In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power (Dispatch Books)
a book by Alfred W. McCoy
(our site's book review)
The Amazon blurb says that: In a completely original analysis, McCoy explores America’s rise as a world power, from the 1890s through the Cold War and its bid to extend its hegemony deep into the twenty-first century through a fusion of cyberwar, space warfare, trade pacts, and military alliances. McCoy then analyzes the marquee instruments of American hegemony—covert intervention, client elites, psychological torture, and worldwide surveillance.
Alfred W. McCoy’s 2009 book Policing America’s Empire won the Kahin Prize from the Association for Asian Studies.
The U.S. is dumb, impatient, and staggering under the weight of the flaws in capitalism, neoliberalism, and neoconservativism simultaneously. We love the USA but are not too thrilled with the stupid decisions our leaders have made since FDR and WWII
A truth filter is applied by the mainstream press to please the government, the neocons, the corporatocracy and CIA censors; most countries have filters but we like to think the U.S. doesn't because the media says we don't
The American Empire, only recognized as an empire in the 21st century, is declining and the world knows it and the only ones who don't see it are the citizens of the U.S. So the U.S. will stumble around playing a John Wayne hero in its citizens' eyes, and Frankenstein's Monster run amok in everyone else's eyes, until they collapse under their own bloated weight.
The U.S. will stumble around playing a John Wayne hero in its eyes and Frankenstein's Monster run amok in everyone else's eyes until they collapse under their own bloated weight
As the U.S. runs around the Middle East like a bull in a china shop, pretending to be a terrorism-stopping hero but actually being a terrorism-creating villain, people shake their head sadly since even though U.S. mainstream media oozes with pro-Empire propaganda that supports their actions, the rest of the world sees that our military believes that Might Makes Right but constantly keeps illustrating that Might Makes Stupid.
Truman, LBJ, Nixon, Reagan, Dubya Bush and OBomb'em all decided to lead the U.S. to act in ways that the rest of the world viewed as a bull in a china shop—now Trump is keeping the foolishness going
The rest of the world sees that our military believes that Might Makes Right but constantly keeps illustrating that Might Makes Stupid
It is obvious that our drones shooting various crowds of people or vehicles or buildings with Hellfire Missiles is seen by our Empire builders as terrorist destruction, the reality is that that is not the effect of these murders. We kill one terrorist and ten of his relatives swear vengeance on us and/or join ISIS. Our drone program is a terrorist factory. The sad thing about our War on Terror is that in this war it is the USA that is doing most of the terrorizing. As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy and he is us."
The sad thing about our War on Terror is that in this war it is the USA that is doing most of the terrorizing. As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy and he is us"
It is obvious that our drones shooting various crowds of people or vehicles or buildings with Hellfire Missiles is seen by our Empire builders as terrorist destruction, but it is terrorist creation
We kill one terrorist and ten of his relatives swear vengeance on us and/or join ISIS. Our drone program is a terrorist factory
The U.S. is dumb, impatient, and staggering under the weight of the flaws in capitalism, neoliberalism, and neoconservativism simultaneously while we shoot ourselves in the foot
McCoy says conflict between China and the U.S. is a main contributor of U.S. decline, but he is not seeing the forest for the trees. China has little to do with our decline. It is our shooting ourselves in the foot that is doing it. It's not about what they are doing but about what we are NOT doing. Also, India and China were the leading economies of the world for eighteen of the last twenty centuries. China is just regaining what they were for many centuries. They are doing this because they are smart, patient, and use only the part of capitalism that helps them. The U.S. is dumb, impatient, and staggering under the weight of the flaws in capitalism, neoliberalism, and neoconservativism simultaneously. We love the USA but are not too thrilled with the stupid decisions our leaders have made since FDR and WWII. What could be more idiotic than the whole Vietnam War fiasco and the Iraq War? Most people knew what a load of baloney the extensive propaganda campaigns were that pushed us into those wars, but warmongering neocons and corporatocracy oligarchs wanted the money they'd be earning from war profiteering so the wars happened against public sentiment to the contrary. And we call this a democracy???!!!
Dozens of people knew what a load of baloney the extensive pro-war propaganda campaigns were, but the deciders were elites—in on the scam that was sure to get citizens supporting warmongering efforts
The problem with the bewildered herd (citizens) is that it can never truly be tamed, only contained. And so propaganda—the whip of the lion tamer—must be ever-present to numb the herd into reluctant obedience
The Vietnam War: The paradoxical consequences of the U.S. effort to recover from Vietnam are that we create Vietnams everywhere we go—we seem to feel compelled to relive it over and over
Dubya lied us into the Iraq War, and the mainstream media laid on fraudulent propaganda thick and hard, and we citizens paid the bill
The world is getting tired of Uncle Sam the bully, the country that thinks it is too good to negotiate
The U.S. shoots itself in the foot by using force, murder, torture, bombs, missiles, and threats rather than negotiations, peacemaking, knowledge, and wisdom to have an effect in the world. They even threaten wih nuclear bombs. As a result, countries like Iran, Syria, Libya, and pseudo-country ISIS are all wishing to acquire nukes to threaten us with, and North Korea IS threatening us with not just nukes but ICBMs to deliver them. It didn't have to be this way. Our leaders totally botched the Iran situation by our installation of the Shah many decades ago. The Iranians rightly hated our coup and paid us back in 1979 with the hostage crisis and going with radical religion and hatred of the Great Satan West, especially the U.S. The Korean situation was another situation that our leaders totally botched, and the divided Korean peninsula is the result. See The Concise Untold History of the United States and A Game As Old As Empire: The Secret World of Economic Hit Men and the Web of Global Corruption.
Our leaders totally botched the Iran situation by our installation of the Shah many decades ago. The Iranians rightly hated our coup and paid us back in 1979 with the hostage crisis and going with radical religion and hatred of the Great Satan West, especially the U.S.
U.S. neocons' imperialism and warmongering is out of control yet the Congress tasked with stopping such abuses is mute—something smells rotten in Washington! The game is rigged.
Empires collapse. All of them collapse and they collapse for the same reason. They begin to engage in military adventurism, and eventually bankrupt themselves and then some other fools start up their own empires. Never do any of them learn from history. Never do any of them stop the bullying and killing and try to use something other than force to influence others—like knowledge, wisdom, negotiation, talks, or bargains.
All empires collapse because they all bankrupt themselves with military adventurism
The Iraq war wasn't in America's interest, nor was the war against Vietnam, nor was our actions in Libya or our actions in Syria or Sudan or Somalia or Afghanistan or Pakistan and any pending war with Iran, Russia or China. The uselessness of America's wars are obvious to non-Americans who don't have to suffer the indignity of sitting through blatant propaganda from the mainstream media sellouts and the lying talk-show pundits. See Media Control, Second Edition: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda and Shadow Elite: How the World's New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market.
Our CIA's involvement in Vietnam, and in Laos, and in Cambodia was a miserable failure. They should fire them all and save taxpayer money. CIA meddling in world affairs from Bill Clinton to present, another costly and colossal failure, is another part of In the Shadows of the American Century. The USA will collapse because of its unprecedented debt. It will be more than a decline. Twenty trillion in debt? This makes no sense. Servicing this debt alone bankrupts us if the loans dry up. Only a miracle could reverse such a debt.national debt
The doomsday clock is currently set at 3 minutes to midnight
Unless American citizens start defecating money, the debt has put us all in deep doo-doo
The author provides an in-depth analysis of America’s global empire and the obvious certainty that the United States is seriously declining due to the strains of maintaining its empire—the book is a tour de force chronicling the dismantling of the American Empire. American empire ended with the moronic invasion of Iraq in 2003, says McCoy. We say "good!" McCoy overdid it in his chapter on torture but this is real history so it is important. The final section of the book, where he explored various scenarios for the future of the country, was quite insightful. He is especially enlightening in sharing his knowledge of advanced warfare, satellites, and cybertechnology.
We thought we were having a hallucination when we saw that he calls three grandmasters of geopolitics: Elihu Root, Zbigniew Brzezinski , and Barack Obama and discusses their impact on the world stage. Obama was the ass clown whose bungling gave us ISIS—the gift that will keep on giving for eternity. If that is what a grandmaster does, we'd hate to see what a mere master would do! Start WWIII? McCoy must have been smoking and/or drinking something very strong to come up with such a ridiculous idea! Or he is one of those liberals who wants others to know how enlightened and politically correct he is—so he applauds a terrible president to make sure everyone knows how unprejudiced and unracist he is. Ouch! See The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama.
Bacevich is the swinging banjo in the movie Deliverance, forewarning us of grave repercussions should we continue on the wrongheaded Might Makes Right path we're on
McCoy, like Andrew Bacevich, is exposing follies and abuses out of patriotic motives. See Bacevich's books:
- The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War
- Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War (American Empire Project)
- The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (American Empire Project)
- Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country (American Empire Project)
"As the U.S. attempts to maintain global stability in a context of its waning power, its approach to this task has incorporated three elements. A 'surveillance state of unprecedented power' and global dimension complements an 'advanced cyberwar capacity' focused on providing information to the military. Underpinning both is a sovereign 'defiance of international law' linked to an arrogation of moral leadership." (Source: In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power, Publishers Weekly)
The ugly ways we went about empire buillding—murder, assassination, torture, destroying democracies—highlighted the decay of our country's leadership (warmongering neocons)
Since the end of WWII and since 9/11, quite a few elements are combining to undermine U.S. global power. Given what we know about how we got that control and how we maintain it, this is a good thing. The ugly ways we went about empire buillding—murder, assassination, torture, destroying democracies—highlighted the decay of our country's leadership (warmongering neocons).
Also, our economy is way out of whack. We cannot afford to do much of what we are doing—or attempting. Regarding global power maintainance, empire building, hegemony, and economic realism, we are experiencing that we have bitten off more than we can chew. People that go deep into debt to own things they cannot afford eventually are forced to confront reality. We are living way beyond our means. Austerity is a situation in which people's living standards are reduced because of economic difficulties. This quite often happens after wars. We've supported several wars we cannot afford. This is because the Congress has totally lost its mind.
The warmongering neocon elites' policies of unaffordable empire building have led to actions that threaten to break the army and bankrupt the treasury; we citizens object, but no one listens—welcome to the rise of the Corporate Security State
Instead of libertarian and conservative realists supporting austerity measures to help dig us out of our debt hole, they're all having a contest to see who can plunge us the deepest into debt. The voters never spank anyone who irresponsibly deepens the debt. When Dubya and Obama spent like there's no tomorrow, they voted them back in—rewarding them for egregious irresponsibility. Trump did them one better, spending like a drunken sailor and cutting huge amounts of taxes so our country goes into debt faster than ever before. See The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted.
Mike Lofgren says "Including debt service, our misadventure in Iraq cost us $1 trillion, and what did we get from it? Zip, nada, zilch. . . . Squandering our resources by pursuing the illusion of global military hegemony will simply send us down the dusty and corpse-strewn road of the Spanish Empire of Philip II, the British Empire, and the Soviet Union. . . . Our real work is at home: peace, reform, and reconstruction." See Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance and The Neoconserative Threat to World Order: America's Perilous War for Hegemony.
Including debt service, our misadventure in Iraq cost us $1 trillion, and what did we get from it? Zip, nada, zilch
Our nation's ability to control corrupt elites in other countries thereby allowing us to rob their resources at bargain basement prices, and our forcing loans on them and plunging them into debt—this was a very evil con game that worked well for our corporatocracy for a few decades until others got wise to the con and said thanks but no thanks to our "help."
If the Queen during the 18th century French Revolution said: "Let them eat cake," then in the last half of the 20th century an analogous expression from rich U.S. bankers to Latin Americans would be "Let them eat loans!"
And the criminal drug trafficking we had our CIA doing went from an asset of global power to a liability. And the NSA-run global surveillance state has cost us the trust of allies and the American public. Deteriorating moral legitimacy of the American Empire around the world is the result of our support for torture. Our use of drones for murdering mere terrorist suspects many of whom are innocent has precipitated a lot of global backlash. China is now powerful enough to challenge the U.S. The "blundering and offensive nationalist and unilateralist Donald Trump" is wrecking the little bit of trust the U.S. had previously elicited. And the illegal, unfair, illogical, criminal, and fraudulent U.S. invasion of Iraq will be seen in history books as the start of our downfall. All of the above are elements combining to undermine U.S. global power. PERHAPS THE U.S. WILL FINALLY REALIZE IT IS NOW TIME TO GET ITS OWN HOUSE IN ORDER!!! Reviewer Paul Street has a point when he knocks McCoy for not looking at why the decline of empire building is a good thing—an idea furthered by Noam Chomsky and many others. McCoy is a hawk who seems to want U.S. oppression of others to continue except more successfully! However, Street also wants recognition for all the needless suffering and death U.S. empire building has caused, as do we and Chomsky. (Source: In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power (Dispatch Books) , Paul Street, New York Journal of Books)
McCoy has seen too many movies with heroic U.S. soldiers spreading democracy—he is wearing rose-colored glasses—he needs to read all books from Noam Chomsky, Mike Lofgren, Paul Craig Roberts, and John Perkins
Strangely enough, McCoy praises the U.S. for advancing the rule of law, the advance of human rights, the spread of democracy and relative peace. It was sad to read such foolishness in an otherwise good geopolitical tome. McCoy is certainly an acknowledged expert on the Philippines, torture, the CIA's role in the drug trade, and the rise of the surveillance state. But he seems to have filled in the blanks in his knowledge by reading propaganda from the New York Times. (This is especially strange because McCoy knew—in his own words—"that the CIA still had assets inside every major New York publisher." [Assets=censors.] He is correct—they did and do. See Freedom of the Press—an American Delusion.)
All these attributes (U.S. advancing the rule of law, the advance of human rights, the spread of democracy and relative peace) are in the records and archives of most mainstream media periodicals like the New York Times, to be sure. But the attributes McCoy praises the U.S. for are strangely enough nearly the exact opposite of what actually happened which his own books prove (and reviewer Street concurs that McCoy's praise is misplaced). The U.S. undermined the rule of law, as well as the advance of human rights, and more than any other actors the U.S. retarded the spread of democracy and relative peace. McCoy is confusing the deed with the cover story, the reality with the incessant propaganda. Of course our mainstream media sellouts spewed the party line about us spreading democracy—this has been our main cover story for many decades! McCoy is wearing rose-colored glasses—he needs to read all books from Noam Chomsky, Mike Lofgren, Paul Craig Roberts, and John Perkins, and the reviews on America and Politics books on our site.
" . . . given how violent the American Century has been, the decline of American power could actually be a good thing for most of humanity. After all, as Latin America has become more independent over the last decade, it has seen a decline in torture and human rights abuses." These torture and human rights abuses were those tought to them by our own CIA, by the way. (Source: Autopsy of a Dying Empire: Review of “In the Shadows of the American Century”, Jeremy Kuzmarov, the Progressive)
The fraudulent American myth is that we're a land of brave heroes bringing peace and democracy everywhere