated in five sentences Alex should be heard by more Americans. Thanks for saying it.

    • hatedbyu
      September 15, 2017 at 10:36

      i would argue that it started much earlier. i think every american should look more into the deeds of abraham lincoln and his push for federal power. forget the freeing the slaves or keeping the union stuff.
      then the spanish american war. probably the true death knell of the true spirit of the country. not only the imperialist aspect but the modern media’s role.
      just downhill from there.

      why we have the faces of those two presidents on mount rushmore escapes me….

      or why anybody would deface a mountain side for that matter.

  9. John
    September 14, 2017 at 21:17

    Humans love icons, which in my opinion becomes an open door for deception…..The great USA icon….the land of the free and the home of the brave……and while you were mesmerized with this honorable image the rats came to eat your flesh…… In just a resent calculation millions of your senior citizens are living in poverty…….and what about your wonderful pension plans? Need I say more? America is a nation of “pay to play”

  10. bob
    September 14, 2017 at 21:11

    canadians and italians live to 80.2 yrs. americans live to 77.8 yrs. why?? usa is in trouble. JUST THE FACTS PLEASE.

  11. Nop
    September 14, 2017 at 20:40


  12. September 14, 2017 at 19:16

    How many empires go gracefully into that good night? Not too damn many (if any).

  13. elmerfudzie
    September 14, 2017 at 19:02

    Gilbert Doctorow, there are three separate and distinct, U.S.A.s’; Corporate America, seeking to internationalize it’s portfolio(s), now successfully referred to as the multinationals, then there’s Intel America, an un-elected and conflicted mass of hidden identities, individuals and information architectures. They collectively (sometimes in concert) using computerization, drug running money and assassination bureaus to subvert any sovereign, national pursuits within those second and third world countries who lack per-authorization or permission by Rockefeller’s cabal and their associated banksters. Finally, the third America, John Doe’s America, just a sea of proles, for seventy years now, have been unable to bring forward, nominate and then elect, a bona fide, grass roots candidate into high office without their being, completely compromised or killed by the first two U.S.A.’s..the first two un-elected Americas, who frequently dovetail with each other, sharing a single objective; manage, worldwide economic competition, to undo it, on every level, everywhere with a goal, that creates a monolithic force, often loosely defined as the “new world order”, all (the financiers, governments, technical bureaucracies) bound by and to a single currency. Mr. Doctorow, you mentioned institutional changes since WW II, indeed!-they were brought about, not through the images suggested by this article, the city on the hill, all lit up for the world to see. Rather evolving into a dark force, an Intel collective with various partners everywhere, in Europe, middle east, far east and Africa. Their methods, well documented and maintained through Gladio style CIA programs in both Europe and South America. The future and power of the “United States” you cited, was never- United, or existed as a single homogeneous mass, even after the Civil War, as you well know…. Again, there are three separate groups and futures, thus, three separate powers to consider. Twenty years ago? it’s was more like forty five years ago, following Nixon’s historic visit to China. It was at that precise point, we (3 USA’s combined) were the city on the hill, but our fortune 500’s quickly decided instead to “pivot to Asia” and in the interim, taking with them, both the means of production and intellectual property. A relocation from “the U.S.A. or just North America” of roughly seventy five of our highest tech firms, whose R&D affiliates are now headquartered on Chinese soil. ASIDE: In light of these developments, what an absurd gesture by our POTUS to announce economic sanctions against China for trading with North Korea. In summary then, the first U.S.A., I mentioned is stronger than ever!, in terms of being a great power, eh? the Intel America, goes un-elected, un-monitored, un-challenged, unabated and un-democratized . The third, alas the third U.S.A., a third world status awaits it’s people, the Intel “folks” have subverted the big unions by compromising their leaderships, and the Corporate U.S.A.’s have abandoned our town’s, left only to slowly rot, finally the politician’s in John Doe’s U.S.A., they have grabbed the bribes with both hands and after a time, suddenly disappear from the “stage” only to resurface with fat pensions at fancy addresses.

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 14, 2017 at 20:05

      Saying lt like it is will scare the faint of heart away pretty quick elmerfudzie. But I loved every detailed sentence of what you wrote here. My Italian grandfather it was said avoided the banks earlier than the Big Crash of 1929. My grandfather purchased bricks, and being a stone cutter (mason) he built a two unit apartment duplex and rented it into his retirement. So, elmerfudzie, you are not wrong, my grandfather caught wind of something shady back in 1913 when the Federal Reserve got started. Grandpap being an Italian immigrant knew the mastery of the monarchy from the Old Country, and he knew the oligarchs of America weren’t much different.

      • elmerfudzie
        September 16, 2017 at 01:39

        One unforgettable memory I have of both my grandfathers, was their economic security. With ONE paycheck in the home, they raised six and four children respectively. Frankly, I’ve got problems remembering all the names of my first cousins. Neither grandpa had a formal education and yet, both knew how to read and write three languages, both had big homes, lots of room and died in peace, in their own beds, without being so much as one nickel in debt! They arrived at Ellis Island circa 1900 or so, offered America, their loyalty, strong backs and excellent work ethics..To this very day, I envy their lifelong choice, preferring to apply wisdom and religious belief over and above, the sort of knowledge derived from formal schooling .Theirs was a dignified and honest life and ended with long and peaceful retirement(s) I should be so lucky!!

  14. Zachary Smith
    September 14, 2017 at 18:34

    What has happened over the past couple of years is that doubts about the competence of the United States to lead the world have been compounded by doubts about the ability of the United States to govern itself.

    Excellent point!

    Let us start with President Donald Trump, who is attacked daily by the liberal media that represents the lion’s share of all television programming and print publications, media that vehemently opposes Trump’s domestic and foreign policy positions.

    Surely the author meant to write “Corporate Media”.

    And the votes are so lopsided as to be shocking, none more so that the votes in August on the “Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act.” This measure moved sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Russia from the category of Executive Order to federal law. In the Senate, the bill passed 98 to 2. In the House, the vote was 419 for, 3 against. Such results remind us of the rubber-stamp legislature of the USSR, the Supreme Soviet, in its heyday.

    The primary reason for these “lopsided” votes is the desperate desire of the congresscritters to kiss Israel heiny. That little outhouse of a nation-state rules both houses of Congress with an iron fist. It’s quite true that the vote-total results are indistinguishable from the glory days of the USSR.

    • Susan Sunflower
      September 14, 2017 at 19:12

      agree — it is corporate, or what used to be called “the establishment” media — which was never liberal except to the degree that “reality has a liberal bias” … like the facts and science the many conservatives refuse to accept — regardless of the evidence or the obvious growing urgency of — say — changing climate … America suffers from acutely from long-standing (not so) benign neglect (see education — I had to explain during the election cycle why “making racism illegal” was a nonstarter … see also what is likely to be a frenzy over “the baker who refuses to produce gay marriage wedding cakes” — the federal government as “enforcer” of apparently implied criminalization of small business owners — no, I don’t see that happening) … Used to be boycotts of bigots and sending business to “the good guys” sufficed without some “appeal to authority” much less “law enforcement” …

      We’re already paying for several generations of bad public schooling wrt the elementary workings of our government, even capitalism — never mind “socialism” — see also “communism”. (which is a large why Bernie’s Army does not inspire great hope in me — handsome is as handsome does (as Grandmother Maude used to say) … proof of the pudding, etc. — iow. “fuck the establishment” is not a platform.

      • Seer
        September 14, 2017 at 20:08

        It’s the Manipulative Media, it’s always been that! It’s all spawned from the mind of Edward Bernays.

        • Susan Sunflower
          September 14, 2017 at 22:48

          Old fashioned progressivism was not an entirely democratic domain — even as the Democratic Party would like you to believe it. Education and raising up all folks to avoid deep pockets of want (and resentment) and depravity (and crime) were also strongly advocated by the various religious and social organizations some of which were deeply old-fashioned conservative …
          It’s only since Reagan and Gingrich and company that the lines have become indelibly drawn along “hate the undeserving poor” and lucky duckie “welfare queens” The elite could (and did) straddle self-interested protectionism with building both the physical and social infrastructure (using public tax funds) in a “win-win” fashion … heaven forbid America look like a third world country … you know, before there were homeless folks begging on street corners throughout god-bless-America.

  15. September 14, 2017 at 18:11

    I believe we are all Prisoners of “Democracy”
    [read more at link below]

  16. mike k
    September 14, 2017 at 17:52

    Do you sometimes wonder why peace seems so elusive in our world? Check this piece on the glorious military of the USA for some clues:

  17. mike k
    September 14, 2017 at 16:07

    We should be worrying about the fragility of the world. The US is the “sick man of the world.” When Uncle Sam gets a cold, the world gets pneumonia. Why? Because the failing would be hegemon threatens to do a Samson number, and bring the world crashing down on all of us. It is not North Korea that is crazy, it is Uncle Sam and his delusions of exceptionalism.

    • Seer
      September 14, 2017 at 20:04

      mike, the real sickness lies in the premise underlying the world’s economic system- perpetual growth. When the USD collapses, as it will, it will mean this entire paradigm will be blown up. Pensions and other “guarantees” are being shredded as future growth continues to fail to cover the promises. Slowly things will be shed until it becomes clear that there is no longer a future for the system that everyone has been plugged in to, and at that point things become rather abrupt. How this goes is easier to understand when you realize that monetary “interest” is the same as monetary “growth.” The US, as has been the case for many countries, has had near zero “interest.” The panic for growth is going to become greater and greater. The banking tricks (which essentially got throttled up during the Reagan administration -keep in mind the US essentially defaulted on its currency in 1971 when Nixon dropped the gold standard- when banking regulation was essentially curtailed) have exhausted themselves. The world is now sitting on heaps of bad debt, shifted into the “bad bank” closet, as though that makes it disappear (it does not). The push to do true book audits comes along is when the guns come out, when war comes along to mask the insolvencies and deceptiveness that has been running rampant for over 45 years.

      • mike k
        September 15, 2017 at 11:03

        Money is not the only thing that is going out of control either. Population, technology, energy, pollution, militarism – the human presence has become a cancerous species that is multiplying without restraint in all directions, and will eventually kill the complex ecosystem of innumerable life forms which gave birth to it, and is needed intact to sustain it. Above the entrance to the Delphic Oracle were carved two inscriptions: Know Thyself, and Nothing Too Much. We are in gross violation of both – the definition of runaway Hubris. The Law of Life dictates that such a species will destroy itself. The only real answer to our exploding problems is to take an honest look at ourselves, and resolve to do less instead of more. Unfortunately our selfish drive for more and more has become an out of control addiction, and our end is now looming before us……

  18. September 14, 2017 at 15:13

    The instability of U.S. politics is due to Trump being the wrong president. The ruling class is badly split. The script was written for Hillary Clinton to win. Trump is a minority president in the respect that counts – the balance of ruling class interests, which is strongly against him. Somehow he managed to win on popular appeal anyway. A little bit of democracy somehow got into the works in spite of everything.

    I think that accounts for the unconventional way he presents himself. He must flimflam not only the public (they all do that) but also much of the ruling class.

    Trump first stated his reservations about Article 5 of NATO in July of last year in an interview with the NY Times. Then he repeated it recently. The part about a strengthening of interest in a European army could well be the sort of thing he hoped for.

    The way he set up the meeting with the G20 meeting with Putin was masterful, at least in the way I see it. He got into a couple of huge public controversies with typically flamboyant rhetoric. Then with a week to go amidst all the noise, it was announced he would meet with Putin, too late for hysterics to be raised against it. I worry more about Trump when he seems “respectable.”

    • Brad Owen
      September 14, 2017 at 15:42

      I really like your last sentence. Trump is probably more beneficial for the 99ers when he has The Establishment screaming and flinging feces at him like a bunch of Howler Monkeys.

    • hatedbyu
      September 15, 2017 at 10:26

      very insightful post. well written and seemingly not partisan.

      these are my favorite kinds.

  19. Abe
    September 14, 2017 at 15:00

    As Doctorow points out, groupthink in America “did not come from nowhere”.

    Organized lobby groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), private and corporate-financed think tanks, political action committees (PACs), and major media organizations exert tremendous influence on public perception of security and foreign affairs issues.

    Doctorow notes that “an atmosphere of intimidation that stifles free debate on the key security issues”.

    The most glaring example is the six-year-long “regime change” terror assault on Syria supported by the U.S. and its key allies.

    Al Qaeda terrorist forces continue to receive supplies, weapons, and reinforcements from the territory of NATO-member state Turkey.

    Nevertheless, Washington, its European and NATO allies, Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf partners have failed to dismember the Syrian state.

    Geopolitical analysts note the persistence of U.S. efforts to balkanize Syria:

    “US policymakers have – since the conflict began in 2011 – sought to divide Syria and carve out ‘safe havens’ that could be used to perpetuate instability and seek regime change in Damascus over the long-term once immediate regime change failed to materialize.

    “For the US – the prospect of carving out territory west of the Euphrates now looks very unlikely. Even attempts to grab territory south of Damascus along the Syrian-Jordanian and Syrian-Iraqi border appear to have failed. However, east of the Euphrates with America’s Kurdish proxies, permanent and sizable ‘safe havens’ are much more likely. […]

    “Attempts to drive wedges between Damascus and its Russian and Iranian allies are underway – particularly with Israeli strikes inside of Syria and attempts to portray Russia as beholden to Israel. The use of Israel as a provocateur to pressure Damascus and divert political, financial, and military capital away from critical battles will continue.

    “Attempts are also underway to alienate Syria’s Kurdish minority as much as possible to poison any attempt by Damascus to offer a more attractive future than serving as American proxies toward balkanizing the nation.

    “Finally, attempts to isolate Syria and its allies from the international community also continue – particularly with repeated accusations of chemical weapon use. Despite a lack of success in using this tactic, the United States – through the United Nations – has repeatedly accused Syria of using chemical weapons in an attempt to justify a broader conflict directly with Damascus.”

    Syria: As the Endgame Approaches
    By Tony Cartalucci

  20. MaDarby
    September 14, 2017 at 14:16

    I just wanted to bring up something to others commenting here regarding geopolitical analysis in general. Its all about military power, hegemony and influence but leaves out economics and finance to a large degree.

    There is major battle going on geopolitically which may have more profound effects on the US than even the US relationship with Germany(Europe). China and Russia have been working together on some parts of a separate financial system from the US dollar system. Additionally, there are more and more mentions in the press of a decoupling from the dollar system.

    I don’t want to go into details now but most if not all the elements now exist and it could be launched at any time. It is mostly China in the lead but a number of countries are fed up with US arrogantly sanctioning wherever they like. Given it’s China it may be years but it is coming – then the USD will no longer be the reserve currency and no more dollar global hegemony. This will be a big blow and should be part on any analysis of geopolitical play.

    I hope one or two of the great analysts here will try including this feature in future analysis.

    • mike k
      September 14, 2017 at 14:34

      Good thoughts. The $$$$$ situation globally is the biggie of all biggies. IT’S LIKE THE ENERGY WARS, IF YOU DON’T FACTOR THAT IN, YOU WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND TODAY’S WORLD.

      • mike k
        September 14, 2017 at 14:36

        Sorry for the all caps. My damn keyboard sometimes does that until I look up from typing. Often I am just too lazy to redo it. Sorry, I’ll try to do better…..

    • dkhinkle
      September 14, 2017 at 14:53

      “The Mandibles: A Family, 2029–2047” by Lionel Shriver is a great read and shows how this might play out.

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 14, 2017 at 15:42
    • Seer
      September 14, 2017 at 19:51

      Average life of fiat currency is 41 years. The USD got extra life by becoming the world’s reserve currency. The trajectory didn’t change (and it would never change anyway- it’s readily mathematically proven). As resources dwindle and populations increase people no longer are willing to accept IOUs (fiat). Anyone paying attention to demographics can see that the US’s ability to pay debts in the future is but decreasing.

      I don’t see China having any more success. Their upward boost was through extremely volatile growth in which the majority of the country has not and likely never will stabilize on. That it was conditioned on massive exports into the mouth of a huge debt machine makes for a very shaky situation.

    • incontinent reader
      September 14, 2017 at 22:10

      Well stated. William Engdahl and Pepe Escobar, to name two, have published a number of articles on this very issue, and one need only read the news carefully to be aware of numerous steps already taken to decouple from the dollar and the US run SWIFT settlement system. China, for example, recently announced it was selling $2 billion in US Government financial instruments- a fraction of what they own and what would make a difference, but still a clear signal after recent U.S. trade threats against it- and a number of countries are now trading in their own currencies, or gold, or the Chinese yuan- for example Russia and China, and Russia and Iran. This is precisely what got the Anglo-Zionists worried when Sadaam Hussein began trading in the euro instead of the dollar, and Libya proposed an all-African gold based dinar.

      • elmerfudzie
        September 18, 2017 at 01:10

        incontinent reader, welcome back, it’s seems as tho it’s been quite a while… In the last analysis, the world is much too integrated in terms of trade for the USD decoupling to be of any concern. The Venezuelans are still selling us (Texas) the oil, China needs the Panama canal for oil and the last time I checked, the U.S. is still pretty chummy with Juan Carlos Varela and the Panamanians (hint; customs manifests can be pulled and revoked for specific oil tankers) . Over seventy five our high tech fortune 500’s have relocated their research and development affiliates from the US to Chinese soil. On the other hand, Walmart USA, is a major distributor of Chinese products and employs one and a half million of our citizens. If the SCO (mainly the Russians and Chinese) work out a new basket of currencies, our USD is bound to be in the mix and this, in a broader sense, applies to SWIFT alternatives. Whether a new inter-bank transaction architecture becomes a reality or not, it still comes down to a commercial inter-dependency for each country’s finished products intended for global trade. On reflection, Libya was strictly an oil grab and cap (savor the sweetest for the last and best price)… Iraq was of more of a geopolitical posturing in terms of regional military strategic significance and especially, oil distribution pipelines running from Iran through Iraq into Syria’s coastal port.

  21. Michael Kenny
    September 14, 2017 at 14:13

    When you boil this down to its essence, this is the latest version of the “capitulate to Putin in Ukraine” argument. This time it’s the “dastardly America forcing nice Europe to impose sanctions on Putin it doesn’t want to impose” version. I have never heard any European politician other than Putin object to the sanctions imposed on Russia, call for their removal or even call for a reduction in them. Thus, I don’t see where Mr Doctorow gets the idea that anybody in Europe is seeking to pursue” great economic benefits from trade and investment with Russia” before Putin gets out of Ukraine. What is very clear to all of us in Europe is that as long as Putin is in Ukraine, none of us are safe. Putin rejects the fundamental building block of the European political order: the sovereign nation-state. The sovereign nation-state, or the aspiration to it, has been the fundamental principal of the European political order since the French Revolution. Putin is seeking to revive the pre-1914 concept of “spheres of influence”. Worse than that, he claims the right to decide unilaterally that this or that sovereign state belongs to Russia’s sphere of influence, invade that country and seize such parts of its territory as he sees fit. Putin has ended up with two expensive white elephants in Ukraine. What is clear, therefore, is that whatever Putin wants, he hasn’t yet got it. Ultimately, the lesson of history is that if Putin doesn’t back off, there will have to be a third general war in Europe and the US tried, but failed, to keep out of the first two. Since the problem was caused by American blunders, it would be nice if the US lived up to its moral obligation to put right the damage it caused but even if it doesn’t, the EU and the European members of NATO are more than capable of dealing with Putin if the worst comes to the worst. The irony is that there are some grounds for believing that Putin was originally a neocon (and maybe even CIA) “asset” intended to serve as a battering ram to break up the EU with a view to re-establishing US global hegemony. In practice he has hugely strengthened the EU and unleashed all the “demons” US hegemonists have spent 40 years trying to destroy, most notably an EU defence “pillar”.

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 14, 2017 at 15:38

      Michael I have nothing against you posting your opinions, but could you please start providing references to your claims. You have been posting for the last couple of days of how Putin is or had been working with the Neocons and the CIA, but you give no articles of reference for this. You really got my interest, and my curiosity is peaked. You state how no European has ever called for the end of the sanctions imposed upon Russia, yet I constantly read where German businesses is fit to be tied with these business abusive sanctions. Why Italy loss half of it’s export produce business when the sanctions were placed on Russia, so I’m sure that there are at least a few Italian farmers who are disappointed with this export loss. Then as you blame Putin, you later state this.”Since the problem was caused by American blunders, it would be nice if the US lived up to its moral obligation to put right the damage it caused” so which is it Micheal, Russia or the U.S. who is to blame. Maybe you blame both, and I apologize for not getting your point the first time, but seriously Micheal the history you quote is like nothing I’ve ever seen or read about before you came along. I will say this Michael you at least write enough of alternative comments to keep a thinking person busy, as you provoke many of us to try and reach you for a better sense of where you might be coming from. I will say, so long for now, and I will trust that you will not reply, because you never do. Joe

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 14, 2017 at 16:02

      Michael I would think Ukraine’s bigger problem outside of Vladimir Putin, could be summoned up by saying the name Mikheil Saakashvili. Although the battle in Donbass has been the focus of the Ukrainian battle front, I dare say the real battle is going on inside the Keiv coup government itself. I guess Putin is to blame for this too, but read what Mikheil Saakasjvilli is up too, and then we can go from there.

      I’m also responding to you Micheal, because someone between the two of us has to at least tell the other side of this Ukraine story, because apparently you won’t. I’m a big believer in freedom of speech, and along with that I can only promote freedom of thought, so please Micheal please feel free to debate me. Actually I respect your writing, and I can tell by that how you are certainly not stupid, so get back to me. Joe

    • Anon
      September 14, 2017 at 17:03

      “What is very clear to all of us in Europe is that as long as Putin is in Ukraine, none of us are safe”
      This is a lie, “Kenny” like most of your posts, and you know it is a lie. You fool no one with your propaganda.
      You probably are not in Europe, and you know no one who shares that view.

    • September 14, 2017 at 18:18

      The US State Dept. has installed a pro-neo-Nazi government that is currently buying coal from the US four times the previous price, before the US-led regime change in Kiev; the Ukrainian energy sector going to “investors.”
      Another huge achievement of the US State Dept. is the fact (FACT) of the Nazi- and neo-Nazi parades in Kiev and Lvov, which was unthinkable before the ziocons — specifically the Kagans’ clan — went to Ukraine to “make some improvements.” Currently, the US stooge Saakashvili (wanted in his native Georgia) confronts the US stooge Poroshenko. Ukrainian pensioners are without pensions. Two million Ukrainians run to Russia and one million – to Poland. The civilian populations of the pro-federalist eastern Ukraine are shelled by the “freedom fighters” decorated with Nazi insignia. Very kosher. And do not forget the auto-da-fe in Odessa where the neo-Nazi thugs (financed by the Israeli-Ukrainian oligarch Kolomojsky) have burnt dozens of civilians alive, including a pregnant woman. At least, Russain Federation worries about the ziocon pernicious’ project run on the border of Russain Federation, whereas the ziocon-guided US has been doing the “sphere of influence” on the other side of the globe.
      It would be nice if Michael Kenny sends his own kids and grandkids to fight for the ziocon interests, in order to get some perspective.

      • SteveK9
        September 15, 2017 at 16:21

        Don’t worry they are buying the coal with our money. So, in the end you are just making another contribution to an executive, this time in the coal industry.

    • Zachary Smith
      September 14, 2017 at 18:39

      Our troll mentions “Putin” by name 12 times! Do you suppose he gets paid a bonus for each time?


    • Abe
      September 14, 2017 at 22:42

      Monsieur Kenny,

      Are you Mike K from QMUL, IPPR and the Guardian?

      Proclaiming what is “very clear to all of us in Europe” is a distinctively British political pastime.

    • Chucky LeRoi
      September 14, 2017 at 23:12

      Mr. Kenny, as a paid promoter you do an exceedingly poor job.

      You may not have heard any European politicians opposing sanctions, but we have. For starters:

      You claim Putin is trying to destroy the sovereign nation-state, when all his efforts have been to solidify and protect his own. If anything, the EU since its inception has been a slow but determined effort to destroy the nation-states of Europe. Originally sold as an economic “federation” concerning coal and steel sectors to control the rise of post-war Germany, it has been used to chip away at the sovereignty of every nation that has had the misfortune to become involved. For example, when the Irish and French populations had the audacity to reject the European Constitution, the referendums were ignored and the do-over vote given to the paid politicians who would come up with the “correct” answer. This, to you, is the EU protecting the nation-state?

      The EU since the 1950’s has been an effort to form a United States of Europe that could be more easily controlled and dictated to by a central governing body and central bank (controlled by the same folks who control all the banks). All those nasty little countries with their nasty little laws and customs would be too unruly, meaning difficult to overrule or rule over. The originators knew that populations were very attached to their nations, so the idea of “Europe” rather than individual countries had to be introduced incrementally as people were weaned off those old fashioned ideas. The process has been ongoing since Day One, the policy of “little steps” as spelled out by Robert Schuman on May 9, 1950. The pretext of “Nationhood was one cause of the World Wars” was used to sell this sham while the memories of the wars were fresh.

      The EU has never had an army, though the idea has been floated recently. It would be difficult to defend sovereign states without one, but that was never the intent of this economic dismantling of the nations.

      “Putin is a battering ram to break up the EU….”. Breaking up the EU would not be part of extending US hegemony, as the EU is ultimately an extension of US hegemony through the control of the banks. (To paraphrase Rothschild, give me control of the currency and I don’t care who is in office.)

      By the rest of your diatribe, it must be assumed you believe that Russian invaded Ukraine. Under leasing agreements first negotiated in 1997 and renewed in 2010, Russian troops, vehicles, and artillery were stationed in Crimean military facilities. Russia paid annual fees to the Ukrainian government under these agreements. We can go back and forth about who instigated what in Ukraine (thank you Ms. Nuland!), but the Russian troops were already there and the ethnically Russian Crimeans voted to align with Russia. And just who has moved troops into Poland, etc.? Who has dozens of military bases in Eastern Europe, where Russia has three? Who is invading/threatening whom?

      “What is very clear to all of us in Europe….”. You speak for all of Europe? You speak as someone who inverts arguments and presents them as fact.

    • Herman
      September 15, 2017 at 09:24

      MK, your comment worth remembering. ”

      Thus, I don’t see where Mr Doctorow gets the idea that anybody in Europe is seeking to pursue” great economic benefits from trade and investment with Russia” before Putin gets out of Ukraine. What is very clear to all of us in Europe is that as long as Putin is in Ukraine, none of us are safe.”

      And when Putin leaves Ukraine, all will be right with the world and we will all be safe. I assume you are serious.

  22. Mildly-Facetious
    September 14, 2017 at 13:57

    The Racial Wealth Gap Is Leading to An Almost-Nonexistent Middle Class

    byJulia Conley,
    September 13, 2017

    A new study finds that if the racial wealth divide is left unaddressed, the median wealth for black Americans will fall to $0 by 2053, with Latino Americans reaching the same median wealth two decades later.

    According to the report by the Institute for Policy Studies and Prosperity Now, the wealth gap between people of color and their white counterparts is showing no sign of narrowing in the coming years—even as racial demographics in the U.S. are rapidly shifting, with people of color projected to make up the majority of the population by 2043.

    In the next three years, black households are projected to lose 18 percent of their median net worth, while white families are expected to gain about three percent more wealth.

    The report, “The Road to Zero-Wealth,” defines middle-class wealth as a household net worth of $68,000 to $204,000, and notes the disconnect between income and wealth: a median income for one’s racial background does not guarantee entry into the middle-class.

    “White households in the middle income quintile—those earning $37,201-61,328 annually—own nearly eight times as much wealth ($86,100) as Black middle-income earners ($11,000) and ten times that of their Latino counterparts ($8,600),” write the authors.

    Black Americans are also unable to accumulate middle class wealth even with high levels of education:

    • Seer
      September 14, 2017 at 19:33

      Meanwhile, int the REAL world, the majority of humans on this planet live on closer to about $3/day.

      Keep in mind that much of what we figure as “wealth” is going to be turned upside down. As the USD (world’s reserve currency) collapses McMansions, SUVs and other things accounting for “wealth” will become near worthless (when everyone’s making a few dollars a day there is ZERO way that one can maintain most of these things).

      Food, shelter and water. If it’s paper (“wealth” on paper) it’s going to burn…

    • Alex
      September 14, 2017 at 21:37

      By “People of Color” you mean Colored People.

  23. Jeremy Tomscha
    September 14, 2017 at 13:56

    I disagree that the outlook is so bleak for America, the partisanship of our politics is crazy but hopefully not permanent. If the media would just stop whipping everyone up into a frenzy against each other than I think on a personal level we have way more in common than we do differences. Structurally, technologically and economically we have a lot more going for us than we have against us. We have serious problems but for every problem we have other countries have similar or worse problems. I think the two party system encourages the zero sum game in politics but the leadership in both parties are from a different era and maybe some new blood may elevate the discussion. I recommend Peter Zaihan lectures for anybody feeling bad about America.

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 14, 2017 at 14:10

      You are right. We Americans must learn how to talk to each other, and not scream out our vented anger onto the pages of Facebook.

    • mike k
      September 14, 2017 at 14:30

      Do they pass out feel good pills at those lectures? If so, my friend Aldous Huxley and I want to sign up. (Not!)

    • Brad Owen
      September 14, 2017 at 14:40

      I think, too, that we’ll get back to our “Continental Power” status, which is our traditional stance: just big and powerful enough to resist Anglo-European Great Power colonial/geopolitical “Great Game” maneuverings, while “slapping down” our own “wannabes” here, who saw their opportunity, and gained their supremacy over the “AmericaFirsters”, from the political fallout of World conditions Post-WWII. ALSO, as MaDarby said above, China’s pursuit of harmonious relations via OBOR to satisfy universal needs common to all of humanity, IS THE NEW PARADIGM moving onto the World Stage now, obsoleting neo-colonial/geopolitical maneuverings (the master craft of Anglo-European Western Powers, to which we’ve been suckered into perpetuating, Post WWII). Trump is the first President who sees this new paradigm arriving (as a businessman sees an opportunity opening up), however imperfectly, and it makes no sense to him to RESIST going in that direction (his turrette syndrome twitter finger notwithstanding)…and THAT is why all of the nonstop persecution of him, to PREVENT going in that direction of the NEW PARADIGM (a futile undertaking IMO…the New Paradigm is coming, ready-or-not).

      • Brad Owen
        September 14, 2017 at 14:50

        The Anglo-European 99%ers see it this way too, but their 1%er Oligarchs have a lot of history, imperial experience, ruthless cunning, and POWER, within their small but powerful ranks (out-shining even our 1%er oligarch wannabes). They’ll have an even tougher go at shucking off their Oligarchs, who are even now maneuvering into a New Roman Empire (politely called Federalization or Union, or some such thing) to replace the “burned out” USA Legionaires, without seeming too obvious about it, which has been the “wet dream” of the Synarchist/RoundTable Group for 150 years now…and counting.

      • Sam F
        September 14, 2017 at 16:59

        Agreed that US imperialists “gained their supremacy” as the “fallout of …WWII” and perhaps we can return to being “just big and powerful enough to resist Great Power … maneuverings” although that “new paradigm” is really the defeat of US greed rather than any better policy or ideal.

        The US is incapable of even responsible “Continental Power” status, and will also be eclipsed in this hemisphere for its imperialism here. The US does not even have the decency and occasional humanitarianism of British diplomats to excuse its conduct, and has nothing but lies to cover its attacks on democracy and socialism, or to cover its extreme greed.

        • Brad Owen
          September 15, 2017 at 05:01

          A bit one-sided analysis. Yes there are two opposing sides in the Nation (as is the case in any Nation that experienced a Civil War), and long-standing grievances need redressing. We’ll get there, Sam; the people’s patriots aren’t going away either, and we’ve got all the time in the World to garrot the wannabes, and nothing better to do. Forces are gathering on their flanks already and their time is just about up.

          • Brad Owen
            September 15, 2017 at 05:32

            For example; the New Paradigm taking the World by storm (via China’s OBOR) is made in the USA, deliberately by Lyndon and Helga LaRouche, as the flanking maneuver to defeat the Oligarchic Empire of The City and The Street and other EuroCenters of finance, in furtherance of FDR visionary strategy of partnering up with ROC-now-PROC, and the Soviets-now-Russian Federation to de-colonize the World that is divided up into various Euro-Empires, and develop the newly-minted sovereign Nations. In fact I can see where the ZeitGeist is cooperating with Lyndon’s ideas, as the great strength of the PROC is also made in the USA (while we’ve been sandbagged with Synarchist maneuverings to destroy FDR/JFK’s America and preoccupied with countering them over here). We had to pass on the baton to China while we engage in a decades-long wrestling match with the Synarchists(Permindex, Inter-Alpha Group and all that). Had FDR lived, we would have heard about the far-more-deadly Synarchist Threat, NOT the communist threat

    • Seer
      September 14, 2017 at 18:47

      Refer to my post above that contains the writings of Sir John Glubb. ALL EMPIRES COLLAPSE. Types of system, ideology, type of leaders, NONE could keep them from collapsing. And all thought they were the pinnacle of human evolution.

      As long as societies are based on perpetual growth a collapse is guaranteed. People can hold hands and chant, or do whatever, but eventually, as resources become scarce, the fundamental urge to survive is going to produce violence. I wish that it weren’t so; not wanting it to be so won’t make it not so.

      • Brad Owen
        September 15, 2017 at 04:55

        What you leave out of your equation is the constant of materials substitution science, and advances in alternative technology. We are a very long way from the end, however, the end of Post-WWII imperialism under cover of anti-communism is near.

  24. George Hoffman
    September 14, 2017 at 13:49

    Having served as a medical corpsman in Vietnam, I must admit I’m a card-carrying cynic when it comes to our foreign policy since the end of the Second World War. All I learned in Vietnam was: Never trust the brass and even more so the suits that sent us there. So after the 9/11 attacks watching the hysteria of my fellow citizens, I intuitively knew the country had lost its bearing and moral compass. I told myself, We’ll, George, here comes the bullshit war. I was not disappointed. In fact, even as cynical as I am, I was surprised we have fought so many bullshit wars which are listed under the Global War on Terror. Professor Noam Chomsky, who does have a moral compassreminded us that Americans forget the previous 9/11. He referred to the overthrow of Salavador Allende on September 11, 1973 by the CIA with General Augusto Pinochet’s military coup d’etat. The striking difference he noted between those two 9/11s was that our enemies were bombing us rather than we were bombing them. I told everyone I knew that these so-called wars under the rubric of the Global War on Terror would eventually rival the foreign policy debacle I witnessed in Vietnam as a young naive man who was clueless about how our country violates all accepted norms and comvenants of international law that ironically we established at the Numerberg Trials against the Nazi elites after the Swcojd World War. So I find little to disagree with Mr. Doctorow’s incisive and astute essay with a caveat. Our decline as a nation began with the war in Vietnam. Our defeat and foreign policy debacle in that war marked a great historical turning point in our nation’s and world history. Yet we have learned so little if nothing from the painful lessons of our defeat there, as Mr. Doctorow pointed out in his analysis of the knee-jerk hawkish reaction of Senator John McCain who never met a war he didn’t like. And I would also include the other prominent Vietnam veterans across the political spectrum such as then Senators John Kerry and Chuck Hagrel,who also voted along with Senator McCain, for GWB’s Iraq War resolution while they were members with him in the Senate. The late Chalmers Johnson of “blowback” fame predicted in his triology of history books on the war on terror that the country has clearly entered what he termed the endgame phase of our decline and fall for power. I don’t how long this phase will play out in the future. But as Chris Hedges has noted in his columns at the website, it isn’t going to be pretty when it does happen. The irony of course is heightened given all the publicity in the media being accorded to Ken Burns’ latest opus for eighteen-and-a-half PBS documentary on the Vietnam War. Our country, ruled by the industrial/military complex since the end of the Swfobd War World is on auto-pilot when our country stepped through the lookin-glass in the late 1940s and now inhabits an Orwellian era of groupthink and newspeak. We are obviously sleepwalking toward the edge of the abyss as the Great Powers did in the lead-up to the First World War. And I see nothing that will wake up our fearless leaders inside the beltway bubble to the folly of our foreign policy imitatives even if the elites at Foreign Affairs have finally started to question the twisted raison d’etre of our nation. But as I say, I saw this war movie before in Vietnam. I didn’t like the plot line back then and I certainly don’t like the current one after sixteen years of perpetual war for perpetual peace.

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 14, 2017 at 14:11

      Well written George, and your reflection upon our country’s pass history is vitally important, for if we Americans truly wish to pursue a better America.

    • Seer
      September 14, 2017 at 18:28

      Yes, US started its terminal decline at the end of the Vietnam war. Well, it might have been this war that was really the beginning of the end. The beginning of the 70s saw the US reach its highest oil production (natural resources by far generate the greatest “profits” – energy is at the top; since that time the US has gone from a positive trade balance to a negative one) as well as executing a stealth financial default- dumping of the gold standard. At this juncture the US could only turn to tricks to keep the appearance of an economic force. Being the torch bearer of the world’s reserve currency has been the ONLY thing that has kept the illusion going. This illusion, however, as it requires ever grander tricks, was always going to lead to a dead end. The number of those being taken in by the tricks required exponential increases in their numbers. The EU, the Euro specifically, was the means to push the US tricks even farther. The pushing of debt was a snowball rolling down the side of snowy mountain. The bottom was approaching faster and faster. The world’s banking system imploded. I suspect that 9/11 was an attempt to distract from all of this, to clamp down on prying eyes: lots of financial information got destroyed on 9/11. No longer, however, are there any tricks to play in the conventional fields, fewer and fewer people are able to participate/play the game- if you don’t have any “marks” then your game isn’t going to work for you. The US has exhausted its means and is increasingly resorting to the only thing that it has left: outright violence. Just like with 9/11, the records have to be buried/destroyed. Wars are necessary to erase the paper trails. The world will eventually see this for what it is, the financial default that the US has been pushing off since the early 70s.

      ALL EMPIRES COLLAPSE. While leaders and ideology differ, the story line is always the same. Read Fate of Empires and the Survival of Civilization by Sir John Glubb (available out on the internet): Glubb, unfortunately, failed to identify the one common driver: growth (pursuit of perpetual growth will ALWAYS collide with the finiteness of the planet). After reading this history as presented by Glubb you come to understand how a nation descends into authoritarian control (the “elites” are the only ones allowed in the discussions- of course, such discussions are only one-way and are made up of “alternate facts”). Nothing really new under the sun here. The cycles are readily predictable.

  25. D5-5
    September 14, 2017 at 13:47

    “But Donald Trump has shaken up the world order by repeatedly questioning the public good that the United States claimed to be delivering these past decades, opening a void without projecting a new vision of global governance.”

    This statement needs a qualifier that, as more and more citizens are realizing, this “public good” is a covering for plundering the globe for the corporate establishment. And that ruse allows all sorts of deceptions we could trace back over the years.

    Wrecking ball Trump has at least succeeded in ripping open the garbage can to show the stench of plutocracy run amok here. The system won’t work run on lies and bullying. The rest of the world isn’t as stupid as America has become.

    Instead, we are seeing new, massive alliances and re-shifting in the middle east and globally, as with Ma Derby’s excellent comment on China’s view of its role as seeking harmonious relationships not hegemony. This seems the Russian view also.

    Eye on the navel type considering, as with Pelosi’s response to Sander’s right to health care, refusing it so as to protect the American medical and pharmaceutical industries, will not sustain. Fragile, Gilbert? It’s collapsing. We need new powerful thinking, not the same old dollar-dominated bullshit.

    The rest of the world will move on while we mire down.

  26. GMC
    September 14, 2017 at 13:41

    Americans, their governments and too many others have been programmed for hate, racism, greed and any other negative personality disorder available. Most of us were not raised like this by our folks and grandparents. While I remember Sunday school, confirmation class etc. , i can also see exactly what went wrong in my life and some of it was my own fault. I was systematically brought into hate, and racism growing up on the No.side of Chicago and playing sports thru out the city and only being able to use public transportation – it may sound strange but either you get tough, macho, and learn to fight or forget about sports. My second programming was to hate communism, Russia, China, Cuba and by the time I was in the Army in SE Asia – we better hate these Vietnamese or else.I took a leave of absence from society after Nam and had a nice free life in the middle of Alaska for 33 years. Now, back in the Lower 48 I couldn’t believe my eyes – what the Hell happened here? I said . Non stop hate , negativity and wars blasting out of the TV and even Hollywood is still programming us. No wonder Americans and others are asleep at the wheel and don’t look like they are about to wake up – its been non-stop Hate, racism and greed – but I left again. Even overseas its hard to get away from the US/NWO agenda.

    • mike k
      September 14, 2017 at 14:20

      Thanks for waking up from under our culture’s spells. I have had to recover from the hate instilled in me by our culture. I only wish more could wake up to the snow job that has been done on us. We were not born to hate, we had to be taught that.

  27. mike k
    September 14, 2017 at 13:34

    Would the US sit down as equal partners with other nations? We do not show any signs of that direction. Doubling down on our bid for world domination seems to be our present posture. The kind of hubris the US has developed is of the do or die persuasion. Even if everyone has to die. We have become power addicts, and like all addicts quitting is just not on the table. We are willing to die to keep our habit intact – and often that is how it ends.

    • mike k
      September 14, 2017 at 13:36

      Isn’t it too obvious at this point to say, this will not end well?

      • Seer
        September 14, 2017 at 17:51

        Yup. Imagine a burning Rome, with nukes…

  28. Mildly-Facetious
    September 14, 2017 at 13:29

    America’s Racist Past is Parent to America’s Fragile Future. (and continuing)

    Trump’s move to end DACA has roots in America’s long, shameful history of eugenics

    … Anglo-Saxons were placed atop the ranking of groups considered desirable, while the bottom rankings were occupied by Eastern and Southern Europeans, Asians, Africans and Native Americans.

    … Over the years, Trump has demonstrated a fondness for eugenic principles, repeatedly promoting the view that genes make the man.

    Eugenics informed American immigration policy most blatantly during the period between the world wars.
    The Immigration Act of 1924 excluded many Jews and Italians and nearly all Africans and Asians.
    American experts even promoted eugenics abroad. In accepting an honor from the Nazi government in 1936, the American eugenicist Harry Laughlin praised Germany for having “nurtured the human seed-stock” of the United States.

    Over the years, Trump has demonstrated a fondness for eugenic principles, repeatedly promoting the view that genes make the man. “You have to be born lucky,” Trump told Oprah Winfrey in 1988, “in the sense that you have to have the right genes.” He later spoke of being a “gene believer,” declaring, “I have great genes, and all that stuff.” Others are not as blessed as he is, Trump has said: “Some people cannot, genetically, handle pressure.”

    . More troubling, Sessions earlier this year held up the Immigration Act of 1924 as an example of good policy.
    ( )

    One of Trump’s national security officials, Michael Anton, wrote an essay against immigration in which he argued: “‘Diversity’ is not ‘our strength;’ it’s a source of weakness, tension, and disunion.” Immigrants hurt the economy, Anton wrote, ignoring fact. True to eugenic orthodoxy, he insisted that communities are “de-Americanized” by immigrants.

    Michael D’Antonio is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and the author of “The Truth About Trump.

    • mike k
      September 14, 2017 at 14:15

      Thanks for your insight into our long history of white racism in Amerika.

    • Alex
      September 14, 2017 at 21:36

      LOL! It is racist for Whites….and ONLY Whites….to have any sort of country, eh? I would say you are the racist. The US was created by and for Whites. If you want to live around non-Whites there are plenty of places you can go. So go.

      • Michael Weddington
        September 16, 2017 at 01:11

        No, I think a lot of the heavy lifting in building this country was done by black people for free.

    • hatedbyu
      September 15, 2017 at 10:13

      if trump were actively stating his eugenical beliefs you might have a point. but i think you are stretching. the quotes you use are musings that any person might also use. genes as an example of behavior is everywhere in current popular culture. it certainly is used in medical speak constantly. every parent speaks of nurture or nature.

      your examples tying eugenics to immigration is just over the top. according to your reasoning, any person who feels that limiting immigration is a eugenicist.

  29. September 14, 2017 at 13:28

    Like his sinister twin(J.Edgar Hoover)the lurking ghost of Joe McCarthy hovers over a stifled congress. Gilbert Doctorow astutely reminds us that a toxic cloud of intimidation keeps our professed representatives from seeing beyond the “groupthink” that’s imposed on any constructive solutions to a myriad of foreign problems largely created by their own intellectual incest. We are still awaiting someone in congress to rise up and challenge the dogma of deceit.

  30. Susan Sunflower
    September 14, 2017 at 13:24

    Plenty of people saw George Bush absolutely squander the leadership opportunity that 09/11 presented to him … instead the world got cartoonish bragging and belicosity and a lack of reciprocal cooperation in addressing (global) terrorism, even as the FBI/CIA dominated every conference … this was an American show for Americans …

    Shoulder to shoulder coalition partners in both Afghanistan and Iraq found themselves witness to appalling practices, unappreciated and unconsulted, making sacrifices unpopular with the folks back home. Prior to the Madrid bombing, Spain was making noises about pulling out of Iraq over our wanton disregard for human life and historical / religious sites in Najaf (a world heritage site — see present day Saana).

    I haven’t seen much European Obama regime post-mortems … but the whirlwind of action that is Trump (be it ever so incoherent, failing court approval and even the requisite legislation involved — not even fiat, rather largely (details come later) empty edicts). Obama’s wise “caution” must sit strangely in the shadow of Trump’s Tasmanian devil. Many European leaders invested heavily in regime change in Syria … now left holding an empty bag after years of Obama two-steps. (I opposed any such intervention, but the European ‘interventionists” were also counting on a Hillary Clinton neocon ramp-up rather than draw down).

    It will be interesting to see if and how Merkel’s posture changes once she is secure in her reelection … as always, she is likely a bellwether of future EU leanings.

    As the world learned under Bush, it cannot and need not wait for America to come to its senses …

    • Dave P.
      September 14, 2017 at 18:25

      Susan, unfortunately the EU Vassal States and US are tied at the hip, and Merkel has her own dreams. With the picture of Catherine the Great – German Russian Empress – on the wall in her office, Merkel is not the one who will usher in an era of peace and stability in Europe or elsewhere in the World. They say she does not like the Russians either – she would have loved to see Hillary in the White House. And the control over Media by the Oligarchy in Europe is not that much different from what we have here.

  31. MaDarby
    September 14, 2017 at 13:06

    “The net result of Donald Trump’s first six months in office has been to undo the bonds of mutual confidence with America’s allies and friends, and to put America’s competitors on notice that America’s role in the world is up for grabs.”

    Beautiful music to my ears. I might quibble with the “up for grabs” part as with China in the lead a multi-polar world is coming precisely because the US has lost its iron grip on global hegemony – I don’t think that a cure for cancer could save many lives.

    The US dropped the nuclear bombs on innocent people for purely political reasons from those days on to this very day the US has been at war, killing people every day usually in multiple locations. The more weakness and decline the better as far as I’m concerned.

    The other big problem with almost all Western commentary is the treatment of geopolitics as a zero sum game while one of the biggest players, China sees economic harmonization not brutal hegemony as the future.

  32. hatedbyu
    September 14, 2017 at 12:40

    “Does the United States have a future as a great power?”

    eh. i really dont want the us to be a great power. how bout just a nice place to live, with nice people in it?

    i would prefer the us get out of world affairs.

    • john wilson
      September 14, 2017 at 14:27

      Hey hatedbyu, I’m English and have met many ordinary Americans and they were all nice people. The Country is also fantastic, the trouble is you keep on voting in total rsoles and criminals to run it. If you want things to change you have to use the only weapon you have which is the vote, so you need to to use it get rid of these vile people. You did made an effort to change things when you voted in Trump, but unfortunately you voted in a baboon who is easily lead with a couple of bananas held in front of his nose. Hence; Trump is in the pocket of the deep state and things are going as before.

      • Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
        September 14, 2017 at 14:42

        You actually missed much of the point. The BANKERS run the show. Americans need to vote with their money! Put the BANKERS out of business and use Credit Unions and help build State Banks like the one in North Dakota where the budget of the state itself is put in that bank. That way, the private BANKERS do not run the whole thing………..Corporations, including weapons manufacturers, are the CREATION OF THE BANKERS………………..

        • OhioStateLuckeyes
          September 14, 2017 at 21:22

          Hey, can we just call the enemy by it’s name? Instead of just ranting about bankers and mega-corporations, let’s at least point our finger at the source of it all: NEOLIBERALISM.

          The Neoliberal ideology pushed by Reagan, Clinton and Obama is what utterly wrecked the middle class in the US and England. The neoliberal globalist agenda is why 15% of college students in the US are from China or India.

          The Neoliberal lobby is why the biggest banks got EVEN BIGGER after the 2008 crisis. It’s also why income inequality is at pre-French Revolution levels.

          Stop beating around the bush about corporations and bankers. They’re the pigs. NEOLIBERALISM is the trough.

        • irina
          September 14, 2017 at 22:08

          The only realistic and practical way to ‘vote with our money’ is to engage in voluntary tax redirection.

        • September 16, 2017 at 00:37

          Iceland freaked a lot of bankers. Trial, judgement & imprisonment. Plus cancelling all the debt owed.

          • Bart in VA
            September 16, 2017 at 07:45

            Debt cancellation is mentioned several times in the Bible but like so much of that book, it’s ignored

      • Sam F
        September 14, 2017 at 16:23

        The problem is that US mass media and elections are funded by a zionist oligarchy, due to the gradual growth of economic concentrations, and the failure of the emerging middle class to see the problem during the 20th century. That and the MIC self-interest explain our foreign policy, kleptocracy, and lying media.

        Eliminating this requires:

        1. Amendments to the Constitution to restrict funding of mass media and elections to individual contributions, limited and registered;
        2. Renegotiation of the NATO treaty to be purely defensive, or its repudiation;
        3. Undertaking foreign military action solely under UN auspices;
        4. Prosecution of US war criminals and corrupt politicians, and banning of lobbyists;
        5. Monitoring public officials and their families and associates for corruption during their lives;
        6. Repurposing about 80 percent of the military to building infrastructure in developing nations;
        7. Signing the treaty of Rome to submit to ICC jurisdiction in most matters.

        Getting there requires:

        1. Executive overreach to investigate and dismiss corrupt officials, hold new elections, etc.);
        2. Infiltrating military/intel/police/national guard to deny enforcement to oligarchy during revolts;
        3. Starting new parties that truly represent members, and making coalitions to gain majorities;
        4. Boycotting all military companies and Israeli products, denouncing zionists and militarists;
        5. Refusing to take mortgages or keep large sums in banks or investments;
        6. Refusing to watch or pay for mass media;
        7. Campaigning for foreign rejection of US products, currency, and NATO.

        • D5-5
          September 14, 2017 at 16:56

          Thank you, Sam F, for this reply to John Wilson’s simplifications above on how it’s all the fault of us stupid Americans who just don’t know how to vote. The problems as you indicate are so massive as to be nearly incomprehensible, as a soft totalitarian system is in place. Discouraging is the failure of new parties to arise to challenge the current system. Why right now do we not have a bunch of new, vocal parties emerging in time for 2018? Probably because most Americans don’t have the time nor the inclination to concentrate on the mess we’re in. At this time we have very few actual representatives of the people, as with a Rand Paul and his recent defeat on the AUMF and Sanders who yesterday was being celebrated on Democracy Now because he has a whole 15 senators on his side for universal health care. We are blockbusted with propaganda and manipulation, and the talk now is of more threats through more surveillance. So your program, worthy as it is, will be difficult to pursue.

          • Sam F
            September 14, 2017 at 17:14

            Yes, it is difficult, because money power is needed to fight money power. I have considered political candidacy myself, and do not see the organization that can finance campaigns. Corruption appears to be a pre-requisite for campaign funding. But if there is a lull in my battles against judicial corruption I may try to form a political party.

          • Brad Owen
            September 15, 2017 at 05:49

            Sam, 50 million citizens X 10$ a month= 6 billion$ a year for political and legal fights, via an organized, dues-paying, Citizens Union. There is your clean, reliable money power to fight dirty money power. Can you organize this? I can’t even organize my sock drawer, but I can be a dues-paying member of such a Union.

          • Sam F
            September 16, 2017 at 19:46

            That is an interesting idea. A political fund raising operation would need to prove itself as non-partisan or otherwise providing what donors expect. I’ll give that some thought along with my efforts to provide college/institute of policy analysis/debate, and for it to provide more accessible broad debate performances as educational entertainment.

        • September 15, 2017 at 07:03

          Sam F, I don’t need to read any more comments; yours is quite sufficient. I cannot fathom why Doctorow failed to “go there,” i.e., Zionism and the Zionization of America. I’m not sure where I’d put this in your dual listing of requirements, but I’ll go with a 4A under “Getting there requires”: “Ending summarily the ‘entangling alliance’ fashioned by various Zionists and their agents and operatives (read Alison Weir’s ‘Against Our Better Judgment’) as it relates to the Zionist entity so-called Israel; Thomas Jefferson warned us of such entanglements centuries ago.”

          • Sam F
            September 16, 2017 at 19:53

            I agree, Alison Weir’s ‘Against Our Better Judgment” is a fascinating history. Also that TJ’s warning on poorly-designed entangling alliances is very applicable.

        • Martin
          September 18, 2017 at 13:32

          Do these … and Sampson option will immediately be activated !!!

      • Annie
        September 14, 2017 at 17:35

        As an American I can say most of us are pretty decent, however we tend to engage in group think, and few view the US and it’s behavior in the world with a critical eye. We tend to stay in the moment, which makes one lose perspective on issues. and may be the main reason we are so easy to manipulate. Mr. Wilson those voted into office too often reflect the political agenda of those that support them, especially with money to run their campaigns. Calling the president of the US a baboon, doesn’t help our image, and all the nonsense about the Russians put Mr. Trump into power doesn’t help either. Hilary going around blaming everyone for her loss, except herself, is something that makes her a bit of a laughing stock. I’m afraid that it is not as simple as you make it sound. Who would you have voted for if you were an American in the last election? I kind of agree with Hatedbyu that it would be wonderful if we could just co-exist with our fellow man, however from a historical perspective that doesn’t seem a real possibility.

        • Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
          September 14, 2017 at 18:41

          Here is a list for you to show how pretty decent most of Americans are:

          – Idiot America – How stupidity became a virtue in the land of the free.

          -Dumbing Us Down.

          -The Closing of the American Mind.

          – The Age of American Unreason.

          – Why We Suck – A Feel good guide to staying fat, loud, lazy, and stupid.

          – The Dumbest Generation.

          – A Nation of Victims – The decay of the American Character

          ALL written by Americans……………………….Happy reading…………….

          • Annie
            September 15, 2017 at 11:37

            I really don’t have such a negative attitude of my fellow Americans. I also don’t think it helps when one attacks a whole people, by calling them dumb, fat, loud, lazy and stupid, or say that they suck. I look at the fact that almost half of the American people in this country live pay check to pay check and have been taken advantage of by a political agenda who cares little about them.

      • September 14, 2017 at 17:58

        The US is an oligarchy, officially. Even such obvious problem as the universal health care (supported by more than 70% of the US citizenry) has not been solved because there are no mechanism of the democratic pressure and democratic control over the US government. The country is being devoured by the banksters, oilmen, MIC, and Israel-firsters; these four groups are intertwined. The US has been converted into a huge criminal enterprise. The ongoing slaughter in the Middle East is a good illustration of the latter statement.

        • OhioStateLuckeyes
          September 14, 2017 at 21:29

          “the banksters, oilmen, MIC, etc” is all one thing: NEOLIBERALISM.

          Thanks to NEOLIBERALS, such as Reagan, the Clintons, and Obama, we have insane wealth inequality. Thanks to NEOLIBERALISM, Entire cities in the rustbelt have been hallowed-out, and the displaced workers were left high and dry by the NEOLIBERAL policy wonks who only wanted to make their corporate donors richer with cheap overseas labor.

          Now, the Chinese and Indians who took our jobs are sending their kids to the US for college. As of 2016, over 1 MILLION foreign nationals are occupying seats in US colleges. Acceptance rates for American students have plummeted as a result, so globalization has ruined the working class AND their children’s lives.

          NEOLIBERALISM is why it’s so damn hard to pass common-sense policies such as single-payer healthcare or campaign finance reform. The big corporations want to keep their power, and the establishment neoliberal politicians are addicted to that sweet cash.

          So to conclude, blame NEOLIBERALISM, not just the banks and corporations who profited from it.

      • Gingerbread
        September 15, 2017 at 01:20

        Greetings John:
        Voting alone won’t work. Statisticians found that Clinton stole the primary from Bernie. The Shawn Lucas, the process server who sued the Democratic National Committee, wound up dead; the attorneys for the lawsuit received death threats; and Seth Rich was murdered under very suspicious circumstances. Our votes are cast on Diebold machines that can be easily manipulated. About a third of the deep state is free from presidential and congressional oversight. See the YouTube “New: CIA Agent Whistleblower Risks All To Expose The Shadow Government”.
        Some of us are still looking for ways around the Shadow Monstrosity Government, but it is an enormous problem. I pass out petitions calling for peace with Iran, Russia, and Syria, but I can’t keep up with all the atrocities the Neocons plan. People of Russia, Syria, Iran and all threatened countries, my biggest hope is to save your lives if I can. If I can’t, please know that someone in this mixed up country loves you.
        Love and blessings,

      • ray
        September 15, 2017 at 06:45

        are voting system is broken, its not that we keep voting the same people in. its thats the system is set up so we can’t vote anyone in.

        • Soldim
          September 15, 2017 at 10:59

          All these are proximate not core factors. Elections have never, anywhere not just the US, led to any meaningful change. If elections changed anything they would make them illegal. Only direct action works.

      • SteveK9
        September 15, 2017 at 16:12

        Pretty accurate. It could happen at the Presidential levle. As you say, it did with Trump, and it could easily have been Sanders elected President. However, there is an entire system in place constructed by those with money (power). It’s the natural state of human societies, unfortunately. The Great Depression and WWII destroyed the system and something more fair arose, but from that point the system inevitably drifted back toward its natural state … a few people have pretty much everything (no different in the UK). If things get bad enough there can be a revolution. That isn’t happening now because of the advance of technology. Even the worst-off members of society aren’t actually starving today, so for people to rise up and risk their lives to change things, simply isn’t going to happen. If elites were actually stupid enough to allow something like the Great Depression to occur again, then you might actually see an uprising.

        All you have to do is look at countries like Greece, Spain, Portugal, etc. and realize that people will put up with quite a lot before they will go into the streets and even then, not with the kind of violence frankly, that would be enough to change things.

      • September 16, 2017 at 11:05

        John, I suppose you haven’t paid much attention to the fact that we (all) live in a system rigged by special global interests who control public offices, media, and most aspects of our external lives. By your logic we should thank you personally for giving the world George W’s flunkee Tony Blair. It saddens me to read such divisive talk, because our only hope is for hundreds of millions of average citizens of the world to all collectively take the red pill, and see they have common repressors. Reject the tribalism that preserves the status quo! We are in it together!

    • Peter Loeb
      September 16, 2017 at 07:00


      Gilbert Doctorow’s analysis provides us his usual perceptions of contemporary
      developments. It fails to account for the more profound analyses of Gabriel
      NY, 1976 & 1984) in Chapter 5 and in particular the subsection of that
      chapter entitled “Violence and Social Control”. (In my paperback pp. 174-176).

      Kolko traces characteristics of American society back 100 years and more
      from 1976. He provides more profound insights into the realities of
      the development of our society through history.

      (Needless to say, he does not even obliquely mention Joe McCarthy or
      Donald Trump.)

      The rest of Chapter 5 provides other insights as does the
      remainder of his book in general.

      One could transfer word for word Kolko’s perspectives but not
      without grossly overstepping the bounds of copywright

      It is the obligation of the curious mind and especially the
      radical/left curious mind to search and to think in broad
      terms. Readers of these words will have no regrets.

      (Note: my version of the Kolko book is in paperback.)

      —–Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

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