From: The Fall of the US Empire – And Then What by Johan Galtung
A “contradiction” is a conflict so deep that system change is needed for its resolution; hence imperial decline and fall as contradictions mature.
An empire is declining to the extent the four powers abuses are weakening, and falling to the extent they vanish.
Between growth and distribution
The vicious cycle with overproduction leading to unemployment leading to under demand and oversupply leading to more unemployment.
The US Empire undercuts itself by pursuing growth while neglecting, even preventing, distribution that could increase demand by increasing the buying power at the bottom, meaning not 5% by maybe 50% or more of the society.
Between real economy and finance economy
When domestic and global financial market turnover is high, whereas real economy growth is sluggish and distribution is low, there will be accumulation of liquidity high up searching for outlets. Luxury consumption and productive investment being limited, the outlet is buying and selling in the finance economy, also known as speculation.
The more linked to the US economy, the heavier its loss; the less linked, like Muslim countries protected by the Sharia banking rule of not lending more that 30% of the capital, the lower the loss.
Between production-distribution-consumption and nature
The unilateral exit from the Kyoto Process because the Protocol impeded US economic growth, i.e. it was unacceptable to powerful corporations.
Between US state terrorism and terrorism
The psychology of polarization whereby we judge friends by their legitimate ends, and enemies by their illegitimate means. Thus state terrorism is acceptable because it has a legitimate end, i.e. for the defeat of terrorism. While Muslim terrorism is deplored because it is an illegitimate means, i.e. act of killing innocent people.
War on Terrorism as a de facto war on Islam. War in and on Iraq. War in and on Afghanistan. All unwinnable.
Between US and allies
The US Empire does not want to be seen as the US Empire, but as supported by “advanced”, “civilized” countries as against “evil”-“chaotic”-“terrorist” groups.
The cost-benefit analysis of the countries varies. But the trend against unconditional support for the US Empire is growing where the Empire, with its Israeli part, is weakest: in the Middle East, and the contradiction will sharpen further if people exercise much more pressure, like economic boycotts.
Between US Eurasia hegemony and Russia-India-China
The US approach has been through their fear of Muslims in Chechnya, Kashmir and Xinjiang. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was established on 2001 for mutual defense. See map.
Between the USA-lead NATO army and the EU army
When countries of the EU fail to support the USA, they will fall victim to the dualist US logic: “because they are not entirely with us, hence that are against us.”
The move will be in the direction of an EU Army for some members, building on the present Eurocorps, with command chains that neither end nor pass through Washington, except for exchange of information.
Between USA and the UN
USA uses veto in the Security Council most frequently and has close to a de facto economic veto by withholding or withdrawing support for programs not to their liking.
US economic clout on many UN members, like changing rate of interest for debts incurred according to voting pattern.
USA blocked a Uniting for Peace resolution to lift an issue that has gotten stuck in the UNSC into the General Assembly, which would have diverted the attack on Iraq with deep UN inspections.
Between USA and the EU
If EU gradually opens an association with Russia and membership for Turkey; the EU would grow to 750 million inhabitants. There would be a shift from unilateral imposition to multilateral negotiation and from debates to dominate to dialogue. The UN is the obvious world setting for both.
Between US Judeo-Christianity and Islam
Islam is expanding quickly, Christianity is not.
There is a Christian-Zionist fundamentalist alliance based on the idea that Armageddon is near, and that the first coming of the messiah and the second coming of Christ could be the same person.
From Judeo-Christianity the USA draws on Judaism for Chosen People-Promised Land, with the Israeli-US sense of exceptionalism, of being above the Law, of self-righteousness, and of no holds barred on brutality in warfare for their security.
Between US and the oldest civilizations
There are awakenings all over, with ancient cultures seeing themselves not as exotic museum cultures to be observed, bit to be lived, with idioms, with sacred times and sacred places. (See Bolivian Anti-Imperial program.)
The destruction of artifacts from Sumer-Babylon in Iraq was seen as an effort to control Iraqis by destroying foci of identification.
Between US and European elite culture
The West sees a world with four geo-cultural Centers; USA, UK, France and Germany. France and Germany fight the present Anglo-Saxon cultural prevalence.
Between state-corporate elites and working classes of unemployed and contract workers
Workers are kept in line by the threat of unemployment and by the inferiority of contract jobs to real position with security. State-corporate elites are better organized, make themselves non-substitutable, hire and fire from their own relatively safe positions, with the ultimate threat of outsourcing and automation (“flexibility”, “modernization”) settling issues.
A postmodern society can do with fewer workers but not fewer customers. Firing workers reduces their purchace power and indirectly fires customers.
The world middle class can hit the US Empire boycotting products like oil from Iraq, Boeing aircraft, US consumer-capital-financial goods.
Between older generation and youth, men and women, WASP and minorities.
College students rise up against Viet Nam war. High school students are now informed and mobilized by the Internet and cell phones.
By calling the repression of civil liberties “homeland security” drives women into the ranks of defending the home and the family.
The Anglo-Saxon, Southern Baptist, militarized Deep South is in command. Chicanos, Hispanics, African-Americans may reach majority status by 2042. An alliance could out vote the current command structure.
Between myth and reality
The American Dream is only available on credit with debt burdens pushed onto the next generation. It is more of a threat than a promise. A ruined American Dream for individuals also ruins the Dream of America, i.e. faith in the mission. People all over the world believe in the US Republic but not the US Empire.
The less materialist human rights dreams of freedom were eroded by the Patriot Acts and other policies after 9/11.
A major reason for the non-attack on the USA after 9/11 may be that the USA is much better at destroying itself than outside terrorists could ever hope.