The Belligerence of Empire in its Waning Days

Yesterday President Trump told an audience of feckless fans that:
“tyrannical socialist government nationalized private industries and took over private businesses. They engaged in massive wealth confiscation, shut down free markets, suppressed free speech, and set up a relentless propaganda machine, rigged elections, used the government to persecute their political opponents, and destroyed the impartial rule of law.
In other words, the socialists have done in Venezuela all of the same things that socialists, communists, totalitarians have done everywhere that they’ve had a chance to rule. The results have been catastrophic.”

 

No mention was made of the unending attacks and sanctions placed on Venezuela that make governance near impossible. But the greatest omission was the fact that the US is a dictatorship of money where scores of people are incarcerated, especially people of colour. Scores more are working low wage jobs and depend on food stamps and GoFundMe sites because they lack basic health coverage. Many more have crushing student loan debt, mortgages or exorbitant rents.

It was about a year ago that United Nation’s special rapporteur, Philip Alston, issued a report on the dire state of the American republic. It revealed that upwards of 40 million Americans live in poverty. Among its findings:

+ By most indicators, the US is one of the world’s wealthiest countries. It spends more on national defense than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, United Kingdom, India, France, and Japan combined.
+ US health care expenditures per capita are double the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) average and much higher than in all other countries. But there are many fewer doctors and hospital beds per person than the OECD average.
+ US infant mortality rates in 2013 were the highest in the developed world.
+ Americans can expect to live shorter and sicker lives, compared to people living in any other rich democracy, and the “health gap” between the U.S. and its peer countries continues to grow.
+ U.S. inequality levels are far higher than those in most European countries
+ Neglected tropical diseases, including Zika, are increasingly common in the USA. It has been estimated that 12 million Americans live with a neglected parasitic infection. A 2017 report documents the prevalence of hookworm in Lowndes County, Alabama.
+ The US has the highest prevalence of obesity in the developed world.
+ In terms of access to water and sanitation the US ranks 36th in the world.
+ America has the highest incarceration rate in the world, ahead of Turkmenistan, El Salvador, Cuba, Thailand and the Russian Federation. Its rate is nearly 5 times the OECD average.
+ The youth poverty rate in the United States is the highest across the OECD with one quarter of youth living in poverty compared to less than 14% across the OECD.
+ The Stanford Center on Inequality and Poverty ranks the most well-off countries in terms of labor markets, poverty, safety net, wealth inequality, and economic mobility. The US comes in last of the top 10 most well-off countries, and 18th amongst the top 21.
+ In the OECD the US ranks 35th out of 37 in terms of poverty and inequality.
+ According to the World Income Inequality Database, the US has the highest Gini rate (measuring inequality) of all Western Countries
+ The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality characterizes the US as “a clear and constant outlier in the child poverty league.” US child poverty rates are the highest amongst the six richest countries – Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden and Norway.
+ About 55.7% of the U.S. voting-age population cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election. In the OECD, the U.S. placed 28th in voter turnout, compared with an OECD average of 75%. Registered voters represent a much smaller share of potential voters in the U.S. than just about any other OECD country. Only about 64% of the U.S. voting-age population (and 70% of voting-age citizens) was registered in 2016, compared with 91% in Canada (2015) and the UK (2016), 96% in Sweden (2014), and nearly 99% in Japan (2014).
Trump went on to say:
“Socialism, by its very nature, does not respect borders. It does not respect boundaries or the sovereign rights of its citizens or its neighbors. It’s always seeking to expand, to encroach, and to subjugate others to its will.
The twilight hour of socialism has arrived in our hemisphere — and, frankly, in many, many places around the world. The days of socialism and communism are numbered not only in Venezuela, but in Nicaragua and in Cuba as well.”
Of course this is risible to anyone who has even a basic education in imperialism given the fact that the US has nearly 900 military bases around the world and has invaded dozens of countries covertly and overtly in the name of freedom, but his fans loved it. It was as if Libya, Iraq, and dozens of other failures of imperialist intervention had never happened. One has to ask which nations exactly has Venezuela or Cuba invaded?
But so many American “liberals” have lined up with the man they have so enjoyed calling a racist, white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer in their feckless allegiance to American imperialism.
Strange times in the waning days of American Empire.
This illustration is entitled “School Begins: Uncle Sam lectures his class in Civilisation.” It is a blatantly racist representation of nations and territories that did not accept American dominance. The pouting pupils are labelled Philippines, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Cuba. The well mannered and mostly white students apparently accept US lessons in “civilization.” It is was published in 1899 as a way to justify US imperialism. But it might as well have been published today.
Kenn Orphan   2019

1 thought on “The Belligerence of Empire in its Waning Days

  1. Lorie

    And it’s not just Trump–“liberal” news outlets like the BBC and CNN publish outright lies re: Venezuela–clearly drumming up support for the ongoing coup attempts. I’m so sick of this, and sick of supposed lefties who buy into this crap. For anyone who wants a fairer view, VenezuelaAnalysis.com is a very good site.

    Like

    Reply

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