Annual Review of 2019: The State of the Empire at the End of a Decade

in #empire6 months ago

This year marks the end of the second decade of the 21st-century, and as we enter the third decade one prediction seems to be warranted: the 2020s will see the most marked and unambiguous signs of the final decline of the US empire, with multipolarity rising to its greatest height yet. This will not be the same thing as the end of capitalism, especially as state-capitalism appears to be renewed as the dominant form of economic and political development worldwide. In order to stave off or stall the US’ inevitable decline, the US will do everything in its power (as it is already doing). “Human rights” in particular will be further weaponized as a strategic instrument of competition, much like Britain—which had built its wealth on top of heaps of slave labour—when it mobilized internationally against the slave trade once slavery had lost its economic value to the British empire, yet as it continued to be relied upon by competing powers. “Climate emergency” will likewise be the reason for imposing a range of protectionist measures in order to diminish the competitiveness of commodities produced by rising/competing powers, and as a tool of destabilization and regime change against oil-powered states that oppose US-led Western dominance. Triumphalist talk about globalization will give way to the realization that the state which benefited the most from the post-Cold War period was China; as we see China’s Belt and Road Initiative spread globally our primary debates will focus on whether or not this is a new era of imperial globalization, or globalized neo-colonialism, or something substantively different. It would not be alarmist to suggest that the 2020s may be the most decisive and perhaps most dangerous decade the world will witness since the early 1930s....

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