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American Imperialism

Who Rules America

News Antiamericanism as a Blowback to American Empire Recommended Links Predator state US Department of Imperial Expansion Fifth Column of Globalization Color revolutions
American Exceptionalism  Anatol Leiven on American Messianism New American Militarism Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few The Deep State Media-Military-Industrial Complex
Neoliberalism as a New form of Corporatism Looting pays dividends to empire Corporatism Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime The Iron Law of Oligarchy Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult Globalization of Financial Flows
IMF as a key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Neoconservatism as a US version of Neoliberalism Compradors NGOs as braintrust of color revolutions Diplomacy by deception Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism
EuroMaidan Victoria Nuland’s ‘Ukraine-gate’ The Far Right Forces in Ukraine as Trojan horse of neoliberalism Resurgence of ideology of neo-fascism Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law  The Grand Chessboard Machiavellism
Media domination strategy Media as a weapon of mass deception Developing Countries Hit Hardest by Brain Drain Republics are usually warlike and unscrupulous Politically Incorrect Political Humor American Imperialism Bookshelf Etc

Introduction

Imperialism and empire

Further information: Modern empires, Overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, History of the Philippines (1898–1946) and Philippine–American War

Thomas Jefferson, in the 1790s, awaited the fall of the Spanish Empire "until our population can be sufficiently advanced to gain it from them piece by piece." In turn, historian Sidney Lens notes that "the urge for expansion – at the expense of other peoples – goes back to the beginnings of the United States itself." Yale historian Paul Kennedy put it, "From the time the first settlers arrived in Virginia from England and started moving westward, this was an imperial nation, a conquering nation."

In the late 19th century, foreign territories such as Hawaii and Latin America were sought after by the United States. The Teller Amendment and the Platt Amendment were used in unison to grant the United States the right to intervene in those territories if that particular government was deemed unfit to rule itself. The American government now held the power to both criticize and occupy these nations if they were deemed to be unstable.

Stuart Creighton Miller says that the public's sense of innocence about Realpolitik impairs popular recognition of U.S. imperial conduct. The resistance to actively occupying foreign territory has led to policies of exerting influence via other means, including governing other countries via surrogates or puppet regimes, where domestically unpopular governments survive only through U.S. support.

The maximum geographical extension of American direct political and military control happened in the aftermath of World War II, in the period after the surrender and occupations of Germany and Austria in May and later Japan and Korea in September 1945 and before the independence of the Philippines in July 1946.

American exceptionalism

Main article: American exceptionalism

American exceptionalism is the theory that the United States occupies a special niche among the nations of the world in terms of its national credo, historical evolution, and political and religious institutions and origins.

Philosopher Douglas Kellner traces the identification of American exceptionalism as a distinct phenomenon back to 19th century French observer Alexis de Tocqueville, who concluded by agreeing that the U.S., uniquely, was "proceeding along a path to which no limit can be perceived."

American exceptionalism is popular among people within the U.S., but its validity and its consequences are disputed. Some American citizens will participate in exceptionalism without even being aware of it. Such instances occur when American interests and advancements are justified solely on the basis of its economic standing or the protection of human rights. The American public's attitude towards intervention in Cuba and the Philippines was one of sheer sympathy, all due to the propaganda utilized to portray the Americans as the worldwide protector of human rights.

As a Monthly Review editorial opines on the phenomenon, "in Britain, empire was justified as a benevolent 'white man's burden'. And in the United States, empire does not even exist; 'we' are merely protecting the causes of freedom, democracy and justice worldwide."

Views of American imperialism[edit]

Journalist Ashley Smith divides theories of the U.S. imperialism into 5 broad categories: (1) "liberal" theories, (2) "social-democratic" theories, (3) "Leninist" theories, (4) theories of "super-imperialism", and (5) "Hardt-and-Negri-ite" theories. There is also a conservative, anti-interventionist view as expressed by American journalist John T. Flynn:

The enemy aggressor is always pursuing a course of larceny, murder, rapine and barbarism. We are always moving forward with high mission, a destiny imposed by the Deity to regenerate our victims, while incidentally capturing their markets; to civilise savage and senile and paranoid peoples, while blundering accidentally into their oil wells.

A "social-democratic" theory says that imperialistic U.S. policies are the products of the excessive influence of certain sectors of U.S. business and government—the arms industry in alliance with military and political bureaucracies and sometimes other industries such as oil and finance, a combination often referred to as the "military–industrial complex". The complex is said to benefit from war profiteering and the looting of natural resources, often at the expense of the public interest. The proposed solution is typically unceasing popular vigilance in order to apply counter-pressure. Johnson holds a version of this view.

Alfred T. Mahan, who served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during the late 19th century, supported the notion of American imperialism in his 1890 book titled The Influence of Sea Power upon History. In chapter one Mahan argued that modern industrial nations must secure foreign markets for the purpose of exchanging goods and, consequently, they must maintain a maritime force that is capable of protecting these trade routes.

A theory of "super-imperialism" says that imperialistic U.S. policies are not driven simply by the interests of American businesses, but by the interests of the economic elites of a global alliance of developed countries. Capitalism in Europe, the U.S. and Japan has become too entangled, in this view, to permit military or geopolitical conflict between these countries, and the central conflict in modern imperialism is between the global core and the global periphery rather than between imperialist powers.

Following the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the idea of American imperialism was reexamined. On October 15, the cover of William Kristol's Weekly Standard carried the headline, "The Case for American Empire." Rich Lowry, editor in chief of the National Review, called for "a kind of low-grade colonialism" to topple dangerous regimes beyond Afghanistan. The columnist Charles Krauthammer declared that, given complete U.S. domination "culturally, economically, technologically and militarily," people were "now coming out of the closet on the word 'empire.'" The New York Times Sunday magazine cover for January 5, 2003, read "American Empire: Get Used To It."

In the book "Empire", Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri argued that "the decline of Empire has begun". Hardt says the Iraq War is a classically imperialist war, and is the last gasp of a doomed strategy. This new era still has colonizing power, but it has moved from national military forces based on an economy of physical goods to networked biopower based on an informational and affective economy. The U.S. is central to the development and constitution of a new global regime of international power and sovereignty, termed Empire, but is decentralized and global, and not ruled by one sovereign state; "the United States does indeed occupy a privileged position in Empire, but this privilege derives not from its similarities to the old European imperialist powers, but from its differences." Hardt and Negri draw on the theories of Spinoza, Foucault, Deleuze and Italian autonomist marxists.

Geographer David Harvey says there has emerged a new type of imperialism due to geographical distinctions as well as uneven levels of development. He says there has emerged three new global economic and politics blocs: the United States, the European Union and Asia centered on China and verification needed] He says there are tensions between the three major blocs over resources and economic power, citing the 2003 invasion of Iraq, whose goal was to prevent rivals from controlling oil. Furthermore, Harvey argues there can arise conflict within the major blocs between capitalists and politicians due to their opposing economic interests. Politicians, on the other hand, live in geographically fixed locations and are, in the U.S. and Europe, accountable to the electorate. The 'new' imperialism, then, has led to an alignment of the interests of capitalists and politicians in order to prevent the rise and expansion of possible economic and political rivals from challenging America's dominance.

Classics professor and war historian Victor Davis Hanson dismisses the notion of an American empire altogether, mockingly comparing it to other empires: "We do not send out proconsuls to reside over client states, which in turn impose taxes on coerced subjects to pay for the legions. Instead, American bases are predicated on contractual obligations — costly to us and profitable to their hosts. We do not see any profits in Korea, but instead accept the risk of losing almost 40,000 of our youth to ensure that Kias can flood our shores and that shaggy students can protest outside our embassy in Seoul."

Factors unique to the "Age of imperialism"

A variety of factors may have coincided during the "Age of Imperialism" in the late 19th century, when the United States and the other major powers rapidly expanded their territorial possessions. Some of these are explained, or used as examples for the various perceived forms of American imperialism.

Industry and trade are two of the most prevalent factors unique to imperialism. American intervention in both Latin America and Hawaii resulted in multiple industrial investments, including the popular industry of Dole bananas. If the United States was able to annex a territory, in turn they were granted access to the trade and capital of those territories. In 1898, Senator Albert Beveridge proclaimed that an expansion of markets was absolutely necessary, "American factories are making more than the American people can use; American soil is producing more than they can consume. Fate has written our policy for us; the trade of the world must and shall be ours."

U.S. foreign policy debate[edit]

See also Military history of the United States, Overseas interventions of the United States

1898 political cartoon: "Ten Thousand Miles From Tip to Tip" meaning the extension of U.S. domination (symbolized by a bald eagle) from Puerto Rico to the Philippines. The cartoon contrasts this with a map of the smaller United States 100 years earlier in 1798.

Annexation is a crucial instrument in the expansion of a nation, due to the fact that once a territory is annexed it must act within the confines of its superior counterpart. The United States Congress' ability to annex a foreign territory is explained in a report from the Congressional Committee on Foreign Relations, "If, in the judgment of Congress, such a measure is supported by a safe and wise policy, or is based upon a natural duty that we owe to the people of Hawaii, or is necessary for our national development and security, that is enough to justify annexation, with the consent of the recognized government of the country to be annexed."

Prior to annexing a territory, the American government still held immense power through the various legislations passed in the late 1800s. The Platt Amendment was utilized to prevent Cuba from entering into any agreements with foreign nations, and also granted the Americans the right to build naval stations on their soil. Executive officials in the American government began to determine themselves the supreme authority in matters regarding the recognition or restriction of [39]

When asked on April 28, 2003, on al-Jazeera whether the United States was "empire building," Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld replied "We don't seek empires, we're not imperialistic. We never have been."

However, historian Donald W. Meinig says the imperial behavior by the United States dates at least to the Louisiana Purchase, which he describes as an "imperial acquisition—imperial in the sense of the aggressive encroachment of one people upon the territory of another, resulting in the subjugation of that people to alien rule." The U.S. policies towards the Native Americans he said were "designed to remold them into a people more appropriately conformed to imperial desires."

Writers and academics of the early 20th century, like Charles A. Beard, in support of non-interventionism (sometimes referred to as "isolationism"), discussed American policy as being driven by self-interested expansionism going back as far as the writing of the Constitution. Some politicians today do not agree. Pat Buchanan claims that the modern United States' drive to empire is "far removed from what the Founding Fathers had intended the young Republic to become."

Andrew Bacevich argues that the U.S. did not fundamentally change its foreign policy after the Cold War, and remains focused on an effort to expand its control across the world. As the surviving superpower at the end of the Cold War, the U.S. could focus its assets in new directions, the future being "up for grabs" according to former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz in 1991.

In Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, the political activist Noam Chomsky argues that exceptionalism and the denials of imperialism are the result of a systematic strategy of propaganda, to "manufacture opinion" as the process has long been described in other countries.

Thorton wrote that "[...]imperialism is more often the name of the emotion that reacts to a series of events than a definition of the events themselves. Where colonization finds analysts and analogies, imperialism must contend with crusaders for and against." Political theorist Michael Walzer argues that the term hegemony is better than empire to describe the US's role in the world; political scientist Robert Keohane agrees saying, a "balanced and nuanced analysis is not aided...by the use of the phrase 'empire' to describe United States hegemony, since 'empire' obscures rather than illuminates the differences in form of rule between the United States and other Great Powers, such as Great Britain in the 19th century or the Soviet Union in the twentieth.". Emmanuel Todd assumes that USA cannot hold for long the status of mondial hegemonic power due to limited resources. Instead, USA is going to become just one of the major regional powers along with European Union, China, Russia, etc.

Other political scientists, such as Daniel Nexon and Thomas Wright, argue that neither term exclusively describes foreign relations of the United States. The U.S. can be, and has been, simultaneously an empire and a hegemonic power. They claim that the general trend in U.S. foreign relations has been away from imperial modes of control.

Some critics of imperialism argue that military and cultural imperialism are interdependent. American Edward Said, one of the founders of post-colonial theory, said that,

[...], so influential has been the discourse insisting on American specialness, altruism and opportunity, that imperialism in the United States as a word or ideology has turned up only rarely and recently in accounts of the United States culture, politics and history. But the connection between imperial politics and culture in North America, and in particular in the United States, is astonishingly direct.

International relations scholar David Rothkopf disagrees and argues that cultural imperialism is the innocent result of globalization, which allows access to numerous U.S. and Western ideas and products that many non-U.S. and non-Western consumers across the world voluntarily choose to consume. Matthew Fraser has a similar analysis, but argues further that the global cultural influence of the U.S. is a good thing.

Nationalism is the main process through which the government is able to shape public opinion. Propaganda in the media is strategically placed in order to promote a common attitude among the people. Louis A. Perez Jr. provides an example of propaganda used during the war of 1898, "We are coming, Cuba, coming; we are bound to set you free! We are coming from the mountains, from the plains and inland sea! We are coming with the wrath of God to make the Spaniards flee! We are coming, Cuba, coming; coming now!"

U.S. military bases[edit]

Further information: List of United States military bases

Chalmers Johnson argues that America's version of the colony is the military base. Chip Pitts argues similarly that enduring U.S. bases in Iraq suggest a vision of "Iraq as a colony".

While territories such as Guam, the United States Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa and Puerto Rico remain under U.S. control, the U.S. allowed many of its overseas territories or occupations to gain independence after World War II. Examples include the Philippines (1946), the Panama canal zone (1979), Palau (1981), the Federated States of Micronesia (1986) and the Marshall Islands (1986). Most of them still have U.S. bases within their territories. In the case of Okinawa, which came under U.S. administration after the Battle of Okinawa during the Second World War, this happened despite local popular opinion. As of 2003, the United States had bases in over 36 countries worldwide.


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[Apr 04, 2017] Civilisation - Kenneth Clark

Apr 04, 2017 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com
"I believe order is better than chaos, creation better than destruction. I prefer gentleness to violence, forgiveness to vendetta. On the whole I think that knowledge is preferable to ignorance, and I am sure that human sympathy is more valuable than ideology. I believe that in spite of the recent triumphs of science, men haven't changed much in the last two thousand years; and in consequence we must try to learn from history. History is ourselves.

I believe in courtesy, the ritual by which we avoid hurting other people's feelings, by satisfying our own egos. And I think we should remember that we are all part of a great whole, which for convenience we call nature. All living things are our brothers and sisters."

Kenneth Clark, Civilisation

"At the root of America's economic crisis lies a moral crisis: the decline of civic virtue among America's political and economic elite. A society of markets, laws, and elections is not enough if the rich and powerful fail to behave with respect, honesty, and compassion toward the rest of society and toward the world."

Jeffrey Sachs

Civilisation: A Personal View by Kenneth Clark was a television documentary series outlining the history of Western art, architecture and philosophy since the Dark Ages. The series was produced by the BBC and initially aired in 1969 on BBC2.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/w6qYjisp51M?list=PLYRSFu5IDQUMvSFgB6u8RfvK8B6c1h8iS

The summation of the series.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Mt-vqdgvsoo

[Sep 10, 2016] The Roman Empire did not collapse. You cannot set a date for when it went from normal functioning to failure.

But the USSR did collapse... Completely disintegrated due to actions of top layer of Communist Party bureaucracy, who changed sides and adopted neoliberal model instead of communism.
Notable quotes:
"... "Bands have a loose organization. Their power structure is often egalitarian and has informal leadership; the older members of the band generally are looked to for guidance and advice, and decisions are often made on a consensus basis, but there are no written laws and none of the specialised coercive roles (e.g., police) typically seen in more complex societies. " ~ Wikipedia ..."
"... The Roman Empire did not collapse. You cannot set a date for when it went from normal functioning to failure. Depending how you set the last date for normal functioning, the fall of the Roman Empire took from 200 to 450 years and that doesn't fit any definition of sudden. Along that process they had huge crisis and we can point to about a dozen. None of them can be identified as the one that took the Empire from its height to its fall. ..."
"... Finite resources are a reality. The Biosphere is reaching its limits in absorbing our waste stream. The world is connected and more complex by several orders of magnitude. ..."
"... When people speak of a "collapse" I believe what they are thinking of is not a Rome-style slow disintegration but a Soviet-style collapse in which a seemingly stable superpower disintegrated in only a few short years. ..."
"... In 1989, also without losing on the battlefield for fifty years, the Soviet Union lost control over Eastern Europe which completely negated the results of WW II – something unthinkable just four years earlier. The collapse of the Soviet Union began September 13, 1985 when the Saudi oil minister announced the country was altering its oil policy. The Saudis stopped supporting oil prices and instead increased production fourfold. Oil prices collapsed and as a result, the Soviet Union lost approximately $20 billion per year, money without which the country simply could not survive. ..."
"... The collapse of the Soviet Union was caused by much more complex set of factors, mostly internal. ..."
"... My short post was not intended as a comprehensive reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union – it was merely to illustrate how rapidly a "superpower" can fall. The collapse in the price of oil was quite likely the straw that broke the camel's back, but make no mistake the camel was close to death anyway. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com

Caelan MacIntyre, 12/05/2015 at 3:13 am

Continued from here and here

"I have a problem with many Social Sciences studies." ~ Javier

You also seem to have a problem with climate change studies. 'u^

"They set a preconceived theory, they build a model, and without any real data they claim their model supports their theory." ~ Javier

From what is understood, the model, at least the initial one, came from NASA.

"For a start they are supposed to be working with collapse, yet they clearly have no idea of the meaning of the word collapse, and have no functional definition of it to work with. They say things as 'The Roman Empire's dramatic collapse.' When exactly did the Roman collapse took place? We have known for centuries that the Roman Empire declined and fell (to put it in Gibbon's words). That is not a collapse. It is more like a long disease that ends in death." ~ Javier

Well they did qualify it in parentheses:

"The Roman Empire's dramatic collapse (followed by many centuries of population decline, economic deterioration, intellectual regression, and the disappearance of literacy)"

"The idea that excessive draw on essential resources breeds collapse is so obvious as to not merit any discussion." ~ Javier

Since it was/is apparently a model or simulation, 'essential resources' seem to be variables that need to be included. But one question is, 'How?'. 'Excessive draw' (or anything else) doesn't happen devoid of context.

Anyway, it seems to be formative, and did they qualified it as a 'thought experiment'? That seems to be how science works, what experiments are in part for; to test hypotheses, etc..

" But the idea that inequality breeds collapse is slightly more original…

If the principal thesis of the work was true, and inequality breeds collapse, then we would have some evidence by now that egalitarian societies should be more resistant to collapse as they don't suffer from 'scarcity of labor'.

Egalitarian societies should be more abundant. They clearly are not."~ Javier

Over time they may be, but to get there currently, such as if we can't manage with the current numbers, we may need a dramatic reduction of the population…

"Bands have a loose organization. Their power structure is often egalitarian and has informal leadership; the older members of the band generally are looked to for guidance and advice, and decisions are often made on a consensus basis, but there are no written laws and none of the specialised coercive roles (e.g., police) typically seen in more complex societies." ~ Wikipedia

"Much to the contrary I believe there is not a single example of a complex egalitarian civilization without an extractive elite. I would like to be proven wrong on this, but even small tribes have a chief, and a chief's family, and if big enough they have a nobility." ~ Javier

Indeed, while there're some significant differences between small-scale tribal or band setups and larger complex civilization setups, if we can't get our acts together with regard to ethics (lack thereof) that can seem to underpin complex civilizations' issues, then we may find this one also going the way of the others.

"To say that we have to develop an egalitarian society without an extractive elite to avoid collapse (which is a statement not supported by evidence) is the same as to say that we have to grow wings on the shoulders to avoid collapse from peak oil. It just is not going to happen." ~ Javier

Maybe this time it's different, what with it being global in scope and therefore, for example, with nowhere else to go/collapse to; no extra planet Earth. Nevertheless, I am sorely tempted to agree.

"We have to be specially skeptical of 'scientific' articles that claim to demonstrate what we believe to be true. It is one of the ways of fighting confirmation bias." ~ Javier

Sure, but it does dovetail with and support, along with other material, a case I've been making.

Just because we might think or suspect that we can't do or change some things doesn't necessarily mean we shouldn't try; be responsible, ethical, and try to change or transcend a system that is not.

Or maybe we are indeed just not smarter as a collective than rats on an island or yeast in a petri-dish in overshoot; that our so-called intelligence, alone, will not be enough to transcend some fundamental law of nature; a parasitic elite; or this planet, to continue to flourish elsewhere.

That appears the real challenge. And this study, among other indicators, seems to suggest that it won't be met through technology like renewables or electric vehicles, at least not alone, but through simple, shared ethics (care of Earth; care of people, etc.) .

Javier, 12/05/2015 at 6:17 am

Sure I do have a problem with many studies. I am not satisfied with reading something that confirms what I believe to be true. It takes training to reach that point.

Most people here talk about collapse without giving a thought to the word meaning:
"a sudden failure of an institution or undertaking."
They extrapolate to any failure regardless of the time involved.
But science is all about precision in the language. That's why we have our own language called scientific language, and that is why we restrict the definition of common words beyond how non-scientist people use them.

The Roman Empire did not collapse. You cannot set a date for when it went from normal functioning to failure. Depending how you set the last date for normal functioning, the fall of the Roman Empire took from 200 to 450 years and that doesn't fit any definition of sudden. Along that process they had huge crisis and we can point to about a dozen. None of them can be identified as the one that took the Empire from its height to its fall.

We could say that Yugoslavia collapsed as it was a functioning country in early 1991, and completely split and at war by 1992. See the difference?

Even for a thought experiment, if you want any conclusion to have any validity, you need to ground it in evidence. They fail to do that. Clearly history is not their strength as any civilization passing is branded a collapse and tagged a non demonstrated cause, shortage of labor or shortage of resources. And shortage of labor is the most ridiculous cause for a civilization failure that I have ever heard of. Can you seriously defend shortage of labor as a cause for civilization failure without breaking up with laughter?

Maybe this time it's different, but probably it is not. You are tempted to agree with them because you want to avoid civilization failure or collapse as anybody else. Any solution that involves a change in human nature, a global collaboration that sets aside any sort of personal or group interests, is sadly outside our reach. We know by experience that when problems arrive they will be met with beggar thy neighbor policies. We are going down fighting each other exactly as we raised.

Jef, 12/05/2015 at 9:28 am

The Roman empire has nothing to tell us about collapse.

The WORLD is involved in this one.

Finite resources are a reality. The Biosphere is reaching its limits in absorbing our waste stream. The world is connected and more complex by several orders of magnitude.

... ... ...

Caelan MacIntyre, 12/05/2015 at 4:50 pm

"Increasing pressure from 'barbarians' outside Roman culture also contributed greatly to the collapse… The reasons for the collapse are major subjects of the historiography of the ancient world and they inform much modern discourse on state failure" ~ Wikipedia, 'Fall of the Western Roman Empire' entry

"Collapse
intransitive verb
1: to fall or shrink together abruptly and completely : fall into a jumbled or flattened mass through the force of external pressure (a blood vessel that collapsed)
2: to break down completely : disintegrate (his case had collapsed in a mass of legal wreckage - Erle Stanley Gardner)
3: to cave or fall in or give way (the bridge collapsed)…
Antonyms
refreshment, rejuvenation, rejuvenescence, revitalization"
~ Merriam Webster online dictionary

Arceus, 12/05/2015 at 2:29 pm

When people speak of a "collapse" I believe what they are thinking of is not a Rome-style slow disintegration but a Soviet-style collapse in which a seemingly stable superpower disintegrated in only a few short years.

In 1989, also without losing on the battlefield for fifty years, the Soviet Union lost control over Eastern Europe which completely negated the results of WW II – something unthinkable just four years earlier. The collapse of the Soviet Union began September 13, 1985 when the Saudi oil minister announced the country was altering its oil policy. The Saudis stopped supporting oil prices and instead increased production fourfold. Oil prices collapsed and as a result, the Soviet Union lost approximately $20 billion per year, money without which the country simply could not survive.

The former superpower eventually had to go cap in hand to the West, begging for loans to feed its people.

AlexS, 12/05/2015 at 5:40 pm

Arceus,

You repeat primitive cliches of the western MSM. The collapse of the Soviet Union was caused by much more complex set of factors, mostly internal.

Arceus, 12/05/2015 at 6:22 pm

My short post was not intended as a comprehensive reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union – it was merely to illustrate how rapidly a "superpower" can fall. The collapse in the price of oil was quite likely the straw that broke the camel's back, but make no mistake the camel was close to death anyway. But without question, the suddenness of the move took the USSR so completely by surprise they were than out of options (options that the politburo would approve anyway).

The parallels to what happened back then and what is happening now are interesting. History will not repeat. The Russia of the late 1980s is not the Russia of today. Putin will not be undone by what worked in the past. It is quite possible that the U.S. will be the superpower to fall this time, and a sudden collapse in the dollar may leave the U.S. going cap in hand to Japan and China.

Caelan MacIntyre, 12/05/2015 at 2:37 pm

Javier, I am not even sure we necessarily need scientific models or studies, at least in a way…

I mean, if we have a system that cheats, then anything is game.

Then I can cheat too. (And, along with others, I'll likely be doing it on the 'nitrous oxide' of fury and resentment that some– maybe most– can feel when they wake up and realize that they've been cheated.)

So if sufficient numbers of (livid) people catch on, if they get out from under the cheating system's ideological indoctrinations (that it's not a cheat and that, say, coercive taxation, kid-killing cops and corporate parasites are all well and good and for our benefit), and find out that the game is really one big nasty rig/scam/dupe/hoodwink, what do you think will happen?

Let's run the model/simulation and see.

Ablokeimet, 12/05/2015 at 8:35 am

Caelan has it right. Javier is right to be wary of confirmation bias, but that's just as applicable to pessimistic and conservative approaches as to optimistic and progressive ones. I have only a couple more points to make (one longer than the other):

1. Australian Aborignal cultures were complex and egalitarian. There was not a lot in the way of material privileges because there was little to spare. People instead worked within the land's carrying capacity and enjoyed a high-leisure society.

2. Egalitarian societies weren't particularly "abundant" because there was little incentive to save production to invest for expanded future production. Increases in productivity were generally responded to by increased leisure time.

With the development of class society, the ruling class appropriated the production above the levels necessary for subsistence. Some of this surplus was devoted to luxury consumption, which was, after all, the motive for the exercise. Society was producing enough for some to live in comfort, but not enough for all to live in comfort – so, sooner or later, a minority was going to find some method of being the comfortable ones. Some of the surplus was devoted to supporting military forces necessary to keep the ruling class in power. And some of the surplus got put to work in projects which the relevant ruling class people thought would bring them even better benefits in future.

Under class society, therefore, greater inequality has until recently led to greater accumulation of wealth in society. Society gets richer because the rich appropriate a higher proportion of production and prevent it from being consumed. It's also the typical neo-classical economist's justification for inequality.

What's changed is that the increasing domination of society by the money economy* means that, increasingly, production only takes place for sale rather than for use. Inequality, by restricting consumption, increasingly acts to restrict production as well. This phenomenon is aggravated by the financialisation of the economy, so that more social resources are being dragged into unproductive activities like financial speculation, which are about re-distributing claims on production rather than about increasing aggregate real wealth.

There is only one way out of this, although it is unfashionable at the moment. Capitalism has done its historically necessary work in increasing the productive forces of the world and the social productivity of labour to the extent that it is now possible for everybody to live in comfort**. Lenin and the Bolsheviks were premature in their analysis, which is one of the two fundamental reasons things went pear-shaped in Russia (the other reason being their dictatorial predilictions, but analysing that would take us too far away from the topic at hand). Europe, North America and the British White Dominions were ready for a post-scarcity economy, but the majority of the human race wasn't. Now, however, the world as a whole is ready – those parts which aren't yet ready are balanced by regions with a superabundance of productive forces. The consequence of this is that inequality has losts its role as an inescapable tragedy and has become a voluntary crime. We can have a world of freedom and equality, if we want it. At the moment, however, equality has a bad press – particularly in the USA.

* It's not widely realised that, even as late as the 1990s, the US was the only country on Earth where a majority of economically useful production took place in the money economy – and even there, it was a small majority.

** Yes, even in a world of Peak Oil, we have enough for everybody to live comfortably. There's not enough for everybody to drive SUVs, commute 500km per week and be generally extravagant with resources, but there's enough to feed, clothe and house everyone comfortably, with good health care and sufficient leisure, in sustainably designed cities with sustainable transport and energy systems.

[Jun 28, 2015] Fuck the US Imperialism -- Top German Politician Blasts Nuland Carter

Jun 28, 2015 | Zero Hedge

With intra-Europe relations hitting a new all-time low; and, having already been busted spying on Merkel, Obama got caught with his hand in Hollande's cookie jar this week, the following exultation from one of Germany's top politicians will hardly help Washington-Brussells relations. As Russia Insider notes, Oskar Lafontaine is a major force in German politics so it caught people's attention when he excoriated Ash Carter and Victoria Nuland on his Facebook page yesterday... "Nuland says 'F*ck the EU'. We need need an EU foreign policy that stops warmongering US imperialism... F*ck US imperialism!"

Here is the Facebook post (in German):

Lafontaine has been an outsized figure in German politics since the mid-70s. He was chairman of the SPD (one of Germany's two main parties) for four years, the SPD's candidate for chancellor in 1990, minister of finance for two years, and then chairman of the Left party in the 2000s. He is married to Sarah Wagenknecht, political heavyweight, who is currently co-chairman of Left party.

Lafontaine's outburst came a day after his wife, Sarah Wagenknecht, blasted Merkel's Russia policy in an interview on RT.

Here is the full translation of the post:

"The US 'Defense' secretary, i.e., war minister is in Berlin. He called on Europe to counter Russian 'aggression'. But in fact, it is US aggression which Europeans should be opposing.

"The Grandmaster of US diplomacy, George Kennan described the eastward expansion of NATO as the biggest US foreign policy mistake since WW2, because it will lead to a new cold war.

"The US diplomat Victoria Nuland said we have spent $5 billion to destabilize the Ukraine. They stoke the flames ever higher, and Europe pays for it with lower trade and lost jobs.

"Nuland says 'F*ck the EU'. We need need an EU foreign policy that stops warmongering US imperialism.

"F*ck US imperialism!"

* * *

When he comes out swinging this way, you know something is changing.

* * *

America - making friends and influencing people for 238 years...

remain calm

I see the CIA creating a little muslim terrorism in Europe to teach them the meaning of respect.

BlowsAgainstthe...

"But in fact, it is US aggression which Europeans should be opposing."

So good, it should be required reading . . .

"Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West's Fault

The Liberal Delusions That Provoked Putin"

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/russia-fsu/2014-08-18/why-ukrain...

Latina Lover

To date, the USSA adventurism in the Ukraine has hurt Germany financially and politically, with more losses to follow.

Instead of integrating more closely with Russia, and becoming a key part of the New Silk Road, Germany is blocked by the USSA, against her better interests. The USSA is creating a new berlin style wall of lies and propaganda between Russia and Germany claiming that Russia plans to invade the baltics, poland, moldova, blah, blah, blah.

Fortunately, most Germans are not anti intellectuals, and see through the lies, unlike the average american shlub (30% of whom cannot name the current VP but know all of the names of the Kardashians). Eventually, Merkel will get the boot, and be replaced by a more businesslike leader.

Not Too Important

30% is pretty generous, don't you think? More like 3%.

Even an aborigine in the middle of Africa with a cell phone knows more about the world than 97% of Americans.

Tall Tom

Fuck American Imperialism?

Actually it is GERMAN Imperialism over the nation states of Europe, using the European Union as a subterfuge, is that which needs be quashed.

Fuck GERMAN Imperialism and the European Union as it serves as a tool for the advancement of Germany's Imperialistic ambitions..

saveandsound

Oscar Lafontaine is member of the party "The Left". He used to be member of the "Social Democratic Party of Germany".

Both parties are of rather marginal significance, since Merkel's CDU rules them all. ;-)

Anyway, "the Left" has been opposing US Imperialism ever since, so there is not much new to see here.

datura

that won't help and no more false flags will help either. The latest poll showed that only 19% of Germans would fight Russians in case Russia attacked any NATO country. I repeat: if Russia attacked first. You can wonder, what would be the percentage of them willing to fight Russia just for the sake of Ukraine. Close to zero, I think. The USA overstepped all boundaries, when it began pushing EU countries into a military conflict with Russia. Continental Europeans are not Anglo-Saxons, they think differently. They will bow down to any USA pressure, except for a military conflict with Russia! Thats a big no no. Many of them still remember (especially Germans), what it was like to fight wild-spirited Russians, who never surrender no matter what. These constant talks about "Russian agression" by the USA politicians make Germans feel like a cornered animal with nothing to loose. Such animal cannot be subdued anymore, when your existence and life is so directly threatened, you bite. Or another example: try to force your slave to step on a rattlesnake. He may be forced to do many things, but this time he will turn against you. I already said it before: no war against Russia and Europe is possible, because even if the USA somehow forces us to any such war, huge amounts of people will be so angry that they will flee to the side of Russia. We are already discussing this openly. This is already happening in Ukraine. Already 10 000 Ukranian soldiers defected to the other side (to fight Kiev), plus one Ukrainian general, some members of the Ukranian intelligence service and about one and half million Ukrainians fled to Russia to avoid draft. I saw a video where three entire units of soldiers sent from Kiev to Donetsk (with tanks) changed side, threw out Ukrainian flags and put on Russian flags on their tanks under loud cheers from the brave people of Donbass. There are certain very natural limits to what you can force people to do, which bankers do not seem to understand. Yes, you can send many people to war, but they simply will not fight, unless you give them something to fight for. For example Hitler gave people something to fight for. But all bankers give us is chaos, no strong leader, no ideology strong enough....I think they hoped that Putin would invade Ukraine and that would be the reason for war (they provoked Hitler in a similar way). However, Putin is no Hitler, he is way too intelligent to play these silly games. And it is impossible to repeat exactly what was once so successful, because times change, people are different....you cant win with using old outdated strategies over and over. That is why all empires fall in the end. They get stuck in using the same tricks over and over, until they stop working. Even the old color revolutions are not as efficient now as they were in the past and the same goes for those silly false flags.

cherry picker

He is absolutely correct. US is surrounded by two oceans and the North and South neighbor have no intentions of invading the USA, so can anyone explain this war time nuclear, wmd, too many carriers and so forth military and paranoia.

Can't uncle Sam keep his huge nose out of everyone's business?

Can't America just enjoy what is theirs and leave others alone?

Who needs a CIA except for Nazi types.

Fuck Nuland is a good start.

Albertarocks

And the neighbors to the north and south are non-too-pleased with the USA either. We know WTF the USA is doing, although more and more are waking up to the fact that the USA is only being used as the war branch of the banking mafia. Because of this we hold nothing against American people.

In fact, up north we now probably feel more kinship with "the people" of the USA more than ever before. Because we are learning how all this works. It is the global banking monsters and the fascist corporations, the military industrial complex that is in bed with the fucking bankers. It is those assholes who are causing every damned war in the world... not "the USA" as such. Putin is a saint by comparison... not to mention the only sane leader of a superpower left on earth. He is admirable, even from this side of the pond.

Mexicans might present a problem, I don't know. Mexicans never bother Canadians so we just don't seem to have an opinion. Canadians are pretty calm, but fuck when we get mad there can be one hell of a bar fight. I don't know how all this works out but it isn't going in the right direction. I think 98% of Canadians would agree with Mr. Lafontaine. US Imperialism has got to come to an end. Or the world will. And by "US", I mean "banker".

BI2

If only our politicians could understand what that man is really saying. It is for our own good.

https://biblicisminstitute.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/warmongering-vs-econ...

Dodgy Geezer

We need need an EU foreign policy that stops warmongering US imperialism... F*ck US imperialism!"

You know what the problem is?

It's not particularly the US, though they are the biggest players at the moment. It's the result of the end of the Cold War.

Ever since WW2 the power blocs both had a big military and supporting intelligence service. When the Berlin Wall came down, the Russians collapsed theirs. The West did not. And ever since then it has been looking for a job. That's the reason we have had so much disruption. When your major arm of government is a multi-trillion dollar armed forces, every problem looks like an excuse for a war.

The Delicate Genius

It is not US imperialism

http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2014/09/anglozionist-short-primer-for-...

It is the imperialism of the Anglo-Zionist cabal which has hijacked the American treasury and military.

Neocons, Interventionist "realists" and other assorted militarist scum.

Their control of the MSM is sound {they even acquired VICE News as that got too popular, and Orwellized it, beginning with the Zionist sent to fake stories out of Ukraine}...

but not the internet. As younger people grow up, post comments and articles, this cleft between the pre-internet and internet informed grows more and more obvious.

I'm sure I'm not the only one that expects aggressive moves against intent content.

We've seen some attacks on free speech already in the Fast Track bill - but it will take time to really see how bad the TPP itself is in practice.

But it does seem clear that .gov is hoping to make an end run around various Constitutional niceties by "treaty."

and no - treaties do not and can not over-ride the Constitution. Only amendment, not treaty, can change the constitution.

PrayingMantis

... US imperialism plus US exceptionalism is analogous to this >>> http://rt.com/usa/270268-falcon-launch-space-fail/

... and while the US forces the other NATO members to apply more sanctions to Russia, US hypocrisy rears its ugly head by 'allowing' products from sanctioned Russia that would benefit them ... check this out

>>> http://rt.com/usa/270220-us-space-russian-engine/

pupdog1

Gotta love a guy who knows how to define a problem.

Fuck Noodleberg.

HTZMR

As someone who actually lives in Germany i can tell you that Lafontaine is an absolute has-been and he plays no role in German politics, nor has he for years. His influence came to an end when Schroeder kicked him out of his government over 15 years ago. To claim he is a heavyweight is simply dead wrong.

Wagenknecht does play a certain role, but the Left is a pure protest party full of fundamentalist hardline social democrats and former East German communists. The Left has no say on federal government matters such as foreign policy. This post is pure alarmism.

Wild E Coyote

Actually US and Soviet Union both went bankrupt by Cold War.
Soviet Union accepted their fate.
USA still refuse to accept theirs.

Renfield

Upvoted, but I think technically it was Vietnam that bankrupted the US.

Then again, you could argue that it was the First World War, or the 1929 market crash -- although its bankruptcy wasn't admitted until 1933.

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