By Prof. James Petras
Global Research, March 09, 2014
America’s Advancing Empire: Putsch, Pillage and Duplicity
The Obama regime, in coordination with its allies and proxies, has re-launched a virulent world-wide campaign to destroy independent governments, encircle and ultimately, undermine global competitors, and establish a new US – EU centered world order.
We will proceed by identifying the recent ‘cycles’ of US empire-building; the advances and retreats; the methods and strategies; the results and perspectives. Our main focus is on the imperial dynamics driving the US toward greater military confrontations, up to and including conditions which can lead to a world war.
Recent Imperial Cycles
US empire-building has not been a linear process. The recent decades provide ample evidence of contradictory experiences. Summarily we can identify several phases in which empire-building has experienced broad advances and sharp setbacks – with certain caveats. We are looking at global processes, in which there are also limited counter-tendencies: In the midst of large-scale imperial advances, particular regions, countries or movements successfully resisted or even reversed the imperial thrust. Secondly, the cyclical nature of empire-building in no way puts in doubt the imperial character of the state and economy and its relentless drive to dominate, exploit and accumulate. Thirdly, the methods and strategy directing each imperial advance differ according to changes among targeted countries.
Over the past thirty years we can identify three phases in empire-building........
Results and Perspectives: Advancing Empire in the Post Neo-Liberal Period
Obama’s reckless effort to advance empire in the second decade of the 21st century is far more dangerous than his predecessors in the late 20th century. Russia has recovered. It is not the disintegrating state that Bush and Clinton dismembered and pillaged. China is no longer a rising market economy so eager to trade with the US while overlooking American incursions into Chinese territorial waters. Today China is a major economic power, wielding economic leverage in the form of $3 Trillion in U.S. Treasury notes. China no longer tolerates U.S. interference in its domestic politics- it is willing to crack down on U.S.-backed ethnic separatists and terrorists.
Latin America, including Venezuela, have developed autonomous regional organizations, diversified their markets to Asia and established a powerful post-neoliberal consensus. Venezuela has turned its military, once the favorite instrument of US-engineered coups, into a bulwark of the existing democratic order.
The electoral road to US empire-building has been closed or requires tight imperial “supervision” to secure “favorable outcomes”. Washington’s new policy of choice is violence: enlisting mob action, mercenary extremists, Islamists and Uighur terrorists, neo-Nazis and the riff raff of the world in its service.
The balance sheet of six years of “advancing empire” under Obama is in doubt. The violent overthrow of President Gadhafi did not lead to a stable client regime: the utter destruction and chaos in Libya has undercut the imperial presence. Syria is under attack but by anti-Western Islamist fanatics. The defeat of Assad will not ‘advance empire’ as much as it will expand radical Islamist (including Al Qaeda) power.
The Ukraine puppet regime of neo-liberals and neo-Nazis is literally bankrupt, riven with internal conflicts and facing profound regional divisions. Russia is threatened, but their leaders have taken decisive military action to defend their Crimean allies and strategic military bases.
Obama has provoked and threatened adversaries but has not secured much in terms of valuable allies or clients. His effort to replicate the imperial advances of the 1990’s has failed because the relationships of power between Europe and Russia, Japan and China, and Venezuela and Colombia have changed. Proxies, predator drones and the US Special Forces are not able to reverse the retreat. The economic crisis has cut too deep; the domestic exhaustion with empire is too pervasive. The cost of sustaining Israel is too high. Advancing empire in these circumstances is a dangerous game: it risks a larger nuclear war to overcome adversity and retreat.
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