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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/25/10

We Thought We Were Electing a Prius, and Got a Tank Instead: The Last Gasps of Empire'

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Message Mark Karlin
From BuzzFlash

It's tragically ironic that while Obama appropriately fired McChrystal for insubordination, he promised that America's longest war -- one that no one honestly thinks that we can win -- will continue.

These are the last gasps of empire by a President who promised change, but America's long history of empire -- which reached its zenith after victories in World War II -- is nearing its end as China, Russia and India advance into Asia, Africa and even tentatively into South America. We are a debtor nation now that would implode if our major lenders, including China (with 25% of our debt in its pocket) called in their loans.

Maybe Obama thinks that he is preparing America for a soft landing into the reality that our lifestyle of comfort and inexpensive products that come with empire is just about over.

But the problem is that the wealthy have billions and billions of dollars to cushion the fall of the U.S. as other nations pick up its manufacturing capability and corporate presence on the world stage, while the middle and working class will hit the economic reality -- and indeed are doing so now -- on their bare feet without a parachute.

To advance a war economy built basically on the concept of preserving an empire over nations that provide us with natural resources -- most significantly oil and natural gas -- is increasingly a last gasp, a literally dying hand while playing the game of "Risk."

Obama appears hell bent on proving to the industrial-military complex, to global corporations who no longer owe any allegiance to the U.S., and to Wall Street (despite some "reforms" that they can easily live with), and to the super wealthy in the U.S. that he will continue the course of empire, even when he probably knows that America needs to look forward to a more sustainable, equitable and realizable future that will not be based on propping up empire through military might, the IMF and the World Bank among others.

God didn't give America its greatness; heroes of democracy -- of an idea of human equality that emerged from the enlightenment -- did. But our revolution was only one stage in the history of men and women. And history moves on. It has no interest in the perceptions of "entitlement" proclaimed by deluded individuals. Just look at the empires that were Rome, England, Spain, or the Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan. History is littered with the archeological carcasses of empires who thought themselves eternal.

So it is with the U.S, "flag patriots," attempting to preserve a lifestyle that is fueled on hubris because there is almost no production economy to keep it alive, just dreams of past "glory days."

We thought President Obama would be leading us into the future of of a non-fossil fuel energy policy, of healing the earth, of economic and social justice.

We didn't think that he would be the last cheerleader for a dying empire, for multi-national corporate corruption, and for an economic system built on worthless paper rather than the work born of production and sweat equity which built America into a bustling nation and won WW II.

Rather than the President leading us into the future, President Obama has turned out to be perhaps the last President with the opportunity to cut us free from the past. And, instead, he holds onto that anchor is if it were a life jacket as it pulls us down, leaving us to look longingly at what might save us from afar. The promise of an evolving and sustainable America is within our reach, but thus far not within Obama's grasp.

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Mark Karlin is founder, editor and publisher of, a website providing headlines, news and commentary to over five million people a month. He is a gun control activist with a focus on Illinois.
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