We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Sunday, December 23, 2018
No matter how it appears, Trump isn’t getting out of Syria and Afghanistan
I regard Stephen Gowans (along with Pepe Escobar, Tony Cartalucci, and Bernhard of Moon of Alabama) as one of the top geopolitical analysts in the world.
Gowans argues, with considerable supporting documentation, that Trump has not changed the fundamental policies of the Empire's imperialist policies, but there is a change in methods to finance foreign military adventure. True to the views which Trump as consistently argued in the past, he wants our allies to bear more of the cost of maintaining these foreign adventures. Gowans further argues that Mattis's resignation was motivated by the opposite view: that the USA must maintain its predominate role. It is a debate between imperialist policies, not imperialism itself. Thus, there is no fundamental shift in the Empire's funding of imperialism. (However, I doubt that USA's allies will be willing to replace US troops in eastern Syria.)
I think that the Mattis camp is right in their opinion that the Trump decision to cut back on the cost to the USA will eventually lead to the weakening of the Empire's control of the world. But Trump is simply recognizing reality: the USA simply can't afford to supply troops and other financing of these adventures any longer. We are too broke to do this.
Trump's decision puts another marker on the beginning of the end of the US Empire. To be sure, the capitalist ruling classes of the US's subordinate allies will pick up the military and financial burden because they have no other choice. They too have financial problems of their own, and cannot much longer fund such adventures. So, I view Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan in order to shift more of the burden on their partners-in-crime to maintain the Empire as a positive sign in the long run.