The Willful Blindness of Empire

Last night President Trump vowed to expand the war in Afghanistan.  The longest war in American history, started by George W. Bush (with the help of his father who made preliminary advances in the 20th century) and carefully maintained by Barrack Obama who dropped over 26,000 bombs around the planet in his last year alone.  Afghanistan has been called the “graveyard of all empires” which may be hyperbolic and ignores the enormous suffering Afghans have had to endure after each foreign incursion. But with each passing year that phrase carries more weight.  And as this assailed nation sits atop nearly one trillion US dollars worth of rare earth minerals there is little doubt why the US is there to begin with and why it refuses to leave.
Militarism is essential to empire; but it is also one of its biggest weaknesses.  It exacts a heavy price and takes an enormous toll on the stability and capacity of a government to provide for its citizens.  This is especially true of capitalist societies where profit flows upward to an increasingly smaller group of extremely wealthy people.  The United States which expanded across North America through violent ethnic cleansing, genocide and slave trade economics is no exception to the general course of empire.  And like its forebears it is teetering on a precipice thanks to the convergence of climate change caused chaos, exploitation of finite resources and perpetual war. Join this with rampant corruption, gross social and economic inequities and militarization of the police state and a recipe for collapse is written.
Like so many other empires of history America is walking into calamity and, quite possibly, its quietus with a boastful and willful ignorance.  It ridicules the warnings of its scientists, disregards the just cries of its oppressed, and diminishes the moral imagination of its artists as it elevates its “reality” stars, corporate executives and generals. Most of its citizens are perpetually repressed in a prison of debt and terrified of the costs associated with being sick, injured or incarcerated for a petty crime.
Despite the enormous disdain in which it treats the veterans of its wars, the magicians and high priests of ruthless state capitalism deliver a steady diet of jingoistic nationalism and the lie of “exceptionalism” to the public.  They manufacture new villains and boogeymen, foreign and domestic, for them to project their animus, frustration and alienation.  In this way collective amnesia is induced every time a flag is unfurled.  The empire has little interest in the arts or humanities either.  Those were abandoned a long time ago to be replaced by corporate mass media and pop culture.  And in doing so it has purposefully hollowed out much of the conscience necessary to keep its excesses in check.
In its present form and on its present course America cannot be salvaged.  Nor should it.  Its aim is nothing less than the full scale plunder of the planet via unending war on one side and utter contempt for the consequences on the other.  The same day President Trump announced the expansion of America’s imperial reach he disbanded an advisory council on climate change.  Now even the mitigation of the inevitable, human caused climate catastrophe is off the table.  This should not come as a shock. Belligerent obtuseness to reason is emblematic of late stage capitalism and of empire itself.  It will ultimately be up to ordinary people organizing at the grassroots level to choose how they will respond to its coming fall, but time is running short and there are enormous shocks and challenges coming that will not be addressed by those who govern now.
Irony is most often missed by the powerful.  But on the same day that Trump announced his monstrous plans for Afghanistan it spelled it out across the sky nonetheless.  Stepping out unto the White House balcony he was a visual metaphor for the trajectory of the United States.  Appearing generally uninterested, even doltishly bumptious at the magnitude of this celestial event, he ignored the warning of scientists and stared briefly into the sun’s blinding rays.   And so it goes for the American Empire as it stares arrogantly into a blighted and brutal future, only seeing its own inflated greatness while the searing beams of reality scorch everything else around it to ash.

 

Kenn Orphan  2017


6 thoughts on “The Willful Blindness of Empire

  1. The people are going to suffer deeply, and we are not prepared. We have no generational memory of fighting a conflict on our soil. We have no experience coping with food system collapse (the vast majority of food is produced just in california; post collapse I can’t see the distribution being anywhere near what it is now.). So, we must prepare. If we can. I’m studying sustainable agriculture and Marxist theory. Hopefully we can find our niche, organize a true socialist revolution, and bury the capitalist system once and for all.

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  2. It is both heartbreaking and terrifying to watch events in the U.S. from its so-called friend in the north. Some days I feel grateful to not live in the U.S. but other days I feel terrified because north is actually on the same place — turtle island.

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  3. With the eventual downfall of the American Empire, now being sped up by the Trump administration, it will be very sad and tragic viewing what happens to our family and friends who choose to remain. For those of us who knew this was coming and have left the US in order to hopefully survive longer and live happier and more fulfilling lives in our new countries, I’m not sure we can be truly happy as others have experienced throughout the years under similar downfalls. This affects all of us no matter where we live but we must try to live life to its fullest and help those around us to do the same.

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    1. Many of us want to leave, but are economically incapable. As far as I’m concerned, i don’t begrudge anyone getting out while it’s possible. I hope that those of us who remain can save the people from the collapse of the superstructure.

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