U.S. Empire Still Incoherent After All These Years

Exclusive: Without solid economic, political and ideological bases, the U.S. lacks the legitimacy and authority it needs to operate beyond its borders, argues Nicolas J.S. Davies in this essay.

By Nicolas J.S. Davies

I recently reread Michael Mann’s book, Incoherent Empire, which he wrote in 2003, soon after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Mann is a sociology professor at UCLA and the author of a four-volume series called The Sources of Social Power, in which he explained the major developments of world history as the interplay between four types of power: military, economic, political, and ideological.

In Incoherent Empire, Mann used the same framework to examine what he called the U.S.’s “new imperialism” after the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. He predicted that, “The American Empire will turn out to be a military giant; a back-seat economic driver; a political schizophrenic; and an ideological phantom.”

What struck me most forcefully as I reread Incoherent Empire was that absolutely nothing has changed in the “incoherence” of U.S. imperialism.  If I picked up the book for the first time today and didn’t know it was written 15 years ago, I could read nearly all of it as a perceptive critique of American imperialism exactly as it exists today.

In the intervening 15 years, U.S. policy failures have resulted in ever-spreading violence and chaos that affect hundreds of millions of people in at least a dozen countries. The U.S. has utterly failed to bring any of its neo-imperial wars to a stable or peaceful end.  And yet the U.S. imperial project sails on, seemingly blind to its consistently catastrophic results.

Instead, U.S. civilian and military leaders shamelessly blame their victims for the violence and chaos they have unleashed on them, and endlessly repackage the same old war propaganda to justify record military budgets and threaten new wars.

But they never hold themselves or each other accountable for their catastrophic failures or the carnage and human misery they inflict. So they have made no genuine effort to remedy any of the systemic problems, weaknesses and contradictions of U.S. imperialism that Michael Mann identified in 2003 or that other critical analysts like Noam Chomsky, Gabriel Kolko, William Blum and Richard Barnet have described for decades.

Let’s examine each of Mann’s four images of the foundations of the U.S.’s Incoherent Empire, and see how they relate to the continuing crisis of U.S. imperialism that he presciently foretold:

Military Giant

As Mann noted in 2003, imperial armed forces have to do four things: defend their own territory; strike offensively; conquer territories and people; then pacify and rule them.

Today’s U.S. military dwarfs any other country’s military forces. It has unprecedented firepower, which it can use from unprecedented distances to kill more people and wreak more destruction than any previous war machine in history, while minimizing U.S. casualties and thus the domestic political blowback for its violence.

But that’s where its power ends.  When it comes to actually conquering and pacifying a foreign country, America’s technological way of war is worse than useless.  The very power of U.S. weapons, the “Robocop” appearance of American troops, their lack of language skills and their isolation from other cultures make U.S. forces a grave danger to the populations they are charged with controlling and pacifying, never a force for law and order, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan or North Korea.

John Pace, who headed the UN Assistance Mission to Iraq during the U.S. occupation compared U.S. efforts to pacify the country to “trying to swat a fly with a bomb.” 

Burhan Fasa’a, an Iraqi reporter for Lebanon’s LBC TV network, survived the second U.S. assault on Fallujah in November 2004.  He spent nine days in a house with a population that grew to 26 people as neighboring homes were damaged or destroyed and more and more people sought shelter with Fasa’a and his hosts.

Finally a squad of U.S. Marines burst in, yelling orders in English that most of the residents didn’t understand and shooting them if they didn’t respond.  “Americans did not have interpreters with them, “ Fasa’a explained, “so they entered houses and killed people because they didn’t speak English… Soldiers thought the people were rejecting their orders, so they shot them.  But the people just couldn’t understand them.”

This is one personal account of one episode in a pattern of atrocities that grinds on, day in day out, in country after country, as it has done for the last 16 years. To the extent that the Western media cover these atrocities at all, the mainstream narrative is that they are a combination of unfortunate but isolated incidents and the “normal” horrors of war.

But that is not true. They are the direct result of the American way of war, which prioritizes “force protection” over the lives of human beings in other countries to minimize U.S. casualties and thus domestic political opposition to war.  In practice, this means using overwhelming and indiscriminate firepower in ways that make it impossible to distinguish combatants from non-combatants or protect civilians from the horrors of war as the Geneva Conventions require.

U.S. rules of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan have included: systematic, theater-wide use of torture; orders to “dead-check” or kill wounded enemy combatants; orders to “kill all military-age males” during certain operations; and “weapons-free” zones that mirror Vietnam-era “free-fire” zones.

When lower ranks have been prosecuted for war crimes against civilians, they have been acquitted or given light sentences because they were acting on orders from senior officers.  But courts martial have allowed the senior officers implicated in these cases to testify in secret or have not called them to testify at all, and none have been prosecuted.

After nearly a hundred deaths in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan, including torture deaths that are capital crimes under U.S. federal law, the harshest sentence handed down was a 5 month prison sentence, and the most senior officer prosecuted was a major, although the orders to torture prisoners came from the very top of the chain of command.  As Rear Admiral John Hutson, the retired Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Navy, wrote in Human Rights First’s Command’s Responsibility report after investigating just 12 of these deaths, “One such incident would be an isolated transgression; two would be a serious problem; a dozen of them is policy.”

So the Military Giant is not just a war machine. It is also a war crimes machine.

The logic of force protection and technological warfare also means that the roughly 800 U.S. military bases in other countries are surrounded by barbed wire and concrete blast-walls and staffed mainly by Americans, so that the 290,000 U.S. troops occupying 183 foreign countries have little contact with the local people their empire aspires to rule.

Donald Rumsfeld described this empire of self-contained bases as “lily pads,” from which his forces could hop like frogs from one base to another by plane, helicopter or armored vehicle, or launch strikes on the surrounding territory, without exposing themselves to the dangers of meeting the locals.

Robert Fisk, the veteran Middle East reporter for the U.K.’s Independent newspaper, had another name for these bases: “crusader castles” – after the medieval fortresses built by equally isolated foreign invaders a thousand years ago that still dot the landscape of the Middle East.

Michael Mann contrasted the isolation of U.S. troops in their empire of bases to the lives of British officers in India, “where officers’ clubs were typically on the edge of the encampment, commanding the nicest location and view. The officers were relaxed about their personal safety, sipping their whisky and soda and gin and tonic in full view of the natives, (who) comprised most of the inhabitants – NCOs and soldiers, servants, stable-hands, drivers and sometimes their families.”

In 1945, a wiser generation of American leaders brought to their senses by the mass destruction of two world wars realized the imperial game was up.  They worked hard to frame their new-found power and economic dominance within an international system that the rest of the world would accept as legitimate, with a central role for President Roosevelt’s vision of the United Nations.

Roosevelt promised that his “permanent structure of peace,” would, “spell the end of the system of unilateral action, the exclusive alliances, the spheres of influence, the balances of power, and all the expedients that have been tried for centuries – and have always failed,” and that “the forces of aggression (would be) permanently outlawed.”

America’s World War II leaders were wisely on guard against the kind of militarism they had confronted and defeated in Germany and Japan.  When an ugly militarism reared its head in the U.S. in the late 1940s, threatening a “preemptive” nuclear war to destroy the USSR before it could develop its own nuclear deterrent, General Eisenhower responded forcefully in a speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors in St. Louis,

“I decry loose and sometimes gloating talk about the high degree of security implicit in a weapon that might destroy millions overnight,” Eisenhower declared. “Those who measure security solely in terms of offensive capacity distort its meaning and mislead those who pay them heed. No modern nation has ever equaled the crushing offensive power attained by the German war machine in 1939. No modern country was broken and smashed as was Germany six years later.”

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, the chief US representative at the London Conference that drew up the Nuremberg Principles in 1945, stated as the official U.S. position, “If certain acts in violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.”

That was the U.S. government of 1945 explicitly agreeing to the prosecution of Americans who commit aggression, which Jackson and the judges at Nuremberg defined as “the supreme international crime.” That would now include the last six U.S. presidents: Reagan (Grenada and Nicaragua), Bush I (Panama), Clinton (Yugoslavia), Bush II (Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia), Obama (Pakistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen) and Trump (Syria and Yemen).

Since Mann wrote Incoherent Empire in 2003, the Military Giant has rampaged around the world waging wars that have killed millions of people and wrecked country after country.  But its unaccountable campaign of serial aggression has failed to bring peace or security to any of the countries it has attacked or invaded.  As even some members of the U.S. military now recognize, the mindless violence of the Military Giant serves no rational or constructive purpose, imperialist or otherwise.

Economic Back Seat Driver

In 2003, Michael Mann wrote that, “The U.S. productive engine remains formidable, the global financial system providing its fuel.  But the U.S. is only a back-seat driver since it cannot directly control either foreign investors or foreign economies.”

Since 2003, the U.S. role in the global economy has declined further, now comprising only 22% of global economic activity, compared with 40% at the height of its economic dominance in the 1950s and 60s.  China is displacing the U.S. as the largest trading partner of countries around the world, and its “new silk road” initiatives are building the infrastructure to cement and further expand its role as the global hub of manufacturing and commerce.

The U.S. can still wield its financial clout as an arsenal of carrots and sticks to pressure poorer, weaker countries do what it wants.  But this is a far cry from the actions of an imperial power that actually rules far-flung territories and subjects on other continents.  As Mann put it, “Even if they are in debt, the U.S. cannot force reform on them.  In the global economy, it is only a back-seat driver, nagging the real driver, the sovereign state, sometimes administering sharp blows to his head.”

At the extreme, the U.S. uses economic sanctions as a brutal form of economic warfare that hurts and kills ordinary people, while generally inflicting less pain on the leaders who are their nominal target.  U.S. leaders claim that the pain of economic sanctions is intended to force people to abandon and overthrow their leaders, a way to achieve regime change without the violence and horror of war. But Robert Pape of the University of Chicago conducted an extensive study of the effects of sanctions and concluded that only 5 out of 115 sanctions regimes have ever achieved that goal.

When sanctions inevitably fail, they can still be useful to U.S. officials as part of a political narrative to blame the victims and frame war as a last resort.  But this is only a political ploy, not a legal pretext for war.

A secondary goal of all such imperial bullying is to make an example of the victims to put other weak countries on notice that resisting imperial demands can be dangerous.  The obvious counter to such strategies is for poorer, weaker countries to band together to resist imperial bullying, as in collective groupings like CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and also in the UN General Assembly, where the U.S. often finds itself outvoted.

The dominant position of the U.S. and the dollar in the international financial system have given the U.S. a unique ability to finance its imperial wars and global military expansion without bankrupting itself in the process.  As Mann described in Incoherent Empire,

“In principle, the world is free to withdraw its subsidies to the U.S., but unless the U.S. really alienates the world and over-stretches its economy, this is unlikely.  For the moment, the U.S. can finance substantial imperial activity.  It does so carefully, spending billions on its strategic allies, however unworthy and oppressive they may be.”

The economic clout of the U.S. back-seat driver was tested in 2003 when it deployed maximum pressure on other countries to support its invasion of Iraq.  Chile, Mexico, Pakistan, Guinea, Angola and Cameroon were on the Security Council at the time but were all ready to vote against the use of force.  It didn’t help the U.S. case that it had failed to deliver the “carrots” it promised to the countries who voted for war on Iraq in 1991, nor that the money it promised Pakistan for supporting its invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was not paid until the U.S. wanted its support again in 2003 over Iraq.

Mann concluded, “An administration which is trying to cut taxes while waging war will not be able to hand out much cash around the world.  This back-seat driver will not pay for the gas.  It is difficult to build an Empire without spending money.”

Fifteen years later, remarkably, the wealthy investors of the world have continued to subsidize U.S. war-making by investing in record U.S. debt, and a deceptive global charm offensive by President Obama partially rebuilt U.S. alliances.  But the U.S. failure to abandon its illegal policies of aggression and war crimes have only increased its isolation since 2003, especially from countries in the Global South.  People all over the world now tell pollsters they view the U.S. as the greatest threat to peace in the world.

It is also possible that their U.S. debt holdings give China and other creditors (Germany?) some leverage by which they can ultimately discipline U.S. imperialism.  In 1956, President Eisenhower reportedly threatened to call in the U.K.’s debts if it did not withdraw its forces from Egypt during the Suez crisis, and there has long been speculation that China could exercise similar economic leverage to stop U.S. aggression at some strategic moment.

It seems more likely that boom and bust financial bubbles, shifts in global trade and investment and international opposition to U.S. wars will more gradually erode U.S. financial hegemony along with other forms of power.

Michael Mann wrote in 2003 that the world was unlikely to “withdraw its subsidies” for U.S. imperialism “unless the U.S. really alienates the world and over-stretches its economy.”  But that prospect seems more likely than ever in 2018 as President Trump seems doggedly determined to do both.

Political Schizophrenic

In its isolated fantasy world, the Political Schizophrenic is the greatest country in the world, the “shining city on a hill,” the land of opportunity where anyone can find their American dream.  The rest of the world so desperately wants what we have that we have to build a wall to keep them out.  Our armed forces are the greatest force for good that the world has ever known, valiantly fighting to give other people the chance to experience the democracy and freedom that we enjoy.

But if we seriously compare the U.S. to other wealthy countries, we find a completely different picture.  The United States has the most extreme inequality, the most widespread poverty, the least social and economic mobility and the least effective social safety net of any technologically advanced country.

America is exceptional, not in the imaginary blessings our Political Schizophrenic politicians take credit for, but in its unique failure to provide healthcare, education and other necessities of life to large parts of its population, and in its systematic violations of the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions and other binding international treaties.

If the U.S. was really the democracy it claims to be, the American public could elect leaders who would fix all these problems.  But the U.S. political system is so endemically corrupt that only a Political Schizophrenic could call it a democracy.  Former President Jimmy Carter believes that the U.S. is now ”just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery.  U.S. voter turnout is understandably among the lowest in the developed world.

Sheldon Wolin, who taught political science at Berkeley and Princeton for 40 years, described the actually existing U.S. political system as “inverted totalitarianism.”  Instead of abolishing democratic institutions on the “classical totalitarian” model, the U.S.’s inverted totalitarian system preserves the hollowed-out trappings of democracy to falsely legitimize the oligarchy and political bribery described by President Carter.

As Wolin explained, this has been more palatable and sustainable, and therefore more effective, than the classical form of totalitarianism as a means of concentrating wealth and power in the hands of a corrupt ruling class.

The corruption of the U.S. political system is increasingly obvious to Americans, but also to people in other countries.  Billion-dollar U.S.-style “elections” would be illegal in most developed countries, because they inevitably throw up corrupt leaders who offer the public no more than empty slogans and vague promises to disguise their plutocratic loyalties.

In 2018, U.S. party bosses are still determined to divide us along the artificial fault-lines of the 2016 election between two of the most unpopular candidates in history, as if their vacuous slogans, mutual accusations and plutocratic policies define the fixed poles of American politics and our country’s future.

The Political Schizophrenic’s noise machine is working overtime to stuff the alternate visions of Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein and other candidates who challenge the corrupt status quo down the “memory hole,” by closing ranks, purging progressives from DNC committees and swamping the airwaves with Trump tweets and Russiagate updates.

Ordinary Americans who try to engage with or confront members of the corrupt political, business and media class find it almost impossible.  The Political Schizophrenic moves in a closed and isolated social circle, where the delusions of his fantasy world or “political reality” are accepted as incontrovertible truths.  When real people talk about real problems and suggest real solutions to them, he dismisses us as naive idealists.  When we question the dogma of his fantasy world, he thinks we are the ones who are out of touch with reality.  We cannot communicate with him, because he lives in a different world and speaks a different language.

It is difficult for the winners in any society to recognize that their privileges are the product of a corrupt and unfair system, not of their own superior worth or ability.  But the inherent weakness of “inverted totalitarianism” is that the institutions of American politics still exist and can still be made to serve democracy, if and when enough Americans wake up from this Political Schizophrenia, organize around real solutions to real problems, and elect people who are genuinely committed to turning those solutions into public policy.

As I was taught when I worked with schizophrenics as a social worker, they tend to become agitated and angry if you question the reality of their fantasy world.  If the patient in question is also armed to the teeth, it is a matter of life and death to handle them with kid gloves.

The danger of a Political Schizophrenic armed with a trillion dollar a year war machine and nuclear weapons is becoming more obvious to more of our neighbors around the world as each year goes by.  In 2017, 122 of them voted to approve the new UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

U.S. allies have pursued an opportunistic policy of appeasement, as many of the same countries did with Germany in the 1930s.  But Russia, China and countries in the Global South have gradually begun to take a firmer line, to try to respond to U.S. aggression and to shepherd the world through this incredibly dangerous transitional period to a multipolar, peaceful and sustainable world.  The Political Schizophrenic has, predictably, responded with propaganda, demonization, threats and sanctions, now amounting to a Second Cold War.

Ideological Phantom

During the First Cold War, each side presented its own society in an idealized way, but was more honest about the flaws and problems of its opposite number.  As a former East German now living in the U.S. explained to me, “When our government and state media told us our society was perfect and wonderful, we knew they were lying to us.  So when they told us about all the social problems in America, we assumed they were lying about them too.”

Now living in the U.S., he realized that the picture of life in the U.S. painted by the East German media was quite accurate, and that there really are people sleeping in the street, people with no access to healthcare and widespread poverty.

My East German acquaintance came to regret that Eastern Europe had traded the ills of the Soviet Empire for the ills of the U.S. Empire.  Nobody ever explained to him and his friends why this had to be a “take it or leave it” neoliberal package deal, with “shock therapy” and large declines in living standards for most Eastern Europeans.  Why could they not have Western-style political freedom without giving up the social protections and standard of living they enjoyed before?

American leaders at the end of the Cold War lacked the wisdom and caution of their predecessors in 1945, and quickly succumbed to what Mikhail Gorbachev now calls “triumphalism.”  The version of capitalism and “managed democracy” they expanded into Eastern Europe was the radical neoliberal ideology introduced by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and consolidated by Bill Clinton and Tony Blair.  The people of Eastern Europe were no more or less vulnerable to neoliberalism’s siren song than Americans and Western Europeans.

The unconstrained freedom of ruling classes to exploit working people that is the foundation of neoliberalism has always been an Ideological Phantom, as Michael Mann called it, with a hard core of greed and militarism and an outer wrapping of deceptive propaganda.

So the “peace dividend” most people longed for at the end of the Cold War was quickly trumped by the “power dividend.”  Now that the U.S. was no longer constrained by the fear of war with the U.S.S.R., it was free to expand its own global military presence and use military force more aggressively.  As Michael Mandelbaum of the Council on Foreign Relations crowed to the New York Times as the U.S. prepared to attack Iraq in 1990, “For the first time in 40 years we can conduct military operations in the Middle East without worrying about triggering World War III.”

Without the Cold War to justify U.S. militarism, the prohibition against the threat or use of military force in the UN Charter took on new meaning, and the Ideological Phantom embarked on an urgent quest for political rationales and propaganda narratives to justify what international law clearly defines as the crime of aggression.

During the transition to the incoming Clinton administration after the 1992 election, Madeleine Albright confronted General Colin Powell at a meeting and asked him, “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”

The correct answer would have been that, after the end of the Cold War, the legitimate defense needs of the U.S. required much smaller, strictly defensive military forces and a greatly reduced military presence around the world.  Former Cold Warriors, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and Assistant Secretary Lawrence Korb, told the Senate Budget Committee in 1989 that the U.S. military budget could safely be cut in half over 10 years.  Instead, it is now even higher than when they said that (after adjusting for inflation).

The U.S.’s Cold War Military Industrial Complex was still dominant in Washington.  All it lacked was a new ideology to justify its existence.  But that was just an interesting intellectual challenge, almost a game, for the Ideological Phantom.

The ideology that emerged to justify the U.S.’s new imperialism is a narrative of a world threatened by “dictators” and “terrorists,” with only the power of the U.S. military standing between the “free” people of the American Empire and the loss of all we hold dear.  Like the fantasy world of the Political Schizophrenic, this is a counter-factual picture of the world that only becomes more ludicrous with each year that passes and each new phase of the ever-expanding humanitarian and military catastrophe it has unleashed.

The Ideological Phantom defends the world against terrorists on a consistently selective and self-serving basis.  It is always ready to recruit, arm and support terrorists to fight its enemies, as in Afghanistan and Central America in the 1980s or more recently in Libya and Syria.  U.S. support for jihadis in Afghanistan led to the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil on September 11th 2001.

But that didn’t prevent the U.S. and its allies from supporting the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and other jihadis in Libya less than ten years later, leading to the Manchester Arena bombing by the son of an LIFG member in 2017.  And it hasn’t prevented the CIA from pouring thousands of tons of weapons into Syria, from sniper rifles to howitzers, to arm Al Qaeda-led fighters from 2011 to the present.

When it comes to opposing dictators, the Ideological Phantom’s closest allies always include the most oppressive dictators in the world, from Pinochet, Somoza, Suharto, Mbuto and the Shah of Iran to its newest super-client, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.  In the name of freedom and democracy, the U.S. keeps overthrowing democratically elected leaders and replacing them with coup-leaders and dictators, from Iran in 1953 and Guatemala in 1954 to Haiti in 2004, Honduras in 2009 and Ukraine in 2014.

Nowhere is the Ideological Phantom more ideologically bankrupt than in the countries the U.S. has dispatched its armed forces and foreign proxy forces to “liberate” since 2001: Afghanistan; Iraq; Libya; Syria; Somalia and Yemen.  In every case, ordinary people have been slaughtered, devastated and utterly disillusioned by the ugly reality behind the Phantom’s mask.

In Afghanistan, after 16 years of U.S. occupation, a recent BBC survey found that people feel safer in areas governed by the Taliban.  In Iraq, people say their lives were better under Saddam Hussein.  Libya has been reduced from one of the most stable and prosperous countries in Africa to a failed state ruled by competing militias, while Somalia, Syria and Yemen have met similar fates.

Incredibly, American ideologists in the 1990s saw the Ideological Phantom’s ability to project counter-factual, glamorized images of itself as a source of irresistible ideological power.  In 1997, Major Ralph Peters, who is better known as a best-selling novelist, turned his vivid imagination and skills as a fiction writer to the bright future of the Ideological Phantom in a military journal article titled “Constant Conflict.” 

Peters imagined an endless campaign of “information warfare” in which U.S. propagandists, aided by Hollywood and Silicon Valley, would overwhelm other cultures with powerful images of American greatness that their own cultures could not resist.

“One of the defining bifurcations of the future will be the conflict between information masters and information victims,” Peters wrote. “We are already masters of information warfare… (we) will be writing the scripts, producing (the videos) and collecting the royalties.”

But while Peters’ view of U.S. imperialism was based on media, technology and cultural chauvinism, he was not suggesting that the Ideological Phantom would conquer the world without a fight – quite the opposite. Peters’ vision was a war plan, not a futuristic fantasy.

“There will be no peace,” he wrote. “At any given moment for the rest of our lives, there will be multiple conflicts in mutating forms around the globe. Violent conflict will dominate the headlines, but cultural and economic struggles will be steadier and ultimately more decisive. The de facto role of the U.S. armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault.”

“To those ends,” he added, “We will do a fair amount of killing.”


After reviewing the early results of the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in 2003, Michael Mann concluded, “We saw in action that the new imperialism turned into simple militarism.”

Without solid economic, political and ideological bases, the Military Giant lacks the economic, political and ideological power and authority required to govern the world beyond its shores. The Military Giant can only destroy and bring chaos, never rebuild or bring order.

The sooner the people of the U.S. and the world wake up to this dangerous and destructive reality, the sooner we can begin to lay the new economic, political and ideological foundations of a peaceful, just and sustainable world.

Like past aggressors, the Military Giant is sowing the seeds of his own destruction.  But there is only one group of people in the world who can peacefully tame him and cut him down to size.  That is us, the 323 million people who call ourselves Americans.

We have waited far too long to claim the peace dividend that our warmongering leaders stole from us after the end of the First Cold War. Millions of our fellow human beings have paid the ultimate price for our confusion, weakness and passivity.

Now we must be united, clear and strong as we begin the essential work of transforming our country from an Incoherent Empire into an Economic High-Speed Train to a Sustainable Future; a Real Political Democracy; an Ideological Humanitarian – and a Military Law-Abiding Citizen.

Nicolas J.S. Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq. He also wrote the chapters on “Obama at War” in Grading the 44th President: a Report Card on Barack Obama’s First Term as a Progressive Leader.


116 comments for “U.S. Empire Still Incoherent After All These Years

  1. D Frank Robinson
    February 20, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    “Like past aggressors, the Military Giant is sowing the seeds of his own destruction. But there is only one group of people in the world who can peacefully tame him and cut him down to size. That is us, the 323 million people who call ourselves Americans.”
    So what is keeping people from the Libertarian Party to pursue these ends? Could it be political censorship and election rigging disguised as “ballot access” laws? You don’t think the Democratic or Republican parties are going to turn anti-imperialists do you?
    Disclosure: I am a co-founder of the Libertarian Party.

    • Sam F
      February 20, 2018 at 8:00 pm

      We do need new parties that truly represent their followers, and can form coalitions to gain a majority. But with corruption and oligarchy control throughout the legislative, executive, and judicial branches and mass media, and political suppression by secret agencies and IT companies, I doubt that political action can be more than a palliative for the credulous. Please feel free to challenge my pessimism, referring to my comment below..

    • February 21, 2018 at 10:13 am

      This is OT…but of interest to many here at CN….The actual snipers from the MAIDAN in Kiev have come forward and have sworn testimony….


      I have not been able to verify any of it yet…so use your best judgement



      PS sounds like Sputnik is trying to get it chased down and verified

    • Sr. Gibbonk
      February 21, 2018 at 10:37 pm

      The Military Giant you say? Hmm, perhaps the poet Auden said it best:

      “August 1968

      The Ogre does what ogres can,
      Deeds quite impossible for Man,
      But one prize is beyond his reach,
      The Ogre cannot master Speech:
      About a subjugated plain,
      Among its desperate and slain,
      The Ogre stalks with hands on hips,
      While drivel gushes from his lips.”

      Though we, the wee people, find ourselves sloshing waist deep in the drivel we seem unable to recognize it as such. The Congress, regardless of party affiliation, consistently supports our imperial wars and meekly defers to the Corporate Security State, while reminding us all that the Intelligence agencies have “six ways from Sunday to get back at you”. Yet there is no popular outcry against the Imperium and its crimes, both foreign and domestic; there is no anti-war movement . There are only ‘identity’ skirmishes that keep us from meddling in the affairs of the ‘deep state’.
      As for the desperate on that ever expanding subjugated plain, given a world map, none can find “The Shinning City on the Hill” but they sure know where the Ogre lives.

  2. mike k
    February 20, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    The article ends with the obligatory optimistic upbeat, which as usual has little reality to support it. There really is no path indicated for fixing the problems so elaborately analyzed. Our situation is actually far worse than the article indicates. The onrushing ecological disaster is not even mentioned. All this ink could be saved by simply saying, “It’s the oligarchs, stupid.” And we do not have a good plan for getting them out of the saddle. And they are riding mankind over the cliff into extinction.

    • mike k
      February 20, 2018 at 6:14 pm

      Why is my comment being moderated?

  3. mike k
    February 20, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    Since my comment at 6:13PM still has an awaiting moderation tag on it, I have no way to know if it has been published. Please clarify this for me?

    • Sam F
      February 20, 2018 at 8:08 pm

      I don’t see it yet, so perhaps one should post without links, then post the links as a footnote in the first reply.

  4. KiwiAntz
    February 20, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    What a wonderfully written & insightful article & perfectly sums up everything that Robert Parry sought to accomplish when he setup Consortiumnews & that was to provide a alternative narrative & accurate historical & truthful reference to the fake, misleading lies spewed out by the corrupt Mainstream media & crooked Political establishment & MIC along with their murderous agenda? What’s it going to take to stop this morally depraved, pathologically evil & suicidal, dealtcult nation called the USA? Any suggestions, as I can only see one solution & that is for every nation on Earth to band together just as they did against Nazi Germany, to destroy this lunatic gangster nation either by economic means or other means? America is the greatest threat to life on Earth & this evil, satanic empire needs to be stopped in its tracks before it kills us all? Enough’s enough!

    • Sam F
      February 20, 2018 at 7:33 pm

      Yes, the article is a fine review of the corruption of US government and society.

      We must find a way to displace or destroy the economic oligarchy that controls elections and mass media, for that is the only path to restoration of democracy, and restoration of the humanitarian purpose of our 18th century founders. Only then shall we see an American Century; otherwise we are doomed to the disdain of history, our lives wasted as cogs in an engine of destruction.

      Our unregulated free market economy allows the unethical bully to prevail in nearly all areas, including politics. Tyranny is a subculture, a groupthink of bullies who tyrannize each other, and the worst of the bullies rise to the top. This is why the US founders opposed a standing military, and they were right.

      If the US had spent the billions wasted on war since WWII, on building the roads, schools, and hospitals of the developing nations, we would have eliminated poverty for the poorest half of humanity, a true American century, and we would have no enemies. Instead we have willfully killed over six million innocents for nothing, have destroyed democracies and replaced them with dictators, and have allowed the MIC/Israel/WallSt oligarchy to control our former democracy with campaign bribes, control of mass media to promote violence as patriotism, promiscuous surveillance, and militarized police. They have destroyed America and have spent all we could borrow on destruction for their personal gain. We have the lowest per capita foreign aid of all developed nations, almost all of it military “aid,” a total of less than one meal a year for the world’s poorest.

      Apart from NATO and a few other treaties, the US would have no constitutional power to wage foreign wars, just to repel invasions and suppress insurrections, and that is the way it should be. NATO has been nothing but an excuse for warmongering since 1989.

      I suggest re-purposing about 80 percent of the US military for international aid projects, to create James’ (and Carter’s) “moral equivalent of war,” to train the young, the citizen, and the mass media to see humanitarianism as robust and to reject the selfish amorality of US oligarchy pop culture, to serve as a “backup” peacekeeping or defense force (probably little used), and to avoid alienating their staff with unemployment.

      Eventually “financial bubbles, shifts in global trade and investment and international opposition to U.S. wars” will make it unable to afford an empire, but it will remain an oligarchy. We cannot stop the wars, establish a humanitarian democracy, nor achieve benefits for the people, until the oligarchy is deposed; this is the greatest problem of civilization. We must resolve that deposing oligarchy is the only historical meaning of our lives.

      Apart from the historical revolutions of the largest present democracies (US and India), where the colonial power was small and remote, every solution to oligarchy in history has involved external conquest (e.g. Rome) or violent revolution (e.g. Russia, China, and Cuba). Unfortunately the US is now in the latter category. If democracy is ever restored in the US, it must be stabilized by amendments to protect elections and mass media debate from economic power, better checks and balances within the government branches, purging the corrupt judiciary and Congress, monitoring of government officials for corruption, and regulation of business so that oligarchic bullies and scammers do not rise to control economic power.

      • frank scott
        February 20, 2018 at 9:39 pm

        we cannot “restore” a democracy which has never existed, nationally, nor continue the nearly religious worship of the so-called creators of this fiction, the holy founders, many of them owning slaves and having stolen land from the indigenous people and hardly any meaning to have non-property owners voting in elections, no matter what their skin tone, religious or sexual preference might be …once we get past the mythology about our country we may well be able to create a reality which is closer to what we idealize than the horror it has always been for some, even while making life extremely pleasant for others..market forces need to be replaced by human forces which means democracy in a material sense – majority rule – rather than the religious, therapeutic and drug induced excuse we live.

        • Sam F
          February 21, 2018 at 1:24 pm

          Yes, the undemocratic processes throughout US history tempt one to conclude that democracy never was. and this is true in an ideal sense. But the intent of democracy was there, and it was a fact in the early federal era for most citizens, extending with ever greater corruption through FDR. Had there been no predominance of economic power 1850-1945, likely democracy with many flaws would have generalized to all persons within the US.

          Yes, we must “get past the mythology about our country” by accepting its wrongs and the corruption of its institutions and popular culture, but if the good in that tradition is preserved, we have a better starting point for reform, which avoids scaring off those who will otherwise see, or pretend to see, only “radicalism” and “anarchism.”

          • Nancy
            February 21, 2018 at 1:51 pm

            I don’t believe in the myths taught about the history of the United States. Our glorious founding fathers were not only slaveholders, rapists and imperialists, they were aristocrats who just wanted to be free of British rule. They had no intention of sharing their freedom and independence (or the bounty of the land) with the less well off inhabitants, regardless of their race, color or creed. This is just a story they tell to keep us hoping that some day we can be one of them.
            Hey, there’s always the lottery!

          • Sam F
            February 21, 2018 at 6:25 pm

            Thanks, Nancy, I agree that today the national mythology largely serves that purpose of burying the truth and creating false hopes. I discern some sincerity behind the best of the founders, even acknowledging their contradictory ownership of slaves (as Robert Parry very well elucidated for Jefferson). The sincere ones were nonetheless products of the contradictions of their times and circumstances, and their good intentions did not extend to impoverishing themselves to free their slaves, thereby ruining their families and good political influences.

            Even today good people consume products made with essentially slave labor in poor countries, and I have heard few other than myself demanding serious foreign aid, and/or tariffs sufficient to nearly bring such products to US wholesale prices, to fund foreign aid for the poorest of those nations. Few would support such a sacrifice. While it irritates me, I can see that they too are the products of circumstances, unwilling to impoverish themselves while trying to get by, support families, improve their circumstances, and so on.

            So I look for the good side of better characters, and try to build on that, as it is the only building material we have. But of course you are right to call out the selfishness, hypocrisy, and malice. So I presume that we must preserve the best of the national mythology for the young, and teach them better when they are ready. We can preserve the institutions (after they are fixed) and monuments, but the educated must be very critical of mythology.

          • Purplefrog
            February 25, 2018 at 2:09 pm

            How about the Whiskey Tax, or how about congress voting to fund the initial national debt to pay the revolutionary soldier for the continental dollars – which the agents of the congress bought for pennies on the dollar under cover of night.

    • Brent Riley
      February 21, 2018 at 12:29 am

      A couple years ago I heard a Chilean woman saying when she was a girl, one couldn’t go out of the house after 9 PM because you would get shot. I piped up, “Thanks to Nixon and Kissinger.” A serious look came over her face, she looked directly at me and forcefully said, “Americans are a GOOD people. Their government IS NOT”.

      I believe a serious campaign for war reparations to Iraq could be hard to dismiss and may jolt our nation into a sense of responsibility…… or acknowledge we don’t accept responsibility for our behavior. Either, a step forward.

      • geeyp
        February 21, 2018 at 4:40 am

        Yes, that might start with not writing as Nicholas J.S. Davies has: “U.S. support for jihadis in Afghanistan led to the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil on” Sept. 11, 2001.

      • Virginia
        February 21, 2018 at 9:59 am

        I recommend Richard Wolff’s talk “Democracy in Action: The Cure for Capitalism.”

    • Peter Loeb
      February 21, 2018 at 7:33 am


      And to KiwiAnts. for his reply.

      Davies touched on my major heroes— authors and analysts.
      I would add one:
      I “discovered” recently. Francis Jennings (1918-1980)
      especially THE CREATION OF AMERICA, his lat work. He points out
      that a “democracy” was never intended (African Americans, Native
      Americans, pacifist organizations such as the Quakers, and women
      were all excluded. Instead (excuse my paraphrasing) Americans
      wanted “liberty” from the English Empire in order to form their own
      Empire maintaining their (economic) needs (slave labor, elimination
      of Native American claims to land etc.)

      After years and years of allegiance to the Democratic party, I have
      begun to realize that neither they nor other mall (political) parties
      can undo the evil that has been done. (See “THE ROOTS OF AMERICAN
      FOREIGN POLICY” by Gabriel Kolko, “Epiloque: Readon and Radicalism”.

      —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

      • Lisa
        February 21, 2018 at 6:23 pm


        You confirm something I have read much earlier – that the 13 US colonies were in a hurry to separate themselves from the British Empire, because Britons were about to abolish slavery within their Empire. US needed to maintain the slavery for economical reasons, therefore the heroic struggle for independence.

        I don’t remember the source, and unfortunately cannot give a link to it.

        • Steve Naidamast
          February 22, 2018 at 2:31 pm


          You are most likely referring to Gerald Horne’s treatise on the subject…

  5. Annie
    February 20, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    I referenced this in an article before which was a discussion I had with a cousin who is an international lawyer in the military. I said I wasn’t voting in this election, but he insisted I vote for Hilary as she was the lesser of the two evils, well, that’s how it started out. He went on to claim that Russia was a real threat to the US and in breech of international law in her annexation of Crimea. I told him I would really be afraid of Russia if she was bombing and destroying one country after another in the Middle East, created a coup in the Ukraine and crossed sovereign borders, dropping drones and killing civilians, and had no qualms about creating mayhem in our wars. Wars based on lies, since none of the countries we invaded represented an aggressive threat to us. He accused me of being un-american and failed to acknowledge we were in breech of any international law. What ever we do seems to be justifiable, but are so called enemies are held to the letter of the law. For me he represents the mentality expressed in this article, and unfortunately it is all too real. I guess his position is what’s good for the goose, is not good for the gander, an interestingly he applies the same mind set in his marriage.

    • Deniz
      February 20, 2018 at 7:19 pm

      I was in a conversation with a JAG recently, what struck me is that she wasn’t really concerned about protecting America as most people experience it, but rather the ideals of a merciless, Puritanical/Calvinist American royalty that seems to still exist.

      Brilliant article.

    • Sam F
      February 20, 2018 at 7:48 pm

      Cheers for your courage in facing your cousin. Rare is the lawyer who does not regard argument as a domain of propaganda warfare for private gain, rather than of truth and justice. Most choose the career for money and power, and learn to substitute scamming for reason. There is little point in discussing anything with them.

      • Annie
        February 20, 2018 at 7:56 pm

        Thanks Sam, and the outcome was, he no longer speaks to me because of my position, but I really don’t care.

    • Nicolas J S Davies
      February 20, 2018 at 8:29 pm

      I think your friend is an exception among JAG officers. The father of a JAG officer told me that his son and his colleagues saw the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as crimes of aggression, and retired JAGs have told me they saw them that way too. Jess Bravin’s book, The Terror Courts: Rough Justice at Guantanamo, describes how JAG officers fought our government’s efforts to deny justice and due process to accused terrorists, and presciently predicted that this would lead to a failure to convict anyone of the crimes of 9/11. Admiral Hutson’s role in investigating and condemning torture deaths in US custody was exemplary and uncompromising. Military lawyers have tried to uphold the law, but have been overridden by their criminal and corrupt military and political bosses.

      • Deniz
        February 20, 2018 at 9:26 pm

        There are good JAG officers, I know them too. My comment was more of a reflection of Annie’s statement that “whatever we do is justifiable.” This strikes me as rooted in a theology; how else do you get good people to do bad things?

    • exiled off mainstreet
      February 21, 2018 at 12:57 am

      His personality seems pretty close to the SS fuehrers I researched when I wrote a dissertation on issues thrown up by the end of the Nazi regime.

    • February 21, 2018 at 1:34 am

      Annie, kudos to you for speaking the truth. To an extent, he can be forgiven because of his training and consequential bias. Sad….perhaps he should spend some time at a VA hospital talking to Vets with PTSD….and listening to their stories . it might be game changer for him. Here’s a former Marine…he has a series of videos and speaks out against the US and it’s hegemony….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEhoHcQ2cPQ

      • Annie
        February 21, 2018 at 4:14 am

        Thanks Stephen, Ill watch, but he wouldn’t.

    • Realist
      February 21, 2018 at 3:21 am

      Your cousin simply serves power, not principles. For him, the ends justify the means and he is willing to employ whatever double standards are convenient to get his way. Perhaps he serves evil to further personal ambitions. Hope the objective outside opinion helped. Keep on serving what is true and righteous, Annie, whether based on pure reason or the teachings of a figure you trust.

      • Annie
        February 21, 2018 at 11:14 am

        Thanks Realist,

    • rosemerry
      February 21, 2018 at 4:05 pm

      The breach of international law ie the overthrow of the Ukrainian government by the USA did not count, of course! In Oliver Stone’s interviews with Pres. Putin I remember the explanation of how Putin’s government worked with the pro-Western previous Ukrainian government for four years, managing to cooperate, but as soon as the “pro-Russian government” was elected, the USA/West could not wait to barge in. Often the USA chooses a date to begin the discussion to make it seem justified eg always 1979 for Iran, never 1953 when the USA/UK overthrew the elected government to instal and keep in power the Shah and the brutal SAVAK police. Israel is good at this too, choosing a selected “violent act” of a Palestinian after vast earlier Israeli attacks, as its starting point.

  6. Mike Martin
    February 20, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    “And yet the U.S. imperial project sails on, seemingly blind to its consistently catastrophic results.” — J S Davies

    ?? Really?? But what if the resulting chaos is exactly what is intended?

    What better way to ,maximize the sale of all types of armaments than to ensure continuous chaos?

    Wasn’t a CIA presentation on just such a plan leaked some time back?

    • joe defiant
      February 20, 2018 at 7:56 pm

      Yeah this “incoherent” and “stupid blundering” excuse is complete bullshit. USA military via imperialism consistently furthers elites interests all over the world and at home. Michael Parenti has covered this excuse extensively in a few of his books like ‘Faces of Imperialism’ and ‘Against Empire’. Liberal political writers constantly trot out this excuse as if only our leaders would listen to the liberal critiques the empire would be this vast power for good and elites would forget about furthering their own interests and start “doing good”.

      • Nicolas J S Davies
        February 20, 2018 at 9:05 pm

        I’m not suggesting that U.S. imperialism could ever be a force for good. Did you read the article?

    • Sam F
      February 20, 2018 at 8:21 pm

      Yes, but by “seemingly blind” he means not blind at all. Using moderation in contrast with the strong argument, he urges you to jump ahead. By not offering finally a means to the ends, he leaves the door open to those who will throw out the facts if they see only an extreme solution. Let the readers decide how to get there.

    • evelync
      February 21, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      “What better way to ,maximize the sale of all types of armaments than to ensure continuous chaos?”

      I think you put your finger on what it all boils down to, Mike Martin – what drives the whole Neoconservative and Neoliberal economic/political/military rape and pillage around the world and, now, here at home – I was going to say that here at home it is a financial rape and pillage (which it is) but then I remembered the for profit prisons which blossomed on Bill Clinton’s watch and then, on Obama’s watch they mindlessly offered excess military equipment to city police departments. Such a brazen act by compromised politicians. No problem having a militarized for profit scheme here at home too.

      You pointed out what drives the whole planet eating machine, Mike Martin. Just plain old grand theft larceny mixed with an Al Capone level of violence, dressed up in a pack of lies.

      • Sam F
        February 21, 2018 at 6:32 pm

        Very true.

  7. Colleen O'Brien
    February 20, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    Sad but True. If only mainstream media would report the truth of this!

  8. Anonymot
    February 20, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    I said Yes, Yes, until I got to your last paragraph. There I went stone cold. I had spent the earlier part of my evening contemplating the Democrats’ answer to the problems and questions that precede that last paragraph: wishful thinking. Such as: Let’s have a march on Washington, Let’s hate men, Let’s show that only Black Lives Matter, or Let’s neuter everyone so everyone can sleep with everyone.

    What that accomplishes in the real world is put bedrock under everyone to the right of the last right-wing Democrat who was defeated for the presidency by a two-syllable, illiterate twit.

    America has been dumbed down. The government has been taken over. The shadows on the wall really run the place. The two parties have become a facade. And though many have your thoughts, no one has a realistic proposal to how our march to a democratic fascism can be stopped nor with what it should/could be replaced.

    Wishful thinking should have gone out in the Sixties, but instead it has bloomed while our leaders blithered and gave birth to a lot of head-shaking and a few good books.

  9. Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
    February 20, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    There is no such thing as American Empire. The British Empire was a misnomer…..The real Empire is the Banking Empire owned and run by a number of known families. Since the Industrial Revolution and those families needed a military machine paid for by the people. That military machine is needed to help steal the natural resources of other people or subdue them if they get out of line………………………First it was the British and since WWII they moved it to the US…………..As long as the Americans are willing to pay for it, the banking families (Empire) will remain happy to continue exploiting them……………….

    • February 21, 2018 at 3:34 pm

      I would beg to differ. The British Empire still exists today although it is mainly a financial and information warfare empire. Yes you are right about the families but mainly these are old aristocratic European and their married in to Jr. partners in America. The empire consists of the City of London,Wall Street, The British monarchy, The Saudi Royal family and many other of there agents and subsidiaries. The members of the British monarchy still refer to the United States in private as the wayward British colony hence they have never accepted US independence or our constitution. No offense to the British people they are for the most part a warm, kind and hardworking people but are still seen as subjects by the Monarchy. Remember to British prime minister has to sware loyalty to the Queen not to the nation of Great Britain.

      • Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
        February 21, 2018 at 7:21 pm

        The families I meant are the BANKING FAMILIES……You are obviously trying to confuse the issue which makes me wonder about your intent…………….

  10. joe defiant
    February 20, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    “As even some members of the U.S. military now recognize, the mindless violence of the Military Giant serves no rational or constructive purpose, imperialist or otherwise.”

    This is complete nonsense. The violence of the military serves the interests of elites with overwhelming consistency. From creating the necessary conditions for plundering of natural resources, opening new markets for U.S. corporations to exploit, and funneling tax payer monies via “aid” to corporations and elites, all the while allowing the politicians who advance these elite interests to themselves profit greatly via revolving door jobs, speeches, and donations to their “humanitarian” foundations. How is this not rational? It is completely rational and organized and planned to be executed exactly how it does. Furthering your own wealth, power, and interests is not rational?

    • jose
      February 20, 2018 at 8:49 pm

      You do have a valid point Mr. Joe Defiant: Although some military members may think that. “mindless violence of the Military Giant serves no rational or constructive purpose, imperialist or otherwise.” It is undeniable that the military violence has served the interest of the powerful elite in a very consistent manner for centuries. Furthermore, I would submit to you that the military has shown very little remorse by being the murderous tool of elites and that more often than not; They have been happy to oblige.

      • Banger
        February 21, 2018 at 12:36 pm

        One thing that is often ignored is that wartime provides rapid promotions and lucrative employment free retirement with major corporations. So military officers have a strong interest in promoting war

      • Nancy
        February 21, 2018 at 2:05 pm

        Why would someone join the military if they didn’t support the well-known violence it inflicts upon the world? I know that some consider it to be a valid “career” compared to the options available in the civilian world, but unless they are completely clueless they have to know that the military is a killing operation, first and foremost.

    • Realist
      February 21, 2018 at 3:10 am

      You are correct, these policies are pursued for a “reason,” or as they say, “there is method to their madness.” However, the reason, which is basically pure selfishness and greed, is generally not recognised as a legitimate one by most folks who claim to be civilised or moral. If you are a self-proclaimed Nietzchean then “all would be permitted,” but that would not make you very popular here or in most other venues.

    • rosemerry
      February 21, 2018 at 4:17 pm

      Surely this is the point. The USA pretends to be a democracy and a model to us all, but the leaders are always from or controlled by the élite (look at the Froman emails to Obama before his inauguration, telling him who to appoint to his cabinet-Larry Summers et al). If the people were able to turn away from the MSM, facebook, twitter,the hopelessness of knowing that their “vote”, the one aspect of democracy the USA has, is meaningless as none of the “reps” cares at all about their welfare, then as Chris Hedges always writes, a revolution would be needed. Can you imagine this as likely? People are held down by poverty, by no job or too many, by lack of housing, healthcare, yet they are told how lucky they are to be in the best country on earth. The description of the rich few winning is obvious, but 300 million people if they believed in solidarity, would frighten even the Big Boys!!

  11. jose
    February 20, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    As I was reading this excellent article, a familiar concept came to mind: Cognitive dissonance which is the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change. A phycologist would tell you that cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. The US ruling elite knows that this worldwide ” Full Spectrum Dominance” can only be sustained by sheer brutish force; The consequences have been disastrous for US victims. When confronted with this elemental reality, the ruling elite will tell you that is American destiny to do good around the world even though the majority of the world considers US the greatest threat to piece. For instance, If a person believes that US invading Iraq is both immoral and criminal but gives full support to the invasion any way: a dissonance will be created. So to resolve it, the person could convince himself that Iraq is a dictatorship worth toppling or Iraqis are evil so they deserve what is coming to them. This reminds me when on May 12 of 1996,Lesley Stahl, speaking of US sanctions against Iraq asked Madeleine Albright: “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And—and you know, is the price worth it?” Madeleine Albright: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price—we think the price is worth it.” I rest my case.

    • irene
      February 20, 2018 at 8:55 pm

      Many people have forgotten, or did not know in the first place, that the Iraq war started long before
      the horrifying display of “Shock & Awe” over Baghdad in March of 2003. I clearly remember watching
      the jet fighter planes leaving Eielson Air Force Base enroute to Bush the Elder’s Iraq War in 1991 . . .

      And when the brief but brutal sorties were over, we simply continued the war by the ‘sanitary’ modern
      method known as Sanctions. How did that work again ? Let’s see, first we bombed Iraq’s water
      treatment plants. Then we ‘sanctioned’ the materials needed to repair them and treat the water.
      The result was the ugly Albright’s ‘hard choice’.

      • jose
        February 20, 2018 at 9:19 pm

        Dear Irene: I would add the following to your post. Regarding on to deal with Iraq, many republicans were suggesting to bomb Iraq to the stone age: On the other hand, democrats asserted that this was a barbaric conduct unworthy of US magnanimity and righteousness. So the latter recommended placing brutal and genocidal economic sanctions on Iraqis to bring about the desire result. The fact that US did not have constitutional or moral grounds to pursue both courses of actions was not debated. Many of them were church goers so I wonder how each dealt with his cognitive dissonance.

      • Tannenhouser
        February 21, 2018 at 10:57 am

        Yes papa bush turned Iraq into a live fire training exercise for at least a dozen years, then his offspring invaded once they were positive there were no remnants of the chemical weapons they provided to kill Iranians. In a sense this first attack on Iraq was WW3 as it was the ‘world’ under the guise of a UN resolution which enabled the war of aggression crime against humanity.

    • Nicolas J S Davies
      February 20, 2018 at 8:58 pm

      Another phenomenon that is related to cognitive dissonance is “normalized deviance”, which I wrote about in this article: https://consortiumnews.com/2016/08/15/us-war-crimes-or-normalized-deviance/

      • jose
        February 20, 2018 at 10:01 pm

        You are correct. Normalized deviance is very similar to cognitive dissonance. By repeating to themselves that their actions are good and noble and internalizing them deeply into their minds, I imagine these people sleep at night.

  12. mike k
    February 20, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    Well, my original response is still sitting with a moderation tag on it, so let’s try again. The article ends with the obligatory optimistic upbeat, which as usual has little reality to support it. There really is no path indicated for fixing the problems so elaborately analyzed. Our situation is actually far worse than the article indicates. The onrushing ecological disaster is not even mentioned. All this ink could be saved by simply saying, “It’s the oligarchs, stupid.” And we do not have a good plan for getting them out of the saddle. And they are riding mankind over the cliff into extinction.

    • mike k
      February 20, 2018 at 9:31 pm

      What the hell. Did someone just decide to moderate everything I contribute? Let me just say that I think that in some ways this article gives a false impression. Am I being censored for saying that?

  13. mike k
    February 20, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    There really is no path indicated for fixing the problems so elaborately analyzed. Our situation is actually far worse than the article indicates. The onrushing ecological disaster is not even mentioned. All this ink could be saved by simply saying, “It’s the oligarchs, stupid.” And we do not have a good plan for getting them out of the saddle. And they are riding mankind over the cliff into extinction.

    • mike k
      February 20, 2018 at 9:36 pm

      Mmmmmmm…….Someone or something does not like what I wrote about this article. Too bad, it was intended to provoke discussion.

    • Tannenhouser
      February 21, 2018 at 11:01 am

      A model for your ‘oligarch’ wishes exists. Putin by a lot of accounts did it in Russia.

  14. mike k
    February 20, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    Ecological disaster is not mentioned in this article.

    • mike k
      February 20, 2018 at 9:38 pm

      There is no pathway noted for coming out of our nosedive.

      • mike k
        February 20, 2018 at 9:39 pm

        So, if I put my ideas in single sentences they don’t trigger censorship?

        • mike k
          February 20, 2018 at 9:48 pm

          I need some kind of Turing test to determine if I am dealing with a machine moderator, or a human. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish, since so many humans are really robotic in their consciousness and interactions. Gurdjieff was right, we are becoming more and more like our machines. That should make it easier for machines to become more and more like ourselves. High level AI is just around the next corner. That damned Watson makes me nervous, like I was becoming expendable…….

          • Realist
            February 21, 2018 at 3:02 am

            I’ve got to the point, Mike, where I don’t think it’s url’s that trigger moderation. It almost seems like my IP address gets some quota for contributions and then the moderations start for seemingly no discernible reason.

          • Skip Scott
            February 21, 2018 at 11:32 am

            mike k and Realist-

            I too have been subjected to occasional moderation, and can see no rhyme or reason to it. I’ve had comments with links go thru, and I’ve had them moderated for hours. The only common thread is possibly that the moderated comments tended to be a little lengthier. It would be great if someone at CN could explain the policy.

  15. Jeanne
    February 20, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    We are indeed an imperial power, destructive, greedy, power hungry. Too bad the citizens are so gullible and misinformed. Thank you for your efforts.

  16. February 20, 2018 at 11:08 pm

    Nothing i disagree with in this article, but the final statement sums up the dilemma, how to get the 323 million to wake up and smell the blood in their coffee? Sam F stated the problem, the corruption is so endemic that people have just succumbed to it. It’s the classic psychological conditioning of “learned helplessness”, the subjects finally submit to the shocks. I must confess that sometimes i have thought David Icke is onto something, there are evil reptilian overlords from another dimension controlling our planet. The US has definitely gone over to the “dark side”, in the words of the demented Dick Cheney.

    • Realist
      February 21, 2018 at 2:55 am

      Really! The unjustified killing of a single human being is a crime, and even a sin if you have morals. Yet, for all of my lifetime of 70+ years, our government has wantonly killed MILLIONS for goals as gratuitous as the pursuit of foreign policy. Moreover, we all know with surety that they have many more military actions planned which are guaranteed to result in the deaths and maiming of millions more, most innocent of any offense against the United States. Just their tough luck to be “collateral damage.” What a piece of work is the United States of America, surely not the handiwork of any “loving god.” To believe that is the epitome of “double think.”

    • Sam F
      February 21, 2018 at 7:03 pm

      Indeed we have learned helplessness, first as employees and dependents of businesses rather than farmers and woodsmen, and now as dependents upon mass media and groupthink for social acceptance, with no representative in power unless we betray humanity and serve oligarchy. Some of that furious feeling of entrapment is harvested by the oligarchy warmongers for their schemes, portraying the killer of random victims as the liberator of himself. Only bread and circus stand between the oligarchy and public fury, and there may be less of that to go around when the US is isolated and defeated on all fronts by the rest of the world.

  17. February 21, 2018 at 12:02 am

    In an advanced search of the Public Library, I have found 0 books by Michael Mann and nothing comes up when I use both author and title? I will try again. Where can I read this book? I cannot afford a large sum, being from the lower end of a struggle middle class.

    • rosemerry
      February 21, 2018 at 4:23 pm

      I have the book, Verso, and probably got it from the book depository. co.uk some years ago. Postage is free so you know what is costs when you order. Good luck!

  18. rife kimler
    February 21, 2018 at 12:15 am

    youre naively optimistic: the American experiment is not going to end well for us 323 million

    • irina
      February 21, 2018 at 12:10 pm

      Dmitry Orlov strikes me as being quite prescient in that respect.

      We are FAR too smug and cozy in our creature comforts.

  19. exiled off mainstreet
    February 21, 2018 at 12:51 am

    This is a great article. There is nothing I can add, and nothing I can argue with. The fact that torture has become the modus operandi of yankee centurions and the fact they massacre first and ask questions later is not covered at all by the propaganda machine which obfuscates all of these facts.Things are pretty serious, especially since, as a result of the economic, political and ideological nakedness of the regime, it has lost any semblance of legitimacy. The latest “indictment” of individual non state actor- Russians living in Russia for internet activities which would be protected under free speech if the rule of law still obtained, appears to be the ultimate arrogation of power: that the yankee imperium can outlaw anybody anywhere who takes actions unfavourable to it. This is a more ultimate claim of power than any prior regime in history ever maintained. Sheldon Wolin’s Inverted Totalitarianism has morphed into something even more odious. The central problem, of course, is how a soft landing can be effected in light of the massive number of nukes possessed by this outlaw regime.

  20. Gary Hare
    February 21, 2018 at 1:47 am

    An analysis logically argued, and written with great clarity. I despair for my own Country, Australia, that can always be relied on, to be the fawning puppy to its US master.

  21. Realist
    February 21, 2018 at 2:42 am

    Whew! That was an exhausting read. Surely puts into perspective the enormity of America’s crimes against humanity disingenuously carried out in the name of freedom and democracy. Our military has been nothing short of a mass killing machine run rampart across the face of the globe. And, it is still not satiated. As long as there are free independent countries left on the planet who can buck our demands and whims, more mass murder will be in the offing. Only complete psychopaths or fully corrupted leaders in service to evil would try to justify such actions, yet that’s what pours forth from Washington on a daily basis. I know, pretty nebulous statements, but there have been so many atrocities perpetrated by our government, which would you have me focus upon? Maybe the most timely would be the ones they seem to have planned but not got round to yet in Ukraine, Iran, North Korea, Russia, China? If we wait for them to happen, we will really have precious little time to discuss them as they will surely escalate to nuclear. My Iranian neighbor told me this evening that he is absolutely convinced that 2018 will be the end of history, as he knows Israel will very soon start WWIII. What can I tell him? That Israel has the best of motives? Or, don’t judge the Jewish state? Or that Washington will back this coming Armageddon to the hilt?

    • Dave P.
      February 21, 2018 at 4:49 am

      Realist – . Yes. It is a great article. Exhausting read as you said; as it covered a lot of ground and laid bare the nature and the doings of “The Empire”. And as always your excellent comments.

  22. Piet Snoeks
    February 21, 2018 at 2:59 am

    What a brilliant essay.

  23. michael crockett
    February 21, 2018 at 3:03 am

    Great article Mr. Davies. In America corruption is King. No wonder democracy keeps getting a beat down. If we could just pull democracy out of the gutter and clean her up a little bit, maybe we can get some change. Jessie Ventura said he would never have been elected if he had not been seen on the televised debates. When the people of Minnesota heard what he had to say, he got elected as Governor. This is one way forward. Once upon a time the League of Women Voters set up and moderated the Presidential Debates. They had the power to decide who would be allowed onto the stage. Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum had a fit and threw out the LWV. They then sat down with a large beverage company and wrote a new set of rules which has now made it almost impossible for independent candidates to get into the debates. We the people need to take back control of the debate process. In addition, we have to go with paper ballots. Voting machines and servers can easily be hacked. I say this because of my belief that forces in the deep state, not the Russians, hacked into voting machines in many states during the Democratic Primary, and were subsequently able to change Sanders votes to Clinton votes. Look at the difference between the exit poles and the actual vote. In state after state that difference is greater than 2%. This indicates voter fraud.

  24. judgeknot
    February 21, 2018 at 3:31 am

    We’re either with GEORGE BUSH JR. and his heroin dealing dad, or we are with God & Government.

    • geeyp
      February 21, 2018 at 5:04 am

      Those two traitors were heavily involved in the two worst criminal acts against the United States in the last 55 years. I have no mercy towards them. NO MERCY. None.

  25. godenich
    February 21, 2018 at 8:15 am

    The shock & awe phoenix of the Military Giant, the jackals following the Economic Back Seat Driver, the weapons of mass instruction of Political Schizophrenia and the mighty Wurltizer of the Ideological Phantom makes a gruesome figure. The quintessential question may be, “How do you stop such a monster?!”.

    Taking wisdom, justice, courage and temperance into consideration, carefully, calmly, gradually and quietly turn down the money spigot with a decentralized form of apt tax[1-3] with limited inheritance(or some better idea) to tame this leviathan welfare-warfare state that is being fueled by a fiendish, Frankenstein, financial Treasury-IMS-Wall-Street-Corporate market manipulation & speculation combine (elsewhere as appropriate)[4]. The undesirable alternative may conceivably be that the constant fearmongering, demonizing, debt and future tax liabilities being heaped on the public conjures up mass quantities of torches, pitchforks, tar, feathers and splintered rails.

    [1] Alternative Proposals Reform, May 11 2005 | Video | C-SPAN (second 5-minute speaker)
    [2] Taxation for the 21ST Century: The Automated Payment Transaction (APT) Tax | SSRN
    [3] APT Tax | Youtube
    [4] US Watchdog | Youtube

  26. February 21, 2018 at 10:54 am


  27. Bob Van Noy
    February 21, 2018 at 11:10 am

    I like to bring Imperialist discussion down from the heights of government theory such as R2P, to the individual soldier, especially those infantry men and women who must confront each other “eye to eye” because that is where the individual decision must be made to kill or be killed, and the theory about why you’ve been placed in that circumstance is likely not considered.

    I had a personal awakening while photographing the “Old North Bridge” in Concord, Massachusetts. There is a small monument by the side of the bridge that is barely noticeable and as a photographer, I’ve learned to notice such things. I was surprised when I realized that it was a British Monument, not American, it read:

    Grave of British Soldiers
    “They came three thousand miles, and died,
    To keep the Past upon its throne:

    Unheard, beyond the ocean tide,
    Their English mother made her moan.”
    April 19, 1775

    American Politicians have now made the same mistake of sending their soldiers into multiple foreign populations, ill equipped in language and purpose to win. It always was a fools errand.


    • Joe Tedesky
      February 21, 2018 at 1:10 pm

      Great comment Bob, it makes a person think. Joe

    • Sam F
      February 21, 2018 at 1:50 pm

      That reminds one of the many lost in the Graveyard of Empires, from which only one British soldier returned from their first invasion. They had been fearful that Russia would invade Afghanistan, which it did not, even after their defeat. They did not have any specific goals there, just alleged defense operations. But the lesson did not stop their imperialist masters from further invasions, every other generation interestingly, each larger and longer and unsuccessful, until WWI and WWII distracted them. Kipling wrote both accolades and warnings of imperialism, including a poem about the one who survived the first invasion.

  28. February 21, 2018 at 11:23 am

    A masterpiece in truth-telling. Thank you..

  29. Unfettered Fire
    February 21, 2018 at 11:55 am

    “The Trilateral Commission is intended to be the vehicle for multinational consolidation of the commercial and banking interests by seizing control of the political government of the United States. The Trilateral Commission represents a skillful, coordinated effort to seize control and consolidate the four centers of power political, monetary, intellectual and ecclesiastical. What the Trilateral Commission intends is to create a worldwide economic power superior to the political governments of the nation-states involved. As managers and creators of the system, they will rule the future.” – U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater in his l979 book, With No Apologies.

    Neoliberalism, at last, has failed. Even Ben Bernanke had to admit that “Monetary policy is not a panacea.” The nation-state is still valuable. It is necessary to have an institution that will protect society from predatory capitalism. The dramatic increase in violence is a direct result of the 40 years of neoliberal dictate, which has shredded the social fabric of America and much of the world.

    Global banks are global in health and national in death. ~ Mervyn King

  30. Banger
    February 21, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Very fine essay and many excellent comments here. Meanwhile people who share our insights have been totally marginalized in this society. Yet, thus analysis goes back to the sixties and we still are marginalized. The reason is as simple as it was then. We must organize into a community that could easily become a major power block in this society. I’m guessing our views represent from one to five percent of the population. If we organized as a disciplined community of, say, ten thousand then millions would follow. I’ve been talking about this for 50 years and there has been little action because whether you are on our side or any side we are all, from a cultural perspective narcissists. Ego us as much a currency as money and has moved all of us away from community-mindedness. This is why there can never be major political change in thus country unless the underlying social morality (or lack thereof) changes dramatically the only hope for change can only happen from top down.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 21, 2018 at 1:19 pm

      Hey Banger waiting 50 years for something good to happen, I hear ya, but should we ask to what the next generation will wait 50 years for? Well I wil tell you, paying down the National Debt, that’s what will be the task for the next generation, as we leave our grandchildren and great grandchildren a debt that will never get paid down. Why? Because how we will pay down a debt that at this moment is 20 trillion dollars, and moving up ever swiftly by the day. Besides that how will the MIC & Wall Street get paid for all of their worthless wars when we would at the same time be paying down the National Debt? We won’t pay down the debt it will consume America into property, and to add to that when China finally calls in it’s loan markers, well then the U.S. will be finished, but to it’s benefit the U.S. will have the largest military the world has ever seen, and no money for bullets.

    • Dave P.
      February 21, 2018 at 2:52 pm

      Banger –

      ” We must organize into a community that could easily become a major power block in this society. I’m guessing our views represent from one to five percent of the population.”

      Yes. An excellent idea. I have often thought about it. There are many organizations and blocks of people who are aware like the one on CN. There are your Veterans for Peace, Libertarians, Black Agenda Report group , Greens, . . . and many other such groups. laying aside the differences which divides these groups, they should all get together and plan a march in Washington this Fall against the Ruling Oligarchy and their Wars. This goal to save humanity and bring peace on Earth is common to all the groups.

      Lot of people among us will participate. It is time these ideas should be executed.

      • E. Leete
        February 21, 2018 at 6:29 pm

        October 20 and 21 – Women’s March on the Pentagon – being organized right now by Cindy Sheehan – Black Agenda Report is on board – facebook page is up and running – good article about it by whitney webb at mint press news

        • Sam F
          February 21, 2018 at 7:12 pm

          Perhaps men are excluded so the War Dept. dares not “defend” itself with violence.
          Then later a more general march, carefully keeping DOD provocateurs in isolation.

          • E. Leete
            February 21, 2018 at 7:55 pm

            everyone is welcome, Sam F – only requirement is you have to give a sh!t – and the idea that our dept of warmaking wouldn’t hurt women and children is…is…oh what is the word I’m looking for…

  31. Onyx
    February 21, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    This article is a long winded attempt to explain why we (the US) always fails in our noble pursuits.

    “In the intervening 15 years, U.S. policy failures have resulted in ever-spreading violence and chaos that affect hundreds of millions of people in at least a dozen countries. The U.S. has utterly failed to bring any of its neo-imperial wars to a stable or peaceful end. And yet the U.S. imperial project sails on, seemingly blind to its consistently catastrophic results.”

    I say this by design and the outcomes are exactly as desired. They are not failures in the eyes of the powerful.

    There are two things we can do with our power. 1) use it to compete with our competitors 2) use it to destroy or stymie or competitors. The powers that be in the US have long chosen the later. Divide and conquer is the game we’ve been play for my entire life. Death, destruction and chaos have been rained own on the middle east for 60 years because of its geographical relevance. It sits geographically between all of our current and potential competitors. If it can be kept in chaos we win because all the other powers alone cannot defend themselves. Together they can. So now we are threatening nuclear war with Russia in order to scare them into submitting their sovereignty and dropping their cooperation with China and others.

    We need to give up the psychopathic ideal of a mono-polar world and join Russia, China, the EU, Africa, India,… in a multi-polar world where everyone’s interested are negotiated instead of dictated by the one most capable of resorting to might makes right.

    • rosemerry
      February 21, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      There are two things we can do with our power. 1) use it to compete with our competitors 2) use it to destroy or stymie or competitors. This is exactly the no-win ( or as Trump would say, loser) strategy that ignores the possibility of peace or cooperation.
      The 323 million have plenty of work to do!

  32. evelync
    February 21, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    Thanks to Mr. Davies for a fine article, including his link to the delusional Major (P) Ralph Peters’ article: “Constant Conflict”:http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article3011.htm
    Major Peters’ rapture over our Darwinian PAC MAN ravaging of those victims he delights in calling the “uninformed” around the world and here at home, reveals a deep ignorance of economics and finance, IMO. (Are these “uninformed” the cousins of Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables”?)

    And thanks to Mike Martin and others for reminding us that it’s the oligarchs who write policy for their own greed.
    Former Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Paul Volker, when asked about the impact of the gigantic banks a few years ago – I think it was after the 2008-2009 big crash – he said that over the last 30 years the only useful innovation he was aware of that was produced by the big banks was the ATM machine. Say what????????

    The Oligarchs that Jimmy Carter refers to have taken over policy decisions within the Congress and the White House.
    Endless regime change wars and financial deregulation have looted wealth abroad and now here at home. Our Secretary of the Treasury, Mnuchin, became fabulously wealthy, foreclosing on millions of homeowners who were set up by unscrupulous banksters who misled them with teaser rates and delayed mortgage debt pile ons. http://wallstreetonparade.com
    The Oligarchs have succeeded in becoming our largest “socialist institution” – Eisenhower’s “MIC.
    As Andrew Bacevich says – our regime change war policies have created a mess and will continue doing so. Then why continue? The profiteers run our government.

  33. Zenobia van Dongen
    February 21, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    You Americans will never stop contemplating your own imperial navel, even as it slips into oblivion. In Latin America, Usimp‘s traditional stomping ground, US imperialism is being eclipsed by Chinese imperialism, which to nobody‘s surprise is every bit as ruthless as the US variety. This is an article (in Spanish) about how the indigenouses and sundry others are getting ripped off by China.
    Inversiones chinas en América Latina fuera de control, CIVICUS, 12 February 2018

    • E. Leete
      February 21, 2018 at 6:48 pm

      doesn’t matter what country they come from – wealthpower giants DO what wealthpower giants DO. as the author and everyone here appear to already know, militarism and imperialism are genosadistic projects of psychopathic wealthpower giants. Money is power. overpower/underpower = tyranny/slavery. always. see history. Humans are too dangerous a species to be allowed to have unlimited fortunes, which are extreme injustice. no justice no peace. wealthpower giants can’t even see the ants they crush. Can’t get rid of wealthpower giants by chopping off the heads of the current ones – next ones are waiting in the wings. always. only way out of the nightmare is to wake everyone up to what the nightmare is: the terrible idea to allow unlimited fortunes on planet earth. everything else is static and noise.

    • evelync
      February 21, 2018 at 9:23 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that Zenobia – I’d like to learn more about this.
      It’s shocking that your people and the environment? are under siege, yet again…..

      What countries are involved and 2hats going on, please?
      Unfortunately I was unable to access the page.

      However I googled open democracy and found several articles on this:

      This, above, is one example.

      Thank you.

  34. rosemerry
    February 21, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    Thanks to Nicolas Davies for the stimulating and thoughtful article, as have been his previous contributions.

  35. ToivoS
    February 21, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    The term incoherence came to my mind when trying to figure out Obama’s foreign policy towards Libya and Syria, especially after Kerry became SoS. I get it that many here are arguing that these policies are rational if one accepts that there is deep state whose interests they serve is a plutocracy who are only interested in looting the American people and that “American interests” is just a political smoke screen that allows them in doing so. I don’t really accept that.

    I think that people like Obama, Kerry and even Hillary believe they were serving American national interests. Even idiots like Samantha Power and Anne-Marie Slaughter likely believed that they were serving our national interests. If so, then we have to conclude, using the parsimony principle, that the US is being led by some serious incompetents. That is the scary part. If these fools had any understanding that the ultimate stakes for their folly is the possibility of nuclear war then perhaps a little “coherence” or rational thought might begin to guide them.

  36. John Neal Spangler
    February 21, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    The author’s book on the Iraq War is very good and well worth reading.

  37. Joe Tedesky
    February 22, 2018 at 12:21 am

    We Americans have no conscience. We Americans need to step of outside of ourselves, and re-examine to what kind of society we have become.

    We Americans need to abandon our colonialism, after all wasn’t that what our Revolutionary War was all about? We Americans must tell our generals to quit studying to how we could have won the Vietnam War, and rather to how we could avoid such disasters. We Americans need to ask Madeline Albright, for why should America have the world’s most sophisticated State Department if we are not going to use it.

    We Americans need to change our society, but instead of a revolution using bullets we will work from within using a pen, and keep what’s good of our government, and throw to the wind the bad.

  38. mrtmbrnmn
    February 22, 2018 at 1:29 am

    Do the math: Arrogance of Himalayan proportions + pathological dishonesty + systemic corruption + brain-rotting hypocrisy + soul corroding amorality + zillion$ for war-mongering + no bottom to stupid = RogueNationUSA !

  39. February 22, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    It is a rare occurrence when words and their accompanying messages seem to come through one’s computer screen and slap you squarely in the face. Mr. Davies’ astonishingly powerful writing is precisely the form necessary to shake humanity from its slumber and act decisively to prevent world war. This surely represents Consortium News at its absolute finest.

  40. Delia Ruhe
    February 22, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    “[U.S. civilian and military leaders] never hold themselves or each other accountable for their catastrophic failures or the carnage and human misery they inflict.”

    When you observe the USA from a perch beyond its borders, as I do, north of 49, it can take your breath away to read an American writer who can state the problem so succinctly. While foreigners see it clearly, Americans in large numbers doubt it. Anyone who doubts it should read Rebecca Gordon’s ‘American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for Post-9/11 War Crimes’ (2016), just one of several books I have read on the subject of “the carnage and human misery” Washington, Seat of Empire, so generously spreads around the globe. And “Post-9/11” is just the most recent period—the current period—in which American war crimes were and are still being committed.

    Obama is too often overlooked by critics of imperial America as complicit in its war crimes, yet it’s his administration that shirked its responsibility by expressing the desire to just forget them and “move on.” He even refused to release the 700-page report on the years’-long study of torture, which the American taxpayer bankrolled. I guess he and his administration had too much work to do paying off banksters big time for trashing the American economy, almost sinking the global economy, and shoring up Wall Street’s impunity. Indeed, Obama watched over the process whereby American financial institutions grew even bigger and thus even less likely to be held accountable for any future crashes into which voracious greed leads them. There are several good books on the subject; I won’t bother you with titles, as your Amazon will be only too happy to lead you to pages and pages of them if you search their collection under “too big to fail.”

    Davies also notes that one of Washington’s favourite ways of avoiding its complicity is to “endlessly repackage the same old war propaganda to justify record military budgets and threaten new wars.” Count Russiagate as Exhibit A. Rather than impeach Trump under any one or several of the countless “crimes and misdemeanors” he’s already guilty of, let’s concoct a story of treason and really do a number on him—and kill two birds with this stone by justifying yet another hike in the military budget bigger than Russia’s entire military budget.

    None of this can be stopped now, as it’s all part of the decline and fall of the American empire, but Americans in manageable groups need to be preparing for survival. Start by buckling your seat belts and bracing for impact.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 22, 2018 at 8:47 pm

      I think I understand most of what you are saying Delia Ruhe as I’m putting your suggested book to read the Gordon one on my next book to purchase, but I have a question; Do you think the Chinese will cause a Dollar collapse ending the Petro Dollar?

  41. Abby
    February 22, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    The US inflicts sanctions on people so they will overthrow their government? How are they supposed to be able to do that? The US inflicts sanctions on its own citizens and we don’t have the guts to overthrow our government.

    The people who agree to sanction other countries know that they only hurt the little people, but they do it anyway. As Albright said, “it’s worth it.” Only to sociopaths, Madeline.

  42. February 28, 2018 at 8:57 am

    I can only say that every word is exactly right, so than you.

Comments are closed.