With the US empire undergoing the process of decline, some observers see the latest popular uprising as the principal sign of its imperial decline. This outlook is only partly correct and misses the bigger picture.
The ongoing mass protests against the US governing system are part of the process; it is likely not a watershed moment in-the-making.
Studying the collapse of past empires will highlight the ideological, economic, political and military dimensions of their disintegration.
Currently the greatest political dimension to Washington’s imperial decline is Donald Trump.
The corrupt and morally bankrupt US political system which facilitated Trump’s selection as president is the most obvious and biggest symptom of the empire in its dying days.
Trump is a symptom of America’s systemic failure and not an aberration or an exceptional phenomenon.
As pointed out by Joseph Massad, in his analysis for the Middle East Eye, “Donald Trump is a creation of white American liberalism's own trajectory, not a contradiction to it.”
When looking at the US regime’s response to ongoing protests, it is important to view them as part of the broader process.
Washington’s imperial decline includes far more impactful events like Iran’s retaliation against US military bases, ability of the Venezuelan, Cuban and Syrian governments to withstand years of sabotage, EU-US split and most importantly the decline of America’s cultural appeal.
Analyzing the book, New Kings of the World Dispatches from Bollywood, Dizi, and K-Pop, Azad Essa, points out how “it was the century of blue jeans, Coca-Cola and Madonna. America was the barometer of cool. Where we sat in relation to its impulses, determined our proximity to modernity. But it’s no longer the 20th century. The world has changed. American prestige has been replaced by Donald Trump. Africa is awash with zombie flicks from Nigeria or soapies from South Africa. The Asia Pacific region is seeing Indonesian cinema like never before.”
The current protests in the US will probably fizzle out in a few weeks and the governing system in Washington will be praying for Trump’s defeat during November’s presidential selection.
However, Trump has unmasked the US empire to such a degree that putting the mask back on will require many more aggressive steps than he undertook during his erratic presidency.
This in turn will backfire and create a stronger backlash against America’s imperil order.
The US empire is in decline but it will take some time to reach its climax since it is a process, not an event.
Understanding the process of US decline is crucial in order to build a fairer and more equal global order.