The US is like a drug dealer getting high on his own supply. It believes in its hype of exceptionalism and endangers the world when it is thwarted in any way.
The American Empire is unmatched in its warmongering and its propaganda alike. This process occurs by design. The endless streams of misinformation pouring out of U.S.-dominated corporate media manufacture consent for the American Empire’s endless wars. However, seeds of desperation are beginning to bloom in the U.S. and the Collective West’s imperial garden. The ruling elite, generally so confident in the inherent truths of American exceptionalism and the West’s imperial superiority, are now being confronted with an uncomfortable reality: the American empire is losing.
Every human alive eventually confronts loss. Loss can be psychologically traumatic and debilitating. It can also be incredibly informative. Similar contradictions exist when empires lose their grip on power, just on a larger scale.
Take the current situation of the American Empire. Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine is reaching one year and its position is only becoming more favorable on the battlefield. Russia’s economy did not crumble under the weight of U.S. and E.U. sanctions as intended, and recent moves by the United States and NATO to arm Ukraine with more deadly weaponry are simply not enough to change Ukraine’s steady retreat and heavy losses. Russia has also benefited from the fact that much of the Global South has refused to take part in a U.S.-led sanctions regime that has only worsened the poverty and instability of neoliberalism.
There is no way to characterize these conditions for the empire other than defeat. But the losses do not stop with Ukraine. The ruling elite has surveyed the global landscape and the situation is equally grim. Syria and Turkey are moving toward a détente which threatens the very basis of U.S. imperial domination in the region. Argentina and Brazil are leading the development of an alternative currency to the U.S. dollar in Latin America, African nations are moving closer to China and Russia in all spheres of development, and even staunch U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia are considering membership in formations such as BRICS that have an explicit goal of building a financial system that breaks free from the shackles of U.S. and Western finance.
The American Empire views Russia and China as the head of a multipolar monster that is threatening its domination over the world order. Cut off the head of the monster and the nightmare of a sovereign and self-determined Global South will end. The U.S.’s National Security Strategy explicitly targets China and Russia together and NATO, the U.S.’s top military alliance, has also added China to its growing hit-list. Of course, Russia’s ability to consolidate political stability amid a dizzying U.S.-led proxy war has burst asunder any illusion that a hobbled American Empire could take on Russia and China simultaneously. Still, a desperate empire is a dangerous empire and the cries for war with China have only become louder as the situation in Ukraine deteriorates for NATO.
First came reports from James Bierman, the U.S.’s top Marine Corps General in Japan, that the U.S. was “setting the theatre” for war with China in the Asia-Pacific. U.S. Air Force General Mike Minihan went further in a leaked memo, advising commanders and personnel to “aim for the head” and intensify readiness for a war with China by 2025. The absurd “balloon-gate” scandal put the icing on the cake of war. U.S. military and intelligence sources claimed China had flown a surveillance balloon over U.S. territory on January 28th, culminating in the Biden administration ordering the unmanned aircraft shot down a week later. The U.S. has since established a deeper relationship with the Philippines that includes access to four new military bases on top of the hundreds which already reside in the region.
Of course, the U.S.’s drive to war with China is neither new nor a reflection of strength. An intense campaign of military “containment” has been underway since at least 2010 when the U.S. announced its “pivot to Asia.” The military bases and naval aircraft carriers that form a ring around China are complemented by non-stop economic, diplomatic, and propaganda warfare. The aim of the U.S.’s “pivot to Asia” and its overall strategy to “contain” China is predicated on the so-called threat that the socialist market economy presents to U.S. domination. China is set to surpass the U.S. capitalist economy in GDP terms by the end of the decade and is leading a global movement for self-determination expressed in multilateral and multipolar arrangements such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Belt and Road Initiative.
The rise of China as an economic powerhouse and Russia as a more assertive world leader are now historical facts that cannot be arrested. So too is the rise of a multipolar world. The ruling elite has responded to this reality by lashing out with ever more dangerous threats of war. The American Empire, once the “gold standard” of corporate and military power, has increasingly been exposed as nothing but a sore loser on the world stage.
But unlike a sore loser in a sport or some other kind of competition, rulers of an empire like the U.S. are sore losers with murderous capabilities that have been employed time and time again to assert and expand their dominance. The future of global politics and indeed humanity rests on how the contradiction between a declining American Empire and a rising multipolar world develops. U.S. economic, political, and military supremacy may be waning, but its imperial reach remains a major impediment to human progress. U.S. sanctions cripple economies to the point of mass poverty and death in nations like Syria, proxy wars in Ukraine lead to hundreds of thousands of dead, and active U.S. wars across the Middle East and North Africa cause massive suffering. However, Russia and China have placed strict limits on U.S. imperial power not only by leading multipolar arrangements that empower self-determination in the Global South but also in the fact that both nations cannot be bullied like Afghanistan (2001) or Iraq (2003) without nuclear consequences.
The American Empire is thus a paper tiger, but one with the capability to get us all killed in a nuclear exchange. Only one nation in the world has used nuclear weapons: the United States. And while the use of nuclear weapons against Russia or China would mark the end of the American Empire and possibly humanity itself, the U.S.’s incessant provocations and aggression toward both moves the world closer and closer to such a scenario. Humanity is presented with the following choice: tolerate an increasingly dangerous sore loser that doesn’t know when to quit, or join together to collectively put the American Empire in a permanent time-out.
The decision should be easy for anyone who wants to see world peace and common prosperity in our lifetime.
Danny Haiphong is a contributor to Black Agenda Report and host of The Left Lens. You can support Danny on Patreon by clicking this link. You can contact him at [email protected].