Chris Hedges: No Way Out But War

Permanent war has cannibalized the country. It has created a social, political, and economic morass. Each new military debacle is another nail in the coffin of Pax Americana.

Original illustration for ScheerPost by Mr. Fish — “No Guts No Glory.”

By Chris Hedges

The United States, as the near unanimous vote to provide nearly $40 billion in aid to Ukraine illustrates, is trapped in the death spiral of unchecked militarism.

No high speed trains. No universal health care. No viable Covid relief program. No respite from 8.3 percent inflation. No infrastructure programs to repair decaying roads and bridges, which require $41.8 billion to fix the 43,586 structurally deficient bridges, on average 68 years old.

No forgiveness of $1.7 trillion in student debt. No addressing income inequality. No program to feed the 17 million children who go to bed each night hungry. No rational gun control or curbing of the epidemic of nihilistic violence and mass shootings.

No help for the 100,000 Americans who die each year of drug overdoses. No minimum wage of $15 an hour to counter 44 years of wage stagnation. No respite from gas prices that are projected to hit $6 a gallon.

The permanent war economy, implanted since the end of World War II, has destroyed the private economy, bankrupted the nation, and squandered trillions of dollars of taxpayer money. The monopolization of capital by the military has driven the U.S. debt to $30 trillion, $6 trillion more than the U.S. GDP of $24 trillion. Servicing this debt costs $300 billion a year.

We spent more on the military, $813 billion for fiscal year 2023, than the next nine countries, including China and Russia, combined.

We are paying a heavy social, political, and economic cost for our militarism. Washington watches passively as the U.S. rots, morally, politically, economically, and physically, while China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, and other countries extract themselves from the tyranny of the U.S. dollar and the international Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a messaging network banks and other financial institutions use to send and receive information, such as money transfer instructions.

Once the U.S. dollar is no longer the world’s reserve currency, once there is an alternative to SWIFT, it will precipitate an internal economic collapse. It will force the immediate contraction of the U.S. empire shuttering most of its nearly 800 overseas military installations. It will signal the death of Pax Americana.

Bi-Partisan Rot

Democrat or Republican. It does not matter. War is the raison d’état of the state. Extravagant military expenditures are justified in the name of “national security.” The nearly $40 billion allocated for Ukraine, most of it going into the hands of weapons manufacturers such as Raytheon Technologies, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing, is only the beginning.

Military strategists, who say the war will be long and protracted, are talking about infusions of $4 or $5 billion in military aid a month to Ukraine. We face existential threats. But these do not count. The proposed budget for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in fiscal year 2023 is $10.675 billion. The proposed budget for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is $11.881 billion.

Ukraine alone gets more than double that amount. Pandemics and the climate emergency are afterthoughts. War is all that matters. This is a recipe for collective suicide.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressing U.S. Congress on March 16. (C-Span still)

There were three restraints to the avarice and bloodlust of the permanent war economy that no longer exist. The first was the old liberal wing of the Democratic Party, led by politicians such as Senator George McGovern, Senator Eugene McCarthy, and Senator J. William Fulbright, who wrote The Pentagon Propaganda Machine.

The self-identified progressives, a pitiful minority, in Congress today, from Barbara Lee, who was the single vote in the House and the Senate opposing a broad, open-ended authorization allowing the president to wage war in Afghanistan or anywhere else, to Ilhan Omar now dutifully line up to fund the latest proxy war.

The second restraint was an independent media and academia, including journalists such as I.F Stone and Neil Sheehan along with scholars such as Seymour Melman, author of The Permanent War Economy and Pentagon Capitalism: The Political Economy of War. 

Third, and perhaps most important, was an organized anti-war movement, led by religious leaders such as Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King Jr. and Phil and Dan Berrigan as well as groups such as Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). They understood that unchecked militarism was a fatal disease.

None of these opposition forces, which did not reverse the permanent war economy but curbed its excesses, now exist. The two ruling parties have been bought by corporations, especially military contractors. The press is anemic and obsequious to the war industry.

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Propagandists for permanent war, largely from right-wing think tanks lavishly funded by the war industry, along with former military and intelligence officials, are exclusively quoted or interviewed as military experts.

NBC’s Meet the Press aired a segment May 13 where officials from Center for a New American Security (CNAS) simulated what a war with China over Taiwan might look like. The co-founder of CNAS, Michèle Flournoy, who appeared in the Meet the Press war games segment and was considered by Biden to run the Pentagon, wrote in 2020 in Foreign Affairs that the U.S. needs to develop “the capability to credibly threaten to sink all of China’s military vessels, submarines and merchant ships in the South China Sea within 72 hours.” 

The handful of anti-militarists and critics of empire from the left, such as Noam Chomsky, and the right, such as Ron Paul, have been declared persona non grata by a compliant media. The liberal class has retreated into boutique activism where issues of class, capitalism and militarism are jettisoned for “cancel culture,” multiculturalism and identity politics.

Liberals are cheerleading the war in Ukraine. At least the inception of the war with Iraq saw them join significant street protests. Ukraine is embraced as the latest crusade for freedom and democracy against the new Hitler.

There is little hope, I fear, of rolling back or restraining the disasters being orchestrated on a national and global level.  The neoconservatives and liberal interventionists chant in unison for war. Biden has appointed these war mongers, whose attitude to nuclear war is terrifyingly cavalier, to run the Pentagon, the National Security Council, and the State Department.

“Pandemics and the climate emergency are afterthoughts. War is all that matters. This is a recipe for collective suicide.”

Since all we do is war, all proposed solutions are military. This military adventurism accelerates the decline, as the defeat in Vietnam and the squandering of $8 trillion in the futile wars in the Middle East illustrate. War and sanctions, it is believed, will cripple Russia, rich in gas and natural resources. War, or the threat of war, will curb the growing economic and military clout of China.

These are demented and dangerous fantasies, perpetrated by a ruling class that has severed itself from reality. No longer able to salvage their own society and economy, they seek to destroy those of their global competitors, especially Russia and China. Once the militarists cripple Russia, the plan goes, they will focus military aggression on the Indo-Pacific, dominating what Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, referring to the Pacific, called “the American Sea.” 

The Economic Interest

Tents for homeless people in Portland, Oregon, August 2020. (drburtoni, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

You cannot talk about war without talking about markets. The U.S., whose growth rate has fallen to below 2 percent, while China’s growth rate is 8.1 percent, has turned to military aggression to bolster its sagging economy. If the U.S. can sever Russian gas supplies to Europe, it will force Europeans to buy from the United States. 

U.S. firms, at the same time, would be happy to replace the Chinese Communist Party, even if they must do it through the threat of war, to open unfettered access to Chinese markets. War, if it did break out with China, would devastate the Chinese, American, and global economies, destroying free trade between countries as in World War I. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Washington is desperately trying to build military and economic alliances to ward off a rising China, whose economy is expected by 2028 to overtake that of the United States, according to the U.K.’s Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). The White House has said Biden’s current visit to Asia is about sending a “powerful message” to Beijing and others about what the world could look like if democracies “stand together to shape the rules of the road.” The Biden administration has invited South Korea and Japan to attend the NATO summit in Madrid.

But fewer and fewer nations, even among European allies, are willing to be dominated by the United States. Washington’s veneer of democracy and supposed respect for human rights and civil liberties is so badly tarnished as to be irrecoverable. Its economic decline, with China’s manufacturing 70 percent higher than that of the U.S., is irreversible.

War is a desperate Hail Mary, one employed by dying empires throughout history with catastrophic consequences. “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable,” Thucydides noted in The History of the Peloponnesian War

Running Out of Troops

U.S. sailors on Feb. 2 participate in a gun shoot aboard amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli in the Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Navy, Maci Sternod)

A key component to the sustenance of the permanent war state was the creation of the All-Volunteer Force. Without conscripts, the burden of fighting wars falls to the poor, the working class, and military families. This All-Volunteer Force allows the children of the middle class, who led the Vietnam anti-war movement, to avoid service. It protects the military from internal revolts, carried out by troops during the Vietnam War, which jeopardized the cohesion of the armed forces.

The All-Volunteer Force, by limiting the pool of available troops, also makes the global ambitions of the militarists impossible. Desperate to maintain or increase troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military instituted the stop-loss policy that arbitrarily extended active-duty contracts. Its slang term was the backdoor draft.

The effort to bolster the number of troops by hiring private military contractors, as well, had a negligible effect. Increased troop levels would not have won the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but the tiny percentage of those willing to serve in the military (only 7 percent of the U.S. population are veterans) is an unacknowledged Achilles heel for the militarists.

“As a consequence, the problem of too much war and too few soldiers eludes serious scrutiny,” writes historian and retired Army Colonel Andrew Bacevich in After the Apocalypse: America’s Role in a World Transformed.

“Expectations of technology bridging that gap provide an excuse to avoid asking the most fundamental questions: Does the United States possess the military wherewithal to oblige adversaries to endorse its claim of being history’s indispensable nation? And if the answer is no, as the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq suggest, wouldn’t it make sense for Washington to temper its ambitions accordingly?”

This question, as Bacevich points out, is “anathema.” The military strategists work from the supposition that the coming wars won’t look anything like past wars. They invest in imaginary theories of future wars that ignore the lessons of the past, ensuring more fiascos.


From left: U.S. President Joe Biden, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, meeting on June 14, 2021. (NATO, Flickr)

The political class is as self-deluded as the generals. It refuses to accept the emergence of a multi-polar world and the palpable decline of American power. It speaks in the outdated language of American exceptionalism and triumphalism, believing it has the right to impose its will as the leader of the “free world.”

In his 1992 Defense Planning Guidance memorandum, U.S. Under Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz argued that the U.S. must ensure no rival superpower again arises. The U.S. should project its military strength to dominate a unipolar world in perpetuity.

On Feb. 19, 1998, on NBC’s Today Show, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gave the Democratic version of this doctrine of unipolarity. “If we have to use force it is because we are Americans; we are the indispensable nation,” she said. “We stand tall, and we see further than other countries into the future.”

This demented vision of unrivaled U.S. global supremacy, not to mention unrivaled goodness and virtue, blinds the establishment Republicans and Democrats. The military strikes they casually used to assert the doctrine of unipolarity, especially in the Middle East, swiftly spawned jihadist terror and prolonged warfare. None of them saw it coming until the hijacked jets slammed into the World Trade Center twin towers. That they cling to this absurd hallucination is the triumph of hope over experience.

“Washington’s veneer of democracy and supposed respect for human rights and civil liberties is so badly tarnished as to be irrecoverable.”

There is a deep loathing among the public for these elitist Ivy League architects of American imperialism. Imperialism was tolerated when it was able to project power abroad and produce rising living standards at home. It was tolerated when it restrained itself to covert interventions in countries such as Iran, Guatemala, and Indonesia. It went off the rails in Vietnam.

The military defeats that followed accompanied a steady decline in living standards, wage stagnation, a crumbling infrastructure and eventually a series of economic policies and trade deals, orchestrated by the same ruling class, which de-industrialized and impoverished the country.

The establishment oligarchs, now united in the Democratic Party, distrust Donald Trump. He commits the heresy of questioning the sanctity of the American empire. Trump derided the invasion of Iraq as a “big, fat mistake.” He promised “to keep us out of endless war.” Trump was repeatedly questioned about his relationship with Vladimir Putin. Putin was “a killer,” one interviewer told him. “There are a lot of killers,” Trump retorted. “You think our country’s so innocent?” Trump dared to speak a truth that was to be forever unspoken, the militarists had sold out the American people.

Noam Chomsky took some heat for pointing out, correctly, that Trump is the “one statesman” who has laid out a “sensible” proposition to resolve the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The proposed solution included “facilitating negotiations instead of undermining them and moving toward establishing some kind of accommodation in Europe … in which there are no military alliances but just mutual accommodation.”

Trump is too unfocused and mercurial to offer serious policy solutions. He did set a timetable to withdraw from Afghanistan, but he also ratcheted up the economic war against Venezuela and re-instituted crushing sanctions against Cuba and Iran, which the Obama administration had ended. He increased the military budget.

Trump apparently flirted with carrying out a missile strike on Mexico to “destroy the drug labs.” But he acknowledges a distaste for imperial mismanagement that resonates with the public, one that has every right to loath the smug mandarins that plunge us into one war after another. Trump lies like he breathes. But so do they.

Steep Price to Pay

Waiting for her bottle. (Bradley Gordon, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

The 57 Republicans who refused to support the $40 billion aid package to Ukraine, along with many of the 19 bills that included an earlier $13.6 billion in aid for Ukraine, come out of the kooky conspiratorial world of Trump. They, like Trump, repeat this heresy. They too are attacked and censored.

But the longer Biden and the ruling class continue to pour resources into war at our expense, the more these proto-fascists, already set to wipe out Democratic gains in the House and the Senate this fall, will be ascendant. Marjorie Taylor Greene, during the debate on the aid package to Ukraine, which most members were not given time to closely examine, said: “$40 billion dollars but there’s no baby formula for American mothers and babies.”

“An unknown amount of money to the C.I.A. and Ukraine supplemental bill but there’s no formula for American babies,” she added. “Stop funding regime change and money laundering scams. A U.S. politician covers up their crimes in countries like Ukraine.”

Democrat Jamie Raskin immediately attacked Greene for parroting the propaganda of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Greene, like Trump, spoke a truth that resonates with a beleaguered public. The opposition to permanent war should have come from the tiny progressive wing of the Democratic Party, which unfortunately sold out to the craven Democratic Party leadership to save their political careers. Greene is demented, but Raskin and the Democrats peddle their own brand of lunacy. We are going to pay a very steep price for this burlesque.

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for 15 years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East bureau chief and Balkan bureau chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor and NPR.  He is the host of show “The Chris Hedges Report.”

Author’s Note to Readers: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Bob Scheer, who runs ScheerPost on a shoestring budget, and I will not waiver in our commitment to independent and honest journalism, and we will never put ScheerPost behind a paywall, charge a subscription for it, sell your data or accept advertising. Please, if you can, sign up at so I can continue to post my Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, “The Chris Hedges Report.”

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37 comments for “Chris Hedges: No Way Out But War

  1. lester
    May 26, 2022 at 01:27

    How to solve the military manpower shortage: either enlist immigrants, in exchange for citizenship; or hire mercenary armies, like Blackwater et al. Probably our leaders will do both.

    • Tennegon
      May 26, 2022 at 19:28

      Oddly enough citizenship is not a requirement for serving in the U.S. military.

      I once worked with a fellow who said he could not speak English when he enlisted, learning it through his time in the U.S. Army.

  2. Aaron
    May 25, 2022 at 21:09

    Another item that could be added to that list of unaddressed problems for Americans is this: on CBS news the other night they did a piece on elderly financial abuse by con artists and scammers. They said that the amount our elderly are defrauded is up 74% in the previous year, another feather in Biden’s cap I guess. That he cares more about Ukrainians than Americans is really disturbing and repugnant.

  3. Charles Carroll, U.S. Navy Retired
    May 25, 2022 at 21:00


  4. Robert Emmett
    May 25, 2022 at 19:00

    Of the power of money in politics there can be little doubt in which direction it skews & whom it screws – “… The poor stay poor/The rich get rich/That’s how it goes/Everybody knows.” (L. Cohen/ “Everybody Knows”)

    With the $40 bill$ vote it appears those who once might have shared the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. now have a kind of veil drawn over their eyes. Have they not definitively answered the age old question: Which side are you on?

    It’s almost as if the country and its major institutions that once may have played a part in checking rampant militarism all are virulently addicted to war and all its works & all its pomps.

  5. Anonymot
    May 25, 2022 at 17:17

    Perfection is hard to attain, but this article is the close to a perfect expression of how the few people who have the will to think and the bravery to express it in these times when our country is in the grasp of fascism; not neo-fascism, for it’s not new, but the standard model used since antiquity.

    America has become a hodgepodge of unrealized – and probably unrealizable – promises made under the thin shroud named democracy. We do not have a democracy unless Hillary’s definition of a country where people simply get to vote is defining. But vote? Vote for whom? Hillary? Trump? Biden? Obama? Genitalia? Color? Religion? Bush? Nixon, Reagan, Joe McCarthy? Some circus elephant?

    What real leader can or would wish to shoulder their way through the whips to front page nakedness demanded by our media – or their opponents lies and charges?

    The naked truth stands out like thorns on a yucca. We have passed the point of possibility. Good times are not coming back in our times. The best we can do is fall in love or stay in love should we have it and continue the fruitless work of objecting to the stupidity of the powers that have seized the country and are squeezing it dry.

  6. Tobysgirl
    May 25, 2022 at 15:41

    I agree with some of what Hedges writes, it always seems to be “some of.” Edward Curtain published this excellent essay on Dissident Voice:


    • Airlane1979
      May 26, 2022 at 06:50

      That is an informative piece to which you linked. Thank you. It quotes the supposedly esteemed Mr Chomsky (you know, the man who demanded every socialist vote for Joe Biden to stop Trump in 2020):

      “I don’t think there are ‘significant lies’ in war reporting. The U.S. media are generally doing a highly creditable job in reporting Russian crimes in Ukraine. That’s valuable, just as it’s valuable that international investigations are underway in preparation for possible war crimes trials.”

      • c
        May 27, 2022 at 08:24

        In the context of the ‘9/11’ story, one critic said Chomsky’s role was to set the boundary for ‘responsible’ dissent.

  7. May 25, 2022 at 13:41

    As we mourn the children and adults murdered in a Texas elementary school yesterday, it bears reflecting on the fact that those who are demanding “gun control legislation” are in huge part, the same people who support perpetual war, world-wide, who support the armaments industry as long as it is making and distributing for quotidian use against children in schools, all over the world, weapons massively more destructive than the weapons used by that maladjusted mental case in Texas.

    The hypocrisy is sickening but what does that say about those of us who empower them, reelect them, fall for their false narrative spewed by hordes of pseudo journalists, malevolent pseudo journalists. Twenty-one deaths are horrible, but what about twenty-one million deaths? Or a hundred million deaths. With what each one of us collectively contributes as de facto tax payments to the Orwellianly named “defense industry”, no child in the world need ever be hungry, or lack shelter or clothing or medical treatments or education. Nor would any adult. Poverty could be eliminated, and most crime.

    Just how stupid are we.

    • Dienne
      May 25, 2022 at 16:22

      Those of us? I haven’t voted for any such war supporter since I saw the light with Obama in 2008. And even before that I was quite vocally anti-war/anti-MIC – I just was too blind to realize that Obama’s apparent anti-war rhetoric was hollow. I’d venture to say that the vast majority of CN readers are no longer falling for or supporting that, if they ever did.

  8. LeoSun
    May 25, 2022 at 13:18

    NO worries. The night is long. We “Got” the Hook-Up to R E A L I T Y from Chris Hedges & Mr. Fish ….Genius, each of ‘em.

    I agree, wholeheartedly, for all their, Biden-Harris, bridge building; and, NOT one bridge built.

    The gerontocracy is bereft of a peace plan; but, “they GOT War,” re$ources, weapons. Everybody knows, the “currency” is hate, war, weapons.

    Which “elephant in the room is most insulting,” 1) The hypocrisy of NIMBY while Congress funds war in Ukraine, for phkn ever! OR, 2) The Political Corpse posing as POTUS masquerading as Human?!?

    The “I am NOT a Bot, Democrat, Republican, Russian Agent, Putin Puppet, MAGAteer or Jackass” generation has paid a very steep price.

    The USD is in extreme decline. National Security still means M.I.C., k eee why? National Interests aka Corporation$, in the Divided $tates of Corporate America.

    “We the People,” need to rock “their” phkng world.

    “NO More, in “OUR” Name!!! Resist. Revolt. Return focus on the Release of Julian Assange. “Justice for Julian,” means Life w/Freedom.

    The Universe’s ASK, “Rock a PEACE Plan. No More WARS. FREE, Julian Assange, a.s.a.p.” TY.

  9. May 25, 2022 at 13:15

    Great report.

  10. mac farlane
    May 25, 2022 at 13:05

    Can’t we just say that President Trump and Rep Greene have it right, and appear to be the only sane politicians who speak for the majority of Americans?

    • Gene Poole
      May 27, 2022 at 08:13

      Well, what do they say?

  11. Chris Cosmos
    May 25, 2022 at 12:50

    I think it should be obvious by now that the anti-war sentiment is almost exclusively on the right thus demonizing them as proto-fascist is counter-productive. The current left is, in fact, far mo fascists, authoritarian and militaristic that the populist or libertarian right.

    If people like Hedges really care about militarism and war then they must make an accommodation with the anti-war right. We don’t have to agree on everything or even most things to cooperate. The reality is that the real left that Hedges inhabits is tiny while the anti-war right represents far more people. Sadly, this idea is firmly rejected by the real left as it continues to die.

    • Dienne
      May 25, 2022 at 16:17

      You’re confusing liberals/Democrats with the left. The actual left is and has always been anti-war. It’s just that liberals joined us when it was convenient because it was a way to “oppose” the Republicans.

  12. Alex Cox
    May 25, 2022 at 12:19

    All true. But it seems gratuitous and self defeating to insult Trump and the 57 Republicans who voted against Biden’s 40 billion dollar war package.

    Right now these 58 ‘statesmen’ are the only hope we have.

  13. Drew Hunkins
    May 25, 2022 at 10:52

    MTG and Trump get this one right. Yes, they’re depraved on other issues, but we must acknowledge that they got this one correct.

    It’s time to admit that some (some!) of the stuff coming out of this new populist wing of the GOP is pretty much on the mark. Yes, they’re out to lunch on most issues, yet they sometimes nail a few topics unlike the pwogwessive Dems who got the biggest and most potentially dangerous issue in the world today dead wrong.

    Everything now is specific issues based, specific issues based, specific issues based. No one candidate today is ever going to get all of the most pressing topics right.

    No one can argue with what MTG said about this $40 billion boondoggle.

  14. Dienne
    May 25, 2022 at 10:17

    Interesting that this was published the day after the largest school shooting since Sandy Hook. I wonder if there’s any connection between America’s obsession with wars abroad and its obsession with guns and shooting at home?

    Nah, couldn’t be.

    • Carl Zaisser
      May 25, 2022 at 12:01

      you got it…the US never saw a weapon, at any level of firepower, that it couldn’t make a buck off.

  15. Me Myself
    May 25, 2022 at 08:53

    “Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist” I can see why Well deserved!

  16. Gregor Sirotof
    May 25, 2022 at 06:45

    This article is spot on. This is the Chris Hedges I have long respected.

  17. mgr
    May 25, 2022 at 05:59

    Thank you. Slave owners in the American South would sometimes hobble runaway slaves who were returned by chopping off half their foot so they could not run away again.

    Apparently, America can no longer compete in business, enterprise, or culture, not to mention in moral values. This is due in large part to the ubiquitous choice of executive wealth accumulation over innovation and development and improvement for all. So instead of competing by working together and innovating better, America puts its energy into trying to hobble it’s competitors. After all, any fool can destroy things. That takes no special talent. Creating value on the other hand is real work and at this sad point it seems it is simply a bridge too far for the American empire. Can any good arise from such a degenerate perspective? The handful of psychopaths running the State department represent the accumulated rot and infection of America’s ideology of “profit above all” that has broken through the skin. Banal Joe Biden has proven himself the perfect accelerator of this demise. Neither the GOP nor Dems offer a solution. Even compared to an incompetent Trump, Biden and the “Democratic Party” is orders of magnitude more perverse. Better the enemy you can see and organize against than the pretend friend who slips the knife in quietly. At least with Trump, the rest of the world could not hide behind illusions regarding America’s place is the world. That in itself is a good thing. Certainly as opposed to “America is back!” Would the fools in the EU have supported Trump’s war in Ukraine? Look where they are now, now that “America is back!”

    America will bankrupt itself. It’s starting in earnest with Ukraine. If we survive this, Russia and China will simply work as a tag team; China builds a small airfield on an Island in the Pacific and the US responds with another couple hundred billion for urgent “defense” in response. Then it’s Russia turn and another few hundred billion for that, then China again, etc. And who else may join in the fun? Trying to control of the world when one cannot even control oneself, that’s how empires fall.

  18. May 25, 2022 at 05:58

    We are paying a heavy social, political, and economic cost for our militarism. Washington watches passively as the U.S. rots, morally, politically, economically, and physically, while China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, and other countries extract themselves from the tyranny of the U.S. dollar and the international Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a messaging network banks and other financial institutions use to send and receive information, such as money transfer instructions.

  19. Henry Smith
    May 25, 2022 at 04:26

    Although it appears the democratic systems and voting in the USA is broken and corrupt, IMO, the war based economy persists because it is acceptable to the voting masses. Whilst the voters keep putting their Xs in either the Democrats or Republican boxes there will be no change. There are no true alternative candidates and if there was there would be insufficient support. America needs more socialism to survive but the people are terrified of helping one another in the scrabble to help (and protect) themselves.
    It is wholly ironic and just that a war that America largely caused will probably end up destroying it. America with its size and wealth ‘could’ be a power for good in the world but unfortunately as the Hindu scripture quoted by Robert Oppenheimer says: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”.

    • Dienne
      May 25, 2022 at 10:18

      Well said.

  20. Realist
    May 25, 2022 at 04:07

    “We are going to pay a very steep price for this burlesque.”

    Yes, there will be dancing in the streets around the globe when the American clown show finally ends, they shutter all the overseas bases, and put the nukes under lock and key. After nearly a hundred year hiatus we might finally return to developing our civilian sector, meeting the people’s needs, restoring the infrastructure and reinstituting vital services all abandoned as unaffordable to serve militarism.

    The hope and next project for humankind will then be for both Russia and China to follow suit in locking down the nukes in their possession and convincing the handful of other nuclear powers (including Israel) to also give up theirs. This may seem far fetched but maybe not if a humbled America takes the first step. The devices themselves must be dismantled and the radionuclides, whether U or Pu, used as fuel in the remaining nuclear power plants till exhausted, then the plants closed, dismantled and the spent fuel injected into a tectonic subduction zone from which it will be carried deep into the Earth’s mantle never to re-emerge in remaining human history.

    Without all the interminable waring, rebuilding, rearming, new weapons development and constant strategizing for war, more attention, money and materials could be directed to the other problems in health, education, and environment always confronting us. Enhanced exploration of space with spinoffs to industry, resource recovery, accretion of basic knowledge and an outlet for the human drive to explore and seek adventure should be possible.

    Russian and Chinese leaders seem to prefer a world with much more predictability and stability than Washington ever allowed, so such a transformation may be possible once America is brought under control to a civilised standard. America’s collapse should be dealt with honestly in history classes as the residue of profligate lying, cheating, stealing and swindling of every sort imaginable. At least for while (till the lesson is forgotten) people may actually display a higher moral character with subsequent benefits to all society. Once the American yoke is off of Europe’s neck they should be perfectly amenable to working peacefully with Russia and China. Realistically, this is a job that will not be completed until your great grandchildren are in total control of things. Or, alternatively, the initially frozen surface of nuclear winter Earth will still be lethally radioactive and the planet will never again see any children born.

    • peter tusinski
      May 25, 2022 at 09:36

      Realist your comment is right on target and offers a sane and sound viewpoint on whats required to create the changes necessary forour survival.

    • rachel
      May 27, 2022 at 03:34

      i didn’t know nuclear weapons could be dismantled and disposed of.

      also, very funny post from last week about nuclear war combatting inflation and climate change.

  21. Mikael Andersson
    May 25, 2022 at 03:59

    Thanks Chris. Noam Chomsky was right (again). An obvious question remains. If the USA central banking system can blow more USD into existence to fund the war industries, if they can produce more weapons that the Russian Federation, if there are still military-age Ukrainians to fire them and the war continues indefinitely – until Russia is depleted – at what point does the Russian Federation see an existential threat to their state and turn Ukraine into a nuclear wasteland? Russia has no plan that includes defeat. Simply wait for an easterly wind to blow the nuclear fallout into the EU.

    • Carl Zaisser
      May 25, 2022 at 12:02

      usually the wind blows west

    • May 25, 2022 at 14:28

      No, it is north America that will be turned into a wasteland. No one ever talks about the threat that you face. It is always about other countries being wasted.
      That is exactly what you face.

      Chris hedges talks about all the politicians being bought, but it is not only in America, it is the entire European union and many other countries.

      The entire Western media is not just anemic and obsequious; it is all owned by the same people, and funded by the same groups. Open your mouth and get fired, or follow the script to get paid.

      For decades, America has not invested in education, but instead uses the brightest foreigners to keep your technology afloat. Now, many of them are going back to their respective countries, as they witness the hatred and violence that is at the core of America.

      In many ways this is a last gasp in a futile attempt to keep the bullying afloat. I don’t believe that America has the ability to even start changing. This 70 year old empire is dying; the very shortest in human history.

    • Tobysgirl
      May 25, 2022 at 15:39

      I think you are underestimating Russia. A writer said that in the U.S. the military-industrial complex runs the state and in Russia the state runs the weapons industry. Both Russia and China have invested their weapons money into defensive weapons, e.g., China has developed missiles that can take out American warships.

      Russia has no interest in decimating Ukraine which they could easily have done. They actually see Ukrainians as part of their Slavic family, a concept of brotherhood completely alien to Americans. The fascists in Azovstahl had plenty of food, even carrying some out in their luggage, but they did not share it with regular Ukrainian soldiers, who were very thin and very hungry. The Azov Battalion reminds me of many Americans: greedy, selfish, full of viciousness.

    • Airlane1979
      May 26, 2022 at 06:53

      Noam Chomsky said recently: “I don’t think there are ‘significant lies’ in war reporting. The U.S. media are generally doing a highly creditable job in reporting Russian crimes in Ukraine. That’s valuable, just as it’s valuable that international investigations are underway in preparation for possible war crimes trials.”

      Was he right (again)?

  22. Anon
    May 24, 2022 at 23:53

    Actually Name J Yellen likely debt holding agcy US Fed

    • bluedogg
      May 25, 2022 at 11:06

      Of course, she is along with all the toxic waste from the 2008/2009 melt down, the Fed is loaded with useless paper it’s bought up to keep the Ponzi scheme rolling that’s why they fought so hard to keep the Fed from being audited. Then of course you have all those financial interments the Fed buys up on a daily basis to keep the casino known as the stock market from cashing, add into that a corrupt congress and the so-called justice system, and you have the perfect storm.

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