Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 16, 2008

Some Links on the U.S. Empire Demise

Currently I am rereading Emmanuel Todd's After the Empire: The Breakdown of the American Order. Written in 2001, Todd's argument predicting the downfall of the U.S. empire is mostly an economic/industrial one. I am not sure yet if he is right or not. The U.S. has a remarkable ability to rebound.

But in the context of rereading the book I collected a few recent links I want to share.

Treasuries Riskier Than Bunds, Default Swaps Show

The risk of losses on U.S. Treasury notes exceeded German bunds for the first time ever amid investor concern the subprime mortgage crisis is sapping government reserves, credit-default swaps prices show.

US economy loses its No 1 spot

The US economy lost the title of "world's biggest" to the euro zone this week as the value of the US dollar slumped in currency markets. Taking the gross domestic product of both economies in 2007, the combined GDP of the 15 countries which use the euro overtook that of the US when the European currency surged to a record high of more than $1.56 per euro overnight.

NASA Wary of Relying on Russia - Moscow Soon to Be Lone Carrier of Astronauts to Space Station

In 2 1/2 years, just as the [international space] station gets fully assembled, the United States will no longer have any spacecraft of its own capable of carrying astronauts and cargo to the station, in which roughly $100 billion is being invested. The three space shuttles will be retired by then, because of their high cost and questionable safety, and NASA will have nothing ready to replace them until 2015 at the earliest.

For five years or more, the United States will be dependent on the technology of others to reach the station, which American taxpayers largely paid for. To complicate things further, the only nation now capable of flying humans to the station is Russia, giving it a strong bargaining position to decide what it wants to charge for the flights at a time when U.S.-Russian relations are becoming increasingly testy.

The reports of the death of the U.S. empire may be exaggerated. But the evidence of some serious illness is piling up.

Posted by b on March 16, 2008 at 19:40 UTC | Permalink


Posted by: Arnold Carlyle | Mar 16 2008 22:03 utc | 1

So Arnold, empire would be exactly who? The guy in the car?

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 17 2008 0:23 utc | 2

The story about NASA is interesting in the context of American rebounds. Anyone who has been following commercial space recently would be aware of SpaceX, a company set up by Elon Musk with the goal of acheiving affordable access to space. They may be getting close with their Dragon space capsule currently under development and their Falcon range of rockets getting close to commercial success. So NASA might not have a manned spaceship, but the US could still have manned space program, abeit a private one. Not a bad trade off.

Posted by: swio | Mar 17 2008 0:26 utc | 3

Anna, wouldn't life be sweet if all we had to do was swat Bush.Con with our handbag?
JPMorgan just agreed to buy Bear Stearns for $2 a share what was $30 a share Friday.
93% markdown from Friday's already soldoff price. Lehman Brothers will be next,
then WaMu, etc. I'll take suggestions for who the lady crossing really represents.

The lady is US, her handbag is our ATM line to the Fed they're bumping frantically
into the midnight hours, guy in the car is Wall Street, and his airbag, our SSTF.

It's funnier as a video than it will play out in real life, creeping through the
international alphas who will rip our institutions apart like a MiG-31 on SAM-e.

Posted by: Arnold Carlyle | Mar 17 2008 0:54 utc | 4

When even on sunday the Fed doesn't sleep;

WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said new steps announced by the central bank Sunday should help squeezed financial institutions get cash infusions_ a fresh effort to provide relief to a spreading credit crisis that threatens to plunge the economy into recession.

The central bank approved a cut in its lending rate to financial institutions to 3.25 percent from 3.50 percent, effective immediately, and created another lending facility for big investment banks to secure short-term loans.

Just what we need, a central bank that never rests. I wonder if it had something to do with this;

JPMorgan Chase said Sunday it will acquire rival Bear Stearns for a bargain-basement $236.2 million β€” or $2 a share β€” a stunning collapse for one of the world's largest and most storied investment banks.

Both from yahoo news. (sorry, not good with hyperlinks)

So yeah, I'd say if the Fed has to do this a couple more times, then things are not all peaches and cream for the empire. Probably not the end, but perhaps the beginning of the end. I suspect 40 years from now the U.S. will be viewed quite differently than it is today.

Posted by: Lysander | Mar 17 2008 1:09 utc | 5

@ lysander

not sure if i got my maths right. if so, then $3407.185 million dollars just vanished over the weekend (taken fridays price for one BS share, $30,85 - last januar it was at $169).


anyway, without much doubt, this is just a starting point...

Posted by: snafu | Mar 17 2008 1:36 utc | 6

MindTrap reminds US that the Bush.Con war for control of global oil supplies, to
limit them to below oil demand, isn't the only beneficiary. Costs for materials
for construction, steel and concrete in particular, is increasing even faster:

Have you visited Dubai or Beijing lately? Oil-drug dealers are building palaces
with the wealth they've siphoned out of US, with no more concern for our welfare
than a smack dealer has for a junkie. Everyone eats oil, it's better than food.

Posted by: Arnold Carlyle | Mar 17 2008 1:36 utc | 7

Cracks. Little cracks and then bigger and bigger cracks.

Posted by: R.L. | Mar 17 2008 2:48 utc | 8

outside of the USA, most people have no clue what this talk of "American Empire" is supposed to mean. What they know is that the USA has lots of bombs & missiles and keeps voting for George. And for them, why the Yankees like George, is the un-answerable question.

but they know, theres life after George. Theres plenty of life to come after the eight-year Georgian imperial-time-out.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Mar 17 2008 3:11 utc | 9

b, you might have picked the wrong time to ask for a new puter...

this is not schadenfreude, but as the Onion so eloquently put it, our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over.
Hope annie got her property sold by now, has anyone hear from her??/

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 17 2008 5:25 utc | 10

We're a pretty bad dream for the World as we are now.but we're going to be their worst nightmare as a Third World Country with most of the Nukes!

Posted by: R.L. | Mar 17 2008 5:37 utc | 11

Paulson to all of US, "Call it...friendo."

Posted by: Arnold Carlyle | Mar 17 2008 5:44 utc | 12

Heh! Reading Pravda in the old USSR must have been easier, or so people said (as it would be in a command economy.)

Besides Bernanke. Bears. etc. :

On health, employment, diet and hunger, pollution, violence, education, child care, household income, it is crystal clear that the US is sinking, has been so for a some time, and that the Bush admin, while they have gutted, and I mean gutted, Gvmt. agencies that were models for the world, such as the CDC, and his admin. is culpable, problems pre-date Bush. The sinking is covered up with cherry picked numbers, manipulations, tricks of the trade, rousing speeches, past glory, etc.

The energy gap (import and its cost ..); trade (im-) balance; outsourcing of the production of consumer goods and some services by the US and others; control and β€˜war’, thus investing in enormous military expenses to control trade and resources ...which is what it is ultimately about, be it oil, water, cheap computers, or hi-ply socks, be it done by war ships in the Gulf, bombs on Iraq, slave labor in prisons or China, or arm twisting at the UN by Bolton...the calculation is off. A smart CEO would do it in three weeks. And many now understand this.

CDC = center for disease control> official site

Posted by: Tangerine | Mar 17 2008 15:04 utc | 13

cheney is clearly quite, quite, quite mad

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 17 2008 23:31 utc | 14

I'm a little bothered that Cheneys madness does not rise as much of a reaction from me as it would have before. On the contrary, all I see are the hordes & hordes of people lined up to kiss his feet in gratitude for the grace & magnimony he has brought to Iraq.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Mar 18 2008 0:42 utc | 15


perhaps we are blind to his beastly graces

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 18 2008 1:25 utc | 16

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