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Oh good. The world reaches a crossroads, or probably a road off a cliff, just when I want to relax and watch gratuitous violence on the tube. To judge by the rapid drift of events aboard our planetary asylum, the talons of Washington and New York on the world’s throat are fast being pried a-loose. The Global American Imperium is dying. Or so it sure looks anyway.
I say talons of “New York and Washington” because America’s foreign policy, forged in those two cities, belongs entirely to them. Americans have no influence on it. Further, none of what the Empire does abroad is of any benefit to Americans. Do you care at all what happens in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, or the South China Sea? Do you want to pay for it? America has been hijacked.
And the Empire prospereth not. It prospereth very not. Consider the recent record of the world’s hyperpower:
Washington does not have control of Afghanistan, and obviously is not going to.
Washington does not have control of Iraq, and appears unlikely to.
Washington did not back Iran down, and isn’t going to.
Washington did not back Russia down in Ukraine and Crimea, and isn’t going to.
Washington did not back China down in the South China Sea and, while this is perhaps not over, the Empire seems to be losing.
Washington has not backed North Korea down and is not going to.
In the Philippines, President Duterte has told Obama to “go to hell” as being “the son of a whore,” which may be taken to indicate latent hostility. He is vigorously seeking rapprochement with China. While Washington may have him murdered, it seems to be losing control of the Little Vassals of ASEAN.
Turkey seems to be cuddling up to Russia–that is, looking East like Duterte. Maybe Washington can turn this around temporarily, but there’s a whole lot of wavering going on.
Meanwhile Washington thrashes around impotently as per usual in Syria, and, though the jury remains out on this one, looks to have poor prospects. If Washington–AKA New York–loses here, after doing so in Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Afghanistan, the Empire will beyond redemption be on the downward slope.
The United States is not in danger. The Empire is. This is not good. Empires, the Soviet Union notwithstanding, seldom go quietly. Either Washington gambles on war of some sort against Russia, or Russia and China, in the desperate hope of reversing things, or the Empire gets slowly eaten. Or not so slowly. Once one country pries itself loose, many may rush for the door.
New York may go for calculated war against Russia–say, cyberwar expected not to turn into shooting war, shooting war in Syria not expected to turn into global shooting war, global shooting war not expected to turn into nuclear war. This will be a crapshoot. Note that America has badly misguessed the outcomes of every war since Korea.
This is why the American election actually matters, unusual in Presidential contests. It is Blowhard against Corruption, a swell choice, but Trump is firmly against war with Russia, and Hillary for. Her military understanding is that of a fried egg.
The woman is both a fool and a knave but, it seems, Trump has talked trash, and therefore she will likely be President. Weirdly, the future of the world depends on how an excited electorate of political middle-schoolers responds to one candidate’s dirty talk. From a curmudgeon’s point of view, it is pretty funny. It is funnier if one lives outside of the radiation footprint.
But back to business. The seaboard Axis of Evil needs a war because almost every tide runs against it. Proximately, the Axis has pushed China, Russia, and Iran together against the Empire. (First rule of empire: Do not let the dissidents unite.) Many signs suggest that the world, or much of it, is beginning to see China as its future. The BRICS, the SCO, the NDB, the AAIB–all exclude the US. China becomes the major trading partner of country after country. The twilight deepens.
Not all goes wrong for the Empire–not yet, but things are getting spooky. On the European Peninsula of Asia, countries remain docile, especially England and, much more importantly, Germany. Yet even among Washington’s European harem, there seem to be faint stirrings of a forgotten independence. As I understand it, Germany’s businessmen would very much like to end Washington’s sanctions on Russia and improve trade with China, which would be greatly to the benefit of the Peninsula. Washington won’t let them. It can’t. If the Europeans did what would be good for themselves, and looked to Eurasia, then the fat lady, already warming up, would burst into full bellow.
Which, methinks, raises the likelihood that Washington will in desperation do something phenomenally stupid. At this writing Hillary’s camp seems to be prepping the public for war with Russia. The telescreen tells us day after day that Putin is Hitler, that Russia is expanding, that the Russkies are hacking the election, that they cause indigestion and falling hair. Is this just Hillary waggling her codpiece in the expectation that Moscow will demurely back down, as God intended? Or will she again send other people’s children to fight for her in somebody else’s country?
The larger picture, assuredly obvious to New York, is truly grim–for New York, not for Americans. China has a huge population of a billion Han Chinese, versus two hundred million Caucasian Americans–these being the scientific, technological and entrepreneurial brains of the Empire. One must not notice this, but you can bet that New York and Beijing do. Economically China is growing hugely, advancing technologically at a high rate, building rail lines that now extend from the Chinese Pacific coast to Madrid. It will increasingly dwarf the Empire no matter what happens–short of a world war.
The curtain falls in ways unnoticed. China recently launched a communications satellite, the world’s first employing quantum cryptographic links, which cannot be intercepted. The intention of this, as well of the QC link from Beijing to Shanghai, is to keep the NSA off China’s back. A small thing, perhaps. Yet if successful and adopted en masse by other countries weary of Washington’s meddling, the result will be a loosening of the Empire’s grip on everybody’s communications.
For the Empire it is, as Elvis sang, “now or never.” Lenin spoke of “useful idiots.” Ours aren’t even useful, but they call the shots.
Fred can be reached at email@example.com. Put the letters pdq in the subject line or your email will be heartlessly autodeleted by a raging spam filter.