no third solution

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What is the True Cost of American Empire?

June 30th, 2010

On military expenditures, the U.S. spends nearly as much as the rest of the world, combined. Why? A common refrain alludes that the world is a dangerous, asking , “We need someone (the military) to protect us from them!” But as I’ve previously written:

America’s chief export is war — and practically all of the countries that “hate us” are running a massive trade deficit in that department.

the death starWithout the state using our tax dollars, our sweat, blood and labor, to finance the military-industrial complex and to push capitalist-imperialism all over the globe, how many enemies do you think “we” would really have?

At the end of the day we are talking about a system the sole purpose of which is to make the rest of the world “safe for American interests”. And make no mistake about this: you are emphatically not one of the “American interests” which the military-industrial complex has any interest in safeguarding. You and your family are merely collaterally “safe”, which is more attributable to geography than to military spending.

“American interests” in this context means almost exclusively multinational corporations and their shareholders, who grease the wheels of politics around the world in order to look out for their own interests.  Aside from full-scale invasions (like an un-winnable war with neither objective nor identifiable enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan) or exporting prohibition (another un-winnable war) to lands near and far (like Mexico and Afghanistan), the Empire has other means at its disposal:

  • Flooding lesser-developed countries with “capital investments” in the form of loans from the IMF/World Bank which are then used to finance large-scale construction/infrastructure projects in what amounts to a kickback scheme writ large (contracted out to “American interests” like your pals at Halliburton, etc., of course), resulting in unsustainable debt-burdens which are eventually leveraged for political favors and further exploitation of the native people, lands, and resources.  Just look at the track-record of countries on the receiving-end of the IMF butt-ram stick: “Any list of countries ‘helped’ by IMF programs reads like a casualty list.”
  • Financing coups or paramilitary hit-squads in order to assassinate political leaders who are not willing to suck American c*ck, and then hand-picking the new “leaders” (those willing to sell out their constituency) for the puppet governments of those banana republics. The people of Ecuador or of Nigeria, doubtless, would never have agreed to the programs which now destroy their ecosystems and livelihoods while simultaneously siphoning all that lucrative crude straight in to the pocketbooks of BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, etc.

    “The Niger Delta, where the wealth underground is out of all proportion with the poverty on the surface, has endured the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez spill every year for 50 years”

  • Or as in Afghanistan, where the mainstream media has reported that there are an estimated $1 Trillion worth of valuable minerals under the country’s soil. Under the terms of the mineral rights belong to the puppet government put in place by the U.S., they do not belong to the people of Afghanistan or their provincial/municipal governments. The history of occupied nations lends credence to Justin Raimondo’s theory, that the Afghan government will probably sell these minerals, or lease the rights thereto, to U.S. corporations at a fraction of their fair-market prices. That’s why the U.S. can’t abandon Afghanistan: there is too much money buried beneath the soil, and the people who want that money have sufficient sway in American politics and foreign policy.

The price tag for imperialism is over half a trillion dollars a year — not so much less than last year’s Bank Bailout, which was rejected by a near unanimity of the public-at-large. The military-industrial complex spends that much money every year, and nobody bats an eye.

This enormous sum only pays for the explicit military costs of imperialism, the true costs of American empire, which would reckon the costs in human live (yes, brown people in Nigeria and Mexico count, too) and destruction of the environment, the fomenting of terrorist factions which “hate us”, and the productivity gains which we could’ve realized had that military budget been reduced or eliminated (anyone else in favor of a 20-hour work week?), etc., are several orders of magnitude greater.



  • jd says on: June 30, 2010 at 12:13 pm


    our chief export is security.

    • David Z says on: June 30, 2010 at 12:56 pm


      Security, for corporate interests. Warfare and exploitation, for the everyone else.

  • Aurini says on: July 1, 2010 at 6:32 am


    Damn, everything keeps getting worse and worse.

    I’m checking out your links to Raimondo’s pieces right now – taken at face value, it’s so obvious that the IMF are acting like some sort of perverse sadist loan sharks – I’ll lend you money while you look for a job, but only if you list ‘Kicking cats for fun and profit” on your resume.

    The problem is that it’s only ‘obvious’ because I’ve spent years figuring out the byzantine ugliness of the financial/geopolitical world. When you get right down to it, the basic ideas are pretty simple (though profound) – something I’d say that 90% of people could understand. Unfortunately the waters have been muddied with confusion and institutional doppelgangers, printing presses, and magic.

    No wonder most people aren’t interested in politics.

    • David Z says on: July 1, 2010 at 8:11 am


      the link to Raimondo’s piece, I think I found that by way of FSK’s guide to reality.

      But yeah, in order to even consider something like that as even possibly true, you gotta “un-learn” 20+ years worth of brainwashing. That doesn’t happen overnight.

  • Don says on: July 5, 2010 at 3:55 pm


    I don’t care how much the gov’t spends.

    I care about how much the gov’t steals.

    Become self employed, control how much the gov’t steals from you.

    If you are an employee you have no control over your money as it is stolen from you before you receive it.

    The person that handles the payroll where you work is your enemy.

    If you allow the payroll person to steal your money you are complicit in the actions of the gov’t.

  • free market no government says on: July 10, 2010 at 1:17 pm


    @don depending on the employer, you could ask to be payed in cash. you are correct though, self employment offers more freedom and safety.

  • Don says on: July 12, 2010 at 9:36 am


    @fmng: The IRS has innundated businesses with every sort of tax restriction and rule you can imagine x 10. Yes, you can request the employer pay you in cash but he still must *by law* deduct the taxes. I’m not going to get into all the reasons why this is required but suffice to say it is almost impossible to be employed in any manner by an employer and NOT have your money stolen from you before you get it.

    If you work in a position where the actual work does not have to be performed at the employers address you can negotiate with the employer to pay you on a *subcontract* basis and you do the work at another location, perhaps your own home (telecommute). The employer would pay you a lump sum (or whatever method you would choose) without deductions and you would then be responsible for paying all your expenses which would include taxes. It is then that you can avail the hugely advantageous method of *writing* stuff off. This is really the keystone of the whole thing, along with using / manipulating ALL of your money as you see fit.

    That is how I started down the road to self employment back in 1983, by working for a small company that paid me hourly ($6.85/hr) and I then had to pay all of my expenses, however at that time I was able to work at the employers place of business. Soon, I started learning the ropes and about 2 years later I broke loose totally on my own and have been that way ever since. There is a learning curve in all of this and the errors along the way can be very costly if you drop your attention. But, there are MANY benefits along the way that are simply NOT available to those that prefer the (false) security of single employer employment.

    Working for a single employer has got to be the scariest thing in the world in my opinion. Its the equivalent of putting ALL your financial eggs in one basket and then letting a person that doesn’t care about it carry it.
    Then, when that carrier drops your basket for any reason at all, all of your financial eggs are instantly scrambled and blown away. If everybody knew and understood what I am talking about the employment industry in this country would change, for the better, and you’d start to see some real progress happen. Working by the hour has been the most damaging aspect, next to taxation and regulation, to employment. It undermines a sense of worth in the worker and short changes the employer.

    Its almost impossible for employees to understand the full impact of what I am speaking simply because they are not equipped with the tools (knowledge) to get their head around it.

    It has to be taught / learned, yet this is exactly how most people worked in the 19th century and before.

no third solution

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