As the U.S. marks the 13th anniversary of 9/11 and contemplates renewed military action in Iraq, some observers warn that America is a fading power.
“There was a time when America would whisper ‘coup’ and nations would quake,” says historian and University of Wisconsin professor Alfred McCoy, noting that in a 20-year period up to the mid-1970s, the CIA assisted in dozens of military coups that toppled governments.
Some historians believe the American reaction to the 2001 attacks actually accelerated the decline of the U.S. empire. Look no further than the ongoing quagmire in Iraq, the unachievable goals in Afghanistan and paralysis over Syria.
“We couldn’t get rid of Hugo Chavez. Despite our support, the Green Revolution in Iran failed,” McCoy offers by way of example.
In his 2004 book The Sorrows of Empire, scholar Chalmers Johnson wrote that embedded in the nature of empire is payback, and that following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, radical neoconservatives in the U.S. embraced the idea that “it is America’s job to police the world.”
This fuelled an orgy of military spending. In 2004, there were 725 known U.S. bases around the world, according to the Pentagon; today, there are over 1,000.
‘America is not an empire’
America has often been called the most powerful empire in human history, yet U.S. political elites have often stated the opposite.
Former president George W. Bush once said, “America is not an empire.” Donald Rumsfeld, his secretary of defense, stated “we’re not imperialistic.”
Intense debates have sprung up in recent years about how America has played the grand imperial game.
British citizens embraced notions of empire, but Americans want to be seen to be benevolent rulers. The British believed in having a “civilizing” influence; Americans call it “democratizing.”

Chalmers Johnson calls both terms “self-deluding propaganda.”
British historian Niall Ferguson believes that America, to its detriment, hasn’t been forceful enough in pursuing its imperial quest. “It is an empire in denial so America might end up a colossus with attention deficit disorder,” he wrote in his 2004 book Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire.
In a 2004 interview on CBC Radio’s Ideas program, libertarian thinker Doug Bandow echoed this sentiment, saying, “this broad agenda of empire is completely dead if Iraq keeps going the way it’s going. In fact, if Iraq dies, I think the American empire is gone.”
Economist Joseph Stiglitz estimates military interventions in Iraq have cost America over $1 trillion in direct costs, and two trillion in future costs.
When asked what has been accomplished — besides a lot of death and destruction — Alfred McCoy says, “Not a whole lot.”
All of which invites the question, How do you assess when an empire is dead?
The cost of foreign wars, a deteriorating middle class and a poorly performing educational system are only a few of the many variables that have added to America’s woes.
That’s why a new genre of academics, who call themselves “declinists,” has emerged in recent years.
These scholars are charting the weakening of the American empire. McCoy is one of them, and believes the reign of the American empire will be over by 2025.
Even more telling, perhaps, is that the National Intelligence Council, the supreme analytic body within the American intelligence community, has also been reading the tea leaves. It says the days of the American empire, militarily, will be over by 2030.
Remember when we said yesterday that it looked like Scotland was likely to split from England in a referendum next week?
Well, today’s poll shows they won’t!
More results tomorrow!
(By the way, James Bond says Aye, and Harry potter says Nay!)
Hang on to your hat if ya live way up there in a highrise building kids:
A “strong” solar flare that launched off the sun Wednesday afternoon could cause some fluctuations in Earth’s power grid and slight disturbances in satellites and radio transmissions on Friday and Saturday. Major disruptions are not expected, even though the flare was classified as an “X-class” flare, which is at the high end of the solar flare scale. Wednesday’s flare followed a weaker flare late Monday.
Apparently the higher ya go, the more intense the effects of the flare will be ….., so the Department of Defense has suggested that people who live above the 35th floor on some high rise buildings should find alternate accommodation for a few days!
I really should get my eyes checked. I saw a headline in the paper today that said: “Darth Vader could go free after 4 years in custody!”
Since this was news to me, I started to read the piece, only to discover they were talking about some guy named Travis Vader!

This startling fact was released by the intelligence community today:
Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria now have about 20,000 to 31,500 fighters on the ground, the Central Intelligence Agency said, much higher than a previous estimate of 10,000.
Now the reason I find this personally alarming, is because I didn’t think you could find that many totally insane people, and get them together on one spot, at one time!
Well folks, here’s something to make the NRA both happy, and sad, all at the same time!
A teacher in the US state of Utah who was legally carrying a gun in her primary school was seriously injured when it accidentally discharged, police have said.
The incident happened in a staff toilet before classes started and no children were in the building, officials said.
The unidentified woman was in a good condition in hospital by the afternoon.
Utah is among a number of states that allow people with permits to carry concealed weapons into primary schools.
A larger number of states leave it up to individual school districts to prohibit firearms on school campuses or allow only teachers and other school staff to carry guns.
Utah also prohibits school officials from asking teachers if they are carrying a firearm.
In Taylorsville, Utah, on Thursday, school district spokesman Ben Horsley told the Associated Press news agency the district required teachers who carry guns at school to keep the weapons with them at all times, including in the toilet.
Mr Horsley said the school would not release details about the teacher at Westbrook Elementary but said she was carrying the gun legally. The district’s police were investigating how the gun discharged.
Crisis counsellors were available and a substitute teacher was brought in to supervise the wounded teacher’s class, he added.
Police initially thought the gun had discharged directly into her leg but now believe she was injured when the bullet struck a toilet and caused it to explode, sending bullet and porcelain fragments into her lower leg.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the NRA said they are still trying to decide how they feel about this issue!

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