Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Empires Then and Now

Paul Craig Roberts
Activist Post

Great empires, such as the Roman and British, were extractive. The empires succeeded, because the value of the resources and wealth extracted from conquered lands exceeded the value of conquest and governance. The reason Rome did not extend its empire east into Germany was not the military prowess of Germanic tribes but Rome’s calculation that the cost of conquest exceeded the value of extractable resources.

The Roman empire failed, because Romans exhausted manpower and resources in civil wars fighting amongst themselves for power. The British empire failed, because the British exhausted themselves fighting Germany in two world wars.

In his book, The Rule of Empires (2010), Timothy H. Parsons replaces the myth of the civilizing empire with the truth of the extractive empire. He describes the successes of the Romans, the Umayyad Caliphate, the Spanish in Peru, Napoleon in Italy, and the British in India and Kenya in extracting resources. To lower the cost of governing Kenya, the British instigated tribal consciousness and invented tribal customs that worked to British advantage.

Parsons does not examine the American empire, but in his introduction to the book he wonders whether America’s empire is really an empire as the Americans don’t seem to get any extractive benefits from it.

After eight years of war and attempted occupation of Iraq, all Washington has for its efforts is several trillion dollars of additional debt and no Iraqi oil. After ten years of trillion dollar struggle against the Taliban in Afghanistan, Washington has nothing to show for it except possibly some part of the drug trade that can be used to fund covert CIA operations.


America’s wars are very expensive. Bush and Obama have doubled the national debt, and the American people have no benefits from it. No riches, no bread and circuses flow to Americans from Washington’s wars. So what is it all about?

The answer is that Washington’s empire extracts resources from the American people for the benefit of the few powerful interest groups that rule America. The military-security complex, Wall Street, agri-business and the Israel Lobby use the government to extract resources from Americans to serve their profits and power. The US Constitution has been extracted in the interests of the Security State, and Americans’ incomes have been redirected to the pockets of the 1 percent. That is how the American Empire functions.

The New Empire is different. It happens without achieving conquest. The American military did not conquer Iraq and has been forced out politically by the puppet government that Washington established. There is no victory in Afghanistan, and after a decade the American military does not control the country.

In the New Empire success at war no longer matters. The extraction takes place by being at war. Huge sums of American taxpayers’ money have flowed into the American armaments industries and huge amounts of power into Homeland Security. The American empire works by stripping Americans of wealth and liberty.

This is why the wars cannot end, or if one does end another starts. Remember when Obama came into office and was asked what the US mission was in Afghanistan? He replied that he did not know what the mission was and that the mission needed to be defined.

Obama never defined the mission. He renewed the Afghan war without telling us its purpose. Obama cannot tell Americans that the purpose of the war is to build the power and profit of the military/security complex at the expense of American citizens.

This truth doesn’t mean that the objects of American military aggression have escaped without cost. Large numbers of Muslims have been bombed and murdered and their economies and infrastructure ruined, but not in order to extract resources from them.

It is ironic that under the New Empire the citizens of the empire are extracted of their wealth and liberty in order to extract lives from the targeted foreign populations. Just like the bombed and murdered Muslims, the American people are victims of the American empire.

RELATED ACTIVIST POST ARTICLES: 
The Phases of an Empire 
The Cost of Building and Operating Empire (USA) 

This article first appeared at Paul Craig Roberts' new website Institute For Political Economy.  Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His Internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.


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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Greetings,

The following was not written by me, but pretty much sums up the situation. The works of Mary Elizabeth: Croft (http://www.freedom-school.com/mary_elizabeth_croft.pdf), Augustus Blackstone (http://www.supremilated.com/Recon/ErrantSovereignHandbook.pdf ) and
Nord Davis, Jr. (http://www.freedom-school.com/nord-davis/pardon-me-5.pdf) are especially well written regarding this subject.
Enjoy reading your articles. Thank you for all that you do.

Salu,

L. Gore
Monroe County, Pa.

P.S. All that talk about "debt" LIES, LIES, and MORE LIES!!!! I found this site http://www.wanttoknow.info/banking_finance/cafr_comprehensive_annual_financial_reports

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We call the IRS Regulations a "Code," because a "Code" is a language always written in such a way that those who do not know the encryption and special meanings of the words, such as "Label", cannot figure it out in a hundred years..." Pardon Me, but... #5 (Nord Davis. Jr.)

The District of Columbia (The District) has created adhesion contracts (i.e. birth certificate, drivers license, voter registration, 1040), and has kept their true purpose a secret. All paper created by "The District" are contracts, they NEED a signature, this makes the signer "liable' for "The District" debt.

These “hidden” contracts are what make you "subject to" "The District' rules and regulations as YOU just signed and made yourself surety http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surety.

The Federal Reserve is an unconstitutional private company that our public servants (1913) put in charge of creating the country's currency. The bankers got paid in gold, the public servants got the paper to spend and now didn’t have to go directly to the people.

When the public servants ran out of gold (1933-Executive Order6102) they started using (and continue to use) "We the People" as collateral. (Research!!).

The elected officials continue to allow the FED to exist. It makes it easier for them to spend other peoples' money without being accountable.

The collection arm of this private company (Federal Reserve) is the IRS. What, you think the bankers would trust the public servants with collection?
The politicians will NEVER End the Fed! It is their sanctioned creation and useful cover. So what to do?

Educate Yourself. Stop the transfusion, and DEFUND "The District".

Know the difference between "lawful" and "legal". A population cannot be "ignorant and free".
The legal definitions of 'sui juris', 'propria persona', and "pro se", and what "District" Contracts you have unwittingly signed.

The sovereign States created the Federal District via the Constitution. Since the War and Emergency Powers Act of 1933 suspended the Constitution (Research!!) http://www.barefootsworld.net/war_ep.html

- the states gave "The District" (the created) power over the States (the creator). The States have never reclaimed their sovereignty. http://www.allgov.com/Controversies/ViewNews/Illinois_Tries_to_Opt_Out_of_Federal_Deportation_Program_110511

Know who you are “at Law”, that Contract Law is the ONLY law of the courts and get out from under "The District".

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"Time grows so short for action through knowledge." Gyeorgos Ceres Hatonn
"The things that we do are not for ourselves but for all of our relations." Little Crow

Anonymous said...

The Anglo American World Power is the last world power. In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kindom that will never be brought to ruin, and the kindom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kindoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite. Danuel 2: 44

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with Paul Craig Roberts on this one. Just because the Empire failed in Iraq and Afghanistan doesn't mean that it has failed in all of its other imperialist endeavors and the fact that they have at least one military base in every country around the world proves it. Then, there are the vast fortunes amassed by the war profiteers as a result of these seemingly failed crusades. Imperialism wages its initiatives in more than one front. At home, the war has already been won. However, what are the massas going to do when (much like in Rome), the citizens can no longer afford to hand over money to Wall Street and start bartering thus cheating the Empire of much needed taxes and cash flow? Oh, I know...The Bernank will come to their rescue, print truck loads of phoney money and drop it on Wall Street but still they need us and not just to produce their goods but to consume them. It's going to be an interesting show for sure.

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