Blackouts and Flashpoints in 2018: Who Rules America, Globalization and Geopolitics

By Prof. James Petras

The prophets and forecasters for the coming year have already set out their global vision ranging from rising economies to catastrophic global wars.

I want to argue from a different perspective, focusing on the increasing subdivision of markets, the deepening autonomy of political action from economic development, the greater threat of military interventions and increasing political accommodation.  I believe that we will experience a radical making and remaking of political and economic integration, East and West, within and without nations states.  ‘States Rights’ will re-emerge as an antidote to globalization.  Big countries will compete in regional wars with limited commitments but with global goals.

Catastrophic developments are unlikely but radical incremental changes will be frequent and have cumulative consequences.

To understand these important trends, it is important to analyze and discuss the major national actors in this panorama – starting with the United States.

Trends in the US

The present and near future of the US is and is not about the Trump Presidency and its domestic opposition.

The struggles between the Congress and the President have not produced major changes in the global position of the United States.  The US continues to impose sanctions on Russia, Iran and Venezuela.  Its trade with China grows.  The military exercises and threats against North Korea raise the specter of nuclear war.  In other words, incremental and inconsequential activity accompany the fiery rhetoric. Corporate economic policies benefit from the state’s largesse, but are divorced from everyday politics. What is most significant, ‘markets’ have fragmented or disconnected: Stocks rise, but productivity stagnates. Corporate debt skyrockets, but high tech profits boom. Exports and imports move in opposite directions. Jobs increase and wages decrease.

There are one, two, many markets, each operating on similar principles, all deepening the concentration of wealth and the interlock of corporate directorates.

Just as there are several markets, there are multiple centers of political leadership. Specifically, the US is a multi-polar ‘Presidency’. For all the talk about ‘Trump’, policy and strategy are defined, promoted and opposed in many centers of decision making. In general terms, the intelligence, military, media, financial, legislative, trade and international policy elites are mired in rivalries as well as temporary alliances, making strange bed-fellows. Moreover, new international power configurations have entered and appropriated positions of power.


Who rules America?  This question should be rephrased to take into account the plurality of authoritarian self-serving elites totally divorced from the majority of the manipulated public.

Nominal ‘President’ Trump shifts foreign policy decisions according to the interests of multiple domestic and overseas power centers. Trump argues against and is opposed to multilateral trade agreements while favoring unilateral, US-centered pacts. Despite his rhetoric, nothing of the sort has emerged. Trade with Asia, Europe and Latin America has increased. China, Japan, India, Germany, Korea, Canada and Mexico remain centers for US exports and imports. Bankers, multinational corporations, Silicon Valley billionaires continue to over-ride Trump’s stated agenda.

Trump argued for reconciliation with Russia and was threatened with impeachment. The Congress, the intelligence agencies, the legislature and NATO contradict, reverse and redirect the US both toward and away from nuclear confrontations.

Trump proposes to renegotiate trade with Asia, particularly with South Korea, Japan and China.

Instead, the Pentagon, the media, the neo-cons and the Japanese militarist elite dictate nuclear confrontation with North Korea and threats against China. (Japan’s Prime Minister Abe is the grandson of the ‘Butcher of Manchuria’ Kishi Nobusuke.) The business, financial and Silicon Valley elite challenge the ‘America First’ ideologues, the Pentagon and local US manufacturers over China.  Meanwhile thousands of container ships carry raw materials and merchandise between China and the US, their captains waving to the handful of US warships patrolling a few piles of rocks in the South China Seas.

Trump flourishes his threats against the European Union and the World Trade Organization and then hops on his jet to Davos to socialize with the German, French, British and American ‘Free-Traders’.

The big decisions are the non-decisions. The continuities of policies and the elites, at best simply deepening the prior policies that promote financial markets, depress wages and multiply local wars and military confrontations. The decisive decisions of 2018 are those which are not made by Trump, but by his allies and adversaries at home and abroad.

Trump’s Marginal America First

A close-up of the marginal decision-making, bypassing Washington would include: the North-South Korea conciliation; Russia-China agreement over US sanctions; Israel’s overt power grab against the Palestinians; Iran’s challenge to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; and the Pakistan-Taliban ‘covert’ alliance.

Washington ’s marginalization is evident in the economic spheres. The US stock market booms but productivity declines; profits surge but worker life expectancy drops; immense concentration of wealth parallels a rise in maternal and infant mortality; American youth have the highest chance of dying before adulthood among all industrialized countries. Mortality has replaced mobility.

Washington is the center of intense warfare over inconsequential issues.

Beyond US marginalization, new regional power centers have emerged and successfully annihilated or neutralized US clients. Turkey is a striking example. Ankara has attacked and undermined the Pentagon’s plans for an armed Kurdish client force controlling Northern Syria. Iraq has over-run the US-Israeli backed Kurdish militias under the Barzani warlords in Kirkuk. The Taliban are moving from the Afghan countryside and mountains and staging almost daily uprisings in the urban centers and capital Kabul. The Venezuelan government has effectively defeated the US-backed uprisings in Caracas and other cities. The US puppet regime in Kiev has failed to conquer the ethnic Russian separatist enclaves in the Donbass region where a de facto government operates with Russian support.

Let us recognize that marginality, retreats and defeats do not spell the ‘end of Empire’; but let us also admit that the competing sectors of the US economy (stocks, bonds, technology and profits) are in a dynamic phase, even if they are heading for a major correction. The probable reason is because the economy operates independent of the political system, the turmoil in Washington and the US marginality abroad.

The mass media propagates domestic partisan conflicts thru scandal-mongering. Its vision of an impending collapse and demise of Putin’s Russia and Xi’s China have not a whisper of influence on the real dynamics of global market forces. China grows by 7% and all the major US-EU economic players from Airbus to Amazon, fight to join Beijing’s multi-polar markets. Markets ignore, if not flourish with, government shutdowns. Markets ignore the latest eruptions from the Pentagon, ‘The New Military Strategy’ against China and Russia. South Korean businesses embrace US markets while seeking to secure access to North Korea’s skilled labor force.

Washington’s decisions to deny the reality that the future requires increasing productivity via a skilled, healthy and well-paid domestic labor force dooms the US to a downward spiral of political marginality, military futility and robust bombast. The media, the pundits and political elite ignore the fragmentation of US power and the separation of military and market forces – each going its own way. Class inequalities and rising working class mortality rates may encourage immigration but it also undermines the foundation of American influence. A ruling class rules by linking a unified state to a dynamic market, producers to the consumers, importers to exporters and increasing wealth to rising wages.

Trump and anti-Trump antics are irrelevant at best and a destructive sideshow at worst. The foundations of the US state and its markets are substantial but crumbling. What is important is not the status quo, but its direction and structures.

Prolonged wars at the margins of state power or Secretary of Defense Mattis’ threats of global conflicts with world powers, like Russia and China, to ‘protect the US standard of living’ will inevitably and inexorably lead to deeper fissure between the US economy and the militarist state. US political institutions, President or Congress, utterly fail to come to terms with the real economic dynamics of the existing world market.

They still confuse rising stock prices and profits with the long-term factors of growth and stability. Let’s think about ‘death on the installment plan!’

The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Prof. James Petras, Global Research, 2018

Image credit: Anthony Freda Art

Activist Post Daily Newsletter

Subscription is FREE and CONFIDENTIAL
Free Report: How To Survive The Job Automation Apocalypse with subscription

12 Comments on "Blackouts and Flashpoints in 2018: Who Rules America, Globalization and Geopolitics"

  1. Lunarcus Moonbatticus | January 29, 2018 at 10:57 pm |

    Those of us who voted for Trump did so upon notifying him in writing that we wanted most of the NDAA scrapped, (minus a couple of ‘pork’ additives that help General Aviation) the Patriot Act abolished, and the Military Commissions Act repealed.
    We also asked that the Federal Reserve be shut-down, and control of America’s money supply and management be returned back over to the U.S. Treasury and backed with gold, platinum, silver, and diamonds. (This was one of three reasons that JFK was assassinated..).
    We asked Trump to route-out the Freemasons from government, and to set-up a special task force to go after HRC and the Deep State membership, & those colluding in human trafficking and pedophilia!
    We also asked him in writing to de-militarize the Police and Sheriff’s Departments, and to stop asset forfeitures on the roadside, and on no evidence of a crime. So far, that too hasn’t happened!
    We called for the U.S. Military to re-deploy back to CONUS, and assist with the rebuilding of the infrastructure. Nothing happening there either…
    All other promises he has kept, but this seems to be for the convenience and advantage to the Wall Street 1 Percenters…
    Note to Ohioans; Dennis Kuchinich is running for Governor there. He, along with the late Jim Trafficant, and former Congressman George Hanson, knew full well the problems that we face!
    Hopefully, IF Dennis can get into the Ohio Governor’s office, he can then run for President in 2020!
    Read his Bio and how he has voted in the Congress via Wikipedia!
    We’re tired of being homeless, having the cops killing us with feeble excuses offered, and the continued NEUROCIDE of vaccinations!
    2018 will be an interesting year, if we all haven’t been nuked, adenovirused, or murdered by the police…!

    • The problem is believing that ANYONE is politics is actually going to be able to “fix” anything is ludicrous. Voting, especially on a national level, is purely a waste of time, and if the non-votes were counted as No Contest votes, we’d have a new run-off every single time. Divorce from the system, get together with like-minded people, and come up with local solutions. Everything else is smoke and mirrors.


    • Wow! Quite a list! and while worthwhile and certainly not objectionable… It doesn’t represent what Trump campaigned on. Some promises like trying to form a friendlier relationship with Russia, which I also favor, Has Been NUKED by the DemocRat’s “Russian Investigation” a colossal propaganda poop pile. The elimination of Feral Reserve paper “money”, and reinstituting sound money is wonderful, unless it gets President Trump JFKed.
      Kuchinich has a few good ideas but he’s a Socialist and will make Ohio like Chicago, broke and bestial. So have at it. As for me I’m downsized from the USSA, and the State, to possibly a County and a neighborhood level of responsibility.

  2. lightingstrikesthrice | January 30, 2018 at 8:54 am |

    The US ‘elites’ are ignoring all of this because they are ordered to ignore all of this. The US kakistocracy is a corporation, a corporation in debt to banking families, and their privately controlled global banks. They do as they are instructed to do, just as corporate boards do. Sarah Westall has done interviews with David Williams in which much is explained. The website also explains much, specially pertaining to the 14th Amendment(and in which the civil war was really about, just as with WWI &II) and follow the links to Search Diversified Metal Products vs IRS and you will read what I mean about who owns the US. US. Public Law 94-564, Senate Report 94-1148 p. 5967, Reorganization Plan No. 26; Public Law 102-391; 1921 41st Statute Ch. 214 p. 654; Presidential Document Volume 29-No. 4 p. 113, 22 U.S.C. 285-288. The above web sites have these or links to them, also has Black’s Law Dictionary and if you wish to know what terms mean and there are: & Once one understands all of this, one understands that all you see is theater, bs, that the US kakistocracy corporation is indebted to global bankers as are all other kakistocracy corporations(countries) around the globe to the UN IMF that the ruling elite families own, and their corporations. All these stated kakistocracies have signed international agreements with the UN and are held to those agreements by all the other kakistocracies. Mainly, the genocidal pact of Agenda 21/30/50. I suggest Cathorine Frompovich’s article Frankenstein Science Is Alive And Well….posted two days ago and watch the videos and other videos of the groups that made the videos.

  3. lightingstrikesthrice | January 30, 2018 at 10:00 am |

    I would like to know what was wrong with my comments, why Activistpost deleted my comments, censored me. I provided links, sites, an actual cases of law proving what I wrote. I guess I will no longer participate in Activistpost’s commentary section. Makes me sad….

    • Often found they did the like with my comments. Figure we’re in good company that we need censored by a site touting free speech, liberty, peace and platitudes of true freedom. Of course, Activist Post could defer blame to Disqus the comment service they use on the site. That might be a fair point despite comments similarly posted on other sites that use Disqus not meeting with censorship.

      All in I’m not greatly concerned over it. Taking the view of George Carlin, it’s all just a damn circus anyway. The smoke and mirrors, the urine filled dramatics are flickering shadows on the cave walls, useful merely as means to pass time. Me and my wife set around wondering what the poor folks do despite living below federal poverty standards ourselves. So comments on a public web site something of concern? Nah, not really.

      • lightingstrikesthrice | February 2, 2018 at 12:25 pm |

        Great analysis in the third paragraph. And yeah, I agree, it’s a bother being censored but completely expected. I sent Activistpost an email asking why I was censored. We’ll see if I get a response let alone an explanation. Probably defer to Disqus as you suggest.

        • And Discus will likely defer back to them. I think it is all a Charlie Foxtrot like that to avoid the ugly truth. The NSA watches these kinds of sites and good old Uncle Sam, he don’t like dissent ergo the sites all agree to not publish it, even as commentary.

          Meanwhile the government could still enforce the law about sedition from the 17 hundreds. Anything written or spoken to discourage folks from serving in wars is sedition and that is allegedly illegal. They don’t declare it unlawful though as I don’t think they are able to jump that hurdle.

          Ah well, the rich do what the rich do. I’m happy enough to eat lentils & herbs from the Earth and starve in peace rather than feast at the table of turmoil. What I stand for is what I stand on. 🙂

          • lightingstrikesthrice | February 4, 2018 at 8:40 am |

            Excellent, I’m happy to hear to stick to your morals m’friend. As do I, as much as possible. I believe it is the word kakistocracy that they do not like and wish to banish from earth. As they have done from the dictionaries a century ago. I have a ‘pending’ on right now lol. Yes, certain subjects(and words apparently) are forbidden. Like, saying currency is a fraud and slavery; just a controlling mechanism of kakistocracies. Sedition, is the correct word. Modern day political correctness, or to be a ‘terrorist’. But terrorist may be for a dissenter. Great points :).

          • Kakistocracy is actually still in use if you believe Webster. Infoplease has it as well.

            Currency fraud? What are you saying? LOL Parish that thought. Everyone knows cowry shells are what we use to trade goods and services. Just yesterday I gave farmer Joe Smith one hundred such shells for one dozen of his farm fresh eggs, he also appreciated the five pounds of tuna I brought him.

            Someone wanted to replace the shells with sticks having notches cut out. This did not suit though as notched sticks often get used in making bow drills in fire starting, and for kindling. How could we ever use such a thing as sticks like that for trading markers? I mean it all gets burnt up after a little while.

            With the shells you can at least make shirts with it using kelp as a means to weave them. One of those shirts saved me too, it stopped a wild boar from goring me to death. The cowry shells will remain our trading markers for a long time. 🙂 Apologies if a bit of tongue in cheek levity cannot be appreciated. Figure if we couldn’t laugh, well, not sure I want to complete such a thought in public. Tsk.

            Hold fast and run ‘er slow my friend.

  4. Those that wrote the Protocols and have their leader who is the king of the masons, Rothschild and Associates, flat out own every nation on earth save just 3 now. US a Rothschild whore since the beginning of the masonic wars including the Jacobin, Bolshevik, Young Turk, WWI, WWII, has always been the springboard of global conquest, setting up the world’s Supreme Court in Israel (Get a load of the iconography if you look it up and the detailing of the inside including the Black Sun which is in major masonic buildings such as those in Washington DC. Denver Int’l Airport, Winnipeg Legislative Building, … And the global capital of the Khazars in Astana Kazakstan. US deep state and high ranking Bohemian Grove master, Walther Cronkite, the voice of Moloch (Melech – meaning King) is an example how the deep state is right in front of your eyes. Moyers (Bildeberg, Trilateral, CFR), Bush (look up megillat Bush – major ranking family of the deep state) and several others are on television right in front of your eyes, or being talked about from people such as Forbes (Fortune from running Opium with Russel, Delano, Perkins, et. al.), Bloomberg (Genesis award winner – to bad these people have none for their Asherah, consort of YHVH as it’s a mens club now)…

Leave a comment