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The Collapse of the Modern Western Empire. What Future for Humankind?

The Collapse of the Modern Western Empire. What Future for Humankind?

These notes are not supposed to disparage nor to exalt an entity that has a history that goes back to at least a couple of millennia ago. Like all Empires, past and present, the Modern World Empire went through its parable of growth and glory and it is now starting its decline. There is not much that we can do about it, we have to accept that this is the way the universe works. On this subject, see also a previous post of mine “Why Europe Conquered the World 

For everything that exists, there is a reason and that’s true also for that gigantic thing that we call sometimes “The West” or perhaps “The American Empire,” or maybe “Globalization.” To find that reason, we may go back to the very origins of the modern empire. We can find them in an older, but already very advanced, empire: the Roman one.

As someone might have said (and maybe someone did, but it might be an original concept of mine), “geography is the mother of Empires.” Empires are built on the availability of natural resources and on the ability to transport them. So, the Romans exploited the geography of the Mediterranean basin to build an empire based on maritime transportation. Rome was the center of a hub of commerce that outcompeted every other state in the Western region of Eurasia and North Africa. This transportation system was so important that it was even deified under the name of the Goddess Annona. It was kept together by a financial system based on coinage, Latin as lingua franca, a large military system, and a legal system very advanced for the time.

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“Good Guys” And “Bad Guys” Are A Hollywood Illusion

“Good Guys” And “Bad Guys” Are A Hollywood Illusion

If you have spent literally any time arguing against western imperialism in any public forum, you have had the experience of being accused of “supporting” one of said imperialism’s targets. If you argue against regime change interventionism in Syria, you’ll get accused of being an “Assadist” or “Assad apologist”. If you argue against regime change interventionism in Iran, you’ll you’ll get people saying that you “support the Mullahs”. Enter into any debate of sufficient liveliness and it’s only a matter of minutes before it happens.

There was a meme going around at the height of the most recent failed coup attempt in Venezuela depicting a white, pink-haired socialist placing their hand over the mouth of a dark-skinned Venezuelan and saying “ACKSHUALLY, MADURO IS THE GOOD GUY”. Proponents of the Trump administration’s attempts to topple the Venezuelan government would share this meme in online debates with anti-imperialists as a way of accusing them of whitesplaining to Venezuelans that they should support an evil dictator who is oppressing them. The idea being, of course, to silence those dastardly socialists using the socially progressive value system they claim to uphold. Checkmate, leftists.

There are obviously a number of things that are wrong with this meme, including the skin pigmentation of the average Guaido supporter, the implication that all Venezuelans oppose Maduro, and the suggestion that only white western leftists oppose the Trump administration’s attempts to install a puppet regime in the nation with the largest proven oil reserves on the planet. But the dumbest thing about it is the implication that someone who opposes US regime change interventionism could only be doing so because they believe that Nicolás Maduro is a “good guy”.

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The Orientalism of Western Russophobia

The Orientalism of Western Russophobia

An illustration from a Wall Street Journal article entitled “Russia’s Turn to its Asian Past” depicting Vladimir Putin as Genghis Khan.

Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the publication of Edward W. Said’s pioneering book, Orientalism, as well as fifteen years since the Palestinian-American intellectual’s passing. To bid farewell to such an important scholar shortly after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, which Said fiercely criticized until his dying breath before succumbing to leukemia, made an already tremendous loss that much more impactful.

His seminal text forever reoriented political discourse by painstakingly examining the overlooked cultural imperialism of colonial history in the West’s construction of the so-called Orient. Said meticulously interrogated the Other-ing of the non-Western world in the humanities, arts, and anthropology down to its minutiae. As a result, the West was forced to confront not just its economic and political plunder but the long-established cultural biases filtering the lens through which it viewed the East which shaped its dominion over it.

Said's Orientalism

His writings proved to be so influential that they laid the foundations for what is now known as post-colonial theory. This became an ironic category as the author himself would strongly reject any implication that the subjugation of developing countries is a thing of the past. How apropos that the Mandatory Palestine-born writer’s death came in the midst of the early stages of the ‘War on Terror’ that made clear Western imperialism is very much alive.

Despite its history of ethnic cleansing, slavery, and war, the United States had distinguished itself from Britain and France in that it had never established its own major colonies within the Middle East, Asia or North Africa in the heart of the Orient. According to Said, it was now undergoing this venture as the world’s sole remaining superpower following the end of the Cold War with the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

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Every Position On The Spectrum Supports The Government’s Propaganda — Paul Craig Roberts

Every Position On The Spectrum Supports The Government’s Propaganda — Paul Craig Roberts

This excellent article by Glenn Greenwald — http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article43438.htm — reminded me that I have meant to write about how every sort of interest attaches to the government’s propaganda in order to make its point.

Greenwald shows how the Snowden haters in the US media seized on the Paris attack in order to blame Snowden. The American, indeed Western, media consists of the scum of the earth, and they all together are no match for Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald shows that they are so dimwitted that they cannot remember their previous stories long enough to save them from making laughing stocks of themselves when they gang up on Snowden.

The presstitutes that constitute the Western media had a great incentive to buy in to the false story of the Paris attack, because they saw an opportunity to blame the attack on Snowden, who showed them up for what they are — whores who lie for the government for money.

Likewise, anti-immigration web sites and political parties have a great stake in the false story of the Paris attack, because they can use it to emphasize the perils of allowing into a country people who don’t belong there.

The leftwing buys into the government’s lies, because it proves their point that Western imperialism and neo-colonialism brings blowback. The oppressed colonies rise up and send death and destruction to the imperialist’s homelands. This is emotionally satisfying to the left even though it hands over to the government control over the population.

As for the fearful, if the blacks are not going to murder them in their beds, surely the terrorists will. Only the government can make them safe by repealing all civil liberties.

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Revolution and American Empire

Revolution and American Empire

When the Left Promotes the Political Economy of the Far-Right
The American preference for ideological, or ideologically based, explanations of world events frames them as both self-generated and inexplicable— self-generated because causal relations recover history and thereby clutter ideology and inexplicable in that ideology didn’t exist until it did, again recovering history. Through an ideological frame the American Revolution was driven by the desire for ‘freedom’ and the Russian and Cuban Revolutions were driven by Marxist ideology, the desire for socialist or communist political economy. When history is recovered the Russian and Cuban Revolutions were rejections of intolerable— factually unlivable, circumstances whereas the American Revolution was a plutocratic rebellion intended to formally install unlivable circumstances— slavery and genocide against indigenous populations, into local rule against distant colonial (British) economic extraction.

While three centuries of racist chatter leave some ambiguity around when kidnapped Africans (local societies, Africa is a continent, not a people) forced into slavery were considered human beings by White settlers, the political question was answered in 1787 with three-fifths a ‘political’ person assigned to slaves to accrue to the political representation of slaveholders. The indigenous population was excluded from Constitutional political representation entirely. This brief and greatly simplified history is presented for three reasons: 1) American ‘freedom’ as political privilege is the opposite of its generalized form as freedom from it; 2) its political meaning is tied through history to Western imperialism—U.S. history is of overthrowing democratic regimes to support U.S. economic interests and 3), ‘globalization’ presented in the present as historically unique is tied through this history to Western imperialism.

 

 

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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