As the American empire transitions from the role of unitary superpower it has held since the demise of the Soviet Union, American elites strive to maintain the appearances of political, economic and military dominance—full spectrum–upon which such status is predicated. But as the second shoe finally drops signifying the end of the Cold War era, the reluctance of Americans to challenge the consolidation of power by the Imperial elite now underway stands in stark contrast to the willingness of many elsewhere to put themselves on the line to resist such a dismal outcome that bodes tremendous consequences far from American shores.
Into the gap provided by a complacent domestic populace created by shifting of investment from education to cultural propaganda which has effectively bred us into Lippman’s “bewildered herd” falls an emerging equivalent of an International Solidarity Movement for the Liberation (or at least Neutralization) of the American Empire. That which this nation of timid couch potatoes cannot do for ourselves is being done for us by others and I applaud them.
Empires succeed so long as their prerogatives are perceived to be inviolable economically, militarily and politically. George W. Bush’s greatest crime against the American consensus as deemed by liberals had been his diminishing of US prestige on all three fronts. Obama’s continuing along Bush’s trajectory has not changed this, yet liberals remain silent. A significant consequence of the Wikileaks project read as part of a solidarity movement is to delegitimize the US as a counterparty, as a trusted partner, in all dealings economic, military and political. This demolition of credibility on the three pillars of international legitimacy portends the death of a thousand cuts to the base of Empire and should be cheered and encouraged from the comfort of our couches and broadband connections. Click “like.”
Economically, the US has officially abandoned its domestic economic project in favor of the juiced up financial and military sectors. But the rest of the world offers scant comfort for the excesses of both. The key lesson from the meltdown in the Eurozone is that the safety net works and that casino capitalism does not. France and Germany are weathering the storm better than Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain (PIIGS) within the Euro context due to this. The price for populations resident in states which have been unfortunate enough to have failed to learn the lesson of the danger of casting one’s national lot with Austrian and Chicago school economics and continue to put the state as inviolable guarantor of private sector debt will be a long term of hard labor within what appears to be the Euro equivalent of an IMF austerity dungeon.
The US is beholden to the laissez-faire economic sharia approach of market worship, and can expect to find itself at the short end of the recovery stick once the stronger Euro economies and the rising industrialized powers (Brazil, Russia, India and China) make more attractive investment targets than the fading greenback. Brazil and China have already agreed to conduct bilateral trade most notably in a sizable volume of petroleum in their own currencies, abandoning the dollar as global means of exchange. The role of non-dollar denominated petroleum trade as relates to the primacy of the dollar cannot be underestimated.
The decline in the ability of US finance elites to create universally valuable and accepted dollars on their keyboards essentially at will and to deploy those dollars around the world where needed in volumes that dwarf and overpower all else presages a decline in the ability of the US to enforce its will militarily. The future viability of American tax receipts as collateral for dollar sovereign debt must be measured against the downward trajectory of both wages and tax policy. Declining wages and tax retrenchment spell a limited tax revenue stream and limits the economic bulk and heft backing the dollar. The only means of economic support for military spending equivalent of the rest of the world combined is this dollar extortion racket.
In addition to the abandonment of the dollar by Russia and China in bilateral trade, Germany and France are the apparent responsible adults in the global industrialized economy room that realize that US style casino capitalism as modeled by Goldman Sachs algo whizzes is neither a viable nor sustainable approach for governments with economic interests that extend beyond saturating the elites in greater wealth. Pressure exerted by Germany’s Christian Democratic Union’s Angela Merkel, hardly a socialist, to force senior bondholders on Eurozone member state sovereign debt to take significant haircuts on European bail out, underscore the divergence in economic policy between the sober states on the continent and the “Four Loko” chugging American and to a lesser extent British economic gangsters. Even the PIIGS have quit the sauce and have ceased efforts to dig themselves in deeper into the pit of denial of causality. The same cannot be said of the American economic Taliban.
The Germans have retained their quality manufacturing sector and realize that allowing hypertrophy on the part of the finance sector means that manufacturing, which delivers 8% return on capital invested, will never be able to compete with the 30-40% ROI that finance offers. European consensus seems to be gelling around the notion that finance must be relegated to the role of lubricant for capitalism lest it become capitalism itself and destroy productive enterprise. Americans have learned no such lesson, and it is less likely that Europeans will partner with American finance capital under these circumstances. If Wikileaks survives to the point where the Bank of America memos are released next month, the consequences on trust for the US finance sector could be damning.
If it turns out that the Treasury and Federal Reserve have been gaming European bonds as a distraction to shift attention away from their inability to deal with structural time bombs ticking within the US economy, then we can count on a further diminishing of US credibility as an economic partner.
Politically, many Americans were under the impression that President George W. Bush was the “worstest president ever” as far as America’s global appearance as “The Most Peace Loving of Nations” went. But Obama’s continuation of objectionable Bush policies almost without exception and their fundamental similarity to earlier administrations demonstrates that these policies are the property of the permanent state rather than any politically temporary head of government. The Wikileaks cables clearly demonstrate that the most toxic form of American exceptionalism permeates the diplomatic corps. The State Department is revealed as little more than vicious Chihuahua nipping at the heels of the peripheral provinces of Empire in the service of elite interests.
The coercion of continued military projects by the US Imperial elite is what is driving the hijacking of the decayed Republic by the Empire. The dollar economic system is engineered to subsidize it while preparing the ground for operations by brutally subjugating theatres of operation. The political operation is tasked with creating plausible scenarios for continued military profit making. And the profits from the military are plowed back into the finance and political operations. American capital is on strike except when it comes to financing electoral shifts to their favor and investing in creating instability and profiting off of the corpses they pile up in bulk.
Consider the $3 billion portion of annual US contribution to Israel that is made public. The Israeli occupation of and holocaust against Palestine takes center stage in ensuring the continued resistance to US operations in the southwest Asian oil patch. The nature of US dominance on that region as prison nations to provide inexpensive petroleum also instigates resistance. The sheer volume of ongoing engagements due to the ostensibly bat shit crazy actions of Israel burdens the US with hundreds of times that amount of money in military costs. Those policies are not bat shit crazy for all when those public investments pay off wildly as massive profits for military contractors. Those profits in turn get reinvested into shifting elections to maintain those policies and income streams.
Wikileaks’ release of Iraq documents exposes the glorious incompetence of the muscle bound US military in achieving its primary goals. But disclosing these secret documents should not be needed. The US military was incapable of defending its headquarters in the US capital. The US military has been incapable of using allegedly superior technological prowess to defeat ragtag militias from cultures that are just “emerging” into the early 20th century in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The most powerful military in the world backed with the most powerful intelligence community in the world has been unable to locate bin Laden after more than a decade of effort. If there ever was an emperor that had no suit of armor, this one is it.
Americans know the futility of speaking the truth to power, as power already knows the truth. The service that Wikileaks is providing the world is different because Wikileaks is speaking the truth in detail about how US power says it operates, how it says it lies and demonstrates just how unreliable US power is as a partner to those with whom US power does business.
Speaking the truth about how power is unreliable to those which power requires trust from in order to continue exercising power is the Achilles heel of power. The disclosure of crimes and a party’s unreliability is taken much more seriously than the underlying litany of crimes or record of deception.
Just as the US Empire has declared Usama bin Laden to be Public Enemy Number One, it now would elevate Julian Assange to join him in that pantheon. But Assange is more effective than bin Laden in showcasing that bin Laden is small potatoes when compared to the ongoing criminal gang that compromise the elites of the US Empire. Just as Bush II squandered the wellspring of goodwill globally directed at Americans post-9/11, the State Department cables reveal that the US has long since abandoned any semblance of credibility in its actions on the global stage.
The sum total of corpses piled up by the Imperial finance, political and military operation since it came of age after WWII, including dead Americans, diminishes the number of Americans killed by bin Laden or anyone else resisting imperial imperatives. The convergence of these elites has proven that the main terror threat to Americans resides in the Northern Virginia suburbs and Southwestern Connecticut and commutes to work in Washington DC and Manhattan.
Bin Laden had identified the correct targets but used the wrong weapons. Assange has corrected for bin Laden’s operational error and has deployed a far more effective weapon of choice, one that we must all hope will be more effective.
Edit: removed superfluous “finally” in paragraph 1.
Edit: cleaned up language in paragraph “Speaking the truth”