All posts tagged: Empire Watch

Chris Hedges: The End of Empire

Chris Hedges in TruthDig: The American empire is coming to an end. The U.S. economy is being drained by wars in the Middle East and vast military expansion around the globe. It is burdened by growing deficits, along with the devastating effects of deindustrialization and global trade agreements. Our democracy has been captured and destroyed by corporations that steadily demand more tax cuts, more deregulation and impunity from prosecution for massive acts of financial fraud, all the while looting trillions from the U.S. treasury in the form of bailouts. The nation has lost the power and respect needed to induce allies in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa to do its bidding. Add to this the mounting destruction caused by climate change and you have a recipe for an emerging dystopia. Overseeing this descent at the highest levels of the federal and state governments is a motley collection of imbeciles, con artists, thieves, opportunists and warmongering generals. And to be clear, I am speaking about Democrats, too. The empire will limp along, steadily losing influence …

It Hurts When Empires Fall

This article by Pål Steigan was originally published here. Translated by Graham Healey. There is a genre of landscape painting from the 17th and 18th centuries that ought to give us cause for reflection. They are paintings of Italian landscapes where goatherds and their flocks wander amongst the ruins of Roman aqueducts, bridges and temples. The fascinating thing about them is that they depict a European society which, more than 1200 years after the fall of the Roman empire, still had not regained the level of production and infrastructure that the Roman empire had at it’s height. It wasn’t until the industrial revolution in the 18th century that the productivity and infrastructure in Europe managed to surpass the Roman empire in its heyday. The paintings of goatherds and farm animals amongst the ruins of infrastructure and temples from classical Rome are like pictures of people moving among the remains of a high-tech civilisation that they no longer have the ability to match. The city of Rome had at its height a population of a million …

Germany’s Minister of Defense is the first victim of “Zapad 2017”

Adomas Abromaitis Germany’s Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen at a defense ministers’ summit in Estonia on September, 7 criticized upcoming Russian-Belarusian Zapad 2017 military exercises. She said that around 100,000 Russian soldiers will take part in the upcoming Zapad 2017 war games, despite Moscow’s claims that they will only have 12,700 participants and exercise will not exceed the 2011 Vienna Document limits. Moscow and Minsk also insist on defensive character of the exercise. Two countries that constitute the Union State of Russia and Belarus pre-declared intention to improve interoperability of staffs of different levels as well as interfacing of prospective troops and armament control systems in order to be prepared to react adequately to emerging threats. The statement of Germany’s Minister of Defense fully contradicts these official sources and was likely made in order to divert attention from internal problems in the German Army and switch it to external factors. Is Germany itself really ready to cope with rapidly changing geopolitical situation? This question should logically be addressed to the country’s Minister of Defense …

Russia Slowly but Surely Putting an End to the American Empire

A russian soldier on a humanitarian mission in Syria. A Darius Shahtahmasebi op-ed in AntiMedia: Over the past few weeks, some dramatic stories and a potential nuclear war have taken the media’s attention away from the non-story that is the Russiagate-election scandal. But as attention veers away from the Russian hacking narrative, why are genuine stories regarding Russia’s actual influence in the world almost completely ignored? Russia is slowly but surely nabbing small but significant pieces of the American empire. Not only did Russia foil the U.S. military establishment’s plan to dominate Syria by inserting its military in the country and setting up a quasi-no-fly-zone of its own, but Russia is also acquiring pieces of the global chessboard through other means. Let’s start backward. Washington’s violent, stalwart ally and regional power player Saudi Arabia has been cozying up to Russia over the course of the year amid Russia’s demonstrable successes in Syria. As Al-Jazeera explains: “In late May, then Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman went to Russia to discuss with President Vladimir Putin the oil market and the situation in Syria. The visit came just three weeks before Crown Prince Mohammed …

The Nations that Accept Nazism Today

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org The U.S. Government leads a global operation to make racist fascism ‘respectable’ again. On 21 November 2014, in a vote at the United Nations on a Resolution opposing a resurgence of the racist-fascist ideology (opposing the ideology that’s commonly called “nazism”) which Resolution was titled “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-nazism and other practices that contribute to contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance”, 115 nations voted “Yes” to pass the Resolution, 3 voted “No” to reject it, and 55 voted “Abstain,” meaning they didn’t want to express a view on the resolution. An additional 19 didn’t vote at all on it (decided to absent themselves from that roll-call, for whatever reason — basically, not even saying whether they were neutral on it by voting “Abstain” — just said nothing at all on it). The document that they were voting on had been posted complete on 17 November 2014, and is still posted in its entirety here. As can be seen there, it had been proposed by …

Why Trump rolled over on Russia

by Philip Roddis, from Steel City Scribblings Trump’s cave in on rapprochement with Putin shows the hollowness and shallow worldview of this inept narcissist. More importantly, it shows an American ruling class committed to war, cold for now, on Russia. To see why, we must set aside what we think we know about the old one. Suppose that cold war was not about ‘defending our freedom’. Suppose it was instead about one sixth of the world’s land mass – its vast resources and markets – being closed off to Profit. Why suppose any such thing? Because for reasons beyond my current remit, capitalism’s inner laws of motion demand ceaseless accumulation, even as they drive a tendency to falling profits. I haven’t the space here to prove these things, nor do I ask anyone to accept them on my say so. I ask only that for purposes of inquiry we suppose them true. Things that don’t otherwise make much sense suddenly snap into focus. Like why there’s still a cold war on Russia …. The Reagan …

Venezuela elections: resurgent chavismo and “unrecognised” democracy

After weeks of imperialist threats and opposition violence, the elections for the Constituent Assembly (ANC) in Venezuela took place on July 30th. The result was a massive turnout of over 8 million voters, around 41% of the electorate, which gave chavismo a much-needed shot in the arm. The western media reacted by trying to dispute the number and sticking even closer to the narrative being pushed by the opposition and the US State Department. With the opposition scrambling and US authorities bringing more sanctions and threats, it is now chavismo that has the political initiative. The Constituent Assembly will not solve everything by itself, but it is a tremendous opportunity to push the Bolivarian Revolution forward.

Trillions of Dollars in U.S. Military Spending Is Unaccounted-For

Now, and for many decades past, the American public has displayed far higher confidence and trust in “The Military” than in any other “Institution” (including than churches, schools, the Presidency, the police, courts — any). And yet — according to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Defense — many billions, and sometimes even trillions, of dollars, in the Department’s periodic financial reports, are not documented.

The Destructiveness of America’s Alliances

byEric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org Alliances between nations are military. Without being military, they would be nothing. Trade agreements don’t require any alliances at all. World War I wouldn’t have occurred if there had not been alliances — it was built upon alliances. It was not built on trade agreements. It wasn’t even built on trading-blocs. In fact, as the WTO (World Trade Organization) has said: In the two decades prior to World War I, a number of tariff wars broke out, usually provoked by the establishment of a new, more protectionist tariff, or in the course of renegotiation of bilateral treaties.17 After the expiry of a treaty, tariffs were often raised temporarily as a means of improving negotiating leverage. … Despite the widespread increase of protectionist measures before World War I in continental Europe, the United States19, Argentina and other countries, world trade continued to expand rapidly. It goes on to observe: Even though the contention that trade and peace dovetail is still very present today,119 it is not uncontested on theoretical and …

The Economic Motive for America’s Current Wars

Russia has long been the chief seller of energy — mainly gas and oil — in the world’s largest energy-market: the EU, or Europe. This means that U.S.-based energy companies, such as Exxon and Halliburton, aren’t the ones who dominate in supplying oil, gas, pipelines, and other energy-supplying needs, to the consumers and businesses in the world’s largest energy-market: Europe.

JFK at 100: The War on Our Heroes Part 1

If the bullets hadn’t flown, John Fitzgerald Kennedy might have been one hundred years old today. Granted, it’s not likely, put definitely possible. If the parade route hadn’t been changed, and the roof taken off the limousine, and the secret service ordered to stand down, the world would likely be a very different place. If the man had safely negotiated the last 54 years, and was still breathing today, what would he make of this mess?

Sauron Rules in Washington

by Paul Craig Roberts “The problem is that the world has listened to Americans for far too bloody long.” Dr. Julian Osborne, from the 2000 film version of Nevil Shute’s 1957 book, On the Beach A reader asked why neoconservatives push toward nuclear war when there can be no winners. If all die, what is the point? The answer is that the neoconservatives believe that the US can win at minimum and perhaps zero damage. Their insane plan is as follows: Washington will ring Russia and China with anti-ballistic missile bases in order to provide a shield against a retaliatory strike from Russia and China. Moreover, these US anti-ABM bases also can deploy nuclear attack missiles unknown to Russia and China, thus reducing the warning time to five minutes, leaving Washington’s victims little or no time in which to make a decision. The neoconservatives think that Washington’s first strike will so badly damage the Russian and Chinese retaliatory capabilities that both governments will surrender rather than launch a response. The Russian and Chinese leaderships would …

The Rogue State that is the United States of America

from New Antarctica As one more US aircraft carrier steams off to confront the North Koreans and threaten nuclear war once again , it is timely to recall that 60 years ago the United States and its allies (including a very compliant New Zealand) began a genocidal bombing of every town and city in the north of Korea. Millions of Koreans died. Since that war ended, the largest and nuclear superpower in the world has refused to sign a peace treaty with North Korea, has stationed thousands of troops and weapons along its South Korean border and has regularly threatened to nuke North Korea, applied annual large scale attack manoeuvres along the border with North Korea, as well as implementing sanctions that in several years since the war, caused mass starvation in the north. Small wonder that the North Korean regime might be considered paranoid and unstable! Ironically, the United States has absolutely no interest in the Korean peninsula and its peoples; its sole rationale for maintaining the ongoing conflict with North Korea is to …

Questions following the US attack on Syria

Last night, and much to chagrin of people who thought Trump would not escalate matters in Syria, the US military launched 59 Tomahawk missiles into Syria, allegedly attempting to destroy a government airbase. They warned the Russian government before-hand, who will have passed on that warning to the Syrians, meaning the area was probably on alert, with any important equipment or personnel removed. The Pentagon have also stated that, at this time, there are no plans for any other strikes or any campaign in Syria.

VIDEO: R2P or How the Left Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace Wars of Imperial Aggression

If the last three years have taught us anything, it is that the so-called anti-war liberal left can be made to become cheerleaders for the same war agenda that they pretended to deride during the Bush Administration. How was this accomplished? A developing doctrine of international law called “Responsibility to Protect.” Links to sources and show notes here.

Is there a plan to replace Trump with Pence?

by Eric Zuesse Barack Obama is stepping forward to assist the newsmedia in replacing the political neophyte Donald Trump by his long-established neoconservative Vice President, Mike Pence, who would become the President if Trump is either impeached or otherwise removed from the Presidency. The top ‘hawkish’ or neoconservative newspaper is the Washington Post, whose “Global Opinions” writer Josh Rogin headlined on March 5th, “Vice President Pence is quietly becoming a foreign policy power player” and he wrote with apparent pleasure that, “Inside the White House, Pence is in the room during most of the president’s interactions with world leaders. He receives the presidential daily brief. As head of the transition, he was instrumental in bringing several traditionally hawkish Republicans into the top levels of the administration’s national security team, including Director of National Intelligence-designate Dan Coats, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.” Earlier, on February 22nd, the newspaper’s general Opinion Writer, Dana Milbank, had bannered, “Trump should try acting a bit more vice presidential” and closed by saying, “Never forget. Pence’s genuine …

US Slams Russia and Syria but not IS

by Tutisicecream The WMSM have carried blanket coverage of the UN Aid Convoy attack repeating US accusations blaming Russia and Syrian based solely on the claims of the White Helmets The attack on the UN aid convoy seems to mark the end of the Syrian ceasefire as the Syrian government announced it will resume attacks on the IS and its various al-Qaida-linked militant factions who failed to comply with the seven-day cease-fire agreement brokered by the US and Russia. So far the only claim of the perpetrators of the attack comes from a video filmed by the White Helmets. The US accusations, backed by no clear independent evidence, comes just days after it admitted on September 18th it killed over 80 and injured more than another 100 Syrian troops in an attack it called a “mistake”. A mistake which allowed IS to go immediately on the offensive and attack the city of Aleppo where not surprisingly the attack on the UN aid convoy has taken place. Churkin said the timing of the US airstrike was …