US Empire: Crusty, Hulking, Feet of Clay, Short of Breath and Challenged

[The clock is ticking uncomfortably fast, apparently–Frontlines} Janet L. Yellen, chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, checking the time after a financial ministers and governors photo on Friday. Credit Gary Cameron/Reuters

WASHINGTON — As world leaders converge here for their semiannual trek to the capital of what is still the world’s most powerful economy, concern is rising in many quarters that the United States is retreating from global economic leadership just when it is needed most.

The spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have filled Washington with motorcades and traffic jams and loaded the schedules of President Obama and Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew. But they have also highlighted what some in Washington and around the world see as a United States government so bitterly divided that it is on the verge of ceding the global economic stage it built at the end of World War II and has largely directed ever since.

“It’s almost handing over legitimacy to the rising powers,” Arvind Subramanian, the chief economic adviser to the government of India, said of the United States in an interview on Friday. “People can’t be too public about these things, but I would argue this is the single most important issue of these spring meetings.”

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Robert Jensen: Abolition of Nukes Requires Ending the US Empire

The nuclear age began with the US terrorist targeting of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, resulting in 250,000 civilian deaths

by Robert Jensen

A version of this essay was delivered to the “Think outside the Bomb” event in Austin, TX, on June 14, 2010.

If we are serious about the abolition of nuclear weapons, we have to place the abolition of the U.S. empire at the center of our politics.

That means working toward a world free of nuclear weapons demands we not only critique the reactionary wing of the U.S. power structure, the Bushes and Cheneys and Rumsfelds — call them the reckless hawks.  A serious commitment to a future free of nuclear weapons demands critique of moderate wing, the Obamas and Bidens and Clintons — call them the reasonable hawks.  The former group is psychotic, while the latter is merely cynical.  After eight years of reckless reactionary psychotics, it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security by reasonable moderate cynics.  But we should remember that a hawk is a hawk.

The next step is asking whose interests are advanced by the hawks.  Even though in the post-World War II era the hawks have sometimes differed on strategy and tactics, they have defended the same economic system: a predatory corporate capitalism.  Let’s call those folks the vultures.  Different groupings of hawks might be associated with different groupings of vultures, giving the appearance of serious political conflict within the elite, but what they have in common is much more important than their differences. Continue reading