Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Limits of American Destructiveness

US foreign policy has always been directed at wrecking anything that wasn’t deemed sufficiently American and replacing it with something more acceptable—especially if that something allowed wealth to flow into the US from the outside. Compromises were reserved for the USSR, but even there the Americans constantly tried to cheat. For everyone else there was just submission, which was usually tactfully disguised as a positive—a seat at the big table which offered better chances for peace, prosperity and economic and social development.

Of course, it was a simple enough matter to pierce this veil of hypocritical politeness and to point out that the US, living far beyond its means, has only managed to survive by looting the rest of the world, but anyone who dared to do so would be ostracized, sanctioned, regime-changed, invaded and destroyed—whatever it took.

The US establishment has lavished its wrath on anyone who dared to oppose it ideologically, but it reserved its most extreme forms of malice for those who dared commit the cardinal sin of attempting to sell oil for anything other than US dollars. Iraq was destroyed for this very reason, then Libya. With Syria the juggernaut bogged down and stalled out; with Iran it is unlikely to ever get started.

Even the spineless European politicians are now forced to admit that US policies are designed to enrich certain American interests at the expense of their constituents; they understand by now that further denial would cause them further harm at the polls. Most insultingly to the American ego, US attempts at making Russia and China submit are being greeted with shrugs, titters and eye rolls. And now anybody who wants to can openly criticize the US and scheme behind its back.

How times have changed! US politicians and officials have abandoned all attempts at maintaining decorum and no longer disguise their rapacious, grasping ways. Instead of veiled threats, they now deploy big lies and fake threats. Focusing on the manufacture and dissemination of fakes, they have been attempting to use them to coerce obedience. There are the fake threats—Russian, Chinese, Iranian, North Korean, Cuban—that are used to call for discipline within NATO and for compliance with US unilateral sanctions.

There are also the fake (or false flag) events—a Boeing shot down over the Ukraine by “pro-Russian rebels”; the Skripal poisoning; fake chemical attacks in Syria preposterously blamed on the government; damaged oil tankers in UAE blamed on Iran. These fakes are being used as an an excuse to wreck everything—international security and trade agreements, the systems for insuring that these agreements are adhered to, and world trade.

Before the Americans would do their best to wreck anything that wasn’t theirs, then work to replace it with something that was theirs; but now they have nothing to offer as a replacement for what they are destroying. The only thing the US can offer China is Chinese victory in the trade war. China does not need the US, and this point is being rather loudly pounded home, not just by the Chinese government but by private companies and individuals as well.

First, there is a flood of countersanctions. In particular, a halt to the export of rare earth minerals will shut down electronics manufacturing and with it the entire US high tech sector. Then there are the bonuses to those who buy Huawei products and punishments for buying anything American, up to and including eating at McDonald’s. iPhones have been all but banned—not by the government but by peer pressure. Taking a trip to the US is now a firing offense. There is now a good chance that, caught up in this patriotic uplift, the Chinese are being prepared to make any sacrifice for the sake of outright victory in their trade war with the US.

But do the Americans still have the power to destroy? When Saddam Hussein decided to start selling oil for euros, the CIA organized a provocation that caused him to invade Kuweit as punishment for stealing Iraqi oil. This allowed the US to organize a gigantic expeditionary force with divisions from a large number of countries, including Syria and Egypt and pretty much all of NATO. After a decade of Hussein festering in place, a somewhat smaller coalition dealt him the coup de grâce, destroying Iraq in the process. The victims of the American invasion and occupation outnumber Saddam Hussein’s victims by orders of magnitude. Later, the same thing was done to Muammar Qaddafi, for similar reasons, and Libya is likely to remain as a ruin. There, some sort of minor coalition was cobbled together.

But now the US finds that it urgently needs to knock out Iran because otherwise it will be too late. It is time to form a new coalition and Mike Pompeo has started racing around Eurasia. First off, he offended the Germans by canceling his state visit with Angela Merkel on a moment’s notice and without offering a reason. Instead, he flew to Baghdad—a perfect location for launching an attack on Iran, except that the Iraqi response was a message of solidarity with Iran, willingness to mediate the US-Iranian dispute, and consideration of a ban on US troops on Iraqi soil.

And so Mike flew to Sochi, where he met with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and, briefly, with Putin. Most likely, Putin told him where he can stuff his war plans, and so Mike canceled his planned trip to Moscow, to avoid having Sergei Lavrov wipe his feet on him again. And so Mike flew on to Europe, where he got a quick “no” on Iran from EU foreign policy head Federica Mogherini and an outright refusal to meet from the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Great Britain. And so Mike flew back to Washington. You can’t tell anything by looking at his smirking fat mug, but I am sure that he was crying on the inside.

US actions around the world can now be compiled into two lists. The first list is of what the US has succeeded or may yet succeed in wrecking. The second list is of what the US wants to or has been trying to wreck but won't be able to. There is no third list of what the US has managed to wreck and then make whole again. The challenge for the whole world is to move as many items as possible from the first list to the second list. There are many ways of going about doing this that do have a chance of working and one that doesn’t: negotiating with Americans. Because they lie and cheat and aren’t worth talking to.


Roger said...

You have hit the nail on the head yet again Dmitry, but you are preaching to the converted. The American establishment has become (you can debate when, or if it always was) the largest crime syndicate in history. The problem however is deep rooted. There is a hypernationalist (MAGA) cohort within American society that cannot relinquish what they see as the USAs exceptionalist destiny. How do we dismantle a machine like this? Appeasement and going quietly about your own business is not enough, it seems.

Karl K said...

Poor Mikey.

The bully isn't getting his way.

Ha ha ha ha ha.

- Karl

Nick Hopkins said...

Oh America, Lovely people with an insane Government. Much like Albion, my own homeland. When will we collectively say enough is enough.

jtdev101 said...

I am always grateful to you Dmitry for giving me the hard-bitten "compressed" version of recent events, I never have time or patience to follow all the mud sliding around in the news. I knew Mr. Pompous had been stopped at the doorstep of at least one European presidential hall, and the "I'm not laughing WITH you, fool..." grin on Putin's face in their handshake pic was classic. I'm just wondering if these Chinese counter-sanctions will be enough to make 'Merikans finally start really hurting. If so, wondering if a) this will cause enough trouble for Trump to lose his 2nd term in favor of someone more negotiable, or b) if everyone will dig in and try to do without China. Care to speculate? I know it's a big dice roll....thanks again.

DurangoKid said...

Yes, the pattern has been and continues to be "rule or ruin." On the prospect of changing it, it doesn't look good. The empire will die of its own corruption. Anyone who could "save" the power structure is automatically excluded. So, we can rule out electoral politics and green new deals. Like an engine that has gone too long between oil changes the American machine will throw a rod and that will be that.

pyrrhus said...

These wars have been a nightmare for ordinary Americans too, especially the family and friends of wounded and psychologically crippled of the reasons Trump was elected was to make that end..

Juan Santos said...

Nick Hopkins said, “When Will we collectively say enough si enough”
The day we stop making profit of the criminal behavior of our politicians

jal said...

" …. and consideration of a ban on US troops on Iraqi soil."

Why are all the ships near Iran?
To evacuate all the American "stuff"from IRAQ.

the blame-e said...

The article posits that ". . . anybody who wants to can openly criticize the US and scheme behind its back." I think the matter of scheming has moved from behind the US' back to front and center. This formerly great empire has become so delusional, and so lost as to even have lost the ability to deny its own delusions. The US is all backs and no front at all.

The threat that ". . . a halt to the export of rare earth minerals will shut down electronics manufacturing and with it the entire US high tech sector . . . " is another recent case of delusional thinking. Like a crazy person who doesn't even know what year it is; otherwise it would know, for all intents and purposes, all manufacturing of US electronics has long since been out-sourced and now takes place abroad -- since the 1970s.

The conclusion reached in this article is correct. Crazy nations, like people, just aren't worth talking to. Worse is when people stop caring about the fate of crazy nations, and consider it a waste of time to even talk about them.

Professor Diabolical said...

"Not Agreement Capable" (недоговороспособны) is a term Russian diplomats came up with to describe their American counterparts..."

But we have a new plan! It's to sanction everyone on earth until no one will trade with us. Genius!

Brian Fleck said...

The timescale of the change seems to be like an optical illusion. With the backdrop of hyper-publicized newsreel ups and downs, the gradual decline is hard to see. I think if you compare the international goodwill of the US in 10 year increments since 1945, it gives a much better trajectory than what is happening daily with the clowns talking into microphones. Right now US influence seems limited to the Five Eyes domain, and to the Saudis and similar clients. Everyone else is hoping US decline speeds up to the next stage so we can get on with trying to prevent the extinction of life on earth.

NoobishPineapple said...

"The US establishment has lavished its wrath on anyone who dared to oppose it ideologically, but it reserved its most extreme forms of malice for those who dared commit the cardinal sin of attempting to sell oil for anything other than US dollars. "

So the oppression and tyranny of neo-liberalism is reveled! Americans have been fooled into believing the America is all about freedom and justice because the neo-liberal nature of our exploitation of other nations masks the truth. Historically, empires invaded and physically occupied other nations. They redrew the boundaries of their empire, to include newly conquered lands. The United States hasn't done this since taking over Native American territory. We haven't overtly conquered other nations. Instead, what we have done is conquer them, in a sneaking way, by taking over their financial systems, in particular, by taking over the issuance of money. Money is a claim on all goods and services sold for that particular currency, so if you control a people's money, you control them.

Neo-liberalism claims to have pure and high ideals, it claims to want to free people from government oppression, open borders, and promote peace through free trade. However, trade is done with money, and in a world based on free trade, he who controls the issuance of money rules. So, in fact, neo-liberalism isn't really without government or nations at all. It's a system of governance by the largest banks and corporations. Such financial nations even have borders which are defined by the currencies used in different parts of the world.

robespyros said...

A brilliant article, as usual. Just a scholastic point of minor importance, "When Saddam Hussein decided to start selling oil for euros" the euro had not even a name yet, even if it was already a dream, or rather a nightmare for us Europeans.

Unknown said...

It's not too late (but not much time left) to save the world .. US included.

I invite everyone to review Hanomy Manifesto at I believe I have solution for most of the world problem today and tomorrow. The advance in technology and knowledge human now have can make it happens. Numbers work. Hanomy is a worldwide paradigm shift in the social, financial, and political system to harmonize living for all. I work alone on this project with no association with any group. I hope the message of Hanomy will reach the right person who can take it further since I do not have financial resource to make it happen. If Hanomy is the vision of the world you can agree on, please help me spread the word. The mass population need to hear its message so we can start the process toward it, all together. Thank you for your time.

Highlights of Hanomy:

• Fundamental human needs met throughout life’s existence
• Basic human rights observed everywhere
• Sovereign debts worldwide are settled and eliminated
• Upheld liberty and freedom
• Financial contributions drawn from a portion of idle/unutilized money
• No taxes on income, profit or spending
• Interest charges and usury practices abolished
• Power of money creation where it belongs - the people
• An end to the fractional reserve system
• Upheld free market principles (true capitalism but with social responsibility)
• Decreased or dissolved inflation and hyperinflation
• Reduced income inequality
• An end to corporate welfare
• Advanced technology benefiting humanity
• Freedom of time for quality of life and caregiving
• Prohibited conditions for authoritarianism
• Preserved sovereignty and respected borders
• An end to “modern day slavery” (this includes you)
• Improved care of the environment and world resources
• A world we’re proud to claim and pass along

Unknown said...

There are nations like Canada and Australia who will ride the broken train right off the tracks. Their loyalty is laughable it comes at the expense of it's own citizens who used to taking a back seat to uncle Sam. But you are correct most nations are looking for a way to get out from under these Americans who have nothing to offer but misery. It is like an avalanche first a little dribble of snow then the roar of tons of debris comes down the slope in a unstoppable fury. With the fat man and Bolton running the show with the hopeless Trump rubber stamping their treachery we are now looking somewhat more than a trickle of snow. Another year of the mango Mussolini and we will have an unstoppable event.

Rubicon said...

Partial quote from Roger:

"......USAs exceptionalist destiny. How do we dismantle a machine like this?"

It's being dismantled every day since the '07-'08 Financial Crisis that threw hundreds of thousands of average American out of their homes. Millions lost their jobs; 50+ years olds in tech jobs were permanently "retired" by corporations. Now millions of Millenials/aging Boomers only find part-time,low salary jobs.For millions like these, they don't have the inclination or time to even consider "American Exceptionalism." There's a few million upper middle class & the Super Wealthy who subscribe to this mantra. The others are ideologues like the Christian Right (MAGA)crowd that believe this. But it's a dying ideology for the masses.

Unknown said...

Nuclear weapons can wreck everything and the U.S. has lots of them. There is only one way to ensure that list 2 is not a null list, and that it to remove the nuclear capability of the U.S.