Empire America is fading fast

“Empire America Fading Fast.” I wrote that forecast for the Trends Journal in 2002. It almost cost me my career and nearly killed the Journal. After publication of that autumn issue, I was blackballed by the broadcast and print media that had once regularly featured me, my subscription base collapsed and I was persona non grata on the speaking circuit. In 2002, with the wounds of 9/11 still burning deeply in the nation’s flesh, I predicted, “the war against Afghanistan will be a costly failure.” With 88 percent of Americans in favor of the war, yellow ribbons tied around anything that didn’t move, and “Made in China” American flags flying everywhere, my trend forecasts were exactly the opposite of what the media wanted to hear, our subscribers wanted to read and the nation wanted to believe: The United States of America, currently the world’s undisputed military and economic heavyweight, is swiftly trending into a social, cultural and lifestyle bantamweight. Having made its mark and had its day, the U.S.A. is taking a familiar path toward self-destruction, one that has been chosen by empires past, both famous and forgotten. Whether by cosmic design or coincidence, just as the 20th century — the American Century — is fading into history, so too are the nation’s glory and prestige (from Trends Journal 2002). To forecast trends requires an understanding of where we are and the knowledge of how we got here. Today, more than a decade after I wrote “Empire America Fading Fast,” it doesn’t take much convincing for most Americans, and much of the world, to finally admit just how far this once-proud nation, a nation I love and cherish, has fallen. Anyone half-awake and not whacked out on prescription drugs, anyone capable of crunching hard numbers and adding up cold facts, knows the story: The United States of America is being run and ruined by a gang of lunatics. With indisputable evidence of their ongoing social, economic and geopolitical failures, what self-respecting human being would not be shocked and saddened by Washington’s distasteful behavior? The Emperor Has No Clothes. Remember President Obama’s recent attempt to march America into a Syrian War? He told President Assad that he had crossed the “red line” and would be punished with a U.S.-led military strike. Remember the transparent why-we-must-strike-Syria performances played out in the media by Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, Congress and assorted officials (in which 80 percent of citizens refused to believe)? The American public resoundingly said “no” to war. And, with waning support, the President of the mightiest military in the world backed down. There were two other obstacles that stopped Obama’s march to war. First, America lost the backing of Britain, its always-faithful partner in war crimes, when its Parliament rejected a proposal for military action in Syria. Then, the Russians—who had challenged the flimsy evidence of the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against rebels provided by U.S. intelligence — called Kerry on his offer to step back if Syria destroyed its chemical weapons arsenal. With Russian urging, Syria agreed, the UN set up a chemical weapons disposal program, and Russian President Putin was credited with defusing the volatile situation. As a result, President Obama’s standing on the world stage was dramatically diminished, while President Putin’s star rose, with Forbes ranking him as the most powerful person in the world. And Congress is a House of Clowns. With that embarrassing debacle barely off the public radar, Congress and the White House again dominated center stage by waging a long and costly battle that shut down the U.S. government for 16 days. The whole world witnessed a freak show of tight, closed-minded and entitled men and women closing down the government because they didn’t get their way.  Obama and any number of your elected representatives acted like little boys and girls in a sandbox throwing sand in each other’s face. This ridiculous drama played out simultaneously with the debt-ceiling debate. Congress warned that, if it could not strike the deal it wanted, not only would the government stay closed, the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling would not be raised. Within 30 days, the Federal Government would have run out of money and defaulted on its debt. From the IMF and the World Bank to Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan Chase, bankers from around the world, America’s most ardent supporters, took to the airwaves to warn Washington of the havoc they were wreaking and the cataclysmic consequences the already-wounded world economy would suffer if a deal between the White House and Congress was not reached before the October 17 deadline: • “It’s the most serious thing that could happen. If it’s not addressed, if it’s not tackled, it will be very, very damaging — not only for the U.S. If there is that degree of disruption, that lack of certainty, that lack of trust in the U.S. signature, it would mean massive disruption the world over, and we would be at risk of tipping yet again into a recession.” Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund • “If this comes to pass it could be a disastrous event for the developing world and that will, in turn, greatly hurt the developed economies as well.” Jim Yong Kim, President, The World Bank • “It would be utterly catastrophic. This would be a rapidly spreading fatal disease.” Anshu Jain, Co-Chair, Deutsche Bank • “Please let’s not shoot ourselves in the foot. It’s a risk that shouldn’t be taken. You don’t want to know [what would happen]. It would ripple through the world economy in a way that you couldn’t possibly understand.” Jamie Dimon, Chairman– Chief Executive Officer, JPMorgan Chase • “This cannot happen, and this shall not happen. The consequences of this would be absolutely disastrous.” Baudouin Prot, Chairman, BNP Paribas As the debt ceiling D-Day got closer, and with fear of financial panic spreading, Fitch Ratings warned that the U.S. government’s AAA debt rating was at risk if the ceiling was not raised in time to prevent a default. And China, the largest holder of U.S. debt, with some $1.5 trillion in Treasury notes, painfully grasping both the current and future risks they were exposed to by having invested so many of its Yuan in one basket, issued this unprecedented call to action: US fiscal failure warrants a de-Americanized world As U.S. politicians of both political parties are still shuffling back and forth between the White House and the Capitol Hill without striking a viable deal to bring normality to the body politic they brag about, it is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world. Emerging from the bloodshed of the Second World War as the world’s most powerful nation, the United States has since then been trying to build a global empire by imposing a postwar world order, fueling recovery in Europe, and encouraging regime-change in nations that it deems hardly Washington-friendly. With its seemingly unrivaled economic and military might, the United States has declared that it has vital national interests to protect in nearly every corner of the globe, and been habituated to meddling in the business of other countries and regions far away from its shores. Meanwhile, the U.S. government has gone to all lengths to appear before the world as the one that claims the moral high ground, yet covertly doing things that are as audacious as torturing prisoners of war, slaying civilians in drone attacks, and spying on world leaders. Under what is known as the Pax-Americana, we fail to see a world where the United States is helping to defuse violence and conflicts, reduce poor and displaced population, and bring about real, lasting peace. Moreover, instead of honoring its duties as a responsible leading power, a self-serving Washington has abused its superpower status and introduced even more chaos into the world by shifting financial risks overseas, instigating regional tensions amid territorial disputes, and fighting unwarranted wars under the cover of outright lies. As a result, the worl
d is still crawling its way out of an economic disaster thanks to the voracious Wall Street elites, while bombings and killings have become virtually daily routines in Iraq years after Washington claimed it has liberated its people from tyrannical rule. Most recently, the cyclical stagnation in Washington for a viable bipartisan solution over a federal budget and an approval for raising debt ceiling has again left many nations’ tremendous dollar assets in jeopardy and the international community highly agonized. Such alarming days when the destinies of others are in the hands of a hypocritical nation have to be terminated, and a new world order should be put in place, according to which all nations, big or small, poor or rich, can have their key interests respected and protected on an equal footing. To that end, several cornerstones should be laid to underpin a de-Americanized world. For starters, all nations need to hew to the basic principles of the international law, including respect for sovereignty, and keeping hands off domestic affairs of others. Furthermore, the authority of the United Nations in handling global hotspot issues has to be recognized. That means no one has the right to wage any form of military action against others without a UN mandate. Apart from that, the world’s financial system also has to embrace some substantial reforms. The developing and emerging market economies need to have more say in major international financial institutions including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, so that they could better reflect the transformations of the global economic and political landscape. What may also be included as a key part of an effective reform is the introduction of a new international reserve currency that is to be created to replace the dominant U.S. dollar, so that the international community could permanently stay away from the spillover of the intensifying domestic political turmoil in the United States. Of course, the purpose of promoting these changes is not to completely toss the United States aside, which is also impossible. Rather, it is to encourage Washington to play a much more constructive role in addressing global affairs. And among all options, it is suggested that the beltway politicians first begin with ending the pernicious impasse. Xinhua | Agencies, October 13, 2013 At the eleventh hour, the debt ceiling deal was reached, temporarily. The White House and Congress agreed to fund the government until January 15, 2014 and extend the debt cushion to February 7, 2014. And, literally hours after the deal was done, it was quietly reported that U.S. debt had increased to a record-breaking $328 billion, shattering the previous high of $238 billion set two years ago. Then, two weeks later, the final number jumped to $409 billion. Taking to the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-N) claimed that while “the country came to the brink of disaster… this remarkable agreement will … provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs” and “protect the long term health of our economy” while setting “the country on the path to fiscal stability.” In fact, the temporary fix fixed nothing and did absolutely nothing to affect “the long term health of our economy.” Trend Analysis The closing down of the government, the debt impasse and the disastrous launch of Obamacare are merely the latest episodes in the never-ending saga of the gross incompetence and ineptness of the executive, legislative and bureaucratic branches of America’s government. How many failures does Washington have to tally up before the general public has the courage to admit that they voted to put their lives in the hands of a White House, Congress and federal government occupied by mentally challenged and morally corrupt men and women? What more will it take? As if the government shutdown, the dangling debt ceiling and the Obamacare debacle weren’t enough, could Americans have the courage to face up to the epic failure of the Afghan War? That “war of necessity,” the longest in America’s history, wasted American lives and added more mountains of debt to the nation’s treasury. How about adding the Iraq War disaster—the war that has ruined the lives of the tens of thousands of American families whose sons and daughters lost their lives, limbs and minds for a lying, losing cause — that George W. Bush, his cabinet and Congress sold to America and the world? “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” waged “to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people,” according to Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, will cost American taxpayers $3 trillion in out of pocket and already incurred future costs, such as veterans’ care. All for what? To satisfy mentally deranged men and women whose sick lies and penchant for slaughter has, a decade later, left Iraq in economic shambles, ravaged by sectarian violence and trapped in a constant state of civil unrest? “Mission Accomplished!” How about Libya, that lovely “time-limited, scope-limited kinetic action,” unilaterally declared by Nobel Peace Prize winner President Obama that was waged against yet another oil-rich sovereign nation? The so-called “humanitarian mission” killed tens of thousands, destroyed the once prosperous Libyan nation, murdered its leader and widely destabilized the entire region? The War on Drugs, nationwide 24/7 federal/police surveillance, NSA, TSA, Homeland Security, CIA, FBI, militarized domestic police, a rotting infrastructure, an “F”-grade education system, corruption, collusion, high crimes and financial misdemeanors plague America’s public and private institutions.  Add up the failures. Remember the “too big to fail” scheme that Bush’s Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs CEO, Henry Paulson, pulled off at the onset of the Panic of ’08? The one he sold to the unconvinced public with the lie that stealing their money and giving it to the nation’s biggest banks, insurance, finance, and assorted industries would save them from losing their homes? How about President Obama’s grand promise that his trillion-dollar 2009 economic bailout scheme and rescue package would provide U.S. workers with shovel-ready jobs? On virtually every level, America is a “has been.” It is sinking down. “Empire America is Fading Fast.” Tide Turner Read their names and take a good look at the faces that the American public puts its trust in, and that the world has lost faith in. Look at the politicians who they voted into office who make life and death decisions that affect virtually everyone’s health and welfare. What level of lies do voters live with inside themselves that allows them to so easily relinquish the keys to their kingdom to proven thieves, murderers, liars and losers? While every nation has them, and the list would take a lifetime to complete, what human being with an ounce of self respect or a drop of dignity would stoop so low as to keep looking up to politicians with proven track records of creating laws, making decisions and enforcing policies that have brought once proud America to this all-time low? What will it take to reverse the negative trends and create positive ones? Trends Journal subscriber David Petrin posted this comment in response to my November 8th, 2013 Trends in the News video. (His first sentence is in response to my reporting that Larry Summers called Edward Snowden a traitor.)  “Snowden is a hero. We now know that we live in a police state. I have known this even before the Boston Bombing. The people that are now in power have nothing to do with a democratic republic as intended by our forefathers. The people that hold positions in our Government, who should be honoring their commitment to their constituents, have sold their allegiance to the national and international bankers as well as to the highest paying Lobbyists. “The people in the various branches of government have immersed themselves so deep in the cesspool of Washington they no longer know what is dirty or clean, what is honest and honorable, or what is selfish an
d self serving. The only thing greater than their ego and pride is their greed. The people who supposedly represent U.S. are a cancer on this nation. How do we remove them from their positions? Vote them out? That is like saying we only have to remove some of the cancer. Anyone who goes into the cesspool with the best of intentions will succumb to the carcinoma. How do we free ourselves from this destructive disease? A disease that has become so vile it can go into any country and kill with impunity. Latterly rape, pillage and plunder. “We are like chickens in a coop with a fox. We are so terrified that we are running around blind like the ‘Barnyard Boogey’ you played at the end of your program. If we can be kept so terrified that we don’t dare to do anything to provoke the fox, we will be killed for sure. This kind of terror worked for Hitler and the SS. It wasn’t just the people of the Jewish faith that ended up in concentration camps. There were gypsies, gays, or anyone that was deemed undesirable. It is time for each of US to read the constitution and understand it. “We need to know that we do have certain inalienable rights. Once we understand the law of the land we need to stand together for what is right and lawful. If we follow the law of the land then we have the right to take back our country. If we follow the rules of criminals we become the criminals and can only have what our bosses give us. Doing what is right is never easy. There is a price to pay. We have to take responsibility for ourselves, our actions and our lives or, do we live under the rules and thumbs of bullies?” The Choice is Yours Life isn’t easy. Everybody has problems — family, relationship, career, health and money problems. And, just to make sure that getting through life becomes a lot more difficult than it already is, a group of total strangers has taken it upon themselves to tell you what to do and how to do it. Power-mad madmen and madwomen — politicians, bureaucrats, and assorted “officials” — take the public’s money to pay themselves for lucrative jobs they have created, and demand you follow their orders. Control freaks and “higher authorities,” whose vested interest is only in themselves and who are infected with a belief that they have the right to steal your money in the name of taxes, send your children to foreign lands to be killed and to slaughter countless millions in the name of war. They poison the planet in the name of progress. They destroy the economy in the name of policy. They are turning life on earth into a living hell. A longtime reporter for The New York Times, Frank Bruni (who during his stint covering Capitol Hill, George W. Bush’s presidential campaign, and the White House, managed to uncover nothing) wrote an article following his recent visit to Milan, “Italy Breaks Your Heart.” In it he states: “Italy is what happens when a country knows full well what its problems are but can’t summon the discipline and will to fix them. It’s what happens when political dysfunction grinds on and on and good governance becomes a mirage, a myth, a joke.” It’s “a joke” to believe that anything but “political dysfunction” exists in Italy or for that matter any nation ruled by political parties. As the world witnesses daily doses of Washington’s “political dysfunction,” how can Bruni not include his home country in his details of a crumbling society, rather than meekly asking, “Is that where America is heading?” No! That’s not “where America is heading”! That’s where America is! Like Italians, a majority of Americans feel hopeless and fear the future. Like Italy’s, America’s infrastructure is rotting away, its politicians are “cartoonish” and “buffoonish,” and America’s bedrock demons — “excessive regulations and a rococo bureaucracy that stifle enterprise” — “a closed system of favoritism” that breeds “corruption.” No, Mr. Bruni, it is not “discipline” that will magically fix the problems. It will take courage. And morality, which is anathema to both the media world and political systems. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “Every actual state is corrupt. Good men must not obey the laws too well.” Indeed, in this time of growing crisis, “We the People” should resist following orders that destroy the human spirit and darken the soul. What can you do? There is no single “do” to do. There is no simple formula that will restore the best of what has been lost or find what is needed to create a promising future. But there is a solution. YOU! Many people believe in heaven and hell. For me, hell is taking that last breath of life knowing that you lied to yourself; you were not the person you claimed to be or could have been. Or, as Ella Wheeler Wilcox, the American author and poet eloquently put it: “As we think, act, and live here today, we build the structures of our homes in spirit realms after we leave earth, and we build karma for future lives, thousands of years to come, on this earth or other planets. Life will assume new dignity, and labor new interest for us, when we come to the knowledge that death is but a continuation of life and labor, in higher planes.” Will you stand motionless knowing that something needs to be done? Do you lack the courage and will to do anything? “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality,” wrote Dante. Life is short. And I’m not going to hell. I’m doing my best to create beauty and live in truth. Am I perfect? Not by a long shot. But I don’t start wars or boast that “I’m really good at killing people,” like Obama said. I’m not party to high crimes and misdemeanors as are the “too big to fail” banks and the Wall Street Gang. The true “Hope” and “Change You Can Believe In” is to have the courage to believe in yourself. Be inventive, find the unique gifts that lie inside you. When brought to life, those gifts will change your life for the better and, in turn, the lives of those around you. When a critical mass of human spirit rises to higher levels, the state rises with it.

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