By Rostislav Ishchenko
original source: http://orientalreview.org/2015/11/11/time-is-running-out-for-pax-americanas-apologists/
The paradox of the current global crisis is that for the last five years, all relatively responsible and independent nations have made tremendous efforts to save the United States from the financial, economic, military, and political disaster that looms ahead. And this is all despite Washington’s equally systematic moves to destabilize the world order, rightly known as the Pax Americana (“American peace”).
Since policy is not a zero-sum game, i.e., one participant’s loss does not necessarily entail a gain for another, this paradox has a logical explanation. A crisis erupts within any system when there is a discrepancy between its internal structure and the sum total of available resources (that is, those resources will eventually prove inadequate for the system to function normally and in the usual way).
There are at least three basic options for addressing this situation:
- Through reform, in which the system’s internal structure evolves in such a way as to better correspond to the available resources.
- Through the system’s collapse, in which the same result is achieved via revolution.
- Through preservation, in which the inputs threatening the system are eliminated by force, and the relationships within the system are carefully preserved on an inequitable relationship basis (whether between classes, social strata, castes, or nations).
The preservation method was attempted by the Ming and Qing dynasties in China, as well as the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan. It was utilized successfully (in the 19th century) prior to the era of capitalist globalization. But neither of those Eastern civilizations (although fairly robust internally) survived their collision with the technologically more advanced (and hence more militarily and politically powerful) European civilization. Japan found its answer on the path of modernization (reform) back in the second half of the 19th century, China spent a century immersed in the quagmire of semi-colonial dependence and bloody civil wars, until the new leadership of Deng Xiaoping was able to articulate its own vision of modernizing reforms.
This point leads us to the conclusion that a system can be preserved only if it is safeguarded from any unwanted external influences, i.e., if it controls the globalized world.
The contradiction between the concept of escaping the crisis, which has been adopted the US elite, and the alternative concept – proposed by Russia and backed by China, then by the BRICS nations and now a large part of the world – lay in the fact that the politicians in Washington were working from the premise that they are able to fully control the globalized world and guide its development in the direction they wish. Therefore, faced with dwindling resources to sustain the mechanisms that perpetuate their global hegemony, they tried to resolve the problem by forcefully suppressing potential opponents in order to reallocate global resources in their favor.
If successful, the United States would be able to reenact the events of the late 1980s – early 1990s, when the collapse of the Soviet Union and the global socialist system under its control allowed the West to escape its crisis. At this new stage, it has become a question of no longer simply reallocating resources in favor of the West as a collective whole, but solely in favor of the United States. This move offered the system a respite that could be used to create a regime for preserving inequitable relationships, during which the American elite’s definitive control over the resources of power, raw materials, finance, and industrial resources safeguarded them from the danger of the system’s internal implosion, while the elimination of alternative power centers shielded the system from external breaches, rendering it eternal (at least for a historically foreseeable period of time).
The alternative approach postulated that the system’s total resources might be depleted before the United States can manage to generate the mechanisms to perpetuate its global hegemony. In turn, this will lead to strain (and overstrain) on the forces that ensure the imperial suppression of those nations existing on the global periphery, all in the interests of the Washington-based center, which will later bring about the inevitable collapse of the system.
Two hundred, or even one hundred years ago, politicians would have acted on the principle of “what is falling, that one should also push” and prepared to divvy up the legacy of yet another crumbling empire. However, the globalization of not only the world’s industry and trade (that was achieved by the end of the 19th century), but also global finance, caused the collapse of the American empire through a policy that was extremely dangerous and costly for the whole world. To put it bluntly, the United States could bury civilization under its own wreckage.
Consequently, the Russian-Chinese approach has made a point of offering Washington a compromise option that endorses the gradual, evolutionary erosion of American hegemony, plus the incremental reform of international financial, economic, military, and political relations on the basis of the existing system of international law.
America’s elite have been offered a “soft landing” that would preserve much of their influence and assets, while gradually adapting the system to better correspond to the present facts of life (bringing it into line with the available reserve of resources), taking into account the interests of humanity, and not only of its “top echelon” as exemplified by the “300 families” who are actually dwindling to no more than thirty.
In the end, it is always better to negotiate than to build a new world upon the ashes of the old. Especially since there has been a global precedent for similar agreements.
Up until 2015, America’s elite (or at least the ones who determine US policy) had been assured that they possessed sufficient financial, economic, military, and political strength to cripple the rest of the world, while still preserving Washington’s hegemony by depriving everyone, including (at the final stage) even the American people of any real political sovereignty or economic rights. European bureaucrats were important allies for that elite – i.e., the cosmopolitan, comprador-bourgeoisie sector of the EU elite, whose welfare hinged on the further integration of transatlantic (i.e., under US control) EU entities (in which the premise of Atlantic solidarity has become geopolitical dogma) and NATO, although this is in conflict with the interests of the EU member states.
However, the crisis in Ukraine, which has dragged on much longer than originally planned, Russia’s impressive surge of military and political energy as it moved to resolve the Syrian crisis (something for which the US did not have an appropriate response) and, most important, the progressive creation of alternative financial and economic entities that call into question the dollar’s position as the de facto world currency, have forced a sector of America’s elite that is amenable to compromise to rouse itself (over the last 15 years that elite has been effectively excluded from participation in any strategic decisions).
The latest statements by Kerry and Obama which seesaw from a willingness to consider a mutually acceptable compromise on all contentious issues (even Kiev was given instructions “to implement Minsk “) to a determination to continue the policy of confrontation – are evidence of the escalating battle being fought within the Washington establishment.
It is impossible to predict the outcome of this struggle – too many high-status politicians and influential families have tied their futures to an agenda that preserves imperial domination for that to be renounced painlessly. In reality, multibillion-dollar positions and entire political dynasties are at stake.
However, we can say with absolute certainty that there is a certain window of opportunity during which any decision can be made. And a window of opportunity is closing that would allow the US to make a soft landing with a few trade-offs. The Washington elite cannot escape the fact that they are up against far more serious problems than those of 10-15 years ago. Right now the big question is about how they are going to land, and although that landing will already be harder than it would have been and will come with costs, the situation is not yet a disaster.
But the US needs to think fast. Their resources are shrinking much faster than the authors of the plan for imperial preservation had expected. To their loss of control over the BRICS countries can be added the incipient, but still fairly rapid loss of control over EU policy as well as the onset of geopolitical maneuvering among the monarchies of the Middle East. The financial and economic entities created and set in motion by the BRICS nations are developing in accordance with their own logic, and Moscow and Beijing are not able to delay their development overlong while waiting for the US to suddenly discover a capacity to negotiate.
The point of no return will pass once and for all sometime in 2016, and America’s elite will no longer be able to choose between the provisions of compromise and collapse. The only thing that they will then be able to do is to slam the door loudly, trying to drag the rest of the world after them into the abyss.
Rostislav Ischenko is the President of Centre for System Analysis and Forecasting (Kiev) currently living in Moscow.
Source in Russian: Politexpert
Adapted and translated by ORIENTAL REVIEW.
Good analysis from an American who knows it from the inside. There is no capability for Pax Americana any more. US has to go nuclear or take a humble place in the world.
I don’t think its a “humble” place.It would be a “humbler” place.But under almost all conditions the US would still be a great power.That is the mistake I think many in the US make.They think its an “all or nothing” situation.I don’t believe that.In a multi-polar World,great powers will still exist.There just won’t be one power able to dominate the World.But instead,international law,will be respected.And nations will have to seek compromise and cooperation to have influence.Some in the West think that’s a bad thing.That more freedom for people leads to chaos.But I can’t see how the rule of the empire has led to “less chaos”.Their is more chaos and less hope in the World today than their was before the “Pax Americana” came about.I believe in the old truism “power corrupts,and absolute power, corrupts absolutely”. That is what we see today with the empire’s actions and policies.
Frankly, this reads as a lethal combination of natural tendency to wishful thinking with complete loss of touch with reality.
Pax Americana is founded on four premises:
1, unquestionable military might
2, control of significant part of world hydrocarbon reserves
3, control of world financial system
4, masses of educated Western population that is determined to keep the system running
All four ingredients neccessary for continuation of Pax Americana are currently firmly in place.
BTW, I completelly stopped taking Ishchenko seriously after reading this:
Pax Americana is found on one main premise: the reserve currency status of the dollar. The other three premisses that you quote are derivative. It is precisely the dollar that is in jeopardy, due to the outsourcing of the American economy.
I also disagree with Ishchenko, though. I do not think it possible to provide a soft landing to the American elites, now. They may soon face a rebellion staged by their own population, when the next financial crisis hits. The point of no return was passed when the West, for ideological reasons, completely bungled the response to the financial crisis of 2008. The situation of the global financial system is going critical, now. Capital is overflowing to the center, leaving the resource producers starved of it, and soon unable to buy extremely overpriced Western exports.
Globalization needed tough regulatory measures, to have any chance to create a stable global economy. Now, reforms after 2009 progressed in a direction opposite to the regulatory and protectionist measures of 1933-1945. This increased the imbalances of the current financial system, instead of ironing them out. It will surely blow-up up with a loud thump.
IMHO, point 3 and 4 are changing very fast.
The BRICS countries have adopted a completely different financial system. The $ hegemony, SWIFT, WB and IMF are still in place, but not for long (anymore).
Education is the US is getting worse and here is Western Europe, it is the same.
Sorry for not being able to address you by name as you haven’t said anything worth staying incognito.
1. The US military might IS questionable. Try to propose to a US general to enter in a direct combat with the Russians and see his grimace. Today the illusion of Western superiority is over: http://www.voltairenet.org/article189043.html
2. The problem is not an alleged “control” over oil fields which looks more like a pay for formal allegiance, but the dollar-oriented commodities markets. Russia, Iran, China are doing good job to overcome it: http://www.rbc.ru/business/09/11/2015/5640b2f29a794762d9a1ec2c
3. Control over a dollar-centered world financial system is more a time-bomb than the factor of optimism. The alternative financial frameworks are under construction: http://www.globalresearch.ca/russia-and-china-the-dawning-of-a-new-monetary-system/5423637
4. Masses of “educated” Western population are not so overwhelming as you wish to indicate. There masses of educated Chinese, educated Russians, educated Indians, and those Europeans and even Americans who are really educated, perfectly see that something is wrong in this world: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_most_brazen_corporate_power_grab_in_american_history_20151106
As far as NewBalt is concerned, if you read Ischenko’s direct speech, he says nothing extraordinary. What disturbed you was written by NewsBalt editorial, so forward your shut your mind them, not Ischenko!
By “educated”, I think he meant brought up in a consumerist system, where individuals only value material possessions, that is the western way of life.
And in that sense he is 100% correct. I was visiting my native France not long ago after years and years of being away and I was completely dismayed by what I saw: a completely Americanized society, where the youth is just a caricature of the Hollywood society. It is completely lost.
And yeah, I agree with other posters here, Ischenko is probably the worst of the Kremlin propagandists. He is truly detrimental to their cause if you ask me, whatever that is these days… reading Russia Today and Sputnik is even worse than reading Liberation or the NYT today.
And what’s up with all the multicultural crap stories they push constantly nowadays? I personally know quite a few people who supported Russia and Putin two years ago who have completely moved on.
Corrected as per request.
Moved on to what? If they supported Russia and Putin two years ago.Where did they go.They would have disliked the empire’s actions or they wouldn’t have supported Russia and Putin to begin with.So unless they “all of a sudden” decided they liked the empire.There is no other to “move on” too.There are only two “viable” parties involved today.I have some reservations about some of Russia and Putin’s policies.But the comparison of my “reservations” to the actions and policies of the empire,”always” leave’s me supporting Russia and Putin in this struggle.
U Bob1 @ 12, 2015 · at 9:26 pm UTC
“Moved on to what? If they supported Russia and Putin two years ago.Where did they go”………
to me the timeline sounds like the Maidan ?
If you watch this from Vox Populi Evo, both the young man and his mother say that people in the west Ukraine won’t talk to them accusing them of supporting invading russians etc.
friends once,now enemies…….probably shallow friendships.
This anon is not a regular here…does not want a name and quotes RI and Sputnik copy and paste outlets as sources of propagada.
All MSM are questionable info.
I visit Vox Populi Evo daily for personal accounts of people who have suffered Kiev’s slaughter of civilians,the deliberate ethnic cleansing of Russian speakers.
Last year Yarosh was boasting about the Rand Corp plan…stage 1,stage 2….stage 3 repeat stage 1….stage 4 repeat stage 2.
Arthur Senko and Anatoly Sharii I find worth watching
by Arthur Senko
Allow me to chip in with my own views on US Imperial Power and its viability going forward:
a) People tend to overestimate the advantages and significance of the US possessing the world’s reserve currency. Now, don’t get me wrong, the power of the $ definitely provides the US with some considerable privileges, first and foremost that of running persistent budget and trade deficits. This has been the case with all Empires that preceded the US-version. But this process, is only feasible at the cost of domestic US industry and at the benefit of RoW industry, and especially that of China’s. The primary geo-strategic competitor to the US along with Russia. Moreover, US deficits can only go so far, the perception that the US can just “print” its way out of any economic hole is grossly mistaken. It’s not accidental that the US Fed has this year ended its QE program and is even considering raising the Federal Funds rate amidst a relatively weak economy. This is clearly done in the knowledge of the limits in the power of the $, along with some other short-term considerations.
b) US Military power.
I am sure that others on this blog (especially the Saker) are far more suited in dealing with this question. But in any case, I will attempt to form an opinion.
Yes, the US has far more and fancier toys than anybody else (since the USSR collapsed on itself) and can also spend far more for any future development of weapons systems (for a few more years at least) but does the US have an overwhelming military supremacy in the sense that nobody can strategically defy it? Then the answer is no. Russia is clearly defying US Hegemony in the world today. Not only that, but Russia is defying the Hegemony of the US Empire in the most strategically important region of the entire planet, the Middle East! Even during a period in which Russia has been put under serious strain with the Maidan lunatics on her doorstep, the EU following the US in a sanctions war against her, and a partly Empire-inspired and designed oil-price meltdown, Russia has the courage, the resources, the technical means to defy the US Empire, along with all her slimy satraps.
Moreover, the PRC, is also hard at work in countering the military hegemony of the US Empire on its own part of the world. I get the sense that analysts everywhere are grossly underestimating Chinese capabilities and resolve. The Chinese are quite obsessed with hiding their power.
Another issue of extreme importance, is the fact that the US Empire, along with its most vile members (Israel and KSA) have been aching for years to annihilate Iran. Well, they have completely failed on that score.
c) Control of the world’s hydrocarbons.
Since Russia has established and fortified her presence in the ME, the US “control” of the world’s hydrocarbons has been thrown into serious doubt. Even so, whatever control the US ever had, and still has over the Middle East and its resources is quite theoretical. Cutting of energy exports from that region to the rest of the world will have catastrophic consequences for the Empire itself. Also people tend to ignore the fact that China is producing over 5m barrels of oil every day (around half its own consumption) and could conceivably raise that output significantly in the face of an emergency.
But more importantly, the entrance of Russia into the ME is specifically designed so as to definitively end the US Hegemony over that most crucial region of the planet. Iran, Iraq and Syria are strongly on Russia’s side, and those 3 countries have much more geo-strategic (and in the not-too-distant future, also economic) value than the GCC scumbags. THIS IS THE PRIMARY REASON WHY RUSSIA-HATERS IN THE WEST HAVE GONE BALLISTIC IN RECENT YEARS/MONTHS/WEEKS.
d) One more factor that I have underlined in multiple occasions on this (as well as other) blog is the precarious situation of the US Empire’s energy situation.
Forget all the MSM-hype over the “shale-revolution” or the “renewables-revolution”.
The shale-oil boom will collapse as soon as the current US credit cycle turns sour (almost certain to happen within the next two years, with 2016 being more likely than 2017, read: http://wolfstreet.com/2015/11/10/were-in-the-early-stages-of-largest-debt-default-in-us-history/
The shale-gas boom may last a few years longer (albeit being unstable for much of the time) but it is also doomed within a decade.
Additionally (and for me, even more hilariously) the renewables “boom” we have been hearing so much about in the “democratic West” will also soon prove to be just another sick joke, such as the “New Economy” of the late 90s, or the “real-estate-boom” of the 2000s, etc…
Allow me to provide some examples of what I mean:
a) Denmark prides itself for generating an awesome amount of its electricity from wind and solar. What Denmark forgets to tell us, is that its electricity bills are the highest on the planet. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_pricing#Price_comparison
Moreover, I deeply suspect, that many of the costs of renewable energy are hidden via various methods of creative accounting or outright falsification.
There is a tremendous amount of corruption and vested interests behind this entire “renewable-energy” mythology. Let alone the ideological zeal of many “limousine-progressives” in the West.
My point is that we will soon be enjoying the blow-up of several mythological monsters created by the AZ Empire in recent years and even decades.
Agreed with most of this, but your position on renewables is wrong. And it’s based on a false premise–“There is a tremendous amount of corruption and vested interests behind this entire ‘renewable energy’ mythology”. That’s ridiculous. Oh, there’s probably some–this is a system based on greed and making money. Anything that anyone can make any money from is going to involve some corruption, and the moment anyone is making money from it they’re a “vested interest”. But if you compare the corruption and vested interests in oil to those in renewables, we’re talking the ocean versus a puddle. And those vested interests, and their PR machines, have been heavily invested in trashing renewables. Much like with climate change, one of the preferred approaches is to invent conspiracies–but it’s projection. Makes it more confusing when people uncover oil company conspiracies, because they’ve got a pre-built “But they’re doing it too!” narrative.
On the other hand, I would have to say that it’s going to be a while before renewables hit oil very much. Significant renewable energy sources all have one thing in common: They are for generating electricity, not fuelling vehicles. And electric vehicles have shortcomings, most particularly range. So renewables compete with other electricity generation.
They are already killing the “nuclear renaissance” because nuclear is even more expensive than renewables have been. The only thing keeping civilian nuclear power alive is existing stockpiles of bribe money and their connection with the deep lobbies of the nuclear weapons business. It’s no co-incidence that the countries still doing and planning much nuclear power (ironically, with the probable exception of Iran) all either have nuclear weapons or kind of want to make sure they could have them quick if they wanted to.
Next will be coal. Renewables so far are still more expensive than coal–but if you start counting all the externalities, they probably aren’t, because coal’s so goddamned dirty it’s not funny. Global warming aside, all the blown up mountaintops, ruined rivers, death and sickness from air pollution . . . the crap coal does just goes on and on, but the coal companies don’t gotta pay for it. The price doesn’t show up on the electricity bill, but it shows up lots of other places. There are tons of reasons to phase out coal; as soon as renewables are remotely competitive, coal’s going down. There are signs that it’s starting.
Natural gas will be last of the major electricity-generating fossil fuels to go, and it may hang around for a while after for heating.
Only then will serious inroads be made into oil itself. But by that time both the renewables themselves and the related battery technologies will be much better and cheaper. Oil will go too.
The thing is, the main reason renewables are a good idea (aside from global warming, which is a massive reason and believing otherwise is currently a very foolish position) is that renewables are a set of technologies, not a resource. Specifically, they are immature technologies, under continuing heavy development. They are manufacturing-based technologies. And so the reason for a country to do them is the same as the reason to develop your technological/manufacturing sector rather than importing. Which is to say, it’s the reason “comparative advantage” free trade theories are bogus: When you do manufacturing and build technology, you get better at it. Renewables like wind and solar have been getting cheaper every decade, for decades, and if anything it’s accelerating because manufacturing gets cheaper not based on time but based on units produced, and unit production is accelerating. We are now reaching the point where both are starting to be cost-competitive. From here the tipping point arrives at which they become cheaper than the alternatives. They will take over, no matter how much we or the fossil fuel companies whine about it, no matter how effectively movements to fend off global warming are blocked. Those countries which have invested strongly in development will have the expertise, the patents, the physical plant, the companies; they’ll be selling to the rest of us.
In the medium term, if you have a competition between a technology and a resource, never bet on the resource. The resource can’t get much better, but the technology can and will. And the resource may run out or, at best, become more expensive to extract as the easiest sources are used up, but the technology will not.
Basically,I’d say the difference between you and Stravos regarding renewable energy is,he is looking at the next 50-100 years.While you are looking at the next 100-200 years.I agree with both of you.With him,that renewable’s aren’t here now.And you,that they will be the future.
By my reckoning, it’s coming faster than you’d think. We’ve gotten used to renewables == expensive. That’s now iffy on wind. You can argue it–but that’s the thing, you can argue it–until now it was just clearly more expensive and even its proponents admitted it, they just figured it was worth it. Meanwhile, solar, still a bit more expensive, is getting cheaper very very fast. The change is happening far faster than our mind-set. Price trends are set to hit the tipping point where they’re definitively cheaper than the alternatives despite having fewer subsidies within 10 years max.
At that point I predict coal at least will go down surprisingly fast just because there are so many reasons to hate it that price has been its only salvation; the moment it’s not necessary it will be expendable. But once renewables take down coal, they will be a juggernaut that will have no reason to stop. The producers will have become huge companies, there really will be vested interests for renewable expansion, and they will walk all over every fossil fuel industry within reach. Oil will be last, oil for shipping and air transport last of all.
I think you totally underestimate what 3 to 4th generation Nuclear Power Generation is about.
Whilst renewables are lovely for residential and small commercial applications, you still need base load power for industry and science. Modern Nuclear Energy generation can also not be weaponised which is more than likely why RosAtom has been very keen on the tech for export markets.
The added bonus is that these developments in Nuclear Technology allow for us to deal with the issues of earlier generation Uranium and Plutonium Nuclear waste.
Just some thoughts and much more preferable way of dealing with spent Uranium Fuel Rods then machining the waste into ammunition and spreading it all over the world in a slow kill environmental catastrophe way like our friends in ZATO do. Ask the Serbians, Afghanis and Iraqis about the joy that keeps on giving with Depleted Uranium being used in their respective countries.
Your thoughts on Nuclear seem to be very Western and stuck in and around Generation 1 and 2 based capabilities.
Maybe. Hard to judge something that doesn’t exist, though. I hear lots of talk about all this multi-generation nuclear, but every time someone starts building a plant it’s the same old crap with the same old massive cost overruns. When a whichever-gen nuclear plant starts generating electricity, I’ll try to come up with an opinion about it. Until then, just take any and all comments I have about nuclear power to be about actually existing fission, not future-generations fission, thorium fission, whatever else fission, or fusion.
Both windmills and solar panels actually do exist and generate power in the real world for people to use. They are reaching the stage of being big business, and seem to be growing at like 20% a year. I’m interested in things like wave motors too, but I don’t go around talking about them as solutions to the world’s energy needs because they’re still basically experimental. As a matter of prediction rather than advocacy, I would expect that next-generation nuclear won’t catch on widely because by the time those technologies reach the serious deployment stage, renewables will have passed that tipping point I mentioned and there won’t be any economic point in building much else.
Energy storage technologies are also reaching the point where the variable nature of renewables isn’t going to be as huge a deal any more.
(I used to be really enthusiastic about fusion power; when I was a kid it was 30 years from feasibility for power generaton. Then when I was a young man it was 30 years from feasibility for power generation. Now I’m fifty, and I understand the research is going well, and it’s now only 30 years from . . . it seems destined to be forever on the horizon. At any rate, seems like by the time it arrives it will be irrelevant. Pity.)
A secondary note on the Denmark thing: I did a bit of digging. It’s sure enough true that Danish residential electricity rates are among the highest in the world. Slightly less high in purchasing power parity terms, but still very high. This is not surprising; it’s simply true that renewables have been expensive, and Denmark have been building wind power since it was a good deal more expensive than it is now (which is one reason it is now less expensive than it was).
The surprising thing is that much of the reason Denmark’s electricity rates are so high is that they have by far the world’s highest taxes on residential electricity, amounting to some 2% of GDP. The taxes on industrial electricity use are lower, and so Danish industrial electricity rates are more middle-of-the-pack. So, actually less story there than I was expecting.
1. Unquestioned military might is predicated on unquestioned economic primacy. You can have the military you can afford to build. And we’re talking about real, productive economy here–if you have to import everything, you’re ultimately toast. And the fact is that US economic primacy is no longer unquestioned. The Chinese will soon have a larger economy than the US; in terms of production it may already be. Complicating this is the massive corruption in US military procurement; they spend an awful lot of money, but their bang for the buck is pretty damn poor. US unquestioned military might is eroding.
2. Oil. Aside from everything else, that stuff’s gonna be obsolete soon. But a pattern that has been emerging is, the Americans fight the wars, but the Chinese still get a lot of the contracts, without spending all that money on the war.
3. The world financial system is in crisis and that crisis is getting worse. Challenges to just who controls it aside, if it collapses who holds the bag? Not much point controlling something while it’s blowing up.
4. There are lots of educated people everywhere, now. And few of those people are “dedicated” to more than keeping the roof over their family’s heads and maybe getting a few toys and a vacation.
Who told you that “oil is going to be obsolete soon”?
I repeat, DO NOT LISTEN TO THEIR BULLSHIT!
It is very, very likely that I know a great deal more about renewables, their price trends and production trends and so on, than you do. From fairly diverse sources, among whom The Economist is not generally included although it’s interesting sometimes to know what the enemy is thinking.
So frankly, put up or shut up. Give me something serious, not just “Oooh, there’s a place with renewables and their electricity is expensive”.
There will be continuing and risong price pressure on oil so substitutes will be found over time — but it’s not energy: petrochemicals, including plastics and agricultural chemicals (and a host of others) are a big part of the oil industry. It will take time, and some money, to find substitutes, and to change the manufacturing and distribution structures, not to mention finance. But, as the saying goes, that which is not sustainable, will end.
(Next up will be solar power — requiring lots of clean silicon dioxide — sand — and lots of sunlight. Guess which countries and regions have that! Buy up sand oceans before the price goes up. LOL )
” but it’s not energy” was supposed to say not just energy.
I see also a post about oil fueling vehicles. That’s an area where much more research needs doing, better batteries (probably with nanotechnology), fuel cells, hydrogen, various alternatives, which will also need big changes in infrastructure.
On the other hand, if we bring jobs and manufacturing back to local areas, and eventually get to where computers can be used for real ‘work at home’ instead of commuting, that will cut back on the need for as much transportation. Other lifestyle changes can help, such as getting rid of planned obsolescence where people need a constant stream of replacement products, or just getting over the addiction to brand new toys and going back to actual social interactions with family and community instead of vicarious ‘fulfillment’ of social needs via an electronic gadget.
There are many things we should be rethinking.
Because your item 1 is incrasingly questionable and further practially unusable.
And your item 3 is being challenged by moscow and beijing – in coordination.
Further, BTW item 4 lacks stability with 4 million refugees exerting pressure on this educated western population.
Eupeans politicians will do anything, except committin suicide.
Not sure I would agree with your list of points.After the “less than stellar” performance of the US military in the last years.And the reform of the Russian and Chinese militarizes.I’m not sure about the “unquestionable military might” point.And considering that most of the hydrocarbon reserves seem to be (at least exported from) in Russia,Iran,Venezuela.And the others in the Middle East, US allies,true.But within the ability of Russia and Iran to impact them if they choose.Then your number 2 point is also in question.As to number three,currently that is true.But that is being eroded daily as we hear regularly about.And to number 4,the numbers of educated Russians,Chinese,Indians,etc,is huge today and growing.So the 4th point is extremely questionable as well. Ishchenko may be too optimistic in his hoping that the US will accept peacefully to return to the position as a normal great power.And give up (again,peacefully) striving for World domination.But I don’t think he’s wrong in his thinking of what is going on.He always seems to me a “glass half full” type of man.While I’m just the “glass is half” type.
> “The only thing that they will then be able to do is to slam the door loudly, trying to drag the rest of the world after them into the abyss.”
Personally, barring some untimely deaths of a whole lot of elite personages, I cannot imagine another outcome. Psychopaths who attain pinnacles of power develop a political psychosis wherein they would rather destroy the world than hand it over — or even think about sharing it.
2 “dead” lines coming up :
Dec. 20: Russia Bond Matures
The $3 billion bond sold to Russia in December 2014 comes due, raising the prospect of default if Vladimir Putin’s administration continues to hold out against a deal to change the terms. Russia claims the security shouldn’t be included in Ukraine’s sovereign restructuring because it’s state aid.
Dec. 31: Minsk II implementation deadline
The 13 measures, including the pullout of all foreign troops from Ukraine, restoration of the border and constitutional reform, have to be completed under the Minsk II Agreement.
I’m not sure what will happen on the first matter.But on the second they will “kick the can down the road” I figure.
Minsk 2 deadline is April 2016, following the Paris Normany 4 meeting on Nov. 2, as I recall.
Elections in Donbass in April.
A wounded Hegemon is a very dangerous one -dangerous for everyone in the world.
This is an interesting article. I’d have to say it’s mostly right on its own terms, which are terms very much in the mainstream of classic political science analysis. It’s not quite “realism” in the technical poli-sci sense (that is, it doesn’t posit some monolithic national interest which all nations sort of mechanically pursue), it does suggest that things are being driven by the interests of various elites, and that in the end the objectives of the American elites could be at odds with the interests of the American people.
But it takes it pretty much for granted that that’s how it’s gonna be, that the elites themselves and what they are getting are essentially static, and takes the general economic setup as a given. This leads to an odd characterization of the crisis as one of dwindling resources. The crisis of the American-dominated system is not a crisis of dwindling resources. It is a crisis of bad resource allocation. It is caused by the elites insisting on swallowing more and more of the available resources for themselves, leaving too few not only for everyone else to live decently, but too few for the system to work properly.
(There is also an ecological crisis of too much growth happening, but despite all the relentless warning signs from overfished oceans to weird weather from climate change, that hasn’t really begun to bite the economy and most people’s livelihoods yet)
The fundamental problem with an elite-driven market system is that on one hand the elites in question have to–are supposed to–have an insatiable appetite for more selfish gain, but on the other the system is driven by mass consumption. Capitalism is based on growth through reinvestment of profits, and the reason for that reinvestment of profits is maximization of personal gain. So if you’ve got an elite person with capital, they cannot say “OK, got enough money now, don’t need any more profits”–and even if they do, someone else won’t and that someone else will make more money and expand while the holdings of the one with limits do not. So, to maximize profits, to get more to reinvest (usefully or financially), it is necessary to reduce all sources of expense. This includes, for instance, avoiding spending money on safety measures, on pollution abatement, on taxes and so on. All these have important negative side effects. But economically, the king of expense avoidance measures is reduction of wages. Elite owners of capital, in order to get more, must reduce what they pay in wages. Ever since the eighties, they have been increasingly successful at this, whether by union busting, offshoring and the threat of it, automation, or creation and use of a greater army of more desperate unemployed.
On the flip side, however, the point of the whole exercise is to sell something to someone. If that someone has no money, they can’t buy it. And your few fellow rich people can only buy so much stuff. So the individual profit maximization of employers leads to a collective problem: Their employees ain’t got no money to buy no stuff. You might call it a crisis of underconsumption, which is basically the same thing as Marx’s crisis of overproduction, just looked at from the other direction. The economic story of the 90s to the present is the increasingly desperate attempts to get around this basic contradiction, mostly by financialism in two forms. First, give the moneyless people more and more credit. Second, avoid the need to make and sell anything useful by profiting from speculation, electronic money creation, and fraud instead. Both these strategies have distinct limitations.
But the only other way would be to somehow force the elites to limit their greed. And unfortunately, elites not limiting their greed is as basic a building block of the system as people being able to buy stuff. It can be done, temporarily, with enough struggle from below. That’s what created the economic “golden age” of the 50s-70s (well, OK, that and imperialist looting). But it can’t stick unless the system changes fundamentally.
Which brings me to the problem with the article’s conclusions. No matter what the Russian and Chinese authorities may believe, rebalancing the world political system to gently ease the US off the top of it will not solve the major economic crises the world is going through and which are likely to get worse again soon. Only major changes to the world economic system can possibly do that–and if those changes aren’t environmentally sound, the results will still collapse when the earth’s renewable resources, already overstretched, reach breaking point.
Purple Library Guy,
That’s the best succinct description of “the problem” I’ve yet to read. Thank you!
For some additional understanding of the “evil” associated with it all, check out the readings at
Evil is real.
hi Justin, re a piece of your comment; The added bonus is that these developments in Nuclear Technology allow for us to deal with the issues of earlier generation Uranium and Plutonium Nuclear waste
is there a site or link that you can recommend for a novice re nuclear technology, KM advances and current state of the art? thanks in advance, as while I have followed along the “nuclear“ debate for decades, kind of with a Canadian lens, both domestic and our long history of export CANdu etc, I would like to upgrade my understanding in this
God help us if Pax Americana becomes Gulag Americana – if we stagnate as the only “superpower” (in our own eyes) and become just another authoritarian failed empire. Then we Americans will get stuck behind our own Iron Curtain while the rest of the world tries to forget us and go about its own business.
It is already happening in some economic respects. African countries leapfrogged over land lines for telecommunications because they couldn’t afford the infrastructure, and in the process almost every African had a cell phone years before the same percentage of Americans did. More importantly, Russia and China are now making business deals without the petro-dollar and other countries are signing on. It is a self-defense mechanism for them, but it will turn into a monetary wall that will suffocate Americans. Meanwhile the 1 percent elite will find that they prefer to live elsewhere than in America, because we will have become a 3rd world country.
But our media will keep saying we are “exceptional” and “better than those people” while we decay.
The USA is not turning into a 3rd World country anytime this century. If ever.
But, on its current trajectory, if (when) hegemony is lost, then there will be some extremely serious trouble. The risk of turning into some kind of very rich and at the same time very poor (some parts of the country) country at the same time, will become very real.
Social cohesion will be lost to a great extent, inter-ethnic friction will explode and even secessionist tendencies may very well appear.
The Outlaw Empire’s lifeboat has a leak and the sharks are beginning to gather in greater numbers as it becomes the sardine. It might have been possible for it to attain its policy goal of Full Spectrum Dominance, but the elite managed the system for their own benefit, not for the benefit of the policy goal, and now their selfishness has kindled rapid Imperial decline from which there’s no reversing. I know it’s been said often over the last 2 decades, but it seems conclusive now that the Emperor is nude without a burka in sight to the dismay and delight of the world. True, the naked emperor will flail about in its embarrassment, but it will never again be able to hide its hideousness.
By way of comparison, a thought exercise: Imagine the US Empire being managed by a Bismarck or a Putin. Bush 1 tried to describe the Outlaw Empire as now being “kinder and gentler,” which were lies of the first order, but was exactly the sort of prescription required for Vision 2020 success. The Neoliberal rampage of Russia was a colossal error of the highest magnitude as was demonization of China. Those are examples of what I term elite mismanagement of policy in favor of enriching themselves. Even the French learned to like Bismarck.
“Washington’s equally systematic moves to destabilize the world order, rightly known as the Pax Americana (“American peace”).”
No, that’s wrong: it’s Pox Americana — the American disease. Nothing peaceful about it.
Your last sentence is funny …but you said it all !!!!
The Headline says one thing, but the essay by Ishchenko actually declares that time is Not running out for Pax Americana’s Apologists.
” and, most important, the progressive creation of alternative financial and economic entities that call into question the dollar’s position as the de facto world currency, have forced a sector of America’s elite that is amenable to compromise to rouse itself (over the last 15 years that elite has been effectively excluded from participation in any strategic decisions).”
Here we go again!
The good terrorists, and the bad terrorists. Vote for democrat Hilary Clinton, as utterly evil and covered with the blood of millions of humans (women and children and elderly and men), she is less bad than the evil republican wasshis name.
No need to restore the American Republic. The illusion is just as good.
Deals can be made.
Palestinians can be ignored.
Golan Heights? Is that where Middle-Class Golans live?
” And a window of opportunity is closing that would allow the US to make a soft landing with a few trade-offs. ”
I can’t make this stuff up!
The Jewish/American Oligarchs have no word/s in their dictionaries for “soft landing”/s. They kill all; steal all; deny all; Hollywood all; (have you not been paying attention)? What happened to our last constitutional elected President and his government on November 22, 1963? Recall the Coup d’etat in Dallas? Followed by the rivers running red with blood in Indonesia in 1965, the people on fire in Vietnam, the Natives slaughtered in Guatemala, the Colonels in Argentina, Chile, and Greece, and the destroyed nations of Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and Palestine, and dozens of African nations? And, they are not finished!!!
Soft landings? The Kennedy family, (ask their surviving young generations), if there are soft landings in Rothschildland.
Ishchenko may be correct in all his assumptions. I do not agree with those assumptions. He may be sincere. I cannot judge.
I see no room for compromise, or magical split within the Jewish/American Ruling Elite. They appear remarkably well unified within their controlled propaganda outlets of the NYTimes, WSJournal, BBC, CNN, Huffington Post, MSNBC, FOX, and all their others. They dance in step, murder well together, jail well, Land thief well, pretend electoral democracy-not so well, Judas goat the sheeple in a professional manner, run the University centers of brainwashing, with their over-financed “Jewish Studies” departments, and Football extravaganzas quite well; in sum, they provide the golden magnet for all the wannabees.
Apparently, time is not running out for Pax Americana’s Apologists.
For the Democratic Republics!
Well, it is still coming out thick and fast. Here’s an example from ‘Handmaiden to the Barbarian’ Philip Hammond:
“How can we bring peace to a country (Syria) that went through a vicious civil war in which 250-300,000 people died without removing the cause (Assad) of that civil war?” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond asked on Monday”
I can agree with the statement but not its original implication. Removing the USA, Saudi and Qatar plus associated vassals like the UK is a primary necessity. Absolutely.
You can look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viable_system_model from Stafford Beer and see it in those terms, but the system is collapsing from not simply external pressures, which will always exist in this universe, but from internal contradictions (as per Marx, et al.).
Even with an infinite territory to expand into, capitalism and oligarchy will collapse because as it develops it eats itself in class warfare.
“System 2 represents the information channels and bodies that allow the primary activities in System 1 to communicate between each other and which allow System 3 to monitor and co-ordinate the activities within System 1. Represents the scheduling function of shared resources to be used by System 1.”
“System 3 represents the structures and controls that are put into place to establish the rules, resources, rights and responsibilities of System 1 and to provide an interface with Systems 4/5. Represents the big picture view of the processes inside of System 1.”
The plutocracy, as it grows richer and more powerful, oppresses the working class and represses workers power and informational feedback. Sooner or later the capitalist parasites drain and kill the host. Even a large buffer area (such as the western US in earlier days) won’t suffice to make the system sustainable because the oligarchy keeps reducing the share of wealth the working class can obtain by controlling the flows and grabbing more power.
It is not that “internal structure evolves in such a way as to better correspond to the available resources”, but that it evolves to shift more wealth and power to the ruling class, gobbling up the resources. Reform never works because the rulers control the reform process and reforms, and if it’s allowed to even exist. The reforms after the Great Depression have been abolished, as have the social and political organizations demanding them. The system must be replaced, not reformed.
“The system must be replaced, not reformed.”
Must doesn’t work.
Reforms have been enacted, & abolished.
Without a Vision, (& the leadership & organized work to enact the Vision), the people will sit and sit, poverty or no poverty. Check out India and Haiti.
What is your day to day plan to organize the replacing of the system?
‘Must’ means nothing else will work, and it’s too late to try stopgap measures, which can only slow down or delay collapse — or might makes things even worse, such as austerity does.
I don’t have a day to day plan, and there is no reason I should; it’s up to the people to develop that as they go, once they understand the reality and decide they have to change it. This is not a job one person could do in any case, but neither is it one that should be dictated to anyone because part of what has to happen if it works is for the people themselves to devise and implement it (participatory democracy).
World nations have reached a landmark deal to track planes via satellite in a bid to prevent the recurrence of scenarios similar to last year’s disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The decision was made by representatives from over 160 countries at a conference hosted by the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva on Wednesday.
“In reaching this agreement… ITU has responded in record time to the expectations of the global community on the major issue concerning global flight tracking,” said the organization’s secretary general, Houlin Zhao, in a statement.
It “could” be a good idea.But I’m wondering if,as the US is involved,its not just a way to be able to spy on World air plane traffic.Without it seeming that’s what they are doing.Making it look like its something for the “common” good.
Water, among other things, is one of the incentives Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pursuing, when he asks the United States to recognize Syria’s Golan Heights as Israeli territory, says an independent researcher based in Irvine.
Bibi allegedly discussed the recognition the Israeli-occupied region at a meeting he held with US President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on Monday.
America can always rely on traitor indiabs and shy weakling chinese to betray the Brics principle and become their vassals happily thereafter,
Look how Chinese and Indian heads of states ran to UK to bestow in that country multi billion dollar contracts at a time when in Syria that UK is openly supporting terrorists,
Only reported now, but note happened same weekend as that US west coast night sea “missile” launch Sat/Sunday.
The United States has flown two B-52 bombers very close to China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea, a move apparently designed to increase tensions with Beijing.
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Hill newspaper on Thursday that the bombers made one pass within 12 nautical miles (22.2km, or 13.8 miles) of the islands over the weekend.
Thanks to Saker and Oriental Review for this article.
The one weakness is thinking the BRICS are as strong as they were two-three years ago as a cohesive force economically. They are much weaker because of the changes in the global commodities and manufacturing industries. As the US and EU markets grind to recession levels, these nations suffer.
Aside from that, the Hegemon always has chaos in its quiver. It has no propensity for negotiation, especially with Russia and China. It can destroy both (in a reckless war) and with trade behind the two stalking horses of TPP and TPIP.
Eurasia and Belts and Roads is just forming. These are tender times and the West is excellent at killing infants in the womb or in the crib, actually or symbolically. The Hegemon is working every nation in the near abroad of both nations to create whatever problems it can for Russia and China.
2016 may be a final deadline, but nothing is coming along by nature, on some cosmic schedule.
However, the author is precisely on target in describing the dire situation for the US.
I like Ischenko’s work.
Thanks to the folks who translated.
There is a Brazilian Portuguese version of this article in Voltairenet: http://www.voltairenet.org/article189253.html
There is a Brazilian Portuguese translation of this superb article in Voltairenet.org.