The first two parts of this series focused on how Trump-specific factors could lead the American empire into another series of foolish and highly destructive wars. Part 1 discussed my concerns regarding Iran deal certification, as well as Trump’s increased coziness with Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, who appears to get turned on by the use of violent force. Part 2 considered how Trump might sell his wars by promoting an environment of slobbering, superficial patriotism, and also speculated that corporate media might rally behind Trump if the target of his aggression happens to be Iran.
Today’s piece will be slightly different. The prior posts focused on Trump-specific angles with regard to how America’s forthcoming military mistake might play out, but I want to make one thing clear. While Trump carries his own unique risks when it comes to militarism overseas, this is all much bigger than Trump.
In the aftermath of the financial crisis, I’ve become convinced that the U.S. empire will never reform on its own. There’s simply too much money and power at stake, and we already know oligarchs are above the law under our two-tier justice system. The biggest financial criminals of a generation were not only spared prison for their actions, but were handsomely rewarded. Wall Street ran the Obama administration before, and it runs the Trump administration now. It’s become clear to me that these lawless elite crooks and their enablers will continue with their insane and oppressive policies until the whole thing collapses. Whether Trump, Pence or Hillary Clinton run the charade doesn’t change where this train is headed.
I say this because I don’t want people to think I believe everything would work out fine if Trump wasn’t in charge. Our society is extraordinarily corrupt, delusional and systemically abusive. The public no longer has confidence in any of our institutions and for very good reasons. Our institutions exist merely to serve as gatekeepers to protect predatory crooks from the consequences of their actions.
The reason I focus on war leading to a more dangerous phase of imperial collapse is because I think that’s the most likely way this thing will go down. When I look around at those in positions of power or influence in the U.S., I don’t see people who’ve learned lessons from Iraq, Libya and now Yemen. Rather, I see a continued consensus of interventionists who’ll never stop looking for the next country to bomb. As such, it’s likely they’ll eventually pick the wrong fight, and everything will crumble pretty fast after that.
I think the most likely target for such aggression under Trump is Iran, but such a move will not go down the same way as the Iraq war. Back in 2003, U.S. leadership still had some standing in the world and amongst its own people. It was only two years after 9/11, and the American government was still seen as a positive force in the world by many. George W. Bush and his pals used this goodwill to destroy a country that never attacked us, killing hundreds of thousands of people in the process. Even worse, the entire thing was based on lies and media propaganda. A decade and a half later, the U.S. has been involved in plenty of other overseas calamities, but none as major as Iraq. Any new major conflict would happen in a world where the U.S. is far more despised than it was in 2003.
It’s sad to say it, but over the course of the 21st century the U.S. government has exposed itself as a corrupt bully, not just to the outside world, but also to its own people. Moreover, those in positions of power and influence in America either don’t recognize this reality or don’t care. It’s this sort of disconnected hubris combined with rampant internal corruption that is the true graveyard of empires. I think both allies and enemies abroad have had enough, and given the right opportunity, will let the U.S. sink.
As I explained in the post, Prepare for Impact – This is the Beginning of the End for U.S. Empire:
How is all this going to play out? Obviously nobody really knows, but I do think we’ve entered a new period in American history. I think it’s basically a crossing of the Rubicon moment for the American empire. Personally, I don’t expect a strong and visible military response from Russia in the near-term. I don’t think Putin wants to give the U.S. media and newly minted neocon Donald Trump an excuse to do anything truly crazy, which they can blame on Russia in the court of public opinion. I think Putin is too smart for that. Rather, what I think he’ll do is make all sorts of moves behind the scenes to weaken America’s economic power, while at the same time engaging in minor provocations to tempt the imbeciles in charge of U.S. foreign policy to make further mistakes abroad, to which they’ll emphatically oblige.
In other words, Russia will attempt to make the U.S. extend itself further in a region where no real success is possible, at the same time that the American economy deteriorates further. Recall that the current very weak economic “recovery” has been going on for nearly a decade. This cycle is very long in the tooth, and all Russia really needs to do is sit back, make some moves behind the scenes and allow the U.S. to collapse upon itself in its hubris and stupidity. This is precisely what I think is going to happen.
U.S. leadership is so delusional, and quite frankly stupid, that it thinks the answer to grave overseas threats is more aggression. The exact opposite is true. I’m of the view that both China and Russia are sitting back and just waiting for the U.S. to do something historically idiotic overseas.
Many Americans voted for Trump hoping that he would avoid such a scenario, but this optimism looks increasingly misplaced. As such, I expect a major military mistake in the years ahead which will set off a chain reaction that will ultimately deal a huge and very public blow to the U.S. empire. In other words, if you live another ten years you can expect to live through a period of rapid decay for the country as we know it.
While I believe such a collapse is extremely likely, it doesn’t mean the answer is to cower in fear as events begin to unfold. Rather, the better you understand the risks, the better prepared you’ll be to ride out the times ahead, thus providing a platform to turn a chaotic and dangerous situation into something positive.
So be a better person. Try to help people who need it. Spread ideas of decentralization and promote a worldwide movement away from centralized authoritarian structures wherever and whenever possible. The future is what we make of it, and the future can be very bright. To create a better world we’ll need a more conscious population grounded in decent behavior, and there’s no better place to start than with ourselves.
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