Obama regime, in coordination with its allies and proxies, has re-launched
a virulent world-wide campaign to destroy independent governments, encircle
and ultimately, undermine global competitors, and establish a new US
EU centered world order.
will proceed by identifying the recent ‘cycles’ of US empire-building;
the advances and retreats; the methods and strategies; the results and
perspectives. Our main focus is on the imperial dynamics driving
the US toward greater military confrontations, up to and including conditions
which can lead to a world war.
Recent Imperial Cycles
empire-building has not been a linear process. The recent decades
provide ample evidence of contradictory experiences. Summarily we
can identify several phases in which empire-building has experienced broad
advances and sharp setbacks - with certain caveats. We are looking
at global processes, in which there are also limited counter-tendencies:
In the midst of large-scale imperial advances, particular regions, countries
or movements successfully resisted or even reversed the imperial thrust.
Secondly, the cyclical nature of empire-building in no way puts in doubt
the imperial character of the state and economy and its relentless drive
to dominate, exploit and accumulate. Thirdly, the methods and strategy
directing each imperial advance differ according to changes among targeted
the past thirty years we can identify three phases in empire-building.
Imperial Advance 1980’s to 2000
the period roughly from the mid-1980’s to the year 2000, empire-building
expanded on a global scale.
Imperial Expansion in the former Communist regions
The US and EU penetrated and hegemonized Eastern Europe; disintegrated
and pillaged Russia and the USSR; privatized and denationalized hundreds
of billions of dollars worth of public enterprises, mass media outlets
and banks; incorporated military bases throughout Eastern Europe
into NATO and established satellite regimes as willing accomplices in
imperial conquests in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Imperial Expansion in Latin America
from the early 1980’s to the end of the century, empire-building advanced
throughout Latin America under the formula of “free markets and free elections”.
Mexico to Argentina, empire-centered, neo-liberal regimes privatized and
denationalized over 5,000 public enterprises and banks, benefiting US
and European multi-nationals. Political leaders lined up with the
US in international forums. Latin American generals responded favorably
to US-centered military operations. Bankers extracted billions in
debt payments and laundered many billions more in illicit money.
The US-centered, continent-wide “North American Free Trade Agreement”
appeared to advance according to schedule.
Advances in Asia and Africa
Communist and nationalist regimes shed their leftist and anti-imperialist
policies and opened their societies and economies to capitalist penetration.
In Africa, two key “leftist” countries, Angola and post-apartheid South
Africa adopted “free market policies”.
Asia, China and Indo-China moved decisively toward capitalist development
strategies; foreign investment, privatizations and intense exploitation
of labor replaced collectivist egalitarianism and anti-imperialism.
India, and other state-directed capitalist countries, like South Korea,
Taiwan and Japan, liberalized their economies. Imperial advances
were accompanied by greater economic volatility, a sharpening of the class
struggle and an opening of the electoral process to accommodate competing
expanded under the slogan of “free markets and fair elections” markets
dominated by giant multi-nationals and elections, which assured elite
Imperial Retreat and Reverses: 2000-2008
brutal costs of the advance of empire led to a global counter-tendency,
a wave of anti-neoliberal uprisings and military resistance to US invasions.
Between 2000 2008 empire-building was under siege and in retreat.
Russia and China Challenge the Empire
empire-building ceased to expand and conquer in two strategic regions:
Russia and Asia. Under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin,
the Russian state was reconstructed; pillage and disintegration was reversed.
The economy was harnessed to domestic development. The military
was integrated into a system of national defense and security. Russia
once again became a major player in regional and international politics.
turn toward capitalism was accompanied by a dynamic state presence and
a direct role in promoting double digit growth for two decades:
China becoming the second largest economy in the world, displacing the
US as the major trading partner in Asia and Latin America. The US
economic empire was in retreat.
Latin America: The End of the Neo-Liberal Empire
and US-centered ‘integration’ led to pillage, economic crises and major
popular upheavals, leading to the ascendancy of new center-left and left
regimes. ‘Post neo-liberal’ administrations emerged in Bolivia, Venezuela,
Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Central America and Uruguay. US empire-builders
suffered several strategic defeats.
US effort to secure a continent-wide free trade agreement fell apart and
was replaced by regional integration organizations that excluded the US
and Canada. In its place, Washington signed bi-lateral agreements
with Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Panama and Peru.
America diversified its markets in Asia and Europe: China replaced
the US as its main trading partner. Extractive development strategies
and high commodity prices financed greater social spending and political
nationalizations, increased state regulation and debt renegotiations weakened
US leverage over the Latin American economies. Venezuela, under President
Hugo Chavez successfully challenged US hegemony in the Caribbean via regional
organizations. Caribbean economies achieved greater independence and economic
viability through membership in PETROCARIBE, a program through which they
received petrol from Venezuela at subsidized prices. Central American
and Andean countries increased security and trade via the regional organization,
ALBA. Venezuela provided an alternative development model to the
US-centered neo-liberal approach, in which earnings from the extractive
economy financed large-scale social programs.
the end of the Clinton Administration to the end of the Bush Administration,
the economic empire was in retreat. The empire lost Asian and Latin
American markets to China. Latin America gained greater political
independence. The Middle East became ‘contested terrain’.
A revised and stronger Russian state opposed further encroachments on
its borders. Military resistance and defeats in Afghanistan, Somalia,
Iraq and Lebanon challenged US dominance.
Imperial Offensive: Obama’s Advances the Empire
entire period of the Obama regime has been taken up with reversing the
retreat of empire-building. To that end Obama has developed
a primarily military strategy (1) confrontation and encircling China and
Russia, (2) undermining and overthrowing independent governments in Latin
America and re-imposing neo-liberal client regimes, and (3) launching
covert and overt military assaults on independent regimes everywhere.
empire-building offensive of the 21st century differs from that of the
previous decade in several crucial ways: Neo-liberal economic doctrines
are discredited and electorates are not so easily convinced of the beneficence
of falling under US hegemony. In other words, empire-builders cannot
rely on diplomacy, elections and free market propaganda to expand their
imperial reach as they did in the 1990’s.
reverse the retreat and advance 21st century empire-building, Washington
realized it had to rely on force and violence. The Obama regime
allocated billions of dollars to finance arms for mercenaries, salaries
for street fighters and campaign expenses for electoral clients engaged
in destabilization campaigns. Diplomatic duplicity and broken agreements
replaced negotiated settlements - on a grand scale.
the Obama period not a single imperial advance was secured via elections,
diplomatic agreements or political negotiations. The Obama Presidency
sought and secured the massification of global spy network (NSA) and the
almost daily murder of political adversaries via drones and other means.
Covert killer operations under the US Special Forces expanded throughout
the world. Obama assumed dictatorial prerogatives, including the
power to order the arbitrary assassination of U.S. citizens.
unfolding of the Obama regime’s global effort to stem the imperial retreat
and re-launch empire-building “pivoted” almost exclusively on military
instruments: armed proxies, aerial assaults, coups and violent putschist
power grabs. Thugs, mobs, Islamist terrorists, Zionist militarists and
a medley of retrograde separatist assassins were the tools of imperial
advance. The choice of imperial proxies varied according to time
and political circumstances.
Confronting and Degrading China: Military Encirclement and Economic
with the loss of markets and the challenges of China as a global competitor,
Washington developed two major lines of attack: 1. An economic strategy
designed to deepen the integration of Asian and Latin America countries
in a free trade pact that excludes China (the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement);
and 2. Pentagon-designed military plan Air-Sea Battle , which targets
China’s mainland with a full-scale air and missile assault if Washington’s
current strategy of controlling China’s commercial maritime lifeline
fails (FT, 2/10/14). While an offensive military strategy is still
on the Pentagon’s drawing board, the Obama regime is building up its maritime
armada a few short miles off China’s coast , expanding its military bases
in the Philippines, Australia and Japan and tightening the noose around
China’s strategic maritime routes for vital imports like oil, gas and
US is actively promoting an Indo-Japanese military alliance as part of
its strategy of military encirclement of China. Joint military maneuvers,
high-level military coordination and meetings between Japanese and Indian
military officials are seen by the Pentagon as strategic advances in isolating
China and reinforcing the US stranglehold on China’s maritime routes to
the Middle East, Southeast Asia and beyond. India, according to
one of India’s leading weeklies, is viewed “as a junior partner of the
US. The Indian Navy is fast becoming the chief policeman of the
Indian Ocean and the Indian military’s dependence on the U.S. military-industrial
complex is increasing…” (Economic and Political Weekly (Mumbai), 2/15/14,
p. 9. The US is also escalating its support for violent separatist
movements in China, namely the Tibetans, Uighurs and other Islamists.
Obama’s meeting with the Dali Lama was emblematic of Washington’s efforts
to foment internal unrest.
gross political intervention of outgoing U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke in
domestic Chinese politics is an indication that diplomacy is not the Obama
regime’s prime policy instrument when it comes to dealing with China.
Ambassador Locke openly met with Uighur and Tibetan separatists and publicly
disparaged China’s economic success and political system while openly
encouraging opposition politics (FT, 2/28/14, p. 2).
Obama regime’s attempt to advance empire in Asia via military confrontation
and trade pacts, which exclude China, has led China to build-up its military
capacity to avoid maritime strangulation. China answers the US trade
threat by advancing its productive capacity, diversifying its trade relations,
increasing its ties with Russia and deepening its domestic market.
date, the Obama regime’s reckless militarization of the Pacific has not
led to an open break in relations with China, but the military road to
advancing empire at China’s expense threatens a global economic catastrophe
or worse, a world war.
Imperial Advance: Isolating, Encircling and Degrading Russia
the advent of President Vladimir Putin and the reconstitution of the Russian
state and economy, the U.S. lost a vassal client and source of plundered
wealth. Washington’s empire-builders continued to seek Russian ‘cooperation
and collaboration’ in undermining independent states, isolating China
and pursuing its colonial wars. The Russian state, under Putin and
Medvedev, had sought to accommodate U.S. empire builders via negotiated
agreements, which would enhance Russia’s position in Europe, recognize
Russian strategic borders and acknowledge Russian security concerns. However,
Russian diplomacy secured few and transitory gains while the US and EU
made major gains with Russian complicity and passivity.
un-stated agenda of Washington, especially with Obama’s drive to re-launch
a new wave of imperial conquests, was to undermine Russia’s re-emergence
as a major player in world politics. The strategic idea was to isolate
Russia, weaken its growing international presence and return it to the
vassal status of the Yeltsin period, if possible.
the US - EU takeover of Eastern Europe , the Balkans and Baltic
states, and their transformation into NATO military bases and capitalist
vassal states in the early 1990’s, to the penetration and pillage
of Russia during the Yeltsin years, the prime purpose of Western policy
has been to establish a unipolar empire under US domination.
EU and the US proceeded to dismember Yugoslavia into subservient mini-states.
They then bombed Serbia in order to carve off Kosovo, destroying one of
the few independent countries still allied with Russia. The U.S.
then moved on to foment uprisings in Georgia, Ukraine and Chechnya.
They bombed, invaded and later occupied Iraq a former Russian ally in
the Gulf region.
driving strategy of US policy was to encircle and reduce Russia to the
status of a weak, marginal power, and to undermine Vladimir Putin’s efforts
to restore Russia’s position as a regional power. In 2008 Washington’s
puppet regime in Georgia, tested the mettle of the Russian state by launching
an assault on South Ossetia, killing at least 10 Russian peacekeepers
and wounding hundreds (not to mention thousands of civilians). Then-Russian
President Medvedev responded by sending the Russian armed forces to repel
Georgian troops and support the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
diplomatic agreements with Russia had been asymmetrical Russia was to
acquiesce in Western expansion in exchange for ‘political acceptance’.
Duplicity trumped open-diplomacy. Despite agreements to the contrary,
U.S. bases and missile installations were established throughout Eastern
Europe, pointing at Russia, under the pretext that they were “really targeting
Iran”. Even as Russia protested that post-Cold War agreements were
breached, the Empire ignored Moscow’s complaints and encirclement advanced.
a further diplomatic disaster, Russia and China signed off on a U.S.-authored
United Nations Security Council agreement to allow NATO to engage in “humanitarian
overflights” in Libya. NATO immediately took this as the ‘green light’
for attack and converted ‘humanitarian intervention’ into a devastating
aerial bombing campaign that led to the overthrow of Libya’s legitimate
government and the destruction of Libya as viable, independent North African
state. By signing the ‘humanitarian’ UN agreement, Russia and China
lost a friendly government and trading partner in Africa! Even earlier,
the Russians had agreed to allow the US to transport weapons and troops
through Russian Federation territory to support the US invasion of Afghanistan
… with no reciprocal gain (except perhaps an even greater flood of Afghan
diplomats agreed to US (Zionist)-authored UN economic sanctions against
Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons program … undermining a political
ally and lucrative market. Moscow believed that by backing US sanctions
on Iran and granting transport routes to Afghanistan in late 2001 they
would receive some ‘security guarantees’ from the Americans regarding
the separatist movements in the Caucuses. The U.S. ‘reciprocated’
by further backing Chechen separatist leaders exiled in the US despite
the on-going terror campaigns against Russian civilians up to and even
after the Chechen slaughter of hundreds of school children and teachers
in Beslan in 2004….
the US under Obama advancing its encirclement of Russia in Eurasia and
its isolation in North Africa and the Middle East, Putin finally decided
to draw a line by backing Russia’s only remaining ally in the Middle East,
Syria. Putin sought to secure a negotiated end to the Western-Gulf
Monarchist-backed mercenary invasion of Damascus. To little avail: The
US and EU increased arms shipments, military trainers and financing to
the 30,000 Islamist mercenaries based in Jordan as they engaged in cross-border
attacks to overthrow the Syrian government.
and Brussels continued their imperial push toward the Russian heartland
by organizing and financing a violent seizure of power (putsch) in western
Ukraine. The Obama regime financed a coalition of armed neo-Nazi
street fighters and neo-liberal politicos, to the tune of $5 billion dollars,
to overthrow the elected regime. The putschists then moved to end
Crimean autonomy and break long-standing military treaty agreements with
Russia. Under enormous pressure from the autonomous Crimean government
and the vast majority of the population and facing the critical loss of
its naval and military facilities on the Black Sea, Putin, finally, forcefully
moved Russian troops into a defensive mode in Crimea.
Obama regime launched a series of aggressive moves against Russia to isolate
it and to buttress it faltering puppet regime in Kiev: economic
sanctions and expulsions were the order of the day … Obama’s seizure of
the Ukraine signaled the start of a ‘new Cold War’. The seizure
of the Ukraine was part of Obama’s grand ongoing strategy of advancing
Ukraine power grab signaled the biggest geo-political challenge to the
continued existence of the Russian state. Obama seeks to extend
and deepen the imperial sweep across Europe to the Caucuses: the violent
regime coup and subsequent defense of the puppet regime in Kiev are key
elements in undermining a key adversary-- Russia.
pretending to ‘partner’ with Russia, while slicing off Russian allies
in the Balkans and Mid-East over the previous decades, Obama made his
most audacious and reckless move. Casting off all pretexts of peaceful
co-existence and mutual accommodation, the Obama regime broke a power-sharing
agreement with Russia over Ukrainian governance and backed the neo-Nazi
Obama regime assumed that having secured Russia’s earlier acquiescence
in the face of advancing US imperial power in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya
and the Gulf region, Washington’s empire-builders made the fateful decision
to test Russia in its most strategic geopolitical region, one directly
affecting the Russian people and its most strategic military assets.
Russia reacted in the only language understood in Washington and Brussels:
with a major military mobilization. Obama’s advance of ‘empire-building
via salami tactics’ and duplicitous diplomacy was nearing an end.
Advancing Empire in the Middle East and Latin America
imperial advance of the 1990’s came to an end by the middle of the first
decade of the new millennium. Defeats in Afghanistan, withdrawal
from Iraq, the demise of puppet regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, election
losses in the Ukraine and the defeat and demise of pro-U.S. neo-liberal
regimes in Latin America were exacerbated by a deepening economic crisis
in the imperial centers of Europe and Wall Street.
had few economic and political options to advance the empire. Yet his
regime was determined to end the retreat and advance the empire; he resorted
to tactics and strategies more akin to 19th century colonial and 20th
century totalitarian regimes.
methods were violent- militarism was the policy pivot. But at a
time of domestic imperial exhaustion, new military tactics replaced large-scale
ground force invasions. Proxy-armed mercenaries took center stage
in overthrowing regimes targeted by the US. Political and ideological
affinities were subsumed under the generic euphemism of “rebels”.
The mass media alternated between pressuring for greater military escalation
and endorsing the existing level of imperial warfare. The entire
political spectrum in Europe and the US shifted rightward even as the
majority of the electorate rejected new military engagements, especially
escalated troops in Afghanistan, launched an air war that overthrew President
Gadhafi and turned the Libya into a broken, failed state. Proxy
wars became the new strategy to advance imperial empire-building.
Syria was targeted tens of thousands of Islamist extremists were recruited
and funded by imperial regimes and despotic Gulf monarchies. Millions
of refugees fled, tens of thousands were killed.
In Latin America, Obama backed the military coup in Honduras overthrowing
the elected Liberal government of President Manuel Zelaya, he recognized
a congressional coup ousting the elected center-left government in Paraguay
while refusing to recognize the election victory of President Maduro in
Venezuela. In the face of Maduro’s win in Venezuela, Washington
backed several months of mob street violence in an attempt to destabilize
In the Ukraine, Egypt, Venezuela and Thailand, ‘the street’ replaced elections.
Obama’s strategic imperial goals have focused on the re-conquest and pillage
of Russia and its return to the vassal status of the Boris Yeltsin years,
Latin America’s return to the neo-liberal regimes of 1990’s and China
to the submissiveness of the 1980’s. The imperial strategy has been
‘to conquer from within’ setting the stage for domination from the outside.
Advancing Empire: Israel and the Middle East Detour
of the great historical paradoxes of the U.S. imperial retreat of the
21st century has been the role played by influence of Israel and its Zionist
Fifth Column embedded within the U.S. political power structure.
Washington’s wars and sanctions in the Middle East have been largely at
the behest of influential ‘Israel Firsters’ in the White House, Pentagon,
Treasury and National Security Council and Congress.
was largely because the US was engaged in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
that Washington “neglected” China’s growing economic prowess. By
concentrating on ‘wars for Israel’ in the Middle East, the U.S. has not
been in a position to challenge the rise of nationalism and populism in
Latin America. Protracted ‘wars for Israel’ have exhausted the US
economy and the American public’s enthusiasm for new ground wars elsewhere.
ideologues, dubbed “neo-conservatives”, were instrumental in shaping the
global militarist approach to empire-building and marginalizing the market-driven
empire building, favored by the multi-nationals and giant extractive industry.
attempt to halt the retreat of empire caused by Zionist militarism has
not borne fruit: His effort to co-opt Zionists and pressure Israel
to stop fomenting new wars in the Middle East is a failure. His
‘pivot to Asia’ has turned into a strategy of brute military encirclement
of China. His overtures to Iran have been stymied by the Zionist power
bloc in Congress and the imposition of Israeli-dictated terms of negotiations.
The entire “advance of the empire-building project”, which was to define
the Obama legacy, has been weakened by the enormous cost of heeding the
advice and directives of the Israel-loyalists within his Administration.
Israel, one of the most brutal colonial powers, has paradoxically and
unintentionally played a major role in undermining Obama’s efforts to
reverse the decline of empire and advance the U.S. diplomatic and economic
dimensions of empire-building
Results and Perspectives: Advancing Empire in the Post Neo-Liberal
reckless effort to advance empire in the second decade of the 21st century
is far more dangerous than his predecessors in the late 20th century.
Russia has recovered. It is not the disintegrating state that Bush
and Clinton dismembered and pillaged. China is no longer a rising
market economy so eager to trade with the US while overlooking American
incursions into Chinese territorial waters. Today China is a major
economic power, wielding economic leverage in the form of $3 Trillion
in U.S. Treasury notes. China no longer tolerates U.S. interference
in its domestic politics- it is willing to crack down on U.S.-backed ethnic
separatists and terrorists.
America, including Venezuela, have developed autonomous regional organizations,
diversified their markets to Asia and established a powerful post-neoliberal
consensus. Venezuela has turned its military, once the favorite
instrument of US-engineered coups, into a bulwark of the existing democratic
electoral road to US empire-building has been closed or requires tight
imperial “supervision” to secure “favorable outcomes”. Washington’s new
policy of choice is violence: enlisting mob action, mercenary extremists,
Islamists and Uighur terrorists, neo-Nazis and the riff raff of the world
in its service.
balance sheet of six years of “advancing empire” under Obama is in doubt.
The violent overthrow of President Gadhafi did not lead to a stable client
regime: the utter destruction and chaos in Libya has undercut the
imperial presence. Syria is under attack but by anti-Western Islamist
fanatics. The defeat of Assad will not ‘advance empire’ as much
as it will expand radical Islamist (including Al Qaeda) power.
Ukraine puppet regime of neo-liberals and neo-Nazis is literally bankrupt,
riven with internal conflicts and facing profound regional divisions.
Russia is threatened, but their leaders have taken decisive military action
to defend their Crimean allies and strategic military bases.
has provoked and threatened adversaries but has not secured much in terms
of valuable allies or clients. His effort to replicate the imperial
advances of the 1990’s has failed because the relationships of power between
Europe and Russia, Japan and China, and Venezuela and Colombia have changed.
Proxies, predator drones and the US Special Forces are not able to reverse
the retreat. The economic crisis has cut too deep; the domestic
exhaustion with empire is too pervasive. The cost of sustaining
Israel is too high. Advancing empire in these circumstances is a
dangerous game: it risks a larger nuclear war to overcome adversity