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American Military

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Introduction For almost 2 decades, the US pursued a list of ‘enemy countries’ to confront, attack, weaken and overthrow. This imperial quest to overthrow ‘enemy countries’ operated at various levels of intensity, depending on two considerations: the level of priority and the degree of vulnerability for a ‘regime change’ operation. The criteria for determining an... Read More
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Can Generals James Mattis (US Secretary of Defense) and John Hyten (Head of US Strategic Command) Prevent a Disaster?
Introduction Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Presidents of the 52 Major Jewish American Organizations are leading President Trump, like a puppy on a leash, into a major war with Iran. The hysterical ’52 Presidents’ and ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu are busy manufacturing Holocaust-level predictions that a non-nuclear Iran is preparing to ‘vaporize’ Israel, the most... Read More
Introduction Clearly the US has escalated the pivotal role of the military in the making of foreign and, by extension, domestic policy. The rise of ‘the Generals’ to strategic positions in the Trump regime is evident, deepening its role as a highly autonomous force determining US strategic policy agendas. In this paper we will discuss... Read More
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The Power Elite in the Time of Trump
Introduction In the last few months, several competing political, economic and military sectors - linked to distinct ideological and ethnic groups - have clearly emerged at the centers of power. We can identify some of the key competing and interlocking directorates of the power elite: 1. Free marketers, with the ubiquitous presence of the ‘Israel... Read More
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Washington and Brussels’ response to foreign affairs challenges, as they face their own political and economic disasters and decline, has been to impose economic sanctions, boycotts and issue increasingly reckless military threats against rival nations. The ruling and main opposition parties in the US and EU have taken over the major media, turning ‘news programs’... Read More
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Introduction US policy in the Middle East and South Asia is shaped by several basic considerations: 1) US Imperialism is the force of global domination 2) US imperial policy in the Middle East focuses on encircling, destroying and dismantling Iran’s allies (Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Iraq (Shi’a Militia), Qatar and Yemen with the intent of overthrowing... Read More
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America’s Great Leap Backwards
Introduction: For almost 50 years, the US economy and society has taken a great leap backward - accelerating during the past three Presidencies. Not only have we experienced the reversal of past socio-economic legislation, but also our presidents and Congress have dragged us into multiple aggressive wars. Now, the threat of a nuclear attack against... Read More
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Introduction: US Empire building on a world-scale began during and shortly after WWII. Washington intervened directly in the Chinese civil war (providing arms to Chiang Kai Shek’s army while the Red Army battled the Japanese), backed France’s re-colonization war against the Viet Minh in Indo-China and installed Japanese imperial collaborator-puppet regimes in South Korea, Taiwan... Read More
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Introduction Every day and throughout the world we read and hear of turmoil, of threats, violence, divisions, wars for peace and peace for wars, freedom as oppression and oppression as freedom. In a world where words have lost their meanings and meanings have no words, how do we go about understanding turmoil? Surely, economies rise... Read More
From Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump
Introduction: US militarism expanded exponentially through the first two decades of the Twenty-First Century, and was embraced by both Democratic and Republican Presidents. The mass media’s hysteria towards President Trump’s increase in military spending deliberately ignores the vast expansion of militarism, in all its facets, under President Obama and his two predecessors, Presidents ‘Bill’ Clinton... Read More
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Introduction President Trump is deeply embedded in the politics of the deep state structure of American imperialism. Contrary to occasional references to non-intervention in overseas wars, Trump has followed in the footsteps of his predecessors. While neoconservatives and liberals have raised a hue and cry about Trump’s ties to Russia, his ‘heresies’ over NATO and... Read More
Introduction: The malady, common among political leaders who commit heartless crimes while craving popular adulation as heroes and misunderstood saints, is ‘Political Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy’ (PMSP). PMSP best explains the pathologic drive of politicians and policy makers who inflict relentless, systematic mass destruction and then intervene in a most theatrical manner to save a... Read More
Introduction Castigating the US electorate as accomplices and facilitators of wars, or at best describing it as ignorant sheep herded by political elites, speaks only to a partial reality; in public opinion polls, even in ones weighted overwhelmingly to the center-right, the American people consistently opposse militarism and wars, past and present. The right and... Read More
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Introduction: In 2012 President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter launched a new chapter in their quest for global dominance: a realignment of policies designed to shift priorities from the Middle East to Asia. Dubbed the ‘Pivot to Asia’, it suggested that the US would concentrate its economic, military and... Read More
Introduction: Washington’s quest for perpetual world power is underwritten by systematic and perpetual propaganda wars. Every major and minor war has been preceded, accompanied and followed by unremitting government propaganda designed to secure public approval, exploit victims, slander critics, dehumanize targeted adversaries and justify its allies’ collaboration. In this paper we will discuss the most... Read More
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Introduction: Bombs, domestic and foreign, are defining the nature of politics in the United States, the European Union and among radical Islamist groups and individuals. The scale and scope of bomb-politics varies with the practioner. ‘Wholesale bombers’ are state actors, who engage in large-scale, long-term bombing designed to destroy adversary governments or movements. ‘Retail bombers’... Read More
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Introduction: China and the United States are moving in polar opposite directions: Beijing is rapidly becoming the center of overseas investments in high tech industries, including robotics, nuclear energy and advanced machinery with collaboration from centers of technological excellence, like Germany. In contrast, Washington is pursuing a predatory military pivot to the least productive regions... Read More
Introduction: President Obama is racing forward to establish his imperial legacy throughout Russia, Asia and Latin America. In the last two years he has accelerated the buildup of his military nuclear arsenal on the frontiers of Russia. The Pentagon has designed a high tech anti-missile system to undermine Russian defenses. In Latin America, Obama has... Read More
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Introduction: Over the past 15 years the US has been engaged in a series of wars, which has led many writers to refer to the ‘rise of militarism’ – the growth of an empire, built primarily by and for the projection of military power – and only secondarily to advance economic imperialism. The rise of... Read More
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Introduction: Step by step, Washington is inexorably setting up a major provocation against China. Until now, the Obama regime tightened a military encirclement of China, expanding its armed forces agreements with Japan, the Philippines and Australia. In addition, it has promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), a regional trade agreement which openly excludes China. Obama... Read More
Introduction: 2015 has become a year of living dangerously. Wars are spreading across the globe. Wars are escalating as new countries are bombed and the old are ravaged with ever greater intensity. Countries, where relatively peaceful changes had taken place through recent elections, are now on the verge of civil wars. These are wars without... Read More
Colombia, Iran, China, Cuba, Ukraine, Yemen and Syria
Introduction: On the 21st of May, the Colombian Air Force (FAC) bombed the base camp of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) killing 26 guerrillas. Three days later the FAC bombed other FARC bases killing 14 more guerrillas, as part of an official offensive launched by President Juan Manuel Santos, the US’s most loyal... Read More
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Seven Mistaken Assumptions, Presumptions and Prescriptions
Introduction The highly influential Council on Foreign Relations recently published a Special Report entitled, “Revising US Grand Strategy toward China”, (Council on Foreign Relations Press: NY 2015), co-authored by two of its Senior Fellows, Robert Blackwill and Ashley Tellis (‘B and T’), which proposes a re-orientation of US policy toward China. The Report a policy... Read More
Introduction: There is no question that, in the immediate aftermath and for several years following US military conquests, wars, occupations and sanctions, US multi-national corporations lost out on profitable sites for investments. The biggest losses were in the exploitation of natural resources – in particular, gas and oil – in the Middle East, the Persian... Read More
Introduction: To the growing army of critics of US military intervention, who also reject the mendacious claims by American officials and their apologists of ‘world leadership’, Washington is engaged in ‘empire-building”. But the notion that the US is building an empire, by engaging in wars to exploit and plunder countries’ markets, resources and labor, defies... Read More
Introduction: Chaos reigns and spreads as enraged leaders in the US, Europe and their clients and allies pursue genocidal wars. Mercenary wars in Syria; Israel’s terror bombing on Gaza; proxy wars in the Ukraine, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Somalia. Tens of millions of refugees flee scenes of total destruction. Nothing is sacred. There are... Read More
Introduction: Empires are not easy to sustain given the multiple enemies that they provoke: at the international level (imperial rivals and emerging new powers), at the national level (national resistance movements, unreliable clients and untrustworthy ‘Sepoy’ armies) and at the local level (boycotts, sabotage and strikes). Imperial difficulties are multiplied when an empire is in... Read More
Introduction: There are two major beneficiaries of the two major wars launched by the US government: one domestic and one foreign. The three major domestic arms manufacturers, Lockheed Martin (LMT), Northrop Grumman (NOG) and Raytheon (RTN) have delivered record-shattering returns to their investors, CEOs and investment banks during the past decade and a half. The... Read More
Refuting President Obama’s Lies, Omissions and Distortions
Introduction: On May 2014 President Obama delivered the commencement address to the graduates of United States Military Academy at West Point. Beyond the easy banter and eulogy to past and present war heroes, Obama outlined a vision of past military successes and present policies, based on a profoundly misleading diagnosis of the current global position... Read More
Introduction: American living standards are plunging and it’s not simply because they are paid less, work longer (or shorter hours) under highly stressful workplace conditions and pay a higher percentage of their income for health and pension coverage. The ‘workplace’ is only one of several locations where American working people are experiencing a sharp decline... Read More
Introduction: The Obama regime, in coordination with its allies and proxies, has re-launched a virulent world-wide campaign to destroy independent governments, encircle and ultimately, undermine global competitors, and establish a new US – EU centered world order. We will proceed by identifying the recent ‘cycles’ of US empire-building; the advances and retreats; the methods and... Read More
Introduction: During the first half of the 20th century, socially conscious Jews in the United States organized a large network of solidarity and charity associations financed mostly through small donations, raffles, dues by working and lower middle class supporters. Many of these associations dealt with the everyday needs of Jewish workers, immigrants and families in... Read More
Introduction: Following the Vietnam War, US imperial intervention passed through several phases: In the immediate aftermath, the US government faced a humiliating military defeat at the hands of the Vietnamese liberation forces and was under pressure from an American public sick and tired of war.Imperial military interventions, domestic espionage against opponents and usual practice of... Read More
The world political economy is a mosaic of cross currents: Domestic decay and elite enrichment, new sources for greater profits and deepening political disenchantment, declining living standards for many and extravagant luxury for a few, military losses in some regions with imperial recovery in others. There are claims of a unipolar, a multi-polar and even... Read More
Introduction: Political and economic changes in recent years have opened possibilities for the end of international and national conflicts. Regime changes, pragmatic leaders and the promise of serious negotiations in the Middle East, North Africa, Russia, Southwest Asia, China and elsewhere provided the Obama regime an opportunity to end long standing and costly wars, to... Read More
Introduction: The economic, political and social outlook for 2012 is profoundly negative. The almost universal consensus, even among mainstream orthodox economists is pessimistic regarding the world economy. Though even here their predictions understate the scope and depth of the crises. There are powerful reasons to believe that beginning in 2012, we are heading toward a... Read More
After nearly 3 years in deep pursuit of the colonial wars initiated by ex-President Bush, the Obama regime has finally recognized the catastrophic domestic and foreign consequences. As a result the “reality principle” has taken hold; the maintenance of the US Empire requires modification of tactics and strategies, to cut political, military and diplomatic losses[1].... Read More
IntroductionEmpires are built through the promotion and backing of local collaborators who act at the behest of imperial rulers. They are rewarded with the outward symbols of authority and financial handouts, even as it is understood that they hold their position only at the tolerance of their imperial superiors. Imperial collaborators are referred to by... Read More
The US government (White House and Congress) spends $10 billion dollars a month, or $120 billion a year, to fight an estimated “50 -75 ‘Al Qaeda types’ in Afghanistan”, according to the CIA and quoted in the Financial Times of London (6/25 -26/11, p. 5). During the past 30 months of the Obama presidency, Washington... Read More
These extraordinary times–unprecedented in modern history–are marked by a worldwide depression and regional wars involving all the major imperial powers. This book exposes the roots of the crisis in the unsustainability of the United States\’ military-driven empire building based on a volatile speculative economy, and influenced by Zionist policy makers committed to the colonialist state... Read More
“The Deltas are psychos… You have to be a certified psychopath to join the Delta Force…”, a US Army colonel from Fort Bragg once told me back in the 1980’s. Now President Obama has elevated the most notorious of the psychopaths, General Stanley McChrystal, to head the US and NATO military command in Afghanistan. McChrystal’s... Read More
Everywhere one looks, US imperial policy has suffered major military and diplomatic defeats. With the backing of the Democratic Congress, the Republican White House’s aggressive pursuit of a military approach to empire-building has led to a world-wide decline of US influence, the realignment of former client rulers toward imperial adversaries, the emergence of competing hegemons... Read More
Modern empires and therefore imperialism which constructs them are ubiquitous: Whether through large-scale multinational corporations or through technologically advanced massive military power, the peoples and nations of the worlds confront the problem of great concentration of corporate and state power on an unprecedented scale. This stark reality and the evidence of US prolonged wars of... Read More
The Zionist Power Configuration Defeats Big Oil, the Military Industrial Complex, the White House and the Pentagon
The debate on which forces determine US Middle East policy has cut across the usual political spectrum: On one side most neo-conservative and progressive writers, academics and journalists argue that the military-industrial complex and Big Oil interests are the most influential forces shaping US policy. On the other, a small group of conservative and leftist... Read More
This paper will discuss the social, political, economic, psychological and ideological causes and impacts of war in contemporary history. Obviously we cannot explore all of these dimensions in detail; instead we will focus on what we consider the most important dimensions of these general categories. Introduction The first question that requires clarification is ?what wars??... Read More
World developments in 2005 will be determined by the major events and tendencies in 2004. First and foremost, 2004 demonstrated in the most dramatic and definitive manner that the US imperial military machine could be defeated. The Iraqi resistance has proven that the USEmpire is not invincible. With over 1500 combat deaths, close to25,000 disabled... Read More
Bush’s ”State of the Nation” speech was not in praise of ”America” as he claimed - it was about fascism at home and imperialism abroad. It was a speech in praise of conquests of Third World countries (Afghanistan and Iraq), the celebration of force as an instrument of political blackmail (Libya) and a declaration of... Read More
Millions of US citizens protested before the war and when it was launched but as the US war machine proceeded to conquer Iraq, the movement declined, the number of protestors decreased to the thousands, and was mostly composed of committed activists. In its place, hundreds of thousands of US flags began to sprout from car... Read More
The political and social struggles over the past decade have once again proven that the ”prophets” of long cycles based on economic projections cannot understand the most profound events of contemporary history. It is not the “the forces of production” but the “social relations of production” broadly understood as state power, productive systems and class... Read More
James Petras
About James Petras

James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York.

He is the author of more than 62 books published in 29 languages, and over 600 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has published over 2000 articles in nonprofessional journals such as the New York Times, the Guardian, the Nation, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, New Left Review, Partisan Review, TempsModerne, Le Monde Diplomatique, and his commentary is widely carried on the internet.

His publishers have included Random House, John Wiley, Westview, Routledge, Macmillan, Verso, Zed Books and Pluto Books. He is winner of the Career of Distinguished Service Award from the American Sociological Association’s Marxist Sociology Section, the Robert Kenny Award for Best Book, 2002, and the Best Dissertation, Western Political Science Association in 1968. His most recent titles include Unmasking Globalization: Imperialism of the Twenty-First Century (2001); co-author The Dynamics of Social Change in Latin America (2000), System in Crisis (2003), co-author Social Movements and State Power (2003), co-author Empire With Imperialism (2005), co-author)Multinationals on Trial (2006).

He has a long history of commitment to social justice, working in particular with the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement for 11 years. In 1973-76 he was a member of the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Repression in Latin America. He writes a monthly column for the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada, and previously, for the Spanish daily, El Mundo. He received his B.A. from Boston University and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.


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