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America's Imperial Decline Might Be Our Last, Best Hope to Salvage Our Democracy

December 29, 2017 in Blogs

By Jacob Bacharach, AlterNet

Painful as it will be, it's a necessary precondition to creating a more just country.

When the United States vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution asking nations not to build any more diplomatic missions in Jerusalem only to be drubbed 128-9 in the General Assembly, which voted on a similar non-binding resolution last week, America’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, loudly proclaimed that the United States would be “taking names.” Her warning fell on deaf ears, although the U.S. and Israel did manage to cajole that titan of geopolitics, Guatemala, to come around to the American view.

The whole pitiful episode merely confirmed what the Trump administration has made readily apparent: Haley, like the president, has internalized the same impossible tale conservatives have been selling to Fox News grandmas for decades now: that the U.S. is a font of beneficent foreign aid; that the State Department outspends the Pentagon; and that billions and trillions in cash flow ever outward from our vaults and into the greedy hands of ungrateful minor nations that would sink without it. They think, in other words, that we have leverage where we do not.

When the UN announced a reduction in its budget for next fiscal year—something commonplace and long in the works—the U.S. government crowed that this was its doing. No one cared. But in an odd way, combative and stupid as they are, Trump and his circle intuitively grasp something that the mandarins of America’s post-war foreign policy consensus either won't or can't: that the institutions the United States built in order to camouflage and maintain its worldwide empire are increasingly unresponsive to the imperial will. In this respect, their strident nationalism is partially, if accidentally, correct. We ain’t what we used to be.

While our commuter trains leap from their aging tracks, tactical victories in the so-called war on terror produce not a glimpse of distant victory but only the enervating glimmer of a long-strategic defeat. The already barely tolerable oligarchy of late 20th-century capitalism has given way to a high-tech feudalism of the darkest speculative fiction, ruled by a tiny …read more


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