- Imperial states build networks which link economic,
military and political activities into a coherent mutually reinforcing
system. This task is largely performed by the various institutions of
the imperial state. Thus imperial action is not always directly economic,
as military action in one country or region is necessary to open or protect
economic zones. Nor are all military actions decided by economic interests
if the leading sector of the imperial state is decidedly militarist.
- Moreover, the sequence of imperial action may vary according
to the particular conditions necessary for empire building. Thus state
aid may buy collaborators; military intervention may secure client regimes
followed later by private investors. In other circumstances, the entry
of private corporations may precede state intervention.
- In either private or state economic and/or military
led penetration, in furtherance of empire-building, the strategic purpose
is to exploit the special economic and geopolitical features of the targeted
country to create empire-centered networks. In the post Euro-centric colonial
world, the privileged position of the US in its empire-centered policies,
treaties, trade and military agreements is disguised and justified by an
ideological gloss, which varies with time and circumstances. In the war
to break-up Yugoslavia and establish client regimes, as in Kosovo, imperial
ideology utilized humanitarian rhetoric. In the genocidal wars in the
Middle East, anti-terrorism and anti-Islamic ideology is central. Against
China, democratic and human rights rhetoric predominates. In Latin America,
receding imperial power relies on democratic and anti-authoritarian rhetoric
aimed at the democratically elected Chavez government.
- The effectiveness of imperial ideology is in direct
relation to the capacity of empire to promote viable and dynamic development
alternatives to their targeted countries. By that criteria imperial ideology
has had little persuasive power among target populations. The Islamic
phobic and anti-terrorist rhetoric has made no impact on the people of
the Middle East and alienated the Islamic world. Latin America's lucrative
trade relations with the Chavist government and the decline of the US economy
has undermined Washington's ideological campaign to isolate Venezuela.The
US human rights campaign against China has been totally ignored throughout
the EU, Africa, Latin America, Oceana and by the 500 biggest US MNC (and
even by the US Treasury busy selling treasury bonds to China to finance
the ballooning US budget deficit).
- The weakening influence of imperial propaganda and the
declining economic leverage of Washington, means that the US imperial networks
built over the past half century are being eroded or at least subject to
centrifugal forces. Former fully integrated networks in Asia are now merely
military bases as the economies secure greater autonomy and orient toward
China and beyond. In other words the imperial networks are now being transformed
into limited operations' outposts, rather than centers for imperial economic
- Imperial Networks: The Central Role of Collaborators
- Empire-building is essentially a process of penetrating
a country or region, establishing a privileged position and retaining control
in order to secure (1) lucrative resources, markets and cheap labor (2)
establish a military platform to expand into adjoining countries and regions
(3) military bases to establish a chock-hold over strategic road or waterways
to deny or limit access of competitors or adversaries (4) intelligence
and clandestine operations against adversaries and competitors.
- History has demonstrated that the lowest cost in sustaining
long term, long scale imperial domination is by developing local collaborators,
whether in the form of political, economic and/or military leaders operating
from client regimes. Overt politico-military imperial rule results in
costly wars and disruption, especially among a broad array of classes adversely
affected by the imperial presence.
- Formation of collaborator rulers and classes results
from diverse short and long term imperial policies ranging from direct
military, electoral and extra-parliamentary activities to middle to long
term recruitment, training and orientation of promising young leaders via
propaganda and educational programs, cultural-financial inducements, promises
of political and economic backing on assuming political office and through
substantial clandestine financial backing.
- The most basic appeal by imperial policy-makers to the
"new ruling class" in emerging client state is the opportunity
to participate in an economic system tied to the imperial centers, in which
local elites share economic wealth with their imperial benefactors. To
secure mass support, the collaborator classes obfuscate the new forms of
imperial subservience and economic exploitation by emphasizing political
independence, personal freedom, economic opportunity and private consumerism.
- The mechanisms for the transfer of power to an emerging
client state combine imperial propaganda, financing of mass organizations
and electoral parties, as well as violent coups or 'popular uprisings'.
Authoritarian bureaucratically ossified regimes relying on police controls
to limit or oppose imperial expansion are "soft targets". Selective
human rights campaigns become the most effective organizational weapon
to recruit activists and promote leaders for the imperial-centered new
political order. Once the power transfer takes place, the former members
of the political, economic and cultural elite are banned, repressed, arrested
- A new homogenous political culture of competing parties
embracing the imperial centered world order emerges. The first order of
business beyond the political purge is the privatization and handover of
the commanding heights of the economy to imperial enterprises. The client
regimes proceed to provide soldiers to engage as paid mercenaries in imperial
wars and to transfer military bases to imperial forces as platforms of
intervention. The entire "independence charade" is accompanied
by the massive dismantling of public social welfare programs (pensions,
free health and education), labor codes and full employment policies.
Promotion of a highly polarized class structure is the ultimate consequence
of client rule. The imperial-centered economies of the client regimes,
as a replica of any commonplace satrap state, is justified (or legitimated)
in the name of an electoral system dubbed democratic in fact a political
system dominated by new capitalist elites and their heavily funded mass
- Imperial centered regimes run by collaborating elites
spanning the Baltic States, Central and Eastern Europe to the Balkans is
the most striking example of imperial expansion in the 20th century. The
break-up and take-over of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc and its
incorporation into the US led NATO alliance and the European Union resulted
in imperial hubris. Washington made premature declarations of a unipolar
world while Western Europe proceeded to plunder public resources, ranging
from factories to real estate, exploiting cheap labor, overseas and via
immigration, drawing on a formidable 'reserve army' to undermine living
standards of unionized labor in the West.
- The unity of purpose of European and US imperial regimes
allowed for the peaceful joint takeover of the wealth of the new regions
by private monopolies. The imperial states initially subsidized the new
client regimes with large scale transfers and loans on condition that they
allowed imperial firms to seize resources, real estate, land, factories,
service sectors, media outlets etc. Heavily indebted states went from
a sharp crises in the initial period to 'spectacular' growth to profound
and chronic social crises with double digit unemployment in the 20 year
period of client building. While worker protests emerged as wages deteriorated,
unemployment soared and welfare provisions were cut, destitution spread.
However the 'new middle class' embedded in the political and media apparatuses
and in joint economic ventures are sufficiently funded by imperial financial
institutions to protect their dominance.
- The dynamic of imperial expansion in East, Central and
Southern Europe however did not provide the impetus for strategic advance,
because of the ascendancy of highly volatile financial capital and a powerful
militarist caste in the Euro-American political centers. In important
respects military and political expansion was no longer harnessed to economic
conquest. The reverse was true: economic plunder and political dominance
served as instruments for projecting military power.
- Imperial Sequences: From War for Exploitation to Exploitation
- The relations between imperial military policies and
economic interests are complex and changing over time and historical context.
In some circumstances, an imperial regime will invest heavily in military
personnel and augment monetary expenditures to overthrow an anti-imperialist
ruler and establish a client regime far beyond any state or private economic
return. For example, US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, proxy wars in Somalia
and Yemen have not resulted in greater profits for US multinational corporations'
nor has it enhanced private exploitation of raw materials, labor or markets.
At best, imperial wars have provided profits for mercenary contractors,
construction companies and related 'war industries' profiting through transfers
from the US treasury and the exploitation of US taxpayers, mostly wage
and salary earners.
- In many cases, especially after the Second World War,
the emerging US imperial state lavished a multi-billion dollar loan and
aid program for Western Europe. The Marshall Plan forestalled anti-capitalist
social upheavals and restored capitalist political dominance. This allowed
for the emergence of NATO (a military alliance led and dominated by the
US). Subsequently, US multi-national corporations invested in and traded
with Western Europe reaping lucrative profits, once the imperial state
created favorable political and economic conditions. In other words imperial
state politico-military intervention preceded the rise and expansion of
US multi-national capital. A myopic short term analysis of the initial
post-war activity would downplay the importance of private US economic
interests as the driving force of US policy. Extending the time period
to the following two decades, the interplay between initial high cost state
military and economic expenditures with later private high return gains
provides a perfect example of how the process of imperial power operates.
- The role of the imperial state as an instrument for
opening, protecting and expanding private market, labor and resource exploitation
corresponds to a time in which both the state and the dominant classes
were primarily motivated by industrial empire building.
- US directed military intervention and coups in Iran
(1953), Guatemala (1954), Chile (1973), the Dominican Republic (1965) were
linked to specific imperial economic interests and corporations. For example,
US and English oil corporations sought to reverse the nationalization of
oil in Iran. The US, United Fruit Company opposed the agrarian reform
policies in Guatemala. The major US copper and telecommunication companies
supported and called for the US backed coup in Chile.
- In contrast, current US military interventions and wars
in the Middle East, South Asia and the Horn of Africa are not promoted
by US multi-nationals. The imperial policies are promoted by militarists
and Zionists embedded in the state, mass media and powerful 'civil' organizations.
The same imperial methods (coups and wars) serve different imperial rulers
- Clients, Allies and Puppet Regimes
- Imperial networks involve securing a variety of complementary
economic, military and political 'resource bases' which are both part of
the imperial system and retain varying degrees of political and economic
- In the dynamic earlier stages of US Empire building,
from roughly the 1950's 1970's, US multi-national corporations and
the economy as a whole dominated the world economy. Its allies in Europe
and Asia were highly dependent on US markets, financing and development.
US military hegemony was reflected in a series of regional military pacts
which secured almost instant support for US regional wars, military coups
and the construction of military bases and naval ports on their territory.
Countries were divided into 'specializations' which served the particular
interests of the US Empire. Western Europe was a military outpost, industrial
partner and ideological collaborator. Asia, primarily Japan and South
Korea served as 'frontline military outposts', as well as industrial partners.
Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines were essentially client regimes which
provided raw materials as well as military bases. Singapore and Hong Kong
were financial and commercial entrepots. Pakistan was a client military
regime serving as a frontline pressure on China.
- Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Gulf mini-states, ruled by
client authoritarian regimes, provided oil and military bases. Egypt and
Jordan and Israel anchored imperial interests in the Middle East. Beirut
served as the financial center for US, European and Middle East bankers.
- Africa and Latin America including client and nationalist-populist
regimes were a source of raw materials as well as markets for finished
goods and cheap labor.
- The prolonged US-Vietnam war and Washington's subsequent
defeat eroded the power of the empire. Western Europe, Japan and South
Korea's industrial expansion challenged US industrial primacy. Latin America's
pursuit of nationalist, import substitution policies forced US investment
toward overseas manufacturing. In the Middle East nationalist movements
toppled US clients in Iran and Iraq and undermined military outposts. Revolutions
in Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, Algeria, Nicaragua and elsewhere curtailed
Euro-American 'open ended' access to raw materials, at least temporarily.
- The decline of the US Empire was temporarily arrested
by the collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and
the establishment of client regimes throughout the region. Likewise the
upsurge of imperial-centered client regimes in Latin America between the
mid 1970's to the end of the 1990's gave the appearance of an imperialist
recovery. The 1990's however was not the beginning of a repeat of the
early 1950's imperial take off: it was the "last hurrah" before
a long term irreversible decline. The entire imperial political apparatus,
so successful in its clandestine operations in subverting the Soviet and
Eastern European regimes, played a marginal role when it came to capitalizing
on the economic opportunities which ensued. Germany and other EU countries
led the way in the takeover of lucrative privatized enterprises. Russian-
Israeli oligarchs(seven of the top eight) seized and pillaged privatized
strategic industries, banks and natural resources.
- The principal US beneficiaries were the banks and Wall
Street firms which laundered billions of illicit earnings and collected
lucrative fees from mergers, acquisitions, stock listings and other less
than transparent activities. In other words, the collapse of Soviet collectivism
strengthened the parasitical financial sector of the US Empire. Worse
still, the assumption of a 'unipolar world' fostered by US ideologues,
played into the hands of the militarists, who now assumed that former constraints
on US military assaults on nationalists and Soviet allies had disappeared.
As a result military intervention became the principle driving force in
US empire building, leading to the first Iraq war, the Yugoslav and Somali
invasion and the expansion of US military bases throughout the former Soviet
bloc and Eastern Europe.
- At the very pinnacle of US global-political and military
power during the 1990's, with all the major Latin American regimes enveloped
in the empire-centered neo-liberal warp, the seeds of decay and decline
- The economic crises of the late 1990's, led to major
uprisings and electoral defeats of practically all US clients in Latin
America, spelling the decline of US imperial domination. China's extraordinary
dynamic and cumulative growth displaced US manufacturing capital and weakened
US leverage over rulers in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The vast transfer
of US state resources to overseas imperial adventures, military bases and
the shoring up of clients and allies led to domestic decline.
- The US empire, passively facing economic competitors
displacing the US in vital markets and engaged in prolonged and unending
wars which drained the treasury, attracted a cohort of mediocre policymakers
who lacked a coherent strategy for rectifying policies and reconstructing
the state to serve productive activity capable of 'retaking markets'.
Instead the policies of open-ended and unsustainable wars played into the
hands of a special sub-group (sui generis) of militarists, American Zionists.
They capitalized on their infiltration of strategic positions in the state,
enhanced their influence in the mass media and a vast network of organized
"pressure groups" to reinforce US subordination to Israel's drive
for Middle East supremacy.
- The result was the total "unbalancing" of the
US imperial apparatus: military action was unhinged from economic empire
building. A highly influential upper caste of Zionist-militarists harnessed
US military power to an economically marginal state (Israel), in perpetual
hostility toward the 1.5 billion Muslim world. Equally damaging, American
Zionist ideologues and policymakers promoted repressive institutions and
legislation and Islamophobic ideological propaganda designed to terrorize
the US population. Equally important islamophobic ideology served to justify
permanent war in South Asia and the Middle East and the exorbitant military
budgets, at a time of sharply deteriorating domestic socio-economic conditions.
Hundreds of billions of dollars were spent unproductively as "Homeland
Security" which strived in every way to recruit, train, frame and
arrest Afro-American Muslim men as "terrorists". Thousands of
secret agencies with hundreds of thousands of national, state and local
officials spied on US citizens who at some point may have sought to speak
or act to rectify or reform the militarist-financial-Zionist centered imperialist
- By the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the
US empire could only destroy adversaries (Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan)
provoke military tensions (Korean peninsula, China Sea) and undermine relations
with potentially lucrative trading partners (Iran, Venezuela). Galloping
authoritarianism fused with fifth column Zionist militarism to foment islamophobic
ideology. The convergence of authoritarian mediocrities, upwardly mobile
knaves and fifth column tribal loyalists in the Obama regime precluded
any foreseeable reversal of imperial decay.
- China's growing global economic network and dynamic advance
in cutting edge applied technology in everything from alternative energy
to high speed trains, stands in contrast to the Zionist-militarist infested
empire of the US.
- The US demands on client Pakistan rulers to empty their
treasury in support of US Islamic wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, stands
in contrast to the $30 billion dollar Chinese investments in infrastructure,
energy and electrical power and multi-billion dollar increases in trade.
- US $3 billion dollar military subsidies to Israel stand
in contrast to China's multi-billion dollar investments in Iranian oil
and trade agreements. US funding of wars against Islamic countries in
Central and South Asia stands in contrast to Turkey's expanding economic
trade and investment agreements in the same region. China has replaced
the US as the key trading partner in leading South American countries,
while the US unequal "free trade" agreement(NAFTA) impoverishes
Mexico. Trade between the European Union and China exceeds that with the
- In Africa, the US subsidizes wars in Somalia and the
Horn of Africa, while China signs on to multi-billion dollar investment
and trade agreements, building up African infrastructure in exchange for
access to raw materials. There is no question that the economic future
of Africa is increasingly linked to China.
- The US Empire, in contrast, is in a deadly embrace with
an insignificant colonial militarist state (Israel), failed states in Yemen
and Somalia, corrupt stagnant client regimes in Jordan and Egypt and the
decadent rent collecting absolutist petrol-states of Saudi Arabia and the
Gulf. All form part of an unproductive atavistic coalition bent on retaining
power via military supremacy. Yet Empires of the 21st century are built
on the bases of productive economies with global networks linked to dynamic
- Recognizing the economic primacy and market opportunities
linked to becoming part of the Chinese global network, former or existing
US clients and even puppet rulers have begun to edge away from submission
to US mandates. Fundamental shifts in economic relations and political
alignments have occurred throughout Latin America. Brazil, Venezuela,
Bolivia and other countries support Iran's non-military nuclear program
in defiance of Zionist led Washington aggression. Several countries have
defied Israel-US policymakers by recognizing Palestine as a state. Trade
with China surpasses trade with the US in the biggest countries in the
- Puppet regimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have
signed major economic agreements with China, Iran and Turkey even while
the US pours billions to bolster its military position. Turkey an erstwhile
military client of the US-NATO command broadens its own quest for capitalist
hegemony by expanding economic ties with Iran, Central Asia and the Arab-Muslim
world, challenging US-Israeli military hegemony.
- The US Empire still retains major clients and nearly
a thousand military bases around the world. As client and puppet regimes
decline, Washington increases the role and scope of extra-territorial death
squad operations from 50 to 80 countries. The growing independence of
regimes in the developing world is especially fueled by an economic calculus:
China offers greater economic returns and less political-military interference
than the US.
- Washington's imperial network is increasingly based on
military ties with allies: Australia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan in the
Far East and Oceana; the European Union in the West; and a smattering of
Central and South American states in the South. Even here, the military
allies are no longer economic dependencies: Australia and New Zealand's
principle export markets are in Asia (China). EU-China trade is growing
exponentially. Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are increasingly tied by
trade and investment with China as is Pakistan and India.
- Equally important new regional networks which exclude
the US are growing in Latin America and Asia, creating the potential for
new economic blocs.
- In other words the US imperial economic network constructed
after World War II and amplified by the collapse of the USSR is in the
process of decay, even as the military bases and treaties remain as a formidable
'platform' for new military interventions.
- What is clear is that the military, political and ideological
gains in network-building by the US around the world with the collapse
of the USSR and the post-Soviet wars are not sustainable. On the contrary
the overdevelopment of the ideological-military-security apparatus raised
economic expectations and depleted economic resources resulting in the
incapacity to exploit economic opportunities or consolidate economic networks.
US funded "popular uprisings" in the Ukraine led to client regimes
incapable of promoting growth. In the case of Georgia, the regime engaged
in an adventurous war with Russia resulting in trade and territorial losses.
It is a matter of time before existing client regimes in Egypt, Jordan,
Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and Mexico will face major upheavals, due
to the precarious bases of rule by corrupt, stagnant and repressive rulers.
- The process of decay of the US Empire is both cause and
consequence of the challenge by rising economic powers establishing alternative
centers of growth and development. Changes within countries at the periphery
of the empire and growing indebtedness and trade deficits at the 'center'
of the empire are eroding the empire. The existing US governing class,
in both its financial and militarist variants show neither will nor interest
in confronting the causes of decay. Instead each mutually supports the
other: the financial sector lowers taxes deepening the public debt and
plunders the treasury. The military caste drains the treasury in pursuit
of wars and military outposts and increases the trade deficit by undermining
commercial and investment undertakings.