Sounding the Death Knell of U.S. Global Dominance

By: Michael Hughes  

Pandemic upheaval against America’s most preferred despots in the Mideast and North Africa, military overextension in Central Asia and economic stagnation have threatened to split asunder the hegemonic shield U.S. planners designed during the early bright of the Cold War, including policies that led to the rise of anti-American sentiment and violent pan-Islamic jihadism.

Reminiscent of the “Evil Empire’s” sudden collapse in 1989, grassroots democracy movements are spreading at a frightening pace overseas, perhaps signaling an American Berlin Wall-type moment in terms of dominating its “far abroad”, as Tom Engelhardt suggested recently in the Asia Times:

Today, “people power” is shaking the “pillars” of the American position in the Middle East, while – despite the staggering levels of military might the Pentagon still has embedded in the area – the Obama administration has found itself standing by helplessly in grim confusion.
As a spectacle of imperial power on the decline, we haven’t seen anything like it since 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down. Then, too, people power stunned the world. It swept like lightning across the satellite states of Eastern Europe, those “pillars” of the old Soviet empire, most of which had (as in the Middle East today) seemed quiescent for years.

It was an invigorating time. After all, such moments often don’t come once in a life, no less twice in 20 years. If you don’t happen to be in Washington, the present moment is proving no less remarkable, unpredictable, and earthshaking than its predecessor.

He also claims America’s outlook immediately after the Soviet fall is also an underlying cause of current woes, as U.S. leaders presumed an unrivaled pax-Americana was on the horizon. One will no doubt hear the word “conspiratorial” bandied about to describe Engelhardt’s linking of these events and daring to assert the U.S. “mined its own positions” during the Cold War — policies for which they are now paying for dearly.

However, Engelhardt’s premise is not based on machinations of ivory tower leftists but derived from historical government documents produced during the early days of WWII, such as the War and Peace Studies Project of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), where government officials, corporate leaders and foreign policy experts planned to establish a “world order” dominated by the United States — a set of principles that have shaped U.S. policy ever since.

These planners outlined a strategy to “achieve military and economic supremacy for the United States within the non-German world”. The planners also said that the U.S. “must cultivate a mental view toward world settlement after this war which will enable us to impose our terms, amounting perhaps to a pax-Americana.” It is no coincidence that the people who designed the aforementioned strategies are the same people who will benefit from them the most — primarily those who are part of corporate-military centers of power.

America’s Cold War Manichean worldview resulted in a CIA coup in Iran during the 1950’s that ousted a democratic regime and replaced it with the Shah, directly leading to the Iranian revolution.

As a result, animus toward the Great Satan spread throughout the entire Muslim world. A classic illustration of the fact that “they” do not hate us because they hate our freedoms, as George W. Bush once postulated — the truth is, they hate our policies.

Cold War strategy and corporate interests forced the U.S. to back tyrants and unpopular monarchs in countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, which has fed an ever-burgeoning anti-Americanism that has manifested itself on the Arab street.

Another reason the U.S. is on the verge of losing the Middle East is because of its post-Cold War hubris and cowboy diplomacy, as it flexed unilateral muscle by launching its own excursions, such as the invasion of Iraq. Nobody should be fooled in thinking that Bush’s “democracy agenda” has anything to do with the current Mideast movements because these anti-authoritarian mass uprisings have erupted despite Bush policies, not because of them.

On the economic front, hyperpower arrogance caused the U.S. to aggressively pursue neoliberal globalization, reckless free trade and domestic laissez-faire policies that eventually melted down the global economy in 2008.

Meanwhile the American empire’s defense spending has outpaced economic growth levels, which is amazing considering after World War II the world owed the U.S. a mind-boggling amount of money as the U.S. rescued the European and Japanese economies. Half a century later, America is deep in debt and the “economic supremacy” the U.S. planners had envisioned is at risk, because the U.S. is in jeopardy of being surpassed by an emerging China.

The biggest financial drain on the U.S. economy is the war in Afghanistan, a country that also contributed heavily to Moscow’s economic implosion. Russians likely smirk at this irony, considering the U.S. helped inveigle the Soviets to invade Afghanistan, which was the last thing Moscow wanted to do, per documents rescued from the Politburo after the communist collapse. According to President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, the U.S. wanted to “give Russia its Vietnam”.

Indisputable proof exists that the U.S. fanned the spread of pan-Islamic extremism dating all the way back to the 1950s and 1960s, and helped facilitate the rise of groups like the Muslim Brotherhood because they shared a mutual disdain for the “godless” communists. Through the Asia Foundation — a CIA front — the U.S. funded radical Islamic movements at Kabul University which led to Afghanistan’s traditional moderate version of Islam being replaced by the fundamentalism we see today.

For more than a decade after the 1979 Soviet invasion, the CIA financed the mujahideen who became the warlords that helped Afghanistan spiral into civil war that ultimately made conditions ripe for the rise of the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

As a result, violent Islamists have replaced the Soviets as America’s primary adversary, which helps to justify an out-of-control defense budget and the establishment of military bases around the world.

By creating a mission to establish global dominance, the U.S. created a self-fulfilling dialectic that has resulted in nothing but perpetual war, economic malaise and violent extremism. America needs to change course quickly, because as the Taliban movement gains strength and the U.S. loses its grip on the Middle East, the death knell continues to ring – louder and louder.

(The writer  is a journalist and foreign policy strategist for the New World Strategies Coalition (NWSC), a think tank founded by Afghan natives focused on developing political, economic and cultural solutions for Afghanistan. Mr. Hughes is also the Geopolitics Examiner and the Afghanistan Headlines Examiner for

NOTE:This is a cross post.

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  • Majyd Aziz  On February 25, 2011 at 3:42 pm



    [Majyd Aziz]

  • Shaheen Atiq  On February 25, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    YAA….. this article hits the nail on the head. God help the ‘mites’…us !

  • Admiral Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey  On February 25, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    I have expressed my views on the subject earlier. Rise and fall is a process inevitable. Ibne Khuldun has written on the subject after research and with logic.
    All ingredients for a decline in the present order are present. Arrogance expedites this process. The West lead by the US have been most arrogant.

    Treated the humanity inhumanly. Most of the natives of the land they occupied were exterminated. Take glance of the globe from 15th century till the present. Normal cycle is 400 years. Hence the beginning of the end has started.


  • Archie Haase  On February 25, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Mike good job at educating me or at least focusing my intellect. Couple of things came to me. One, Yes America like GW said, “It is not our freedoms they dislike it is our policies”.

    Two, in my American Junior High school I attended there was bully who weighed in three times most kids weight. He walked heavy on our minds afraid we might have to deal with his fists, or his bullying bluster. One day this big kid started pushing another boy half his size around a empty classroom. The boy was humiliated because a pretty young girl, his secret love watched from the classroom door.

    Finally having nothing to lose this skinny young boy cut lose with his fists and struck the boy in the nose causing it to bleed, and the bully to cry. No one felt sorry for the bully because they thought he deserved it.

    This is what I see internationally, no one cares about the US anymore because in their minds we deserve it. They like to see the US humiliated. George W Bush made sure we were not liked. Sadly I think Obama is following his lead.

  • Amir Rana  On February 26, 2011 at 3:09 am

    A good article with realistic analysis. Thanks Yasmeen for sharing.

    This is what I am trying to emphasize on these days. The world is changing very fast. Things would not be the same within very short time and shifts are not the normal ones. One can also expect lot of things and twists therein which would be altogether new for this world and those who observe and presume everything through the glasses of history would seriously falter. We, Muslims as a whole and Pakistanis in particular should therefore observe these changes very carefully, activate our analytical mechanism and re-adjust our global positioning very quickly. Yes, there are out of box solutions available to solve our problems for ever and we can emerge as a true independent nation BUT the most unfortunate part here is that we are not even ready to develop a real understanding of the current scenario. Put aside the corrupt and sold out leadership, we don’t even have sufficient number of visionaries who can at least develop a road-map to exploit this situation to our advantage.

    I don’t care how some of the fired bullets react to my words. There are easy picks for them in my own words (they may call me a SELF CLAIMED VISIONARY MULLAH in their usual hysterical way or reject the whole article since it does not fit into their tunnel vision). They are doing their job and we should do ours. Let them beat their old drums, we should keep on developing new symphonies which could be played on today’s instruments. I don’t want to question anybody’s sincerity but majority of routine approaches and drawing room theories towards present day scenarios are calling for a burial.


  • Summaya  On February 26, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Dear Michael
    Great article. Why do I have a suspicion that you are a zionest in hiding?
    Here is my tuppence:
    I believe there is one party which has no right to lecture Egypt and Egyptians, namely the US. It has occupied entire countries in order to reform them and train them to become democratic, but we have seen the results in Afghanistan and Iraq. While US President Barack Obama’s administration inherited a heavy burden from the hardline right wing politics of its Republican predecessor, it is noteworthy that the incumbent Democrat administration has not only failed to erase the negative repercussions of these mistaken policies, but instead took even more missteps on most fronts.This has given rise to a debate about the dimming influence of the sole superpower in the world, in favour of a multipolar New World Order especially that several world powers are competing with the US on the world stage. There are also pessimistic expectations about the future of the US economy, and what the future might hold in light of the current political environment inside the US which is witnessing new unprecedented dynamics.
    In terms of foreign policy, there are many areas in which the US has made immense mistakes. In Iraq, despite the success of the US administration in reducing its military presence there and ending combat operations in 2010, this was not reflected well in enforcing stability on the political and security fronts. In the political arena, disputes and conflicts continue among Iraqi political forces which has paralysed the country. This was epitomised in the seven-month standoff in forming a government after elections were held in March, 2010, and ended with agreement to keep Nuri Al-Malki as prime minister.
    On the security front, there are still several areas in Iraq which are sporadically targeted by suicide bombers who kill and injury many, despite the security measures and arrangements in place and security cooperation between US forces and the Iraqi authorities.
    At the same time, there have been problems in the reconstruction process. The US Department of Defence has been unable to explain how it spent $2.6 billion allocated to the Iraqi government because of lax monitoring and bookkeeping. While reviewing the accounts of $9.1 billion in Iraqi oil revenues, the US inspector general in charge of reconstruction in Iraq revealed that most US military institutions responsible for dispensing funds for reconstruction project did not comply with the rules outlined by Washington in terms of monitoring and spending. The report by the inspector further revealed that some US officials were negligent when opening bank accounts worth $8.7 billion for the Iraq Development Fund according to the rules of the US Treasury. This caused monitoring problems whereby the money was used in inappropriate ways and resulted in unexpected losses.
    On the Afghani front, despite continued intense efforts by Washington to resolve this conflict by sending more military resources to the war effort there, especially after pulling out troops from Iraq and a complete overhaul of the US strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the administration made several errors which resulted in negative developments. These include a marked escalation in the role of the Taliban which was able to capture several areas in Afghanistan, especially in the south, and the exposure of the dispute between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the US administration.
    Meanwhile, Iran’s role and influence continue to expand inside Afghanistan, as does the influence of Al-Qaeda especially on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan and in tribal areas. Combat operations and US policies in the region have also put a strain on US-Pakistan relations.US lies on Raymond Davis ID has not helped anything either!
    I attach link of article by Dr Gareth Porter as to why US clings to its failed policies in Middle East that I found illuminating:


  • Michael Hughes  On March 2, 2011 at 12:12 am

    Zionest? I’m with Chomsky – I believe Israel is a terrorist state and should not be able to call itself a democracy. Enough said.

    The solution – oh boy. In general, I think the solution is to reduce military spending and stay out of other people’s business. However, we can help “clean up” messes we have made via aid properly allocated – aid that gets into the hands of the right people. There are plenty of good-hearted people in each of these countries the U.S. could have worked with – but the corporate global elite would rather partner with dictators who can suppress people in the name of “stability”. What they really mean is control, because they don’t even want stability, nor care about it. Suddenly Gaddafi is evil although Clinton warmly welcomed his family members to Washington not too long ago. Ironically, once Gaddafi does fall Libya will spiral into more chaos than Egypt or Tunisia – but it’s funny how we delayed on those two tyrants but can’t wait to topple Libya’s.

    What I can speak most to is Afghanistan. The U.S. looked the other way in the 90s and supported the Taliban implicitly so oil companies could lay down a pipeline. The U.S. is losing the war – the Taliban have increased in number from a year ago, despite Petraeus claims to the contrary.

    It is very ironic this dispute between the U.S. and Karzai. What I would love to see is for the U.S. to withdraw from the region and bring their puppet Karzai with them. Bush neocons inserted Karzai as president, defying the will of the Afghans at the 2002 loya jirga – which was a CIA stage act – even though 75% of delegates wanted Zahir Shah to return.

    Porter is right on the money! (as usual)

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