American Empire in Chaos: Is Trump the Ultimate Blowback From Our Never Ending Wars?
The Trump election has brought extreme forms of racism and xenophobia back into the mainstream.
TomDispatch, Nov 13, 2016
The confounding thing about the American version of empire in the years when this country is often referred to as “the sole superpower,” is that it was putting more money into its military than the next 10 nations combined: it’s been an empire of chaos.
From the moment of the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, in fact, everything the U.S. military touched in these years has turned to dust. Nations across the Greater Middle East and Africa collapsed under the weight of American interventions or those of its allies, and terror movements, one grimmer than the next, spread in a remarkably unchecked fashion. Afghanistan is now a disaster zone; Yemen, wracked by civil war, a brutal U.S.-backed Saudi air campaign, and various ascendant terror groups, is essentially no more; Iraq, at best, is a riven sectarian nation; Syria barely exists; Libya, too, is hardly a state these days; and Somalia is a set of fiefdoms and terror movements. All in all, it’s quite a record for the mightiest power on the planet, which has been unable to impose its military will or order on any state, no matter where it chose to act in these years.
Meanwhile, from the shattered lands of the empire of chaos stream refugees by the millions, numbers not seen since vast swaths of the globe were left in rubble at the end of World War II. Startling percentages of the populations of various failed and failing states, including stunning numbers of children, have been driven into internal exile or sent fleeing across borders and, from Afghanistan to North Africa to Europe.
Sooner or later, the frontier wars of empires come home to haunt the imperial heartland. Such has been the case for our wars. In various forms — from the militarization of the police to the loosing of spy drones in American skies and of surveillance technology tested on distant battlefields — it’s obvious that America’s post-9/11 conflicts have returned to «the homeland.»
What Election 2016 made clear was that the empire of chaos has not remained a phenomenon of the planet’s backlands. It’s with us in the United States, right here, right now. Can’t you feel the deep and spreading sense of disorder that lay at the heart of the bizarre election campaign that roiled this country, brought the most extreme kinds of racism and xenophobia back into the mainstream, and with Donald Trump’s election, may never really end? The ultimate in imperial blowback.
I would start in 1979 in Afghanistan. Over the next nearly four decades, the US would be involved in at least a quarter-century of wars there.
The empire of chaos began in a victory so stunning, so complete, so imperial that it essentially helped drive the other superpower, that “Evil Empire” the Soviet Union, to implode. The CIA would run a massive, decade-long covert program to fund, arm, and train fundamentalist opponents of the leftwing Afghan government in Kabul. To do so, it fatefully buddied up with two unsavory “allies”: the Saudis, who were ready to sink their oil money into support for Afghan mujahedeen fighters of the most extreme sort, and the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI, which was intent on controlling events in that land.
A decade later, the Red Army would limp home in defeat and within two years a hollowed-out Soviet Union, never as strong as Washington imagined, would implode. The Cold War was over; and only a single great power was left standing on the planet.
But in that triumph lay the seeds as well of future chaos. To take down the Soviets, the CIA had armed and built up groups of extreme Islamists, who, it turned out, had no intention of going away once the Soviets were driven from Afghanistan.
In the end, those seeds, first planted in Afghan and Pakistani soil in 1979, led to the attacks of September 11, 2001. In the US, that day spurred the emergence of a new, post-Constitutional governing structure, through the expansion of the national security state to monumental proportions and a staggering version of imperial overreach. On the basis of the supposed need to keep Americans safe from terrorism (and essentially nothing else), the national security state would balloon into a dominant — and dominantly funded — set of institutions at the heart of American political life . In these years, that state-within-a-state became the unofficial fourth branch of government,
The 9/11 attacks also unleashed the Bush administration’s stunningly ambitious, ultimately disastrous Global War on Terror, and over-the-top fantasies about establishing a military-enforced Pax Americana, first in the Middle East and then perhaps globally. They also unleashed its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. drone assassination program across significant parts of the planet, the building of an unprecedented global surveillance state, the spread of a kind of secrecy so all-encompassing that much of government activity became unknowable to “the People,” and a kind of imperial overreach that sent literally trillions of dollars tumbling into the abyss.
Meanwhile, parts of the heartland were being hollowed out, while — even as the military continued to produce trillion-dollar boondoggle weapons systems — the country’s inadequately funded infrastructure began to crumble in a way that once would have been inconceivable. Similarly, the non-security-state part of the government began to falter and wither.
The recent election offered striking evidence that the empire of chaos had indeed made the trip homeward. It’s now with us big time, all the time. Get used to it.
Count on it to be an essential part of the Trump presidency. Wait until a fully Republican-controlled Congress actually begins to pass bills in 2017. Trump’s unexpected success will only encourage the rise of right-wing nationalist movements and the further fragmention of this planet of increasing disorder. Meanwhile, the American military (promised a vast further infusion of funds by The Donald during the election campaign) will still be trying to impose its version of order in distant lands. All of this should shock no one in our new post-November 8th world.
Here, however, is a potentially shocking question that has to be asked: With Donald Trump’s election, has the American “experiment” run its course?
Порочные Уроды США: Обама, Буш, Чета Клинтон и Мошенник, Расист, Лжец и Неофашист Трамп!!
WHOREMONGER, WARMONGER, RACIST, SWINDLER, LIAR, NEOFACIST DONALD TRUMP!
Правительство США жестоко нарушило мои права человека при проведении кампании террора, которая заставила меня покинуть свою родину и получить политическое убежище в СССР. См. книгу «Безмолвный террор — История политических гонений на семью в США» — «Silent Terror: One family’s history of political persecution in the United States» — http://arnoldlockshin.wordpress.com
Правительство США еще нарушает мои права, в течении более 12 лет отказывается от выплаты причитающейся мне пенсии по старости. Властители США воруют пенсию!! Всё это — ещё доказательство, что настоящий действующий закон в США — Закон джунглей.
ФСБ — Федеральная служба «безопасности» России — вслед за позорным, предавшим страну предшественником КГБ, выполняет приказы секретного, кровавого хозяина (boss) — американского ЦРУ (CIA). Среди таких «задач» — мне запретить выступать в СМИ и не пропускать большинства отправленных мне комментариев. А это далеко не всё…
Арнольд Локшин, политэмигрант из США