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Index » Entertainment » Books » How Empires Fall
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Posted: Oct 8, 2017 - 12:46pm

Hedges: The End of Empire
(...) Empires need more than force to dominate other nations. They need a mystique. This mystique—a mask for imperial plunder, repression and exploitation—seduces some native elites, who become willing to do the bidding of the imperial power or at least remain passive. And it provides a patina of civility and even nobility to justify to those at home the costs in blood and money needed to maintain empire. The parliamentary system of government that Britain replicated in appearance in the colonies, and the introduction of British sports such as polo, cricket and horse racing, along with elaborately uniformed viceroys and the pageantry of royalty, were buttressed by what the colonialists said was the invincibility of their navy and army. England was able to hold its empire together from 1815 to 1914 before being forced into a steady retreat. America’s high-blown rhetoric about democracy, liberty and equality, along with basketball, baseball and Hollywood, as well as our own deification of the military, entranced and cowed much of the globe in the wake of World War II. Behind the scenes, of course, the CIA used its bag of dirty tricks to orchestrate coups, fix elections and carry out assassinations, black propaganda campaigns, bribery, blackmail, intimidation and torture. But none of this works anymore. (...)

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Posted: Sep 30, 2013 - 7:16pm

A World in Which No One Is Listening to the Planet’s Sole Superpower - Dilip Hiro
The Greater Middle East’s Greatest Rebuff to Uncle Sam

What if the sole superpower on the planet makes its will known — repeatedly — and finds that no one is listening?  Barely a decade ago, that would have seemed like a conundrum from some fantasy Earth in an alternate dimension.  Now, it is increasingly a plain description of political life on our globe, especially in the Greater Middle East.

In the future, the indecent haste with which Barack Obama sought cover under the umbrella unfurled by his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in the Syrian chemical weapons crisis will be viewed as a watershed moment when it comes to America’s waning power in that region.  In the aptly named “arc of instability,” the lands from the Chinese border to northern Africa that President George W. Bush and his neocon acolytes dreamed of thoroughly pacifying, turmoil is on the rise. Ever fewer countries, allies, or enemies, are paying attention, much less kowtowing, to the once-formidable power of the world’s last superpower.  The list of defiant figures — from Egyptian generals to Saudi princes, Iraqi Shiite leaders to Israeli politicians — is lengthening.


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Posted: Aug 23, 2012 - 11:41pm

 RichardPrins wrote: 
I gotta hand it to you, you're on a roll putting out some excellent articles recently!  And I'm not saying that just because one mentions Madison. {#Lol}  Keep 'em coming!


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Posted: Aug 23, 2012 - 9:01pm


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Posted: May 10, 2012 - 5:31am

 RichardPrins wrote:

How Empires Fall (Including the American One)
A TomDispatch Interview With Jonathan Schell
By Andy Kroll

When Jonathan Schell’s The Unconquerable World, a meditation on the history and power of nonviolent action, was published in 2003, the timing could not have been worse. Americans were at war — and success was in the air. U.S. troops had invaded Iraq and taken Baghdad ("mission accomplished") only months earlier, and had already spent more than a year fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Schell’s book earned a handful of glowing reviews, and then vanished from the public debate as the bombs scorched Iraq and the body count began to mount.

Now, The Unconquerable World‘s animating message — that, in the age of nuclear weaponry, nonviolent action is the mightiest of forces, one capable of toppling even the greatest of empires — has undergone a renaissance of sorts. In December 2010, the self-immolation of a young Tunisian street vendor triggered a wave of popular and, in many cases, nonviolent uprisings across the Middle East, felling such autocrats as Tunisia’s Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak in mere weeks. Occupations, marches, and protests of all sorts spread like brushfire across Europe, from England to Spain to Greece, and later Moscow, and even as far as Madison, Wisconsin. And then, of course, there were the artists, students, and activists who, last September, heard the call to "occupy Wall Street" and ignited a national movement with little more than tents, signs, and voices on a strip of stone and earth in lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. (...)


 
americans have been exposed to rewritten history (or a deeply flawed and heavily edited version of how stuff went down - zero context)

nationalism = pimped out bigotry
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Posted: Mar 2, 2012 - 11:42pm

How Empires Fall (Including the American One)
A TomDispatch Interview With Jonathan Schell
By Andy Kroll

When Jonathan Schell’s The Unconquerable World, a meditation on the history and power of nonviolent action, was published in 2003, the timing could not have been worse. Americans were at war — and success was in the air. U.S. troops had invaded Iraq and taken Baghdad ("mission accomplished") only months earlier, and had already spent more than a year fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Schell’s book earned a handful of glowing reviews, and then vanished from the public debate as the bombs scorched Iraq and the body count began to mount.

Now, The Unconquerable World‘s animating message — that, in the age of nuclear weaponry, nonviolent action is the mightiest of forces, one capable of toppling even the greatest of empires — has undergone a renaissance of sorts. In December 2010, the self-immolation of a young Tunisian street vendor triggered a wave of popular and, in many cases, nonviolent uprisings across the Middle East, felling such autocrats as Tunisia’s Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak in mere weeks. Occupations, marches, and protests of all sorts spread like brushfire across Europe, from England to Spain to Greece, and later Moscow, and even as far as Madison, Wisconsin. And then, of course, there were the artists, students, and activists who, last September, heard the call to "occupy Wall Street" and ignited a national movement with little more than tents, signs, and voices on a strip of stone and earth in lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. (...)