A Kinder, Gentler US Empire Is Not Possible

Caitlin Johnstone responds to the latest rebuke of progressive House member Ilhan Omar by members of her own party. 

By Caitlin Johnstone

Minnesota’s U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar has once again been the center of an artificial controversy launched in bad faith, this time over a tweet in which she mentioned the United States and Israel in the same breath as Hamas and the Taliban as perpetrators of “unthinkable atrocities.”

“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban,” Omar said while sharing a video of her wildly unsuccessful effort to get a straight answer from Secretary of State Tony Blinken on accountability for U.S. and Israeli war crimes.

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This provoked a bunch of ridiculous garment-rending histrionics from Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats, not because it is absurd to compare murderous warmongering regimes like the U.S. and Israel with vastly less destructive regional forces like Hamas and the Taliban, but because it is considered unacceptable in mainstream politics to suggest that the U.S. and Israel are anything other than beneficent powers who at worst make the occasional innocent oopsie.

This pathetically mild criticism of a power structure which has killed millions and displaced tens of millions just in the last two decades, during a pathetically unsuccessful attempt to get any kind of concession about war crimes and crimes against humanity from a prominent U.S. official, drew so much outrage and vitriol from the U.S. political/media class that Omar was once again forced to issue another pathetic walkback of her comments.

“On Monday, I asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken about ongoing International Criminal Court investigations,” Omar said in a statement on her congressional website. “To be clear: the conversation was about accountability for specific incidents regarding those ICC cases, not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the U.S. and Israel.  I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.”

And that is it, ladies and gentlemen. That is as far as you are allowed to take criticism of the empire in mainstream American politics. Even that level of feeble, impotent criticism is far outside the boundaries for anyone in the mainstream political/media class.

So, in case it wasn’t already clear to you, progressive Democrats are a joke. They’re not a real thing. If they are literally barred from even meaningfully criticizing the U.S. empire, let alone actually working to dismantle it, they’re a joke. They will never succeed in advancing any kind of real progressive agenda.

There’s this unspoken and unquestioned assumption among progressive Democrats that it is possible to advance progressive agendas without actually ending the U.S. empire. That you don’t need to actually dismantle the U.S. empire and strip down its military to the bare bones in order to get nice things like universal healthcare, a living wage and more ethical behavior on the world stage.

This is pure fantasy. It will never happen.

As long as the U.S. is the center of a globe-spanning empire, it will be necessary to keep Americans too poor, too busy and too confused to interfere with the operation of the machine. You cannot allow a critical mass of Americans to have enough money to spend on political campaign donations, to have enough free time to research what’s actually happening in their world, to be sufficiently stress-free to look up and realize that your government is murdering children in their name, and also keep the empire running smoothly. You cannot have an imperialist oligarchy who runs things and also have income and wealth equality.

The empire feeds on oppression, exploitation, ignorance and blood. It is impossible to dominate the planet with a unipolar world order if you don’t use violent force, and the threat of violent force, to uphold that world order. If you’re not strangling people at home and bombing people abroad, then you cannot have an oligarchic empire. Period.

The main rift you see on the leftmost end of the American political spectrum is between people who seek an end to the imperialist murder machine and people who just want the imperialist murder machine to give them healthcare. The first group faces a very difficult uphill battle to get what it wants. The second group is just engaging in an impossible fantasy.

This is how you can tell who is for real and who is not: do they want to dismantle the oligarchic empire, or don’t they? If they do, they’re fighting for something real, but the oligarch-owned political/media class will not give them a platform. If they don’t, they may get a punditry job or a seat in congress, but they won’t ever actually give you anything besides feel-good empty narrative fluff.

The solution, as I always point out, is to work together to destroy and discredit the oligarchic propaganda apparatus which enables the empire to determine who gets a platform and who doesn’t. As long as they are able to uplift vapid fauxgressives who pretend it’s possible to have a kinder, gentler U.S. empire and marginalize people who actually want to dismantle the status quo, there will never be enough public awareness to force real change. All positive changes in human behavior are always the direct result of an expansion of awareness, so spreading awareness of the fact that there is an oligarchic empire which is exploiting and deceiving everyone should be the foremost priority of anyone who wants real change.

It’s not that you can’t beat the machine, it’s that you can’t beat the machine using the tools the machine has given you. A grassroots effort to wake each other up to reality is a very achievable goal, and once enough eyes are open, anything is possible.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium.  Her work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook, following her antics on Twitter, checking out her podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following her on Steemit, throwing some money into her tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of her sweet merchandise, buying her books Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative MatrixRogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

This article is from CaitlinJohnstone.com and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

16 comments for “A Kinder, Gentler US Empire Is Not Possible

  1. ricardo hermanny
    June 15, 2021 at 19:44

    Great article Caitlin congratulations,
    I believe, that as long as we human beings, the only spoken tribe of Planet Earth, keep worshiping the only truthful almighty God: Money,Argent, Geld,….. depending on what tribe one`s belong, we`ll continue to trust in a 3000 yrs system that allows misleading propaganda and polititicians, corruption and so on…. It`s funny that we put a man in the moon and can not invent a new way of governance free of the toxics lobbies that really rule the Western World.

  2. Steve Naidamast
    June 15, 2021 at 14:28

    I disagree with Ms. Johnson regarding her promotion of a “grass roots” movement to change things.

    Such statements are made nearly as often as Congress initiating another “investigation”. As to this, I am surprised that right now we are not having investigations of the investigators.

    That being said, a grass-roots movement cannot be achieved in the current sociological landscape of the United States whereby it is now completely fractured due to a mix of identity-politics, woke ideology, White nationalism, and a slew of devisve issue mongering that most Americans cannot get their heads on straight as to who or which organization one would actually support. How can they?

    From Stacey Abram’s “Fair Fight” for voting rights to the “Move to Amend” organization that supports the rollback of Citizens United, exactly which organization should any one of us support and get involved in? The list is so extensive that most legitimate efforts and endeavors simply do not have the resources to accomplish their own limited goals.

    As Ms. Johnson stated, given the current circumstances, there is no getting to a kinder, gentler America since it never was that way in the first place.

    The world is rapidly changing and President Biden’s latest attempts at foreign policy with the G7 and President Putin will go nowhere leaving the US government to simply continue on with its severe dysfunctional processing.

    What is going to happen is that when Russia and China believe they can do it without destroying the US economy, since it is something that the world still needs (as consumers), they will land special units in Washington DC (probably when the State of Union Address is being made since that is when the majority of cretins are in the Capitol), take out the US government with the aid of patriotic US Forces and rebuild the political infrastructure.

    Nothing less will get rid of this monstrosity…

  3. Kiwiantz
    June 15, 2021 at 01:35

    Another fantastic article by Caitlin & she goes out of her way to describe why the American Empire needs to collapse & die! This Obligarchic Nation is the most heinous, evil & satanic Empire that’s ever existed in Human History & responsible for the deaths of millions! In my opinion, it’s right up there with Hitlers Nazi Germany with its disregard for International law & committing of War crimes! I like the American people & the Beautiful Countryside, but I utterly detest its Deathcult Political System & murderous Military a Industrial complex! It will be a great day for the World when this US Empire dies & goes into oblivion!

  4. Lee C. Ng
    June 14, 2021 at 19:41

    I believe Caitlin – and websites like this – can help readers to see through the fog of corporate-controlled mass media. And that’s a good first step in demolishing Empire.

    More people today are aware of the hollowness of charges that Russia is aggressive towards Ukraine when articles reveal their historical ties and the fact that Russian forces are within its own territory, whereas US forces are obviously not.

    The Empire’s propaganda about China’s “Uighur genocide” can be approached with a simple question: has ANY Muslim state endorsed such charges? That could easily lead to questions like: are the imperialists sincere in their concern for Muslim welfare when they’re responsible for killing and wounding millions of Muslims in the Middle East, North Africa, etc.? And such killings still continue in places like Syria and Yemen at this very moment?!!

    The fact the UN is – finally!- looking into Empire’s war crimes in Afghanistan and Palestine and violations against human rights within the US itself surely signify some progress in pushing back the Empire’s blood-stained tentacles.

    Water is soft, but when repeatedly splashed on can wear out even the hardest rocks. I believe that’s what CN and most alternative sites are trying to do.

  5. Carol Crumlish
    June 14, 2021 at 15:28

    Quite correct and powerfully written, this. Hats off to you, Ms. Johnstone!

  6. June 14, 2021 at 12:57

    Indeed, it never will as long as we allow the existing privatized debt-for-profit-money system to rule us. But, if we were to change the money to a debt-free sovereign money system it would reverse all the negative psychological consequences of usury and a kinder and gentler world would emerge. So my question is: do we focus on the mess or do we focus on turning off the faucet making the mess?

  7. Tedder
    June 14, 2021 at 10:07

    What is salient is that a vague, mild criticism of Imperial atrocities can be heard at all. If the Left does succeed in electing a Congressperson, we can not count on anything except an almost inaudible voice in opposition; that is the very best we can do. However, just because the voice is not loud enough to effect change, that voice is still important.

    • JoeSixPack
      June 14, 2021 at 15:51

      Yes the voice is there to stifle dissent and prevent people from leaving the Democratic party. This is the exact opposite of that Caitlin Johnstone is talking about in her article.

      Real change is necessary not faux change.

  8. Me Myself
    June 14, 2021 at 08:31

    Uh, Uh, Uh, Uh, Uh, I can see why he got his job.

    Uh, is the solution. Why didn’t we think of that sooner puppy eyes?

  9. John R
    June 14, 2021 at 08:27

    The lesser of two evils party will never allow real progressives or real progressive issues to be brought to light – same as it ever was. Thanks for yet another great piece from Caitlan.

  10. Realist
    June 14, 2021 at 03:26

    Political parties: Bah! They tell you that they stand for the policies and ideals you’d like to see implemented by your government at various levels (city, county, state or nation), and that they represent only your interests, the interests of the majority of good law-abiding and tax-paying American citizens–you know, the ones always asked to make the sacrifices whether it comes to “balancing the budget” or winning a war “crucial to the interests of the country and the wider world. But they lie.

    They are liars to the very core. They are really just puppets of one or another faction of wealthy oligarchs who sell themselves and purchase your confidence and support, like any other transaction by the Wall Street or Madison Avenue gangs. As a so-called party member and voter for their cause, you become just a prop supposedly demonstrating grass roots support for them–proof that their crowd and their alleged causes are the plans and ideas that the American people want to see implemented.

    But all that is a lie. The political party system in the USA is the most egregious case of “bait and switch” that you could ever hope to see. It’s a model, an archetype for fraud and racketeering if there ever was one. Can’t wrap your mind around that obvious truth? Just ask yourself when was the last time any pol you ever voted for actually tried to implement all the promises he or she made during the campaign.

    What, you wonder, did Barack Obama or Joe Biden lie about during their quests for the presidency? Just look up the platforms they ran on and the bushwah they dispensed during their campaign appearances, presidential debates and TV commercials. From my perspective, they lied about basically everything. They’ve done nothing they promised to you, their loyal followers and voters. But have no doubt, they’ve delivered big time to the wealthy elites who generously funded their campaigns, with probably a few generous “tips” on the side so they can dress and coif for the role they’re expected to play.

    Dapper don Joe Biden didn’t even have the decency to keep his promise to reverse the tax cut that Trump gave to the ultra-rich, which has accomplished nothing but exacerbating the federal budget deficit. Joe didn’t even submit a bill (through House leadership) to make a lame attempt at this. Once in office he suddenly found that this, and all the rest of his campaign promises, were simply futile wishful thinking, or needed readjustment in the light of political “reality.” Don’t kid yourself, all is going exactly according to plan…as designed by the genuine fully functioning “inner party” that you, whether a loyal Democrat, Republican or Independent, know nothing about.

    • Tedder
      June 14, 2021 at 10:12

      Your view is just a little too cynical for me. The reality is that our politicians respond to who funds them, not to the people. Only by changing that calculus can we expect politicians to work for the people. As far as the few who are elected without corporate control, they are very few and the social environment is claustrophobic. Very few can withstand it and those who do are crushed, sometimes killed. So, be a little bit generous to those politicians who at least mouth the right words and make the right votes, even if they cannot change policy.

  11. Zhu
    June 13, 2021 at 23:55

    Of course not. Americans don’t want it to be “kinder, gentler”. As a society, we enjoy raping, robbing, torturing, murdering “lesser breeds outside the law.” That’s why we keep doing it. It starts with John Winthrop and friends deciding the Pequods were the Devil’s children.

  12. stephen kelley
    June 13, 2021 at 22:40

    u.s. imperialism is immoral. plain and simple.

  13. Michael Crockett
    June 13, 2021 at 22:14

    Thank you Caitlin. I agree with everything you say in this article. I saw Rep. Omar at a campaign rally in Springfield Va. (2020). She spoke Just before Bernie Sanders took the stage. There was a crowd of several thousand (my guess), to support Sanders bid to be the Dem. party presidential candidate, and both had a lot of good things to say. There was lots of applause. I shouted up to Bernie on several occasions. I yelled “take down the oligarchs Bernie!”. He did not acknowledge my remarks in any way. Strangely I was interviewed by someone who had a camera man to boot. I stated I would consider voting for Bernie if he would select Tulsi for VP. Let Bernie push his agenda at home and have Tulsi run the foreign policy for the administration. Well we all know what happened later, as Sanders crashed and burned in South Carolina. Long story short, I voted for Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker in 2020.

  14. Nathan Mulcahy
    June 13, 2021 at 21:49

    Huh…. “ the leftmost end of the American political spectrum is between people who seek an end to the imperialist murder machine and people who just want the imperialist murder machine to give them healthcare. ”

    Caitlin got right – again. The only thing I’d like to add is that “a third group wants the imperialist murder machine to have brown/ black faces, sprinkled with some gender equality”. Think Powell, Rice, Gonzales, Albright, Hillary , Austin, Obama ….

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