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In the Heart of a Dying Empire
The Adolts in the Room (and No, That Is Not a Typo!)
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When you think about it, the Earth is a relatively modest-sized planet — about 25,000 miles in circumference at the Equator, with a total surface area of 197 million square miles, almost three-quarters of which is water. It’s not so hard, if you’re in a certain frame of mind (as American officials were after 1991), to imagine that a single truly great nation — a “sole superpower” with a high-tech military, its capabilities unparalleled in history — might in some fashion control it all.

Think back to that year when the other superpower, the lesser one of that era, so unbelievably went down for the count. Try to recall that moment when the Soviet Union, its economy imploding, suddenly was no more, its various imperial parts — from Eastern Europe to Central Asia — having largely spun free. It’s hard now to remember just how those months after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and that final moment in 1991 stunned the Washington establishment. Untold sums of money had been poured into “intelligence” during the almost half-century of what became known as the Cold War (because a hot war between two nuclear-armed superpowers seemed unimaginable — even if it almost happened). Nonetheless, key figures in Washington were remarkably unprepared for it all to end. They were stunned. It simply hadn’t occurred to them that the global standoff between the last two great powers on this planet could or would ever truly be over.

And when you think about it, that wasn’t so illogical. Imperial rivalries had been the name of the game for so many centuries. A world without some version of such rivalries seemed genuinely unimaginable — until, of course, it happened. After the shock began to wear off, what followed was triumphalism of a soaring sort. Think of that moment as the geopolitical equivalent of a drug high.

Imagine! After so many centuries of rivalries between great powers and that final showdown between just two superpowers, it was all over (except for the bragging). Only one power, the — by definition — greatest of all, was left on a planet obviously there for the taking.

Yes, Russia still existed with its nuclear arsenal intact, but it was otherwise a husk of its former imperial self. (Vladimir Putin’s sleight-of-hand brilliance has been to give what remains a rickety petro-state the look of a great power, as in MRGA, or Make Russia Great Again.) In 1991, China had only relatively recently emerged from the chaos of the Maoist era and was beginning its rise as a capitalist powerhouse overseen by a communist party — and, until that moment, who would have believed that either? Its military was modest and its leaders not faintly ready to challenge the U.S. It was far more intent on becoming a cog in the global economic machinery that would produce endless products for American store shelves.

In fact, the only obvious challenges that remained came from a set of states so unimpressive that no one would have thought to call them “great,” no less “super” powers. They had already come to be known instead by the ragtag term “rogue states.” Think theocratic Iran, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and Kim Il-sung’s (soon to be Kim Jong-il’s) North Korea, none then nuclear armed. A disparate crew — the Iraqis and Iranians had been at war for eight years in the 1980s — they looked like a pushover for… well, you know who.

And the early results of American global preeminence couldn’t have been more promising. Its corporate power initially seemed to “level” every playing field in sight, while conquering markets across the planet. Its thoroughly high-tech military crushed the armed forces of one rogue power, Iraq, in a 100-hour storm of a war in 1991. Amid a blizzard of ticker tape and briefly soaring approval ratings for President George H.W. Bush, this was seen by those in the know as a preview of the world that was to be.

So what a perfect time — I’m talking about January 2000 — for some of the greatest geopolitical dreamers of all, a crew that saw an “unprecedented strategic opportunity” in the new century to organize not half the planet, as in the Cold War, but the whole damn thing. They took power by a chad that year, already fearing that the process of creating the kind of military that could truly do their bidding might be a slow one without “some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor.” On September 11, 2001, thanks to Osama bin Laden’s precision air assaults on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, they got their wish — what screaming newspaper headlines promptly called “a new day of infamy” or “the Pearl Harbor of the twenty-first century.” Like their confreres in 1991, the top officials of George W. Bush’s administration were initially stunned by the event, but soon found themselves swept up in a mood of soaring optimism about the future of both the Republican Party and American power. Their dream, as they launched what they called the Global War on Terror, would be nothing short of creating an eternal Pax Republicana in the U.S. and a similarly never-ending Pax Americana first in the Greater Middle East and then on a potentially planetary scale.

As their 2002 national security strategy put it, the U.S. was to “build and maintain” military power “beyond challenge” so that no country or even bloc of countries could ever again come close to matching it. For them, this was the functional definition of global dominance. It gave the phrase of that moment, “shock and awe,” new meaning.

A Smash-Up on the Horizon?

Of course, you remember this history as well as I do, so it shouldn’t be hard for you to jump into the future with me and land in September 2018, some 17 years later, when all those plans to create a truly American planet had come to fruition and the U.S. was dominant in a way no other country had ever been.

Whoops… my mistake.


It is indeed 17 years later. Remarkably enough, though, the last superpower, the one with the military that was, as President George W. Bush put it, “the greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known,” is still fruitlessly fighting — and still losing ground — in the very first country it took on and supposedly “liberated”: poor Afghanistan. The Taliban is again on the rise there. Elsewhere, al-Qaeda, stronger than ever, has franchised itself, multiplied, and in Iraq given birth to another terror outfit, ISIS, whose own franchises are now multiplying across parts of the planet. In no country in which the U.S. military intervened in this century or in which it simply supported allied forces in a conflict against seemingly weaker, less-well-armed enemies has there been an obvious, lasting victory of the kind that seemed so self-evidently an American right and legacy after 1991 and again 2001.

In fact, there may not be another example of a truly great power, seemingly at the height of its strength and glory, so unable to impose its will, no matter the brutality and destructive force employed. The United States had, of course, been able to do exactly that, often with striking success (at least for a while), from Guatemala to Iran in the Cold War years, but “alone” on the planet, it came up cold. Of those three rogue powers of the 1990s, for instance, Iran and North Korea are now stronger (one of them even nuclear-armed) and neither, despite the desires and plans of so many American officials, has been toppled. Meanwhile, Iraq, after a U.S. invasion and occupation in 2003, has proven a never-ending disaster area.

Not that anyone’s drawing lessons from any of this at the moment, perhaps because there’s that orange-haired guy in the Oval Office taking up so much of our time and attention or because there’s an understandable desire to duck the most obvious conclusion: that Planet Earth, however small, is evidently still too big for one power, however economically overwhelming or militarily dominant, to control. Think of the last 27 years of American history as a demo for that old idiom: biting off more than you can chew.

In 2016, in what came to be known as the “homeland,” American voters responded to that reality in a visceral way. They elected as president a truly strange figure, a man who alone among the country’s politicians was peddling the idea that the U.S. was no longer great but, like Putin’s Russia, would have to be made great again. Donald Trump, as I wrote during that campaign season, was the first presidential candidate to promote the idea that the United States was in decline at a moment when politicians generally felt obliged to affirm that the U.S. was the greatest, most exceptional, most indispensable place on the planet. And, of course, he won.

Admittedly, despite a near collapse a decade earlier, the economy is seemingly soaring, while the stock market remains ebullient. In fact, it couldn’t look sunnier, could it? I mean, put aside the usual Trumpian tweets and the rest of the Washington sideshow, including those Chinese (and Canadian) tariffs and the bluster and bombast of the leakiest administration this side of the Titanic, and, as the president so often says, things couldn’t look rosier. The Dow Jones average has left past versions of the same in the dust. The unemployment rate is somewhere near the bottom of the barrel (if you don’t count the actual unemployed). The economy is just booming along.

But tell me the truth: Can’t you just feel it? Honestly, can’t you?

You know as well as I do that there’s something rotten in… well, let’s not blame Denmark… but you know perfectly well that something’s not right here. You know that it’s the wallets and pocketbooks of the 1% that are really booming, expanding, exploding at the moment; that the rich have inherited, if not the Earth, then at least American politics; that the wealth possessed by that 1% is now at levels not seen since the eve of the Great Depression of 1929. And, honestly, can you doubt that the next crash is somewhere just over the horizon?

Meet the Empire Burners

Donald Trump is in the White House exactly because, in these years, so many Americans felt instinctively that something was going off the tracks. (That shouldn’t be a surprise, given the striking lack of investment in, or upkeep of, the infrastructure of the greatest of all powers.) He’s there largely thanks to the crew that’s now proudly referred to — for supposedly keeping him in line — as “the adults in the room.” Let me suggest a small correction to that phrase to better reflect the 16 years in this not-so-new century before he entered the Oval Office. How about “the adolts in the room”?

After all, from National Security Advisor John Bolton (the invasion of Iraq) and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (a longtime regime-change advocate) to CIA Director Gina Haspel (black sites and torture), Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis (former Marine general and CENTCOM commander), and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (former Marine general and a commander in Iraq), those adolts and so many like them remain deeply implicated in the path the country took in those years of geopolitical dreaming. They were especially responsible for the decision to invest in the U.S. military (and little else), as well as in endless wars, in the years before Donald Trump came to power. And worse yet, they seem to have learned absolutely nothing from the process.

Take a recent example we know something about — Afghanistan — thanks to Fear: Trump in the White House, Bob Woodward’s bestselling new book. Only recently, an American sergeant major, an adviser to Afghan troops, was gunned down at a base near the Afghan capital, Kabul, in an “insider” or “green-on-blue” attack, a commonplace of that war. He was killed (and another American adviser wounded) by two allied Afghan police officers in the wake of an American air strike in the same area in which more than a dozen of their compatriots died. Forty-two years old and on the eve of retirement, the sergeant was on his seventh combat tour of duty of this century and, had he had an eighth, he might have served with an American born after the 9/11 attacks.


In his book, Woodward describes a National Security Council meeting in August 2017, in which the adolts in the room saved the president from his worst impulses. He describes how an impatient Donald Trump “exploded, most particularly at his generals. You guys have created this situation. It’s been a disaster. You’re the architects of this mess in Afghanistan… You’re smart guys, but I have to tell you, you’re part of the problem. And you haven’t been able to fix it, and you’re making it worse… I was against this from the beginning. He folded his arms. ‘I want to get out… and you’re telling me the answer is to get deeper in.’”

And indeed almost 16 years later that is exactly what Pompeo, Mattis, former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, and the rest of them were telling him. According to Woodward, Mattis, for instance, argued forcefully “that if they pulled out, they would create another ISIS-style upheaval… What happened in Iraq under Obama with the emergence of ISIS will happen under you, Mattis told Trump, in one of his sharpest declarations.”

The reported presidential response: “‘You are all telling me that I have to do this,’ Trump said grudgingly, ‘and I guess that’s fine and we’ll do it, but I still think you’re wrong. I don’t know what this is for. It hasn’t gotten us anything. We’ve spent trillions,’ he exaggerated. ‘We’ve lost all these lives.’ Yet, he acknowledged, they probably could not cut and run and leave a vacuum for al-Qaeda, Iran, and other terrorists.”

And so Donald Trump became the latest surge president, authorizing, however grudgingly, the dispatching of yet more American troops and air power to Afghanistan (just as he recently authorized an “indefinite military effort” in Syria in the wake of what we can only imagine was another such exchange). Of Mattis himself, in response to reports that he might be on the way out after the midterm elections, the president recently responded, “He’ll stay… we’re very happy with him, we’re having a lot of victories, we’re having victories that people don’t even know about.”

Perhaps that should be considered definitional for the Trump presidency, which is likely to increasingly find itself in a world of “victories that people don’t even know about.” But don’t for a second think that The Donald was the one who brought us to this state, though someday he will undoubtedly be seen as the personification of it and of the decline that swept him into power. And for all that, for the victories that people won’t know about and the defeats that they will, he’ll have the adolts in the room to thank. They proved to be neither the empire builders of their dreams, nor even empire preservers, but a crew of potential empire burners.

Believe me, folks, it’s going to be anything but pretty. Welcome to that most unpredictable and dangerous of entities, a dying empire. Only 27 years after the bells of triumph tolled across Washington, it looks like those bells are now preparing to toll in mourning for it.

Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture. He is a fellow of the Nation Institute and runs His sixth and latest book is A Nation Unmade by War (Dispatch Books).

[Note: My special thanks go to two old friends, Jim Peck, author of Ideal Illusions, How the U.S. Government Co-opted Human Rights, and Nancy Milton for their thoughts and contributions to this piece. Tom]

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

    The main difference between US and the “lesser” empire USSR is how they got their “allies”. The USSR won their “allies” by the force of their military. The US won their allies by the promise of economic prosperity.

    When the “lesser” empire collapsed, US got delusional and decided to try their luck at winning new allies (or more accurately – expanding their influence) with the force of their military – who let’s face it was never that impressive compared to other great empires in history. Conclusion: US should have stuck with what they were good at – winning battles on the economic battlefield, not let the Cold War “victory” get to their heads making them delusional that they can win any “hot” wars of any significance.

    • Replies: @Arioch
    , @Begemot
    , @anon
  2. Arioch says:

    > The US won their allies by the promise of economic prosperity.

    Occupation (ongoing) and forced partition of Germany

    Operation “Gladio” – destroying not pro-American political parties across Europe, like in Italia.

    Murder of neutral politicians like Olaf Palme.

    Should we remember Chile and president Aliende?

    Installing DHS operative Norriega as Panama dictator, then removing him.

    Did USA even had allies that were not vassals?

  3. Almost brilliant and innovative look, except truth about 911.

    • LOL: CanSpeccy
    • Replies: @Ben Sampson
  4. Tulips says:

    Exactly right. But he also failed to mention that the NATO nations, the Anglo-Saxon nations, Japan, etc., are completely subsevient to the empire, and seem to be so by choice. No rats are jumping off the sinking ship. Sweden was neutral and independent during WW2 and the Cold War. But now it seems that Swedish rats jump ONTO the sinking ship.

    • Replies: @Josep
    , @Jake
  5. Josep says:

    What about Switzerland? It’s not a member of either NATO or the EU (unlike Sweden). It remained neutral and independent during WWII and the Cold War. Last time I checked, it doesn’t even have any American bases.

    • Replies: @Josep
  6. RWS says:

    “Occupation (ongoing) and forced partition of Germany”
    Agreement to the partition was coerced by the Soviet Union; and, even at that, intended to be provisional. The BRD wishes the much-drawn-down American forces to remain.

    “Murder of neutral politicians like Olaf Palme.”
    Nonsense. Don’t foolishly assume that the Americans are omnipotent boogeymen.

    “Should we remember Chile and president Aliende [sic for Allende]?”
    More nonsense. CIA partial funding for an oppositional newspaper which totalitarian Allende tried to close, yes; actual coup, no (requested of the military by both the supreme court and the congress, as Allende — elected by the same percentage who’d elected Hitler a generation earlier — violated the Chilean constitution again and again, knew that his midnight militia was kidnapping and killing democrats, and determined to break the middle class through confiscation and inflation which had already begun to result in widespread malnutrition and impoverishment).

    “Installing DHS operative Norriega as Panama dictator, then removing him.”
    Partial truth. Is the original poster determined to blame all ills on the Americans?

    “Did USA even had [sic for have] allies that were not vassals?”
    But of course! But seldom in the Third World or amongst totalitarian regimes.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  7. Begemot says:

    “The USSR won their “allies” by the force of their military. The US won their allies by the promise of economic prosperity.”

    Stalin said that a country’s political system follows its military. When the shooting stopped in Europe in 1945 the US had its forces in countries (UK, France, Italy, Germany, etc.) that, with the exception of Austria became American “allies”, just as the Soviet army occupied countries became Soviet “allies”. In Asia US occupied Japan and South Korea became US “allies”. In Eastern Europe the Soviets arranged the political situation to ensure that political opponents were removed from power. In Italy and France in 1946 the democratically elected Communists in the French and Italian governments were removed from power, not by popular election. There is enough symmetry here to suggest that your contention is dubious at best. When I was a member of the US Army in Germany back during the Cold War I came to the conclusion that I was there as much to drive to the East German border to keep the Soviets out of West Germany and points west as to be ready to drive on Bonn to ensure the West Germans remained within the fold.

    • Replies: @WHAT
  8. Cyrano says:

    There is enough symmetry here to suggest that your contention is dubious at best.

    I kind of both agree and disagree with what you are saying . It’s true that there are similarities in how both the US and USSR “won” their allies in Europe in WW2. The main difference is that USSR won their allies by the power of their military alone, while US “won” their allies by the power of their military while also being generously helped by the power of the USSR military too.

    If this wasn’t true, the US would have “won” their allies (or at least it would have start winning them) in 1940-41 instead of 1944-45 when the Germans were pretty much already beaten to a pulp by the Russians.

    To prove my theory that the biggest draw to being US ally is economic prosperity, not being impressed by the power of their military and what they can offer in terms of protection, it’s the fact that the former Warsaw pact countries joined NATO after USSR was gone and they didn’t need any protection by anybody against anyone anymore. They joined NATO for purely economic reasons, because they didn’t want to miss the opportunity to kiss American b*tts and in the process to profit from the pleasant gesture.

  9. You can’t pin the inevitable decline on Trump: It started a couple decades ago with rise of the New World Order. If anything, TPTB will deliberately crash the global system to get the NWO that Trump detailed back on the tracks.

  10. Josep says:

    Come to think of it, now I can see why Tulips (#4) didn’t mention Switzerland.

    Last night, I stumbled across The Saker’s Vineyard. He once wrote a blog post discussing how he was blacklisted in his native Switzerland after speaking out against NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia. I asked him how he could get himself censored in a “neutral” country that’s supposedly independent from NATO or the EU, and since when Switzerland had become a lapdog of NATO. The next morning, he said:

    The sad truth is that Switzerland, which truly used to be a neutral country, completely caved in into NATO by the late 1980s. The visible first sign of that was when Switzerland allowed NATO to use her airspace to bomb Yugoslavia and when she caved in to the blackmail of international Jewish organizations and the Volcker Commission and paid over a billion dollar in ransom money. There was a lot of resistance to this kind of behavior from the common people and from some politicians (such as Christoph Blocher), but the globalists still won. I rather not discuss that in more details.
    Kind regards,
    The Saker

    • Replies: @Jake
  11. Biff says:

    On September 11, 2001, thanks to Osama bin Laden’s precision air assaults on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, they got their wish

    I wish people would stop with this ridiculous nonsense.

  12. nsa says:

    Engelhardt’s ridiculous history lesson is just so much drivel. Anyone actually believe poor little Trumpy wants to end all those nasty foreign adventures but those meanie neocons he accidentally hired have somehow coerced their useful idiot into staying the course against his will? In fact, quite the opposite is closer to the truth: how about Trumpy is a lifelong Democrat from that horrible shtetl on the Hudson, New York, and wholly owned by the jooies who bankrolled his various con games, show biz career, and political campaign. He is now rewarding his bloodthirsty jooie owners by granting them their greatest desire….the continued destruction of the ME……Syria, Yemen, Iran, etc. This version of recent history sound more plausible that than provided by the dissembling Engelhardt?

  13. WHAT says:

    >rickety petro-state

    Lol, not worth reading further.
    Russia is not “exporting oil”, Russia is exporting energy. With Westinghouse closing us in on the final chapter in protracted failure of US atom industry, Germany losing her shit and France stagnant, perspectives are grand.

    • Replies: @JerseyJeffersonian
  14. WHAT says:

    Murricans in, germans down, russians out. Eternal anglo is entirely predictable.

  15. ” In fact, there may not be another example of a truly great power, seemingly at the height of its strength and glory, so unable to impose its will, no matter the brutality and destructive force employed. The United States had, of course, been able to do exactly that, often with striking success ”

    One of the reasons the USSR collapsed was occupation cost in E Europe.
    Castro had to blackmail Chrustjow into supporting Cuba.
    Chrustjow had instructed S American communist parties not to overthrow governments, he could not financially support them.
    The Roman empire had the same problems

  16. Anonymous [AKA "Critical Thinking"] says:

    Stalin offered Adenauer a deal – Unification of a NEUTRAL Germany. US could not accept the Austrian Solution for Germany.

    1948 US printed Deutsche Mark in USA for use in 3 Western Zones shutting out Eastern Zone. At that time there was no Wall.

    JCS1067 1945 USA prohibited any actions to revive German economy or help in any reconstruction. Stalin offered more constructive assistance – USA switched to JCS1779 to rebuild West German economy.

    The Cold War was not solely of Soviet making – much of it had to do with USA keeping bases in Germany

  17. MartinA says:

    I prefer Empire Burners to Empire Builders. Also, isn’t it telling how the article does not even consider Europe as a separate entity from the US? Imho, that is where the real game is. If Europe breaks free from USA, US world domination is over.

    • Replies: @Squarebeard
  18. anon[317] • Disclaimer says:

    @ Cyrano

    The USA ( kept the Americans it governs in the dark, they still don’t know) and the promise of prosperity, was all about oil.. join us, let us have your oil and we will make you rich, otherwise you will be ignored, jailed, or wasted. .

    Taking control of the oil is the object that explains who is who’s allies., (Israel) OPEC and so forth, are all about oil since 1896. The driving force that started WWI, led to the division and exploitation and defeat of the Ottoman Arabs and led to and started WWII has been to capture control of the nations that had resources. and to deny any nation sufficient strength to challenge or threaten the USA corporations ownership or control of the oil. Yes there are sidelines to the main object; secondary issues like privatization and out and out theft, but in Red October terms the ship continues to return to its intended course, it aims to identify, capture , control and profit from the oil reserves where ever in the world oil is found.

  19. Tom Welsh says:

    ‘”Remarkably enough, though, the last superpower, the one with the military that was, as President George W. Bush put it, “the greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known”…’

  20. Tom Welsh says:

    “… Vladimir Putin’s sleight-of-hand brilliance has been to give what remains a rickety petro-state the look of a great power…”

    • Replies: @Rogue
  21. FromSA says:

    (Vladimir Putin’s sleight-of-hand brilliance has been to give what remains a rickety petro-state the look of a great power, as in MRGA, or Make Russia Great Again.)

    I hardly think that Russia is that. (rickety petro-state) Keep deluding yourself with anti Russian rhetoric and the fake 911 narrative. We see you.

  22. RVBlake says:

    “…that orange-haired guy in the Oval Office taking up so much of our time and attention…” Yeah, not quite. You and your pals are deliriously devoting yourselves to everything Trump, i.e. statements, gestures, family, et al. Don’t act as though you’re helplessly without in agency in this shitstorm…You’re the author of it.

  23. Jake says:

    Here is all you need to focus on in order to grasp what is wrong with this article: “They took power by a chad that year, ….”

    For that to be true, then what we may call the Neocon problem was then restricted to the Republican Party. And only an invincibly ignorant ignoramus thinks that. The vast majority of Hillary and Bernie voters, for example.

    The Neocon problem isn’t even restricted to people and groups that are, specifically, Neocon in origin. Rather, the specific Neocon problem is but a facet, born of a particular time and place and set of circumstances, of the WASP desire, drive, demand to rule the world.

    • Replies: @CanSpeccy
  24. Jake says:

    Of course that is what Switzerland is. The Empire indeed rules the world. And the WASP Empire will bomb, or economically boycott, to virtual death any country, even a teeny country right in the heart of Europe with a long history of neutrality in all military conflicts, if it – the WASP Empire, the Anglo-Zionist Empire – is not allowed to do what its current leaders want to do.

  25. Jake says:

    The Empire does not force the Anglosphere to bow to it. The Empire is the Anglosphere.

    • Replies: @skrik
  26. Herald says:

    The very phraseology of this quote is brimful of irony and skepticism. Keep with it.

  27. @Biff

    Thanks for posting that. The article struck me as kind of goofy, as if written by some hysterical scribbler, so I stopped skimming it and obviously missed that.

    As you say, it’s complete BS so for me another scribbler bites the dust. How gratingly stupid can some of them be?

  28. I cannot take one word seriously from an author who is to stupid or afraid to admit the obvious after 17 years.

  29. The problem for the US is that it is attempting a probably impossible task (dominating the world politically) with a ridiculous set of rules of engagement based on a delusional view of human nature.

    If we had been willing to kill enough people after the fall of the Soviets we might have been more successful at political domination, but the simple fact is that the people who would have to support that policy are not willing to allow that killing in their name. So we opted for GW Bush’s romantic version of winning hearts and minds (doubled down by Obama in Afghanistan) which is a guaranteed failure.

    Our economic “success” is also a guaranteed failure, at least in its stated aim, as unbroken debt driven growth is an impossibility.

    What success there will be is that the North American survivors of the coming global population collapse will find themselves in possession of the choicest real estate on the planet with lots of nice infrastructure that will be quite adequate with a reduced population and a more realistic view of human nature, to say nothing about access to gobsmacking technology.

    Barring a total nuclear exchange the future will be bright for the survivors, but first comes the winnowing.

  30. wayfarer says:

    It’s not if, but when.

    Sooner or later, everybody has to kiss their ass goodbye.

    Don’t forget, there’s no getting out of this world alive.

    • Agree: Agent76
  31. Agent76 says:

    May 24, 2018 DARK MONEY (2018) | Official Trailer HD | PBS Distribution

    Coming to theaters this summer. DARK MONEY, a political thriller, examines one of the greatest present threats to American democracy: the influence of untraceable corporate money on our elections and elected officials. The film takes viewers to Montana—a frontline in the fight to preserve fair elections nationwide—to follow an intrepid local journalist working to expose the real-life impacts of the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Through this gripping story, DARK MONEY uncovers the shocking and vital truth of how American elections are bought and sold. This Sundance award-winning documentary is directed/produced by Kimberly Reed (PRODIGAL SONS) and produced by Katy Chevigny (E-TEAM).

  32. Agent76 says:

    May 4, 2016 Congress Is Literally a Bunch of Telemarketers

    So does that mean the American government is just one giant corporation running a multi-level marketing scheme?

    • Replies: @wayfarer
    , @flashlight joe
  33. EagleEyeX says:

    I was only in about 3 or 4 paragraphs of this tripe and I had to shut it down before I would have started to vomit. Probably I should hang on just to find some more stupidity but I could not. First and foremost the reference to Mr Putin’s slight of hand in paragraph 5…..well the writer, like the majority of the political idea-logs and journalistic riff raft that buy into that self serving dream world at some point, and perhaps in the not too distant future, are going to wake up from their never never land slumber and realize that Mr Putin is a gifted and capable leader and has accomplished something truly remarkable in salvaging the sinking ship that he inherited. Weather or not he, the writer, or the rest of the banality running the show in the US political system, with some notable and welcomed exceptions, can comprehend the magnitude of the the recovery and potential of the now Russia Federation is exactly why ALL of them are second rate observers tainted with the illusion of America the “great”. I am constantly astonished at the utter lack of a healthy and strategically wise respect for one’s “adversary’s” , in this case an invented adversary, because to my eye after Regan/Gorbachev the metamorphosed new Russia has been anything but. It is the US that has relentlessly either provoked confrontation or shamelessly reneged on any opportunity to understand the nuance of another nations rightful needs. I applaud Putin and Russia, he is not my enemy and if he were I certainly would give him a healthy dose of respect for his seeming wisdom and restraint…..until now. That may change and when it does a lot of people are going to squarely shit in their pants.
    The other dose of regurgitated bullshit is the supposed Osama bin Laden orchestrated fiasco on 9/11. In what world is this guy living? Or better yet , what planet? bin Laden publicly denied any involvement in the 9/11 debacle… reason for him to lie. Besides there is MEGA information in every aspect that it was not an “inside job”, as has become the token camouflage, but was planned and executed by another foreign government that in this moment is time is untouchable to the powers that be.
    When the gravity of that crime is finally understood, as with the Kennedy assassination, perhaps the American people will suddenly be stricken with enough self scrutiny and resolve to reverse the undeniable decline that only the blind cannot see.

  34. And then he went and spoiled it all by saying something stupid … If the author hadn’t sung Putin’s praises, he might have got away with presenting the article as an “objective” analysis. One he went out of his way to praise Putin, twice, in fact, treatment that no other world leader gets, he reveals himself as a pro-Putin propagandist and his article loses all credibility.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @WHAT
  35. wayfarer says:

    And then there’re the chubby overfed monkeys, on America’s back.

    In this video one can be observed, begging for a free lunch.

    United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018

  36. skrik says:

    The Empire is the Anglosphere

    Err, not exactly. One exception can break a generalisation; Aus [one of the ‘five eyes’] was/is/most likely ever will be a colony, 1st of UK then post-WW2 of US, not part of the empire so much as a total vassal-doormat, and source of both easy profits [proof: 83% of mining revenue goes ‘o/s’] and idiot matelots [proof: the ANZAC imbroglio, where mass voluntary suicide is lauded as such nonsense as ‘Having made Australia!’ – up to and beyond ‘All the way with LBJ,’ etc.. The Aus sheople just can’t get enough of the US, up to the junking of their once proud culture [Banjo Patterson, etc.] and the junking of their ‘local’ language [‘Strine]; the AusBC being ‘leaders’ in introducing/repetitively pushing [by me despised] US-speak, ideology and ‘habits.’ There is currently a kerfuffle going on about AusBC’s so-called ‘independence;’ a very sad lie. There, the AusBC is totally ’empire-ish;’ no ‘daylight’ between them, the BBC and the corrupt & venal US/Z MSM. Same as for Aus in general would likely apply to Canada and NZ. A fish rots from the head. rgds

    PS Could you please cite a concise but definitive summary and import of the ‘Judaizing heresy?’ Thnx in advance.

  37. @Ilyana_Rozumova

    also this..must be a mis-print

    “In his book, Woodward describes a National Security Council meeting in August 2017, in which the adolts in the room saved the president from his worst impulses. ”

  38. About this article

    How do you know that our spy agencies and military were totally surprised by the collapse of the Soviet Union? Your narrative is an innocent repeating of the war propaganda narrative.

    Modern wars take 10 years to plan and prepare. It was Zbigniew Brzenski (Mika’s dad) who advised Jimmy Carter in 1978 to fund and support the muslims in Afghanistan to destroy the “soft underbelly” of the Soviet Union. We encouraged and supported Iraq in their 8-year war against Iran throughout the eighties. We had war games in the late eighties to practice for 30 days of bombing the civilian infrastructure of Iraq. We murdered the Iraqi armies as they fled the battle with their WWI artillery while modern U.S. fighter aircraft killed them from the sky. War crimes not to be punished.

    As soon as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 we began the destruction of Iraq. More war crimes. The destruction of the Soviet Union and the invasion of the Muslim territories in the Middle East was our political goal since 1978. The only surprise is the effective way our U.S. government has manipulated and controlled public opinion.

    • Replies: @RobinG
  39. CanSpeccy says: • Website

    the WASP desire, drive, demand to rule the world.

    Seems obtuse to the point of deliberate deception to talk of the WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) desire … to rule the world.

    The US, i.e., what you call the WASP empire” through its cultural and political hold over the Western world, leads in (a) the destruction of White people in both Europe and the European settler states through the repression of reproduction and the promotion of mass replacement immigration; and (b), in the marginalization and suppression of Christianity (i.e., Protestantism).

  40. RobinG says:
    @flashlight joe

    Thank you. The notion that US/NATO is just blundering along with good intentions that have unexpected consequences is naïve indeed.

    But what are we to do? Is this our fate? Are we humans, as a species, incapable of better?

  41. I stopped reading the moment you said OBL did 9/11. I’m beyond sick of seeing lies promoted as truth. Assuming that you are one of the many deceived, I could forgive you but I don’t believe you are deceived. I believe you are a deceiver. I only care about the truth, the whole truth, and I hate liars worse than anything. When you want to stop telling lies then I’ll read your articles. Until then, you are on the side of the enemy.

    • Replies: @ANON
  42. @Agent76

    to Agent76

    per your question:

    “So does that mean the American government is just one giant corporation running a multi-level marketing scheme?”

    Yes. Crime syndicates are the same social structure as Governments (of any form). They control territory, resources, and people in order to get rich. It is a social animal struggle for power. The biggest crime syndicate in a territory is called the government. Both crime syndicates and governments kill, extort, conspire, etc. They commit acts which we law abiding citizens consider criminal and immoral.

    • Agree: Agent76
  43. rackslope says:

    Is this garbage an excerpt from some forthcoming work of fiction? It seems to be set in a parallel universe. I cannot believe I just wasted the time to read it. You liberal twats are so wound up in “fairness”, how’s about some compensation commensurate with my lost time?

  44. ANON[303] • Disclaimer says:
    @Thomas Pickering

    Which part of “ObL did it” upsets you? The idea that 4 planes were hijacked? Is that obvious nonsense to you? Do you think Al Qaeda wouldn’t have wanted to or couldn’t have organised to have 19 jihadists hijack planes and fly them into buildings?

    Do you agree that ObL would have been delighted by both the impact on America but also getting it embroiled in Afghanistan?

    • Replies: @Thomas Pickering
  45. Kennard says:

    Exactly right. There is no cure for stupid. Engelhardt may be nearing senility. If Englehardt would look honestly in the mirror he would see a dolt. Anyone who accepts the official 911 story is either a coward or a moron. It’s amazing that most comments here let this stupidity go unmentioned. Don’t cut this garrulous fool any slack.

    • Agree: CanSpeccy
  46. @ANON

    What upsets me is to see lies stated as fact. There were no planes hijacked on 9-11. Al Queda had nothing at all to do with the U.S. Government hoax that 9-11 was. As for OBL, he was a patsy to the U.S. Government. I have seen all the way through the deception, unlike you.

    • Agree: ploni almoni
  47. Anon[424] • Disclaimer says:

    this link shows the catastrophic human , industrial and housing destruction that the USSR suffered in WWII . Germany never payed reparations . The USA suffered very little in comparison.

    The american post war policy to ” keep the americans in , the germans down and the russians out ” was very mean . Russia is Europe . If the yankees had not isolated the USSR from Europe , comunism would have disapeared by itself into paneuropean trade and relations .

  48. Rogue says:
    @Tom Welsh

    Yes, yes, all of this might be true.

    But, the fact of the matter is, Putin is the new Hitler!

    And he’s not keen on poofter-parades!

    This is just downright shocking!

    The enlightened West knows better! Much better!

    We teach small children about the wonders of queerdom. We are so enlightened …

  49. Respect says:

    Unfortunately the US Empire is in decline , mainly by self inflicted wounds :

    ” gender ideology ” , or civil war between the sexes .

    ” political correctness ” , or dictatorship in plain words .

    20% of the GNP in medical expenses , whith mediocre health indicators .

    Mediocre educational system

    Universities deteriorated by the ” publish or perish ” and ” impact ” principles
    that produce mountains of useless graphorrea ( writing diarrhea )

    40-50 % of the world military spending , endless wars , 800-1000 US military bases out of the country .

    17 security agencies , police State

    Hollywoodians , Media , TV , publicity and public relations which obnubilate common sense .

    Globalizacion , which sends out too many jobs , deindustralizes the country and enpoverishes middle classes . Financial speculation , oligarchs

    Inmigration out of control , european inmigrants discriminated against .

    What else ?

    • Replies: @Old Smokey
  50. anon[317] • Disclaimer says:
    @Michael Kenny

    @EagleEye vs @Michael Kenny

    The lack of creditable reliable standards to judge the capacity and progress of a nation, makes it possible for each side to barb the other side. Mr. Putin has earned the respect of the world but is that respect justified?. He many not be honorable in your mind or he many be among the gods in the mind of another, but each appraisal of the man is a near useless matter of opinion which generally is based on the morality, knowledge, and needs of the person rendering the option. Such opinions are near to useless.

    How can a set of standards to evaluate the progress of the leader of a nation state be developed?

    There are at least two sets of standards needed, the set of standards dealing with internal to the nation state and the set of standards dealing with external to the nation state. Measurement is an essential part of making Progress. Without proper assays and quantification no one gets more than the opinion of someone else..

    some very bright well educated minds on this list.. please how should such standards be developed. It might take ten years, but without standards without a factual basis for comparison every opinion establishes a new war, instead of an agreed on consensus. Propaganda feeds on the tensions lack of standards entail.

  51. ariadna says:

    This article is a breath of fresh air! I salute Mr. Engelhardt for his courage.
    The 9/11 conspiracy theorists have been getting louder and louder, some likely motivated by islamophobia when claiming that 19 fanatical young men armed with box cutters could not have puled off 9/11.
    We know that they were backed highly sophisticated technology in those multi-level caves in Afghanistan because we have seen the drawings. Mr. Engelhardt tells it like it was: a blowback.
    He also exposes the American empire for all the evil it has been visiting upon the world, thus indirectly debunking such labels (per the Saker) as “Anglo-zionist” and the more blatantly anti-semitic rantings of those claiming that Uncle Sam is but the enforcer of some imaginary judeozionist global elite — as absurd as claiming that a Meyer Lansky was the Kopf dei Tutti Kopfen of the Italian mafia. Sure, always blame the Jew.
    Thank you, Mr. Engelhardt. I admired your brave analysis.

    • Replies: @Macs
  52. Macs says:

    These wars are not designed to be won, just to create chaos. The powers behind them are post-national so having the US nation become globally supreme is a defeat for them.

  53. Macs says:

    Even if they could have hijacked the planes and flown them with such skill (highly unlikely, though perhaps possible), it still leaves tons of unanswered questions. Why was this cover-up perpetrated? Perhaps for Israel, that is one theory. But it’s also possible that there are other aspects to the crime, though Israel certainly gained much. Also it is certain that Zionists do have a powerful international cabal, is that even controversial? Israeli newspapers openly debate whether they were tactful enough in their influencing of the US elections this time around; it’s just taken for granted that they will try to pick the winner.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  54. Ahoy says:

    Here is another look of the American evil empire.

    *It is good that people don’t undestand the workings of the banking and financial systems, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning*. Henry Ford.

    I believe we are going to see a lot of terrible things down the road of the dissolution of society, if America doesn’t find its Republic self that once dreamt.

  55. Agent76 says:

    Jun 3, 2017 A Top Cop’s Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing

  56. WHAT says:
    @Michael Kenny

    Do you ever produce anything other than this muh putin drivel?
    “Must not lose to le ebil putin in mykraine” doesn’t count.

  57. Ahoy says:

    *There is a plot in this country to enslave every man, woman and child. Before I leave this high and noble office I intend to expose this plot*. JFK , seven days before his assassination.

    One man’s vow could become Trump’s legacy. So far, he has not succumbed to Netanyahu’s demand for American boots on the ground in Syria. I hope people around him with power have enough brains to realize that WW3 will be the END.

  58. @WHAT

    Yes, that is the exact point that I stopped reading.

    I used to get updates from Mr. Engelhardt’s TomDispatch, but after one particularly awful, hectoring screed from his BFF, Rebecca Solnit, I complained, he flapped his hands and shuffled his feet, I cancelled. Haven’t missed it.

    Russia is a wee bit more than McInsane’s “gas station with nukes”, and increasingly so, since they know that they continue to be in the U.S.’s crosshairs and they ain’t lying down for that.

    How abysmally stupid U.S. hostility to the Russians is; they should be our friends, but for the hatred and greed of our little Ziopals and their shabbos goyim lackies.

  59. @Respect

    20% of the GNP in medical expenses , whith mediocre health indicators .

    Well, I don’t disagree with the overall thrust of your argument,
    But I think it deserves pointing out that the vast majority of the money spent on “health” in the US
    actually goes on insurance premiums… lawyers, predatory pharmaceutical companies and other parasitical entities, none of which actually contributes towards providing an actual health service.

    What would you expect from a culture that could conceive of permitting a company like McDonalds to run school canteens… and not see a problem with it?

    Is it not ironic that the US drapes itself with the rag of righteous indignation at the human rights violations of countries such as Syria and Cuba which provide their citizens with an affordable health care system (even under crippling sanctions) whilst it allows predatory corporations to exploit the sick and elderly at home?

    How is this not obvious to the average person on the street?

  60. Anonymous [AKA "ariadana"] says:

    No way. Don’t fall for such conspiracy theories.
    Arab ingenuity and secret advanced technology pulled it off and Bin Laden was the Mastermind, everybody knows that. Right after 9/11 Bin Laden tried to confuse us by claiming he was not responsible but later resurfaced and admitted gloatingly that he did. In successive videos (I believe Rita Katz helped us find them) he appeared fat and bejewelled — proof that he had profited materially from his monstrous act. He continued to appear in videos with messages of hate toward democracy and our way of life until we finally managed to track him down and kill him and make his body disappear in the ocean.
    There is no global Jewish cabal — this is a blood libel spread by envious losers to blame the Jews for the evil of America imperialism–mostly WASP.

  61. Alistair says:

    I agree with the author, there’s no adult in the room, only spoiled “Kids” and “Grandpas”; America no longer want to be a great empire; so, reverting to its core values of simplicity, protestant tradition and protestant work ethics, where “individual freedom will no longer be a right but a privilege”. As such, America will always carry the burden of their tumultuous history of Racial Discrimination and Slavery in an isolated society.
    Americans are old style patriots who thrives on the glory of their past; proud of their military victories and but lately, they’re also getting proud of their “mocked wars”, i.e, the controlled chaos that U.S government deliberately creates around the world. Today, US’s global strategy relies on small military interventions around the world which US itself masterminded, fully engineered with a predictable and planned outcome; as such, the Afghan war is a planned US war-project as it was intended, it’s a work in progress.
    The reality is that US economy is heavily dependent on the Military Industrial Complex; so, it always needs to have military adversaries to invest in war machinary to grow its economy – America’s core establishment are nostalgic of 1970’s -80’s style of Cold War – the high time of Reagan Administration, and election of Donald Trump – a novice 72 years old “playboy” as President symbolizes that fact.
    Trump’s cabinet members are an odd group of people with no real synergy among themselves; they are either too young in their thirties; Stephen Miller 33, Ivanka and Jared 36, Huckabee sanders 36,.. or too old in their early 70’s and 80’s: Wilburt Russ 81, Kudlow 71, Bolton 69, Mattis 68, – these guys are old school conservative who are nostalgic of good old days of 1970’s-80’s – the glorouse time of cold war era, they’re rigidly locked-in the Cold War mindset, and hardcore conservatives; Mitch McConnell, Mike Pence and the likes are fueling those aspirations – the old American establishment want to put the clock back to mid 1970’s – the high time of old and dirty industries, because they associate economic growth with old industries, the cold war and military spending.
    There’s no leadership at the helm, no adults in the room; America is afraid to engage with the rest world, so, she no longer wants to be a great empire; the GOP’s control of all the branches of US Government is proof of that fact, GOP will restore of old value of isolationism, simplicity, protestant traditions and protestant work ethics in the American society where “individual freedom is no longer a right but a privilege”- such mindset is essentially a return to old style patriarchy; it’s devolution of the American society and its political system which will lead to demise of the American empire.

  62. Ahoy says:

    @ Alistair

    The empire you are talking about is desired and sought after only by one guy. The one eye on top of the pyramid on the greenback. Globalization, in Soros vision, is nothing more than the total and absolute enslavement of the human race (goyim). The arch enemy and bigest obstacle to this effort was always the ideal of freedom, as was defind in the European civilization. Soros tries to circumvent that by preeching to the illiterate masses that they are free if they have gay pride parades, that gay marriage is the order of nature and other joyous b.s. The current state of decay in Europe and U.S. was the result of a well planned process.

    An Austrian noble, Coudenhove-Kalergi, wrote a book in 1927, Pan-Europa, in which he preeches the eradication of the white race in Europe through mass immigration of Afro-Asians. He was honored with a Nobel and various other awards.

    Before Coudenhove, we had Mayer Rothschild who bought the Crown and said the famous *Let me have the right to issue money and the politiciens can write whatever laws they want*. We never had an English or American Empire. We had an empire of the City and the FED. If the Americans ever succeed to create a Republic and followed by other nations, there will then be a true Globalization of human civilization of Light and Freedom. In the celebrations of that day the one eye will not participate. Will wither away in the darkness of the night.

    • Replies: @Alistair
  63. Ahoy says:

    @ Alistair

    The empire you are talking about is desired and sought after only by one guy. The one eye on top of the pyramid on the greenback. Globalization, in Soros vision, is nothing more than the total and absolute enslavement of the human race (goyim). The arch enemy and bigest obstacle to this effort was always the ideal of freedom, as was defined in the European civilization. Soros tries to circumvent that by preaching to the illiterate masses that they are free if they have gay pride parades, that gay marriage is the order of nature and other joyous b.s. The current state of decay in Europe and U.S. was the result of a well planned process.

    An Austrian noble, Coudenhove-Kalergi, wrote a book in 1927, Pan-Europa, in which he preaches the eradication of the white race in Europe through mass immigration of Afro-Asians. He was honored with a Nobel and various other awards.

    Before Coudenhove, we had Mayer Rothschild who bought the Crown and said the famous “Let me have the right to issue money and the politicians can write whatever laws they want.” We never had an English or American Empire. We had an empire of the City and the FED. If the Americans ever succeed to create a Republic and followed by other nations, there will then be a true Globalization of human civilization of Light and Freedom. In the celebrations of that day the one eye will not participate, rather will wither away in the darkness of the night.

  64. Alistair says:

    ” For the love of money is the root of all evil ”

  65. @MartinA

    Engelhardt is a closet Empire loyalist who is beholden to a watered down American Exceptionalism. He’s not angry at the Beltway carousal of trough feeding fools and grifters because they are a clear and present danger to humanity’s survival; he’s pissed off at them for messing up the Empire and bringing on the era of America’s “decline.” If only they’d done Empire right we wouldn’t be in this mess, he seems to be saying, and America would be a kinder, gentler, more benign flavor of imperial power and the world would be okay.

  66. Tony M says:

    Get over it you loons, some people are gay, simple as that. There’s physical and emotional attraction to the same sex as themselves, a phenomenon as old as humanity itself. Human diversity is a strength. Try to see the wood for the trees. They’re not part of any conspiracy, they’re being used (and don’t like it one bit) as you are in falling for it. Divide and rule is always the number one game in town.

    It’s a touchstone issue, persons banging on about another’s sexuality or any intrinsic trait that does not impinge on another’s rights can be dispensed with, discarded as far as further intelligent discussion goes, without further consideration of their views, they’re mental-minnows, as can the religious of any faith quoting from their particular big magic book of fairytales. They’ve lost the plot, irrevocably.

    As for the original article, it’s tosh, fact-free vapouring, no further comment needed.

  67. Anonymous [AKA "don\'t hate me \'cause I be handsome"] says:

    Granted that the Wise Men–or the “Adolts” if you prefer–usually give bad counsel.
    Granted, the neocons and the empire builders–not always the same– were and are delusional.
    Granted that the US military has been oversold and has oversold itself again and again, and has achieved no success since WWII.
    Granted that attempting to permanently dominate the world, or any part thereof, by military power alone is a poor strategy and, in America’s case, usually a recipe for failure…

    How is Trump wrong to recognize these facts, and to attempt to reverse a failing enterprise?
    How are the people who elected him wrong to, at long last, reject the “expertise” of the “adolts”?
    Where is it written (other than by bloggers) that the failure of the attempt at an American Empire is equivalent to the failure of America as a nation?

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