Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Five Years of Accelerating U.S. Decline

Five Years of Accelerating U.S. Decline

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Five years ago, anti-war forces were in deep depression, having failed to prevent Bush from launching his illegal war against Iraq. Pro-war circles were floating on top of the world, imagining that Washington was about to become the new Rome under an American arms umbrella that would hold the entire planet in Shock and Awe. As it turned out, the American offensive was tied down by indigenous Iraqis – a great defeat for a superpower. So repulsed was the world at Washington’s assault on global order and civilization, itself, that the U.S. has been on a many-fronted free-fall ever since March 30, 2003. This article includes a piece written by our team on the day of the invasion.

Five Years of Accelerating U.S. Decline

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

On March 20, 2003, the day the U.S. and its “coalition of the willing” launched the long awaited invasion of Iraq, leftist groupings in the United States behaved as if the last vestiges of civilization were crumbling before their eyes, and that somehow the American anti-war movement was singularly responsible for failing to hold back Bush’s legions. Although it is true that U.S. peaceniks have always harbored wildly inflated assessments of their own importance on the domestic and world scene, it is a group flaw they share with Americans of all political persuasions, most of whom believe themselves to be at the center of the universe, and therefore the greatest losers or the mightiest warriors in history, depending on which way the drama unfolds.

“Fat, flatulent pundits seriously contemplated whether the United States was about to assume the global responsibilities once borne by ancient Rome.”

So it was natural that the anti-war “losers” and bellicose “winners” of March 20, five years ago, were both wildly out of touch with the probable consequences of U.S. aggression. Anti-warists seemed to shrink into little balls of hurt and fear, as if the massive armed assault would inevitably usher in some multi-decade U.S. Cowboy Reich. The pro-war crowd convinced itself that nothing could stop the U.S. military on the march. Fat, flatulent pundits seriously contemplated whether the United States was about to assume the global responsibilities once borne by ancient Rome – and whether that was a good or bad thing.

Nobody, it seemed, appeared aware of a fundamental truth known to all professional soldiers. Few antagonists rush into war unless their own analysis indicates that what passes for peace is even more dangerous. Wars are initiated, in the main, by desperate men, who envision ever more threatening scenarios mounting, one after the other, unless they ACT to take the initiative out of fate’s hands and into their own.

The U.S. government was terrified of allowing the status quo to continue in the Middle East. By not decisively “winning” (as only militaries can do), the Americans were losing…something. One would have to deploy companies of military psychiatrists to strap down and massively drug Bush’s entire inner war council to assemble a picture of the nightmare scenarios that caused Washington to roll the dice under such unfavorable circumstances. Literally no one except Israel wanted the U.S. to succeed in a thrust that was designed to bring U.S. forces deep into the former Soviet Central Asian Republics. Anything less than a total victory, would be viewed as a superpower defeat. The worst conceivable scenario – that indigenous Iraqi forces would stop the Americans in their tracks – was so unthinkable that the Americans refused to think about it – guaranteeing that, over time, the U.S. would suffer a total military and diplomatic debacle.

Here's what we wrote:

They Have Reached Too Far

Bush's Road Leads to Ruin For Himself and His Pirates

Thus, on the early morning of March 20, 2003 as our little team at Black Commentator published its first issue of the Iraq war, we saw clearly that the United States, like the cartoon character Wile E. Coyote, had just jumped off a cliff into some immeasurable canyon of doom. Here we are all assembled, the world's people, awaiting the Pirates' lunge at history. The Bush men have made sure we pay rapt attention to their Big Bang, their epochal Event, after which the nature of things will have changed unalterably to their advantage - they think. The Bush men are certain of our collective response, convinced that once we have witnessed The Mother of All War Shows, humanity will react according to plan, and submit.

Bush was already savoring the New American Century just days ago, when he summoned his underlings from Britain and Spain to the Azores to make yet another final pronouncement. " We concluded that tomorrow is a moment of truth for the world," Bush said.

Spoken like a King. Or The Man Who Would Be King.

Rudyard Kipling's tale of an English colonial soldier drunk on his imagined power over the natives is eerily appropriate. The projected fruits of Shock and Awe - the power to pillage the world with impunity - utterly bedazzled and blinded the perpetrators of the staged holocaust, even before the Event itself had unfolded. In the days between the final U.S. ultimatum and the invasion, American political and corporate media players were visibly shaken by the clear and unanimous world revulsion at U.S. imperiousness.

"Are we going back to The White Man's Burden?" Arab League UN Ambassador Yahya Mahmassani shot at CNN's startled Wolf Blitzer. "Is this the 21st Century?" Yes, it is, and George Bush and his armies cannot wrench away the provenance of Time to lift again the Burden that even Kipling knew the White Man was not fit to bear.

No one can predict the specific ways in which nations and movements will resist Bush's aggression against civilization. What is certain is that the Pirates have succeeded in arraying important sectors of every other nation on the planet in opposition to Washington's hegemony. Bush has made the name that is our patrimony - "America" - a curse on the lips of much of the world.

If Shock and Awe is essentially a horrific psychological warfare exercise - and it is - the assault on humanity's collective sensibilities has already had disastrous, unintended effects.

Although they are incapable of realizing it, the Bush men have revealed themselves to the world - the audience for Shock and Awe - as grotesquely ugly, brutish, irredeemably repugnant human beings whose touch must be avoided under all circumstances. Every plan and project of individuals and nations will be shaped by having witnessed a racist America raining fire on a weaker people - and reveling in the crime.

Bush's plan for world domination was doomed before the burning, blasting, thundering, screaming display. The Pirates have accelerated the processes of their own ruin.

As we wrote in the March 6, 2003 issue of Black Commentator

The impending war against Iraq is an oil currency war, a preemptive strike against the euro's potential to challenge the U.S. dollar as the sole denominator of petroleum purchases. By seizing the Iraqi oil fields and positioning itself to do the same in Saudi Arabia, Iran and throughout the Persian Gulf, the Caspian Sea and South Asia, the U.S. can stop the euro cold and rule as its own OPEC, awesomely armed and dreadfully dangerous. The dollar will remain supreme, backed by the oil reserves of the globe.”

That was the plan. However, as the world watched the U.S. morph into its predatory essence month by month, a collective, global withdrawal from America became apparent. Clyde V. Prestowitz Jr., president of the Economic Strategy Institute and author of the forthcoming book "Rogue Nation," describes the phenomenon.

Over the past year, private foreign investment in the United States has fallen dramatically. It has been partially offset by increased buying of U.S. Treasury notes by Asian governments. But, at the same time, some governments like Russia have also begun to shift some of their reserve currency holdings from dollars to euros. As a result, we have seen the dollar fall in value against the euro by about 25 percent. That kind of a decline occurs when foreigners decide to put their money someplace other than the United States.

War is the great and terrible engine of history. Bush and his Pirates hope to employ that engine to harness Time and cheat the laws of political economy, to leapfrog over the contradictions of their parasitical existence into a new epoch of their own imagining.

Instead, they have lunged into the abyss, from which no one will extricate them, for they will be hated much more than feared.

In attempting to break humanity's will to resist, the Bush pirates have reached too far.

Five Years Later

By any measurement, the United States has declined beyond imagining, since March 20, 2003. The Bush Pirates have, indeed, vastly “accelerated the processes of their own ruin.” The objective conditions for continued western imperialist rule have damn near disappeared. And yet only a few months ago, the Bush regime was set to roll the dice one again in the Middle East, this time with an attack on Iran under conditions infinitely less favorable to the U.S. than the face-off with Iraq five years before. Only a veritable mutiny by Pentagon generals and professional intelligence agents prevented Bush from making another date with apocalypse.

Humanity is at greatest danger when the old regime feels its power to be slipping away. The rich are different from the rest of us. Most of us simply want to live decent lives. But for the super-rich, loss of decisive power over the bulk of humanity amounts to social death. As they view the world, one either rules, or dies.

Only a veritable mutiny by Pentagon generals and professional intelligence agents prevented Bush from making another date with apocalypse.”

Bush and his Pirates can no longer hope to successfully employ the engines of war to “harness Time and cheat the laws of political economy.” But they can commit suicide. The time to fear the generals is not when they swagger and pound their chests. It’s when they start pissing their pants for no damn good reason but the horror film rolling in their heads.

The world is closer than it has ever been to an epic of global cooperation. It is now generally understood by ever larger masses of people that absent a regime of routine planetary collaboration, civilization is doomed. Most leaders of the nations of the world are also aware that the transition from half a millennium of European capitalist domination to something resembling a global family of nations may be the most dangerous phase humanity has ever encountered.

That is because the destroyers of civilizations are at their most murderous when their own mortality can no longer be avoided. Washington is full of such creatures. We must find ways to confine them, or they will try to kill us all.


BAR Executive editor Glen Ford can be reached at Glen.Ford(at)

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Reese Erlich: Foreign Correspondent: U.S. Capitol Insurrection As Seen From Abroad

In the wake of the white nationalist mob takeover of the U.S. Capitol and Trump’s pending second impeachment, I contacted journalists and activists overseas to get an idea of how the rest of the world currently views us.... More>>

Ian Powell: Health Restructuring Threatens Patient Voice

The opportunity for public voice is vital for the effective functioning of New Zealand’s health system. Inevitably voice boils down to the accessibility quality of comprehensive healthcare services for patients both at an individual treatment and population health ... More>>

Boris Johnson At Sea: Coronavirus Confusion In The UK

The tide has been turning against UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Oafishly, he has managed to convert that tide into a deluge of dissatisfaction assisted by the gravitational pull of singular incompetence. Much of this is due to such errors of ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Encircling China And Praising India: The US Strategic Framework For The Indo-Pacific

The feeling from Rory Medcalf of the Australian National University was one of breathless wonder. “The US government,” he wrote in The Strategist , “has just classified one of its most secretive national security documents - its 2018 strategic framework ... More>>

The Conversation: The Numbers Suggest The Campaign For Cannabis Reform In NZ Will Outlive The Generations That Voted Against It

Like Brexit in the UK, cannabis reform in New Zealand fell into an age gap — given time, a second referendum would probably succeed. More>>

  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog