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The End Of An Era

By Siv O'Neall

11 October, 2006
Axis Of Logic

The very notion of a superpower is in tatters. People all over the world are seeing the enormous hypocrisy behind the power game Washington has been playing with increasing recklessness and incompetence for the past half century.

Along with the U.S. administration’s continuous descent into lawlessness and strategic confusion abroad and at home, we see more and more signs of other big powers ascending into the orb of global eminence, making the Washington arrogant power play increasingly seem like a madmen’s illusion.

The loss of American self-confidence

It is the end of an era of American supremacy, of U.S. striving for imperial control of the entire world, the era of American self-confidence, of American innocent trust in its leaders, the era when ‘we were the greatest’. The American people can no longer see themselves as morally superior to the people of all other nations; they cannot boast of having the best educational system, the best upward-moving possibilities, the least poverty, the best opportunities for all people, without consideration of race or social background.

The earthquake that is on its way is seriously destabilizing the American psyche and people are feeling lost and abandoned. They are helpless in the face of the sudden crumbling of their quasi-religious belief in their own superiority in the world and their rock-solid trust in the integrity of their leaders.

The notions of American infallibility have become worthless bags of waste on a garbage dump and nobody with eyes half open can be fooled into believing that Americans are the best, the most moral, the most civilized people in the world.

Even the average American is now beginning to see how thoroughly we have been misled into upholding illusions that we are the ones who must show the world the way to democracy, freedom, moral values. These high-flying notions were what supposedly justified the U.S. invasion of defenseless countries around the world, and the American people applauded our strength, our moral rectitude, our superior way of organizing the planet, of making poor countries see Big Brother coming in as a savior.

When we supported tyrants, it was played down by the media who glossed over the incompetence and corruption of those tyrants, a devious power play that was never made clear to the American people. Support for cruel and mercenary dictators became a standard pattern for U.S administrations, at least from Ronald Reagan on. These corrupt dictators would play into our hands and let us run the world, for temporary benefit to themselves and possibly one small part of their country, without ever alleviating the deep-seated poverty in these third-world countries.

The Big Bluff

The present U.S. administration has been working so arrogantly and so blindly towards total control of the planet – and of space – that, considering their senseless overreaching, it is inevitable that the bubble will burst, that the time of illusions, pretensions and unlimited thirst for power will very soon be a thing of the past. Facing global reality is a sine qua non if we want to save the planet for future generations, if we don’t want to look forward to a future of continuous wars, the way these ego-crazed madmen’s plans are set, for their own short-term benefit and for the ruin of the rest of the world.

The so-called leaders are standing there now, at last, hands empty, mouthing phrases that were meaningless platitudes even when they were first uttered. The world is lying in ruins around them. Their bluff has been called, their weakness has been displayed, their lies have been revealed as nothing but indefinitely repeated slogans without any anchoring in reality. All bluff.

From Afghanistan to Iraq, from Gaza and the Israeli occupied territories in the West Bank to Lebanon, militarism has failed and the United States and its protectorate, Israel, have been proven hugely incompetent at the warfare they so recklessly and blunderingly depend on. The U.S. is not just up against local freedom fighters and more or less well-armed guerillas. They are at this point up against the world.

They are never going to redraw the map of a new geopolitical Middle East according to their plans, because they have lost the global fight against national pride and the ever-existent will of all nations to defend their right to self-determination, their right to rule over their own destinies, not to be crushed by foreign ignorant and incompetent imperialists who mindlessly trample on their most basic human rights, trample on their pride and dignity. All this is made possible because of the thirst for power and thus the willing cooperation of corrupt local leaders. The imperialist klutzes don’t even understand the notion of human dignity.

These predators never had any dignity themselves, they only had the lust to defeat and command and accumulate power. Power over what? The only result is eternal revolt and eternal strife, getting further thousands and thousands of U.S. military killed, while the madmen in Washington fantasize that they will one day control the world. And this war without end would get millions of innocent people throughout the world killed and maimed to satisfy the power hunger of a crazed and ego-blinded Washington junta.

But the era of a superpower is over. The world was never made to hold one unipolar power in domination of all the rest of the planet. To profit whom? To profit a handful of obscenely rich corporate magnates and their bed fellows, the politicians, the rulers of the neoliberal world, with the U.S. Treasury Department holding the strings to all important decisions that are made to suck the blood out of the underdogs.

The Unites States of America no more has the economic, moral or military superiority that it once had and which it still very likely imagines that it has. The economy is in shambles, they have no more moral authority than a Sicilian mob junta, and their military is so overstretched that they have resorted to hiring ex-criminals to fill the numbers needed for the sorely overstretched U.S. Iraqi military force and the 350,000 military at the innumerable U.S. military bases stretching across the globe.[1]

The truth is that the world seen not through the tinted glasses of the neocon junta and the corporate bloodsuckers, but through the eyes of reality, is not unipolar. It is actually so multi-polar that it seems almost incredible that Dick Cheney, Condi Rice and Donald Rumsfeld (let’s leave the insane clown called George W. out of this) can possibly fail to realize that fact, that is… in case they really do.

You would think they live on another planet when they go on mouthing inanities about ‘prevailing’, ‘installing democracy’, telling Iran what they will be up against unless they toe the line drawn by the one and sole superpower. It would be Iran, no doubt, that would show the world what such a horrendous misstep would lead to, total disarray and mobocracy in that whole part of the world. Iran would be bombed back to the stone age maybe, but then so would probably also the rest of that region, including Israel, and hundreds of thousands or millions of people on both sides of the line of terror would succumb. Or, more exactly, there would not be a line but a maelstrom of terror that would drag everyone down.

There can not possibly be a ‘winner’ in such a generalized war, or even in today‘s war which has already become a multi-headed hydra, far too crafty and amorphous ever to be defeated. The U.S. military may still believe they can win this so-called war on terror, which is more exactly a fight for survival in a number of independent countries against the hubristic aggression of a superpower with no sense of reality. In reality, there are probably just a handful of people left at this point who are sufficiently deluded to think that this war is winnable or justified.

Rising global powers

For the moment, but not lastingly, as the world rolls around, Pakistan and India are playing the game of allies to the United States. Right now it is in the interests of their leaders to comply with the supranational financial organizations (which work solely in the interests of the rich countries), but what will happen one day when Musharraf meets even more local resistance to his pro-American regime, when the Pakistani supporters of the Taliban in Afghanistan develop enough muscle to stand up to this U.S. puppet. Musharraf is at this very moment feeling the heat of local resistance and is walking a tightrope in order to pacify the sizeable homegrown opposition. General Musharraf has sold out dearly to the U.S. and he will certainly have to pay the price one day.

Further, the U.S. is blackmailing India by making a deal to share nuclear technology with the subcontinent[2]. The Indian economy is on the rise, as are the economies of China and Russia, which in no way means that the poverty-stricken millions have seen any benefits from the neoliberal economic gains. But nevertheless, India is a formidable power and the day its rulers get on the wrong side of U.S. interests, it will be a powerful enemy.

This nuclear technology deal is reminiscent of the deal the U.S. once made with Iran, under the shah of Iran’s puppet regime. So Iran now wants to make further advances in its nuclear abilities, a program begun by the U.S. However, times have changed and Iran is not in our sphere of interest any more


1967. USA lays the foundation of Iran’s nuclear programme by providing a 5 megawat nuclear research reactor for the Tehran Nuclear Research Center

1968. Iran signs NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty]. USA draws a plan to construct 23 nuclear power stations by 2000, in an accord with the Shah of Iran

1975. US National Security Decision Memorandum 292 signed by Henry Kissinger entitled “US-Iran Nuclear Cooperation.” It detailed sale of $ 6 billion worth of nuclear equipment to Iran

China and Russia

But even more importantly than India with its one billion people and its growing economy is China with a population exceeding 1.3 billion, about one-fifth of the world's population, and a rapidly growing economy, even though their civil rights record is severely wanting.

China is never going to stand idly by and watch the United States further expand its empire into Asia and the oil-rich areas that China itself is increasingly dependent on as the country becomes more and more industrialized. The Chinese leaders are, on the contrary, themselves forging ties to oil producing nations, from Iran to Venezuela.

Russia is also back on the stage since they are recovering forcefully after the IMF-assisted economic collapse in the nineties. The current economic growth is largely due to the rising price of oil and gas, but also due to the fact that Vladimir Putin to some extent has managed to bring Russian capital out of the hands of the Yeltsin era billionaires by re-nationalizing oil and gas[3].

Russia as well is flexing its muscle in several ways, among other things by trying to keep the U.S. at bay in the “stans”, rich in oil and natural gas and strategically important Caucasian nations on the southern border of Russia. The U.S. has installed military bases in most of these countries, but Putin seems determined to keep them from controlling Russia’s southern flank, mainly by creating economic ties with the governments in those countries. Also, in Kyrgyzstan for instance, U.S. and Russian air bases coexist within a few miles of each other. (The U.S. Eyes Oil in Central Asia and Steps on Russia's Turf)

Latin America

Much closer to home and therefore so much more sensitive is the widespread self-reliance that is brewing in Latin America[4]. Central America was believed to be thoroughly tamed and brought into the U.S sphere of interests after Ronald Reagan’s devious economic support to death squads and Contras in order to defeat socialist movements in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras. However, in Nicaragua the Sandinistas under Daniel Ortega are coming back in full strength, very likely encouraged by the leftist regimes gaining power all over Latin America.

“Sixteen years after voters [with strong U.S. backing [5]] swept Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega from Nicaragua's presidency, the former Marxist icon appears to have his best chance yet for a comeback in elections scheduled for Nov. 5.” (Sandinista Aims for Comeback in Nicaragua)

A threat to U.S. supremacy in the world from Latin America, the former U.S. own backyard, is seen as particularly painful and humiliating for Washington. Progressive Latin American countries morally have the upper hand because of wide-spread popular support and the leaders’ humanitarian-egalitarian policies which have focused on the eradication of poverty and illiteracy and improving poor health conditions. This is the kind of true democracy that the U.S. is losing sight of by the hour.

The U.S. media have so thoroughly propagandized the American attitude to Venezuela and other emerging leftist countries that there are very few Americans who actually see the positive things Hugo Chávez is doing and has done for his country. Chávez is a socialist and that word has such a deafening bad ring to the average American that no more needs to be said. Socialist, therefore bad, dangerous and threatening to the United States. How frightening that a formerly poor country – except of course for the US-backed moneyed bourgeoisie – dares stand up, stubbornly and repeatedly attacking United States imperialism!

Hubris and fantasy

However, even aside from the existence of such varied resistance to the supremacy of the United States and the fact that there are other emerging superpowers in the world, the idea that one superpower, morally corrupt to boot, could possibly control the world by itself is pure fantasy. Even with weak and reluctant (except for Mr. Blair himself) allies like Great Britain, plus a few minor countries that the U.S. has gotten into its grips financially and politically, via the IMF and the U.S. Treasury Department, the U.S. will still stand out as the one corrupt superpower with clear ambitions to control the world.

The major point here is the fact that there is no superpower in the world that, in the long run, can withstand the enormous pressure created by poverty, hunger, suffering, health crises and premature deaths. In a world where 2.6 billion people lack basic sanitation, mainly in Africa and Asia, (UN report), it would be foolish to even vaguely entertain the thought that one superpower could possibly take over the world and not have to face constant rebellion on all fronts simultaneously.

Add to that the general humiliation of seeing one’s country taken over by a nation that has no interest in the wellbeing of the local people, but which kills and destroys without second thoughts, and this is bound to energize the resistance to being dominated by a foreign country – in the Middle East, in Africa, as well as in emerging nations like India and Brazil.

The era of superpower domination of the world is rapidly coming to an end. The very arrogance of the present superpower has caused its impending downfall.

[1] Approximately 350,000 U.S. troops were stationed around the world as of early February, according to About 250,000 were deployed in combat, peacekeeping and counterterrorism operations, and an additional 100, 000 in Germany, Japan, Italy and England were serving routine tours of duty. […]

[Chalmers ] Johnson [a professor emeritus at UC San Diego and an Asia expert] says the Pentagon's calculation that it owns or rents 702 bases in about 130 countries -- over and above the 6,000 bases in the United States -- is a gross underestimate because it fails to include installations in such places as Kosovo and Bosnia, as well as Iraq and Afghanistan, and secret installations in Israel, Australia and England, among others. (SFGate)

[2] USA Today:

“Reversing decades of U.S. policy, President Bush ushered India into the world's exclusive nuclear club Thursday with a landmark agreement to share nuclear reactors, fuel and expertise with this energy-starved nation in return for its acceptance of international safeguards.” (Nuclear deal announced as Bush visits India)

[3] Yeltsin was replaced by Vladimir Putin who was not in the CIA’s pocket, and by definition, not influenced by the bribe money of international oil cartels. Putin moved to oust the oligarchs and re-nationalize Russian oil and gas, much to the fury of those who had invested billions of unrecoverable dollars. This, naturally, explains the growing hostility towards Putin on the part of the Bush Administration, a hostility fueled by a livid oil cartel shrieking over its lost billions. ( )

[4] ‘Latin America declares independence’, Noam Chomsky “In the southern cone especially, from Venezuela to Argentina, the region is rising to overthrow the legacy of external domination of the past centuries and the cruel and destructive social forms that they have helped to establish.” (International Herald Tribune)

[5] 1990 “Nicaragua has elections. The popular Sandinista government had been blockaded and destabilised by the USA from neighbouring Honduras. The USA tells the people of the country that if the party it backed (the National Opposition Union) won the elections, the war would stop and aid would be forthcoming. Using the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the USA spends $ 9,000,000 on the opposition election campaign.

In the USA, Time Magazine writes that the methods used to destabilise Nicaragua were to "wreck the economy and prosecute a long and deadly proxy war until the exhausted natives overthrow the unwanted government themselves," with a cost to the USA that was "minimal". (The Acts of the Democracies)

Siv O’Neall is an Axis of Logic columnist, based in France. She can be reached at

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