the end of the American empire

It seems my country is in a downward trajectory.

The United States of America is still in an economic depression. Our nation’s economy has still not recovered the millions of jobs lost since the collapse in 2007-08.  A huge percentage of the population is either unemployed or under-employed, working on a job making at or near the minimum-wage. Working part-time with no benefits.  Paying taxes on income, on property, on purchases. A permanent underclass has been formed, oppressed, and controlled in service of the upper classes. The wealthiest, during this trying economic time, have simply managed to amass even more wealth, while unemployed Americans across the country struggle to make ends meet. The stories of the excess and abuses carried out by the banking class on the economy and the people are many. The bankers who created this mess demanded to be bailed out by the taxpayer for the good of the country, allegedly. This bailout did not fix the economic crisis. The gap between rich and poor is widening more and more as each year passes. The wealthy in this country are almost all completely out of touch with the struggles of the poorest Americans.

Meanwhile, the United States is still funding a global military and economic empire to the tune of trillions of dollars a year. We still have a presence in Iraq, we are still occupying Afghanistan. We have bases and operations all over the world. Our intelligence agencies operate throughout the world with covert budgets whose numbers are not made public. Secret prisons and torture centers were perhaps built to support the so-called War on Terror.  Drones patrol the skies in Yemen and Pakistan, killing suspected militants in missile attacks.

The freedoms people are able to exercise in person and on the internet are increasingly being called into question. Are we really free? The NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveal one conspiracy to be actually true. The U.S. Federal government is listening, collecting, and recording every piece of data they can get their hands on, be they emails, text messages, voice calls, webcams, and so on. The NSA has built a massive data center in Utah to collect and analyze all this data.  They are collecting all of it. Your dick pics are no longer safe. They probably never were from the moment they went digital. Hardware, software, systems, servers, lines of fiber, are all compromised by the U.S. government for the alleged purpose of spying on foreigners, but in reality everything has been compromised so they can collect data on everyone.

Our government owes over 18 trillion dollars in debt to various holders, including China and Japan, the largest note holders, as well as to itself. The Federal Reserve plays financial games, inflates the currency at will and gives trillions in interest free loans to their bank industry buddies. Wall Street and the military industrial complex control Congress. This is the same Congress, mind you, with the lowest approval ratings ever, and yet somehow, the majority of these Congresspeople seem to be re-elected every two years without much effort.

Our recent foreign policy adventures in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East have blown up in our faces. Libya is completely destabilized after we helped depose dictator Gaddafi, Syria is a full blown humanitarian crisis after we helped illegally arm the rebels fighting the dictator Assad, half of Iraq is controlled by the recent terror group ISIS, and Ukraine is split in half and invaded by Russia, after we helped to fund the overthrow of the pro-Russian government previously in charge of Ukraine. After over ten years of war in Iraq, we are actually farther away from peace in the Middle East than ever before. The term ‘quagmire’ doesn’t do it justice. I think the term ‘complete clusterfuck’ is more accurate.

A student of history might consider comparing this current American empire, the most powerful economy and military in the world, with massive global influence, to the Roman Empire. We resemble Rome in many ways, our political institutions imitate many of the concepts developed by the Romans. Our rulers are protected by elite guards, and they keep the populace distracted with lavish spectacle, much as the Romans did with their famed bread and circuses. Like the Romans, our political class is willing to continually debase the currency to enrich themselves and fund overseas adventurism. Unfortunately for the Romans, the treasury finally ran dry and the  barbarians eventually came knocking at the gates. A string of short lived and ineffective military Emperors all failed to stem the tide of decline, and after hundreds of years being the dominant power in the world, Rome finally fell.

I think we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the American empire. An uneducated, greedy populace is led along in a noose by mendacious, greedy rulers. It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world no longer puts up with our bullying and overtakes us in all the areas where we currently dominate.

My hope is that it is a soft, gradual decline rather than a fiery, destructive descent. At this point, I just don’t see how it is avoidable.