Art for LA Progressive
With the failure of Washington to achieve its strategic goal in Ukraine—that being the weakening of Russia enough that Eurasia is destabilized and U.S. hegemony is maintained—represents a lesson the imperialists have had to learn over the last generation. This lesson is that actions have consequences. Their decision to provoke Russia into intervening in Ukraine has shown they still haven’t learnt this lesson, and never will.
When 9/11 happened, it was the opportunity that the neoconservative vanguard of the new century’s American militarism had been waiting for. The desire of these warmongers, articulated by their think tank the Project for the American Century, had been a dramatic event. An event that could create popular support for a rebuilding of U.S. arms infrastructure to a level comparable to that of the World War II era. As implied in this think tank’s name, they expected to bring about a solidification of U.S. dominance, so much that a shift towards multipolarity would be made unrealistic.
Yet because they were arrogant in how they acted, because they believed the sudden domestic backing for militarism reflected how the rest of the globe would react to whatever Washington did, they brought about the exact opposite of the outcome they had intended. They invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, their narrative managers insisting that these operations would bring decisive and prompt victory against the terrorists (or against those who they claimed were affiliated with the terrorists). In Afghanistan, their manufacturing of instability and their use of horrific death squads ended up repeating the pattern established by their last involvement in Afghanistan, which was that when the U.S. inserts itself into a situation, it only ends up creating or strengthening its own enemies. In Iraq, Washington’s unprovoked invasion was predicated on a series of lies that would easily be debunked. This help bring about irrepressible armed resistance from those who refused to be ruled by a corrupt neoliberal foreign puppet state, leading Washington to murder hundreds of thousands over a drawn-out conflict.
The White House’s cynical propaganda campaign to create a narrative of an Iraq-al Qaeda connection, and the destabilization the war brought, were what created ISIS. This was shortly after the U.S. had created the Taliban and al Qaeda through similar types of imperial blowback. The incomprehensible amount of suffering and death Washington wrought upon the region cultivated the social base for a new generation’s worth of terrorism, inspiring those who lost loved ones or who sympathized with the War on Terror’s victims to carry out retaliatory bombings and mass shootings.
All the while, questions kept appearing about why 9/11 happened in the first place. Saudi Arabia was found to be tied to the attacks, the Mossad was found to have known the attacks were coming, and the White House was found to have been informed of a risk for attacks. Even a fairly non-conspiratorial analysis of these facts can conclude that the attacks were preventable, and that they were made possible by a network of corrupt ties between the Bush White House and the Saudi terrorist state. They weren’t made possible by a lack of U.S. military involvement. Which was what had produced the entities that had carried out both the terrorist incidents, and the Taliban’s reign of terror against Afghanistan’s people.
All of the evils within this series of events could be traced to the United States. So when Washington decided to perpetuate these evils by refusing to stop terrorizing the countries it occupied, then expanded its violence into five more countries through drone warfare and bombings, then expanded it even further through AFRICOM, most of the globe came to perceive Washington as lacking credibility. The U.S. couldn’t present itself as humanity’s safeguard against brutality and oppression, without being viewed as hypocritical on a cosmic scale.
If Biden didn’t want almost all the countries apart from Washington’s imperial allies to decline Washington’s request for participating in the sanctions on Russia, he shouldn’t have voted for the Iraq invasion. Biden, and the other politicians who facilitated neoconservatism’s rise to becoming the dominant U.S. foreign policy model, believed they were securing U.S. hegemony. But the confidence they needed in order to have faith in unrestrained military adventurism as a sound strategy was not backed up by material reality. They gained this confidence because the Soviet Union had just been defeated, which gave liberals a sense of invincibility. In reality, even the Project for a New American Century’s pre-9/11 analysis was warning that Washington’s global status could be lost. It considered the possibility that the U.S. may become diminished in its military dominance to the lands within its own borders, in which case the country would become a “fortress America.” An outcome that the think tank did not view as something which could sustain the strength of U.S. capital.
A militarily isolated United States would be weak in its capital because capital requires constant expansion into new markets, and therefore worldwide military might, to survive. This is especially true in a hyper-neoliberalized country like the USA, which adopted its current austerity policies due to the fact that its economy has long depended on global imperial extraction. When this extraction started to lose its reliability as a source for profits, the ruling class implemented a program to progressively redistribute wealth upward. In a system that runs on parasitic exploitation, threats to the maintenance of that exploitation’s global scale can only be responded to by intensifying the exploitation of the home country’s workers. That’s how we’ve gotten the last half-century’s rise in American inequality, and decline in American living standards.
Ukraine is the catalyst for the undoing of this system, which has already been cannibalizing itself for generations. And the hubristic decisions the imperialists made twenty years ago are why Ukraine will prove to be fatal for the empire. Because the imperialists invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, the majority of the globe has declined to provide Washington’s war on Russia with the backing it would need to succeed. Because the economic war on Russia has failed, Washington can’t destabilize Russia. Because it can’t destabilize Russia, it won’t be able to leave China strategically vulnerable by taking away the PRC’s most important international friend. Because the PRC will remain strong, its Belt and Road Initiative will continue to be able to weaken U.S. business interests across the peripheral countries, providing these countries with the developmental robustness they need for becoming independent from the IMF.
Because the IMF will increasingly lose its ability to coerce these countries into acting as neo-colonial exploitation sites, U.S. capital will keep weakening. Which will force the U.S. ruling class to keep refusing to compromise with the workers, further heightening class contradictions. Whether this leads to revolution in America depends on how well the communists here do our jobs.
If you appreciate my work, I hope you become a one-time or regular donor to my Patreon account. Like most of us, I’m feeling the economic pinch during late-stage capitalism, and I need money to keep fighting for a new system that works for all of us. Go to my Patreon here.