The American Metastasis

Trump_with_Troops

Who’s in Charge of the World and How?

Just who are the most retrograde elements in the United States government to dictate policy to sovereign countries in the rest of the world? Where does their authority–and it appears to be absolute–come from? Who are they to lay down unilateral trade bans and tariffs, promote “regime change,” grab sovereign funds in American banks, or sponsor false-flag operations, proxy wars, torture venues, and far-right regimes worldwide? Or to propagate their climate-change criminal negligence?

Are they duly empowered to decide who can buy Venezuelan or Iranian oil, or to impose their grim version of “democracy” all over the world by means of armed drones? Of course, they’re not. All of this supposed authority they have simply arrogated to themselves, like greedy children grabbing all the toys in the nursery. They’re having us on, running rampant across the world while at the same time denouncing the very policies they regularly practice themselves. They deplore Russian signals intelligence at the same time the NSA is tapping the telephone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, an important European ally.

All of this bullying is intolerable by any stretch of the imagination, but they think they can get away with it based on their “unique superpower” status the “American exceptionalism,” the “manifest destiny” of the 21st century. They declare their presumed omnipotence to the four winds. Are they presuming too much? Time will tell. In the meantime, not-insubstantial nations around the world are noticing that the United States has become a cancer on the planet, and it’s metastasizing.

World Domination is a Tricky Business, Sooner or Later You Get a Bad Reputation

That “later” has already arrived for the United States. And in historic terms it hasn’t been that long in coming. I would date it from President Truman’s double atomic bombing of Japan. Why double? It was because the Americans had two models of nuclear bombs, the Little Boy, dropped over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and the Fat Man, loosed three days later on Nagasaki, and they wanted to try them both. Never mind the inevitable messiness this double-dip would cause. With the Japanese military divided and their government tottering, was it really necessary to nuke Japan? Many authorities think not. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his 1963 memoir, Mandate for Change, criticized the use of the atomic bombs, saying they weren’t necessary to force the surrender of Japan.

Then came the American-dominated Cold War against the Russians and socialist governments around the world. The Russians had been loyal allies during World War II and assumed the vast majority of human casualties among the Allies, and on their own ground. What made the Americans and the British turn on them? At bottom, it was Truman and Churchill’s infirm fear of Communism or any other political system that smacked of collectivism. Why fear? Because they suspected that a large part of the world would prefer collective solutions for their countries rather than colonialism or predatory capitalism. Both Truman and Churchill are dead but their fear lives on and continues to spread untold grief.

After the CIA and NATO were formed at the end of the 1940s the same team of American intelligence officers who had been responsible for dirty tricks during and immediately after the war was assigned to carry on along the same lines in peacetime, then with a vastly bigger budget and wider remit. They were–and remain–the executive advance of America’s world-takeover initiative with significant actions in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and the Far East, including, of course, Viet Nam. There, two old men, a brilliant general and a well-loved political and military leader made history.

The former was Vo Nguyen Giap, acknowledged by military historians as one of the 20th century’s most brilliant generals. Though he had no formal military education, he learned from the masters in South China during the Communist revolution there, and his resolve was stiffened by the fact that his wife had died in a French prison. Giap was, and still is, revered by his countryman. He lived to the age of 102, dying in 2013. The latter was Ho Chi Minh, who, in his youth, had been a world traveler, some say including a stint as a cook (or dishwasher) in an English hotel. Ho went on to become a beloved elder statesman and one of history’s most renowned revolutionaries. Together they had led a tiny, primitive, and impoverished nation to victory over two of the 20th century’s most advanced–and most rapacious–colonial powers, both of which were guilty of grossly underestimating their enemies.

The US Geopolitical “Coming Out,” a Clear Statement of Intent

The United States’s next leap forward, their “coming out” in the macabre business of world domination was the rise of the PNAC (Project for the New American Century, 1997-2006), a neoconservative think tank and satellite of the American Enterprise Institute, that focused on US foreign policy. The list of its first 25 signatories reads like a rogue’s gallery of American far-right chicken hawks including Elliot Abrams, Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Norman Podhoretz, William Kristol, and Donald Kagan. (Source: Sourcewatch.org)

Their one-page Statement of Principles (June 3, 1997) responds to the question: ” Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?” Their answers harkened back to the Reagan administration’s get-tough approach to foreign affairs and advocated for openers the invasion of Iraq. The clearest expression of neoconservative pretensions in September, 2000, was a PNAC policy document, Rebuilding America’s Defenses, that advocated increases in military spending in order to establish what they called a Pax Americana that would reap the rewards of complete military and commercial control of land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace. This, they said, would be accomplished by the waging of “multiple simultaneous large-scale wars…” The most ominous line from that paper was this: “Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.” (Source: Antiwar.com) Conveniently, that “new Pearl Harbor” took place a year later on September 11, 2001.

Add One Sociopathic President, a Barbarian Cabinet, a Castrated Congress, and Stir

Today this sinister American plot is thickened by a sociopathic President and a cabinet of barbarian know-nothings who conceive their mission as privatizing or destroying essential American institutions one after the other. What about the United States Congress, the ultimate repository of American sovereignty, can’t they intervene? No, their hands are tied. They have long since been bought off by turbid interests. As for saving American institutions, neither the executive branch nor the Congress is very interested, in any case. Some of them are actually convinced that those institutions will soon be redundant. They believe the Apocalypse is nigh and they and their fellow believers are about to be “raptured” by God directly up into Heaven, leaving the rest of us here below to roast in hell.

Maybe they’re right. Metastasis tends to be terminal.

###

Thanks for commenting and sharing.

 

A Better Mousetrap

Mousetrap1

Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.

Americans believe in better mousetraps. That’s because they used to build the best ones in the world. Nowadays things are changing and they build mainly military products, which are great for killing people and enriching arms peddlers but not so great for making friends. Nor are all their military projects successful. Take the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter project, for example, the fattest military procurement operation in history. That atypical multi-purpose fighter plane, known among insiders as “the plane that sunk the Pentagon,” is a lemon in all of its unwieldy versions. According to one qualified critic, Pierre Sprey, “Its only purpose is to channel billions of dollars to Lockheed Martin.” 

In 1953, Charles E. Wilson, then the president of General Motors, told a congressional committee, “What is good for General Motors is good for the country,” and he was essentially right. GM was then the leading automobile manufacturer in the greatest manufacturing country the world had ever seen. Detroit was the undisputed industrial capital of the world in the first six decades of the 20th century. In the 1930s Gary, Indiana, the world’s leading steel producer, was actually cloned on the Russian steppes as Magnitogorsk, Russia’s steel city. Magnitogorsk aspired to be a model of industrial greatness and is still making steel today, though it has become a world-class showplace for contamination and dysfunctional industrialism. Think Flint, Michigan.

Here’s today’s automobile production reality (2017 figures from ceoworld.biz):

  1. China: 24.81 million units
  2. Japan: 8.35 million units
  3. Germany: 5.65 million units
  4. India: 3.95 million units
  5. South Korea: 3.74 million units
  6. United States: 3.03 million units
  7. Spain: 2.29 million units

What Happened to America’s Mousetrap Dominance?

Times change. The United States’s industrial dominance was consolidated during World War II with her prodigious production of tanks, planes, liberty ships and all the materiel that goes with winning a war. Post-war America, rich in Texas oil and floating in near-obscene abundance, saw no reason for varying the formula that put them on top. So they continued to build massive cars run on cheap gasoline, with no regard for what the Germans and the Japanese were doing. The Americans had already conquered them once and had nothing to fear. That’s why they took an inordinately long time to notice that the Germans and the Japanese were building better mousetraps. They took so long, in fact, that there was no catching up and their once all-powerful auto industry turned to the Great American Rust Belt. Today it exists solely thanks to government bailouts, and no one knows for how long.

Not to worry, though, as a select group of brilliant American businessmen had already discovered and were exploiting the new dream business, and it wasn’t manufacturing.  It was a money-spinner that was quicker, easier and more profitable than manufacturing grommets. It was financial services, 21st-century capitalism’s answer to alchemy. As academic, Christopher Witko, explains in an article in The Washington Post (March 29, 2016): 

… many observers believe that this expansion of the financial sector comes at a high cost. Scholars and politicians alike point to the “financialization” of the economy — and an increased reliance on the financial sector to create growth — as the root cause of many of our economic problems. The list includes income inequality, growing household debt, slow growth and the instability manifested in the 2008 global economic crisis.

Is this to suggest that financial operators are highly motivated to influence politics and policy in favor of their sector’s growth? It seems obvious and goes a long way to explain the meteoric rise of Washington’s financial-sector lobbyists. The more “adjustments” they can achieve for their bank and hedge-fund clients the more money everybody (except the American taxpayer) makes. And plowing some of that money back into ever-more-sophisticated lobbying efforts further oils the machine and keeps it spinning.

Who’s Doing the Great Mousetraps These Days?

Two countries are very much in the news in this respect lately, China and Russia, the former for their world-beating Huawei G5 fifth-generation high-speed communications kit and the latter for the S-400 anti-aircraft missile. Both new products touch raw nerve ends in the United States, and for obvious reasons. The Trump administration actually banned Huawei in the States–and in the process left Huawei’s founder’s daughter floundering under house arrest in Canada for allegedly violating American commercial sanctions, leaving the poor Canadians holding the ball.

The irony here is that the Chinese G5 system is at least two years ahead of its American competitors in development, and they have no hope of catching up any time soon. So urgent is their need for the Huawei equipment in order to deploy their own G5 services that they pressured President Trump into lifting the ban. How did the Chinese get so far ahead? As they weren’t busy running consecutive wars around the world, they had the time and resources to devote to technological development. So they built a better mousetrap.

Looked at from the outside–and it’s difficult to observe these highly-secret military matters from the inside–it seems the Russians stole a march on the Americans with the S-400, an anti-aircraft missile that will shoot down anything from the size of a football, at any speed, at any altitude and from a long way off. Not only that, but after American stalling for years on the sales of the–admittedly inferior–Patriot missiles to their allies, the Russians are merrily peddling the S-400 around the world, including to US Middle East partner, Turkey, a bitter pill for Uncle Sam. The Russians were helped greatly in this by the fact that the S-400 is not only superior to its American counterpart. It’s also less than half the price.

What Will the Americans Counter With?

That’s not quite clear yet. Their research-and-development and industrial resources having been relegated in recent years in favor of military adventures and tax cuts, they’re reduced to using their once-reliable strategies of smoke and mirrors. “Once-reliable” because President Trump, with his bold frankness and naive bravado, has drawn the curtain back on United States geopolitical objectives and strategies, and the Americans now have trouble taking the world by surprise. Broken treaties and repeated lies have convinced the world that they can no longer be trusted. It’s unlikely they will win this race with their usual black-ops public-relations campaigns,  patriotism, bluster, threats, false-flag operations or their new favorite recourse: sanctions. None of these ploys look promising anymore. Nothing works like a better mousetrap.

Thanks for sharing.

What Went Wrong, America? 2/2

maga

The West Virginia Coal Wars 

The West Virginia Mine Wars are a dramatic and often overlooked chapter of American history. In the early 1900s in the coalfields of Southern WV, miners faced desperate circumstances. Below ground they withstood some of the worst working conditions in America. Above ground they dealt with brutal mine guards and a mine guard system that controlled the politics and economy of the region.

In 1921 mountaineer families from the nearby hollows, African Americans from the Deep South, and immigrants from places like Hungary and Italy all came together to fight for the right to unionize and basic constitutional rights. From August 20 of that year, miners began rallying at Lens Creek , approximately ten miles south of West Virginia state capital of Charleston. Estimates of total numbers vary, but on August 24, between 5,000 and 20,000 miners began marching from Lens Creek into Logan County. Many of the miners were armed. Continue reading “What Went Wrong, America? 2/2”

What Went Wrong, America? 1/2

Wizard_America

Most Everything, Actually

Why is the United States, allegedly the richest, most-advanced country on earth, so out of step with the rest of the first world? Why does a significant part of its citizens live on the streets in cars, tents or cardboard hovels? Why are prisons occupied by an unnatural preponderance of people of color? Why are its gun homicides off the chart? Why are its elections so dubious and its religions so militant and mercantile? Why is such a wide swath of the population without health care? Why is the economic inequality so grotesquely pronounced there? What gives the American behemoth the right to impose–or try to impose–its will on any sovereign nation it pleases? Why does the United States need 800-1,000 military bases around the world? Why is the country controlled by a fiendish cohort of industrialists and financiers, headed up by a lowbrow President who was actually elected? Why doesn’t somebody do something about all of these glaring anomalies? They’ve done it in the rest of the First World. What went wrong with you, America? Continue reading “What Went Wrong, America? 1/2”

USA: Surveillance, Denial and the Apocalypse

pentacostals

There’s a Man Going Round Taking Names

(This subhead is a link to a commentary by Johnny Cash.)

The list of people and agencies who are scrutinizing your personal data and Internet habits is a long one. There’s the FBI, ICE, the CIA, the NSA, the GCHQ, the KGB, Cambridge Analytica, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and a whole raft of politically rabid American billionaires. And me. I’m studying your comportment on Facebook to see if there’s anything I can learn about you and your fellow Americans. Sure enough, there is.

I’ve had a Facebook account for more than a decade. Mostly I’ve used it to look up old schoolmates, post curiosities, share human interest stories and music videos, relate to other dog-and-cat people, and generally waste time. When I started writing my geopolitical blog (Trump and All the Rest) a few years ago I began publishing my political posts simultaneously on Facebook. I also shared articles that I considered valuable on the subjects of American domestic and foreign policy, stories by excellent critical thinkers like John Pilger, Robert Fisk, Noam Chomsky, Seymour Hersh, William Blum, and lately, Umair Haque.

What’s Important, Puppy Dogs or Total War?

It seemed to me that my fellow Facebookers were ignoring the posts that I considered important. Fair enough, most of what I write is critical of the United States government’s wickedness at home and abroad. So I wasn’t surprised to find that responses to the dog-and-cat videos generated more feedback than the political articles. What did surprise me, however, was to what extent my Facebook friends ignored any content critical of the United States. There are exceptions, of course. But the vast majority of the English-speaking Facebook universe, which I consider a fairly representative cross-section of American society, flatly doesn’t want to know.  It’s as if they were in amnesia mode, anesthetized, indifferent to every day’s vitally-urgent realities, or worse, in denial, at the top of a slippery slope.

What’s behind this amnesia/denial phenomenon? Have most Americans simply given up? Has the dramatic right-wing shift in their country taken all the wind out of their sails? Are they convinced that their future is limited to permanent war, caged children, miraculous end-times religion, and the dismantling of the American government as we know it? It would seem so.

Blame It on “Southernization?”

Or maybe not. There’s another possibility. Maybe the American majority has switched its loyalty to what Kevin Phillips refers to in his 2006 book, American Theocracy, as the “southernization” of American politics, the adoption by a desperate, undereducated electorate of simple good-ol-boy southern values, magical fundamentalist-religious solutions, and silly logic like advocating all-out war in the Middle East in order to bring about the Apocalypse. This is where leading American politicians like Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell and Mike Pompeo originate, the Rapture crowd, and there’s a lot more where they came from.

It’s not quite clear where President Donald Trump fits into this scheme of things but he’s at least opportunistic enough to hitch his wagon to a movement that includes many millions of true-believing voters. According to a piece published on Vox.com on November 2018, 81% of white, born-again evangelical Christians voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential elections. That same article affirms, “White evangelicals continue to be one of the most reliable voting groups in the country. Even as their numbers are shrinking in the general population, their affinity with and enthusiasm for President Trump has so far allowed them to hold their numbers steady at the ballot box.”

This End Game Is Not a Game

A 2014 Pew study categorized 25.4% of the American population, which stood then at 318.6 million people, as white evangelical protestants. So do the math. These numbers are not to be taken lightly. This link between fundamentalist religión and presidential politics goes a long way to explain President Trump’s fawning allegiance to Bibi Netanyahu’s ruthless right-wing Israeli party which millions of American evangelical and pentecostal voters are counting on to initiate the long-awaited end-times war. This massive swamp of ultra-religious voters is too important to President Trump’s political future to be ignored.

So here we are, all of us, kneeling on the biblical brink.

Thanks for liking, sharing and following.

Jimmy Carter on American Militarism and China’s Incredible Progress

“For old men to be taken seriously they must resort to telling the truth.” Bart Sedgebear

Carter4

Trump’s Phonecall Prompts Jimmy Carter to Reply Candidly

When President Donald Trump phoned Jimmy Carter earlier this month to talk about China he didn’t expect the result to be a damning declaration of American militarism. But that’s what he got, pronounced the following Sunday by the former President during his regular Sunday School lesson at Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia.

President Carter’s remarks were recorded and transcribed by Emma Hurt, a reporter for National Public Radio affiliate WABE and published on NPR.com. The President said, among other things, that the United States is “the most warlike nation in the history of the world…” This is not a jihadi terrorist speaking, nor a hot-headed young anti-war demonstrator. This is America’s most-respected and best-loved elder statesman, a Nobel Peace Prize laurate and veteran campaigner for free and fair elections and human rights worldwide.

Is it possible that President Carter’s compass is failing him as he reaches 94 years of age?Is he off the mark with this perception of the United States as history’s prime killer? He certainly doesn’t seem addled. Let’s see what he had to say and how he expressed himself in an interview last year when he was 93 years old:

The implications of President Carter’s most-warlike-nation evaluation are massive, perhaps even biblical. It was no coincidence that these thoughts should have been presented in a Sunday school class. “The history of the world…” is a long time, and there have been many warlike nations, extending down to our own lifetimes. It is true, however, that only one of those nations saw fit to drop two atomic bombs on  innocent, unsuspecting civilian populations; men, women and children.

Atom bombs Japan
Little Boy and Fat Man

Why two bombs? Wouldn’t one have been enough? Yes, probably, but America’s nuclear scientists had two models prepared, Little Boy (Blast yield‎: ‎15 kilotons of TNT) and Fat Man (Blast yield: 21 kilotons), and President Truman and his advisors wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to test the destructive results of both. Hence Hiroshima and Nagasaki marked a lugubrious before and after in world history.

President Carter’s remarks extended to the domestic implications of American militarism. Aptly comparing the progress of China and the United States since relations between the two countries were  normalized during his administration in 1979, the President Emeritus pointed out, “Since 1979, do you know how many times China has been at war with anybody? None. And we have stayed at war.”  What Carter was too modest to say was that the only five-year period that America was free from war during the 20th century was the last year of the Ford presidency and all four years of his own.

Defense_spending_2017According to President Carter, China has made giant strides forward in every aspect of their society while the United States has stagnated gravely due to its outlandish spending on “national defense.” What possible justification can there be for the US maintaining nearly 1,000 military bases abroad (compared to Russia’s 21 which include mainly former Soviet republics), or military spending that is the equivalent of the sum of the next seven countries combined? Economic experts predict that China will overtake the U.S. as the world’s strongest economy by  2030.

“How many miles of high-speed railway do we have in this country?” Carter asked the congregation.

“Zero,” they answered unanimously. According to Wikipedia China has the largest network of high-speed passenger trains in the world extending over 18,000 miles.

“We have wasted, I think, $3 trillion,” Carter said, referring to American military spending. “China has not wasted a single penny on war, and that’s why they’re ahead of us. In almost every way.”

President Carter’s summary was devastating:

And I think the difference is if you take $3 trillion and put it in American infrastructure, you’d probably have $2 trillion left over. We’d have high-speed railroad. We’d have bridges that aren’t collapsing. We’d have roads that are maintained properly. Our education system would be as good as that of, say, South Korea or Hong Kong.

Many Americans might be shocked to read that the United States can only aspire to education standards as high as those of South Korea. They might also be envious of South Korea’s automobile production of 4 million vehicles, compared to US’s 2.8 million–not to mention China’s 23.5 million. If these figures shock you it’s because you’re still living in the glossy past of the United States. In more recent times America has made mainly war while the rest of the world has made progress.

It’s an apt time to thank President Carter for this frank and valiant reminder and for his years of service, both during and after his time in office. If the American people had enjoyed half a dozen presidents of Carter’s stature at critical junctures in the history of their country today’s United States would be a far, far better place.

most warlike country
Just in case you were doubting the magnitude of the problem.
Thanks for commenting and sharing.

US-UK Empires, Parallel Decline

Trump_May_Queen_600

“The mightiest adversary that snaps great empires like twigs isn’t chimerical
“globalization” — it’s glittering hubris, bedecked in the finery of denial.”
Umair Haque, Harvard Business Review (HBR.org)

by Mike Booth

The Biology of Empires

No empire is eternal. The lives of empires correspond to biological models. They are born, grow old and die. That process has not varied from the times of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Empire around 550 B.C. It took the Byzantine Empire more than eight centuries to wind down to zero, and the Holy Roman Empire lasted roughly the same amount of time. In terms of longevity the British Empire doesn’t even make the list of the top 15. It survived for less than 400 years, though it was the largest. In 1922 the “empire on which the sun never set” ruled 458 million people spread over almost a quarter of the earth’s surface. As for the American Empire, it’s a mere upstart. If we look at it from the end of the Spanish American war, the United States already controlled part of Mexico thanks to the “Mexican Cession” land grab at the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848, including today’s states of California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of New Mexico and Arizona. In 1898 they added Puerto Rico, the Philippines and the Island of Guam. These latter two aquisitions were the jumping off points for American establishment in the Pacific.

What has varied in these imperial processes is the speed at which they deteriorate. Far back in history everything was slower, including decline. Today, with everything functioning at electromagnetic speed, the duration of empires tends towards zero. That’s why United States imperialism which, if we include the undeniably imperialistic treatment of native Americans, has only been around since the 17th century, doesn’t look terribly promising. After all, the Ottomans conquered and held Mesopotamia (Iraq) from the 16th century till the end of World War I. Afghanistan was conquered and ruled successfully by the Persian Empire (Iran) from 539 until 331 BC. These primitive successes don’t say much for recent American efforts in those places. “But we’ve got the greatest military power the world has ever seen!” you say. That ‘s true, but it’s not winning many wars, and the the expenditure it requires is impoverishing your country unduly.

How Are Today’s Empires Faring?

Today’s patent reality is that Great Britain’s empire terminated in 1997 witht the return of Hong Kong to China and is now submerged in a disastrous post-imperial Brexit process. The headline on today’s (April 6, 2019) Brexit story in The Guardian:

“A shambles on which the sun never sets: how the world sees Brexit”

Here’s their lead to that story:

A New York Times columnist believes the UK “has gone mad”. How, asks a Russian TV host, can Britain fail so spectacularly “to correlate its capabilities with reality”? For Australia, it’s like “watching a loved grandparent in physical and mental decline”.

From China to Israel and Russia to Brazil, a world well beyond Europe is watching Britain’s Brexit bedlam with sorrow, bafflement and amusement – and, in those parts of the globe once told that Rule Britannia meant order, stability and shared long-term prosperity, not a little schadenfreude.

Washington Post columnist Fareed Zakaria says in an article entitled: “Brexit will mark the end of Britain’s role as a great power” that:

The UK, famous for its prudence, propriety and punctuality, is suddenly looking like a banana republic” – and its implosion might even be the beginning of the end of “the west, as a political and strategic entity.

On the Other Side of the Atlantic

Race_to_Bottom

At the same time the United States is beset by a know-nothing regime, dangerous to its own country and to the rest of of the world. We must never lose sight of the fact that, given today’s rates of change in everything, the last chapter of the American decline could be rapid, not to mention cataclysmic, and its scope would not be limited to the United States. I won’t bother citing examples to substantiate the danger that President Donald Trump and his team represent. Just pick up any newspaper, any day, and look at the front page.

In both cases these uncomfortable post-imperial situations were brought on by the cynical manipulation of the myths of their histories. Both countries are paying the price today for centuries of government-induced mass delusion regarding their glorious pasts.  We’re talking about the great tradition of American political folklore: nationalism and jingoism, exceptionalism, my-country-right-or-wrong patriotism, racism,  militarism, and, of course, heroism in the defense of freedom for markets.

History sees George Washington indifferently, from a mediocre to merely competent military commander whose primary mission was to buy time for the French to intervene to turn the tide in the Revolutionary War. The truth is that Washington’s ragtag army incurred some brutal losses on the battlefield. Yet Americans have been taught to revere him as an exemplary lad who fessed up to chopping down a cherry tree and went on to become a war hero and “the father of our country.” Washington had no children. 

All the rest of American history, as told to high-school students, is similarly rose tinted/tainted, a fact which is well documented in Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, a 1995 book by James W. Loewen, a sociologigy professor. The Goodreads.com blob says:

After surveying eighteen leading high school American history texts, he has concluded that not one does a decent job of making history interesting or memorable. Marred by an embarrassing combination of blind patriotism, mindless optimism, sheer misinformation, and outright lies, these books omit almost all the ambiguity, passion, conflict, and drama from our past.

Britannia Rules the Waves

May_736The British are similarly addicted to their Rule Britannia traditions, and their neurosis has had more time to simmer. Their very name, “Great Britain,” is pretentious and overbearing. After all, we don’t refer to Great United States, Great Germany or Great China. Fair enough, Britain could have been construed as great until quite recently, but today it’s just a damp little island abandoned in the North Atlantic. But the Great British are having none of that. The last vestige of imperial Britain was Hong Kong, returned to China in 1977, in the living memory of older Brits–and the older they are the more they cling to their country’s imperial greatness. The area in square miles of Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) is roughly the same size as the state of Indiana. Only 12 of the 50 states are smaller than the whole of Great Britain.

British greatness today, in the light of the current Brexit debacle, is based almost exclusively on imperial hauteur, the main ingredients of which are ignorance and arrogance. Prime Minister Theresa May’s leadership has been shown by methodical European negotiators to be intellectually, politically and morally deficient, incapable of navigating the complicated waters of a European divorce between sovereign nations. EU insiders affirm that May and her inexperienced negotiating team are driving them around the bend. The mediocrity of the Brits shines even brighter in the light of May’s arrogance on her way into the negotiations in 2016, declaring herself, “a bloody difficult woman.”

That might qualify her for a pub brawl, but certainly not for negotiating one of the most complex and delicate deals in British history against the best that 26 EU countries could set against her. Her now-resigned chief negotiator, David Davis, the self-styled “charming bastard” of Brexit, was seen entering into negotiating sessions without a single piece of paper. It’s not clear whether or not he was carrying a pencil or a pen. Whatever the case, European negotiators were amazed, and not in a good way. (The complete list of British Brexit negotiators’ boutades would fill a volume you wouldn’t want to carrry in your briefcase.)

Today, Saturday, April 6, 2019, with Great Britain teetering on the very brink of EU auto-exclusion, BBC News quotes British Chancellor Philip Hammond, affirming that he’s “optimistic” that Brexit discussions between the government and Labour can reach “some form of agreement”.

But, according to the same BBC.com story, Labour’s Diane Abbott says the government has made “no movement” in the talks on the political declaration, which outlines future UK-EU relations. Three days of talks ended on Friday without agreement and Labour said no more talks were planned this weekend.

In the interest of fairness, I’ll share with you a couple of pithy quotes from a recent article (Dec. 14, 2018) in the Washington Post:

“She was given a mandate beyond her control and did not have any leverage on her side.”

“In the last two decades, Britain has left much of that work to Brussels, which meant it didn’t have a team of seasoned experts ready to swoop in.”

It seems that the Great British, long accustomed to rule, are going to have to get used to occupying a humbler place in the world, either that or sinking into deep denial, which seems to be their current state.

Trump_May4

Meanwhile Back in the USSA

Let’s include in our definition of “imperialism” not just countries taken over and ruled by viceroys, but also soverign nations that are “corrected” from time to time by means of invasions by imperial powers. This has been the modus operandi of the United States in Central and South America for more than a century in places like Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Grenada… Nor are they above organizing local reactionary elements to do the dirty work form them as in Chile and Argentina.

If you’re interested in seeing more details regarding the yanqui’s high-handedness south of the border here’s  a link to a recently-updated Associated Press article: Before Venezuela, US Had Long involvement in Latin America

Since Imperial America was humiliated in Vietnam 44 years ago they have limped forward at a surprisingly slow pace despite their impressive high-tech military-industrial complex and their 1,000 military bases around the world, surrounding almost everybody. Though they had little trouble subjecting tiny countries like Panama and Grenada, they had a harder time digesting more substantial places like Afghanistan, Irak and Cuba.

The imperial mindset inevitably extends into domestic affairs. Great Britain’s own Lord Acton reminded us: “Power corrupts…” A prima facie case for this is evident today throughout the American government. The US Supreme Court’s Citizens United decisión was clearly corrupt, cynically tailored to the advantage of big industrial and financial institutions. Today’s American government has been virtually bought and paid for by special interests, a fact which logically disauthorizes any of its initiatives whether at home or abroad.

The handling of the firearms situation in the US is so egregious that is without paragon anywhere else in the world. That a thuggish interest group like the National Rifle Association should call the shots on such a vital question is seen as beyond the pale in all minimally civilized countries. As for the authority of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, it’s as irrelevant today as phrenology and the Supreme Court of any advanced country would interpret it as such.

If the máximum corruption is government power beyond democratic control, then the United States, with the Pentagon’s unaccounted-for $2-trillion, takes the prize. It’s not that the sinister dwarves at the Pentagon don’t know where that money went. They’re just not telling. It’s too, well, sinister. As for illegitimate power how’s about President Donald Trump boasting aloud that, if push comes to shove, he has the police and the military on his side?

Who Will Win the Trans-Atlantic Race to the Bottom?

Keeping in mind that it’s an unfair race, since the Great British had a head start, and is currently undergoing a serious setback with Brexit, it would seem that the UK is most likely to hit bottom first. However, considering the wild and anti-natural swings of the American pendulum, one could make a case for a probable American victory. They need a victory. But we can’t relax. Their imperial downfall would most likely affect us all, and not in a good way.

###

Thanks for commenting, following and sharing.