Opinions

The decline and fall of the U.S. empire

By Chris Hedges

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 until the dollar is dropped as the world’s reserve currency, plunging the United States into a crippling depression and instantly forcing a massive contraction of its military machine.

Short of a sudden and widespread popular revolt, which does not seem likely, the death spiral appears unstoppable, meaning the United States as we know it will no longer exist within a decade or, at most, two. The global vacuum we leave behind will be filled by China, already establishing itself as an economic and military juggernaut, or perhaps there will be a multipolar world carved up among Russia, China, India, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and a few other states. Or maybe the void will be filled, as the historian Alfred W. McCoy writes in his book “In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power,” by “a coalition of transnational corporations, multilateral military forces like NATO, and an international financial leadership self-selected at Davos and Bilderberg” that will “forge a supranational nexus to supersede any nation or empire.”

Under every measurement, from financial growth and infrastructure investment to advanced technology, including supercomputers, space weaponry and cyberwarfare, we are being rapidly overtaken by the Chinese. “In April 2015 the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggested that the American economy would grow by nearly 50 percent over the next 15 years, while China’s would triple and come close to surpassing America’s in 2030,” McCoy noted. China became the world’s second largest economy in 2010, the same year it became the world’s leading manufacturing nation, pushing aside a United States that had dominated the world’s manufacturing for a century. The Department of Defense issued a sober report titled “At Our Own Peril: DoD Risk Assessment in a Post-Primacy World.” It found that the U.S. military “no longer enjoys an unassailable position versus state competitors,” and “it no longer can … automatically generate consistent and sustained local military superiority at range.” McCoy predicts the collapse will come by 2030.

Empires in decay embrace an almost willful suicide. Blinded by their hubris and unable to face the reality of their diminishing power, they retreat into a fantasy world where hard and unpleasant facts no longer intrude. They replace diplomacy, multilateralism and politics with unilateral threats and the blunt instrument of war.

This collective self-delusion saw the United States make the greatest strategic blunder in its history, one that sounded the death knell of the empire—the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. The architects of the war in the George W. Bush White House, and the array of useful idiots in the press and academia who were cheerleaders for it, knew very little about the countries being invaded, were stunningly naive about the effects of industrial warfare and were blindsided by the ferocious blowback. They stated, and probably believed, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, although they had no valid evidence to support this claim. They insisted that democracy would be implanted in Baghdad and spread across the Middle East. They assured the public that U.S. troops would be greeted by grateful Iraqis and Afghans as liberators. They promised that oil revenues would cover the cost of reconstruction. They insisted that the bold and quick military strike—“shock and awe”—would restore American hegemony in the region and dominance in the world. It did the opposite. As Zbigniew Brzezinski noted, this “unilateral war of choice against Iraq precipitated a widespread delegitimation of U.S. foreign policy.”

Historians of empire call these military fiascos, a feature of all late empires, examples of “micro-militarism.” The Athenians engaged in micro-militarism when during the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) they invaded Sicily, suffering the loss of 200 ships and thousands of soldiers and triggering revolts throughout the empire. Britain did so in 1956 when it attacked Egypt in a dispute over the nationalization of the Suez Canal and then quickly had to withdraw in humiliation, empowering a string of Arab nationalist leaders such as Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser and dooming British rule over the nation’s few remaining colonies. Neither of these empires recovered.

“While rising empires are often judicious, even rational in their application of armed force for conquest and control of overseas dominions, fading empires are inclined to ill-considered displays of power, dreaming of bold military masterstrokes that would somehow recoup lost prestige and power,” McCoy writes. “Often irrational even from an imperial point of view, these micromilitary operations can yield hemorrhaging expenditures or humiliating defeats that only accelerate the process already under way.”

Empires need more than force to dominate other nations. They need a mystique. This mystique—a mask for imperial plunder, repression and exploitation—seduces some native elites, who become willing to do the bidding of the imperial power or at least remain passive. And it provides a patina of civility and even nobility to justify to those at home the costs in blood and money needed to maintain empire. The parliamentary system of government that Britain replicated in appearance in the colonies, and the introduction of British sports such as polo, cricket and horse racing, along with elaborately uniformed viceroys and the pageantry of royalty, were buttressed by what the colonialists said was the invincibility of their navy and army. England was able to hold its empire together from 1815 to 1914 before being forced into a steady retreat. America’s high-blown rhetoric about democracy, liberty and equality, along with basketball, baseball and Hollywood, as well as our own deification of the military, entranced and cowed much of the globe in the wake of World War II. Behind the scenes, of course, the CIA used its bag of dirty tricks to orchestrate coups, fix elections and carry out assassinations, black propaganda campaigns, bribery, blackmail, intimidation and torture. But none of this works anymore.

The loss of the mystique is crippling. It makes it hard to find pliant surrogates to administer the empire, as we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan. The photographs of physical abuse and sexual humiliation imposed on Arab prisoners at Abu Ghraib inflamed the Muslim world and fed al-Qaida and later Islamic State with new recruits. The assassination of Osama bin Laden and a host of other jihadist leaders, including the U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, openly mocked the concept of the rule of law. The hundreds of thousands of dead and millions of refugees fleeing our debacles in the Middle East, along with the near-constant threat from militarized aerial drones, exposed us as state terrorists. We have exercised in the Middle East the U.S. military’s penchant for widespread atrocities, indiscriminate violence, lies and blundering miscalculations, actions that led to our defeat in Vietnam.

The brutality abroad is matched by a growing brutality at home. Militarized police gun down mostly unarmed, poor people of color and fill a system of penitentiaries and jails that hold a staggering 25 percent of the world’s prisoners although Americans represent only 5 percent of global population. Many of our cities are in ruins. Our public transportation system is a shambles. Our educational system is in steep decline and being privatized. Opioid addiction, suicide, mass shootings, depression and morbid obesity plague a population that has fallen into profound despair. The deep disillusionment and anger that led to Donald Trump’s election—a reaction to the corporate coup d’état and the poverty afflicting at least half of the country—have destroyed the myth of a functioning democracy. Presidential tweets and rhetoric celebrate hate, racism and bigotry and taunt the weak and the vulnerable. The president in an address before the United Nations threatened to obliterate another nation in an act of genocide. We are worldwide objects of ridicule and hatred. The foreboding for the future is expressed in the rash of dystopian films, motion pictures that no longer perpetuate American virtue and exceptionalism or the myth of human progress.

“The demise of the United States as the preeminent global power could come far more quickly than anyone imagines,” McCoy writes. “Despite the aura of omnipotence empires often project, most are surprisingly fragile, lacking the inherent strength of even a modest nation-state. Indeed, a glance at their history should remind us that the greatest of them are susceptible to collapse from diverse causes, with fiscal pressures usually a prime factor. For the better part of two centuries, the security and prosperity of the homeland has been the main objective for most stable states, making foreign or imperial adventures an expendable option, usually allocated no more than 5 percent of the domestic budget. Without the financing that arises almost organically inside a sovereign nation, empires are famously predatory in their relentless hunt for plunder or profit—witness the Atlantic slave trade, Belgium’s rubber lust in the Congo, British India’s opium commerce, the Third Reich’s rape of Europe, or the Soviet exploitation of Eastern Europe.”

When revenues shrink or collapse, McCoy points out, “empires become brittle.”

“So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly wrong, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, eleven years for the Ottomans, seventeen for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, just twenty-seven years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003 [when the U.S. invaded Iraq],” he writes.

Many of the estimated 69 empires that have existed throughout history lacked competent leadership in their decline, having ceded power to monstrosities such as the Roman emperors Caligula and Nero. In the United States, the reins of authority may be in the grasp of the first in a line of depraved demagogues.

“For the majority of Americans, the 2020s will likely be remembered as a demoralizing decade of rising prices, stagnant wages, and fading international competitiveness,” McCoy writes. The loss of the dollar as the global reserve currency will see the U.S. unable to pay for its huge deficits by selling Treasury bonds, which will be drastically devalued at that point. There will be a massive rise in the cost of imports. Unemployment will explode. Domestic clashes over what McCoy calls “insubstantial issues” will fuel a dangerous hypernationalism that could morph into an American fascism.

A discredited elite, suspicious and even paranoid in an age of decline, will see enemies everywhere. The array of instruments created for global dominance—wholesale surveillance, the evisceration of civil liberties, sophisticated torture techniques, militarized police, the massive prison system, the thousands of militarized drones and satellites—will be employed in the homeland. The empire will collapse and the nation will consume itself within our lifetimes if we do not wrest power from those who rule the corporate state.
_____________________

Chris Hedges, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

Credit: Truth Dig, www.truthdig.com

  • Fernando Pages

    The writing’s on the wall. We complain about Ecuador, may give thanks i time.

  • Acbig1

    Dear Chris Hedges: Although I can appreciate a good imaginative scenario, I find yours to really be out there in “la la land”. Your predictions are those of a fiction writer, that support your own narrative. No one really knows how the stars will align 50 years from now, or even 10. So while your article appears torn from the pages of “The Fall of the Roman Empire”, I would tend to lean more toward the U.S. figuring out it’s problems and solutions as it always has and most likely always will. The greatest obstacle that the U.S. needs to overcome in this modern day, is liberal ideology. So many in the U.S. have gone astray. This happens when life is so good that people begin to feel guilty (open borders, sanctuary cities, attacks on government and local authorities). Liberal America has lost its sense of “patriotism”, and doesn’t have a clue as to the meaning of “sacrifice”. When you feel empowered to disrespect the American flag and what it stands for, you are a lost American. President Trump recognized this condition of our country long ago, and is now attempting to bring lost Americans back into the fold. And yes, I expect a bunch of nay-sayers to attack me on this, but it doesn’t matter. They are the ones that don’t hear anything but their own voice. So, go for it.

    • jerrynellen

      Right on!

      • edgeof 2

        USA USA USA Lol – Americans want to believe this story so bad. Truth is the USA has never been great. It remains to be seen. Now pull the sheets over your head you have to get up early for school tomorrow morning – cheers mate !

    • edgeof 2

      The irony here is just as you accuse Hedges of a narrative and story you are doing the same with little expertise and research as Hedges has devoted his life too. America always found solutions. That is a big assumption and not the case. Americans have it easy- you are referring to the 1% I assume. Liberals are the problem ? Sorry corporations are a big part the problem and along with conservatives and all. Then look at Trump and his administration. Adult day care center fir rich white men sums it up. Trump has no real leadership ability to bring the country together as he continues to divide it. This is simply ‘your’ opinion and uneducated story you tell yourself when you are tucked into es at night – there is much to learn from what Hedges is saying in an educated analysis if you care to question your story – cheers mate !

      • LadyMoon

        And what we think of as the “US Empire” is actually the US after WWII… Predictions are always based on current knowledge. When predictions were made in 1900 for the new millenium…there was no concept of a computer, etc.
        Nature can wipe us all out…

      • Acbig1

        Gee, hit a nerve did we?

      • Sueetta Joyce

        Disagree with you completely. Change is always possible and is happening everyday down in spite of the radical leftists and their destructive tirades and events.

    • USA! USA! USA!

      Did you even bother to read what Hedges wrote?

      Ask the people in Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Viet Nam, Cambodia, East Timor, Nicaragua, Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, Chile, Panama, Cuba, Ukraine and dozens more what the US flag stands for, then get back to me.

      And for gosh sakes, Acbig1, put down the KoolAid and watch something besides Faux News.

      • Acbig1

        Yea, I knew it wouldn’t take long for you and those like you to come out of the bushes, in “attack” mode. But seriously Dude, you need to take a chill pill. Now let me get this right- You want me to ask the people in however many countries you listed, to do what now?
        Here’s a better idea. If you have something to say-SAY IT! I’m not your clerk, or your investigator. Support YOUR OWN POINT OF VIEW, and stop being an idiot.

        • USA! USA! USA!

          Sure, “Dude.” Try reading for a change.

          My reply to your post was simply reiterating the points made in the Hedges’ article regarding US global intervention and the millions upon millions of innocent men, women and children we have slaughtered, maimed or completely ruined their lives–all for nothing. Do you deny that reality, Mr. Big1?

          Reverting back to your original post, please consider me as one of those “lost Americans” who is ashamed of what the American flag has come to stand for these days and who has no desire whatsoever to allow the Moronic “Little Orange Man” to bring me “back into the fold.”

          You are aware that a “fold” is a pen for sheep, right, Big1?

          Say baa and take your chill pill.

          • StillWatching

            “Reverting back”?

            Go look up “redundancy”

            Now let’s see you conflate my derision of your post to the false belief that I’m a trump supporter. Hell, I don’t even capitalized that pig’s name when I write it.

            • USA! USA! USA!

              I stand corrected, StillWatching. Thanks for pointing out my erroneous mistake (that’s a joke, my friend).

              And far be it from me to ever conflate your critique with the mistaken assumption that you’re a supporter of the Moronic Little Orange Man.

              That would be a reversion back to lunacy .

              • StillWatching

                I like it. You have adequately demonstrated that you understand redundancy.

      • Craig Gardner

        Great take!

    • StillWatching

      Although I most certainly don’t subscribe to your apparent belief that trump is some sort of messiah (I see him more as a buffoon that is skilled at determining the direction the wind is blowing and exploiting that vision) your analysis is well reasoned and you see right through the logical fallacies of the author of this fiction piece. For me, the tell was his use of the word “dystopia”, which is a buzzword for all liberals that are still pissed that trump beat their goddess (who is absolutely as bad as trump himself)

      What this author has done is made a bunch of valid observations about things as they are and then exaggerated them out of all believability to the preposterous conclusions he has posited. You have put this very well: “No one really knows how the stars will align 50 years from now, or even 10.” But it sure rallies those that already believe the underlying premise and will rally behind the conclusions.

    • Sueetta Joyce

      I agree completely with what you have to say. There are always those who see “the sky is falling” thus write only negative takes on our history and future ignoring all the good and righteous things that have been done and are continuing to be done as the “no longer silent majority” is working openly to right many wrongs at last with the help of this new Government cleaning the swamp as quickly as possible. We have too long allowed the destructive forces to invade our land with swill from the far left, socialistic and demonic actions but that is no guarantee that it will not be changed in positive ways. It is a matter of perspective and with all the negatives and evil invading North America, there is always hope and faith and the ability of the good people to turn things around. I do not have blinders on to the evils and wrongs that have been created but these can be in the past as we move forward. It is easy to sit back and write such a long and invasive, negative take on all but why not use the same energy with ideas and ways of turning things to good and to correct the wrongs of our country and world. Each person has a responsibility and power of creation and how we use it in though and deed can overcome anything.

      • libertarian1776

        Suetta Joyce wrote: “It is easy to sit back and write such a long and invasive, negative take
        on all but why not use the same energy with ideas and ways of turning
        things to good and to correct the wrongs of our country and world.”

        How does one know what wrongs should be corrected if someone like Hedges doesn’t point them out to you? Your argument is akin to cupping your hands tightly over your ears and professing that you hear nothing negative.

    • sueb4bs

      Sir/ Madam: DREAM ON — Trumpudo is a proto nazi, a truly vile creature –I believe many of us are spoiled and lost but the true owners of the U.S> are THE PEOPLE –However, the corporations are the new oligarchy and run everything, bought and paid for. I have experience in state government and recognize that what this guy says is way over the heads of many, his style is tough reading!! His p[iece require rereading and discussing. He teaches at Princeton so he has a dense academic style. He is a journalist with vast experience, he has also READ HISTORY> Sadly you seem to have CLOSED your mind and you are the cockyeyed optimist in lalaland, Good luck, hide and watch

      I commit the next months and years to working against this gross authoritarian in MY WHITEHOUSE.

      • Acbig1

        My goodness, Dude. You are off the radar with that junk you’re peddling. But without getting too deep here, let me just ask you a question:
        How, in this and age of America, does a “proto nazi” who is a “truly vile creature”, get to be president of the U.S.? You need to think about that before spewing.

  • Steven, if you’ll open your eyes you will see it as truth. It’s as plain as the nose on your face.

    • Steven Iniguez

      There’s not a single FACT in this OPINION piece. All that in this article is Hedges view of the so-called American decline. He isn’t trying to state facts. Open your eyes….Thank you Acbig1

      • Globetrotter

        You are in denial.

    • Steven Iniguez

      There are no FACTS in this article. It is entirely Hedges OPINION hence the column heading ‘OPINIONS’…
      I don’t have the same opinion as the author and it is not as plain as you make it out to be.

  • Mike O’Keefe

    Blah, blah, blah… same old leftist propaganda — still beating that dead horse while the power of the individual rears it head once again.

    • Emerson

      You would have made a fine Roman, Mike. Jupiter grants you his blessings.

  • Anne

    Compare the Referendum of President Moreno in the preceding
    article with the astute and prescient observations presented in this article. ECUADOR is a small nation on an ascending pathway. The UNITED STATES is unfortunately on a rapidly descending path to destruction

    • Louis Bourgeois

      well said, Anne

  • jerrynellen

    Henny Penny the sky is falling.

  • john jr.

    Actually Steven, the article belabors the obvious although understanding it does require a minimal level of literacy and comprehension.

    • Steven Iniguez

      So my opinion is different from yours or the author’s…That means I am illiterate and can’t understand? Why do you feel the need to insult someone who doesn’t think the same as you?

      And Thank you Acbig1…

      • Craig Gardner

        No it just means your opinion is slanted by nationalism.

  • Juts Liek

    England (A small backward country on an island.)

    United Kingdom (Three small countries united under one government.)

    British Empire (The world’s largest and most powerful ever, on which the sun never set.)

    European Union Member (Part of the world’s largest post-Empire economy.)

    United Kingdom (Three small countries on an island, united under one government.)

    England (A small quaint poor and isolated country on an island off the coast of Europe.)

    • sueb4bs

      YOur point, clearly?

  • Chuck S

    Wow, get out the shovels, corporations want tax cuts, you bet your butt they do.. Most taxed in the world, wonder why they move offshore.. Maybe because the left wants them to support those who want a free ride.. Thank god we have a leader that wants to bring the US back to greatness.. Now can’t wait for the,response from the left.. But first check out how our economy is doing… How the wealth of the US has improved.. Check facts and not the hateful rhetoric that spews out of the months of the left..

    • LadyMoon

      willful ignorance…US corporations are NOT the most taxed in the world. Look it up. (When you start off with a falsehood…the rest of your post is highly suspect.)

    • Katheryn

      Unfortunately that will not solve all the problems by reducing taxes for the rich who can most afford it. It would be great if that were the solution to all the problems in the US. Problem is that in long past generations the government worked for the people, now it is the people work for the government. Also, most were more involved in what was happening and demanded change and correction where and when needed. Most in society are too busy to care and it very well could lead down a very dark path for the US, but Americans are resilient and may stop drinking the kool aid and bounce back from the lethargic state most are in. No wonder that show, “The Walking Dead”, is so popular. Americans need to wake up and get their head out of the sand and look around.

    • john

      “Check facts and not the hateful rhetoric that spews out of the months of the left..“
      When did the right start to accept the lies of an unpopular president as facts. The man has lied publicly over 1000 times this years and you righties eat it up.

      • StillWatching

        I assume you are referring to trump. If so, you have understated his lies. Yes, it is over 1,000 times, but the figure I read last night in that regard was over 1,800 times this year. Sure, the figure is a bit disingenuous because it counted the same lie that he uttered multiple times as separate lies, but the point is well taken. trump is a liar. Of course, so was clinton.

  • Bill Morrison

    ´´Militarized police gun down mostly unarmed, poor people of color´´ is where you lost me. That´s simply inaccurate, as is much of what you write.

    • john

      “Final total of people killed by US police officers in 2015 shows rate of death for young black men was five times higher than white men of the same age”.
      This from a Guardian article. So, you are wrong.

      • de Tocqueville

        Hilarious, that you source a radical Marxist rag like the Guardian. My source is FBI statistics, who generally need fine tuning because each states doesn’t always report in exactly the same way, but is far more accurate than any lefty rag like the Guardian:

        Of course the death rate by police is five times higher for black men than white men of the same age. Black men commit far more crimes proportionately. Approximately ninety percent of murdered black men are killed by other Black men. Out of over 900,000 licensed officers in the U.S., there are only approximately 130 killings of Blacks by police a year. Approximately 1/3 of these police killings are killed by white officers. The research also shows that white officers are less likely to fire on Blacks than black officers, for fear of being accused of racism. Furthermore, there were less than a dozen killings of black males by police officers, where the victim was not armed at the time of the killing. The few cases of real police abuse in the killing of Blacks, obviously, should be dealt with by authorities to the full extent of the law.

        Keep in mind too, that it was Obama who during his eight years in office allowed the police to be militarized, with all the weapons that were returning from the Iraq war. Such governmental action had never happened before at the end of prior wars like Vietnam.

        Meanwhile approximately more than 7,000 plus Blacks are killed every year in the U.S., which is closer to 80,000 over a ten year period. A count which is much higher than the 50,000 plus American soldiers who were killed in Vietnam during the ten year duration of that war. Interesting how the left beat their breasts over those lost lives in Vietnam, but have no problem telling everybody that Blacks killing each other isn’t a problem worth discussing. Only the loss of lives by Blacks at the hands of the police fits the narrative of racist cops in a racist society.

        Of course, dealing with the larger problem of Black deaths doesn’t fit the left; their fascist groups like BLM, and their communist democrat party’s narrative. These groups neither can make any money, nor keep an entire population of Blacks indebted to them by addressing the real problems in the Black community. Better to protect these inner city gangs and their drug deals, than to make the neighborhoods safe for the low income decent
        folks who live in constant fear in these communities.

        Better to play the victim card 24/7, and demand more reparations to fill the pockets of the community organizers and black politicians who dribble out morsels, while further enslaving their constituents. The demand for more “reparations” despite the fact that trillions of dollars have been spent in black communities since the War of Poverty, and the democrats made every problem a thousand times worse for these communities. Even new research shows that seventy percent of black unemployment is due to illegal immigration, which is strongly supported by the corporations, by their democrat cohorts, and by their RINO whores in the Senate. No one is more racist than white liberals, and their black overseers. These racist steal dignity from these people, while fleecing them, and soothe their own guilty consciences with more payouts, and phony rhetoric about compassion and empathy.

        Of course, Blacks will take what they can get, just like any other groups, who live in a corrupt society. At the same time, there is no group Blacks despise more than white liberals, even if they find them useful.

        You want to see the demise of the United States, destroyed or converted into a supplicant of a totalitarian transnational world government and economy which Hedge’s alludes to in one of his scenarios? Just continue to be blind to the synthesis between the cultural Marxists and the transnational globalists currently at work destroying our individual liberties, our middle class, and the constitutional government of the United Sates. The plantation the left has constructed for Blacks is nothing compared to what they and their corporate sponsors have in mind for all of us.

        As Stalin said, “Socialism is just a springboard to communism”. A one world government will definitely be totalitarian.

        • Bill Morrison

          Thanks for saving me the time of breaking down the numbers for the BLMers too lazy or stupid to concern themselves with actual facts or common sense.

        • StillWatching

          Alexis would be proud of you. Unfortunately, as well and as compellingly as you write, few will actually read and take the time to digest your words. People are lazy and need their information distilled into 140 characters or less. That is what the U.S. has become and sadly, most of the rest of the world.

          Have you read Ludwig von Mises’ “Human Action”? I highly recommend it.

      • Acbig1

        John- Stop waving your “liberal flag”, and take time to smell the reality. By virtue of your comment, you don’t have a clue. And I don’t have the time to explain it to you. I will leave that up to commentators like “de Tocquerville” to put you in your place.

      • Steven Iniguez

        According to the Washington Post, there were 74 white men age 18-29 killed by police this year and 69 black men of the same age…so who is wrong?

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings-2017/

  • lucila

    The Dis ease is evident, for all the reason above~and even more horrific are the satanic sacrifices of children 50 million in abortion alone, and the demonically inspired religious practises of the american culture of hedonism and self exaltation. The cure? The masses of people still want to ask these same political elites and the entertainers for their ‘salvation” , the blind leading the blind, and they both fall into….the pit.

    • LadyMoon

      It always surprises me when women do not understand the negative effects on the lives of women when they are forced/required to birth unwanted fetuses that they are woefully unable to care for… Personal beliefs…I just don’t understand.

      • StillWatching

        It is religious ideology that is at the root cause of that which surprises you. It shouldn’t. Religious ideology isn’t based on logic and reason, it is based on faith. It blinds many (including the women you decry) to the things you see clearly.

        I make a distinction between religious ideology and theism. You could be a theist, for all I know (I am) but you clearly aren’t a religious ideologue (nor am I) That enables you to make judgments based on facts, logic and reason that ideologues are incapable of.

        • de Tocqueville

          Stillborn, you are a joke; “reason and logic”. “religious ideology”?!? One does not have to resort to the Bible, or to theological terms like the sanctity of the human soul to be pro-life. Reason, logic, and more importantly, empirical science certainly make the point that an unborn child does not instantaneously become a human being only until after it passes through the birth canal, or is removed my Cesarean surgery; despite what the egregious “law of the land” in the U.S. says today. Such nonsense is a political myth, and nothing more than an act to justify evil.

          The very idea that the unborn child is a part of the mother’s body, and therefore, she can do what she wants with this “glob of cells” is also anything but science. An unborn child is not like a mother’s heart, or liver, or any other organ which are in fact integral parts of the mother’s body. The mother’s body serves as an incubator for this new living organism in the mother. Any destruction to such an organism is no different than the destruction of a child after birth.

          In the decadent times in which we live, it is no wonder that their are leftist “ethicists”, who are now calling for the right to end the life of a child until the age of two. Other “ethicists” extol that parents or the state should have the right to terminate a child until it reaches the age of reason. (Whatever “the age of reason” is suppose to be, since it’s so individual.) Despicable human beings like Barack Obama had no problem supporting the idea that an unborn child intended for abortion could still be aborted, if the abortion failed, and the child was in fact born.

          It takes a tremendous amount of narcissism and greed for a woman to be willing to allow her unborn child to be slaughtered in the wound. More importantly, it speaks of one who neither knows or trusts God, but instead desires to be her own god. If the abortionists in our society had worked with the pro-lifers solutions could have been found even for those among the poor.

          From a Christian perspective, one can find forgiveness for such an egregious act against the greatest gift God has bestowed upon women and women alone. Jane Roe (Roe vs Wade) did. Unfortunately, the very narcissism and selfishness that leads to such acts is committed by souls, most of whom will never seek forgiveness, or even desire to know God.

          • StillWatching

            Sadly, the logic and reason of your previous post has degenerated into the blind ideology of this post. You have misconstrued my words in classic strawman fashion in order for you to make it easier for you to attack what I actually wrote.

            See if you can learn from this:

            https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/strawman

            If you are truly interested in winning people to your thinking, investing names like “Stillborn” instead of “StillWatching” might be worth reconsidering.

      • lorenzo

        Don’t be too surprised. Lucila might not even be a woman. I believe in the right to choose. But I also believe that it’s a horrible thing to end the life of a fetus. And my belief has nothing to do with religion. Abortion, many times is a selfish act. It stops all the potential that a living being might have in life. It seems that would be a heavy weight for a would be mother or father to carry the rest of their life. There’s usually the alternative of adoption.

        • Sueetta Joyce

          The “abortion” should be at the act of frivolous sex as that is where the decision and responsibility begin and once the miracle of creation begins it should not be aborted as selfishly inconvenient.

      • sueb4bs

        Thanks for your comments. Me, too — Lady Moon. Completely baffles me as well. These days the misogyny messages are incredible. The corporate media making millions spewing evil nonsense about the real lives of women they know nothing about .. Trumpudo’s history, his wives, businesses etc ( and if you are from NYC, you know the rest of his story) — it all indicates this as well–Men and women – FYI: MISOGYNY is Greek for ‘women hating’…

      • Joe Huerta

        Hello LadyMoon,
        As always, you bring some insight to other perspectives. However, have you thought of the negative effects on the lives of women that are forced to abort? I would say, that based on the “run to the library” comments from the discussions of a previous post, which I interpret to be merely a phrase indicating “to research”, I would encourage you to also research the alternative of what you proposed. I would say that you will find some very interesting effects on women, especially the kind that leaves them weeping, hurting, depressed, and troubled – simply because someone said they would be ok. Either way, the goal is not to be biased. By the way, I am glad your mother (kindly speaking) made a choice to give birth to you. It is good to read your posts.
        Joe

  • StillAlive

    The clown who wrote this article is a host for the television network Russia Today whose primary purpose is to cast the United States in a negative light. I doubt Chris Hedges had a word to say in his program about those hundreds of Russian who were arrested for protesting on Putin’s birthday the other day.

    There are also plenty of anti-American clowns in our expat community who were failures in a system where you were expected to work and perform and who spent their lives resenting the success of others. They have adopted the leftist talking point that corporations are evil; they romanticize anti-democratic figures like Castro, Chavez and Correa; they root for the failure of the United States. These are the true Ugly Americans( including many Canadians) in our community, rather than the decrepit old men or women at SuperMaxi who gets frustrated over their inability to communicate.

    • Donald

      It is a shame that you have so much unresolved anger. Also, that would be “get frustrated”.

      • LadyMoon

        Another personal attack. You do not know me.

        • sueb4bs

          you go, girl…!

        • LeonardPart6

          I do not know you and I have made no personal attacks nor would I. Someone has hacked my account. I am trying to change it. I am very sorry about this and I apologize that this has happened.

          • libertarian1776

            See my reply to Lady Moon above.

        • libertarian1776

          Look again at LeonardPart6’s message.

          Even if his account truly was hacked, the message that was posted was not directed to you…it was directed to StillAlive. He even corrects a grammatical subject/verb agreement error in the message that begins “The clown who wrote this article is …”

    • StillWatching

      Bravo. Well put.

    • libertarian1776

      Rather than ad hominem attacks against Hedges, why not state your arguments against the positions he advances in this article?

      Your first paragraph is pure ad hominem; your second paragraph is little more than a disjointed, unsubstantiated, generalizing smear of Cuenca expats with whom you disagree politically.

      Hedges possesses an incredible curriculum vitae; his experience and education provide a solid platform on which to base his views. On which points do you specifically disagree with him?

      Do you dispute Hedges’ contention that the US is borrowing trillions of dollars to wage perpetual war in the Middle East, Maghreb, Levant, Central Asia and Africa (among others)?

      Is he in error in his portrayal of the historical life cycle of empires in the past?

      Is Hedges inaccurate when he complains about Wall Street fat cats’ “impunity from prosecution for massive acts of
      financial fraud, all the while looting trillions from the U.S. treasury in the form of bailouts?”

      Is Hedges wrong about the huge mistake we made invading Afghanistan and Iraq?

      Does he misstate the facts about wholesale domestic surveillance, evisceration of civil liberties, the increasing militarization of police, the massive prison system, the thousands of militarized drones and satellites, and the growth of all of these in the “homeland?”

      So let’s hear it, Still. Where is Hedges wrong?

      • StillAlive

        Ad hominem? What an incredibly naive comment. Russia Today is a propaganda arm of the Russian government that has put an American face on its coverage to offset the notion that it’s the voice of the Russian government. It hires useful stooges like Chris Hedges who are more than happy to go on the air and repeat ad nauseam that the U.S. is an evil totalitarian power and collect a paycheck for doing so. Here is one of his more moronic comments from 2015 that demonstrate his anti-democratic leanings, like so many of the traitorous clowns in this expat community who are the Real Ugly Americans (RUA) (including many Canadians):

        “We have a renaissance in Latin America taking place that is extremely exciting. Nations like Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador.…Venezuela has spearheaded Latin America’s emergence from literally centuries of subordination to the U.S”

        Any reporter who believes that “Venezuela has spearheaded Latin America’s emergence” has no credibility with me and I certainly won’t waste my time debating expats who choose to defend his anti-American drivel.

        • libertarian1776

          From the Purdue Online Writing Lab:

          Ad hominem: This is an attack on the character of a person rather than his or her opinions or arguments. Example:

          Green Peace’s strategies aren’t effective because they are all dirty, lazy hippies.
          ========================
          Funny, StillAlive. You are attempting to refute an accusation of ad hominem by penning yet another ad hominem.

          You answered my challenge to refute Hedge’s points by attacking Hedges, not the facts he presented, which is the classic definition of argumentum ad hominem.

          Anyone posting here who can’t recognize their own logical fallacy “has no credibility with me and I won’t waste my time debating” them. And yes, Still, I do know that I just committed the same fallacy. Deal with it.

        • libertarian1776

          Here is a different view of RT that appeared today on the Unz Review, an alternative news source published by Ron Unz, former publisher of The American Conservative: http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/sputnik-and-rt-under-investigation/

        • StillWatching

          I agree completely with the points you raise about Hedges. He is a statist/collectivist/socialist apologist and as de toqueville aptly points out, Stalin said “Socialism is just a springboard to communism”.

      • StillWatching

        Libertarian, do me a favor; Please don’t refer to StillAlive colloquially as “Still”. I have enough problems with dolts like faulkner insisting that everybody that posts something he doesn’t like is me under a different screen name, without you adding to it by referring to StillAlive as “Still”. You know very well how few critical thinkers, writers and readers actually take the time to read these posts with care. Thanks.

        By the way, Hedges may have correctly made the observations you have restated and pointed out, but he is still a statist stooge as StillAlive points out. I’m always willing to give the devil his due, just as I do when I acknowledge the valid points you attribute to Hedges, but that doesn’t change what Hedges is or who he represents.

        • libertarian1776

          Hi StillWatching. Point taken (re the use of “Still”). Lo siento. No mas.

          And yes, there are many, many points of _huge_ disagreement between me and Hedges. He’s an avowed socialist and is far removed from most of my classical liberal lower-case “L” libertarian views as one could possibly get.

          That said, he and I are in total agreement on matters of US imperialism, global interventionism, complete fiscal irresponsibility, total destruction of personal privacy through constant state surveillance, militarization of the police, prostitution of the political class to Wall Street/ banking/ Big Pharma and the rest of the corporatocracy (I prefer to more correctly call it the kakistocracy), and probably several other policy positions I’m omitting.

          Thanks for your comments–as usual we’re pretty sympatico in our views.

          • StillWatching

            Hi Libertarian,

            I smiled as I read your post because I’m familiar enough with your views (I share virtually all of them) and knew exactly where you were/are in agreement with Hedges and you always have the integrity to give the devil his due. Similarly, I pay faulkner the same respect when he writes something I either agree with or appreciate for its insight. Frankly, I think that has as much to do with my own integrity as it does with faulkner’s posts. I simply call that “Giving the Devil his Due”. Thus, I am in agreement with you and Hedges in all of the areas you enumerate.

            I Came across this piece this morning and thought you might find it interesting. It speaks of the usual rationalization for accepting further erosion of civil liberties in the U.S.

            https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/10/trumps-doj-tries-to-rebrand-weakened-encryption-as-responsible-encryption/

            • libertarian1776

              Thanks for the article. The US just keeps circling the drain in regard to personal liberty and freedom…all in the name of safety and security (of which it offers absolutely none and which, I contend, it actually worsens because of blowback).

              • StillWatching

                Amen. I’ll paraphrase Franklin:

                Those that are willing to sacrifice freedom for security will wind up with neither.

    • LadyMoon

      I new stance is ‘name-calling’ is unnecessary and not useful in a civil discussion (I hear the laughter!). Us and them. “They” with sweeping stereotypes? sigh

    • sueb4bs

      you have a pathetic argument…

  • libertarian1776

    For any who weren’t sure what was meant by this post, the youtube URL links to a short (~1-1/2 minutes) video interview of Dick Cheney from 1994 in which he plainly states that invading Iraq would trap the US in a quagmire and that it would create strong political pressures that would split Iraq into pieces.

    So yes, we absolutely knew what we were facing when GW “Shrub” Bush chose to invade Iraq over totally bogus WMD’s.

    Travis, I guess you and I must be ugly anti-American clowns, failures and resentful ingrates who didn’t want to work or perform…at least that’s StillAlive’s assessment. How dare you point out that the emperor has no clothes?

    • Travis Peterson

      Yes, it is painful to think sometimes.

  • Kevin Lichtman

    Boring, self-serving, neo-apocolyptic drivel without support of one shred of evidence. Not that I disagree with ill effects of corruption, crony-capitalism, fiscal irresponsibilty, etc. The problem is the writer is an idiot and ignores the evidence that in spite of all its flaws – and there’s many, there’s also much evidence to suggest the opposite. First there’s the stock market. Investors from all over the globe continue to think the U.S. economy will continue to grow. These are smart people who evaluate risk very carefully. Then there’s the currency. Same theory, the dollar is an idicator of global confidence. Thirdly, there’s immigration demand. People from all over the world still want to come to America, not the other way around.

    • libertarian1776

      “First there’s the stock market. Investors from all over the globe
      continue to think the U.S. economy will continue to grow. These are
      smart people who evaluate risk very carefully.”

      Hmmm. Are you talking about the same brilliant geniuses who brought us the crash of 2007-2008, when the stock market was also at then-record highs? The wizards who insisted that if we didn’t immediately bail them out that the whole world financial system would crumble? The same brilliant lights who have maintained interest rate levels near zero for 10 years, allowing them to recapitalize for free at the expense of risk-averse savers?

      I’ll put the same challenge to you that I did to StillAlive–refute the points made by Hedges rather than ad hominem attacks.

      I’ll be the first to agree that no one can predict the future, so will readily concede that the conjectures made about if/when the ultimate demise of Pax Americana will occur are obviously just that–conjecture. However, the whole point of the article was to remind the reader of the factual history of previous empires, the elements that accompanied their downfalls, and the similarities between those declines and those of present-day America.

      Argue all you want that the current state of affairs can continue indefinitely, but history’s lesson tells us just the opposite.

      • sueb4bs

        Thanks, Sr Liberatarian — for more LIGHT than HEAT. As a teacher, I say read and learn to think. Turn off the U.S. TV news and talk with others you do not agree with but whom you appreciate from whatever country you are from. Europeans seem to be at each other’s throats as well . It is a bad time for much of the world.

      • StillWatching

        Please note that while I agree with your ideas in this post, I have also agreed with Kevin Lichtman’s ideas in the post you are responding to. I don’t find your words and his to be mutually contradictory.

        • libertarian1776

          What if Michael Burry (The Big Short) had written this article in 2007? If Lichtman had written his commentary in response, he would have gotten few arguments.

          Now we know better.

          Just because you hate the messenger, it’s not smart to reflexively ignore the message.

          Lichtman’s words aren’t contradictory to mine because they don’t address any of my contentions and they don’t refute any of Hedges points. He essentially says that he disagrees because Hedges is an idiot and everything is just peachy in LaLaLand. And all the Wizards of Oz say so.

          As Cathy said, those who don’t learn from history are doomed…

          • StillWatching

            What if my aunt shaved? Would that make her my uncle?

            How can you even suggest that I’m reflexively ignoring the message when we’re discussing it here?

            • libertarian1776

              Sorry. My post was poorly conceived, poorly worded, and unintentionally misdirected. The accusation of reflexive rejection of Hedges’ message was meant for Lichtman, not you.

              However, the proposal that Lichtman’s and my views aren’t contradictory was directed to you for the reasons stated. His argument was based solely on his hatred for Hedges and his position that all is well in LaLaLand despite historical precedent to the contrary, ergo my reference to Burry and 2007-2008.

              Regarding your question about your aunt and uncle, in light of the current insanity over gender identification, I respectfully decline to answer. 🙂

              • StillWatching

                I have nothing but condescension for those that condemn based on source an not on content. I try not to be hypocritical in that regard but I’m sure I have my transgressions. I would rather read a source critically and then rip it apart based on actual holes in the thesis rather than summary dismissal. Sadly, in this politically correct environment, this is seldom appreciated. Intellectual rigor annoys people because it interferes with the satisfaction they get from allowing their wishes to be the father of their thoughts.

                I am quick to call a liar a liar and a charlatan a charlatan (slightly different animals) and I’m circumspect about applying the term “liar” to someone that only has occasional deviations from the truth. Note, I have no problem calling trump, berger, faulkner and globetrotters liars.

    • sueb4bs

      Dream on — travel in Europe and South America . Check out what “the folks” in the street think about immigrating to the GOOD OLD U.S.A. these days. Sadly,I love my country and the U.S. is not a destination for many. Many are depressed and frightened by Mr. Trump and his allies. Check it out, if you dare…

      • de Tocqueville

        The only people depressed by Mr. Trump and his allies are Marxists like you. Hopefully, you will stay depressed for a very long time, unless you begin to see the light. There are over six billion people in the world and easily five billion would move to the U.S. in a heart beat if given the chance, despite all of its shortcomings and imperfections.

        I travel to Europe frequently. You should try talking to people in Europe who are not part of the leftist elite, who must be the only people you meet in the streets. Thanks to the international banksters and their E.U. puppets, and the likes of national leaders like Merkel; Western Europe is deliberately imploding.

        Western Civilization is collapsing in Western Europe, and its is inevitable according to demographers. One group of demographers, based on their research from two years ago–even before the huge influx of Muslims over the last two years, who were deliberately brought in by European leaders to destroy the middle class and the sovereignty of European nation-states–claim that Western Europe will collapse in the next decade. The demographers will not pinpoint a year. Even if all newly arriving Muslims were kept out of the continent tomorrow, and every young Western European were dedicated to producing one additional child from the current average for their age group, it will not be enough to prevent the inevitable collapse of Western Civilization in Western Europe.

        The American people are sick of folks like you who accuse everybody who will not bend their will to your Marxist agenda and philosophy of being racists, misogynists, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, sexists; your list and name calling is endless. Come out of your bubble, we don’t want to live in your totalitarian Marxist world where people like you define for us what those terms are to mean. Where people increasingly lose their jobs or their executive positions, where they are beaten at rallies, where they are censored or demonetized by the various social medias for expressing conservative views or otherwise, because they support a different candidate with a different philosophy from yours, or continue to see their schools taken over by you Marxists.

        Ninety percent of university professors are left of center, the various minority studies programs and much of the liberal arts programs are hard core Marxist indoctrination centers. Free speech is dead on many of these campuses, particularly in their hallmark campus of Berekley.

        Now even the one last bastion that hasn’t fallen to the left was professional sports, and the left manage to infiltrate that and destroy it with their left-wing ideology, all supported by their corporatist cohorts, who work 24/7 to reduce America to its takeover by their transnationalists, globalist agenda.

        Ninety percent of the American news media is left of center. The cultural media of Hollywood, art, and theater, is ninety percent left of center. Anyone publically conservative in Hollywood knows they are cutting their own career and monetary throats, which is why hardly any conservative goes public until after they are beyond their prime and success in Hollywood.

        If anyone has any reason to leave America, it is conservatives. libertarians, and populists who no longer want to live in a semi-soviet society; which under Hillary, she would have made the U.S. into a full-fledged totalitarian state of open borders, destroyed national sovereignty, surrender to the globalists, and the silence of anybody who dared to disagree with her cultural Marxist’s agenda.

        Sweeping generalizations; yes, you and Lady Moon indulge in them frequently from reading your posts over a period of time. “Misogyny messages are incredible” is just one example. Label any point of view that you don’t agree with as misogynist.

        I always considered myself to be a classical liberal, whereby there was to be a free discussion of ideas that may result overtime in change. It was what are liberal-arts universities once were.

        A Marxist view of education, is an agenda of educating people to bring about an upheaval and destruction of society, and not to tolerate anybody who stands in the way of that change. Marxists, and nihilists like Antifa, and deconstructionists–all of whom are not mutually exclusive groups–want to destroy the existing institutions and the culture, either in their own image and likeness, or without any idea or caring of what may transpire.

        No doubt are institutions are thoroughly corrupt, which happens when society’s become affluent. However, there is, in my opinion, much yet worth preserving or revitalizing in the United States; especially in its traditional values of liberty, personal responsibility, inventiveness, and family responsibility. From the educational system, to the corporate structure, to the government bureaucracy, to the casino gambling, to the speculative economic system, to the blatantly one-sided media, to religious structures and family structures which are failing us, to our hedonistic value system; the list is endless. However, Marxism and its cohort transnational corporatism is not the answer to remaining a free people.

        • libertarian1776

          Maybe it’s me who is confused Alexis but I don’t quite understand your viewpoint. You self-describe yourself as a classical liberal (as do I) yet you enthusiastically support Trump and–unless I misunderstand you– disagree with the points Hedges elucidates in his article.

          You (correctly, in my view) posit that Western Europe is facing imminent collapse yet apparently don’t see the same risks for the USA.

          Divorce yourself from any revulsion to Hedges’ politics and address the supporting arguments he gives for his premise, i.e., the US is guilty of gross military adventurism, unwarranted global intervention and regime change, unconstitutional surveillance and spying on its own people, gross fiscal irresponsibility, militarization of the police, and virtually complete control of governmental functions by Wall Street/ Big Banks/ Big Pharma and MegaCorporations with the support of a lapdog, irresponsible media.

          Despite all his campaign promises to the contrary, Trump isn’t draining the swamp nor is he reining in his predecessors’ military expansionism, the invasive “intelligence community,” the militarization of the police (and the continued authorization of asset forfeiture), even more debt and fiscal irresponsibility, and…well, the list is endless.

          How can you reconcile your support for Trump, your avowed classical liberalism, and his continuation (and in most cases, his amplification) of these policies which are in total opposition to classical liberalism?

        • sueb4bs

          HUH????
          I am not a Marxist, never have been and you have NO IDEA what or to whom you are talking…. Just a lot of angry, misplaced blather,,,

  • Cathy

    Scary scenario backed up by facts. Those who don’t learn from history are doomed………..

    • Steven Iniguez

      There are no facts in this article. It is pure speculation and OPINION. Hence the column heading ‘OPINIONS’….

      • libertarian1776

        You obviously didn’t read the article, Steven. See my challenge to StillAlive below which is to refute the facts presented, not what you think the article said (without reading it).

  • David

    Great article, nice historical perspective, and full of the kind of thing people mock me for saying. Glad to know that I’m not completely out of my mind–or at least not alone in my lunacy!

  • Galileo

    Chris Hedges hit a lot of nails dead on the head. As I was reading and thinking about what he was saying I found myself not wanting to agree but none the less, agreeing.

  • Craig Gardner

    The truth of which you can’t seem to accept.

  • Globetrotter

    Not a bad piece..but the author. like all Americans, is understandably still in denial. He uses terms indicating a near “future” rather than the present. But Trump and America have made the predicted fall rapid and current. We all have a ringside seat on history.

    The writer also stretches to find reasons. No need. Frankly, IMHO, capitalism begins to collapse when income/wealth inequality becomes too extreme. That began again in the USA with Reagan and in the UK with Thatcher. Both countries are utterly controlled by their tiniest percentage group (the super wealthy) and that group does NOT want to be taxed. There is no fresh prospect that they will be in either country.

    The world is now lining up behind Russia, Europe or China. I feel bad for Americans, but it internationally, the US is now seen as you would a not-all-there relative who flatulates a lot at family gatherings.

  • Globetrotter

    How true. Everything ends and the world moves on. Roman empire citizens didn’t admit their empire had ended for more than a century after it had.

    OOPS! Steven will want proof that the Roman Empire ended.

  • Brooke

    Calm down folks, this is an old op-ed piece by Chris from 2015 and he is half right – the Empire has already fallen – it’s one of the main reason why many of us are here -if we would be willing to admit – I know I am!!
    No Rule of Law, NDAA, Militarized Police blah, blah, blah…..
    I know, I know you’re still getting your SS checks, so how could the above statement be true?
    Remember we can print, oh wait we don’t even have to print, it’s just digits on a screen.
    And it will go on for as long as the establishment can get away with it.
    So relax and enjoy the ride while you can. NOTHING IS FOREVER!

  • Galileo

    LOL