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Empires Then and Now: as extractive mechanisms

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  • Gary Anderson
    JPUK friends: I write from the perspective of a U.S. taxpayer and think that this is a brilliant analysis of the power behind the new model of Empire- American
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2012
      JPUK friends:

      I write from the perspective of a U.S. taxpayer and think that this is a brilliant analysis of the power behind
      the new model of Empire- American style.  Cui bono? Since "we" are not
      gaining financially from the endless wars in Asia and Africa (not to
      mention our actions in Central and South America), Roberts identifies
      the "we" who do benefit: the War Machine and all who ride their wave. 

      Gary Anderson (writing from Maseru, Lesotho)

      Empires Then and Now

      By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

      Global Research, March 27, 2012


      URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29988

      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 further 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

      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.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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