US Decline? (No. 6): Paul Sheldon Foote: America, A Country Controlled by Warmongers

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Iran Review Exclusive Interview with Paul Sheldon Foote
By: Kourosh Ziabari

Although the United States has been a politically prosperous and economically successful country, it’s becoming difficult for its leaders to continue maintaining what some political analysts call the “military industrial racket” it has been holding throughout the past decades.

To study the decline of the U.S. Empire does not mean that one is happy with the fact that the United States is losing its economic and political dominance and power, but it leads us to the understanding that how a country that was once the number one superpower in the world has become an entity that is now in the hands of a small elite of warmongers who are ready to forfeit the national interests of the nation for the sake of satisfying certain lobbies.

The United States could have peacefully coexisted with the world countries and be counted a friendly superpower, but with numerous military expeditions, bloody wars and reckless killings of the innocent civilians, has turned itself into a horrific and unfavorable hegemon.

At Iran Review, we have started to do exclusive interviews with world’s renowned political scientists about the decline of the U.S. Empire and its underlying reasons.

This is an interview with Prof. Paul Sheldon Foote, a prominent political scientist and professor at California State University, Fullerton. He has traveled to many countries in the region, including Turkey, Oman and UAE. He has also studied Persian language at the Harvard University and traveled to Iran many times.

What follows is the text of Iran Review’s interview with Prof. Foote with whom we have discussed the reasons that have contributed to the weakening of the U.S. political and economic power and consequently the decline of the American Empire.

Q: As you know, the unipolar, hegemonic system of global governance led by the United States constitutes the basis and structure of current international order. In this regard, some scholars believe that the signs of the decline of the United States and a consequent transformation in the international order have begun to emerge. A change based on the founding of a power balance against the United States has begun to emerge in the global equations of political power. What’s your analysis of this change and the challenges it poses to U.S. hegemony?

A: Throughout history, there have been attempts to create new world orders. Some examples are:  Pax Romana, Pax Mongolica, Pax Ottomana, Pax Britannica, and Pax Americana. Many authors have written books containing analyses of the reasons for the rise, decline, or for the fall of great powers. A few examples are: The Rise and Fall of Great Powers by Paul Kennedy, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power by Niall Ferguson, Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire by Niall Ferguson, The Golden Age of Persia by Richard Nelson Frye, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon, and The Ottoman Empire, 1700 – 1922 by Donald Quataert.

By the end of World War I, America had become a powerful industrial and military country. However, many Americans preferred isolationist policies. By the end of World War II, the damage to the United Kingdom from the war was so large that the United Kingdom could not afford to maintain Pax Britannica.  During the 1950’s, while Europe and Japan were re-building their war-damaged economies, America enjoyed economic and military strength. The Soviet Union attempted to keep pace with American defense spending and collapsed. 

America has blundered in many ways, such as: going from a creditor nation to a debtor nation, endless wars and hundreds of overseas military bases, deficit spending, educational decline, weak dollar policies and the loss of manufacturing jobs.

Many countries have responded to these circumstances by: trading in currencies other than the dollar or bartering and creating competing financial institutions such as the Iranian Oil Bourse.

Q: It seems that the United States is voluntarily retreating from its position as a global hegemon, as a result of a remarkable increase in the costs of the unipolar and hegemonic order and the considerable decrease in its utilities. What’s your viewpoint in this regard?

A: Major General Smedley Butler, in War is a Racket, explained well how America co-operated with dictators to defend the dictators in return for securing a country’s resources for small costs.

In Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins explained how leaders in many countries were willing to trade the wealth of their people for American support.

In Iran, shahs were willing to grant economic concessions to powerful countries. Some of the worst examples were the Reuters Concession and the D’Arcy Concession.

In Interlock, Mark Hulbert explained in detail how the Shah of Iran used the Iranian people’s scarce resources to support America. For example, in 1974, Grumman Corporation suffered major financial problems. The Shah of Iran rescued Grumman Corporation by offering a loan and by ordering 80 F-14A Tomcat fighters at a cost of $17.8 million each.

Without dictators or corrupt leaders around the world, America and other powerful countries cannot afford to continue the military-industrial racket.

Q: According to a number of theorists, the global capitalistic economy is collapsing and its consequences for the uni-polar and hegemonic order are beginning to appear gradually. What do you think about the impact of the downfall of global economic recession and its effects on the compasses of the U.S. power?

A: The problem is not capitalism. There are now stock exchanges and larger private sectors of the economies of even Russia, China, and of Vietnam. Some communists are now criticizing China for having a system of state capitalism. In the West, the problem has been that voters continue to elect candidates who make promises that they cannot keep.  Countries cannot continue running large deficits and printing large amounts of fiat currency. The consequences of this irresponsible behavior will hurt the global economy.

Q: Some political analysts opine that based on the emergence and intensification of global resistance against capitalism and liberalism, especially resistance on the microphysical level of global power against the lifestyle of imperialist system, the political power and influence of the United States has been diminishing in the recent years. What’s your take on that?

A: The political power and influence of the United States has been diminishing. President Ronald Reagan stated that America should be a shining city on the hill, a beacon for freedom-loving people everywhere. In A Republic, Not an Empire, Patrick J Buchanan wrote that America should lead by example. Unfortunately, Zionists and Neo-conservatives (Neo-Trotskyites) have infiltrated both the Democratic and Republican parties. More people around the world are beginning to understand that America has become a country controlled by warmongers and totalitarians who claim falsely to export democracy to the world.

Q: The resistance and opposition of the United States’ domestic forces against the interventions of the U.S. government in the other countries and the imperialistic traits of the U.S. political system have been contributing to the weakening of the global position of the United States. Would you please share your perspective on that with us?

A: Some Americans are attempting to have America return to leading by example.  America does not strengthen its global position in the long run by paying terrorists to go into countries, destroy the buildings, and to kill or leave homeless much of the population. The people of the rest of the world should not continue being silent witnesses to America’s war crimes. Watching totalitarians is not a spectator sport.

Q: Aside from these propositions which we’ve mentioned as the factors contributing to the decline of the U.S. socioeconomic and political power and the downfall of the imperialism, can you think of other possibilities which may in one way or another further and accelerate the demise of the U.S. Empire?

A: Throughout history, the people of a powerful country have contributed to their own destruction. Scarce resources wasted on excessive military spending cannot be used to create wealth for the people. In America and in the West, there have been recent problems of lack of ambition and lack of desire to marry and to have families. The native populations in many European countries have decreased by millions of people. America has had to rely upon large numbers of immigrants to fill positions for professors, computer programmers, engineers, and for other professional positions. In 2006, the film Idiocracy portrayed what would become of America if idiots take over the country.  Some Americans regarded the film as a comedy. Other Americans regarded the film as being closer to reality.

While many outside of America might be applauding the relative demise of America, it is more important for others to study and to be honest about their own histories. My experiences from living and working in many countries have taught me that few people anywhere have studied their own histories. Iranians, for example, should learn how it was possible during the Persian Empire to have great gains in knowledge, technology, and in wealth. They should learn, too, how the Persian Empire failed. Throughout the Muslim world, there should be deep studies of the Ottoman Empire: reasons for the rise, decline, and fall of a Muslim empire.

Key Words: Warmongers, Hegemonic System, Global Governance, International Order, Global Equations, Capitalistic Economy, Imperialist System, Demise of US Empire, Foote  

US Decline? (No. 5): Tahir Abbas: American Hegemony Is on the Wane 

US Decline? (No. 4) Walter Hixson: Counter-hegemonic forces challenging U.S. global hegemony

US Decline? (No.3): Michael Brenner: American Public’s Appetite for Military Intervention Diminishing

US Decline? (No.2): William Wohlforth: The United States Lost Some Ground over the Past Decade

US Decline? (No.1): Francis Shor: The Us Economy & Military Fading Gradually

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