The Vampire Ball is ending for the US Empire

Mar 19, 2024
A vampire on a hundred-dollar bill.

“Empires don’t just fall like toppled trees. Instead, they weaken slowly as a succession of crises drain their strength and confidence until they suddenly begin to disintegrate” – historian Alfred W. McCoy.

On March 14, The New York Times published an article by Ivan Nechupurenko entitled “Shunned By West, Russia Pivots South For Trade: Skirting Sanctions, Moscow Plans Ambitious Infrastructure Connecting It to Iran, India, China and the Persian Gulf.” The article stated that “for centuries, trade with Europe was the main pillar of Russia’s economy,” but noted that “the war in Ukraine ended that, with Western sanctions and othe restrictions increasingly cutting Russia off from European markets. In response, Moscow has expanded ties with countries more willing to do business with it—China to the east, and via a southern route, India, and the countries of the Persian Gulf.” Noting that Russian trade with India and China is surging to $65 billion and $240 billion respectively, the article spotlighted an ambitious $1.7 billion railway project set to begin construction this year that will be “the final link in a route between Russia and Iranian ports in the Persian Gulf—providing easy access to destinations like Mumbai, India’s trading capital.” Russian officials have been heralding the new project—which will link to Iranian cities, Astara and Rasht, and connect Iran with Azerbaijan and then to the Russian railway grid—as a “revolutionary breakthrough project that will compete with the Suez Canal.”

The $1.7 billion railway project is indicative of a new economic dynanism coming out of Russia and the East that reflects a major geopolitical power shift. A decade ago, China launched the Belt and Road Initiative, a major infrastructural development program extending to 155 countries. The U.S. and Great Britain are trying to counter with their own copycat version that so far has not much gotten off the ground. The imposition of “sanctions from hell” on Russia and the Ukraine conflict had been designed to weaken Russia and enable U.S. control over the oil and gas wealth of Central Asia. However, the Times’ piece shows that U.S. policy in Ukraine has completely backfired, with Russia adapting effectively under Putin’s leadership by reorienting its economy to the East and helping to form a new power bloc to counter American hegemony.

The failings of U.S. and Western policy in Ukraine were revealed in leaked French defence reports, which emphasised that Kyiv was recruiting less than half the men it needed to successfully fight the Russians who had created a “hell for Ukrainian forces” at the Battle of Avdeyevka by using massive glide bombs, resulting in more than 1,000 casualties per day.

On the same day that the French defence report was leaked, Rossiya 1 and RIA Novosti published an interview with Vladimir Putin who said that Western countries had been “parasitising on other peoples for centuries, 500 years. They tore apart the unfortunate peoples of Africa, they exploited Latin America, they exploited the countries of Asia, and of course no one has forgotten that. They’ve spent centuries filling their bellies with human flesh and their pockets with money. But they must realise that the vampire ball is ending.”

The end of the ball can be dated to the imperial overreach of the Bush administration in launching simultaneous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that drained the U.S. treasury and irrevocably damaged America’s international reputation as a beacon of “freedom” and democracy.” That reputation has further been sullied, and U.S. decline further precipitated, by a) failed U.S. military interventions in Libya and Syria that resulted in humanitarian catastrophes; b) U.S. weapons supplies to Israel as Israel has horrified much of the world by committing genocide in Gaza; c) the domestic implosion of U.S. society seen in the rash of mass shootings, rising homelessness, and the January 6 Capitol riots.

Whereas Americans once elected respected figures internationally like Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, they now elect loathsome figures like Donald Trump, a crude bigot with authoritarian proclivities. Joe Biden is an elderly man experiencing declining mental faculties who has long belonged to the discredited hawkish wing of his party and was the architect of the War on Drugs that led the U.S. to become the world’s leading carceral state. Biden’s son, Hunter, was implicated in serious criminal conduct, including violation of the Mann Act for bringing prostitutes across state lines. Equally embarrassing was the phony impeachment hearings directed against Trump for frivolous reasons by the Democrats, phony Russia Gate scandal, and lawfare campaign against Trump ,which epitomised the growing politicisation of the U.S. judiciary breeding comparisons to Third World Banana Republics.

That the U.S. was no longer a model for anyone was reflected in the fact that the top 0.1% in the country owned as many assets as the bottom 90%, an obscene inequality ratio accompanied by a dramatic rise in poverty, which had been reduced massively in China under socialist-oriented policies (See Fadi Lama, Why the West Can’t Win, Clarity Press, 2023). This 0.1% not only had rigged the U.S. economy but also its political system, buying off politicians in both major parties while shattering any pretence of functioning democracy.

Historian Alfred W. McCoy points out that “empires don’t just fall like toppled trees. Instead, they weaken slowly as a succession of crises drain their strength and confidence until they suddenly begin to disintegrate. So it was with the British, French, and Soviet empires; so it now is with imperial America.” These crises in the American case include the Ukraine and Gaza conflicts and growing domestic political turmoil. Given the violent nature of U.S. history, people around the world should be afraid that U.S. elites will provoke a world war in a desperate attempt to retain their status as a dominant world hegemon. Despite the power shifts described, the U.S. retains the world’s most powerful military apparatus that operates from hundreds of overseas military bases and is equipped with devastating weaponry capable of yielding methodical devastation. The Republican Party—the odds on favourite to win the next election—appears intent on deescalating the conflict in Ukraine in order to focus on confronting China, which is considered the greatest threat to American unipolar power.

In the 1930s, the Roosevelt administration provoked a war with Japan to prevent its establishing a yen-dominated bloc in Southeast Asia that would have excluded the U.S. At the time, the U.S. was an ascendant world empire that saw control of Southeast Asia in the face of declining European empires as key to world domination.

Today it is an ascendant China that threatens U.S. domination and so the U.S. military is preparing for a new Pacific War that with the new technologies available could be far more devastating than the last.

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