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Paupp on the End of Empire

KZ: Your book faces up to a key question that is rarely discussed in the U.S. media -- American Empire. I expect many in the media and the public do not think of the U.S. as an empire. Please explain why you call the U.S. an empire?

TP: You are quite correct in noting that the U.S. media fails to even acknowledge that Americans live in an empire. I call the U.S. an empire because it is clear to any serious student of history that it became one in the aftermath of World War II when England surrendered its colonies and accepted the protection of the U.S. nuclear umbrella from the beginnings of the Cold War.

The entire period of the late 1940s through the early 1960s was an age of de-colonization from the empires of Britain, France, and Germany. Yet, during this period the Cold War provided the context for the U.S. to embark upon neo-colonialism and neo-imperialism in order to protect the so-called "Free World." The reality is that the Free World is not really "free" in terms of civil liberties and human rights. It is free to open access by U.S.-based corporations and multinational/transnational business interests.

To assist in this structuring of the world economy in line with the American Establishment, the IMF, World Bank, and WTO have been established to govern the world economy and as many countries as possible within its orbit. To that end, both Wall Street and the U.S. Treasury Department -- as the centers of U.S. finance and capital -- give the rest of the world within its "sphere of influence" their marching orders. We see this as Third World nations have structural adjustment programs shoved down their throats by the IMF. These structural adjustment programs, SAPs, that are imposed by the IMF function so as to order the governments who are the recipients of these loans to break up labor unions, suspend wage structures that benefit workers, and condone the rape of the environment.

All of this is undertaken by the U.S. Global Empire in the furtherance of its corporate allies and in its strategic search for obtaining natural resources -- such as oil, tungsten, ore -- to shore up its domination of the planet. In fact, the Pentagon has said as much in its planning documents since 2001 when it writes of "full spectrum dominance." What is that? It is the control of not only land, air, and sea by the American Empire, but outer space as well.

The weaponization of space is a high priority for the Bush-2 regime [...]

and now for the good news:

KZ: You also claim that the American empire is falling. What evidence do you have of that?

TP: I do claim that the American Empire is falling. To begin with, the U.S. Governments borrows $2-billion dollars a day from China just to keep the American economy going. China is basically borrowing worthless U.S. Treasury Bonds that are backed up by nothing more than the promise of the "full faith and credit" of the U.S. Government. Ever since the U.S. went off the gold standard during the Nixon presidency, the dollar is not backed by anything -- except the military strength of the nation and its worldwide domination over most foreign currencies. However, those days might well be ending as the Euro takes its place as the dominant currency of the European Union and Europe begins to follow different policy choices and paths from the architects of the American Empire.

Additionally, the breakdown of the so-called "Washington Consensus" in the late 1990s means that the economic model of Neo-liberalism is no longer a viable model for the developing nations of the Third World and those nations -- such as Cuba, Venezuela, and Ecuador that want to walk an independent path from that proclaimed by the architects of the empire and expressed through the policies of the IMF, World Bank WTO, and Free Trade Agreements (such as NAFTA and CAFTA).


KZ: Should the U.S. empire end? From the perspective of Americans, is it bad for us? Don't we get cheap products, a variety of produce, and access to critical resources? What do we lose by being an empire? Do we have to choose between empire and democracy -- are they, in the end, mutually exclusive?

TP: Should the U.S. Empire end? Yes, it should end because it is not sustainable for either the average American or for the rest of the world. It is equally bad for Americans as it is for billions of people trapped in poverty throughout the Global South.

The tragedy is that the average American does not know how bad it is or that he/she is an expendable subject within the empire. Certainly the middle-class is starting to see the effects of this empire when jobs are "outsourced" to cheap Third World labor markets and are not replaced, when the tax structure favors the richest two percent while gaps in national inequality continue to grow, when the education system continues to collapse, when political action becomes irrelevant within a two-party system that is owned and paid for by the same corporate elite.

The question becomes: "What do we lose by becoming an empire?" The short answer is that we lose our democracy. That is because empire and democracy are mutually exclusive. A choice has to be made between the two -- either consciously or by default. I wrote Exodus from Empire in the hope that enough Americans would read it in order to prevent the choice being made by default.


Americans are directly harmed by the fact that their civil liberties under the Bill of Rights have been shredded. Further, America's place in the world is diminished by the fact that as U.S. Corporations -- operating under the protection of the American Empire -- repress wages and workers throughout the Global South, so too, wages are depressed in the United States itself. Higher levels of inequality throughout the entire period of the Bush years are a testament to that reality - as is the absence of affordable health care for most Americans. As a result, Medicare is going bankrupt because the insurance companies and AMA lobby and the pharmaceutical industry-lobby remain protected enclaves of capitalist profit and exploitation. Congress is either powerless to rectify the situation or simply too corrupted by pay-offs to correct the situation.

meanwhile, Bush grants himself special emergency powers:

With scarcely a mention in the mainstream media, President Bush has ordered up a plan for responding to a catastrophic attack.

In a new National Security Presidential Directive, Bush lays out his plans for dealing with a "catastrophic emergency."

Under that plan, he entrusts himself with leading the entire federal government, not just the Executive Branch. And he gives himself the responsibility "for ensuring constitutional government."

He laid this all out in a document entitled "National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51" and "Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20."

The White House released it on May 9.

Other than a discussion on Daily Kos led off by a posting by Leo Fender, and a pro-forma notice in a couple of mainstream newspapers, this document has gone unremarked upon.

The subject of the document is entitled "National Continuity Policy."

It defines a "catastrophic emergency" as "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function."

This could mean another 9/11, or another Katrina, or a major earthquake in California, I imagine, since it says it would include "localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies."

maybe we need a new poll:  will there be any US national elections in 2008?  or will there be an an "incident" which will justify a State of Emergency?

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon May 21st, 2007 at 06:37:34 PM EST

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