by Dr M C Gupta
A prediction, based upon present facts, that the US is on the path of decline.
|THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE U.S. EMPIRE
I don’t know why, I have this strong premonition that sometime this century, somebody would write a book titled on the lines of the “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” by Edward Gibbon (1737-1794). Maybe, latest, by 2094, though it could be much earlier. It would be titled as “Decline and Fall of the U.S. Empire”.
When I say so, it is not out of any hatred of the great American nation or the great American people, but, rather, out of my strong belief that the policies of this great country are too self- serving and self- centred, crafted in isolation of the world, to let it follow a path of peaceful co-existence with other nations. A country which is at loggerheads with a large chunk of humanity cannot rule the mass of humanity for long.
For sake of clarity of thought, on my part as well as that of the readers, I would prefer to use an official, numbered style, at the risk of losing some appeal for those who find that style uncomfortable.
1. WHAT IS THE US EMPIRE?
USA, or the Unites States of America, is admittedly a democracy, not a kingdom. However, in the US presidential system of government, unlike the British (and Indian) system of parliamentary democracy where the prime minister is the Head of the government while the Queen / President are the (titular) Head of the State, the US President is rather like an emperor, enjoying vast powers, including those even to manufacture lies, such as the WMD, and launch armed aggression against other states.
But, empires need not be determined solely by the type of government, namely, a kingdom. There can be economic, cultural, linguistic empires, for example. Britain may be labelled as a linguistic empire today. China may be labelled as a cultural empire, closely followed by India. USA is today’s economic empire. However, it is projected to yield place to China, with India following, after about 20-25 years. In words of Petrov, “Economically, the American Empire was born with the establishment of the Bretton Woods system in 1945.” [Krassimir Petrov, Ph.D.: The Proposed Iranian Oil Bourse,http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article11613.htm ]. I must say that Petrov's article is well researched and reasoned. I strongly recommend it for serious readers. It is summarised, in his own words as follows: “The American Empire depends on the U.S. dollar. The proposed Iranian Oil Bourse will accelerate the fall of the U.S. dollar and hence the fall of the American Empire”.
It is this economic empire we are talking about. It is the threat to this empire that was the real cause of attack on Iraq, so as to crush it for its audacity to ask payment for its oil in Euros in place of US dollars. To quote Petrov: “Bush's war in Iraq was not about existing weapons of mass destruction, about defending human rights, about spreading democracy, or even about seizing oil fields. It was about defending the dollar, ergo the American Empire; it was about setting an example that anyone who demanded payment in currencies other than U.S. Dollars would be likewise punished”. It is the threat to this empire, and not the alleged nuclear enrichment by Iran, which has prompted US to announce its resolve to crush Iran. Petrov has this to say regarding Iran: “The Iranian government has recently proposed to open in March 2006 an Iranian Oil Bourse that will be based on an euro-based oil-trading mechanism that naturally implies payment for oil in Euro. In economic terms, this represents a much greater threat to the hegemony of the dollar than Saddam's.”
2. THE EMPIRE IS NOT BENIGN
Whether the US is benign to its own citizens will not be discussed here. However, it has not been so to the rest of the world. The very development of the US as a power is a chronicle of the brutal and systematic decimation of the original inhabitants, the Cherokees, Ouachita, Topachula, Yuchi, etc., and usurpation of their land.
The white settlements grew on the blood and sweat of the blacks, hunted and caught from their native countries in Africa and transported, chained like animals, in ships that landed on American shores. They were called slaves, and the country, so conscious of democracy and human freedom, invented a convenient legal fiction to clean their conscience of any charge of atrocity against humans; the slaves, legally, were mere chattel, which is defined in legal terms as follows: “Chattel means any article of personal property. It consists of movable property such as furniture and household goods generally, as distinct from fixture or land. Chattels is a more comprehensive term than goods and includes animate as well as inanimate property. Every movable thing which can be weighed, measured or counted is included under the term chattels” [Law Lexicon by P R Aiyar]. Thus, by way of this legal fiction, the black men, women and children were the personal property of the American whites and, being mere chattels, were devoid of humanity, making it a legal impossibility to commit upon them crimes such as rape, torture, murder etc.
Usurpation of land and bringing slaves to till it were not enough. Machines need energy in the form of cheap oil. Since the oil reserves of the world are situated in Arabia and Central Asia and in South America, these countries had to be subjugated to ensure a steady supply of cheap oil for the great US machinery. Conscious of the fact that democratic aspirations of people in any country in the world would not permit export / selling of oil on terms that are unfavourable to their own country, the US realized very well that though democracy was desirable for the welfare of the Americans, democracy elsewhere, especially in countries that were rich in oil or could influence procurement of oil, would be an impediment in its designs. That explains why US has been toppling democracies and encouraging and supporting puppet dictatorships in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Latin America and Pakistan. Propping up the tiny state of Israel, right in the midst of Arabia, is a calculated part of that strategy. Support of Pakistan [read, weakening of India] was the reason why the USA refused to come to India’s help when Communist China attacked it in 1962.
The US strategy to secure for itself the world resources could not have succeeded without armed aggression against other countries. A partial list of US military interventions from 1890 onward has been listed by Dr. Zoltan Grossman
In: “WOUNDED KNEE TO IRAQ: A CENTURY OF U.S. MILITARY INTERVENTIONS” [http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/interventions.html]
Talking of US propensity to war, Grossman writes:
“The United States military has been intervening in other countries for a long time. In 1898, it seized the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico from Spain and in 1917-18 became embroiled in World War I in Europe. In the first half of the 20th century it repeatedly sent Marines to "protectorates" such as Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. All these interventions directly served corporate interests, and many resulted in massive losses of civilians, rebels, and soldiers.
U.S. involvement in World War II (1941-45) was sparked by the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and fear of an Axis invasion of North America. Allied bombers attacked fascist military targets, but also fire-bombed German and Japanese cities such as Dresden and Tokyo, partly under the assumption that destroying civilian neighborhoods would weaken the resolve of the survivors and turn them against their regimes. Many historians agree that fire- bombing's effect was precisely the opposite--increasing Axis civilian support for homeland defense, and discouraging potential coup attempts. The atomic bombing of Japan at the end of the war was carried out without any kind of advance demonstration or warning that may have prevented the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians”.
About Iraq, Grossman writes:
“The following year, the U.S. deployed forces in the Persian Gulf after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, which turned Washington against its former Iraqi ally Saddam Hussein. U.S. supported the Kuwaiti monarchy and the Muslim fundamentalist monarchy in neighboring Saudi Arabia against the secular nationalist Iraq regime. In January 1991, the U.S.and its allies unleashed a massive bombing assault against Iraqi government and military targets, in an intensity beyond the raids of World War II and Vietnam. Up to 200,000 Iraqis were killed in the war and its immediate aftermath of rebellion and disease, including many civilians who died in their villages, neighborhoods, and bomb shelters. The U.S. continued economic sanctions that denied health and energy to Iraqi civilians, who died by the hundreds of thousands, according to United Nations agencies. The U.S. also instituted "no-fly zones" and virtually continuous bombing raids, yet Saddam was politically bolstered as he was militarily weakened”.
[The year referred is 1990].
3. THE EMPIRE HAS NO SCRUPLES--
It is a well known fact that American oil companies have strong financial interests and influence American policies that determine acts of aggression against foreign governments, aimed at making them tow the US line. America firmly believes that everything is fair in love and war. [It is another thing that what they love most is their dollar and what they call war is really unilateral aggression, since history is witness that no armed aggression has ever been carried out by any other country upon US territory].
The most shameful chapter in recent US history, as regards lack of scruples / morals, is the blatantly false assertion that Iraq had WMD, and using that assertion as the ground for attacking its president and assassinating him. It is characteristic of the attitude and political conscience of the USA that though the US president later admitted that he knew there were no WMD and had spread a canard, he has steadfastly refused to apologise for his actions.
It is notable that after listing 138 US military interventions between1890-2007, Grossman detects and describes the common trends in US policy as follows:
“Some common themes can be seen in many of these U.S. military interventions.
First, they were explained to the U.S. public as defending the lives and rights of civilian populations. Yet the military tactics employed often left behind massive civilian "collateral damage." War planners made little distinction between rebels and the civilians who lived in rebel zones of control, or between military assets and civilian infrastructure, such as train lines, water plants, agricultural factories, medicine supplies, etc. The U.S. public always believe that in the next war, new military technologies will avoid civilian casualties on the other side. Yet when the inevitable civilian deaths occur, they are always explained away as "accidental" or "unavoidable."
Second, although nearly all the post-World War II interventions were carried out in the name of "freedom" and "democracy," nearly all of them in fact defended dictatorships controlled by pro-U.S. elites. Whether in Vietnam, Central America, or the Persian Gulf, the U.S. was not defending "freedom" but an ideological agenda (such as defending capitalism) or an economic agenda (such as protecting oil company investments). In the few cases when U.S. military forces toppled a dictatorship--such as in Grenada or Panama--they did so in a way that prevented the country's people from overthrowing their own dictator first, and installing a new democratic government more to their liking.
Third, the U.S. always attacked violence by its opponents as "terrorism," "atrocities against civilians," or "ethnic cleansing," but minimized or defended the same actions by the U.S. or its allies. If a country has the right to "end" a state that trains or harbors terrorists, would Cuba or Nicaragua have had the right to launch defensive bombing raids on U.S. targets to take out exile terrorists? Washington's double standard maintains that an U.S. ally's action is by definition "defensive," but that an enemy's retaliation is by definition "offensive."
Fourth, the U.S. often portrays itself as a neutral peacekeeper, with nothing but the purest humanitarian motives. After deploying forces in a country, however, it quickly divides the country or region into "friends" and "foes," and takes one side against another. This strategy tends to enflame rather than dampen a war or civil conflict, as shown in the cases of Somalia and Bosnia, and deepens resentment of the U.S. role.
Fifth, U.S. military intervention is often counterproductive even if one accepts U.S. goals and rationales. Rather than solving the root political or economic roots of the conflict, it tends to polarize factions and further destabilize the country. The same countries tend to reappear again and again on the list of 20th century interventions.
Sixth, U.S. demonization of an enemy leader, or military action against him, tends to strengthen rather than weaken his hold on power. Take the list of current regimes most singled out for U.S. attack, and put it alongside of the list of regimes that have had the longest hold on power, and you will find they have the same names. Qaddafi, Castro, Saddam, Kim, and others may have faced greater internal criticism if they could not portray themselves as Davids standing up to the American Goliath, and (accurately) blaming many of their countries' internal problems on U.S. economic sanctions”.
4. WHAT IS BASICALLY WRONG WITH USA?
I think the one thing USA lacks is a sense of values. I don’t mean here the values like work culture, rule of law, individual liberty, honesty and fairness, charity etc. They are there in abundance and, in fact, are the reason why some people from other countries feel attracted to live there. What I am referring to are higher values, that are not for internal use within the US society, but for determining relations with other societies / countries. Having democracy and human rights for US citizens is one thing; espousing them for alien citizens is another. If USA crushes democracies in other countries and props up pliable dictatorships there for its own perceived advantage, it is, in reality, not much far from selfishness.
The problem with USA as regards values is that it does not seem to practice the advice of Jesus that “do unto others as you would like others to do unto you”. USA seems to have one set of rules for itself, and another for others. That never works. People easily see through the game. It is a different matter that they may keep quiet and suffer in silence till their time comes. My hunch is that that time is not far off. It is due this century.
The root cause of lack of higher values in US strategy can, in my opinion, be traced to its own superficial moorings as regards culture. To be frank, is there something called US culture at all, as distinct from British, Indian or Chinese or Arabic / Mesopotamic or Egyptian or Roman or Japanese cultures? Many would agree that what we find in USA 500 years after Columbus happened to land in the Americas is but a hotchpotch amalgam of immigrants and their individual cultures, resulting in what is often referred to as the melting pot phenomenon, where the individual cultures, up to 7000 to12000 years old, get extinguished, along with their respective traditions and deeply entrenched values. I may liken a cultureless society to a rudderless ship. That is what has probably made USA take a wayward course in world political arena, much like the proverbial bull in the china shop. But, let us not forget what ultimately happens to the bull after it has caused initial mayhem.
5. THE PROCESS OF DECLINE AND FALL—
Decline refers to weakening and self-degeneration. Fall refers to a precipitate crash as a result of a decisive, final blow from the enemy. The second phase follows the first.
The phase of decline seems to have already started. Some symptoms are:
a. A widely prevailing arrogant belief in its superiority [Remember, Pride hath a fall];
b. A deliberate lack of respect for, and interest in, other cultures and societies;
c. Unwillingness to abide by international codes. It has not accepted the jurisdiction of the International Court of Criminal Justice. It has been refusing to sign environment treaties / protocols. The Iraq invasion was against international law. US has vowed to follow a peculiar principle of “pre-emptive attack”, meaning that it reserves the right to attack other countries if it ‘suspects” that those countries might be engaged in activities that might be detrimental to US interests! [If US reserves the right of armed military aggression against a country in such circumstances, based upon its own perception of its own interests, what prevents other nationals from laying down their own lives in an attempt to prevent the US from taking such action, in the perceived interest of their own respective countries? It is another thing that the US might label them as terrorists, lauding its own soldiers as heroes].
d. Unwillingness to let others have freedom that it wants for itself. It is the seller’s right to demand payment in currency of its choice. Exercise of that right resulted in death of Saddam and threat to Iran.
e. The appalling discrimination against blacks, resulting in a situation where:
•”In twelve states, between 10 and 15 percent of adult black men are incarcerated.
In ten states, between 5 and 10 percent of black adults are incarcerated.
• In twelve states, black men are incarcerated at rates between twelve and sixteen times greater than those of white men”.
[Human Rights Watch: Race and Incarceration in the United States. Press Backgrounder, February 27, 2002. http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/usa/race/]
f. Broken homes, with more couples living out of than within wedlock, with the resultant massive problem of homeless children.
g. Crass consumerism;
h. Dependence on foreigners for running the US healthcare system; NASA; University research; software industry, etc, through foreign nationals working in USA or working for USA through outsourced services, because US citizens are not interested, willing, competent or available.
Let us hope that the fall does not occur. Falls are too traumatic. Let us hope that good sense prevails and the decline is arrested in time. It will be good for everybody. When an organ of the body is cut, the whole body suffers. The world is like the whole body. Let USA regard itself as a part, not the master of the body. Let UN be the master of the body. Let US stop controlling the UN or dictating to it. Let it allow the UN to function democratically, the first step to which would be expansion of the Security Council and abolition / dilution of the present veto powers.
The day the USA realizes that it has to exist along with and not aloof and above other countries, that day will be the turning point in history. Let us hope that point does come. The sooner, the better.
6. ABSTRACT—The USA is a mighty economic empire and the lone superpower in the world. There are signs that all is not well with it. It is predicted that a process of decline has already started and, if not halted by midcourse corrections, its arrogant disregard of the rest of the world will ensure its own downfall.
7.REFERENCES AND RELATED LINKS:
1. Dr. Krassimir Petrov: The Proposed Iranian Oil Bourse. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article11613.htm
2. Dr. Zoltan Grossman: A History of U.S. Military Interventions since 1890
3. Human Rights Watch: Race and Incarceration in the United States. Press Backgrounder, February 27, 2002. [http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/usa/race/]
4. Dr. M C Gupta: USA AND GENDER DISCRIMINATION IN ISLAM
5. Dr. M C Gupta: POEMS / ARTICLES REGARDING WAR / USA
• Written for "Troublesome Musings" , Troublesome Musings
M C Gupta
18 May 2007