FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Imminent Decline of the American Empire?

The miscalculated policies of the US administration in the Middle East are quickly depleting the country’s ability to sustain its once unchallenged global position. Winds of change are blowing everywhere, and there is little that Washington’s ideologues can do to stop it.

The above claim is increasingly finding its way into the realm of mainstream thinking, despite all attempts to mute or relegate its import. A recent speech by US Republican congressman and chairman of the House of international relations committee, Henry Hyde was the focal point of analysis by Martin Jacques in The Guardian. “Our power has the grave liability of rendering our theories about the world immune from failure. But by becoming deaf to easily discerned warning signs, we may ignore long-term costs that result from our actions and dismiss reverses that should lead to a re-examination of our goals and means,” Hyde said.

In his poignant analysis–decoding Hyde’s deliberately implicit thoughts–Jacques argued, “The Bush administration stands guilty of an extraordinary act of imperial overreach which has left the US more internationally isolated than ever before, seriously stretched financially, and guilty of neglect in east Asia and elsewhere.”

Ironically, the invasion of Iraq with its “thousands of tactical” mistakes–as recently admitted by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice–was meant to solidify and ensure the US’ post Cold-War global dominance. According to Jacques, as inferred from Hyde’s notable speech, “It may well prove to be a harbinger of its decline.” It can also be argued that the US adventurism in Iraq has provided the coveted opportunity to other countries to further their national and regional interests without the constant fear of US reprisals.

In a recent interview, MIT professor Noam Chomsky, known for his sharp criticism of US foreign policy particularity in Indochina, Central and Latin America, delineated a new global political reality that is being forged as the US stubbornly insists on fighting a lost battle in Iraq. “What’s happening is something completely new in the history of the hemisphere. Since the Spanish conquest, the countries of Latin America have been pretty much separated from one another and oriented towards the imperial power. For the first time, they are beginning to integrate and in quite a few different ways.”

That integration is evident, according to Chomsky, not only by examining the rise of the Left in these countries and the almost immediate alliances–economic cooperation, for example–that these popular governments have achieved. There is a simultaneous rise of the political relevance of the indigenous Indian population in Bolivia, and the opportunities it represents to the Indian population of Ecuador and Peru. Moreover, there is a noteworthy South-South integration that is already breaking regional boundaries and significantly undermining the overpowering grip of the IMF, which has played the infamous role of the unfair middleman between the rich and hapless poor.

China and India, on the other hand, continue to achieve astounding economic growth with China’s economic might and relevance to soon surpass that of the US. In fact, there is an intense diplomatic clash underway between the US and China, since the latter has dared to violate the understanding of the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, which gave the US alone the right to manage its Latin American domains. For the first time, says a BBC analysis, a foreign country has challenged American influence in the region, and successfully so. Indeed, China is upgrading its economic relations with Brazil–both increasingly formidable economic powers–in ways that will eventually help Brazil break away from a domineering US hold.

These are all part of the “warning signs” to which Hyde was refereeing in his speech. While there are indications that Washington is finally waking up to this grim reality, which it has helped create, there are no signs whatsoever that a fundamental change of course in US foreign policy in the Middle East is taking place: the destructive war in Iraq rages on; the self-inflicting damage of unconditionally backing Israel in its endless colonial ambitions perpetuates; and the same detrimental policy line used with Iraq is employed, almost identically with Iran. US policy planners are as ever insistent on following the same destructive course that has compromised their nation’s global standing.

Instead of paying attention to these woes, the Bush administration is trying to recover some of its Southeast Asia losses by signing a nuclear treaty with India, an action that reeks of double standards and miscalculations. The administration has also lifted the ban on sales of lethal arms to Indonesia in recognition of its “unique strategic role in Southeast Asia,” despite protests from human rights groups.

Despite Bush’s recent ‘historic’ trip to India and other top officials’ hasty attempts to reassert America’s global dominance, there should be no illusions that the US’ chief foreign policy debacle starts and ends with the Middle East–especially its ‘special’ relationship with Israel. While the latter has served the role of the client state since its establishment on ethnically cleansed Palestinian territories, this relationship was significantly altered in recent years, with the pro-Israeli lobby taking centre stage, not simply by influencing US foreign policy toward Israel, but eventually by directing it altogether in the region.

The rise of the neoconservatives helped create the false impression that the US and Israeli policies are one and the same, including their mutual interests in maintaining Israel’s military “edge” over its neighbors, which eventually led to the invasion of Iraq. While the neocons are washing their hands of any responsibility in the Middle East impasse, the Bush administration’s arrogance is stopping it from immediately withdrawing its troops from Iraq and reassessing its relationship with Israel.

The world is changing, yet the US government refuses to abandon its old ways: militaristic, self-defeating and overbearing. Indeed, the US must remold, not only its policies in the Middle East, but also its hegemonic policies throughout the world. For once, the US administration needs to tap into its sense of reason, and discern the “warning signs”, that should lead to “the re-examination of [its] goals and means.” A first step is to bring the troops home, and with them the entire doctrine that unrestrained violence and perpetual wars can further the cause of an already distrusted superpower.

RAMZY BAROUD teaches mass communication at Curtin University of Technology and is the author of The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle. He is also the editor-in-chief of PalestineChronicle.com. He can be contacted at: editor@palestinechronicle.com

 

 

More articles by:

Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is: ramzybaroud.net

June 18, 2018
Paul Street
Denuclearize the United States? An Unthinkable Thought
John Pilger
Bring Julian Assange Home
Conn Hallinan
The Spanish Labyrinth
Patrick Cockburn
Attacking Hodeidah is a Deliberate Act of Cruelty by the Trump Administration
Gary Leupp
Trump Gives Bibi Whatever He Wants
Thomas Knapp
Child Abductions: A Conversation It’s Hard to Believe We’re Even Having
Robert Fisk
I Spoke to Palestinians Who Still Hold the Keys to Homes They Fled Decades Ago – Many are Still Determined to Return
Steve Early
Requiem for a Steelworker: Mon Valley Memories of Oil Can Eddie
Jim Scheff
Protect Our National Forests From an Increase in Logging
Adam Parsons
Reclaiming the UN’s Radical Vision of Global Economic Justice
Dean Baker
Manufacturing Production Falls in May and No One Notices
Laura Flanders
Bottom-Up Wins in Virginia’s Primaries
Binoy Kampmark
The Anguish for Lost Buildings: Embers and Death at the Victoria Park Hotel
Weekend Edition
June 15, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Dan Kovalik
The US & Nicaragua: a Case Study in Historical Amnesia & Blindness
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Yellow Journalism and the New Cold War
Charles Pierson
The Day the US Became an Empire
Jonathan Cook
How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions
Ajamu Baraka
North Korea Issue is Not De-nuclearization But De-Colonization
Andrew Levine
Midterms Coming: Antinomy Ahead
Louisa Willcox
New Information on 2017 Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Deaths Should Nix Trophy Hunting in Core Habitat
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Singapore Fling
Ron Jacobs
What’s So Bad About Peace, Man?
Robert Hunziker
State of the Climate – It’s Alarming!
L. Michael Hager
Acts and Omissions: The NYT’s Flawed Coverage of the Gaza Protest
Dave Lindorff
However Tenuous and Whatever His Motives, Trump’s Summit Agreement with Kim is Praiseworthy
Robert Fantina
Palestine, the United Nations and the Right of Return
Brian Cloughley
Sabre-Rattling With Russia
Chris Wright
To Be or Not to Be? That’s the Question
David Rosen
Why Do Establishment Feminists Hate Sex Workers?
Victor Grossman
A Key Congress in Leipzig
John Eskow
“It’s All Kinderspiel!” Trump, MSNBC, and the 24/7 Horseshit Roundelay
Paul Buhle
The Russians are Coming!
Joyce Nelson
The NED’s Useful Idiots
Lindsay Koshgarian
Trump’s Giving Diplomacy a Chance. His Critics Should, Too
Louis Proyect
American Nativism: From the Chinese Exclusion Act to Trump
Stan Malinowitz
On the Elections in Colombia
Camilo Mejia
Open Letter to Amnesty International on Nicaragua From a Former Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience
David Krieger
An Assessment of the Trump-Kim Singapore Summit
Jonah Raskin
Cannabis in California: a Report From Sacramento
Josh Hoxie
Just How Rich Are the Ultra Rich?
CJ Hopkins
Awaiting the Putin-Nazi Apocalypse
Mona Younis
We’re the Wealthiest Country on Earth, But Over 40 Percent of Us Live in or Near Poverty
Dean Baker
Not Everything Trump Says on Trade is Wrong
James Munson
Trading Places: the Other 1% and the .001% Who Won’t Save Them
Rivera Sun
Stop Crony Capitalism: Protect the Net!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail