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Whose Century Is It?
Life on an Increasingly Improbable Planet
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Vladimir Putin recently manned up and admitted it. The United States remains the planet’s sole superpower, as it has been since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. “America,” the Russian president said, “is a great power. Today, probably, the only superpower. We accept that.”

Think of us, in fact, as the default superpower in an ever more recalcitrant world.

Seventy-five years ago, at the edge of a global conflagration among rival great powers and empires, Henry Luce first suggested that the next century could be ours. In February 1941, in his magazine LIFE, he wrote a famous essay entitled “The American Century.” In it, he proclaimed that if only Americans would think internationally, surge into the world, and accept that they were already at war, the next hundred years would be theirs. Just over nine months later, the Japanese attacked the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor, plunging the country into World War II. At the time, however, Americans were still riven and confused about how to deal with spreading regional conflicts in Europe and Asia, as well as the rise of fascism and the Nazis.

That moment was indeed a horrific one, and yet it was also just a heightened version of what had gone before. For the previous half-millennium, there had seldom been a moment when at least two (and often three or more) European powers had not been in contention, often armed and violent, for domination and for control of significant parts of the planet. In those many centuries, great powers rose and fell and new ones, including Germany and Japan, came on the scene girded for imperial battle. In the process, a modern global arms race was launched to create ever more advanced and devastating weaponry based on the latest breakthroughs in the science of war. By August 1945, this had led to the release of an awesome form of primal energy in the first (and thus far only) use of nuclear weapons in wartime.

In the years that followed, the United States and the Soviet Union grew ever more “super” and took possession of destructive capabilities once left, at least in the human imagination, to the gods: the power to annihilate not just one enemy on one battlefield or one armada on one sea but everything. In the nearly half-century of the Cold War, the rivalry between them became apocalyptic in nature as their nuclear arsenals grew to monstrous proportions. As a result, with the exception of the Cuban Missile Crisis, they faced off against each other indirectly in “limited” proxy wars that, especially in Korea and Indochina, were of unparalleled technological ferocity.

Then, in 1991, the Soviet Union imploded and, for the first time in historical memory, there was only one power that mattered. This was a reality even Henry Luce might have found farfetched. Previously, the idea of a single power so mighty that it alone loomed over the planet was essentially relegated to fictional fantasies about extraordinary evil. And yet so it was — or at least so it seemed, especially to the leadership that took power in Washington in the year 2000 and soon enough were dreaming of a planetary Pax Americana.

In a strange way, something similarly unimaginable happened in Europe. On that continent laid waste by two devastating twentieth-century wars, a single “union” was formed, something that not so long before would have been categorized as a madly utopian project. The idea that centuries of national rivalries and the rabid nationalism that often went with it could somehow be tamed and that former great powers and imperial contenders could be subsumed in a single peaceful organization (even if under the aegis of American global power) would once have seemed like the most absurd of fictions. And yet so it would be — or so it seemed, at least until recently.

A Planetary Brexit?

We seldom take in the strangeness of what’s happened on this curious planet of ours. In the years after 1991, we became so inured to the idea of a single superpower globe and a single European economic and political union that both, once utterly inconceivable, came to seem too mundane to spend a lot of time thinking about. And yet who would have believed that 75 years after Luce urged his country into that American Century, there would, in military terms, be no genuine rivals, no other truly great powers (only regional ones) on Planet Earth?

So many taken-for-granted things about our world were considered utterly improbable before they happened. Take China. I recall well the day in 1972 when, after decades of non-contact and raging hostility, we learned that President Richard Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, were in Beijing meeting congenially with Communist leader Mao Zedong. A friend called to tell me the news. I thought he was joking and it struck me as a ridiculously lame joke at that.

There’s almost no way now to capture how improbable this seemed at the time — the leading communist revolutionary on the planet chatting cheerily with the prime representative of anti-communism. If, however, you had told me then that, in the decades to come, China would undergo a full-scale capitalist revolution and become the economic powerhouse of the planet, and that this would be done under the leadership of Mao’s still regnant communist party, I would have considered you mad.

ORDER IT NOW

And mind you, that’s just to begin to mention the improbabilities of the present moment. After all, in what fantasies — ever — about a globe with a single dominant power, would anyone have imagined that it might fail so utterly to bring the world to anything approximating heel? If you had told Henry Luce, or me, or anyone else, including the masters of the universe in Washington in 1991, that the only superpower left on Earth, with the best-funded, mightiest, most technologically destructive and advanced military imaginable, would, on September 11, 2001, be goaded by a group so modest in size and power as to be barely noticeable into a series of never-ending wars across the Greater Middle East and Africa, we would have found that beyond improbable.

Who would have believed a movie or novel in which that same power, without national enemies of any significance in any of the regions where the fighting was taking place, would struggle unsuccessfully, year after year, to subdue scattered, lightly armed insurgents (aka “terrorists”) across a disintegrating region? Who could have imagined that every measure Washington took to assert its might only seemed to blow back (or blow somewhere, anyway)? Who would have believed that its full-scale invasion of one weak Middle Eastern country, its “mission accomplished” moment, would in the end prove a trip through “the gates of hell”? Who would have imagined that such an invasion could punch a hole in the oil heartlands of the region that, 13 years later, is still a bleeding wound, now seemingly beyond repair, or that it would set loose a principle of chaos and disintegration that seems to be spreading like a planetary Brexit?

And what if I told you that, after 15 years of such behavior, the only thing the leaders of that superpower can now imagine doing in the increasingly wrecked lands where they carry on their struggles is yet more of everything that hasn’t worked in all that time? Meanwhile — how improbable is this? — in its “homeland,” there is essentially no one, neither a movement in the streets, nor critical voices in the corridors of power protesting what’s happening or even exploring or suggesting other paths into the future.

Imagine that, wherever you looked, except in the borderlands of (and waters off) Russia and China, that single superpower was essentially unopposed and yet its ability to apply its unique status effectively in these years has been in eternal free-fall — even in perfectly peaceable areas to which it was closely allied. As an example, consider this: the president of that sole superpower flies to London and, in an England that (like much of Europe) hasn’t said no to Washington about anything of genuine significance in decades, strongly urges the British not to exit (or “Brexit”) the European Union (EU). He backs up his suggestion with a clearly stated threat. If they do so, he says, our closest trans-Atlantic partner will find itself at “the back of the queue” when it comes to future trade deals with Washington.

Remember, we’re talking about a country that has, in these years, seconded the U.S. endlessly. As David Sanger of the New York Times recently (and delicately) put it:

“No country shares Washington’s worldview quite the way Britain does, [American officials] say; it has long been the United States’ most willing security ally, most effective intelligence partner and greatest enthusiast of the free-trade mantras that have been a keystone of America’s internationalist approach. And few nations were as willing to put a thumb as firmly on the scales of European debates in ways that benefit the United States.”

By now, of course, we all know how the populace of our most loyal ally, the other side of that “special relationship,” reacted — with anger at the president’s intervention and with a vote to exit the European Union not long after. In its wake, fears are rising of further Frexits and Nexits that might crack the EU open and usher in a new era of nationalist feeling in Europe.

Failed World?

As goes Britain, so, it seems, goes the world. Give Washington real credit for much of this. Those post-9/11 dreams of global domination shared by the top leadership of the Bush administration proved wildly destructive and it’s gotten no better since. Consider the vast swath of the planet where the devastation is most obvious: the Greater Middle East and North Africa. Then ask yourself: Are we still in the American Century? And if not, whose (or what) century are we in?

If you had told me in 1975, when the Vietnam War finally ended some 34 years after Luce wrote that essay and 28 years before the U.S. invaded Iraq that, in 1979, Washington would become involved in a decade-long war in Afghanistan, I would have been stunned. If you had told me in 1975 that, in 2001, it would invade that same country and launch a second Afghan War, still underway 15 years later with no end in sight, I wouldn’t have believed you. A quarter-century of American wars and still counting in a country that, in 1975, most Americans might not have been able to locate on a map. If you had added that, starting in 1990, the U.S. would be involved in three successive wars in Iraq, the third of which is still ongoing, I might have been speechless. And that’s not to mention interventions of various sorts, also ongoing, in Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, and Syria — none, by the way, by any normal standards successful.

If you were to do a little tabulation of the results of these years of American Century-ism across the Greater Middle East, you would discover a signature kind of chaos. In the early years of this century, officials of the Bush administration often referred to the region from China’s western border to northern Africa as an “arc of instability.” That phrase was meant to embody their explanation for letting the U.S. military loose there: to bring order and, of course, democracy to those lands. And with modest exceptions, it was indeed true that most of the Greater Middle East was then ruled by repressive, autocratic, or regressive regimes of various sorts. It was, however, still a reasonably orderly region. Now, it actually is an arc of instability filled with states that are collapsing left and right, cities and towns that are being leveled, and terror outfits, each worse than the last, that are spreading in the regional rubble. Religious and ethnic divisions of every sort are sharpening and conflicts within countries, or what’s left of them, are on the rise.

ORDER IT NOW

Most of the places where the U.S. has let its military and its air power loose — Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Syria – are now either failed or failing states. Under the circumstances, it might be reasonable to suggest that the very term “failed state” is outdated, and not just because it places all the blame for what’s happened on the indigenous people of a country. After all, if the arc of instability is now in any way “united,” it’s mainly thanks to spreading terror groups and perhaps the Islamic State brand.

Moreover, in the stunted imagination of present-day Washington, the only policies imaginable in response to all this are highly militarized and call for more of the same: more air power in the skies over distant battlefields, more boots on the ground, more private contractors and hired guns, more munitions and weaponry (surprising amounts of which have, in these years, ended up in the hands not of allied forces, but of Washington’s enemies), more special operations raids, more drone assassination campaigns, and at home, more surveillance, more powers for the national security state, more… well, you know the story.

For such a world, a new term is needed. Perhaps something like failed region. This, it seems, is one thing that the American Century has come to mean 75 years after Henry Luce urged it into existence. And perhaps lurking in the undergrowth as well is another phrase, one not quite yet imaginable but thoroughly chilling: failed world.

With this in mind, imagine what the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia could mean in the long run, or the recent U.S.-NATO pivot to the Baltics and Eastern Europe. If huge swaths of the planet have begun to disintegrate in an era when the worst the U.S. faced in the way of opponents has been minority insurgencies and terror outfits, or more recently a terror caliphate, consider for a moment what kinds of chaos could come to regions where a potentially hostile power remains. And by the way, don’t for a second think that, even if the Islamic State is finally defeated, worse can’t emerge from the chaos and rubble of the failed region that it will leave behind. It can and, odds on, it will.

All of this gives the very idea of an American Century new meaning. Can there be any question that this is not the century of Henry Luce, nor the one that American political and military leaders dreamed of when the Soviet Union collapsed? What comes to mind instead is the sentiment the Roman historian Tacitus put in the mouth of Calgacus, a chieftain in what is now Scotland, speaking of the Roman conquests of his time: “They make a desert and call it peace.”

Perhaps this is no longer really the American century at all, despite the continuing status of the U.S. as the planet’s sole superpower. A recent U.N. report estimates that, in 2015, a record 65 million people were uprooted, mainly in the Greater Middle East. Tens of millions of them crossed borders and became refugees, including staggering numbers of children, many separated from their parents. So perhaps this really is the century of the lost child.

What could be sadder?

Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture. He is a fellow of the Nation Institute and runs TomDispatch.com. His latest book is Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. mtn cur says:

    Stupor power seems a more appropriate label. According to Jarred Lanier, those firms with the best computer/ surveillance systems are “Who owns the Future?”

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  2. Whose Century Is It?

    The Nationalists’.

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  3. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website

    If huge swaths of the planet have begun to disintegrate in an era when the worst the U.S. faced in the way of opponents has been minority insurgencies and terror outfits, or more recently a terror caliphate, consider for a moment what kinds of chaos could come to regions where a potentially hostile power remains.

    Answering this question is the key to all issues raised in this, otherwise sensible and common sense, article. As J William Fulbright wrote in his “The Arrogance Of Power”–“it is simply not necessary for us to go around forever proclaiming:”I am the greatest!” The more one does that sort of thing, in fact, the more people doubt it…” I think many, me included, would have no problems with accepting US claims of American millennium, or even American whatever time period would seem more attractive among US punditry–geological period. In the end, “facts on the ground” have a good propensity for dispelling illusions (or delusions of grandeur). The only question is costs.

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  4. Brohemius says:

    I was taught from an early age that, when assessing the worth of any enterprise, one must first subtract liabilities from assets. From this standpoint, the government of “the world’s only superpower” is a rogue elephant looking for villagers to eat.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jacques Sheete
    Speaking of elephants, have you read Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant?"

    "One day something happened which in a roundabout way was enlightening. It was a tiny incident in itself, but it gave me a better glimpse than I had had before of the real nature of imperialism– the real motives for which despotic governments act. ”




    -George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant, 1936

    http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/887/
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  5. Cyrano says:

    That’s what I like about the Americans, that they are so modest. Where the Germans spoke about a 1000 years Reich, the Americans speak only of a 100 year American reign (of terror), hopefully with an eye on renewing that contract 9 more times in order to match their ideological predecessors’ predictions of longevity.

    Other similarities that I’ve noticed? – Ubermensch = Exceptionalism. Need to contain bolshevism = Contain Russian “aggression”, and so on and so on.

    I think that Putin was awfully generous. US will be considered a great military power (never mind superpower) when they start giving medals for bravery to the drone operators. Until then, it’s just a country with a lot of junk that it doesn’t even know how to use in order to win any war.

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  6. JohnDough says:

    Well the former empire strikes back at the EU and US. However this author for some reason or another has forgotten to mention how a rogue, xenophobic, paranoid, war crime comitting, apartheid, country of 6 million with no defined borders, that’s armed with nuclear weapons of mass destruction and millions of minions stationed all over the world, a tiny minority of Earth’s population could assume so much statistically improbable influence all over the world. Oh yes it is statistically impossible and as the writing above states in concept, “improbable” but yet it is.

    This country smaller than so many cities has the power to buy consent on the world stage. How can this be unless there’s something clandestine going on. Power by cabal, lobby groups, rigged elections, market manipulation, extortion, threat, blackmail, and bribery enough to get all of the US Congress giving 29 standing ovations to a war criminal and then getting this superpower the USA to do the foreign policy bidding of Israel.

    That’s the elephant in the room, time to take it for a walk or to let it loose. Take your country and culture back. Time for us to act in our own self interest preserving our own countries and our own culture. They have theirs and we have ours. The two are no longer compatible to American interests or the interests of Europe now that Israeli wars have come to our homes to roost!

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    • Replies: @helena
    Agree - standing ovations, stars n stripes cum star of david, zero mention of israel, a neighbouring state, during months of talk about war in syria. too too bizarre for coincidenec.

    On sun-baked shores did strident men,
    a stately iron dome decree.
    Where alas - no river ran
    across the irrigated land,
    around a lifeless sea.
    So many miles of hard-steel fence,
    o'er deserts; came men from whence.
    There, was concrete sculpted long and high,
    enclosing hopes and toils beneath the sky.
    And here, were ships resiliently- made,
    Guarding ancient ports bereft of trade.
    , @Anonymous
    An average IQ of 110.
    120 verbal, some have reported; and we are in the age of communication, where controlling the media and using them with prowess is crucial.

    Very strong tribalism.

    We are in the age of technic, where, unlike it was with traditional armies, 600 millions of non-intelligent people weigh less that 6 million of superior intelligence.

    Strong limbs and sinewy matter no more: the human being is approximating the human brain.
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    Well the former empire strikes back at the EU and US. However this author for some reason or another has forgotten to mention how a rogue, xenophobic, paranoid, war crime comitting, apartheid, country of 6 million with no defined borders, that’s armed with nuclear weapons of mass destruction and millions of minions stationed all over the world, a tiny minority of Earth’s population could assume so much statistically improbable influence all over the world
     
    How about the coalition of the willing? Contract implies always at minimum two (not one) parties. I may (I largely agree) or may not accept all Israel and AIPAC arguments but let's be honest--don't you think that thou doth protest too much? Yes, I get it, it is true--Israeli lobby does wield a disproportionate baneful influence on the US but how about failures of own national character, aren't they in play too? It is too convenient to assign all blame on some Israeli influence but is anyone in "American" political "elite", academe, military, intelligence ready to come out and state that yes, it was me who allowed to corrupt myself, who sold the interests of my country to Israel. Don't see that much really and there is a reason for that and it is easily found in US history way before the state of Israel existed.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  7. helena says:
    @JohnDough
    Well the former empire strikes back at the EU and US. However this author for some reason or another has forgotten to mention how a rogue, xenophobic, paranoid, war crime comitting, apartheid, country of 6 million with no defined borders, that's armed with nuclear weapons of mass destruction and millions of minions stationed all over the world, a tiny minority of Earth's population could assume so much statistically improbable influence all over the world. Oh yes it is statistically impossible and as the writing above states in concept, "improbable" but yet it is.

    This country smaller than so many cities has the power to buy consent on the world stage. How can this be unless there's something clandestine going on. Power by cabal, lobby groups, rigged elections, market manipulation, extortion, threat, blackmail, and bribery enough to get all of the US Congress giving 29 standing ovations to a war criminal and then getting this superpower the USA to do the foreign policy bidding of Israel.

    That's the elephant in the room, time to take it for a walk or to let it loose. Take your country and culture back. Time for us to act in our own self interest preserving our own countries and our own culture. They have theirs and we have ours. The two are no longer compatible to American interests or the interests of Europe now that Israeli wars have come to our homes to roost!

    Agree – standing ovations, stars n stripes cum star of david, zero mention of israel, a neighbouring state, during months of talk about war in syria. too too bizarre for coincidenec.

    On sun-baked shores did strident men,
    a stately iron dome decree.
    Where alas – no river ran
    across the irrigated land,
    around a lifeless sea.
    So many miles of hard-steel fence,
    o’er deserts; came men from whence.
    There, was concrete sculpted long and high,
    enclosing hopes and toils beneath the sky.
    And here, were ships resiliently- made,
    Guarding ancient ports bereft of trade.

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  8. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @JohnDough
    Well the former empire strikes back at the EU and US. However this author for some reason or another has forgotten to mention how a rogue, xenophobic, paranoid, war crime comitting, apartheid, country of 6 million with no defined borders, that's armed with nuclear weapons of mass destruction and millions of minions stationed all over the world, a tiny minority of Earth's population could assume so much statistically improbable influence all over the world. Oh yes it is statistically impossible and as the writing above states in concept, "improbable" but yet it is.

    This country smaller than so many cities has the power to buy consent on the world stage. How can this be unless there's something clandestine going on. Power by cabal, lobby groups, rigged elections, market manipulation, extortion, threat, blackmail, and bribery enough to get all of the US Congress giving 29 standing ovations to a war criminal and then getting this superpower the USA to do the foreign policy bidding of Israel.

    That's the elephant in the room, time to take it for a walk or to let it loose. Take your country and culture back. Time for us to act in our own self interest preserving our own countries and our own culture. They have theirs and we have ours. The two are no longer compatible to American interests or the interests of Europe now that Israeli wars have come to our homes to roost!

    An average IQ of 110.
    120 verbal, some have reported; and we are in the age of communication, where controlling the media and using them with prowess is crucial.

    Very strong tribalism.

    We are in the age of technic, where, unlike it was with traditional armies, 600 millions of non-intelligent people weigh less that 6 million of superior intelligence.

    Strong limbs and sinewy matter no more: the human being is approximating the human brain.

    Read More
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  9. “Remember, we’re talking about a country that has, in these years, seconded the U.S. endlessly.”

    Well, actually it has been the puppets who man … er, populate the UK government who have seconded the US endlessly, and I suspect only because they thought they had some dispropotionate influence over the US, like they mistakenly believe they have in the EU.

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  10. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @JohnDough
    Well the former empire strikes back at the EU and US. However this author for some reason or another has forgotten to mention how a rogue, xenophobic, paranoid, war crime comitting, apartheid, country of 6 million with no defined borders, that's armed with nuclear weapons of mass destruction and millions of minions stationed all over the world, a tiny minority of Earth's population could assume so much statistically improbable influence all over the world. Oh yes it is statistically impossible and as the writing above states in concept, "improbable" but yet it is.

    This country smaller than so many cities has the power to buy consent on the world stage. How can this be unless there's something clandestine going on. Power by cabal, lobby groups, rigged elections, market manipulation, extortion, threat, blackmail, and bribery enough to get all of the US Congress giving 29 standing ovations to a war criminal and then getting this superpower the USA to do the foreign policy bidding of Israel.

    That's the elephant in the room, time to take it for a walk or to let it loose. Take your country and culture back. Time for us to act in our own self interest preserving our own countries and our own culture. They have theirs and we have ours. The two are no longer compatible to American interests or the interests of Europe now that Israeli wars have come to our homes to roost!

    Well the former empire strikes back at the EU and US. However this author for some reason or another has forgotten to mention how a rogue, xenophobic, paranoid, war crime comitting, apartheid, country of 6 million with no defined borders, that’s armed with nuclear weapons of mass destruction and millions of minions stationed all over the world, a tiny minority of Earth’s population could assume so much statistically improbable influence all over the world

    How about the coalition of the willing? Contract implies always at minimum two (not one) parties. I may (I largely agree) or may not accept all Israel and AIPAC arguments but let’s be honest–don’t you think that thou doth protest too much? Yes, I get it, it is true–Israeli lobby does wield a disproportionate baneful influence on the US but how about failures of own national character, aren’t they in play too? It is too convenient to assign all blame on some Israeli influence but is anyone in “American” political “elite”, academe, military, intelligence ready to come out and state that yes, it was me who allowed to corrupt myself, who sold the interests of my country to Israel. Don’t see that much really and there is a reason for that and it is easily found in US history way before the state of Israel existed.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dahoit
    Since 1948,American interests have been dwarfed by Zionist interests.
    Never in the history of political associations has any little pos nation absconded with the power of a much more populous and powerful nation.
    Whatever America did before 48,was in its own interests.
    I guess you never read the ziomedia,and their total obfuscation of the disaster the war of terror has given America both internationally and domestically.
    Defending the enemy is revealing.
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  11. America hasn’t won an armed conflict since 1945. Some would say that the US won the first Gulf War. But that was really the first chapter in Iraq, which was followed by the second war, occupation, humiliation and retreat. But the fantasists in Washington learn nothing from it or from other retreats and defeats elsewhere. Arguably, America has also lost in Afghanistan – to bands of 12th century militias possessing weapons not a lot more sophisticated than those in the hands of Chicago gangsters in the 1920s.

    But the arrogance and the hubris doesn’t end regardless.

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    • Replies: @dearieme
    "America hasn’t won an armed conflict since 1945." Just a bit too strong. America has won battles since 1945, and so can win a war as long as it consists of only one battle. Hence the wins in the first Gulf War and the air attack on Serbia.
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  12. “Who would have imagined that such an invasion could punch a hole in the oil heartlands of the region that, 13 years later, is still a bleeding wound, now seemingly beyond repair, or that it would set loose a principle of chaos and disintegration that seems to be spreading like a planetary Brexit?”

    Martin Van Creveld, William S Lind…

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    • Replies: @Jacques Sheete
    May I add Louis Fischer, who, in 1926 published "Oil Imperialism" ?

    https://books.google.com/books/about/Oil_Imperialism.html?id=zNcEAAAAMAAJ
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  13. @Brohemius
    I was taught from an early age that, when assessing the worth of any enterprise, one must first subtract liabilities from assets. From this standpoint, the government of "the world's only superpower" is a rogue elephant looking for villagers to eat.

    Speaking of elephants, have you read Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant?”

    “One day something happened which in a roundabout way was enlightening. It was a tiny incident in itself, but it gave me a better glimpse than I had had before of the real nature of imperialism– the real motives for which despotic governments act. ”

    -George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant, 1936

    http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/887/

    Read More
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  14. @Simon in London
    "Who would have imagined that such an invasion could punch a hole in the oil heartlands of the region that, 13 years later, is still a bleeding wound, now seemingly beyond repair, or that it would set loose a principle of chaos and disintegration that seems to be spreading like a planetary Brexit?"

    Martin Van Creveld, William S Lind...

    May I add Louis Fischer, who, in 1926 published “Oil Imperialism” ?

    https://books.google.com/books/about/Oil_Imperialism.html?id=zNcEAAAAMAAJ

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  15. If you had told Henry Luce, or me, or anyone else, including the masters of the universe in Washington in 1991, that the only superpower left on Earth, with the best-funded, mightiest, most technologically destructive and advanced military imaginable, would, on September 11, 2001, be goaded by a group so modest in size and power as to be barely noticeable into a series of never-ending wars across the Greater Middle East and Africa, we would have found that beyond improbable.

    Damn, yet another once respected opinion-monger has to be tossed into the wastebasket labeled “Psittcine Pundits” which is reserved for those who mindlessly accept and ceaselessly peddle obvious myths as truths.

    PS: It’s still beyond improbable that “a group so modest in size and power” dunnit.

    However, It is not improbable that a group of modest size yet huge in power dunnit.

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  16. What could be sadder?

    Imagine the Black Death, except applied to the whole world, not just Europe. Something like 50% of the world’s population dies. The most crowded and low-tech populations suffer the most – Africa, Asia, Urban South America, etc.. Inner cities in the US are depopulated. Wars break out everywhere. Nukes are exchanged: India-Pakistan and/or Iran-Israel.

    We are on thin ice.

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  17. Rehmat says:

    WHOSE CENTURY IS IT?

    Knowing some idiots would call me ‘antisemite’ as usual – but truth has to be said: IT’s ZIONIST’s CENTURY. Why? Because all five so-called WORL POWERS (US, UK, France, Russia, China + Germany) are controlled by Zionist Jews, directly or indirectly.

    America has not one a single war since WWII except sending many weak nations back to DARK AGES.

    The USSR was not defeated by American forces but by the rag-tag Aghan Mujahideen in the 1990s. But, as usual, the West took the credit of the demise of Soviet Union while destroying and occupying Afghanistan. However, since US occupation in December 2001, Taliban still control 80% of the territory.

    It’s not the hundreds of nukes that makes a country SOLE WORLD POWER, but the peoples’ will to fight for a cause. Americans and Western forces have no cause to fight as none of them is attacked by a non-White nation. That’s why it’s still afraid to attack North Korea – and was defeated by less than 2,000 Hizbullah fighters in 2006.

    https://rehmat1.com/2010/08/27/hizbullah-changed-the-me-in-2006/

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  18. Judging by the evidence this century belongs without any question to morons. It must be the result of my preservation of intelligence theory. There is a given amount of intelligence available in the Universe and the more people share it the less there is for each one of them. With the ever growing population we can look forward to a future in which the intelligence of a wild boar will surpass ours.

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  19. With the ever growing population we can look forward to a future in which the intelligence of a wild boar will surpass ours.

    So speaketh a chief of the wild bores.

    Anyway, it would make more sense to call it the Conservation of Intelligence Theory, but it still would qualify as moronic. :)

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  20. Whose Century Is It?

    That’s easy!

    This century as all past and future ones, belong to the criminal rich.

    We can drive them outta the temple again today, but tomorrow they’ll slither right back in.

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  21. um, that was last century. we really should get use to the fact that rival powers will emerge in the 21st century.

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  22. dearieme says:
    @Charles Martel
    America hasn't won an armed conflict since 1945. Some would say that the US won the first Gulf War. But that was really the first chapter in Iraq, which was followed by the second war, occupation, humiliation and retreat. But the fantasists in Washington learn nothing from it or from other retreats and defeats elsewhere. Arguably, America has also lost in Afghanistan - to bands of 12th century militias possessing weapons not a lot more sophisticated than those in the hands of Chicago gangsters in the 1920s.

    But the arrogance and the hubris doesn't end regardless.

    “America hasn’t won an armed conflict since 1945.” Just a bit too strong. America has won battles since 1945, and so can win a war as long as it consists of only one battle. Hence the wins in the first Gulf War and the air attack on Serbia.

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    Hence the wins in ... and the air attack on Serbia
     
    This statement is wrong on several levels. Russia's betrayal of Serbia "won" this for the US. Especially when one considers recent public revelations by then First Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin and General Ivashov on Vladimir Solovyov's Talk Show, the most watched political broadcast in Russia.
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  23. It is very simple. Empires seek to expand and never voluntary pull back, no matter the logic, hence Afghanistan. Regarding the 9-11 attacks, this author wrote:

    “…the best-funded, mightiest, most technologically destructive and advanced military imaginable, would, on September 11, 2001, be goaded by a group so modest in size and power as to be barely noticeable into a series of never-ending wars across the Greater Middle East and Africa, we would have found that beyond improbable.”

    And most of us still find it improbable. From my blog:

    Apr 16, 2016 – The Newest 9-11 Truther

    Since the 9-11 attacks, anyone who questions the official government story is ridiculed and called a “truther” by our CIA-Corporate controlled media. If you read details, you find the official story has many improbable and even impossible events. The official 9-11 Commission was appointed by President Bush and included only long-time loyal government officials. Nevertheless, even they complained that evidence was withheld. They were not even allowed to interview the supposed mastermind of the operation who is detained without trial or media access at Gitmo.

    Even parts of the final 9-11 Commission Report remain classified. That massive report skips many key areas. For example, there is no mention of the collapse of the third tower, the 47-story 7-WTC, located a football field away from the twin towers. It was not hit by an aircraft yet collapsed after it was evacuated, but no decent explanation was ever produced.

    Donald Trump said he doubts the 9-11 story, and now former Republican Senator Bob Graham is a crazy truther. In a recent “60 Minutes” interview, he said:

    “I think it is implausible to believe that 19 people, most of whom didn’t speak English, most of whom had never been in the United States before, many of whom didn’t have a high school education– could’ve carried out such a complicated task without some support from within the United States.”

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  24. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @dearieme
    "America hasn’t won an armed conflict since 1945." Just a bit too strong. America has won battles since 1945, and so can win a war as long as it consists of only one battle. Hence the wins in the first Gulf War and the air attack on Serbia.

    Hence the wins in … and the air attack on Serbia

    This statement is wrong on several levels. Russia’s betrayal of Serbia “won” this for the US. Especially when one considers recent public revelations by then First Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin and General Ivashov on Vladimir Solovyov’s Talk Show, the most watched political broadcast in Russia.

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  25. expeedee says:

    It seems to me with 75% of 17-24 year olds not qualifying for military service, a perpetual deficit with 20 trillion in debt, a country deeply divided by ideology and race, single motherhood at 50%, and a dysgenic trend in intelligence, the American Empire is nearing its end.

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  26. Hubbub says:

    … the century of the lost child

    I favor the phrase “The Century of Rank Stupidity.”

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  27. Art says:

    So far the 21st century is the century of the Jew. In the West they control the big three – money – media – and government. They have murdered the democratic nation state. Nothing overcomes Jew money.

    But this will peak around 2050 and by 2100 the nation state will disappear. Mighty Rome fell to something better, something less cruel – religious Christianity.

    It will happen again – the Western nation state will metamorphous, but this time to idealistic philosophical Christianity. That is the only choice for humanity. The tribal greed and death culture of the Jew will be replaced. People will identify with freedom producing ideas and their local geography.

    The 22ed Century will be the century of benign regional government.

    p.s. Brexit is a shot across the bow of the unquestioned nation state. (One has to respect the English people.)

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  28. I was just thinking.
    How much of our “super power” status comes from the fact that we are irresponsible enough to be the only country to have used nuclear power against an enemy ?

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    A thought provoking question. My guess is: a lot, though "the irresponsibility" is likely superceded by something like "the ruthlessness".
    Unlimited destructive power coupled to unconscionable bloody-mindedness must have scared the bejesus out of anyone paying attention.
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  29. Erebus says:
    @boogerbently
    I was just thinking.
    How much of our "super power" status comes from the fact that we are irresponsible enough to be the only country to have used nuclear power against an enemy ?

    A thought provoking question. My guess is: a lot, though “the irresponsibility” is likely superceded by something like “the ruthlessness”.
    Unlimited destructive power coupled to unconscionable bloody-mindedness must have scared the bejesus out of anyone paying attention.

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  30. dahoit says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Well the former empire strikes back at the EU and US. However this author for some reason or another has forgotten to mention how a rogue, xenophobic, paranoid, war crime comitting, apartheid, country of 6 million with no defined borders, that’s armed with nuclear weapons of mass destruction and millions of minions stationed all over the world, a tiny minority of Earth’s population could assume so much statistically improbable influence all over the world
     
    How about the coalition of the willing? Contract implies always at minimum two (not one) parties. I may (I largely agree) or may not accept all Israel and AIPAC arguments but let's be honest--don't you think that thou doth protest too much? Yes, I get it, it is true--Israeli lobby does wield a disproportionate baneful influence on the US but how about failures of own national character, aren't they in play too? It is too convenient to assign all blame on some Israeli influence but is anyone in "American" political "elite", academe, military, intelligence ready to come out and state that yes, it was me who allowed to corrupt myself, who sold the interests of my country to Israel. Don't see that much really and there is a reason for that and it is easily found in US history way before the state of Israel existed.

    Since 1948,American interests have been dwarfed by Zionist interests.
    Never in the history of political associations has any little pos nation absconded with the power of a much more populous and powerful nation.
    Whatever America did before 48,was in its own interests.
    I guess you never read the ziomedia,and their total obfuscation of the disaster the war of terror has given America both internationally and domestically.
    Defending the enemy is revealing.

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  31. Military power is not everything – particularly when it is purchased with money borrowed from other countries.

    It is notable that America’s status as sole superpower, and European union, have occurred just as global economic power is shifting to Asia.

    Our best hope is that the emerging economic powers do not make the same mistakes as ourselves: high military spending and pointless wars.

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