On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to John Ralston Saul, author and president emeritus of Pen International, about how the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the weakness of American society, and accelerated the decline of the American Empire.
The harder they come, the harder they fall, as reggae singer Jimmy Cliff once put it. No nation has come harder than the United States with its history of relentless wars and mass destruction, nauseatingly dressed up with virtuous rhetoric about supposedly leading the free world.
At an increasingly rapid pace, the globe is experiencing the greatest geopolitical shift since the fall of the British empire. The arrangement that the U.S. carved out during the 20th century to fortify its hegemony is falling apart piece by piece, with a thorough collapse of Western imperialism and a new wave of socialist revolutions being increasingly unavoidable outcomes.
Journalist and “On Contact” host Chris Hedges joins Rick Sanchez to discuss Washington’s continuing interference in Latin America. He explains how money, disinformation, false popular movements and even religion are used to keep the countries in the region under the yoke of “corporations and oligarchs.”
“Your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings… are… a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.” – Frederick Douglass, July 4th, 1852
When the seemingly endless Russiagate investigation finally fizzled over the summer, the long-awaited impeachment of Donald Trump seemed to be a dead letter. “Liberal” cable news shifted from its two-year immersion in “the Russia conspiracy trap” (Masha Gessen)—with occasional interruptions for mass shootings, hurricanes, war scares, presidential tweets and other matters—to its next populace-paralyzing fixation: the big money, major party candidate-centered quadrennial presidential electoral extravaganza.
The U.S. empire’s global influence projects, especially the ones in Iran and Hong Kong, have a different nature from the ones that were carried out when American power was still in a stable state. There’s now an aspect of desperation to what America is doing abroad, an unacknowledged but ever-present reality that the purveyors of Western imperialism are fighting a losing battle against the inevitable process of imperial collapse.
“Some day people will look back on 9/11 and sure they will see it as you know the first terrible act of terrorism committed in the United States by some foreign group but they may also see 9/11 as the beginning of the disintegration of the American Empire. Because from 9/11 came the war on terrorism, so-called, the bombing of Afghanistan and now the war on Iraq and the bloating of the American military machine and the war budget and the deprivation of civil liberties. And I believe that there will be a victory in the short run and defeat of the American government in the long run. And that defeat should be welcomed. We need regime change in the United States.” — Howard Zinn
The story of how America became an empire is one where a group of ambitious and egotistical men rationalized implementing a governing model which would lead to massive death and suffering. Its main forerunner was Theodore Roosevelt, a narcissistic politician from an upper-class household who was determined to turn his childhood obsession with war into a foreign policy model which would make the United States into a conquering nation. He and the other political elites who supported the Spanish-American War and the subsequent rush to empire received support from William Randolph Hearst, the businessman who used his vast newspaper network to manufacture public opinion for war because war stories would help him sell papers better than the lurid gossip that he otherwise used to gain the public’s attention.
Kenn, I’ve noticed in your pieces you explore the topic of the myriad and perpetual degradations that capitalism inflicts on the powerless. Thus given the unfolding of recent events e.g., the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein, I’m curious as to your response to my (initial) take on the matter. Withal, the hyper-commodification of the bodies of young women is part and parcel of the economic dynamic of late stage capitalism whereby the earth is degraded to the point of global-wide ecocide and cities are rendered into vanilla cupcake zones of nada by hyper-gentrification.