MINNEAPOLIS – No empire has lasted forever. As history as shown, every imperialistic society has eventually succumbed to its own vices, be it misallocation of resources, concentration of wealth in the hands of a small elite minority or the overextension of its military.
While analysts and academics from around the world have noted that the United States is no exception to this rule, some who previously worked within the U.S. war machine have come out in recent years to warn the public that the U.S. is not just an empire in decline, but an empire on the edge of collapse.
One of the more notable insiders to warn of the impending collapse of the U.S. empire is Lawrence Wilkerson, a former U.S. Army colonel and chief of staff for Colin Powell under the George W. Bush administration. For the past several years, Wilkerson has come out swinging against the military-industrial complex he once served, calling the U.S. “the death merchant of the world” and expressing his dissatisfaction with “the corporate interests that we go abroad to slay monsters for.”
Now, Wilkerson has once again emerged to criticize the U.S.’ global war machine. In an interview with Paul Jay of the Real News Network, Wilkerson argued that the U.S. is both provoking current enemies and generating new ones at a rate that is beyond its capacity to handle, despite having a massive defense budget.
He expressed his bewilderment at the belligerent actions of the Obama and Trump administrations against certain foreign powers, stating:
“What I can’t fathom right now is why anyone would want, with the situation the way it is right now in this country, another enemy. You know that old conservation of enemies theory: You don’t want any more than you can handle at any given time.”
As Wilkerson noted, the U.S. seems to be attempting to contain, confront and provoke enemies on several continents on several fronts simultaneously – actions set to take the country’s long-standing policy of perpetual warfare to a level that it may not be able to deal with.
“We’re lining up China. We’re lining up Iran and all that goes along with Iran, including Hezbollah in Lebanon. We are lining up with North Korea. We are lining up with Russia. This is absurd,” Wilkerson noted, listing off the U.S.’ most well-known boogeymen.
Wilkerson asserted that this rapid generation of enemies throughout the world is well beyond the U.S. military’s ability to handle. “We do not need an enemy list that is beyond what we could even in the most wild moment contemplate handling. We don’t have the military forces to handle all these enemies, and, yet, we’re bearding them, as it were,” he said.
Even the U.S. military itself has previously admitted it is badly overextended. In 2005, when Wilkerson still worked at the State Department, news broke that Gen. Richard Myers, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was concerned about the U.S. military overextending itself in the Middle East, not to mention other theaters of war. Twelve years later, those same wars initiated by the Bush administration – including the never-ending “War on Terror” – are still being waged.
Not surprisingly, the U.S. military is currently in even worse shape than it was in the Bush era. For example, a 2015 think tank assessment of the U.S. military found that it would be unable to fight in two regional conflicts simultaneously, ultimately netting the entire military a score of “weak.”
In addition, Chief of Staff of the Army Mark Milley warned last year that the U.S. military was in no way prepared for a conflict with either Russia or China — countries that the U.S. has been actively provoking.
With more enemies constantly being added to the list of nations that supposedly threaten U.S. interests, Wilkerson’s view that the U.S. “is probably finished” as a global imperial superpower seems more prescient than ever.
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