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Book Review: Twilight's Last Gleaming by J.M. Greer
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Twilight’s Last Gleaming
by John Michael Greer

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article for the Unz Review entitled “The Empire should be placed on suicide watch”. As always, I also reposted it on my blog. One of the commentators, J.L. Seagull posted a comment which intrigued me. He wrote:

(…) we continue to be trapped in an illusion that we are still a massive power and can simply “pull through” the current state of things, as if it is a little speed bump rather than the beginning of the end.

I agree with the Saker. All that is needed is a single, concrete military failure for that hallucination to be totally shattered. John Michael Greer described precisely how this can happen in his book “Twilight’s Last Gleaming.” If the American military were to fail, the illusion of a united country would dissipate before our eyes and the country would be gone within weeks — either in a peaceful breakup or a violent one, depending on how Washington would attempt to respond.

This got me very interested in the book he mentioned. While I personally had a pretty clear idea of how the US could completely collapse and break-up, I had never heard of such a hypothesis discussed in details in an English language text, and even less so in a fiction book. I ordered the book and two days later I began reading it. And what a fascinating book it turned out to be.


I don’t want to give away the entire plot as I hope that many of you will decide to get the book, but I will just say that I find the book highly realistic: it begins by a supposedly “easy” military attack by the US military on a weak and more or less defenseless country which turns into a disaster due to a fundamental miscalculation. At that point, the USA does exactly what the opposing side predicts and doubles-down and that turns out to be a fatal mistake which, through a domino effect, ends up in the dissolution of the USA.

[Sidebar: those who will not read the book or don’t care about finding out the details of the plot can go and check it (spoiler alert!!) by clicking here]

The book is highly realistic in the sense that the author clearly did an excellent job researching his topic and because each “domino fall” is, by itself, credible. Truth be told, the author does assume that each time before the next domino falls the President commits yet another blunder or, at least, does not take correct action. Is that realistic? Well, when I see the kind of Presidents the US has had in the past couple of decades I would say that yes – this assumption is realistic. Still, what Greer’s describes is a “perfect storm” and we can all hope that in the real world such a crisis could be averted.

There two aspects of this book which I find the most remarkable.

First, Greer clearly points to a mindset of imperial hubris as the main cause for the eventual collapse of the US.

Second, Greer very skillfully illustrates how otherwise powerful and complex weapons systems can be defeated by creative tactics.

Again, I don’t want to go into the details because the book is a real page-turner and I hope that you will read it with as much enjoyment as I did.

I think that Greer ought to be commended for his courage for pointing out at two sources of US weaknesses which are considered as sacred cows by most US authors: arrogance and technology. Instead of seeing them as a source of strength Geer correctly identifies them as a source of weakness for the USA. This will probably be very counter-intuitive for many, and border on crimethink for some.

I think that it was the correct thing to do to hope that Trump could take action to avoid the kind of disaster the book describes. His campaign promises clearly indicated that another foreign policy was at least considered. Now that the Neocons and the US deep state have thoroughly crushed him Greer’s book takes on a new quality – the one of possibly being prophetic, at least in its general features (the book was written in 2015).

There is another topic which Greer discusses in his book, the one of a possible constitutional convention. While the idea of a constitutional convention has been floated around by all sorts of people and interests groups – all for different reasons – very few understand the immense danger of such an exercise. If you are not familiar with the topic, I would highly recommend the very interesting Solari Special Report on this topic with Catherine Austin-Fitts and Edwin Vieira Jr (you can listen to the audio of the show or read the PDF transcript). Greer does a great job showing how such a convention could result in a complete break-up of the United States.

I had never read a single book by Greer and I knew nothing about him. I imagined him to be some kind of ex-military guy who know wrote fiction books. To my immense surprise, the turned out to be, according to Wikipedia, a person who “served from December 2003 to December 2015 as the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America, and since then has focused on the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn, which he founded in 2013” and a specialist of the occult! I guess that this explains his, shall we say, “non-mainstream” views but still, that was quite a surprise for me.

In conclusion – the book is well written, immensely entertaining and, I think, very thought-provoking. I highly recommend it.

If you are interesting in finding out more about the author, check out his blog here:

It is interesting too, well worth a visit.

To order the book on Amazon, click here

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military 
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  1. eD says:

    I saw the premise on Greer’s blog. Like most of his ideas, he writes thoughtfully and it is a good use of time to engage with him. However he tends to miss small but important details, so his overall ideas wind up a little off. This is the case with both halves of this scenario, the military defeat of the U.S., and the constitutional convention leading up to the break up of the country into its constituent states.

    The constitutional convention problem is more easily dealt with, since this is mostly a legal issue. Here there are two sub-problems. The first is that a constitutional convention as Greer decides is impossible, something many people don’t realize, the second is that most of the states in the “United States” are not independent, sovereign entities, several never fit this description, and most would not be successful independent countries.

    On the issue with having a constitutional convention in the first place, the U.S. Constitution does in fact provide for one. Many legal scholars have argued that states should do exactly this (as usual, there is a helpful wikipedia article on the subject). This is the relevant text in Article V:

    “on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, ”

    The rest of the text of Article V covers the amendment method that has been used, almost thirty times, of two thirds of each House of Congress forwarding amendments to the states for ratification of three fourths of the state, plus no longer relevant language on the slave trade.

    Like much of the language in the parts of the Constitution drafted in 1787-90, especially the original articles the convention provision is pretty much bulls—, its too vague and impractical to actually apply to anything. Note that it has never been used, including during the period around the Civil War when a second convention would have pretty obviously been a good idea. The problem is that the timing, composition, procedures, and scope of the “convention” are not specified. Presumably its left up to Congress, though the provision doesn’t say even that. There is nothing in this language indicating that Congress couldn’t ignore the call to the convention completely, and no enforcement mechanism if it did. It could also get cute and delay the formation of the convention for a long period. It could declare itself to be the convention. Even if Congress sincerely tried to organize a convention, after two thirds of the states requested one, its unlikely that a Congress which has problems raising the debt ceiling would be able to agree to the timing, composition, procedures, and scope of one.

    After all of this, the ratification process is the same as any Congress proposed amendments, three fourths of the states, so it would be easier for Congress to just send the states a bunch of amendments. This, of course, has been used to amend the constitution, and as noted above there are good reasons for it. The other method is simply impractical.

    This is not to say that something like the 1787 convention is not impossible, but it would be organized and proceed like the 1787 convention, as a meeting of the big wigs at the time, probably un-elected and using secret proceedings, and not authorized by the existing federal government. Legally, the 1787 constitution was adopted because enough states in effect seceded from the Articles of Confederation and agreed to form the new union to make the Confederation dead letter. The process was not unlike the transformation from the more centralized USSR into the new CIS (constituent republics leaving the old union and agreeing to a new, different, union) but in reverse.

    There is a scenario, though unlikely, where the state governments would play a key role in causing the extinction of the US federal governments. If the dozen or so states with the largest populations (thirteen would be a good number) all seceded at once, and took over the federal installations and military bases in their territories, and did so in a rapid and co-ordinated manner, that would be enough. This would be the equivalent of the Russian Republic seceding from the USSR. Because like the Russian Republic, the top twelve states combine for a majority of the population, GDP, and military installations in the US. The remaining thirty-odd states could go along, but are not that relevant (likewise, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia would have been enough for the 1787 union).

    In fact the southern states tried this in 1860-1, they simply left without trying to get Congress to approve a new constitutional convention, and formed their own confederacy. The federal government crushed it because the new grouping was too weak in terms of population and economy compared to the rest of the USA. Something like this could only work if the seceding or revolting states combined outweighed the remaining states and commonwealths.

    This is a round-about way of getting to the second problem with Greer’s scenario, and that is the idea of the US states as sovereign or even quasi-sovereign entities is also pretty much fictional, both legally and practically. Legally, only the thirteen original states, plus Hawaii and maybe Vermont were ever sovereign, independent countries, not counting the failed attempt by the southern states to form their own confederation. All the others were Congressional creations, carved out of federal lands, or in a few instances existing states. States admitted after 1861, plus the re-admitted former Confederate states, were admitted directly into a USA where any notion of state sovereignty had been crushed and legally are purely federal creations.

    Practically, a majority of the states would have major problems functioning independently due to some combination of being landlocked, having indefensible frontiers, un-diversified economies, populations that are too small. It turns out that the only states with a chance to make a go of it are the dozen or so large population states I alluded to earlier. It might be possible for states to withdraw and combine into new, regional alignments, like the southern states tried to do.

    If and when the USA unravels, you are certainly not going to see any Article V conventions, probably no conventions at all, and while state secession could well be part of the process, this has been tried before and didn’t work out so well.

    Having written too much about Grier’s other ideas, the military defeat part is harder to argue about using specifics and can be disposed of more quickly. But pretty much the US military is no longer so much used to defend the territorial integrity of the US, or even as an instrument of federal foreign policy, as it is a sort of shell for industrial subsidies, jobs programs, various social engineering programs, and deep state activities. The game depends on US military forces not actually being put in a position where they could “lose”, hence the preference to rely on bombing, missile strikes (even better), and army deployments where the main mission turns out to be “force protection”. Mercs can be used in situations where force is actually required.

    • Replies: @Louis
    , @El Dato
  2. Louis says:

    eD you have very good arguments that I mostly agree with. However, you miss that Texas was also a sovereign country that joined the US willingly. I think your argument about the South having been too weak to secede is correct. Sam Houston thought so too. That is why he resigned the governor’s office when Texas seceded. He was right! I think it would be stupid for Texas to leave now because it has grown so much and north Texas Baptists do not have much in common with Liberation Theology “Catholic” Hispanics. Genuine Catholic
    Hispanics, like genuine German, Irish, Italian Catholics, and others are too much of a minority here now to hold Texas together if it left the Union. However, I seriously doubt that California and New York would send troops or really care at all if Texas left. Texas would disintegrate/implode on its own. Do you honestly think California would try and force Texas to stay? Right now Texas is toying with the idea of legal medical marijuana. Were old Southern plantations with slaves all that different from today’s drug cartel plantations in Latin America? Texas is headed nowhere good. The US “rump” state of the rust belt and Mid-Atlantic holds the most promise. If Canada split perhaps the Eastern French/Quebec part might fit with the “rump” state. A big chunk of Texas and California would link with northern Mexico. That is of course unless Republicans got serious and built the wall and Sessions would enforce drug laws.

    • Replies: @Kevin O'Keeffe
  3. A constitutional convention that resulted in the dissolution of the United States as presently constituted is a thing devoutly to be wished. The present arrangement of states reflects the demographic, cultural and political realities of the 18th and 19th Centuries and are increasingly irrelevant to the 21st Century (e.g., two Dakotas and one California). The U.S. would be better served by the dissolution of the existing states and reconstitution into perhaps eight or so highly-autonomous regions, appropriately subdivided for efficient administration. The alternative is likely to be bloody partition later in this century: think 1947 India-Pakistan, but on a larger scale and possibly involving nuclear weapons.

    • Replies: @MBlanc46
    , @RadicalCenter
  4. One glaring hole in the basic conceit of the book is that the US is awash in oil and gas at the moment.

  5. El Dato says:

    Good stuff. Except for

    Mercs can be used in situations where force is actually required.

    Mercs will just refuse to deploy force if they can’t 100% win with a large paycheck hitting the Carribean.

    I.e. Mercs are good against peasants and for lackluster guard duty where they can accompany worthies and slap civilians around, things the US is already good at.

    The only reason for having mercenary outfits is political “no boots on the ground” while having boots on the ground. Or maybe plausibly deniable “nettoyage” operations.

  6. MBlanc46 says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    A convention to decide the disaggregation of the US would certainly save a lot of lives and prevent the destruction of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of property. It’s hard to imagine, though, that the political reorganization of North America will come about without the killing and the destruction.

  7. Anonymous [AKA "the pair"] says:

    makes sense that he’s an occultist; the best critiques of modernity and its fetishization of technology have usually come from esoteric corners.

    as for the plot and such, i’ve seen several scenarios in several publications that include similar elements – including an attack launched by the US that is DOA thanks to russian and/or chinese hacking ability (meanwhile the US government can’t hire all the talented hacker types it needs because it hangs on to moronic prohibition of weed which, as anyone even tangentially aware of hacker culture knows, is quite common and in fact a widley used “fuel”).

    as for a breakup, it’s not as if the states are a big happy family to begin with. whether it’s bitterness over the civil war passed down through generations or simple economics (“us californians have a bigger economy than most countries so why pay taxes that go to the hick states?”) or disdain for federal control (again, think california and the federal raids of medical weed operations or the ongoing and tiresome disputes over abortion), a lot of states hate a lot of others. this election brought that out in the open more than any in recent memory.


    i do like that iran attacks saudi arabi but wonder if israel is absent from the narrative. let’s face it, one key factor to the decline of the west has been its bootlicking allegiance to a lunatic colony.

  8. All that is needed is a single, concrete military failure for that hallucination to be totally shattered. John Michael Greer described precisely how this can happen in his book “Twilight’s Last Gleaming.” If the American military were to fail, the illusion of a united country would dissipate before our eyes and the country would be gone within weeks — either in a peaceful breakup or a violent one, depending on how Washington would attempt to respond.

    I’ve been saying much the same thing for about a decade. It’s one reason we should definitely refrain from any conflict with Iran ie., because Iran doesn’t need to defeat the U.S. Armed Forces, in order to win a war against us. All they need to do, is, say…sink two of our aircraft carriers. And then the USA ceases to exist. A single carrier might be sufficient, if part of a pattern of swift defeat around the Straits of Hormuz, or whatnot.

  9. @Louis

    …unless Republicans got serious and built the wall and Sessions would enforce drug laws.

    When I hear the name “Jeff Sessions”, the first thought which comes to mind, isn’t insufficient zeal in prosecuting the War on Drugs.

    • Agree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  10. Shahna says:

    Sadly your link to “the very interesting Solari Special Report on this topic with Catherine Austin-Fitts and Edwin Vieira Jr” no longer exists…..

  11. @Diversity Heretic

    We already have the Tenth Amendment. It means something, and it is very broad and strong in its terms. If we adhered faithfully to the Tenth Amendment, we wouldn’t need to break up the USA. The States could and would do a multitude of things very differently in terms of law, policy, and culture, and that’s fine.

    But we do need to break at least CA, TX, WA, and OR into multiple States.

  12. @Kevin O'Keeffe

    Jeff Sessions should read the Tenth Amendment sometime. Only the States should be making law and policy on marijuana, alcohol and drinking age, hard drugs, seat belt and helmet requirements, and almost every other damn thing that the Fed gov and bullies like him have usurped. A constitutionalist he’s not.

  13. The US doesn’t have to go so far as to become fifty-two countries because breaking up into five or six multi-state regions will suffice. We could see the Deep South rename themselves the Confederate States and base their economy on agriculture, though paid-labor could hamper them this time. California could break away as a tech-based independent state while Oregon could turn to lumber, and the mid-west states could join to become the bread basket of the whole North American continent. The north eastern states could rename themselves New England to become a tourist destination etc. Some new states would have little choice but to revive old industries like coal and steel.

    If Americans chose the new borders it would work better than Europeans or Russians deciding them, because it would be useful for outsiders to ensure the states are divided against themselves through economic means, such as taking hydro-electric power stations away from one state and redrawing them in another, or to keep some areas poor so the people move and become burdens on other new states. World peace would be better achieved if the new states could not agree to unite again. May they always bicker.

  14. An Article 5 convention is unlikely to be a run-away convention in the current configuration of the states owing to the 3/4 of states ratification requirement, but Soros and affiliated groups are working feverishly at the local level to align state functioning to affect the operation of the Electoral College, and this could easily spill over into the ratification process to push a slate of “progressive” amendments that would increase the centralisation of power. If we are going to go the Convention route, better now than later.

    The “spoiler” link needs to be corrected, as it points to a page on the topic of twilight as a time of day.

    Go here if you want something on the book:

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