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Alfred McCoy: Trumping the Empire
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I was 12. It was 1956. I lived in New York City and was a youthful history buff. (I should have kept my collection of American Heritage magazines!) Undoubtedly, I was also some kind of classic nerd. In any case, at some point during the Suez crisis of that year, I can remember going to the U.N. by myself and sitting in the gallery of the General Assembly, where I undoubtedly heard imperial Britain denounced for its attempt to retake the Suez Canal (in league with the French and Israelis). I must admit that it was a moment in my life I had totally forgotten about until historian Alfred McCoy, whose new Dispatch Book, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power, is due out in September, brought it to mind again. And I certainly hadn’t imagined that Suez might have any applicability to this moment. But almost 16 years after this country’s disastrous “war on terror” was launched and with yet another major Middle Eastern city in rubble, we are undoubtedly witnessing a change in the balance (or imbalance) of power on this unruly planet of ours — and who better to make sense of it than historian McCoy?

Think of him as a modern Edward Gibbon, writing in the twenty-first century on the decline and fall of a great empire. However, unlike Gibbon, who wrote his classic book on Rome centuries after its empire had disappeared from the face of the earth, McCoy has no choice but to deal with American decline contemporaneously — in, that is, the very act of its happening.

I had a canny friend who assured me a couple of decades ago that when European countries finally started saying no to Washington, I’d have a signal that I was on another planet. So we must now be on Mars. I was struck, for instance, by a recent piece in the Guardian describing the G20 summit as “the ‘G1’ versus the ‘G19.’” In other words, it’s increasingly Donald Trump’s Washington against the world, which is the definition of how not to make an empire work. Since imperial decline may, in fact, have been a significant factor in bringing Donald Trump to power, think of him as both its harbinger and — as McCoy so vividly describes today — its architect.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. This is more globalist garbage from a leftist propagandist. The U.S. government has not been running its empire ever for the American people, but only for the 0.1% socio-economic elite who have wrecked this once great nation with endless, winless foreign wars from Korea to Central America to the Middle East, all at the behest of the war party in Israel or the trans-national corporations. Meanwhile the U.S. has been de-industrialized by unfair trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA and the WTO as millions of jobs, thousands of factories, and whole industries have been off shored. Meanwhile those jobs the plutocrats cannot send to foreign sweat shops are increasingly taken by millions of legal and illegal Third World immigrants who have swamped the nation since 1965. Meanwhile these ivory tower professors natter on about the Suez crisis and how Rump is wrecking America’s foreign standing and so forth. Rump is nothing but a tool, a lackey, knave and varlet for the 0.1% and a billionaire bandit himself. All this sound and fury is nothing but a show put on for his ignorant supporters edification and obfuscation. Look at his deeds not his words. Trump has made no effort to get out of the winless Middle East quagmire, he has refused to withdraw the U.S. from NAFTA or the WTO, and has talked big about NATO and the Europeans living off the U.S. for decades now as they luxuriate in welfare states while we spend trillions on war making worldwide, but done nothing but propose increase in military spending and more Middle East invasions. On immigration no crackdown on his wealthy friends’ for hiring illegal aliens or bills in Congress to sharply reduce legal immigration. Just a lot of big talk and boasting. Trump is nothing but a liar,a cheat,a thief, and a fraud who huckstered his way into the White House. He is a total tool of Wall St. and the neo-cons as his actions not his words show. The main issue now must be North Korea. If China is not somehow convinced it will be embargoed unless Kim and his wmds are removed, the only option left may be another war in Korea. Of course had Truman stayed out of Korea where we had zero legitimate business or interest in 1950, we would not be facing this possible destruction of the entire planet today. Enough of leftist professors and the globalist news media pretending to hate Trump. He is part and parcel of the globalist elite wrecking the West. Hopefully he will be impeached or forced to resign. Maybe, maybe in 2020 we can elect an honest and intelligent patriot as the U.S. President.

    Read More
    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
    You've raised some very good points. Paragraphs would help in the reading of your comment.

    I have to disagree about NK though, it should be left alone and not provoked with stupid war games off their territory. NK has a minuscule economy and is unlikely to go to war against anyone if left alone. Given Korea's history, it is understandable why they would want to parade enough of a military deterrent to any attack and leave little doubt that there would be dire consequences. Fair enough.
    , @Noah Way
    Exactly on target until DPRK, which is just another justification for global destabilization and MIC profits. A peace treaty (there is only a cease fire agreement between the US and DPRK since 1953) would solve that problem, but the US won't do it.

    Imagining that any of this can be fixed by elections is deluded. The 0.1% own the media and the electoral process as well as the court. Third parties are excluded from the national debate, media coverage and meaningful electoral participation in a multitude of ways from The Commission on Presidential Debates (aka DNC & RNC) to every form of political chicanery you can imagine and then some.

    We're one straw away from open revolt. Health care, another economic crash, a hot war on phony pretenses, a natural disaster - which one will it be? The police have been militarized in anticipation, the Republic of Capitalistan will not go down without a fight.
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  2. Stogumber says:

    Yeah. With all their denunciations of imperialism – these people (Engelhardt, McCoy) would much prefer that the American Empire goes on and on and on …

    Read More
  3. In other words, it’s increasingly Donald Trump’s Washington against the world, which is the definition of how not to make an empire work. Since imperial decline may, in fact, have been a significant factor in bringing Donald Trump to power, think of him as both its harbinger and — as McCoy so vividly describes today — its architect.

    Trump as architect of Imperial decline. Pure bullshit!

    The Empire is in fact in steep decline. This is a good thing. I would love to give Trump the credit but he had nothing to do with it. The Zempire will indeed collapse on Trumps watch. Liars will blame Trump and ignorant people will believe them. That this lie is already given voice is encouraging. Perhaps the death of the evil beast is immanent.

    Read More
  4. @diogenestoday
    This is more globalist garbage from a leftist propagandist. The U.S. government has not been running its empire ever for the American people, but only for the 0.1% socio-economic elite who have wrecked this once great nation with endless, winless foreign wars from Korea to Central America to the Middle East, all at the behest of the war party in Israel or the trans-national corporations. Meanwhile the U.S. has been de-industrialized by unfair trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA and the WTO as millions of jobs, thousands of factories, and whole industries have been off shored. Meanwhile those jobs the plutocrats cannot send to foreign sweat shops are increasingly taken by millions of legal and illegal Third World immigrants who have swamped the nation since 1965. Meanwhile these ivory tower professors natter on about the Suez crisis and how Rump is wrecking America's foreign standing and so forth. Rump is nothing but a tool, a lackey, knave and varlet for the 0.1% and a billionaire bandit himself. All this sound and fury is nothing but a show put on for his ignorant supporters edification and obfuscation. Look at his deeds not his words. Trump has made no effort to get out of the winless Middle East quagmire, he has refused to withdraw the U.S. from NAFTA or the WTO, and has talked big about NATO and the Europeans living off the U.S. for decades now as they luxuriate in welfare states while we spend trillions on war making worldwide, but done nothing but propose increase in military spending and more Middle East invasions. On immigration no crackdown on his wealthy friends' for hiring illegal aliens or bills in Congress to sharply reduce legal immigration. Just a lot of big talk and boasting. Trump is nothing but a liar,a cheat,a thief, and a fraud who huckstered his way into the White House. He is a total tool of Wall St. and the neo-cons as his actions not his words show. The main issue now must be North Korea. If China is not somehow convinced it will be embargoed unless Kim and his wmds are removed, the only option left may be another war in Korea. Of course had Truman stayed out of Korea where we had zero legitimate business or interest in 1950, we would not be facing this possible destruction of the entire planet today. Enough of leftist professors and the globalist news media pretending to hate Trump. He is part and parcel of the globalist elite wrecking the West. Hopefully he will be impeached or forced to resign. Maybe, maybe in 2020 we can elect an honest and intelligent patriot as the U.S. President.

    You’ve raised some very good points. Paragraphs would help in the reading of your comment.

    I have to disagree about NK though, it should be left alone and not provoked with stupid war games off their territory. NK has a minuscule economy and is unlikely to go to war against anyone if left alone. Given Korea’s history, it is understandable why they would want to parade enough of a military deterrent to any attack and leave little doubt that there would be dire consequences. Fair enough.

    Read More
  5. Noah Way says:
    @diogenestoday
    This is more globalist garbage from a leftist propagandist. The U.S. government has not been running its empire ever for the American people, but only for the 0.1% socio-economic elite who have wrecked this once great nation with endless, winless foreign wars from Korea to Central America to the Middle East, all at the behest of the war party in Israel or the trans-national corporations. Meanwhile the U.S. has been de-industrialized by unfair trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA and the WTO as millions of jobs, thousands of factories, and whole industries have been off shored. Meanwhile those jobs the plutocrats cannot send to foreign sweat shops are increasingly taken by millions of legal and illegal Third World immigrants who have swamped the nation since 1965. Meanwhile these ivory tower professors natter on about the Suez crisis and how Rump is wrecking America's foreign standing and so forth. Rump is nothing but a tool, a lackey, knave and varlet for the 0.1% and a billionaire bandit himself. All this sound and fury is nothing but a show put on for his ignorant supporters edification and obfuscation. Look at his deeds not his words. Trump has made no effort to get out of the winless Middle East quagmire, he has refused to withdraw the U.S. from NAFTA or the WTO, and has talked big about NATO and the Europeans living off the U.S. for decades now as they luxuriate in welfare states while we spend trillions on war making worldwide, but done nothing but propose increase in military spending and more Middle East invasions. On immigration no crackdown on his wealthy friends' for hiring illegal aliens or bills in Congress to sharply reduce legal immigration. Just a lot of big talk and boasting. Trump is nothing but a liar,a cheat,a thief, and a fraud who huckstered his way into the White House. He is a total tool of Wall St. and the neo-cons as his actions not his words show. The main issue now must be North Korea. If China is not somehow convinced it will be embargoed unless Kim and his wmds are removed, the only option left may be another war in Korea. Of course had Truman stayed out of Korea where we had zero legitimate business or interest in 1950, we would not be facing this possible destruction of the entire planet today. Enough of leftist professors and the globalist news media pretending to hate Trump. He is part and parcel of the globalist elite wrecking the West. Hopefully he will be impeached or forced to resign. Maybe, maybe in 2020 we can elect an honest and intelligent patriot as the U.S. President.

    Exactly on target until DPRK, which is just another justification for global destabilization and MIC profits. A peace treaty (there is only a cease fire agreement between the US and DPRK since 1953) would solve that problem, but the US won’t do it.

    Imagining that any of this can be fixed by elections is deluded. The 0.1% own the media and the electoral process as well as the court. Third parties are excluded from the national debate, media coverage and meaningful electoral participation in a multitude of ways from The Commission on Presidential Debates (aka DNC & RNC) to every form of political chicanery you can imagine and then some.

    We’re one straw away from open revolt. Health care, another economic crash, a hot war on phony pretenses, a natural disaster – which one will it be? The police have been militarized in anticipation, the Republic of Capitalistan will not go down without a fight.

    Read More
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