One of the great lessons of history is that all empires eventually collapse. Exceptional though many believe it to be, the US empire will be no different and there are many signs that having achieved a couple of decades of apparently unchallenged global domination following the fall of the USSR in 1991, the Anglo-US empire has hit its peak and the way forward lies in its decline. Although empires at their peak can look formidable and unassailable, their collapse can happen quite quickly and while there may be a final military denouement, this often happens in the context of a pre-existing collapse from within. In the end, it is the accumulation of a series of political, social, economic and military collapses combined with the inability of a delusional self-focused elite to face reality that leads to an overall collapse of empire.
With an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of some 4 million km2 (and continental shelf rights that cover another 1.7 million km2 beyond), much of New Zealand’s air and sea defence resources are dedicated to monitoring and securing the fisheries and resources in its surrounding seas and also to providing civil defence and other support to its Pacific island neighbours. Significantly, of New Zealand’s top five trading partners, China accounts for 24.9% of New Zealand’s total exports (USD9.6 billion) with Australia coming in behind at 14.8% (USD5.7 billion), the USA at 9.6% (USD3.7 billion), Japan at 6.3% (USD2.4 billion) and South Korea at 3.1% (USD1.2 billion).
2. US saviour and defender — From one empire to another
After World War II, Britain was so depleted that these relatively young and militarily weak nations needed a new alliance that could protect them from possible invaders in the radically altered geopolitical landscape that came out of the war. The obvious candidate for this role was the USA which, in economic and geopolitical terms, was the only real winner of the two world wars. So, in 1951 Australia and New Zealand signed the Australia, New Zealand and United States Security Treaty (ANZUS Treaty) with the USA “to protect the security of the Pacific”.
The idea that liberalism is dead has recently received a boost from Russian President Vladimir Putin who has been quoted as saying:
“The liberal idea… has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population,” … Putin said in an interview with the Financial Times Friday that the “liberal idea has become obsolete,” and referred to Germany’s decision to welcome more than one million refugees — many fleeing savage urban warfare in Syria — as a “cardinal mistake.”
I have stated before my view that Islam and Muslims are not the problem but rather that religion is used as a tool by those in power as a way of manipulating ordinary people to act in their interests. My article Thoughts on the Nature of the God Construct expands on this idea in terms of how the image and nature of the god that the elites present to us for our worship reveals something of their agendas and efforts to shape society for their own benefit.
F. William Engdahl’s book, The Lost Hegemon: Whom the Gods Would Destroy goes much further in examining how radical Islam has been deliberately shaped and promoted as a tool by Western elites as a way of establishing and maintaining control over the Middle East and then as a weapon against the USSR. Since the end of the Cold War, this tool has been resurrected and used to break up Yugoslavia, destabilise Chechnya and then deployed against a succession of Arab and African states with the ultimate aim of conquering and harnessing the rising powers of Russia and China.
It’s hard to know what personal resources the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the military commanders targeted by these sanctions own outside Iran that may be affected by these measures. Estimates of the Ayatollah’s wealth vary wildly from the US$500 thousand (CelebrityNetWorth.com in 2018) to the US$95 billion (Reuters in 2013 and TopRichets.com in 2019) and now the US$200 billion claimed by the US embassy in Baghdad.
“Khamenei, who was initially elected president of the nascent republic in 1981, has “possessions” valued at an estimated at $200 billion, according to a Facebook post by the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in April.”
Suffice to say, given the constant flow of propaganda that has been projected against Iran since the 1979 revolution, none of these sources can in anyway be taken as credible accountings of the Ayatollah’s real wealth – least of all the US embassy in Baghdad during a period when the propaganda is rising to high pitch and the US war drums are beating loud.
But that is surely not the point. A major part in announcing these sanctions is the inherent implication that Iran’s leaders have large personal financial assets outside the country that can be sanctioned. This sub-text is designed to discredit these leaders in the eyes of people in the west and also their own population. It fits the corrupt self interested despot narrative that demonises leaders of the US’s target nations.
Chinese re-education camps in Xinjiang have been in the news recently, where it is reported that the Chinese authorities are ‘re-educating’ some up to 2 million Muslim Uyghur people. The accusations against the Chinese government include disappearances, constant surveillance using facial recognition and phone apps, in-home monitoring by party cadre and both physical and psychological abuse. If these accusations are true, then is it is certainly a human rights issue on a massive scale.
Under pressure of reports in the media, the Chinese have sought to explain their actions as a necessary measure to address an issue of terrorism and separatism. Xiao Qian, China’s Ambassador to Indonesia, cites the 2009 riots in Urumqi which he says killed 197 people, injured more than 1,700 and caused “colossal” property damage, with unrest between 2003 and 2016 involving eight terrorist attacks killing more than 120 people and injuring some 400 others. According to Xiao “It is fair to say that the issue related to Xinjiang is not religious but rather political. It is the manifestation of the struggle between unity and secession, peace and violence and it is a matter of principle concerning China’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.” Xiao’s account of what is being done in Xinjiang is that the Chinese authorities have “taken measures to resolutely combat terrorism, extremism and separatism, and in the meantime, special attention was given to preventing the association of violent terrorist activities and religious extremism with particular ethnic groups or religions.” Continue reading “China: On the Balance of Evils”→
This is the first in what I plan to be a series of articles examining the current world situation which appears to be increasingly headed to another major economic crisis and the possibility of a major world conflict. Either of these events will undoubtedly devastate the lives and livelihoods of billions of ordinary people across the planet. This comes at a critical time in history, when in the face of a climate crisis and ever more voracious exploitation it seems that corporate profits and governmental paralysis are dooming many species to extinction—and perhaps the humanity itself. Continue reading “Nations Under Attack (Part 1): In the Empire’s Gunsights”→