Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Delusions Of The Imperialists

The decline of the American empire parallels how much deeper it descends into brutality and self-destructive fantasies. This week in Pensacola, Florida, a Republican senator had a crowd cheer at the suggestion that President Trump will bring about Armageddon. Amid the inflamed violence in Israel from Trump’s “acknowledging” Jerusalem as the capital, he said the rapture is now imminent “because President Trump declared Jerusalem to be capital of Israel.”

This attitude reflects the reckless and self-delusional military approach that empires embrace in their late stages, which America is now consumed with. That panicked impulse to create mass destruction, named “micro-militarism” by historians, was first hinted at by the United States with the failed and genocidal Vietnam War. After a period of decline for the empire, Iraq and Afghanistan were invaded in an attempt to restore hegemony. 
These wars of course only accelerated the collapse. Now, as American alliances and occupations steadily fail and the U.S. dollar slowly approaches irrelevance, the empire desperately tries to revitalize itself by planning for completely unjustifiedwars in Iran and North Korea. These wars would be far worse than those in Iraq and Afghanistan, killing possibly millions of people in their first few hours if nuclear weapons become involved.
The more spectacular the attempts of micro-militarism get, the more convinced the system’s adherents become that their empire remains strong. The dramatic reports of toppled foreign leaders, triumphant missile strikes, and advancing troops and tanks mask the fragility and impermanence that all of our occupations are doomed to at this point. The reveling in our country’s displays of military force distracts from a crumbling nationwide infrastructure, a government that’s totally fused with corporations, and economic inequality that’s found to now be worse than it was in late stage Rome. This denial of our crisis is now aggressively displayed in the ridiculous slogan “Make America Great Again.”
The ruling oligarchs are trying to compensate for the unraveling of their global military operations by creating ever more weapons and passing ever more repressive laws. The military and the CIA, which have gained unprecedented power in the last year, are close to raising the annual military budget to $700 billion. The U.S. military campaigns, expanded to more than a half-dozen countries under Obama, have been radically intensified this year. Violence and persecution against Muslims has escalated with the Supreme Court’s enforcing a travel ban on several majority-Muslim countries. Corporate power, police militarization, and attacks against vulnerable people from law enforcement have exploded in recent months.
This comes as NATO and the U.S. military have been massively expanding their armaments in recent years. America now has around 900 military bases worldwide. The U.S. and NATO have encircled Russia and China with nuclear missiles, while provoking the former country into a new Cold War. Censorship based in manufactured fear of Russia is being enacted in the U.S. and in the E.U. countries. The coerced and propaganda-saturated masses could right now look to Allen Ginsberg’s line: “The soul is innocent and immortal it should never die ungodly in an armed madhouse.”
These determined embraces of fear, hatred and selfishness, enabled by a morally bankrupt liberal class, are almost unavoidable in the story of a despotic society. “Pity Canada,” writes Chris Hedges about Canada’s current Obama-eque, neoliberal Trudeau government. “Its citizens watch the stages of U.S. decline and then, a few years later, inflict on themselves the same cruelties. It is as if the snuffing out of democracy across the globe and the rise of authoritarian regimes are a preordained Greek tragedy and all of us, in spite of our yearning for liberty, must ominously play an assigned part.”
We can reject the roles we’ve supposedly been assigned of powerless observers in a dystopian series of events. We can go past working in the largely controlled paradigm of elections and petition-signing. We can refuse to pay taxes. We can organize strikes. We can hold refugees and unjustly hunted immigrants in our quarters. We can spread awareness of our government’s lies through our online media and alternative papers and pamphlets.
The fanatics and kleptocrats can’t be completely stopped. They’ve already caused damage to the biosphere that won’t be reversed for millions of years, and they and their vast defenses will concede nothing without direct resistance. But we can keep up our fight with the idea that one day the weapons will be laid down, the people will be let out of their cages, and freedom will be here for us to enjoy.

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