The World Will Not Mourn the Decline of U.S. Hegemony

Commentators on both right and left bemoan the decline of American global power under Donald Trump, but is that such a bad thing? asks Paul Street in this commentary.

By Paul Street

There are good reasons to bemoan the presence of the childish, racist, sexist and ecocidal, right-wing plutocrat Donald Trump in the White House. One complaint about Trump that should be held at arm’s-length by anyone on the left, however, is the charge that Trump is contributing to the decline of U.S. global power—to the erosion of the United States’ superpower status and the emergence of a more multipolar world.

This criticism of Trump comes from different elite corners. Last October, the leading neoconservative foreign policy intellectual and former George W. Bush administration adviser Eliot Cohen wrote an Atlantic magazine essay titled “How Trump Is Ending the American Era.” Cohen recounted numerous ways in which Trump had reduced “America’s standing and ability to influence global affairs.” He worried that Trump’s presidency would leave “America’s position in the world stunted” and an “America lacking confidence” on the global stage.

But it isn’t just the right wing that writes and speaks in such terms about how Trump is contributing to the decline of U.S. hegemony. A recent Time magazine reflection by the liberal commentator Karl Vick (who wrote in strongly supportive terms about the giant January 2017 Women’s March against Trump) frets that that Trump’s “America First” and authoritarian views have the world “looking for leadership elsewhere.”

Could this be it?” Vick asks. “Might the American Century actually clock out at just 72 years, from 1945 to 2017? No longer than Louis XIV ruled France? Only 36 months more than the Soviet Union lasted, after all that bother?”

I recently reviewed a manuscript on the rise of Trump written by a left-liberal American sociologist. Near the end of this forthcoming and mostly excellent and instructive volume, the author finds it “worrisome” that other nations see the U.S. “abdicating its role as the world’s leading policeman” under Trump—and that, “given what we have seen so far from the [Trump] administration, U.S. hegemony appears to be on shakier ground than it has been in a long time.”

I’ll leave aside the matter of whether Trump is, in fact, speeding the decline of U.S. global power (he undoubtedly is) and how he’s doing that, to focus instead on a very different question: What would be so awful about the end of “the American Era”—the seven-plus decades of U.S. global economic and related military supremacy between 1945 and the present? Why should the world mourn the “premature” end of the “American Century”?

What Would the Rest of the World Say?

It would be interesting to see a reliable opinion poll on how the politically cognizant portion of the 94 percent of humanity that lives outside the U.S. would feel about the end of U.S. global dominance. My guess is that Uncle Sam’s weakening would be just fine with most Earth residents who pay attention to world events.

According to a global survey of 66,000 people conducted across 68 countries by the Worldwide Independent Network of Market Research (WINMR) and Gallup International at the end of 2013, Earth’s people see the United States as the leading threat to peace on the planet. The U.S. was voted top threat by a wide margin.

There is nothing surprising about that vote for anyone who honestly examines the history of “U.S. foreign affairs,” to use a common elite euphemism for American imperialism. Still, by far and away world history’s most extensive empire, the U.S. has at least 800 military bases spread across more than 80 foreign countries and “troops or other military personnel in about 160 foreign countries and territories.” The U.S. accounts for more than 40 percent of the planet’s military spending and has more than 5,500 strategic nuclear weapons, enough to blow the world up 5 to 50 times over. Last year it increased its “defense” (military empire) spending, which was already three times higher than China’s, and nine times higher than Russia’s.

Think it’s all in place to ensure peace and democracy the world over, in accord with the standard boilerplate rhetoric of U.S. presidents, diplomats and senators?

Do you know any other good jokes?

Pentagon study released last summer laments the emergence of a planet on which the U.S. no longer controls events. Titled “At Our Own Peril: DoD Risk Assessment in a Post-Primary World,” the study warns that competing powers “seek a new distribution of power and authority commensurate with their emergence as legitimate rivals to U.S. dominance” in an increasingly multipolar world. China, Russia and smaller players like Iran and North Korea have dared to “engage,” the Pentagon study reports, “in a deliberate program to demonstrate the limits of U.S. authority, reach influence and impact.” What chutzpah! This is a problem, the report argues, because the endangered U.S.-managed world order was “favorable” to the interests of U.S. and allied U.S. states and U.S.-based transnational corporations.

Any serious efforts to redesign the international status quo so that it favors any other states or people is portrayed in the report as a threat to U.S. interests. To prevent any terrible drifts of the world system away from U.S. control, the report argues, the U.S. and its imperial partners (chiefly its European NATO partners) must maintain and expand “unimpeded access to the air, sea, space, cyberspace, and the electromagnetic spectrum in order to underwrite their security and prosperity.” The report recommends a significant expansion of U.S. military power. The U.S. must maintain “military advantage” over all other states and actors to “preserve maximum freedom of action” and thereby “allow U.S. decision-makers the opportunity to dictate or hold significant sway over outcomes in international disputes,” with the “implied promise of unacceptable consequences” for those who defy U.S. wishes.

America First” is an understatement here. The underlying premise is that Uncle Sam owns the world and reserves the right to bomb the hell out of anyone who doesn’t agree with that (to quote President George H.W. Bush after the first Gulf War in 1991: “What we say goes.”

Investment Not Democracy

It’s nothing new. From the start, the “American Century” had nothing to do with advancing democracy. As numerous key U.S. planning documents reveal over and over, the goal of that policy was to maintain and, if necessary, install governments that “favor[ed] private investment of domestic and foreign capital, production for export, and the right to bring profits out of the country,” according to Noam Chomsky. Given the United States’ remarkable possession of half the world’s capital after World War II, Washington elites had no doubt that U.S. investors and corporations would profit the most. Internally, the basic selfish national and imperial objectives were openly and candidly discussed. As the “liberal” and “dovish” imperialist, top State Department planner, and key Cold War architect George F. Kennan explained in “Policy Planning Study 23,” a critical 1948 document:

We have about 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of its population. … In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity. … To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. … We should cease to talk about vague and … unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.

Kennan: Stop talking about human rights and democracy.

The harsh necessity of abandoning “human rights” and other “sentimental” and “unreal objectives” was especially pressing in the global South, what used to be known as the Third World. Washington assigned the vast “undeveloped” periphery of the world capitalist system—Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia and the energy-rich and thus strategically hyper-significant Middle East—a less than flattering role. It was to “fulfill its major function as a source of raw materials and a market” (actual State Department language) for the great industrial (capitalist) nations (excluding socialist Russia and its satellites, and notwithstanding the recent epic racist-fascist rampages of industrial Germany and Japan). It was to be exploited both for the benefit of U.S. corporations/investors and for the reconstruction of Europe and Japan as prosperous U.S. trading and investment partners organized on capitalist principles and hostile to the Soviet bloc.

Democracy” was fine as a slogan and benevolent, idealistic-sounding mission statement when it came to marketing this imperialist U.S. policy at home and abroad. Since most people in the “third” or “developing” world had no interest in neocolonial subordination to the rich nations and subscribed to what U.S. intelligence officials considered the heretical “idea that government has direct responsibility for the welfare of its people” (what U.S. planners called “communism”), Washington’s real-life commitment to popular governance abroad was strictly qualified, to say the least.

Democracy” was suitable to the U.S. as long as its outcomes comported with the interests of U.S. investors/corporations and related U.S. geopolitical objectives. Democracy had to be abandoned, undermined and/or crushed when it threatened those investors/corporations and the broader imperatives of business rule to any significant degree. As President Richard Nixon’s coldblooded national security adviser Henry Kissinger explained in June 1970, three years before the U.S. sponsored a bloody fascist coup that overthrew Chile’s democratically elected socialist president, Salvador Allende: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people.”

The U.S.-sponsored coup government that murdered Allende would kill tens of thousands of real and alleged leftists with Washington’s approval. The Yankee superpower sent some of its leading neoliberal economists and policy advisers to help the blood-soaked Pinochet regime turn Chile into a “free market” model and to help Chile write capitalist oligarchy into its national constitution.

Since 1945, by deed and by example,” the great Australian author, commentator and filmmaker John Pilger wrote nearly nine years ago, “the U.S. has overthrown 50 governments, including democracies, crushed some 30 liberation movements and supported tyrannies from Egypt to Guatemala (see William Blum’s histories). Bombing is apple pie.” Along the way, Washington has crassly interfered in elections in dozens of “sovereign” nations, something curious to note in light of current liberal U.S. outrage over real or alleged Russian interference in “our” supposedly democratic electoral process in 2016. Uncle Sam also has bombed civilians in 30 countries, attempted to assassinate foreign leaders and deployed chemical and biological weapons.

If we “consider only Latin America since the 1950s,” writes the sociologist Howard Waitzkin:

[T]he United States has used direct military invasion or has supported military coups to overthrow elected governments in Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Haiti, Grenada, and Panama. In addition, the United States has intervened with military action to suppress revolutionary movements in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Bolivia. More recently … the United States has spent tax dollars to finance and help organize opposition groups and media in Honduras, Paraguay, and Brazil, leading to congressional impeachments of democratically elected presidents. Hillary Clinton presided over these efforts as Secretary of State in the Obama administration, which pursued the same pattern of destabilization in Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia.

Death Count: In the Millions

The death count resulting from “American Era” U.S. foreign policy runs well into the many millions, including possibly as many as 5 million Indochinese killed by Uncle Sam and his agents and allies between 1962 and 1975. The flat-out barbarism of the American war on Vietnam is widely documented on record. The infamous My Lai massacre of March 16, 1968, when U.S. Army soldiers slaughtered more than 350 unarmed civilians—including terrified women holding babies in their arms—in South Vietnam was no isolated incident in the U.S. “crucifixion of Southeast Asia” (Noam Chomsky’s phrase at the time). U.S. Army Col. Oran Henderson, who was charged with covering up the massacre, candidly told reporters that “every unit of brigade size has its My Lai hidden somewhere.”

My Lai (Photo: U. S. Army photographer Ronald L. Haeberle)

It is difficult, sometimes, to wrap one’s mind around the extent of the savagery the U.S. has unleashed on the world to advance and maintain its global supremacy. In the early 1950s, the Harry Truman administration responded to an early challenge to U.S. power in Northern Korea with a practically genocidal three-year bombing campaign that was described in soul-numbing terms by the Washington Post years ago:

The bombing was long, leisurely and merciless, even by the assessment of America’s own leaders. ‘Over a period of three years or so, we killed off—what—20 percent of the population,’ Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay, head of the Strategic Air Command during the Korean War, told the Office of Air Force History in 1984. Dean Rusk, a supporter of the war and later Secretary of State, said the United States bombed ‘everything that moved in North Korea, every brick standing on top of another.’ After running low on urban targets, U.S. bombers destroyed hydroelectric and irrigation dams in the later stages of the war, flooding farmland and destroying crops … [T]he U.S. dropped 635,000 tons of explosives on North Korea, including 32,557 tons of napalm, an incendiary liquid that can clear forested areas and cause devastating burns to human skin.

Gee, why does North Korea fear and hate us?

This ferocious bombardment, which killed 2 million or more civilians, began five years after Truman arch-criminally and unnecessarily ordered the atom bombing of hundreds of thousands pf civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki to warn the Soviet Union to stay out of Japan and Western Europe.

Some benevolent “world policeman.”

The ferocity of U.S. foreign policy in the “America Era” did not always require direct U.S. military intervention. Take Indonesia and Chile, for two examples from the “Golden Age” height of the “American Century.” In Indonesia, the U.S.-backed dictator Suharto killed millions of his subjects, targeting communist sympathizers, ethnic Chinese and alleged leftists. A senior CIA operations officer in the 1960s later described Suharto’s 1965-66 U.S.-assisted coup as s “the model operation” for the U.S.-backed coup that eliminated the democratically elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende, seven years later. “The CIA forged a document purporting to reveal a leftist plot to murder Chilean military leaders,” the officer wrote, “[just like] what happened in Indonesia in 1965.”

As Pilger noted 10 years ago, “the U.S. embassy in Jakarta supplied Suharto with a ‘zap list’ of Indonesian Communist party members and crossed off the names when they were killed or captured. … The deal was that Indonesia under Suharto would offer up what Richard Nixon had called ‘the richest hoard of natural resources, the greatest prize in south-east Asia.’ ”

No single American action in the period after 1945,” wrote the historian Gabriel Kolko, “was as bloodthirsty as its role in Indonesia, for it tried to initiate [Suharto’s] massacre.”

Two years and three months after the Chilean coup, Suharto received a green light from Kissinger and the Gerald Ford White House to invade the small island nation of East Timor. With Washington’s approval and backing, Indonesia carried out genocidal massacres and mass rapes and killed at least 100,000 of the island’s residents.

Mideast Savagery

Among the countless episodes of mass-murderous U.S. savagery in the oil-rich Middle East over the last generation, few can match for the barbarous ferocity of the “Highway of Death,” where the “global policeman’s” forces massacred tens of thousands of surrendered Iraqi troops retreating from Kuwait on Feb. 26 and 27, 1991. Journalist Joyce Chediac testified that:

U.S. planes trapped the long convoys by disabling vehicles in the front, and at the rear, and then pounded the resulting traffic jams for hours. ‘It was like shooting fish in a barrel,’ said one U.S. pilot. On the sixty miles of coastal highway, Iraqi military units sit in gruesome repose, scorched skeletons of vehicles and men alike, black and awful under the sun … for 60 miles every vehicle was strafed or bombed, every windshield is shattered, every tank is burned, every truck is riddled with shell fragments. No survivors are known or likely. … ‘Even in Vietnam I didn’t see anything like this. It’s pathetic,’ said Major Bob Nugent, an Army intelligence officer. … U.S. pilots took whatever bombs happened to be close to the flight deck, from cluster bombs to 500-pound bombs. … U.S. forces continued to drop bombs on the convoys until all humans were killed. So many jets swarmed over the inland road that it created an aerial traffic jam, and combat air controllers feared midair collisions. … The victims were not offering resistance. … [I]t was simply a one-sided massacre of tens of thousands of people who had no ability to fight back or defend.

The Highway of Death

The victims’ crime was having been conscripted into an army controlled by a dictator perceived as a threat to U.S. control of Middle Eastern oil. President George H.W. Bush welcomed the so-called Persian Gulf War as an opportunity to demonstrate America’s unrivaled power and new freedom of action in the post-Cold War world, where the Soviet Union could no longer deter Washington. Bush also heralded the “war” (really a one-sided imperial assault) as marking the end of the “Vietnam Syndrome,” the reigning political culture’s curious term for U.S. citizens’ reluctance to commit U.S. troops to murderous imperial mayhem.

As Chomsky observed in 1992, reflecting on U.S. efforts to maximize suffering in Vietnam by blocking economic and humanitarian assistance to the nation it had devastated: “No degree of cruelty is too great for Washington sadists.”

But Uncle Sam was only getting warmed up building his Iraqi body count in early 1991. Five years later, Bill Clinton’s U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright told CBS News’ Leslie Stahl that the death of 500,000 Iraqi children due to U.S.-led economic sanctions imposed after the first “Persian Gulf War” (a curious term for a one-sided U.S. assault) was a “price … worth paying” for the advancement of inherently noble U.S. goals.

The United States,” Secretary Albright explained three years later, “is good. We try to do our best everywhere.”

In the years following the collapse of the counter-hegemonic Soviet empire, however, American neoliberal intellectuals like Thomas Friedman—an advocate of the criminal U.S. bombing of Serbia—felt free to openly state that the real purpose of U.S. foreign policy was to underwrite the profits of U.S.-centered global capitalism. “The hidden hand of the market,” Friedman famously wrote in The New York Times Magazine in March 1999, as U.S. bombs and missiles exploded in Serbia, “will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.”

In a foreign policy speech Sen. Barack Obama gave to the Chicago Council of Global Affairs on the eve of announcing his candidacy for the U.S. presidency in the fall of 2006, Obama had the audacity to say the following in support of his claim that U.S. citizens supported “victory” in Iraq: “The American people have been extraordinarily resolved. They have seen their sons and daughters killed or wounded in the streets of Fallujah.”

It was a spine-chilling selection of locales. In 2004, the ill-fated city was the site of colossal U.S. war atrocities, crimes including the indiscriminate murder of thousands of civilians, the targeting even of ambulances and hospitals, and the practical leveling of an entire city by the U.S. military in April and November. By one account, “Incoherent Empire,” Michael Mann wrote:

The U.S. launched two bursts of ferocious assault on the city, in April and November of 2004 … [using] devastating firepower from a distance which minimizes U.S. casualties. In April … military commanders claimed to have precisely targeted … insurgent forces, yet the local hospitals reported that many or most of the casualties were civilians, often women, children, and the elderly… [reflecting an] intention to kill civilians generally. … In November … [U.S.] aerial assault destroyed the only hospital in insurgent territory to ensure that this time no one would be able to document civilian casualties. U.S. forces then went through the city, virtually destroying it. Afterwards, Fallujah looked like the city of Grozny in Chechnya after Putin’s Russian troops had razed it to the ground.

The “global policeman’s” deployment of radioactive ordnance (depleted uranium) in Fallujah created an epidemic of infant mortality, birth defects, leukemia and cancer there.


Fallujah was just one especially graphic episode in a broader arch-criminal invasion that led to the premature deaths of at least 1 million Iraqi civilians and left Iraq as what Tom Engelhardt called “a disaster zone on a catastrophic scale hard to match in recent memory.” It reflected the same callous mindset behind the Pentagon’s early computer program name for ordinary Iraqis certain to be killed in the 2003 invasion: “bug-splat.” America’s petro-imperial occupation led to the death of as many as one million Iraqi “bugs” (human beings). According to the respected journalist Nir Rosen in December 2007, “Iraq has been killed. … [T]he American occupation has been more disastrous than that of the Mongols who sacked Baghdad in the thirteenth century.”

The US Marine Corps bombarding Fallujah with a M-198 155mm Howitzer. (Photo: Wikipedia)

As the Senate is poised to confirm an alleged torturer as CIA director it is important to remember that along with death in Iraq came ruthless and racist torture. In an essay titled “I Helped Create ISIS,” Vincent Emanuele, a former U.S. Marine, recalled his enlistment in an operation that gave him nightmares more than a decade later:

I think about the hundreds of prisoners we took captive and tortured in makeshift detention facilities. … I vividly remember the marines telling me about punching, slapping, kicking, elbowing, kneeing and head-butting Iraqis. I remember the tales of sexual torture: forcing Iraqi men to perform sexual acts on each other while marines held knives against their testicles, sometimes sodomizing them with batons. … [T]hose of us in infantry units … round[ed] up Iraqis during night raids, zip-tying their hands, black-bagging their heads and throwing them in the back of HUMVEEs and trucks while their wives and kids collapsed to their knees and wailed. … Some of them would hold hands while marines would butt-stroke the prisoners in the face. … [W]hen they were released, we would drive them from the FOB (Forward Operating Base) to the middle of the desert and release them several miles from their homes. … After we cut their zip-ties and took the black bags off their heads, several of our more deranged marines would fire rounds from their AR-15s into their air or ground, scaring the recently released captives. Always for laughs. Most Iraqis would run, still crying from their long ordeal.

The award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh told the ACLU about the existence of classified Pentagon evidence files containing films of U.S-“global policeman” soldiers sodomizing Iraqi boys in front of their mothers behind the walls of the notorious Abu Ghraib prison. “You haven’t begun to see [all the] … evil, horrible things done [by U.S. soldiers] to children of women prisoners, as the cameras run,” Hersh told an audience in Chicago in the summer of 2014.

It isn’t just Iraq where Washington has wreaked sheer mass murderous havoc in the Middle East, always a region of prime strategic significance to the U.S. thanks to its massive petroleum resources. In a recent Truthdig reflection on Syria, historian Dan Lazare reminds us that:

[Syrian President Assad’s] Baathist crimes pale in comparison to those of the U.S., which since the 1970s has invested trillions in militarizing the Persian Gulf and arming the ultra-reactionary petro-monarchies that are now tearing the region apart. The U.S. has provided Saudi Arabia with crucial assistance in its war on Yemen, it has cheered on the Saudi blockade of Qatar, and it has stood by while the Saudis and United Arab Emirates send in troops to crush democratic protests in neighboring Bahrain. In Syria, Washington has worked hand in glove with Riyadh to organize and finance a Wahhabist holy war that has reduced a once thriving country to ruin.

Chomsky has called Barack Obama’s targeted drone assassination program “the most extensive global terrorism campaign the world has yet seen.” The program “officially is aimed at killing people who the administration believes might someday intend to harm the U.S. and killing anyone else who happens to be nearby.” As Chomsky adds, “It is also a terrorism generating campaign—that is well understood by people in high places. When you murder somebody in a Yemen village, and maybe a couple of other people who are standing there, the chances are pretty high that others will want to take revenge.”

The Last, Best Hope

We lead the world,” presidential candidate Obama explained, “in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good. … America is the last, best hope of earth.”

Cartoon by Peter Kuper, suppressed by his newspaper. (From the book, “Killed Cartoons:
Casualties from the War on Free Expression” (W.W.

Obama elaborated in his first inaugural address. “Our security,” the president said, “emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint”—a fascinating commentary on Fallujah, Hiroshima, the U.S. crucifixion of Southeast Asia, the “Highway of Death” and more.

Within less than half a year of his inauguration and his lauded Cairo speech, Obama’s rapidly accumulating record of atrocities in the Muslim world would include the bombing of the Afghan village of Bola Boluk. Ninety-three of the dead villagers torn apart by U.S. explosives in Bola Boluk were children. “In a phone call played on a loudspeaker on Wednesday to outraged members of the Afghan Parliament,” The New York Timesreported, “the governor of Farah Province … said that as many as 130 civilians had been killed.” According to one Afghan legislator and eyewitness, “the villagers bought two tractor trailers full of pieces of human bodies to his office to prove the casualties that had occurred. Everyone at the governor’s cried, watching that shocking scene.” The administration refused to issue an apology or to acknowledge the “global policeman’s” responsibility.

By telling and sickening contrast, Obama had just offered a full apology and fired a White House official because that official had scared New Yorkers with an ill-advised Air Force One photo-shoot flyover of Manhattan that reminded people of 9/11. The disparity was extraordinary: Frightening New Yorkers led to a full presidential apology and the discharge of a White House staffer. Killing more than 100 Afghan civilians did not require any apology.

Reflecting on such atrocities the following December, an Afghan villager was moved to comment as follows: “Peace prize? He’s a killer. … Obama has only brought war to our country.” The man spoke from the village of Armal, where a crowd of 100 gathered around the bodies of 12 people, one family from a single home. The 12 were killed, witnesses reported, by U.S. Special Forces during a late-night raid.

Obama was only warming up his “killer” powers. He would join with France and other NATO powers in the imperial decimation of Libya, which killed more than 25,000 civilians and unleashed mass carnage in North Africa. The U.S.-led assault on Libya was a disaster for black Africans and sparked the biggest refugee crisis since World War II.

Two years before the war on Libya, the Obama administration helped install a murderous right-wing coup regime in Honduras. Thousands of civilians and activists have been murdered by that regime.

The clumsy and stupid Trump has taken the imperial baton from the elegant and silver-tongued “imperial grandmaster” Obama, keeping the superpower’s vast global military machine set on kill. As Newsweek reported last fall, in a news item that went far below the national news radar screen in the age of the endless insane Trump clown show:

According to research from the nonprofit monitoring group Airwars … through the first seven months of the Trump administration, coalition air strikes have killed between 2,800 and 4,500 civilians. … Researchers also point to another stunning trend—the ‘frequent killing of entire families in likely coalition airstrikes.’ In May, for example, such actions led to the deaths of at least 57 women and 52 children in Iraq and Syria. … In Afghanistan, the U.N. reports a 67 percent increase in civilian deaths from U.S. airstrikes in the first six months of 2017 compared to the first half of 2016.

That Trump murders with less sophistication, outward moral restraint and credible claim to embody enlightened Western values and multilateral commitment than Obama did is perhaps preferable to some degree. It is better for empire to be exposed in its full and ugly nakedness, to speed its overdue demise.

The U.S. is not just the top menace only to peace on Earth. It is also the leading threat to personal privacy (as was made clearer than ever by the Edward Snowden revelations), to democracy (the U.S. funds and equips repressive regimes around the world) and to a livable global natural environment (thanks in no small part to its role as headquarters of global greenhouse gassing and petro-capitalist climate denial).

The world can be forgiven, perhaps, if it does not join Eliot Cohen and Karl Vick in bemoaning the end of the “American Era,” whatever Trump’s contribution to that decline, which was well underway before he entered the Oval Office.

Ordinary Americans, too, can find reasons to welcome the decline of the American empire. As Chomsky noted in the late 1960s: “The costs of empire are in general distributed over the society as a whole, while its profits revert to a few within.”

The Pentagon system functions as a great form of domestic corporate welfare for high-tech “defense” (empire) firms like Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon—this while it steals trillions of dollars that might otherwise meet social and environmental needs at home and abroad. It is a significant mode of upward wealth distribution within “the homeland.”

The biggest costs have fallen on the many millions killed and maimed by the U.S. military and allied and proxy forces in the last seven decades and before. The victims include the many U.S. military veterans who have killed themselves, many of them haunted by their own participation in sadistic attacks and torture on defenseless people at the distant command of sociopathic imperial masters determined to enforce U.S. hegemony by any and all means deemed necessary.

This article originally appeared on TruthDig.

Paul Street is an independent radical-democratic policy researcher, journalist, historian, author and speaker based in Iowa City, Iowa, and Chicago, Illinois.  He is the author of seven books. His latest is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014)

82 comments for “The World Will Not Mourn the Decline of U.S. Hegemony

  1. evan jones
    May 19, 2018 at 17:28

    There is a never-ending battle raging all around us, all the time……. since day one……. the dark/the light, good/evil, it will be that way until its all over but the crying. Being aware of it is the first step to dealing it I think. This is a very active community, listen to the black bird sitting on your right shoulder, and then the white bird on your left shoulder….. the battle is inside all of us, the influences are coming from somewhere else.

  2. evan jones
    May 19, 2018 at 15:19

    Anyone reading this excellent summary of barbarism must be scratching their collective heads, because everyone in the west was led to believe the Americans are and have been the “good guys”. Why is this?? I worked briefly in Guatamala a few years ago, and was stunned when I learned what really happened there, and throughout Central and South America. The brutality used against indigenous peoples, whether it was the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, is well documented, and yet the fallacy persists that the Americans are the worlds “policemen”. America, since 1945, has exhibited a very real similarity to the Nazi movements, and in deed has fostered, promoted, and enabled Neo-Nazi governments ever since. Almost immediately after the 2nd world war, the CIA was funnelling Nazis into the Americas, destabilizing, murdering, etc………. why has no-one called a spade a spade??

  3. Boris
    May 18, 2018 at 05:27

    Generally speaking I’ve often disapproved of the actions of the US superpower, not always but often. However by the nature of it’s existence it has prevented far more dangers than it has caused. The US may be one of the meanest kids on the playground, but at least it’s a kid who’s our (oft lamented) friend. Nature abhors a vacuum, and I shudder to think who or what will rise into power in it’s absence, although worse still is the possibility that nobody will. In a world without any superpowers to dominate the possibility of chaotic international relations grows larger. Rome was a terrible Empire, but it’s fall did lead to a little thing called the Dark Ages, lest we forget

  4. Bob Martin
    May 17, 2018 at 20:20

    Thank you for this article. A great review of (the tip of the iceberg of) US atrocities. US policemen get their standards of (mis)behavior from the “world’s policeman”, quite clearly.

  5. Abe
    May 16, 2018 at 21:43

    Not the greatest country in the world, professor, that’s my answer.

    The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one, and that Aaron Sorkin speechifying won’t solve it.

  6. JWalters
    May 16, 2018 at 20:06

    U.S. hegemony will not be missed, but the sabotage of America’s promising ideals is a tragedy.

    It’s still possible that Americans will awaken to the banksters plundering their economy and destroying their most sacred values. The Great Recession, the manufactured “War on Terror”, 9/11, JFK, the Great Depression, the coming war on Iran, and more flow from the deeply pathological minds of these financial “elite” monsters. The linkages and roots are described in a readily digestable form at

  7. shiela Cockshott
    May 16, 2018 at 11:15

    Excellent article. Every one in the USA should read it. It should be required reading in high schools.

    • Bob Martin
      May 17, 2018 at 20:21

      Hear, hear!

  8. Roy Tyrell
    May 16, 2018 at 01:58

    America’s downfall will be it’s roads, it’s cities, it’s collapsing bridges and decaying waterways. It’s decrepit and malfunctioning third world infrastructure that has sacrificed for the war machine.

    Our schools, hospitals, public spaces all too dangerous for families and children.

    The new dream of our imperial masters is to replace us all with robots… who build other robots to do our killing for us.

    America’s leaders, our culture, are tired, viscous and grotesque. We are the dreg of humanity and we despise GOD and life itself.

    There are many of us. We are Legion.

    But not so many as before and fewer and weaker every day.

  9. Johnnie
    May 15, 2018 at 23:02

    Paul Street, what a great article. I can only imagine the mountain of facts on US crimes against humanity, peace, and the environment that you had to reluctantly leave on the cutting room floor. I had a three hour discussion with my boss yesterday about such things, and I found myself having to defend my need to speak out, and how words can change hearts (they changed mine in 2012 thanks to a great old guy named Ron Paul), and how silence is betrayal, and how not being angry about our crimes is immoral per Aquinas, etc. The discussion helped me to clarify, even for myself, why I need to speak out, and why my anger never abates: I think that it is because, as a father of four beautiful children, I know that that dirt poor 13-year-old 50-pound Yemeni child that we are currently purposely starving to death is just as much my child as my own. And I can see him laying there on the dirt floor, covered with flies but too weak to bother with them, and he looks up at me and asks meekly, “why didn’t you at least say something?” And I see this play out in my mind’s eye for the hundreds of millions of children that have suffered similar horrible fates for nothing other than US imperialistic greed.

    Sorry I got carried away. Consortium News, you are the best.

  10. DHFabian
    May 15, 2018 at 19:13

    The US has been declining since the “Reagan (right wing) Revolution” of the 1980s. When Reagan was first elected, the US was rated at #1 among all nations in “overall quality of life” — in spite of many shortcomings. We’ve fallen well behind a long list of countries in virtually every respect. We’re no longer even in the top 10. Many believed that the Obama years represented our last chance to turn things around. Well, it was worth a try.

  11. voza0db
    May 15, 2018 at 18:47

    @ Luke May 15, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Hello Luke!

    I was being soft – because it seems to me that if I write real facts my comments disappears! – or if you prefer, gentle!

    I have, unfortunately, a sister working in the UST, and the feedback that she sends me is concurrent with your reply. But in fact I know those facts. I’m an outside observer, but an informed one.

    I laugh when my sister tells me that in some cases the reality that she observes is even worse that the picture I’ve told her to expect.

  12. susan sunflower
    May 15, 2018 at 18:26

    Last night I watched (re-watched) Oliver Stone’s Secret History (3-parts) on WWI and II, Wilson … how the USA by staying “out of the war” in WWI became the world’s powerbroker having transformed itself (intact homeland and industry) from a debtor nation to a major source of rebuilding capital and investment. The transfer of money / debt was staggering — much like control of oil reserves — the manipulation of which countries were “eligible” for our largess (on what terms is unclear) seems to have set patterns then replicated (with varying success) to the present day. We shake our heads in wonder at vast transfers of $$$ aid to Israel and unfathomably large KSA purchases of weapons and weapons systems and the “support” that goes with them …

    The end of “the empire” will have spiral out with a loosening of our longstanding blackmail as the USA lacks the money and the will to enforces all these “understandings” that are part of how we have military installations even in countries who don’t like use (often communications or air traffic, as our NTSB investigates air crashes internationally as requested).

    Anyway, after WWI and the collapse of several longstanding empires (German, Russian, Ottoman & Austro-Hungarian) as well as pressure on all colonizers from their colonized subjects who were used as cannon fodder and more skilled functionsi in all theatres and expected recognition of their service. Wilson’s value as a propagandist for democracy and the 14 points was invaluable counterpoint to the lure of socialism and communism to a then war-weary and uncertain Europe … a charade that worked well — with considerable tweaking — until the gross disparities resulting from neoliberalism which few countries can avoid.

    We have long used “carrot and stick” techniques while demanding from the outset “favored nation” status damn near globally. I am not sure what will remain when the tentacles of American corruption wither. Indeed thrift and “small is beautiful” may, of necessity, return to fashion … with Americans kicking and screaming . We’ve really been arm-twisting and blackmailing everyone for a long long time …. Trump’s threat to place sanctions on European nations who fail to stop trading with Iran over the Iran deal may be a near-final straw …. As “protecting Chinese Jobs” and this insane case-by-case allocation of exceptions to tariffs would be a wakeup call that there is in fact no plan and the captain is enthralled watching FOX News and tweeting about himself

  13. Realist
    May 15, 2018 at 17:42

    I see Tom Wolfe has passed. His movie is over. Grok that. Not only fools lighted to dusty death. More bells tolling for us all. Somewhere in deep time a future archaeologist may chance upon one stylish corpse and mistakenly think this generation had class.

  14. F. G. Sanford
    May 15, 2018 at 10:55

    It’s an incredible resume. And yet, despite all of these crimes, the “rap sheet” continues to grow. Every charge enumerated can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. The evidence, whether eye witness, circumstantial or forensic, is not just incriminating. It is beyond dispute. And yet, our most egregious crimes, the predicate crimes to these atrocities, remain…”unspeakable”. Some now make pitiful appeals to engender their countrymen to speak. They remind us of Reverend Niemoller’s lament: “They came for the others, and I didn’t speak. Alas, when they came for me, there was no one left to speak”. I submit that Niemoller didn’t speak because he couldn’t face…”the unspeakable”. Not until it became Orwell’s boot smashing a human face did he realize. Nothing he said could have stopped it. His silence at least preserved a parable we can recite with a certain irony today.

    It’s worthwhile watching Jim Garrison’s deathbed interview, or watching the old recordings of street detective Roger Craig, the Dallas cop who died under mysterious circumstances. The FBI had a “mole” in Garrison’s office too. Garrison threatened to reveal…”the unspeakable”. We can get a million pink-hatted women to march against “feline manucaption”, but there is no revulsion to bombing hospitals, droning wedding parties or financing terrorists.

    History tells us that empires collapse when they can no longer preserve the official lies. They rot from within, but the final blow generally comes from catastrophic military misadventures. Empires just can’t let go. But be forewarned. The last enemy all empires attack is their own population. If we can’t find the courage to speak…”the unspeakable”…we may as well resign ourselves to Orwell’s boot. It began stomping on November 22, 1963, and it hasn’t missed a face in fifty five years.

    • Bob Van Noy
      May 15, 2018 at 11:45

      Many thanks F. G. Sanford. I love your referral to Jim Garrison it is so vivid, a good, honest, decent man fighting to the bitter end. One could say he lost it all, family, court battles, friends, his job; but did he?, I have come to know him and I think he’s a Winner…

    • Anon
      May 15, 2018 at 20:03

      Yes, the final collapse often comes from “catastrophic military misadventures” although economic collapse may become significant. Historic changes that permitted coherent restructuring were possible only when the enemy was distant and weak (US, India) or the military misadventures left little domestic force (Russia). Recent collapsed empires (Spain, Portugal, UK, France) fought decline bitterly to a long twilight rather than conquest.

      So perhaps the US twilight will be one of worsening recessions, embargoes of US trade, protectionism, end of UST market, and growing anger at the rich as the mass media circus is seen as “the official lies” until their secret police and military force are aimed at the “last enemy all empires attack” their own people. Then Orwell’s boot.

  15. May 15, 2018 at 09:32

    U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler warned of this travesty decades ago in his treatise War is Racket. In it he argued:
    “WAR is a racket. It always has been.
    It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
    A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes…
    Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.”
    And what is this bill?
    This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.

  16. LRaines
    May 15, 2018 at 09:09

    If you find this article disturbing then read Summer, 1945 by Goodrich, a new book about WWII. Nothing has changed. And if you still need a reality check read Gaza by Finkelestein. These books demonstrate that humanity is being systematically destroyed by depraved psychopaths and it is nothing new.

    • Nancy
      May 15, 2018 at 13:00

      The real problem is capitalism; greed and the lust for power will always find psychopaths to do the dirty work required to keep it in place until the rest of us recognize the evil that it is.

      • susan sunflower
        May 15, 2018 at 18:53

        World Bank, WTO and other (largely American controlled institutions — including the UN) consolidated “soft” power …. and demonized and hobbled the non-aligned nations in ways that I don’t think was possible earlier …

        I have been hoping for a long time of an update to those “march to war” maps showing Hitler’s (Musollini and Hirohitos) path to conquest … except this time post-WWII with the USA’s march to global dominance (whether by military action/threat or economic “opportunism”) illustrated. The distribution of American military installations (be they ever so small) partially illustrates exactly who is beyond “cooperating” with the new goliath.

  17. GMC
    May 15, 2018 at 05:15

    It’s not going to stop. The USG and the NWO has planned very far into the future. Why has the USG planned and built another US – Underground? Is it because of nuclear war with Russia or China ? Only if the USG does a first strike because Russia and China have no lust for another world war. Is it because the Polar Shift is real and the planet – Nibiru is real? I think so and the evidence is overwhelming. Once the shift is over the USG will own most of the world because they have spent those missing trillions on the NWO taking over – they have the armies,weapons, food stocked,all the high land, and once 5 billion people are dead, they will come out of their underground bases and resume the terror. One would think that after the most terrifying event in the planets history, everyone would help take care of one another – but shouldn’t that have happened – before the Polar Shift? Nope, things are covered up , lied about and the black ops are here to stay – No matter of a P S or nuclear war.

  18. zendeviant
    May 15, 2018 at 05:10

    Nauseating to read all this in one shot. But my dad always said, “The truth hurts.”

    Leaving aside the issues and questions regarding perceptions, the question remains: What to do?

    I am an American, I identify as such. My family has been here two centuries, as best I can tell. I am related to USGrant on my mothers side. I am aghast at what we’ve become (are?). I’ve made changes in myself and I know its hard and worth doing. BUT, I cannot find a means or solution to go forward with the USG as it is. I have chosen non-violence, to be a peace maker and that mostly gets me a STFU.

    “Knowing the problem is half the solution.” Okay, what’s the problem? USG/MIC is trashing the world and humanity in the name of consolidation (?). It’s a runaway train and has to be stopped. Now, I am not going to jump on board and lean on the brake. But why can’t those still shoveling coal into the firebox be convinced to bail?

    Could we just declare the United States of America, over. “Our bad! Sorry…we’ll try again, better, really.” Retool as “States of United America.” Ditch fractional reserve banking, rethink militias and the right to bear arms–there is plenty we could do without. Declare bankruptcy, debt jubillee, stop with the whole “greatest nation” BS. Instead of “I’m proud to be an american…” howsabout: “I am relieved to be united, where at least I won’t get snuffed.”

    We’re just about to the point where fellas like me are going to STFU out of the real possiblity of being labeled an “enemy combatant.” Knowing full well that this comment could be used as “evidence” of future crime of dissent.

    I wonder if the latter days of the Weimar Republic were like the days I am living through now. I more closely identify with Winston Smith, John Galt, Jon Conner, Ivan Desinovich, that guy in Camus “the Trial.” Don’t call me an american anymore, I’ll gladly accept “survivor” designation.

    Well, the garden is doing well, so far. I am alive without income or insurance. The birds sing and the sun shines. Maybe all this “America” is just a bad dream.

    Much affection to all the Consortium news community. I am encouraged every day by finding thoughtful peers!

  19. Realist
    May 15, 2018 at 04:21

    As a post-war Boomer born during the Nuremburg trials which my father wired for sound before being shipped home, I was taught while growing up that Americans were God’s modern-day chosen people, that we were infinitely moral and altruistic, that every returning GI from the war was a genuine hero (and this heroism was being continued in places like Korea, Berlin, Formosa, Biafra, Katanga and wherever else we were sticking our noses whether invited or not), that the entire world looked to us as saviours and to doubt this meant you had evil intentions. Unfortunately the rest of the world was allegedly populated by such ne’er-do-wells, except for a few feisty freedom-loving fighters like the Israelis, Chiang Kai-Shek and the Diem brothers.

    Stunning how in my seventies it becomes increasingly clear that everything I was told at age seven was just an elaborate fabrication. It wasn’t just a few bad apples occasionally tarnishing America’s stellar reputation, as we came to believe during the Vietnam War, it was the whole barrel that was, and still is, stinking rotten. Only Americans are still fooled about their own identity and reputation, which one learns quickly if exposed to a fair number of articulate foreigners, as in a university setting. Of course, to face the truth and to try to share it destroys entirely one’s credibility and reputation amongst family, friends, co-workers and the like, who still cling to the (original) Cold War narrative. (Apparently, Americans still need to view themselves as innately superior beings with clearly-identified and sufficiently demonised enemies.) It’s a lonely business, truth telling is. Thanks to those who risk it all, like Mr. Street, by still practicing honest journalism rather than aping the all too ubiquitous sell-outs happy to serve as propaganda tools, like Rachel Maddow.

    Is there some doubt about this that it needs to be “moderated?” Why not moderate the original piece while you are at it?

    • Nancy
      May 15, 2018 at 13:02

      Eloquent comment. I don’t know why it would be “moderated.”

    • Dave P.
      May 15, 2018 at 14:52

      Yes, very eloquent comments indeed. Question remains, What is to be done?

    • Sam F
      May 15, 2018 at 15:02

      It is remarkable how many year the educated take to see the falseness of the official narrative, if ever they do.
      Moderation may have caught a few words sometimes used in immoderate retorts.

  20. J. Decker
    May 15, 2018 at 00:39

    I moved my family to New Zealand several years back because I believe countries, like people, generate their own specific karma. In excruciating detail Paul Street has laid out a list of atrocities that will not only reap horrible karmic consequences to the perpetrators, but I fear to the “innocents”. The quotes are because I still believe in free will, regardless of the Zio-imperialist-controlled, hypnosis-induced coma from their MSM and GMO food factories. They had a choice to look away, become outraged, and to stand up and fight.

    • Luke
      May 15, 2018 at 16:08

      Or run away to escape geographically designated karma?

  21. May 14, 2018 at 22:31

    Yes, very good article, really stomach turning to contemplate all those atrocities. I think it was Sitting Bull who said, “Everywhere the White Man goes there is destruction.” And when finally subjugated with his people and he became an “entertainer” in Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show, he was constantly followed by raggedy children; he said, “The White Man tells the Indian what to do, but he cannot even take care of his own.”

  22. Babyl-on
    May 14, 2018 at 20:34

    God, it’s brutal to read through a summary like this one – so well done.

    You can sum it all up this way, from August 6, 1945 until today and with momentum into the indefinite future the United States of America has killed and slaughtered innocent people – 8,400+ days and counting, by flame and poison and bombs and by cutting throats one at a time day after day (see Indonesia where a million throats were cut). This is how you maintain a global empire. Until one happy day when you can’t.

    I never thought I would see the kind of damage done to the US led Empire as Trump has done to it. I rejoice as he humiliates the Empire before the world, the Iran pullout is nothing but good news for those of us who want a quick end the empire of slaughter. Dedolorization is moving forward they will have to accept mulit-polarity or commit suicide by blowing up the world.

    • Abby
      May 15, 2018 at 01:47

      Since the end of WWII this country has killed 20-30 million people. Why? Because it could. And because those people lived in countries that had the resources that this country decided it wanted. Not one war has been to defend itself or to “spread freedom and democracy” to other countries. Nope.

      Not one person who has helped commit the atrocities has been charged for them, unless they were needed to make it look like we are a country of laws.

      What kind of man could have taken part in the deliberate slaughter of the Vietnam civilians, the Iraqi troops on the highway of death, or the many, many other places where they were sent? The most evil and vile of course. To commit those heinous acts against defenseless and trapped men is beyond my comprehension.

      “We lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good. … America is the last, best hope of earth.” Barack Obama

      How can so many people here believe that? How can they not see what their friends and family are part of the most vile organization ever created? How can it be that many people have never heard Smedley Butler’s warning about what wars are really about? A good start to get people to understand what this country stands for is to share the article with everyone they can.

      I am appalled by the history of this country and what it has done to the people of the world.

  23. Gregory Herr
    May 14, 2018 at 19:46

    Poppy Bush, in his more personally illuminating moods, could get to the point. “What we say goes” and “By God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all” are two of my favorites. But Bush didn’t talk about the “price” of his “kick”.

    Robert Parry was paying attention:

    “Bush knew that the extra killing of Iraqi and American troops wasn’t needed to achieve the military objective of getting Iraqi forces out of Kuwait, because Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had long signaled his readiness to withdraw.

    But Bush and his top political advisers, including Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, insisted on the ground war as a dramatic climax to a story line designed to thrill the American people – and get them to embrace warfare again as an exciting part of the national character.

    Bush, Cheney and other senior officials judged that the slaughter of tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers, mostly poorly trained conscripts, and the combat deaths of some 147 American soldiers was a small price to pay.

    On Feb. 28, 1991, just hours after the fighting stopped, Bush gave the public a fleeting glimpse of his secret agenda when he celebrated the ground war victory by blurting out the seemingly incongruous declaration, “By God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all.”

    What Americans didn’t know at the time – and still don’t understand today – is that this first U.S. war with Iraq had become less about liberating Kuwait and more about consolidating domestic public support behind a new phase of the American Empire, one that continues to this day.”

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 14, 2018 at 22:03

      Don’t forget Poppy coined the phrase ‘New World Order’ at a 1990 Joint Session of Congress.

      Ron Paul, and I think he’s right, always starts our more recent modern day American instigated war fiascos beginning with the first Iraqi invasion or better put invasion of Iraq sometimes known as ‘Desert Storm’. It’s exasperating trying to find the split from war when it comes to listing all of the American wars that a rare commodity is to be found when you find a brief timeout from war for peace. Kind of like that last sentence, it’s too long. Anyway we are warmongers.

      Okay Gregory. Joe

  24. KiwiAntz
    May 14, 2018 at 18:43

    What a absolutely surperb article by Mr Street? This absolutely true, journalistic story, should be shouted from the rooftops & sent out to every person on Earth via the Internet or any other means! The Word needs to know the true picture of what this satanic nation is doing in the World! Thank god the Internet is we’re you can bypass the corrupt corporate MSM BS? This Country called America as mentioned by the author, is not only the greatest Terrorist threat to Global peace but this article really exposed the “evilness” & criminality” of a Country that has no moral compass or a human conscience to murder on a industrial scale? It’s clear, they have modelled this desensitised killing from Nazi Germany & every US President has picked up the baton from Hitler, their mentor? That in itself is satanic? I think the World doesn’t just seek the end to American hegemony, they’ll want this Nation & it’s criminal leaders to pay for their murderous actions?

  25. dahoit
    May 14, 2018 at 18:09

    zionism.They have our balls,it ain’t pretty.

    May 14, 2018 at 17:46

    if we cut the Pentagon budget by at least half, we could actually have a halfway decent country, with cheap health care, college and new infrastructure.

    • voza0db
      May 14, 2018 at 18:11

      “Pentagon budget”! How much is that?

      • Bob Van Noy
        May 14, 2018 at 18:42

        Many thanks voza0db, Catherine Austin Fitts mentioned in your second link is a long time honest financial analyst so it’s impressive to see her as part of the team…

        • voza0db
          May 14, 2018 at 19:08

          No need to thanks!

          The important thing to start thinking is:

          What can the American People do in order to prevent this type of behavior from the politicians, military and the war industry?

          Or it’s already a NOT CHANGEABLE situation?

          For me, an outsider observant, it seems that the American system is completely off the hands of the People!

          • May 15, 2018 at 16:38

            As an outsider who has lived in US for a few years now, I find that the willful ignorance and insular petty superficiality of the supposedly educated, politicised middle class is the prime factor in supporting their governments unmatched ability at creating atrocities. They do have collective bargaining power, they choose to tacitly assent to the empire out of fear of losing ground in the cash collection competition that is life, as far as they are concerned. Individualism destroyed their ability to empathise beyond the weightless words that fill this comment section, while their education system deprives them from developing critical faculties. Until you live among them you can will always underestimate just how ignorant and pathetic the American middle class is. It is dumbfounding.

  27. Piotr Berman
    May 14, 2018 at 15:54

    From my amateur study of history, there are several types of empires. One type is looting the periphery or overseas territories to provide prosperity in the center or home country. This type is financially sustainable but reaches the point of effective resistance in that periphery. American empire is not of that type, the costs of maintaining it exceeds quite a bit putative loot.

    Another type provides occupation that satisfies ambitions of members of the ruling class that are excluded from the best positions at home. This was apparently the origin of Portuguese empire, noble “second sons” could join Order de Aviz and participate in exploration around Africa. Initially the order conducted crusades in Morocco, but Moroccans learned how to repel them, hence Henry the Navigator decided to explore the unknown. Eventually the venture became enormously profitable, so for a generation Portugal could enjoy the riches. American elite is not interested in colonial posts or officer ranks in colonial armies, but the empire justifies redistribution of GDP toward military-industrial complex and gives a platform to glorious grandstanding for the politicians.

    Economically, the empire is a disaster for the working class, because it facilitates borrowing and deficits. The domestic demand got divorced from domestic production, lower classes spend on credit, while the products that they buy stimulate jobs abroad. if USD was “just another currency” than excessive deindustrialization would drive the exchange rate down, so there would be a certain break on that process. Distributing the foreign financial investments is very lucrative for the financial sector, but much less so for everybody else. Small town USA is most of the time a depressing scene, unlike small towns in, say, Germany where industrial jobs are widely distributed — as they were in USA.

    • Dave P.
      May 14, 2018 at 16:45

      Piotr Berman – Excellent post. Your last paragraph describes the plight of small town America very accurately.

    • Bob Van Noy
      May 14, 2018 at 18:01

      Piotr Berman, in many ways it’s as simple as the Dulles Brothers and the Harrimans searching regionally for extraordinary profitable scenarios with no real regard for local consequences (United Fruit). Then cheap labor, gambling and prostitution followed quickly and became “business as usual”. Locals and others with more of a social conscience then tried to change the process and that yielded Conflict. In many ways it’s an ancient game. I suspect that local economies and financing could change the game. The limiting factor that all big government and business want us to ignore, are Natural Resourses…

      In Honduras, for instance, TPTB wanted/want to build a massive dam and won’t be told No…

  28. mike k
    May 14, 2018 at 15:32

    Every American, and indeed every citizen of the world needs to read this article; simple, undeniable, factual truth about America. Paul Street tells it like it is. These are the shocking truths that many Americans are hiding from, preferring the consoling group think of MSM TV, and print media. Or simply ignoring the genocidal government they live under, pretending it’s not their concern. The doctrine of maximum selfishness taught relentlessly from cradle to grave standing them in good stead to ensure their state of denial. Just as an experiment, get one of your friends to read this entire article, and ask them for their opinion of it. You will learn a lot from this exercise.

    I would do this and report the results, but I don’t really have any friends who are not on a similar page as I am about all of this. Wonder what happened to those other people I used to know……..?

    • KiwiAntz
      May 14, 2018 at 19:11

      Don’t worry Mike K, you have friends of like mind, around the World, who are with you? I’ve often criticised & condemned the US Govt for its criminal behaviour, but not the American people, who are held hostage & at the mercy of their crazed Leaders, who couldn’t give a damn about the ordinary citizen & their real wants & needs? All they care about is money & they have no qualms in committing industrial style, mass murder, around the World, to satisfy these greedy ambitions?

      • RnM
        May 15, 2018 at 18:42

        Kiwiantz, Don’t feel sorry for the American people. Many, many, of all social classes, profit from the Pentagon spending. That money is spent out in the country, and finances a huge amount of consumer spending. The working class gets their jollies from the Romanesque gladiator-style (sans gushing blood) sporting events. Money for and from the culture is Pentagon spending being folded back to the People. It’s endemic, and so ingrained and integrated with Amerika, that I have little hope of it ever ending, except, maybe from some low-probability non-American World uprising. Low probability because, to my shame, we are the descendents of Rome and, more directly, Nazi Germany. Plus, with the internet in the hands of an amoral society, surveillance and population control are at a stage that Stalin
        never even dreamed possible.

  29. May 14, 2018 at 15:00

    Excellent. It has come to this. The USA moved from the country most.inteeeste in peace and international law to a bloated.murderous Empire that increasingly resembles “The Empire” of the Star Wars.movies. This Empire thrives on lies, fear, coercion, and permanent war cold or hot against ANY power that does not bow down in the direction of the White House three times daily. We must resist this Empire in any way possible. All major public and private institutions are complicit.

    • Nancy
      May 15, 2018 at 13:11

      And when was it that the U.S. was interested in peace and international law? This charade has been going on since Day One.

  30. Bob Van Noy
    May 14, 2018 at 13:58

    Excellent overview Paul Street, thank you. None of what you write is that deeply hidden in our society yet it still goes on and that’s what amazes me the most. When such major crimes against society are not confronted they cannot be expected to self-correct so that the corruption that you so carefully describe has become institutionalized within the government,
    industry and beyond, into the fourth estate. Now, I think the only possible exit can be had only by a massive public trial to expose the wrong doing and subterfuge.

    • Bob Van Noy
      May 14, 2018 at 14:03

      Editor: The editing feature, reloading the article isn’t working.

        May 14, 2018 at 14:14

        Not sure what you mean. Can you further explain?

        • Bob Van Noy
          May 14, 2018 at 14:28

          Normally if my comment needs editing, I can reload the page and it will appear for 5 minutes; that wasn’t available just now.

          • Piotr Berman
            May 14, 2018 at 15:36

            I was editing comment today. However, I often run out of time, so my trick is to use “copy” to store the edited comment, reload the page and paste the copy back into the editing window. Getting rid of the time limit should be possible, and one could find quotes and spell check at leisure without tricks. But this is not very complicated trick.

    • Sam F
      May 14, 2018 at 15:39

      The wrong doing and subterfuge may be exposed in a trial by journalism and history rather than the US judiciary. A trial in absentia by the ICC or a western nation independent of the US is possible. Spain belongs to NATO by only 57% vote in a 1986 referendum, and perhaps would consider taking the lead in taking the US to the ICC.

      • Bob Van Noy
        May 14, 2018 at 17:32

        I really like that idea Sam F. There is substantial documentation for every thing that Paul Street mentions here and much more with respect to Political Assassinations with just a few media connections the Word could spread and pressure applied.
        Of note: The obituary of Captain Earnest Madina in today’s NYT. “I have regrets for it, but no guilt for it.”

  31. anastasia
    May 14, 2018 at 13:32

    Why would any American “mourn” America’s loss of “imperialism” or “hegemony”. I’d rather heat my home with coal than to see what I am seeing. I would gladly do with less. It is not me or most American people who refuses to do with less. It is the few people on the top who refuse to do with less. They must dominate the world, not Americans. How many wars, how many countries have to be destroyed until we see that American “hegemony” is destroying our Republic

    • Sam F
      May 14, 2018 at 14:57

      Yes, it is the rich who have destroyed US democracy by bribery of politicians and control of mass media. A state of war permits them to invent foreign enemies to pose as fake protectors and accuse their moral superiors of disloyalty. We can stop this tyranny.

      When the mass media are protected from domination by money, we will have public debate of all policy viewpoints by experts instead of propagandists. When elections and the federal branches are reformed, we will have far more beneficial policies. This requires constitutional amendments to restrict funding of elections and mass media to limited individual contributions. It requires better checks and balances, restriction of executive power, renegotiation of NATO as purely defensive, and elimination of AUMFs. These and other reforms will restore the public conscience.

    • mike k
      May 14, 2018 at 15:13

      Right on, anastaia.

    • May 14, 2018 at 15:21

      I disagree. The wanna-be oligarchs of any society are always seeking after power, money, and sex. The reason they are so successful in the USA is that the majority of the population are ideologically in accord with the oligarchs. We believe that money equals virtue. We do not believe in compassion but the culture of narcissism and this makes it easy to manipulate us. Besides, we crave security, order, and hierarchy–our love of the royal or stories li Dowton Abbey because we really wished we lived in a feudal society where everyone knows their place and the hereditary aristocrats can worry about the grand issues of the day and we can watch theirvantics on video and concern ourselves with the rich feast of entertainments, drugs, and trivial pursuits. If we refuse to understand this we are going to get what we deserve as we grow our donkey ears on Pleasure Island.

      • Joe Tedesky
        May 14, 2018 at 21:52

        Hey take it easy on us down here, we’re only doing what we’re being told to do.

        But yeah the American public is suffering from some kind of narcosis of sorts, and can’t seem to snap out of it to see how badly they are being lied to. Although for those who do have better than a hunch to what’s going on I think they (this is me) are struggling to find a proper way to correct so much wrong.

        I think we Americans have watched so much television that at times I do believe this strained mindset of watching too much of it has left us in our own isolated reality. Funny that in a nation which prides itself on having so much can’t see it’s loss touch with the real world out there. We carry on the heritage of our Western forefathers when we boost of our bringing democracy to the uncivilized of this world… I mean this sells in our distorted American society.

        Is this what you were talking about Cstahnke? Joe

  32. Drew Hunkins
    May 14, 2018 at 13:26

    “But it isn’t just the right wing that writes and speaks in such terms about how Trump is contributing to the decline of U.S. hegemony. A recent Time magazine reflection by the liberal commentator Karl Vick (who wrote in strongly supportive terms about the giant January 2017 Women’s March against Trump) frets that that Trump’s “America First” and authoritarian views have the world “looking for leadership elsewhere.””

    Good grief. What a distortion.

    American global leadership (whatever the heck that’s supposed to mean) has been accomplished solely via Washington-Zio imperialism and blood soaked violence. It’s been a massive waste of taxpayer dollars and it hasn’t benefited the working people in the United States whatsoever, in fact, it’s harmed them immensely by opening up cheaper labor markets, driving down domestic wages and sending their sons off to get shell-shocked and their genitals blown off in imperial warmongering madness! PTSD induced wasteland with Sackler drug dealers pushing the anodyne.

    The Washington militarist-imperialists have overturned, destabilized, invaded, encircled, harassed, ran vicious propaganda campaigns against every single leader or gov’t admin over the last 100 years in Central America, South Central Asia, South America, Middle East, Africa, east Asia, Eastern Europe that’s been sovereign and independent, that gives the finger to Wall Street and the corporate oligarchy, or offers diplomatic and material support to the beleaguered and helpless Palestinians.

    • Sam F
      May 14, 2018 at 15:09

      Yes, the concept of US “hegemony” is an unsupportable dream for ignorant recruits of the dictatorship of the rich, who know that they are selling our future for more toys for themselves. They never have any good purpose, let alone “democracy promotion” for their numerous overthrows of democracy and impositions of dictatorship.

      If the US had good intentions, it would almost never use force because it usually leads to disasters. It would have lifted the poorest half of humanity from poverty since WWII instead of killing millions for the profits and fantasies of the rich, destroying democracy, ruining our security, and abandoning humanity to the perverse mass media culture of lying, stealing, and killing. The end of all US power beyond defense will be a great leap for humanity.

      • Drew Hunkins
        May 14, 2018 at 15:29

        “it would almost never use force because it usually leads to disasters. It would have lifted the poorest half of humanity from poverty since WWII instead of killing millions for the profits”

        Yes. Superb point.

    • Dave P.
      May 14, 2018 at 16:52

      Drew Hunkins – Very accurate description of American global leadership. Excellent post as always.

      “It’s been a massive waste of taxpayer dollars and it hasn’t benefited the working people in the United States whatsoever . . . ”

      It has almost destroyed the American working class.

      • Drew Hunkins
        May 14, 2018 at 17:40

        Thanks for the kind words Dave P.

        “It has almost destroyed the American working class.”

        Spot-on. It’s classic: an empire sucks the life blood from the domestic population to bomb and destroy foreign lands.

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 14, 2018 at 18:16

      Drew if what you just said were said to a jury of 12 you would win your case. Joe

      • Drew Hunkins
        May 14, 2018 at 18:19

        Thanks Mr. Tedesky.

        Always enjoy your commentary.

  33. Strngr - Tgthr
    May 14, 2018 at 13:12

    Nothing about social justice of course here. We have Putin (Russian totalitarian), Xi Jinping (Confucian authoritarian), Iran (Theocratic authoritarian), Kim Jung un (crazy nuclear authoritarian) – so we are just supposed to sit down with these people (get along as Trump says with Putin) or actually meet with them in person (give them a platform) as with Kim Jung Un? These people are all on the wrong side of history as Obama would say, this is the 21st Century and countries just don’t govern themselves and behave like that any more. Countries don’t invade other countries (Russia in Crimea) like that any more. This is not a United States problem but a World problem. The bombs will stop falling and missiles will stop flying when the World changes its ways and enters the 21st Century not as barbarians but as global partners in a collective humanity. So, Trump gets peace in North Korea, but that just kicks the can (conflict) down the road is all, in the end there is no way we can live with these inhumane other countries, peoples and cultures. This is what Hillary got, even more than Obama. If you just let them grow and prosper all you get are stronger enemies and a more difficult enemy down the road.

    • OlyaPola
      May 14, 2018 at 13:30

      Thank you for your illustration of your fear – “in the end there is no way we can live with these inhumane other countries”.

      You may be under the impression that the fear is felt by “others”.

      However recent practice suggests that such self-delusion is useful to others thereby rendering you complicit in your own demise..

    • 72BombsADay
      May 14, 2018 at 14:09

      Hillary I didn’t realize you read Consortium. Glad to see you are sticking to your revisionist guns even after losing to a game show host.

      • Nancy
        May 15, 2018 at 13:23

        Good one.

    • mike k
      May 14, 2018 at 15:17

      Crazy troll talk from a Hillary fan.

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 14, 2018 at 16:17

      Strngr – Tgthr you just gave an American face to the atrocities that Paul Street talked about…way to go, how appropriate you supplied the example of your own American hubris. I’ll bet you love standing for the National Anthem while honoring our hero’s, as you pay no never mind to what the U.S. is really up to with these wars of choice. I will let you go, because I know your proud, and there is no talking to a Proud American. Joe

      • Strngr - Tgthr
        May 14, 2018 at 16:55

        Joe – Did you ever hear of Colin Kaepernick? If you did then you would know how ridiculous you are talking. There is no way anyone can be a proud american for the next 4 years. Hopefully less with impeachment. I took it for granted that I did not need to add Trump (authoritarian) to my list above, which maybe is why he is so good at talking to Putin & Kim Jung Il (birds of a feather). You can’t get stuck on a single nation (not even the United States as we have sadly seen) but need to think of building a global multi-cultural tolerant world without borders where everyone is equal. We were on are way to doing that before tragedy (Putin, whatever) struck in 2016. But just because of a setback does not mean the war is lost.

        • Joe Tedesky
          May 14, 2018 at 17:20

          You did me in with the Russia invading Crimea comment, along with a few other references you made referencing terrible leaders, that well were in plain words quite silly. But now with your multi-cultural tolerant world without borders you suddenly sound like George Soros. I’m sorry but I believe that we should have a multi-polar world, where each nation has it’s own constitution and the people live they way they decide best for themselves. Sovereign nations, and not hell bend Nationalistic ones either.

          There are 2 kinds of prominent patriots these days in America. The kind that follow Trump, and the kind that follow Hillary, and you sound like a Hillary one. No problem, because this is America, and you should be allowed to be what you want to be. Only don’t expect any applauds, because everyone doesn’t feel as you do. Remember this, there are still a lot more of us in the middle.

          I hope to correspond with you again, because as long as we still have it, I like the diversity of the debate. Take care. Joe

          PS tell me how ridiculous I sound, because I do know of Kaepernick….in fact I support his taking a knee.

        • Gregory Herr
          May 14, 2018 at 19:28

          So when was this we-were-on-our-way-to-doing “egalitarianism” supposed to kick in? Some slow train a comin’

    • KiwiAntz
      May 14, 2018 at 19:47

      My God, Strngr Tgthr get your head out of the simplistic MSM sandbox, it’s obvious your new to alternative news at Consortium News, did you even read this article? America is the most authoritarian Nation on Earth, your conned in believing you live in a Democracy, when it’s really a Obligarchy? And using your logic that America must meddle & invade other Countries FIRST, in order to democratise these sad saps & save them from themselves is lunacy? The article clearly explains America’s goals were never about spreading democracy! The real US goal is money, money, money & stealing & thieving other Countries resources, or in other words “our American resources” located in your Countries, which must be secured for “our use”? Would you like it if another Country invaded the US & stole its resources & reduced its Cities to rubble? Independent Countries have the sovereign right to determine their own future without US meddling & interference? The US has even divided the whole up into their spheres of influence such as Africomm, Centcomm, etc? And for your information, Russia didn’t invade Crimea, the main population, who are Russian, had a democratic & binding referendum to leave the Ukraine & 99% voted to leave? That’s how you do things without resorting to violent coups like the US orchestrated coup in Ukraine with John McCain acting as its main cheerleader, leading the charge to overthrow the democratically elected Govt! There’s a documentary coming up on the RT Channel called “Coups are US!”, which will go into great details regarding what this article highlighted & that is America’s role in illegal coups to overthrow other Govts?

    • Joe L.
      May 19, 2018 at 11:03

      Strngr – Tgthr… Wow, where to start. That is an interesting viewpoint but let’s bring it back into reality. First of all, I find it interesting when people call Putin a “totalitarian” or “authoritarian” or “dictator” because I have seen Pew Research polls which put him at over 80% popularity within Russia itself – that would make him a very popular “totalitarian”, “authoritarian” or “dictator”. You also call the leader of Iran a “theocratic authoritarian” yet that country would be a fully developed democracy today had it not been for the US and Britain overthrowing Mossadeq in 1953 for oil interests and then putting the people of Iran under a true dictator thus removing their freedom until 1979. Then there is “crazy Kim Jun Un” who is invading how many countries right now? How many millions of people has he killed? Oh I’m sorry I am getting that mixed up with the War “of” Terror waged by the United States on the Middle East dropping in what 7 countries with 1/2 Million to 1 Million people dead in Iraq alone (a country that did absolutely nothing to the US) not including those dying from exposure to depleted uranium such as in Fallujah. Oh and as for China would I love to see it become a democracy, absolutely, but of its’ own making and without outside interference from other countries. You know I have even heard American politicians and media call Hugo Chavez a “dictator” in Venezuela yet when the US pulled off the coup against him in 2002 it was the people of Venezuela that put that “dictator” back in power by chasing out the puppet government that was installed. I hope that you also realize, since we are on the topic of “dictators” that the US has trained 11 Latin American dictators at the School of the America’s (now WHINSEC) located in Fort Benning, Georgia. Those dictators largely went on to overthrow “democracies” with American support. I believe that John Pilger, a contributor to this website, went onto to point out that the US and Britain also supported Suharto and Pol Pot meanwhile they were committing genocide in Indonesia and Cambodia. Even today, the US and the western world support the true dictatorship of Saudi Arabia (which still crucifies people) and largely turns a blind eye to Israel using live ammunition on Palestinian protesters throwing rocks. Even the war in Yemen is largely forgotten or ignored. Then you go onto talk about the “inhumanity” of these leaders meanwhile the US has murdered millions in the last few decades around the world and “dictates” to the entire world how it should act meanwhile being surrounded by US military bases. It is the US, and the western world, that continually breaks international laws without consequence yet has the audacity to throw stones at others – that’s arrogance, hubris, exceptionalism. Do you think that America actually cares about the people of this country or that? If so, then why would it use “nuclear waste” or “depleted uranium” in its’ weapons? The US did not learn any lessons from Vietnam which still suffers from the effects of Agent Orange to this very day OR it does not know the half life of uranium or the effects of radiation? It just blows my mind that the only country to have used nuclear weapons twice thinks that it has the moral authority to tell other countries not to develop nuclear weapons. Plus, I would say that leaders from “enemy” countries are not stupid when they see country after country give up their weapons and then get invaded by the US. Maybe I am just rambling now but take a true look at what the US is doing in the world, how many people has it murdered for greed, and truly think about who is the real problem in the world. I am not scared of North Korea, Iran, Russia or China – what scares me is the thought that the US will start WW3 by pushing NATO up to Russia’s borders, by constantly breaking international law, and by encircling the world with military bases. I am in full agreement with the poll done a number of years ago now that the US is, by far, the greatest threat to peace on this planet.

  34. jo6pac
    May 14, 2018 at 13:12

    Paul Street I give this article 2 Thumbs Up. Thanks to CN for caring it.

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