American Empire

To allow Trump's shenanigans to divert attention from matters sure to persist when he finally departs the stage is to make a grievous error.
My threats to leave during the campaign probably sounded more like ambivalent teasing than hard-edge pronouncement.
As President Obama visits still-communist Vietnam, a former American rival, in his "pivot to Asia" to recruit more countries to shelter against a rising China, the trip only serves to illustrate the global American Empire's overextension.
Am I the only person who still remembers how Pentagon officials spoke of the major military bases already on the drawing boards as the invasion of Iraq ended in April 2003?
While the U.S. has always pursued parts of its imperial strategy in "the shadows," to use a phrase from my Cold War childhood, in this new strategy everyday basing, too, is disappearing into those shadows, which is why Nick Turse's latest piece on the subject is a small reportorial triumph of time and effort.
Amid the defeats, corruption, and disappointments, there lurks a kind of success. After all, every disaster in which the U.S. military takes part only brings more bounty to the Pentagon.
There is, of course, a certain logic to imagining that the increasing global sweep of these deployments is a sign of success. After all, why would you expand your operations into ever-more nations if they weren't successful?
America's most elite troops -- Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs, among others -- and odds are, if you throw a dart at a world map or stop a spinning globe with your index finger and don't hit water, they've been there sometime in 2015.
With the U.S. military having withdrawn many of its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, most Americans would be forgiven for being unaware that hundreds of U.S. bases and hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops still encircle the globe.
America's current leadership has failed to grasp the significance of a radical global change underway inside the Eurasian land mass.
From the very beginning, the fabric of this country was woven with the threads of fear and division. In creating "a more perfect Union," as the preamble reads, we Americans still have a long way to go. The end of the path is not yet in sight.
The polls for Tuesday look grim for weak-kneed and squeamish Democrats who have not stood up for Obama--or the substantial achievements of his party--over the last six years.
Today, the U.S. looks less like a functioning and effective empire than an imperial basket case, unable to bring its massive power to bear effectively from Germany to Syria, Iraq to Afghanistan, Libya to the South China Sea, the Crimea to Africa.
If you survey our planet, the situation is remarkably unsettled and confusing. But at least two things stand out, and whatever you make of them, they could be the real news of the first decades of this century. Both are right before our eyes, yet largely unseen.
We need to look in the mirror, or be remembered as living in a mirage.
Over the years, mad Ahab in Herman Melville's most famous novel, Moby-Dick, has been used as an exemplar of unhinged American power, most recently of George W. Bush's disastrous invasion of Iraq. But what's really frightening isn't our Ahabs.
The Pentagon has spent the last two decades plowing hundreds of millions of tax dollars into military bases in Italy, turning the country into an increasingly important center for U.S. military power.
Will the U.S. still be meddling in Afghanistan 30 years from now? If history is any guide, the answer is yes. And if history is any guide, three decades from now most Americans will have only the haziest idea why.
"Chal" was Chalmers Johnson, who died in November 2010. I've regularly wished that I could just pick up the phone and get his mordant take on the vast global surveillance state Washington is building, another instance of what he called "military Keynesianism" run amok.