Wishing Away the Coming Implosion of American Empire

John Glaser, October 29, 2012

This recent CSIS report is a stern warning that America needs to draw down the Empire, lest bankruptcy and collapse do us in first. It focuses on five trends that necessitate American decline and roll-back: “disappearing finances; rising alternative power centers; declining US military predominance; lack of efficacy of key non-military instruments of power; and reduced domestic patience for global adventures.”

The very definition of grand strategy is holding ends and means in balance to promote the security and interests of the state. Yet, the post-war US approach to strategy is rapidly becoming insolvent and unsustainable – not only because Washington can no longer afford it but also, crucially, because it presumes an American relationship with friends, allies, and rivals that is the hallmark of a bygone era. If Washington continues to cling to its existing role on the premise that the international order depends upon it, the result will be increasing resistance, economic ruin, and strategic failure.

The Obama administration has explicitly shifted away from reliance on massive land-wars and nation-building experiments – at least relative to the Bush administration – and toward drones and elite Special Operations teams being secretly deployed wherever and whenever. But we in fact do not see any sort of structural roll-back.

Obama is still pursuing expansion and impulsive interventionism: from the opportunistic (and unconstitutional) war in Libya; to laying the groundwork for another decade of occupation in Afghanistan; the never-ending drug war in Latin America; and flagrant, 19th-century-style military imperialism in Asia-Pacific.

Billions continue to be squandered on on wasteful superfluous weapons technology, bloated salaries and benefits plans, and expensive peacetime operating costs for the 900-plus military bases in 130-plus countries around the world, all of which are being petulantly clenched.

I found the public opinion section of the report notable:

A 2009 poll by the Pew Research Center found that 49 percent of those surveyed, an all-time record, said that the United States should “mind his own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.” That number jumped from 30 percent in 2002. Those who favor a powerful American leadership role in the world have also declined in Gallup polling. For example, the percentage fell from 75 and 2009 to 66 in mid-2011, while the percentage advocating a far more minimal US role grew from 23 percent to 32 percent. Over 40 percent of Americans now say the country spends too much on defense compared with less than a quarter who say it spends too little.

All of that makes Ron Paul’s incredible surge in popularity since 2008 seem like it was all inevitable in the end.

See here for why the worry about “American decline” chiefly concerns the ruthless foreign policy elite, but would be immensely beneficial for almost everyone else.




40 Responses to “Wishing Away the Coming Implosion of American Empire”

  1. [...] Wishing Away the Coming Implosion of American Empire [...]

  2. I need to to thank you for this good read!! I absolutely loved every bit of it. I have you book-marked to check out new things you post…

  3. I need to to thank you for this good read!! I absolutely loved every bit of it. I have you book-marked to check out new things you post..

  4. Great Depression is underway in the U.S. That will end the Empire. And not a moment too soon for Serbia. American foreign policy is ABSURD and self-defeating. The U.S. should try to make friends with Russia, China, and everyone else, because as you will soon learn, you have gained nothing from the gun.

  5. This recent CSIS report is a stern warning that America needs to draw down the Empire, lest bankruptcy and collapse do us in first.

    Bankruptcy and collapse, coming right up! I'm hard-pressed to recall any imperial tyranny in human history in which the ruling elite one day woke up and said "Oh my God, the peasants are pissed off and on the verge of revolt, our coinage is dross, and we're going broke! SHUT IT DOWN!"

    The closest precedent I can think of is the USSR, but even then, events took their course of their own momentum before the Communist Party Nomenklatura could actually hit the "kill switch."

    I'm certainly willing to be stood corrected if anyone can cite an example otherwise.

  6. The academic proof of this disguised Global Empire is now as conclusive as the scientific proof of global warming.

    Seumas Milne's fabulously revealing new book, "The Revenge of History" paints an ugly picture of what he notes is the first "truly global Empire".

    Best luck and love to the fast expanding 'Occupy Empire' educational and revolutionary movement against this deceitful, guileful, disguised EMPIRE, which doesn't wear Red Coats, Red Stars, nor funny looking Nazi helmets.

    Liberty, democracy, justice, and equality
    Over
    Violent/Vichy II
    Empire,

    Alan MacDonald
    Sanford, Maine

  7. Liberantor… The USSR doesn’t exist anymore. If you mean their leaders decided not to blow up the earth over it…. I can only pray our leaders do as well. The US is ruled by people witb personality disorders and mental short commngs. The world might not be so lucky this time around.

  8. I have been wondering if the corrupt criminals in blue suits inside D.C. are deliberately trying to make sure this nation collapses, so they can then have an excuse to renege on the unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare, and US military and US government retirement pensions and benefits.

  9. I think I could not have said it as well……….. Good Job Sir Alan MacDonald ………………….!!

  10. Those programs, like the Empire itself, were doomed from the start. In their case 2+2=5 does not work, no matter your intentions. Enemies abroad are certainly a viable ruse to keep the homies duped to that fact.

  11. We may already reached the point of no return. The upper echelons of both establishment factions and the military are filled with careerists. It is unlikely that they will risk their future career procession by getting in the way of business as usual. As for the people, there are few other peoples as oblivious and gullible. The trust they have for authority and the military is both touching and unnerving. You need to be much more skeptical for democracy to mean anything.

  12. Steve, you are certainly correct that those "suits in DC", who are after all only puppets, are certainly taking actions which may collapse the nation.

    However, one must be aware that the actual composition of the Empire, which Glaser only partly diagnoses is not truly an "American Empire" but is actually a totally new metastasized type of post-nation-state Empire, a DGE (Disguised Global Empire) including US, UK, EU, Japan, Israel, etc., which Milne more accurately diagnoses as the "first truly global Empire" — being far beyond the earlier church-centric and following era of nation-state-centric empires that Paul Kennedy wrote of in his "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers" [1987].

    The current form of this evolving new DGE is merely centered in the US as a nominal, and quite probably temporary, headquarters location to take advantage of its global military strength — but not for the advantage of the country previously known as the US, rather for the advantage of the new ethereal DGE.

    Fortunately, many American and European academics and intellectuals have extensively documented the cancer of this undiagnosed 'Global Empire', from Seamus Milne's "The Revenge of History" (in the former British Empire) to Sheldon Wolin, Christopher Hedges, Morris Berman, Michael Parenti, Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, David Korten, Andrew Bacevich, David Harvey, Gore Vidal, Noam Chomsky, Ivan Eland, the late Chalmers Johnson, Howard Zinn, Hannah Arendt and so many others have toiled for decades so that patriotic Americans don't have to anguish over revolting against their own country, but are now free "in good faith" to confront the underLYING evil of the EMPIRE that has taken over, has 'captured', and now fully "Occupies" their proud country and its American Dream of democracy for all.

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  14. Empire = Vampire. Empire = Flat Tire. Empire = Deep Mire.

  15. Backwoodsman, yes indeed, this 'faux-democracy' that the Empire uses to hide its empire-workings from the deluded people has become the new "opiate of the masses"

  16. The CSIS report concludes, "Bismarck once remarked that the essence of strategy is the ability to hear the hoof-beats of history."

    While CSIS is a disputable source and biased toward neo-conservative absolutes of nationalism.

    The entire scope of this study is based on an assumption that the paradigm of Empire is not changing since the early examples stated by the author about the British and German/Nazi nation-state based empires. Quoting Madeleine Notsobright, calling America the "essential nation" shows the depth of this staid paradigm as a national empire in transition, whereas Empire has already evolved radically to a 21st century post-national-state novel form/paradigm of the first "truly global Empire" as Seumas Milne correctly notes.

    No, unlike the British Empire the American Empire does not have another "rising liberal democracy to whom it can hand off leadership of the world community" — mainly because it is neither liberal nor democratic, it's an EMPIRE. But it doesn't need such — as the Empire has already metastasized into the first truly global corporate/financial/militarist (and media) EMPIRE only hiding behind the corpse of American's declining military power.

    No, Professor Mazarr, neither 'strategic insolvency', nor declining military strength (of America), is a problem for this ethereal and distributed Disguised Global Empire — and even its disguise is only needed temporarily.

    Mazarr concludes that, "Bismarck once remarked that the essence of strategy is the ability to hear the hoof-beats of history". The professor and all interested need to read Milne's "The Revenge of History".

  17. The saddest part of it is that the old Marxist definition of "opiate of the masses" has conflated with the new one.

  18. The US has gained from the gun a respectable external debt of $16 trillion!!!!

  19. [...] GOP will be dragged down to defeat by the same neocons whose policies pushed us to the brink of bankruptcy and made us hated around the world. Will Republicans walk away from this election having learned [...]

  20. [...] the GOP will be dragged down to defeat by the same neocons whose policies pushed us to the brink of bankruptcy and made us hated around the world. Will Republicans walk away from this election having learned [...]

  21. It is not the "empire" per se; it is not even the debt – it is the corruption. America is corrupt – our financial system is corrupt; our foreign policy is corrupt; our judicial system is corrupt; our governing leadership is corrupt; our religious establishment is corrupt. All corrupted by the adoration of wealth. And that is the essence of the spirit of America – the search for riches regardless of the moral compromises entailed. How fitting it will be if our last reigning President is Romney – the living embodiment of the "quick buck".

  22. [...] the GOP will be dragged down to defeat by the same neocons whose policies pushed us to the brink of bankruptcy and made us hated around the world. Will Republicans walk away from this election having learned [...]

  23. Best luck and love to the fast expanding 'Occupy Empire' educational and revolutionary movement against this deceitful, guileful, disguised EMPIRE, which doesn't wear Red Coats, Red Stars, nor funny looking Nazi helmets.

  24. Post very nicely written, and it contains useful facts. I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement.

  25. t is the corruption. America is corrupt – our financial system is corrupt; our foreign policy is corrupt; our judicial system is corrupt; our governing leadership is corrupt; our religious establishment is corrupt. All corrupted by the adoration of wealth. And that is the essence of the spirit of America – the search for riches regardless of the moral compromises entailed. How fitt hackett

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  31. If only it were that easy. However, the sad fact is that it will take a serious effort from both government and private citizen to prevent the country from driving itself into a financial black hole.

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  34. This country doesn't make sense any more. We are in debt up to our American eyeballs yet we spend more and more money. We are complaining about all of the illegal immigrants and at the same time letting them into the country to live, drive, and even vote. To this point I agree with hackett who posted above… This country has become corrupt. Our moral foundation is almost stripped away completely. If nothing changes we will go down just like other great societies in the past.

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