There is a true law, a right reason, conformable to nature, universal, unchangeable, eternal, whose commands urge us to duty, and whose prohibitions restrain us from evil. Whether it enjoins or forbids, the good respect its injunctions, and the wicked treat them with indifference. This law cannot be contradicted by any other law, and is not liable either to derogation or abrogation.
Neither the senate nor the people can give us any dispensation for not obeying this universal law of justice. It needs no other expositor and interpreter than our own conscience. It is not one thing at Rome and another at Athens; one thing today and another tomorrow; but in all times and nations this universal law must for ever reign, eternal and imperishable. It is the sovereign master and emperor of all beings. God himself is its author,—its promulgator,—its enforcer. He who obeys it not, flies from himself, and does violence to the very nature of man. For his crime he must endure the severest penalties hereafter, even if he avoid the usual misfortunes of the present life.
– Marcus Tullius Cicero
There’s been a lot going on this week, so it’s unsurprising that an extremely important vote in Congress failed to get the attention it deserves. What I’m referring to is the recent Russia/Iran/North Korea sanctions bill passed by the House of Representatives in a frighteningly lopsided 419-3 vote.
Let’s turn to Bloomberg for a quick analysis on the Russian reaction:
Russia threatened to retaliate against new sanctions passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, saying they made it all but impossible to achieve the Trump administration’s goal of improved relations.
The measures push U.S.-Russia ties into uncharted territory and “don’t leave room for the normalization of relations” in the foreseeable future, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Wednesday, according to the Interfax news service.
Hope “is dying” for improved relations because the scale of “the anti-Russian consensus in Congress makes dialogue impossible and for a long time,” Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of the international affairs committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament, said on Facebook. Russia should prepare a response to the sanctions that’s “painful for the Americans,” he said.
The bill, passed by a vote of 419-3 on Tuesday, would strengthen sanctions against Russia less than three weeks after President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin held their first official meeting at the Group of 20 summit. The measure, which now goes to the Senate, would let Congress block any effort by Trump to unilaterally weaken sanctions imposed under the Obama administration for Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections and its support for separatists in Ukraine. The White House has sent mixed signals about whether Trump will sign the bill.
U.S. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said Wednesday that senators want to examine North Korea sanctions added to the bill by the House. If senators insist on changes to the bill, passage could be delayed, possibly until September, when lawmakers return from a recess.
“We all want this to become law before we leave here for the recess,” Corker told reporters in Washington. He added: “The White House doesn’t like this bill. The State Department doesn’t like this bill. This bill is going to become law, OK.”
The sanctions are “pretty sad from the viewpoint of Russian-American relations and prospects for developing them, and no less depressing from the perspective of international law and international trade,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Wednesday on a conference call. Putin will decide on a response if the bill becomes law, he said.
Trump will sign the law because “he’s a prisoner of Congress and anti-Russian hysteria,” Alexei Pushkov, a senator in Russia’s upper house of parliament, said on Twitter. The sanctions are “a new stage of confrontation,” he said.
Russia has prepared “economic and political measures that will be adopted if the Senate and Trump support the bill,” said Vladimir Dzhabarov, deputy chairman of the international affairs committee in the upper house, the RIA Novosti news service reported. Relations with the U.S. “are at such a low level that we have nothing to lose” by retaliating, he said.
To summarize, the entire House of Representatives other than three Republicans, Justin Amash of Michigan, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, and John Duncan of Tennessee, voted for this thing. Not a single Democrat voted against the sanctions.
We supposedly live in a “representative democracy,” but 99% of our so-called representatives voted for this bill. Does this really represent the will of 99% of the public? These are the kind of numbers you’d expect to see in totalitarian states, and the ironic thing is the vote was driven by a desire to put a stop to supposedly fascist Trump. We’ve got much bigger problems than Trump.
Michael Tracey put it perfectly on Twitter earlier today:
The complete conformity of views in the political/media class re: sanctions — virtually no dissent at all — should be a major warning sign
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) July 26, 2017
As troubling as the bill is for relations with nuclear armed Russia where tensions are already high, the response from European allies is arguably more concerning.
As much as I hate to quote CNN, it actually published a pretty good article on the subject. Here’s some of it:
The European Union has delivered a stern warning to the US over a plan to impose new sanctions on Russia, opening up the prospect of a rift between the two allies over how to deal with Moscow’s foreign interventions.
EU President Jean-Claude Juncker said the bloc would act “within days” if it does not receive reassurances on the potential impact of new sanctions on European interests.
The EU has previously coordinated with the US over sanctions in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. But it fears the latest measures could hit companies that are involved in the financing of a controversial new pipeline, Nord Stream 2, that would carry natural gas from Russia to Germany.
Juncker said the bill could have “unintended unilateral effects” on the EU’s energy security. “This is why the Commission concluded today that if our concerns are not taken into account sufficiently, we stand ready to act appropriately within a matter of days,” Juncker said. “America first cannot mean that Europe’s interests come last.”
Germany, which strongly backs the new pipeline, said it was concerned over the sanctions. It would be “unacceptable for the United States to use possible sanctions as an instrument to serve the interests of US industry policies,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schäfer said Wednesday.
France called the US bill “unlawful” due to its “extraterritorial reach,” saying it could impact Europeans if enacted. “We have challenged similar texts in the past,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “To protect ourselves against the extraterritorial effects of US legislation, we will have to work on adjusting our French and European laws.”
The European Union expressed frustration that it had not been consulted over the new proposals. “New sanctions should always be coordinated between allies,” EU President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement.
The EU and the US imposed coordinated sanctions in 2014 over Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. President Barack Obama imposed further sanctions in late 2016 over alleged interference in the 2016 US election. Sanctions were also imposed under the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which targets Russians whom the US considers human rights abusers.
These are major EU allies furious with this bill, which makes you ask the obvious followup question. Did 99% of the House of Representatives not realize the implications of what they were voting for in their blind rage against Russia? If so, these people are extremely dangerous and have no business making important decisions for 320 million of us.
This is exactly how empires implode. Corrupt, power-drunk , disconnected elites living in an echo chamber of hubris always destroy everything in their path at the end of a geopolitical cycle. First they lose the trust of their own people (this has already happened), and then they lose the trust of their allies. This last part is happening rapidly and it’s moving much faster than even I imagined.
Unless something major changes we have to assume the U.S. empire is going down, and need to start thinking about what a post-imperial America can look like. There are countless dangers in such a scenario, but also many opportunities for a vastly improved and freer society.
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24 thoughts on “The U.S. Empire Continues to Stumble Towards Ruin”
how would you deal with a criminal enterprise? Personally I believe that any sanctions on Mr Putin are warranted-I believe Mr Broward and you should read his book “Red Notice”
The biggest criminal enterprise, and the one that affects Americans more than any other, resides right here in the USA and is entirely homegrown.
“Unless something major changes we have to assume the U.S. empire is going down, and need to start thinking about what a post-imperial America can look like.”
Answer: the United States of America will become a protectorate of People’s Republic of China as soon as a major economic disruption takes place in the US.
Michael, I think Putin really p-o’d the Dems when he sent military into Syria and did more in a week than O did in 18 months of feckless fakery. This whole Russian hysteria thing is probably connected to that. The Russians were already on the D’s bad list for giving up Marxism, but this pushed things over the edge. As far as the GOP goes, the RINOs never met a war they didn’t like. But I’m really surprised that only 3 Republicans came up with the cojones to vote against the bill. (The same stalwarts, btw.) I wonder what went on in the ranks of the GOP??
Wow, what a great quote from Cicero. Of course, there’s a whole generation who would call Cicero all wet. Ha! Universal moral law, what a retrograde concept! But all they’re doing is numbering themselves with those who “must endure the severest penalties hereafter”. Let them laugh. It’ll sound really hollow where they’re headed, if they continue.
Doesn’t it have to lose its vast military superiority to ‘go down’? And/or its accessibility to plentiful energy?
“We supposedly live in a “representative democracy,” but 99% of our so-called representatives voted for this bill. Does this really represent the will of 99% of the public?”
If you check the comments on today’s Washington Post sanctions articles, you will see that lots of supposedly well educated readers are drowning in Kool Aid.
Good point on WaPo-I finally gave up months ago trying to post comments that were not in line with the hysterical mindset-got tired of being shouted down. You will not find intelligent comments now on the russian story, completely driven by the neo con drivel.
Let’s review briefly some history.
The Vikings were the origin of the name Rus which became Russia to Europe. They founded a trading center in Kiev. This was the center of Russia until the 1200’s when the Mongols invaded and destroyed Kiev and subject the northern Russian cities such as Moscow. As the Mongol power weakened there was internal Russian power center competition with Poland and Sweden for the control of the trade routes. There was also ongoing war with the Tartars in the south. These people saw themselves as inheritors of the Mongols. Out of this caldron of warring factions Ivan the terrible was able to claw his way to the top of the heap in Moscow and starting expanding. In conflicts with the Swedes, Poles, and Turks Russia expanded to control the Volga, Crimea, Ukraine, Finland, and the Baltic coast.
This was the Russian empire that the communist party took over during the 1917 – 1921 civil war. The Ukraine had not been a separate country at any time during this history. It had been under Russian, Mongolian, Polish administration. Ukrainian nationalism probably got its biggest boost from the joys of Socialism in the 1930’s during the Holodomor. During WWII many Ukrainians due to their love of Socialism join the Nazis in fighing the Stalinist regime. They lost.
The Crimean had been part of Russian since Russo-Crimean was in the 16th century.
The reason I am reviewing this is to point out that Ukraine of today is a creation of US and Germany meddling in Russian affairs. The globalist see it as a breadbasket for Europe and the leftist hate Russian for throwing out the communists and pointing out that Stalin was a pathological killer and liar who was hero-worshipped by leftist in Europe and the US. Democrats especially are ignorant of this history or attempt to ignore it to cooperate with the Germans in the current Drang nach Osten.
Russian has been defending its strategic interests from the West, just as the Monroe doctrine was declared to defend American strategic interests. The problem is that cowardly Democrats and globalists (who never fight, Lyndon B. Johnson never served) are trying to set up a web of lies to justify poking Russia. This is extremely dangerous.
Russia is now a nationalist, Christian nation and would probably fight to maintain that life. New York Democrats and globalists don’t seem to understand that with atomic weapons, this not about fighting to the last country boy. This will be serious SH*T.
The utter scale of hypocrisy on both the matter of ‘foreign election interfering’ and ‘supporting seperatists’ is on a mammoth-mind-bogglingly ‘exceptional’ scale here, as is the hyper-arrogant selfishness that ignores the consequences for allies such as Germany.
Just how low can ‘murka go!?! Tis akin to watching a stinkin’turd go down the crapper …
Well, it looks to me like the Deep State has an agenda with a fixed timetable and that Trump is not privy to it, so they are going around him by sanctioning Russia and if Trump doesn’t like it then that’s just too bad for him.
Congress has voted to willfully and spitefully destroy the United States of America (which will certainly come at your and my expense) rather than let POTUS achieve a foreign policy achievement in the normalization of relations with Russia. Damn them! Every one of them! And most especially the intelligence apparatus that encourages and the corporate media that funds Congress’ political sedition! It has become quite obvious that not a day goes by that the votes of Congressmen and women are not for sale.
A perfect example of why we must get the money out of politics.
The Elites will ruin us.
Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders voted no.
Two Senators to remember who have the guts to stand up for American Citizens. One Republican, the other a socialist. Two opposing points of view.
I would vote for either one of them. At this point a Senators willingness to stand up against the elites is more important to saving America than the Senators platform itself. Both Senators have a high set of morals and ethics that supersedes any money or wishes from the Elites. This helps guide them to do the right things. The willingness for a candidate to try and do whats right for our country even though the platform may not fit our personal agenda is real important right now.
…and here we go.
AS. Let’s remember USA expelled Russian diplomats few days before New Year holiday, when all transportation companies were shut and the diplomats were literally trapped inside USA.
Russia gives the diplomats a month to set their affairs and leave without hurry.
On July 27, the US Congress passed a new bill on tougher anti-Russia sanctions. This measure is further proof of the Unites States’ extremely hostile foreign policy. Hiding behind its sense of superiority, the United States arrogantly ignores the stances and interests of other countries.
It is common knowledge that the Russian Federation has been doing everything in its power to improve bilateral relations, to encourage ties and cooperation with the US on the most pressing issues on the international agenda including fighting terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, illegal drug trafficking, illegal migration, cybercrime, etc. Our understanding has been that we can only solve these global problems if we work together. We believe the majority of people in the world share this approach.
Meanwhile, the United States is using Russia’s alleged interference in its domestic affairs as an absolutely contrived excuse for its persevering and crude campaigns against Russia. This activity contradicts the principles of international law, the UN Charter, WTO regulations and, simply, the standards of civilised international communication.
The United States continues to pass more unlawful sanctions against Russia, to seize Russia’s diplomatic property, which is formalised in binding bilateral documents, and to deport Russian diplomats. This is clearly a violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and generally recognised diplomatic practices.
The adoption of the new sanctions bill is an obvious indication that relations with Russia are being dragged down by political infighting in the United States. Moreover, the new bill uses political means to create a dishonest competitive advantage for the US in the global economy. This blackmail aimed at restricting Russia’s cooperation with its foreign partners threatens many countries and international businesses.
Despite Washington’s constant outbursts, we have adhered to responsible and reserved behaviour and have not responded to express provocations until now. However, the latest events confirm that certain circles in the US are fixated on Russophobia and open confrontation with our country.
– Therefore, we request that our American counterparts bring the number of diplomatic and technical staff at the US Embassy in Moscow, the consulates general in St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok, into strict correspondence with the number of Russian diplomats and technical staff currently working in the United States, until September 1, 2017. This means that the total number of American diplomatic and consular office employees in the Russian Federation must be reduced to 455 people. In the event of further unilateral action on behalf of US officials to reduce the Russian diplomatic mission in the US, we will respond accordingly.
– Starting August 1, the use of all the storage facilities on Dorozhnaya Street in Moscow and the country house in Serebryany Bor will be suspended from use by the US Embassy.
Russia reserves the right to resort to other measures affecting US’ interests on a retaliatory basis.
The US and the EU engineered a coup in the Ukraine.
Imagine how the US would react if Russia engineered a coup in Mexico? There would be a full scale invasion of Mexico within a matter of weeks.
Obviously there has been zero mention of this fact in the MSM propaganda apparatus. But they have pushed the Russia interfered with the US election canard to the point where even ardent conservative Republican Trump supporters have bought into the false narrative.Hence the 419-3 vote in the House yesterday.
Meanwhile Xi Jinping is drooling like a ravenous Wolf watching an injured Deer.
today is WW1 anniversary BTW.
If there is any magic in numbers, should be an interesting day today.
The Deep State doesn’t want Trump to have good relations with Russia, the more conflict and controversy they can put on his plate the better they feel, and the closer they are at stagnating Trumps Make America Great Again Policies!
Now the USA will be isolated along with the toxic Federal Reserve Notes and deservedly so. Like a leper colony.
Great article, I had to post again. The fact that only 3 members of the House voted against this bill is very telling. These people are desperate to maintain a boogeyman threat. I think the collapse of the financial system must be imminent. They don’t want to be rightly blamed and want to be able to say, “look it was Russia, they did it.” What pack of weasels!
Outstanding assessment! The vilification of Russia at all costs may well lead us into a deadly confrontation.
A key indicator that this entire Russiagate hysteria is a globalist fabrication is the fact that the so-called progressive left have joined forces with the warmongering neocons in their relentless anti-Russia / anti-Trump diatribes.
Trump was right. It would be far wiser, saner, healthier to have Russia as a friend and cooperative partner in trade. But alas, the DNC and their warmongering neocon compadres will have none of this. They will not be happy until all major cities have been nuked. Pure insanity.
As long as US foreign policy is controlled by Israel through their proxies in the US, the neoconservative and Christian Zionist movements, and ownership of almost all Washington politicians, Russia will remain in the crosshairs in this very dangerous game.
Israel wants southern Lebanon and wants to dominate the Middle East. They have invaded Lebanon twice but were repelled by Hezbollah, a militia which came into being because of Israeli terrorism and aggression. Hezbollah, which is majority Shia, is supported by Syria and Shia Iran. This is why Syria and Iran must be demonized and taken out. ISIS, a creation of the US, Israel, and some of the gulf states, was the means by which Syria was to be taken down. Russia, a long time ally of Syria and Iran, drew their line in the sand against US aggression in Syria (and also in Ukraine). It will be much more difficult for Israel to dominate the Middle East and annex southern Lebanon as long as Syria and Iran remain intact and in alliance with Russia.
The Russophobic meme started in earnest on the last weekend of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, with the US led coup of the legitimate Ukrainian government – remember Victoria “F*ck the EU” Nuland (wife of arch neoconservative Robert Kagan)? It has been non stop since and where it will all lead is not going to be good for the US and most of the world.
They are doing this while current petrodollar linchpin, Saudi Arabia, enroute to being consumed by own incompetence!
“How a legendary bond trader from Salomon Brothers brokered a do-or-die deal that reshaped U.S.-Saudi relations for generations.”
Debt binge permitted by petrodollar recyling and not just Saudi Arabia’s
“The petrodollar system elevated the U.S. dollar to the world’s reserve currency and through this status, the U.S. is able to enjoy persistent trade deficits, and become a global economic hegemony. The petrodollar system also provides the United States’ financial markets with a source of liquidity and foreign capital inflows through petrodollar “recycling.”
How Petrodollars Affect The U.S. Dollar
I guess no one here has been paying attention to the Russian collusion issue. Russia colluded with the Dems to hurt Trump. The entire anti-Trump dossier was created by Fusion GPS which is funded by Russia (even though Fusion GPS broke the law by not reporting this). The dossier is based entirely on high level Kremlin sources.
It is because of Putin that there is a special prosecutor going after Trump now.
Although somewhat unrelated perhaps a tiny bit of justice is unfolding:http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-cia-interrogations-20170730-story.html