American Empire Is a Desperate and Weak Power With Crumbling Credibility and Elites Incapable of Adapting to 21st Century

Sure it has might at its disposal, but when has it last attained the outcome it wanted?

“Having no need of imaginative thinking or policy innovation for more than seven decades, Washington finds itself incapable of either. Instead, it assumes a perennial posture of resistance as a new, multipolar, and historically inevitable world order emerges.”

The kinetic events of the past week in Washington, Tehran, and the Persian Gulf were nothing if not revealing. President Donald Trump proved the keeper of the peace, warmongers all around him, when he aborted an airborne attack  on Iran Thursday evening. The Iranians continue to act with admirable restraint in the face of incessant provocations.

More such provocations are sure to come. Trump announced over the weekend that he will impose yet another layer of “major new sanctions” against Iran on Monday. After a minor cyber-attack against an Iranian intelligence agency last week, the Pentagon has developed a list of Iranian entities it is considering for a more extensive cyber-war campaign.

But there are more fundamental truths to derive from the swift escalation of Washington’s hostilities toward Tehran. They come to four. Taken together, they offer a snapshot of an imperial power in accelerating decline.

Paralyzed Elites

First, Trump’s determination to avoid pointless new wars of adventure has divided Washington to an extent that is unprecedented at least as far back as the Vietnam debacle. In addition to hawkish factions within the administration and the national security apparatus, an apparent majority on Capitol Hill — liberals as well as Republicans — favors war as the principal instrument of American foreign policy in the Middle East.

This strongly suggests that Washington’s foreign policy elites are effectively paralyzed — that is, incapable of meeting a new century’s realities with new thinking. Trump’s authorization of last week’s cyberattack and his subsequent promise of new sanctions appear to be attempts to appease the swelling ranks of warmongers pressuring him to approve a military confrontation with Iran. It is to Trump’s credit that he has so far held out against those many who stand against him. It is not clear how long he will be able to do so. There is informed speculation that Trump never approved of the attack he canceled at the last minute Thursday night.

Crumbling Credibility

Second, Washington’s ability to impose a self-serving narrative on global events is in the latter stages of collapse. Winning broad acceptance of officially approved accounts of U.S. actions and intentions has been essential to the effective execution of American foreign policy at least since the Cold War’s onset in the late 1940s. This is a dwindling asset, as the cases of Ukraine, Syria, and now Iran attest.

Washington’s account of events in the Persian Gulf since two cargo vessels were attacked two weeks ago met open resistance within 24 hours, notably from Germany, the European Union, and Japan — all among America’s longstanding allies. The significance here cannot be overstated. If the U.S. can no longer control accepted narratives, its global alliances will progressively weaken. This process is already evident, notably in the increasing tension between Washington and its trans-Atlantic allies.

Desperation Phase

Third, in the twilight years of its long preeminence, the U.S. has entered what is best described as its desperation phase. Having no need of imaginative thinking or policy innovation for more than seven decades, Washington finds itself incapable of either. Instead, it assumes a perennial posture of resistance as a new, multipolar, and historically inevitable world order emerges. In a word, America now acts as spoiler wherever this new order is emergent.

This is evident in a variety of contexts. High among these are Western Europe’s densely woven interdependence with Russia, which elaborates continuously despite America’s objections, and the universally shared desire to achieve a lasting peace in Northeast Asia. In the case of Iran, Washington resists the Islamic Republic’s undeniable place as a regional power, incessantly painting a nation dedicated to regional security as a sponsor of terror that is intent — for reasons never explained — on destabilizing its own neighborhood.

A foreign policy that rests on desperation rather than a reasoned understanding of a world in historically significant flux can lead only to a continuing succession of failures. Should Trump’s many adversaries in Washington prevail in instigating a military confrontation with Iran, the current crisis in the Persian Gulf will take its place among these. The outcome here may be evident in a matter of weeks, if not sooner.


Finally, there is the question of Washington’s increasing isolation. During the postwar decades the U.S. was “alone in the world” — the phrase of the Italian journalist Luigi Barzini — by virtue of its unchallenged dominance. For better or worse, America led. This has turned upside down since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001: The U.S. is now ever more alone because it repeatedly flinches from the 21st century, effectively refusing to accept that the 20th has passed.

There has yet to be an open breach between the U.S. and its postwar allies. But it is not difficult to imagine that one lies out in the middle distance — an eventuality that was unthinkable even a decade or so ago. The now-evident trans-Atlantic rift worsened steadily after the Obama administration force-marched the Continent to conform to the sanctions it imposed on Russia after the U.S.–cultivated coup in Ukraine five years ago. Trump widened it very dramatically when he withdrew last year from the 2015 accord governing Iran’s nuclear programs.

It is lost on no one in Europe that the current crisis in the Persian Gulf is the direct outcome —and maybe the intended outcome — of that reckless decision. Should Washington’s hawkish factions persist in their transparent efforts to provoke a military conflict with Iran, the risk of a break straight down the middle of the Western alliance will draw all the nearer.

The U.S. remains beyond question the world’s most powerful nation, as is frequently remarked. But hard power is losing its agency: This is among the principal features of our new century. It is important now to distinguish between strong nations and the merely powerful. Most of what the U.S. does abroad has come to demonstrate the opposite of its intent. America is emerging as a powerful but weak nation, its leadership divided and unable to rethink its global position. And a loss of strength is the very essence of a nation in decline.

Source: Consortium News

  1. […] and Weak Power With Crumbling Credibility and Elites Incapable of Adapting to 21st Century by Patrick Lawrence for Check Point […]

  2. […] Sure it has might at its disposal, but when has it last attained the outcome it wanted? […]

  3. Ankh Maat Hotep says

    The desperate fight is on to SAVE AmeriKKKa (the empire of chaos).
    “The decline of Empire is in progress and it’s decline would be very, very violent”….

  4. mijj says

    typical Zionist USA – bringing a Hammer to a Screwdriver party.

  5. Kjeith says

    Bolton and Pompeo asked the pentagon for 120,000 troops with which to invade Iran, but were told no can do. When Bolton described their fighting forces as “new and fresh” – what he meant was the exact opposite. Sure, they have thousands and thousands of grunts sitting around their 800 or more foreign bases expanding their waistlines at the tax payer’s expense (when they are not raping and murdering the local women – Okinawa) but since the “tectonic shift in power” the Russians mentioned in the Middle East they no longer rule the skies. Even with the uninterrupted warmongering support of the US MSM the American people have no stomach for body bags and the military cannot afford human losses. So definitely no invasion, at least not for the 20 or so years it will take to rebuild the us military into a machine fit to fight other militaries, their days of subjugating countries by drone bombing their weddings (and funerals) are over.

    1. DarkEyes says

      IMO the fifty states of the United States of America must refuse to supply the federal government incorporation with troops from their state for the Israhellies wars.

      To serve a foreign nation instead of your own country could be a breach of contract between the fifty states of USA and US Inc. in Washington.
      End of Message.

      Result? No wars, no dead American bodies anymore for Israhell.
      Finally building the strong needed infrastructures in the states of the USA.
      A restart of America is needed, in peace.

  6. xxcrowleyxx says

    LOL american empire!! LOL.. yup clueless..

    I find it fascinating how the world still views the USA.. and thinks we wil Crumble, we will never last.. LOL!!! USA will Live on FOREVER.. They don’t take time to learn.. they are ignorant to who the USA is and are..

    We are not occupied ot a waring nation.. it’s a EXPERIMENT which is open to change as it comes.. CONSTANTLY changing.. and will NEVER BE FULLY COMPLETE/FINISHED..



    This is the experiment…

    “American Empire” Bahh!! ROFL..
    Only the ignorant and blind beleive in a “american empire”..


    1. DarkEyes says

      You must be still in your baby-years.
      Still learning?
      I have my doubts.

      1. xxcrowleyxx says

        “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

        “To understand the declaration of independence is to under stand the American psychicky”-
        your out of your league.. not even on the same planet as you

      2. xxcrowleyxx says

        to say “American Empire” CLEARY states you have no idea who or what a american is.. at least a United States citizen.. There is no “Empire” dope our found fathers made sure the US government was NOT a Empire, you need a dictator or a marxist state to even consider being called a “Empire”..

        It’s obvious you have no freedom where your at. “We The People-” Of the USA OWN the government. not the government owns the people

  7. jm74 says

    Here we go again, another article trying to exonerate trump of any guilt or wrong doing. Keeper of peace; utter rubbish.

  8. John C Carleton says

    Sloppy journalism.

    America has no Empire.
    Then last free American Government, was the Confederate States of America.

    The last battle against the foreign to America, zionist USA sub corporation of the Evil Rat Run British Empire, (USA/Washington DC having been incorporated under Rat British Empire law), was fought in the Occupied Republic of Texas in 1865.

    The Last American General to surrender was General Stand Watie, Confederate States of America, a Cherokee American.
    (The Cherokee Nation fought against the evil of the USA corporation).
    ‘Stand Watie – Brigadier General of the Civil War’

    America is an Occupied country and people, without a government, without a military.
    How can an occupied people have an “Empire”.

    1. Ron Wheeler says

      Hi John I read that article about Watie. I am confused why did so many Cherokees served under his command when Watie supported the road to: Trail of Tears? Which means Watie signed on to force the Cherokees move to reservations and leave their lands while the settlers reaped the gold. John Ross is my hero. Thank you for that link.

      1. John C Carleton says

        Who did the trail of tears to them?
        USA/Washington DC/zionist..

        Theres your answer.

        1. Ron Wheeler says

          My point is, Watie supported the Trail of Tears. So how did he get so much support from the Cherokees and thus served under his command?

          1. John C Carleton says

            i told you, USA/WASHINGTON DC, did the trail of tears to them.
            Watie was a warrior.
            Warriors often do not make the best politicians.
            Most warriors having honor themselves, falsely belief the lies un-honorable politicians tell them, believing they have honor also.

            Take cousin George now.
            Without the leadership, tenacity, Dam the torpedos, full attack ahead of george washington, the colonies would not have won their freedom.

            If George had not been in over his head as a politician, made the mistake of believing the lies of other politicians who had no truth and honor, made the mistake of throwing in with the Pro “constitution” crowd of pedophile Usury bankers, lawyers, elite empire builders, there would have been no constitution, and the Americans would not have lost their freedom again.
            They had to have Washington backing it to get the constitution through.

            So as to Watie, he made a bad politician, and a good warrior.
            The Cherokee understood he was the best shot they had winning their freedom back, and they understood one can learn from their mistakes/grow from their mistakes, as Watie did.

            Shame Washington did not get the chance to redeem himself as watie did, on the battle field.

            By the time Washington understood how badly he had screwed up, he was old, mostly deaf, and dying.

            1. Ron Wheeler says

              Thank you for your explanation. However John Ross, still is a remarkable individual, which, as I understood, many Cherokee would have raised up against him if it was not for his death. How does Ross get the bad end of a stick when in fact he was a true supporter of the Cherokees with respect to land ownership and human rights? I think I need to read more to get these answers.

            2. John C Carleton says

              Sheep are sheep, no matter what name tag you put on them.

              Jesus the Christ was trying to help the Hebrews save themselves, and they helped the Romans murder him for it.

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