Thurday 5 January 2012
Is The Empire Losing its Grip?
Hameed Abdul Karim
In recent times the US Empire has taken quite a few body blows. Gone are the days when Henry Kissinger and Ronald Reagan reigned supreme in tandem with their cousins across the pond. The heady days of the Bush doctrine of ‘either you are with us or with them’ are fast vanishing whilst Barack Obama grapples with the crises left behind by the neocons and creating new ones for himself and his successors. There seems to be no way out for the empire unless it decides to extend its war on terrorism to Iran and unleash its military might on China and the rest of the disobedient states
The most punishing of the blows was the eruption of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests that shook and shocked the rulers and the banksters. Disenchanted Americans comprising 99% of the population have woken up from an induced state of euphoria and have decided to take the country back from the ‘occupiers’ in Washington DC. But it’s unlikely that the American media will ever speak of the ‘shock and awe’ these protests have created in the minds of the plutocracy.
Amidst the ‘Occupy’ protests came the news of the empire’s ‘withdrawal’ from Iraq on a flimsy excuse. That the mighty empire could not browbeat a pliant Al-Maliki to provide immunity to America’s occupying forces in Iraq beggars belief. In all probability they got Maliki to say just that so that Obama can have a face saving pretext to leave Iraq. Obama’s war ending speech was sans the usual ‘mission accomplished’ rhetoric that U.S. presidents are so fond of. And whilst he was telling the world the American army was leaving Iraq with its head held high, Iraqi’s were celebrating by burning American flags.
Just days after the ‘withdrawal’ came the news that Iran had shot down a U.S. drone. The Pentagon was quick to call it a lie. The next day Iran said they had not shot the drone but brought it down, using their newly acquired high profile computer technology. Again there was a denial. Then the Iranian showed the drone, all in one piece, on their ‘Press TV’. No denial this time, instead we had Barack Obama shamelessly and sheepishly asking Iran to return the drone without the ‘or else’ dictum! What has probably stunned the Pentagon and the White House is the fact that the Iranians have caught up with modern technology despite the many sanctions imposed on their nation. Add to this the fact that Israeli military computer system was down for two days in November. This suggests there are computer whiz kids somewhere in the neighbourhood up there in the north. Modern technology, it seems, is not a closed shop.
Prior to this, the Palestinians’ victory at UNESCO dealt another blow to the empire’s pride. Here was Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Laureate and all, telling the world not to vote in support of Palestine and giving notice of dire consequences if they defied his ultimatum. Still 107 nations stood up to the bully and voted Palestine into UNESCO. In this exercise Obama’s hypocrisy was laid bare. He was, after all, the same man who had said a year earlier that Palestine would be a full member of the UN ‘come next year’.
To compound matters further the Japanese and the Chinese have decided to trade in their respective currencies giving a smack to the empire’s not so almighty dollar.
Then there is Bradley Manning. How could we forget this courageous young man? It was he who provided the catalyst for what came to be known as the ‘Arab Spring’. The world owes him an enormous debt of gratitude for leaking America’s dirty secrets to WikiLeaks. And also to Julian Assange. It was Manning who put the last nail in the coffin of America’s ‘good guy’ image. He may be a criminal in the eyes of the American ruling elite, but to ordinary people of the world living their ordinary lives, he must certainly be a hero. America can never recover from the expose he had made. Today he’s in jail living with the prospect of a life sentence if not execution.
The icing on the cake came when the ever obedient Pakistani government asked the Americans to close their base in the country pack up and just vamoose after a US drone attack killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The empire meekly obliged.
As events take new and dramatic turns and with nations looking for new directions, it looks like the empire is losing its vice like grip on world affairs.
Appeared in Ceylon Today on Thursday 5 January, 2012