Nord Stream 2 - The American Defeat

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Sertorio
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Re: Nord Stream 2 - A STORM IN A TEACUP.

Post by Sertorio » Mon Jul 26, 2021 1:32 am

neverfail wrote:
Mon Jul 26, 2021 1:10 am
Sertorio wrote:
Sun Jul 25, 2021 3:38 pm

De Gaulle spent a good deal of his time in Africa and in the Middle East trying to prevent the UK taking over the French colonies and mandate territories there. He also spent a good deal of time preventing UK and US attempts at making deals with the Vichy regime and ensuring that French territories were ruled by the French. The French troops in North Africa wanted to join De Gaulle's Free French troops, and the UK and the US did all they could to prevent that happening. They only failed because De Gaulle would never give in, and the French themselves made it clear, over and over again, that they would only accept De Gaulle as their leader. If you have any doubts read De Gaulle's memoirs. UK and US actions then were as despicable as their actions today. The only difference being that now we do not have a De Gaulle...
Of course, de Gaulle could not possibly have made that nonsense up in order to big note himself; exaggerate his importance in history could he have?

No, of course not! De Gaulle had a God given immunity to vanity.
There are a lot of other testimonies which confirm what De Gaulle wrote. It's a matter of fact and history. Roosevelt strongly opposed De Gaulle and wanted the American forces in France to control the whole administration of the country, after the invasion, not recognizing the French Provisional Government headed by De Gaulle. Had it not been for Eisenhower, the first troops to enter Paris wouldn't have been the French division headed by Leclerc. Fortunately De Gaulle was prepared to split from the allied command if his provisional government hadn't been then recognized as the only legitimate government of France.

neverfail
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Re: Nord Stream 2 - getting back on topic:

Post by neverfail » Mon Jul 26, 2021 6:41 am

https://asiatimes.com/2021/07/us-german ... in-russia/

" Chancellor Willy Brandt resisted the US pressure to go ahead with the energy pipeline from the Soviet Union (1973) and, in a historical perspective, his visionary Ostpolitik opened the pathway for detente – and arguably resulted in German unification."
I am glad that MK BHADRAKUMAR mentioned that as I had almost forgotton how German statesmanship (inagurated at a time when the USA was mired down in the Watergate scandal melodrama and thereby debilitated from providing leadership. The US seems to have a tradition of doing that from time to time).

At the time Ostpolitik defused Cold War tensions between the USSR and the West by demonstrating to Moscow that Germany could be a trustworthy international partner. That was an important breakthrough as the Soviet leadership, all of them WW2 veterans, apparently dreaded the re-emergence of a revanchist, militaristic Germany more than they feared the US thermonuclear arsonel.

Historically, Angela Merkel has been walking in the footsteps of a visionary predecessor in office. This lady can now retire with a clear conscience having done her best for all concerned.

Let us hope for Europe's sake as well as Germany's that her successor will be of similarly high callibre.

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Sertorio
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Re: Nord Stream 2 - The American Defeat

Post by Sertorio » Thu Aug 05, 2021 3:56 am

Fallout From the Biden-Merkel Deal on Nord Stream 2
by Edward Lozansky
https://original.antiwar.com/Edward_Loz ... -stream-2/

Back in 1989, a large group of Americans, composed mostly of Republican conservatives, went to Moscow to help Russians understand the “values of Western civilization.” The delegation included Sens. Phil Gramm of Texas and Bob Kasten of Wisconsin, Ambassadors Faith Whittlesey and Frank Shakespeare, journalists and even some exiled Soviet dissidents.

At that time, America was at the peak of its popularity in the USSR, with a 90% approval rating. The conference hall was packed, with many people left standing. Everyone listened attentively to each word enunciated by the visitors.

Besides discussions on freedom and democracy, the conference had an entire session dedicated to the advantages of free markets, in which honest and fair competition was supposed to provide consumers with the best quality product for the lowest price possible.

Two years later, the Soviet Union collapsed. An army of American advisers rushed into a country suddenly liberated from its communist yoke and absurd economic planning system to help Russia adopt the precious Western values discussed at that conference.

The results are well known. A summary can be found in the Jan. 1, 2000, Congressional Report commissioned by the speaker of the House titled “Russia’s Road to Corruption: How the Clinton Administration Exported Government Instead of Free Enterprise and Failed the Russian People.” It’s a long read, but the title sums it up nicely.

The New York Times Sunday Magazine wrote in August 1999 that “by allowing the oligarchs – in the name of free market – to grab Russia’s resources and siphon anything of value into their own offshore bank accounts, the United States poisoned Russia’s transition from communism. In the minds of ordinary Russians, capitalism became equated with theft.”

Fast-forward to today and the battle over a pipeline that has divided Washington and Berlin.

Germany needed more gas for its economy, and the best deal it could get was from Russia. As a result, a group of investors started to build the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline linking Russian supplies to German buyers via a direct route under the Baltic Sea.

It was a classic example of what Mr. Gramm, Mr. Kasten and the rest of the U.S. delegation in 1989 preached to their naive Russian audience. Little did they know how a “real” free market works. This time, in a rare bipartisan chorus, Washington said, “No way.”

Germany, the US said, should either halt the pipeline and buy more expensive American-produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) or else face painful sanctions. Some investors got scared and ran away, but the Russians and Germans continued to build the pipeline, which is now 98% ready.

Faced with the inevitability of its completion, President Biden decided to make a deal with a threefold purpose: to keep Germany in Washington’s orbit, to threaten Russia with canceling the deal if Moscow misbehaves, whatever that means, and to throw some cookies to Ukraine, which is horrified by the threat of losing transit fees for Russian gas moving to Western markets through its existing pipelines.

The details of the deal are well known, so there is no point in repeating them here. It appeared that more pragmatic heads won the day when it became apparent that any further attempts to kill Nord Stream 2 would alienate an important ally in Germany and do more harm than good to America’s strategic objectives.

As was to be expected, the Ukrainians voiced feelings of anger and betrayal. The gnashing of teeth continued in the US as well, with the Biden administration facing bipartisan backlash to the deal.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat who co-authored the sanctions regime, said she was “skeptical that [the agreement] will be sufficient when the key player at the table, Russia, refuses to play by the rules.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, simultaneously attacked Mr. Putin and Mr. Biden for what he called a “generational geopolitical mistake” that would allow “Russian dictators decades from now [to reap] billions of dollars every year from Joe Biden’s gift.” Foreign Policy magazine named Mr. Cruz “Nominee-Obstructer-in-Chief” for holding up dozens of diplomatic appointments over the administration’s decision to waive key sanctions on the pipeline’s Western builders.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge argued that the Biden administration’s deal with Germany over the Russian pipeline “threatens America’s energy independence.”

In addition to money matters, many in Washington want to make sure Ukraine is not abandoned since they consider Kyiv an important anti-Russia strategic beachhead. Billions of US taxpayers’ dollars, military personnel and equipment have been poured into Ukraine exactly for this purpose. Moreover, in a supposedly “free market” strategic outlook, Washington wants Russia to pay for this policy with transit fees through the Ukrainian pipeline.

Looking at the vast economic devastation in Ukraine, coupled with rising radical nationalism and even an influential neo-Nazi movement, the current US policy in this part of the world looks more and more like its failed policy in Afghanistan. The US, under Zbigniew Brzezinski’s guidance, helped create the Taliban as a geopolitical tool to fight the Soviets, a tool that later came back to hammer its creator. In the case of Ukraine, however, the blowback could be much worse.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who won election in Ukraine as a peacemaker, is coming to Washington. He will try to play a “wag the dog” game to drag America into a conflict with Russia, even if that risks starting World War III. Regrettably, he is likely to find plenty of enthusiastic supporters on both sides of the aisle. Perhaps for this reason, Mr. Biden invited Mr. Zelenskyy to visit the White House on Aug. 30, when Congress is not in session.

One shouldn’t be surprised if lawmakers return to Washington that day and even invite the Ukrainian leader to address a joint session of Congress, just as they did with his predecessor, Petro Poroshenko.

For Mr. Zelenskyy, a television star when he was elected president, it would be the best moment in his career as a comic actor who once made people laugh by telling off-color jokes. No doubt he is bringing a few good ones for this trip, but if things go his way, it wouldn’t be a laughing matter at all.
It was too long ago for us to know exactly how the Roman Empire fell, but we have the good fortune of being able to witness the collapse of the American Empire. For the few of us who haven't lost all sympathy we once felt for the US, the spectacle of the American decadence may be a bit sad, but we must all recognize that peace in the world depends on the American Empire disappearing as soon as possible. And channeling most of the money spent on military matters to the rebuilding of the US at home will certainly be welcome by most Americans. They are more interested in good infrastructures, good public health and good public education than in having the American military contributing to the looting of the world at large.

neverfail
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Re: Nord Stream 2 - The American Defeat

Post by neverfail » Fri Aug 06, 2021 12:25 am

Sertorio wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 3:56 am
Fallout From the Biden-Merkel Deal on Nord Stream 2
by Edward Lozansky
https://original.antiwar.com/Edward_Loz ... -stream-2/

Back in 1989, a large group of Americans, composed mostly of Republican conservatives, went to Moscow to help Russians understand the “values of Western civilization.” The delegation included Sens. Phil Gramm of Texas and Bob Kasten of Wisconsin, Ambassadors Faith Whittlesey and Frank Shakespeare, journalists and even some exiled Soviet dissidents.

At that time, America was at the peak of its popularity in the USSR, with a 90% approval rating. The conference hall was packed, with many people left standing. Everyone listened attentively to each word enunciated by the visitors.

Besides discussions on freedom and democracy, the conference had an entire session dedicated to the advantages of free markets, in which honest and fair competition was supposed to provide consumers with the best quality product for the lowest price possible.

Two years later, the Soviet Union collapsed. An army of American advisers rushed into a country suddenly liberated from its communist yoke and absurd economic planning system to help Russia adopt the precious Western values discussed at that conference.

The results are well known. A summary can be found in the Jan. 1, 2000, Congressional Report commissioned by the speaker of the House titled “Russia’s Road to Corruption: How the Clinton Administration Exported Government Instead of Free Enterprise and Failed the Russian People.” It’s a long read, but the title sums it up nicely.

The New York Times Sunday Magazine wrote in August 1999 that “by allowing the oligarchs – in the name of free market – to grab Russia’s resources and siphon anything of value into their own offshore bank accounts, the United States poisoned Russia’s transition from communism. In the minds of ordinary Russians, capitalism became equated with theft.”

Fast-forward to today and the battle over a pipeline that has divided Washington and Berlin.

Germany needed more gas for its economy, and the best deal it could get was from Russia. As a result, a group of investors started to build the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline linking Russian supplies to German buyers via a direct route under the Baltic Sea.

It was a classic example of what Mr. Gramm, Mr. Kasten and the rest of the U.S. delegation in 1989 preached to their naive Russian audience. Little did they know how a “real” free market works. This time, in a rare bipartisan chorus, Washington said, “No way.”

Germany, the US said, should either halt the pipeline and buy more expensive American-produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) or else face painful sanctions. Some investors got scared and ran away, but the Russians and Germans continued to build the pipeline, which is now 98% ready.

Faced with the inevitability of its completion, President Biden decided to make a deal with a threefold purpose: to keep Germany in Washington’s orbit, to threaten Russia with canceling the deal if Moscow misbehaves, whatever that means, and to throw some cookies to Ukraine, which is horrified by the threat of losing transit fees for Russian gas moving to Western markets through its existing pipelines.

The details of the deal are well known, so there is no point in repeating them here. It appeared that more pragmatic heads won the day when it became apparent that any further attempts to kill Nord Stream 2 would alienate an important ally in Germany and do more harm than good to America’s strategic objectives.

As was to be expected, the Ukrainians voiced feelings of anger and betrayal. The gnashing of teeth continued in the US as well, with the Biden administration facing bipartisan backlash to the deal.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat who co-authored the sanctions regime, said she was “skeptical that [the agreement] will be sufficient when the key player at the table, Russia, refuses to play by the rules.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, simultaneously attacked Mr. Putin and Mr. Biden for what he called a “generational geopolitical mistake” that would allow “Russian dictators decades from now [to reap] billions of dollars every year from Joe Biden’s gift.” Foreign Policy magazine named Mr. Cruz “Nominee-Obstructer-in-Chief” for holding up dozens of diplomatic appointments over the administration’s decision to waive key sanctions on the pipeline’s Western builders.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge argued that the Biden administration’s deal with Germany over the Russian pipeline “threatens America’s energy independence.”

In addition to money matters, many in Washington want to make sure Ukraine is not abandoned since they consider Kyiv an important anti-Russia strategic beachhead. Billions of US taxpayers’ dollars, military personnel and equipment have been poured into Ukraine exactly for this purpose. Moreover, in a supposedly “free market” strategic outlook, Washington wants Russia to pay for this policy with transit fees through the Ukrainian pipeline.

Looking at the vast economic devastation in Ukraine, coupled with rising radical nationalism and even an influential neo-Nazi movement, the current US policy in this part of the world looks more and more like its failed policy in Afghanistan. The US, under Zbigniew Brzezinski’s guidance, helped create the Taliban as a geopolitical tool to fight the Soviets, a tool that later came back to hammer its creator. In the case of Ukraine, however, the blowback could be much worse.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who won election in Ukraine as a peacemaker, is coming to Washington. He will try to play a “wag the dog” game to drag America into a conflict with Russia, even if that risks starting World War III. Regrettably, he is likely to find plenty of enthusiastic supporters on both sides of the aisle. Perhaps for this reason, Mr. Biden invited Mr. Zelenskyy to visit the White House on Aug. 30, when Congress is not in session.

One shouldn’t be surprised if lawmakers return to Washington that day and even invite the Ukrainian leader to address a joint session of Congress, just as they did with his predecessor, Petro Poroshenko.

For Mr. Zelenskyy, a television star when he was elected president, it would be the best moment in his career as a comic actor who once made people laugh by telling off-color jokes. No doubt he is bringing a few good ones for this trip, but if things go his way, it wouldn’t be a laughing matter at all.
It was too long ago for us to know exactly how the Roman Empire fell, but we have the good fortune of being able to witness the collapse of the American Empire. For the few of us who haven't lost all sympathy we once felt for the US, the spectacle of the American decadence may be a bit sad, but we must all recognize that peace in the world depends on the American Empire disappearing as soon as possible. And channeling most of the money spent on military matters to the rebuilding of the US at home will certainly be welcome by most Americans. They are more interested in good infrastructures, good public health and good public education than in having the American military contributing to the looting of the world at large.
Load of twaddle.

Just because the US did not sell its expensive liquified natural gas to Germany does not mean that it is on the brink of collapse.

The Germans know what they are doing. They cannot help but know that Russia is a very corrupt place led by a despot political strongman but apparently they have no fear that they are likely to be dragged away from their shared community of interest with the USA.

I view the USA as ill led for at least the past 3 decades; fractuous and divided but in terms of having exhausted its vital energies no! I do not see it as decadent in the style of Rome at the dawn of the 5th century.

All in all the best outcome for everyone was delivered by Biden's concession to Merkel. Trump's strong-armed attempt to sell liquified gas to Germany was a diplomatic blunder of the first order. But what could you expect from Trump anyhow?
........................................................................................................................................

p.s. there is no such thing as an American empire. What there is instead is an international network of alliances and agreements pertaining to shared interests that ultimately reach back to the USA. Did you say that you held a degree in international relations Sertorio? Hard to believe that since you cannot seem to tell the difference.

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Sertorio
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Re: Nord Stream 2 - The American Defeat

Post by Sertorio » Fri Aug 06, 2021 12:49 am

neverfail wrote:
Fri Aug 06, 2021 12:25 am

p.s. there is no such thing as an American empire. What there is instead is an international network of alliances and agreements pertaining to shared interests that ultimately reach back to the USA. Did you say that you held a degree in international relations Sertorio? Hard to believe that since you cannot seem to tell the difference.
Some people have a different opinion...
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/f ... ican-samoa

(...)

The proposition that the US is an empire is less controversial today. The case can be made in a number of ways. The dispossession of Native Americans and relegation of many to reservations was pretty transparently imperialist. Then, in the 1840s, the US fought a war with Mexico and seized a third of it. Fifty years later, it fought a war with Spain and claimed the bulk of Spain’s overseas territories.

Empire isn’t just landgrabs, though. What do you call the subordination of African Americans? Starting in the interwar period, the celebrated US intellectual WEB Du Bois argued that black people in the US looked more like colonised subjects than like citizens. Many other black thinkers, including Malcolm X and the leaders of the Black Panthers, have agreed.

Or what about the spread of US economic power abroad? The US might not have physically conquered western Europe after the second world war, but that didn’t stop the French from complaining of “coca-colonisation”. Critics there felt swamped by US commerce. Today, with the world’s business denominated in dollars, and McDonald’s in more than 100 countries, you can see they might have had a point.

Then there are the military interventions. The years since the second world war have brought the US military to country after country. The big wars are well-known: Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. But there has also been a constant stream of smaller engagements. Since 1945, US armed forces have been deployed abroad for conflicts or potential conflicts 211 times in 67 countries. Call it peacekeeping if you want, or call it imperialism. But clearly this is not a country that has kept its hands to itself.

Yet among all the talk of empire, one thing that often slips from view is actual territory. Yes, many would agree that the US is or has been an empire, for all the reasons above. But how much can most people say about the colonies themselves? Not, I would wager, very much.

It is not as if the information isn’t out there. Scholars, many working from the sites of empire themselves, have assiduously researched this topic for decades. The problem is that their works have been sidelined – filed, so to speak, on the wrong shelves. They are there, but as long as we have the logo map in our heads, they will seem irrelevant. They will seem like books about foreign countries. The confusion and shoulder-shrugging indifference that mainlanders displayed at the time of Pearl Harbor hasn’t changed much at all.

Iwill confess to having made this conceptual filing error myself. Although I studied US foreign relations as a doctoral student and read countless books about “American empire” – the wars, the coups, the meddling in foreign affairs – nobody ever expected me to know even the most elementary facts about the territories. They just didn’t feel important.

It wasn’t until I travelled to Manila, researching something else entirely, that it clicked. To get to the archives, I would travel by “jeepney”, a transit system originally based on repurposed US army jeeps. I boarded in a section of Metro Manila where the streets are named after US colleges (Yale, Columbia, Stanford, Notre Dame), states and cities (Chicago, Detroit, New York, Brooklyn, Denver), and presidents (Jefferson, Van Buren, Roosevelt, Eisenhower). When I would arrive at my destination, the Ateneo de Manila University, one of the country’s most prestigious schools, I would hear students speaking what sounded to my Pennsylvanian ears to be virtually unaccented English. Empire might be hard to make out from the mainland, but from the sites of colonial rule themselves, it is impossible to miss.

The Philippines is not a US territory any more; it got its independence after the second world war. Other territories, although they were not granted independence, received new statuses. Puerto Rico became a “commonwealth”, which ostensibly replaced a coercive relationship with a consenting one. Hawaii and Alaska, after some delay, became states, overcoming decades of racist determination to keep them out of the union.

Yet today, the US continues to hold overseas territory. Besides Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and a handful of minor outlying islands, the US maintains roughly 800 overseas military bases around the world.

None of this, however – not the large colonies, small islands, or military bases – has made much of a dent on the mainland mind. One of the truly distinctive features of the US’s empire is how persistently ignored it has been. This is, it is worth emphasising, unique. The British weren’t confused as to whether there was a British empire. They had a holiday, Empire Day, to celebrate it. France didn’t forget that Algeria was French. It is only the US that has suffered from chronic confusion about its own borders.

The reason is not hard to guess. The country perceives itself to be a republic, not an empire. It was born in an anti-imperialist revolt and has fought empires ever since, from Hitler’s Thousand-Year Reich and the Japanese empire to the “evil empire” of the Soviet Union. It even fights empires in its dreams. Star Wars, a saga that started with a rebellion against the Galactic Empire, is one of the highest-grossing film franchises of all time.

This self-image of the US as a republic is consoling, but it is also costly. Most of the cost has been paid by those living in the colonies and around the military bases. The logo map has relegated them to the shadows, which are a dangerous place to live. At various times, the inhabitants of the US empire have been shot, shelled, starved, interned, dispossessed, tortured and experimented on. What they haven’t been, by and large, is seen.

The logo map carries a cost for mainlanders, too. It gives them a truncated view of their own history, one that excludes part of their country. It is an important part. The overseas parts of the US have triggered wars, brought forth inventions, raised up presidents and helped define what it means to be “American”. Only by including them in the picture do we see a full portrait of the country – not as it appears in its fantasies, but as it actually is.
World War II and the Birth of an Empire
https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/ ... can-empire

The United States became an empire in 1945. It is true that in the Spanish-American War, the United States intentionally took control of the Philippines and Cuba. It is also true that it began thinking of itself as an empire, but it really was not. Cuba and the Philippines were the fantasy of empire, and this illusion dissolved during World War I, the subsequent period of isolationism and the Great Depression.

The genuine American empire that emerged thereafter was a byproduct of other events. There was no great conspiracy. In some ways, the circumstances of its creation made it more powerful. The dynamic of World War II led to the collapse of the European Peninsula and its occupation by the Soviets and the Americans. The same dynamic led to the occupation of Japan and its direct governance by the United States as a de facto colony, with Gen. Douglas MacArthur as viceroy.

The United States found itself with an extraordinary empire, which it also intended to abandon. This was a genuine wish and not mere propaganda. First, the United States was the first anti-imperial project in modernity. It opposed empire in principle. More important, this empire was a drain on American resources and not a source of wealth. World War II had shattered both Japan and Western Europe. The United States gained little or no economic advantage in holding on to these countries. Finally, the United States ended World War II largely untouched by war and as perhaps one of the few countries that profited from it. The money was to be made in the United States, not in the empire. The troops and the generals wanted to go home.

The United States was the first anti-imperial project in modernity. It opposed empire in principle.

But unlike after World War I, the Americans couldn't let go. That earlier war ruined nearly all of the participants. No one had the energy to attempt hegemony. The United States was content to leave Europe to its own dynamics. World War II ended differently. The Soviet Union had been wrecked but nevertheless it remained powerful. It was a hegemon in the east, and absent the United States, it conceivably could dominate all of Europe. This represented a problem for Washington, since a genuinely united Europe — whether a voluntary and effective federation or dominated by a single country — had sufficient resources to challenge U.S. power.

The United States could not leave. It did not think of itself as overseeing an empire, and it certainly permitted more internal political autonomy than the Soviets did in their region. Yet, in addition to maintaining a military presence, the United States organized the European economy and created and participated in the European defense system. If the essence of sovereignty is the ability to decide whether or not to go to war, that power was not in London, Paris or Warsaw. It was in Moscow and Washington.

The organizing principle of American strategy was the idea of containment. Unable to invade the Soviet Union, Washington's default strategy was to check it. U.S. influence spread through Europe to Iran. The Soviet strategy was to flank the containment system by supporting insurgencies and allied movements as far to the rear of the U.S. line as possible. The European empires were collapsing and fragmenting. The Soviets sought to create an alliance structure out of the remnants, and the Americans sought to counter them.

The Economics of Empire

One of the advantages of alliance with the Soviets, particularly for insurgent groups, was a generous supply of weapons. The advantage of alignment with the United States was belonging to a dynamic trade zone and having access to investment capital and technology. Some nations, such as South Korea, benefited extraordinarily from this. Others didn't. Leaders in countries like Nicaragua felt they had more to gain from Soviet political and military support than in trade with the United States.

The United States was by far the largest economic power, with complete control of the sea, bases around the world, and a dynamic trade and investment system that benefitted countries that were strategically critical to the United States or at least able to take advantage of it. It was at this point, early in the Cold War, that the United States began behaving as an empire, even if not consciously.

The geography of the American empire was built partly on military relations but heavily on economic relations. At first these economic relations were fairly trivial to American business. But as the system matured, the value of investments soared along with the importance of imports, exports and labor markets. As in any genuinely successful empire, it did not begin with a grand design or even a dream of one. Strategic necessity created an economic reality in country after country until certain major industries became dependent on at least some countries. The obvious examples were Saudi Arabia or Venezuela, whose oil fueled American oil companies, and which therefore — quite apart from conventional strategic importance — became economically important. This eventually made them strategically important.

The geography of the American empire was built partly on military relations but heavily on economic relations.

As an empire matures, its economic value increases, particularly when it is not coercing others. Coercion is expensive and undermines the worth of an empire. The ideal colony is one that is not at all a colony, but a nation that benefits from economic relations with both the imperial power and the rest of the empire. The primary military relationship ought to be either mutual dependence or, barring that, dependence of the vulnerable client state on the imperial power.

This is how the United States slipped into empire. First, it was overwhelmingly wealthy and powerful. Second, it faced a potential adversary capable of challenging it globally, in a large number of countries. Third, it used its economic advantage to induce at least some of these countries into economic, and therefore political and military, relationships. Fourth, these countries became significantly important to various sectors of the American economy.

Limits of the American Empire

The problem of the American Empire is the overhang of the Cold War. During this time, the United States expected to go to war with a coalition around it, but also to carry the main burden of war. When Operation Desert Storm erupted in 1991, the basic Cold War principle prevailed. There was a coalition with the United States at the center of it. After 9/11, the decision was made to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq with the core model in place. There was a coalition, but the central military force was American, and it was assumed that the economic benefits of relations with the United States would be self-evident. In many ways, the post-9/11 wars took their basic framework from World War II. Iraq War planners explicitly discussed the occupation of Germany and Japan.

No empire can endure by direct rule. The Nazis were perhaps the best example of this. They tried to govern Poland directly, captured Soviet territory, pushed aside Vichy to govern not half but all of France, and so on. The British, on the other hand, ruled India with a thin layer of officials and officers and a larger cadre of businessmen trying to make their fortunes. The British obviously did better. The Germans exhausted themselves not only by overreaching, but also by diverting troops and administrators to directly oversee some countries. The British could turn their empire into something extraordinarily important to the global system. The Germans broke themselves not only on their enemies, but on their conquests as well.

The United States emerged after 1992 as the only global balanced power. That is, it was the only nation that could deploy economic, political and military power on a global basis. The United States was and remains enormously powerful. However, this is very different from omnipotence. In hearing politicians debate Russia, Iran or Yemen, you get the sense that they feel that U.S. power has no limits. There are always limits, and empires survive by knowing and respecting them.

The primary limit of the American empire is the same as that of the British and Roman empires: demographic. In Eurasia — Asia and Europe together — the Americans are outnumbered from the moment they set foot on the ground. The U.S. military is built around force multipliers, weapons that can destroy the enemy before the enemy destroys the relatively small force deployed. Sometimes this strategy works. Over the long run, it cannot. The enemy can absorb attrition much better than the small American force can. This lesson was learned in Vietnam and reinforced in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraq is a country of 25 million people. The Americans sent about 130,000 troops. Inevitably, the attrition rate overwhelmed the Americans. The myth that Americans have no stomach for war forgets that the United States fought in Vietnam for seven years and in Iraq for about the same length of time. The public can be quite patient. The mathematics of war is the issue. At a certain point, the rate of attrition is simply not worth the political ends.

The deployment of a main force into Eurasia is unsupportable except in specialized cases when overwhelming force can be bought to bear in a place where it is important to win. These occasions are typically few and far between. Otherwise, the only strategy is indirect warfare: shifting the burden of war to those who want to bear it or cannot avoid doing so. For the first years of World War II, indirect warfare was used to support the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union against Germany.

There are two varieties of indirect warfare. The first is supporting native forces whose interests are parallel. This was done in the early stages of Afghanistan. The second is maintaining the balance of power among nations. We are seeing this form in the Middle East as the United States moves between the four major regional powers — Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Turkey — supporting one then another in a perpetual balancing act. In Iraq, U.S. fighters carry out air strikes in parallel with Iranian ground forces. In Yemen, the United States supports Saudi air strikes against the Houthis, who have received Iranian training.

This is the essence of empire. The British saying is that it has no permanent friends or permanent enemies, only permanent interests. That old cliche is, like most cliches, true. The United States is in the process of learning that lesson. In many ways the United States was more charming when it had clearly identified friends and enemies. But that is a luxury that empires cannot afford.
Yes, I do have a degree in international relations and therefore I know what I am talking about. And I know how to do unbiased research. Yes, the US is an Empire. A crumbling empire but a real one. It's your preconceived ideas that make you unable to see what should be obvious. But facts will soon help you see reality as it is...

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