“Since 1979, do you know how many times China has been at war with anybody?” Carter asked. “None. And we have stayed at war.” The U.S., he noted, has only enjoyed 16 years of peace in its 242-year history, making the country “the most warlike nation in the history of the world,” Carter said. This is, he said, because of America’s tendency to force other nations to “adopt our American principles.”
Conflict Combatant 1 Combatant 2 Result for the United States and its Allies American Revolutionary War
(1775–1783)Location: Eastern North America, Southern North America, Gibraltar, India, Caribbean Sea, and the Atlantic
US-allied victory Cherokee–American wars
(1776–1795)Part of the American Indian Wars
Location: Old Southwest
Cherokee US-allied victory Northwest Indian War
(1785–1793)Part of the American Indian Wars
Location: Northwest Territory
Western Confederacy US-allied victory Quasi-War
(1798–1800)Location: Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean
France Convention of 1800
- Peaceful cessation of Franco-American alliance
- End of French privateer attacks on American shipping
- American neutrality and renunciation of claims by France
- Advisory role from the forming of the MAAG in Vietnam to the Gulf of Tonkin incident.
- Direct U.S. involvement ended in 1973 with the Paris Peace Accords. The Paris Peace Accords of January 1973 saw all U.S forces withdrawn; the Case–Church Amendment, passed by the U.S Congress on 15 August 1973, officially ended direct U.S military involvement .
- The war reignited on December 13, 1974 with offensive operations by North Vietnam, leading to victory over South Vietnam in under two months.
Conflict Combatant 1 Combatant 2 Result for the United States and its Allies War in Afghanistan
(2001–present)Part of the War on Terror and the War in Afghanistan (1978–present)
Resolute Support Mission
Taliban splinter groups
- Wilayat Khorasan (ISIL-K)
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
- United States invasion of Afghanistan (2001)
- List of drone strikes in Afghanistan (2001)
- Destruction of al-Qaeda and Taliban militant training camps (2001)
- Fall of the Taliban government (2001)
- Establishment of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan under the Karzai administration
- Start of Taliban insurgency
- Drone strikes in Pakistan
- Death of Osama bin Laden in May 2011
- Death of Mohammed Omar in July 2013
- Over two-thirds of Al-Qaeda’s operatives killed or captured
- International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) disbanded in December 2014
- Commencement of Resolute Support Mission in December 2014
- All US troops to withdraw by September 11, 2021
(2003–2011)Part of the War on Terror
- Invasion and occupation of Iraq
- Overthrow of Ba’ath Party government
- Execution of Saddam Hussein
- Emergence of significant insurgency, rise of al-Qaeda in Iraq, and severe sectarian violence
- Subsequent reduction in violence and depletion of al-Qaeda in Iraq
- Establishment of democratic elections and formation of new Shia-led government
- U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement
- Withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011
- Stronger Iranian influence in Iraq[dubious ]
- Escalation of sectarian insurgency after U.S. withdrawal leading to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the successor of al-Qaeda in Iraq
- Iraqi Civil War (2013–2017)
- Return of US forces to Iraq in 2014
Second U.S. Intervention in the Somali Civil War
(2007–2021)Part of the Somali Civil War (1991–present) and the War on Terror
- Drone strikes in Somalia
- Raids against al-Shabaab militants conducted by U.S. Special Operations Forces
- African Union Intervention
- U.S. backed Ethiopian invasion in 2006
- Kenyan intervention
- Newly formed federal government established in 2012
- Power struggle within Al-Shabaab
- Majority of US Troops withdraw in January 2021
Operation Ocean Shield
(2009–2016)Part of the War on Terror
Location: Indian Ocean
Somali pirates US-allied victory International intervention in Libya
(2011)Part of the Libyan Crisis and the First Libyan Civil War
United Arab Emirates
Libya US-allied victory
- Overthrow of the Gaddafi government and the killing of Muammar Gaddafi
- Assumption of interim control by National Transitional Council (NTC)
- Diplomatic recognition of NTC as sole governing authority for Libya by 105 countries, UN, EU, AL and AU
- Post-civil war violence in Libya leading to the second civil war in 2014
Operation Observant Compass
(2011–2017)Part of the War on Terror
Central African Republic
Lord’s Resistance Army Ongoing
- Founder and leader of the LRA Joseph Kony goes into hiding
- Senior LRA commander Dominic Ongwen surrenders to American forces in the Central African Republic and is tried at the Hague
- Majority of LRA installations and encampments located in South Sudan and Uganda abandoned and dismantled
- Small scale LRA activity continues in eastern DR Congo, and the Central African Republic
American-led intervention in Iraq
(2014–present)Part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the Iraqi Civil War, the Spillover of the Syrian Civil War, the War on Terror and the International ISIS campaign
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Ongoing
- Tens of thousands of ISIL fighters killed
- American-led forces launch over 13,300 airstrikes on ISIL positions in Iraq
- Heavy damage dealt to ISIL forces, ISIL loses 40% of its territory in Iraq by January 2016, and all of its territory in Iraq in December 2017
- Multinational humanitarian and arming of ground forces efforts
- 200 ISIL created mass graves found containing up to 12,000 people
- Ongoing US-led Coalition advising and training of Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces
- US maintains limited military presence in Iraq
American-led intervention in Syria
(2014–present)Part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the Syrian Civil War, the War on Terror and the International ISIS campaign
Israel (limited involvement; against Hezbollah and government forces only)
Free Syrian Army (2011–2017)
al-Qaeda linked groups:
Syria (limited encounters with US and Israel)
- Over 11,200 American and allied airstrikes hit ISIS and other extremist groups within Syria
- Thousands of ISIS targets destroyed and thousands more militants captured or killed
- ISIL lose Mosul and Raqqa (2017), then other most of territory in Iraq and then Syria
- Syrian government Chemical attack in Ghouta (2013) leading to OPCW-UN Joint Mission in Syria
- American support for anti-government rebels
- Deployment of U.S. Marines and Special Forces
- Massive amounts of human rights violations and war crimes, in particular by Syrian government forces
- Semi-regular chemical attacks attributed to the Assad regime leads to condemnation and threats of measures to enforce the chemical weapons convention and the Geneva protocol to which Syria is a party. Chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun results in a retaliatory naval strike on the Syrian government-controlled Shayrat Airbase, Douma chemical attack results in retaliatory strikes/
- Various confrontations and airstrikes, including a downing of a Syrian SU-17 between the United States and Syrian government and the shoot down of a Turkish F-4 by the Syrian government
- Multiple incidents between Israel and Syria, including several Syrian S-200 missiles launched toward Israeli fighter jets during an Israeli Air Force mission inside Syrian territory, and an Israeli F-16 shot down by Syrian Air Defense forces after retaliatory strikes against Iranian targets near Damascus after a Syrian drone crossed into Israeli airspace
- ISIS detainee crisis takes hold in northern Syria
- Civilian deaths due to Coalition airstrikes in Syria and Iraq: over 1,300 according to Coalition, 8,267–13,168 according to independent estimates.
American intervention in Libya
(2015–2020)Part of the Second Libyan Civil War, the War on Terror, and the International ISIS Campaign
Islamic State in Libya US-allied Victory
- Liberation of Sirte
- Hundreds of airstrikes carried out in Libya against Islamic State affiliated militant groups
V. BITCOIN AND A MULTIPOLAR WORLD
U.S. foreign policy has kept the petrodollar dominant for many decades, but its power is inarguably beginning to wane. Many Americans, including this author, have been incredibly privileged by this system, but it will not last forever.
Luke Gromen calls the petrodollar system a “company town,” where the U.S. has enforced control over oil pricing with threats and violence. After the fall of the Soviet Union, he says, America could have restructured the system and held another Bretton Woods, but it held on to the unipolar moment. Beyond protecting the system against disruptions like the petroeuro, Gromen says that America extended the life of the system by launching NAFTA and helping China join the World Trade Organization in 2001. These steps allowed the U.S. to continue exporting manufacturing and treasuries abroad in exchange for goods and services. He notes that in 2001, China’s treasury holdings were $60 billion, but rose to $1.3 trillion a decade later. From 2002 to 2014, America’s biggest export was treasuries, where foreign central banks bought 53% of the issuance, using it as a new form of gold. But since then, China and other governments have been divesting treasuries and pushing us toward a new system, in expectation of that gold losing value. According to Gromen, they realized if dollars were still priced in oil as the U.S. continued to run higher debt-to-GDP ratios (up from 35% in the 1970s to more than 100% today), the price of oil would eventually skyrocket. Europe was not able to disrupt the petrodollar system in the early 2000s, but over time the U.S.’s hegemony and ability to stop other nations from pricing oil in their own currencies has eroded.
More and more countries are denominating oil trade in other currencies, like euros, yuan and rubles, partly because they fear reliance on a weakening system, and partly because the U.S. government continues to use the dollar as a weapon. The American sanction system is incredibly powerful, as it can cut enemies off from the SWIFT payment network or from the World Bank or IMF. As the Financial Times reported, “by using American banks as a cudgel against Russia, Joe Biden has shown a willingness to weaponize the U.S. financial system against foes, continuing a tactic honed during the Obama years and dramatically ramped up under Donald Trump.”
This month, President Biden publicly denounced the Nord Stream2 Pipeline project, which would build on the momentum Russian President Vladimir Putin already has with Rosneft, pricing more than 5% of the world’s oil in euros by connecting Europe and Russia. Team Biden reportedly wants to “kill” the project, and its officials have commented that dollar primacy remains “hugely important” to the administration and that “it’s in our national interest because of the funding cost advantage it provides, [because] it allows us to absorb shocks… and gives us enormous geopolitical leverage.” This is a striking indication of just how important the petrodollar system remains politically to the U.S., 50 years after its creation, despite critics who say the world uses dollars for pure market reasons.
Many countries want to escape from U.S. financial control, and this desire is accelerating global de-dollarization. For example, China and Russia are, as of last year, transacting in dollars just 33% of the time, versus just 98% seven years ago. China is expanding oil trading denominated in yuan, and many worry about the Chinese Communist Party’s new “DC/EP,” or digital yuan project, being a ploy for increased international use of the yuan. Meanwhile, former European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has said “it is absurd that Europe pays for 80 percent of its energy import bill — worth 300 billion euros a year — in U.S. dollars when only roughly 2 percent of our energy imports come from the United States.” While the dollar is still dominant, trends point to other major currencies gaining traction in the coming years.
Beyond a shift to a multipolar currency world, another threat to the petrodollar could be the SDR, or “Special Drawing Right,” employed by the IMF, which is based on the dollar, euro, pound, yen and yuan. Inspired by Keynes and his failed bancor idea from Bretton Woods, the SDR has achieved more traction in the past few years, with more than 200 billion units in circulation and another 650 billion possibly being created. But few governments in a position of economic power would willingly hand their monetary control over to an unelected alphabet soup organization.
As for gold, the world is not going back. As Jacques Rueff wrote in the 1960s, “money managers in a democracy will always choose inflation; only a gold standard deprives them of the option.” The left-wing historian Michael Hudson explains that in the 1970s, he tried to make an apolitical case for the U.S. government to revert to the gold standard, teaming up with the right-wing scholar Herman Khan: “He and I went down and gave a presentation to the U.S. Treasury, saying, ‘gold is a peaceful metal because it’s a constraint on the balance of payments. If countries had to pay their balance-of-payments deficit in gold, they would not be able to afford the balance-of-payments costs of going to war.’ That was pretty much accepted and that was why the United States basically responded, ‘That’s why we’re not going back to gold. We want to be able to go to war and we want the only alternative to hold central bank reserves to be the United States Dollar.’” Gold is, by the account of most economists today, simply too restrictive.
A 2020 study in the Journal of Institutional Economics posited four potential future monetary outcomes for the world:
- continued dollar hegemony,
- competing monetary blocs (where the EU and China act as counterweights to the U.S.),
- an international monetary federation (where at the top of the international hierarchy stands no longer a state, but the BIS and the SDR), and
- international monetary anarchy, where the world shrinks into less connected islands. The authors, however, miss a fifth possibility:
- a Bitcoin standard where the digital currency becomes the global reserve asset.
Since its creation in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, bitcoin has grown in value from less than a penny to more than $50,000, spreading to every major urban area on earth as a store of value and, in some places, a medium of exchange. In the past year, Fortune 500 companies like Tesla and sovereign wealth funds like Singapore’s Temasek have started to accumulate bitcoin on account of its inflation-resistant properties. Many call it digital gold.
We are very possibly witnessing the birth of not just a new ultimate store of value but also a new global base money, neutral and decentralized like gold, but unlike gold in that it is programmable, teleportable, easily verifiable, absolutely scarce and resistant to centralized capture. Any citizen or any government can receive, store or send any amount of bitcoin simply with internet access, and no alliance or empire can debase that currency. It is, as some say, the currency of enemies: adversarial parties can use the system and benefit equally without detracting from each other.
As bitcoin’s value goes up against fiat currencies, more and more corporations and individuals will begin to accumulate. Eventually, governments will too. At first they will add it as a small part of their portfolio alongside other reserve currencies, but eventually, they will try to buy, mine, tax or confiscate as much as they can.
Born at a time when the previous world reserve currency had reached its apex, Bitcoin could introduce a new model, with more possibilities but also more restraint. Anyone with an internet connection will be able to protect their wages and savings, but governments, unable to so easily create money on a whim, will not be able to wage forever wars and build massive surveillance states that contradict the wishes of their citizens. There could be a closer alignment between the rulers and the ruled.
The big fear, of course, is that America will not be able to finance its exorbitant social programs and military spending if there is less global demand for the dollar. If people prefer the euro or yuan or bonds from other countries, the U.S. in its current form would be in big trouble. Nixon and Kissinger designed the petrodollar so that the U.S. could benefit from global demand for dollars tied to oil. The question is, why can’t there be a global demand for dollars tied to bitcoin?
No matter the base money, there could still be fiat currency and government debt, priced according to the economic power and bitcoin position of those countries. And in the emerging Bitcoin world, America is leading in many categories, whether it is infrastructure, software development, actual holdings by the population, and, increasingly given current trends, mining. America is also built on liberty, equality of opportunity, free speech, private property, open capital markets and other values and institutions that Bitcoin reinforces and reverberates. If Bitcoin did eventually become the global base money, then America is in a position to capitalize on that transformation.
This means no more reliance on dictators and secret pacts in the Middle East, no more need to threaten or invade other countries to preserve dollar primacy, and no more opposing nuclear or renewable energy technology to protect the fossil fuel industry. Unlike the petrodollar system, Bitcoin could very well accelerate the global energy transition to renewables, with miners always choosing the cheapest sources of electricity, and trends pointing to cheaper renewables in the future.
Under the Bitcoin standard, everyone would play by the same rules. No government or alliance of governments can manipulate the monetary policy. But any individual can opt into a nondiscretionary rules-based currency and control a savings instrument that has historically appreciated versus goods and services. This would be a dramatic net benefit for most people on earth, especially when considering that billions today live under high inflation, financial repression or economic isolation.
This transition may not be so pleasant for authoritarian regimes, which are more closed, tyrannical, violently redistributionist and isolated than liberal democracies. But in this author’s view, that would be a good thing, and one that could force reforms where activism alone has failed.
The world’s multipolar drift is inevitable. No one country can, in the near future, gain as much power as America had at the end of the 20th century. The U.S. will still be a powerhouse for a long time to come, but so will China, the EU, Russia, India and other nations. And they may compete in a new monetary system that moves away from the petrodollar and all of its costly externalities: a neutral Bitcoin standard that plays to the strengths of open societies, does not depend on dictators or fossil fuels, and is ultimately run by citizens, not the entrenched elite.
President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team is full of war hawks and weapons industry shills. Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton speak with US Army veteran Danny Sjursen, who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan before becoming an anti-imperialist activist and journalist, about what a Biden-Harris administration foreign policy would look like. Sjursen, who previously taught at the United States Military Academy, also discusses how warmongering members of the West Point Mafia dominate the US government and military-industrial complex.
This invaluable anthology collects the voices of nonviolent American resistance that standard histories have mostly omitted. Starting with Edward Hart’s 1657 declaration of support for Quakers, it continues with testimonials against slavery and on behalf of Native Americans, then moves on through the nineteenth- and twentieth-century struggles for workers’ and women’s rights, the many anti-war protests, and today’s Black Lives Matter and Me Too movements, charting a long and venerable tradition that stands in sharp counterpoint to the official record. Long, an associate professor of religious studies and peace and conflict studies at Elizabethtown College, has gathered first-person stories that make the issues, challenges, and strategies of resistance immediate and urgent, especially as they are being put into practice today.
And Walzer’s classic handbook is as relevant—even essential—today as it was when it was first published in 1971. Written out of the author’s experience in the 1960s anti-war and civil rights movements, the book isn’t theory, or even a how-to for taking action, but a focused, practical manual describing exactly what movement politics is, what it can and can’t do, how activists can join together in common cause, and when it might be better not to join coalitions. Walzer, professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and longtime co-editor of Dissent, addresses a wide range of questions, from the problems that arise when people come together out of a shared sense of outrage and how to decide which and how many issues to address, to the perennial challenges of raising money and providing effective leadership. https://www.politics-prose.com/book/9…
Video by Devon Young of LaYoung Media. From the album “Spinoza’s Dream” (https://shop.bandwear.com/collections…) . If you would like to donate to a nonprofit organization providing free mental health services to U.S. military personnel and families affected by their time of service, visit Give An Hour: http://www.giveanhour.org .
Much of what Jesus taught seems to have been followed closely during the first several hundred years after his death and resurrection. As long as Jesus’ followers were on the bottom and the edge of empire, as long as they shared the rejected and betrayed status of Jesus, they could grasp his teaching more readily. Values like nonparticipation in war, simple living, inclusivity, and love of enemies could be more easily understood when Christians were gathering secretly in the catacombs, when their faith was untouched by empire, rationalization, and compromise.
.. The last great formal persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire ended in 311 CE. In 313, Constantine (c. 272-337) legalized Christianity. It became the official religion of the Roman Empire in 380. After this structural change, Christianity increasingly accepted, and even defended, the dominant social order, especially concerning money and war. Morality became individualized and largely focused on sexuality. The church slowly lost its free and alternative vantage point. Texts written in the hundred years preceding 313 show it was unthinkable that a Christian would fight in the army, as the army was killing Christians. By the year 400, the entire army had become Christian, and they were now killing the “pagans.”
Before 313, the church was on the bottom of society, which is the privileged vantage point for understanding the liberating power of Gospel for both the individual and for society. Within the space of a few decades, the church moved from the bottom to the top, literally from the catacombs to the basilicas. The Roman basilicas were large buildings for court and other public assembly, and they became Christian worship spaces.
.. When the Christian church became the established religion of the empire, it started reading the Gospel from the position of maintaining power and social order instead of experiencing the profound power of powerlessness that Jesus revealed. In a sense, Christianity almost became a different religion!
The failing Roman Empire needed an emperor, and Jesus was used to fill the power gap. In effect, we Christians took Jesus out of the Trinity and made him into God on a throne. An imperial system needs law and order and clear belonging systems more than it wants mercy, meekness, or transformation. Much of Jesus’ teaching about simple living, nonviolence, inclusivity, and love of enemies became incomprehensible. Relationship—the shape of God as Trinity—was no longer as important. Christianity’s view of God changed: the Father became angry and distant, Jesus was reduced to an organizing principle, and for all practical and dynamic purposes, the Holy Spirit was forgotten.
Despite the fervor of President Trump’s Republican opponents, the president’s brand of hard-edge nationalism — with its gut-level cultural appeals and hard lines on trade and immigration — is taking root within his adopted party, and those uneasy with grievance politics are either giving in or giving up the fight.
.. The Grand Old Party risks a longer-term transformation into the Party of Trump.
“There is zero appetite for the ‘Never Trump’ movement in the Republican Party of today,” said Andy Surabian, an adviser to Great America Alliance, the “super PAC” that is aiding primary races against Republican incumbents. “This party is now defined by President Trump and his movement.”
.. Many of those who remain will have to accommodate the president to survive primaries from the pro-Trump right.
.. governor races in Virginia and New Jersey and a special Senate race in Alabama — Republican candidates are mirroring Mr. Trump’s racially tinged campaign tactics.
.. Many of their voters prefer the Trump way.
“We’re not an element,” said Laura Ingraham, a pro-Trump talk show host. “We’re the party.”
.. Ms. Ingraham .. the conservatism of market-oriented internationalism simply has little mass appeal.
“There’s no constituency for open borders, endless war and these international trade deals that are skewed against the United States,” she said.
.. As for the limited government pitch that defined Mr. Flake’s career, Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s former chief strategist, scoffed.
.. “It’s very nice. But it’s a theoretical exercise. It can’t win national elections.”
.. “We have a leader who has a personality disorder,” said former Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, “but he’s done what he actually told the people he was going to do, and they’re not going to abandon him.”
.. “I don’t think the rank-and-file Republican believes that corporations are people,” said Sam Nunberg, a former adviser to the Trump campaign who has also worked with Mr. Bannon.
.. For now, though, the vision for a more populist-nationalist party sketched out by Mr. Bannon is being won as much through intimidation as through actual purges in Republican primaries... “The message they’re sending is: The way to survive is by accommodating him, changing their tone and professing loyalty to Trump,” said William Kristol.. former Representative Tom Tancredo, who was shunned by the Bush-era Republican Party for his harsh anti-immigration views, is considering a comeback bid for governor in 2018.
.. Mr. Graham believes that the president is not as wedded to some of his nationalist policies as his supporters want to believe.
“The best thing that could happen to Trump and the future of the Republican Party is for Trump to fix a broken immigration system,” Mr. Graham said.
.. Establishment Republicans are attempting to convince Mr. Trump that “if you join with Bannon, you cut your own throat,” Mr. Graham said, because it could lead to an impeachment effort by a Democratic-controlled Congress.
But these arguments cause the early Trump enthusiasts only to roll their eyes. The party establishment, these Trump backers say, wants to govern as if the election never happened.
“They still think the election was about Trump’s personality,” Ms. Ingraham said. “It wasn’t. It was his ideas.”