The World's Silliest Empire
By Dmitry Orlov
October 06, 2015 "Information
Clearing House" - I couldn't help
but notice that over the past few weeks the Empire has become
extremely silly—so silly that I believe it deserves the title of the
World's Silliest Empire. One could claim that it has been silly
before, but recent developments seem to signal a quantum leap in its
The first bit of extreme silliness surfaced when Gen. Lloyd J.
Austin III, the head of the United States Central Command, told a
Senate panel that only a very small number of Syrian fighters
trained by the United States remained in the fight—perhaps as few as
five. The tab for training and equipping them was $500 million.
That's $100 million per fighter, but that's OK, because it's all
good as long as the military contractors are getting paid. Things
got even sillier when it later turned out that even these few
fighters got car-jacked by ISIS/al Qaeda in Syria (whatever they are
currently calling themselves) and got their vehicles and weapons
taken away from them.
previous role as as Lt. General Casey in Tim Burton's film Mars
Attacks! It was already a very silly role, but his current role
is a definite career advancement, both in terms of rank and in terms
of silliness level.
The next silly moment arrived at the UN General
Assembly meeting in New York, where Obama, who went on for 30
minutes instead of the allotted 15 (does Mr. Silly President know
how to read a clock?) managed to use up all of this time and say
absolutely nothing that made any sense to anyone.
But it was Putin's speech that laid out the Empire's silliness for
all to see when he scolded the US for making a bloody mess of the
Middle East with its ham-handed interventions. The oft-repeated
quote is “Do you understand what you have done?” but that's not
quite right. The Russian «Вы
хоть понимаете теперь, чего вы натворили?» can be more
accurately translated as “How can you even now fail to understand
what a mess you have made?” Words matter: this is not how one talks
to a superpower before an assembly of the world's leaders; this is
how one scolds a stupid and wayward child. In the eyes of the whole
world, this made the Empire look rather silly.
What happened next is that Russia announced the start of its bombing
campaign against all manner of terrorists in Syria (and perhaps Iraq
too; the Iraqi request is in Putin's in-box). What's notable about
this bombing campaign is that it is entirely legal. The legitimate,
elected government of Syria asked Russia for help; the campaign was
approved by the Russian legislature. On the other hand, the bombing
campaign that the US has been conducting in Syria is entirely
illegal. There are exactly two ways to legally bomb the territory of
another country: 1. an invitation from that country's government and
2. a UN Security Council resolution. The US has not obtained either
Why is this important? Because the UN, with its Security Council,
was instituted to prevent war, by making it difficult for nations to
engage each other militarily without all sorts of international
economic and political repercussions. After World War II it was
thought that wars are rather nasty and that something should be done
to prevent them. But the US feels that this is rather unnecessary.
When a Russian correspondent (Gayane Chichakyan from RT) asked the
White House press secretary under what legal authority the US was
bombing Syria, he at first pretended to not understand the question,
then babbled incoherently, looking rather silly. You see, the US
likes to fight wars (or rather, its military contractors like to
fight wars, because that's how they make money, and they happen to
own a big piece of the US government). But the US can't win any
wars, and that makes its entire war effort rather silly (in a
murderous sort of way).
In spite of American recalcitrance, the UN does in fact prevent
wars. Recently it prevented the US from mounting a “limited strike
against the Assad regime in response to the brazen use of chemical
weapons” (or so said Obama during his UN speech). This was helped by
a deft bit of Russian diplomacy, in the course of which Syria
voluntarily gave up its chemical weapons stockpiles. Undeterred by
diplomacy, the US squeezed off a couple of cruise missiles in the
general direction of Syria, but the Russians promptly shot them out
of the sky, triggering a major rethink at the Pentagon and, of
course, making the US look rather silly.
But once you make a fool of yourself, why stop? Indeed, Obama shows
no intention of stopping. Just about the entire audience at the UN
General Assembly knew that the Syrian government's chemical attack
on its own people never happened. The chemicals were provided by the
Saudis and were unwittingly used by the Syrian rebels on themselves.
Lying, when everybody knows that you are lying, and knows that you
know that you are lying: what could possibly be sillier?
Ok, how about continuously prattling on about “freedom and
democracy”—in the Middle East, after throwing the whole region into
chaos through their brain-dead interventions? The only voice of
reason in the US seems to be that of Donald Trump, who recently
declared that the Middle East was more stable under Saddam Hussein,
Moammar Khaddafi and Bashar al Assad. Indeed it was. The fact that
the only non-silly politician left in the US is Trump—that
bloviating moneybag—sets a rather high bar for silliness for the
country as a whole.
Prattling on about “freedom and democracy” in the Middle East is
also silly because the entire region is tribal—has been tribal for a
few thousand years, and will be tribal for a few thousand more. In
each locale, some tribe is on top. If the idea is to carve it up
into sovereign territorial units (none of which qualifies as a
nation, because each one ends up being multinational) then each
territorial unit ends up being ruled by some tribe while others
grumble. Blunder in and exploit their grumbling to bring about
“regime change”—and the whole place invariably burns down.
A case in point is Israel: it's got the top dog tribe—the Jews, and
they can shoot or bomb anybody else with impunity. It is considered
“democratic” because the Jews get to vote, which is very nice for
the Jews. The Alawites in Syria get to vote too—and vote for Bashar
al Assad—so why isn't that good enough? Because of American
hypocrisy and double standards.
It's like that right down the line. Saudi Arabia is owned by one
tribe—the House of Saud, and everybody else is disenfranchised. Iraq
used to be run by the Sunnis from Saddam Hussein's tribe, but the
Americans dislodged them, and now what remains of it is ruled by the
Shia from the south of the country while the Sunnis ran off and
joined ISIS. This can all seem like super-simple stuff, but not for
the Americans, because it runs counter to their ideology, which
dictates that the world must be remade in America's image. And so
they keep trying to do this (or keep pretending to be trying,
because results don't matter as long as their military contractors
get paid) and don't seem to care one bit that this is making them
look very silly.
And so the typical pattern has been this: the US bombs a country to
smithereens, mounts a ground invasion, sets up a puppet regime and,
promptly or not so promptly, pulls out. The puppet regime falls
apart, and then you have either ungovernable chaos or some new,
especially nasty form of dictatorship, or a little of each: a failed
state, like Libya, and Yemen, and much of Afghanistan, Iraq and
Syria. It doesn't much matter that this is the result (as long as
the military contractors are getting paid) because America's motto
seems to be "Look Silly and Carry On." Wreck a country—and it's on
to the next bombing campaign.
But this is where it all gets meta-silly: in Syria they can't even
achieve that. The Americans have been bombing ISIS for a year now;
meanwhile, ISIS has gotten stronger and occupied more territory. But
they haven't gotten around to overthrowing Assad; instead, the ISIS
boys have been busy prancing around the desert in black head rags
and white basketball shoes taking selfies, blowing up archaeological
sites, enslaving women and beheading anyone they don't like.
But now it appears that the Russians have achieved in five days of
bombing what the Americans couldn't in a year and the ISIS boys are
running away to Jordan; others want to go to Germany and ask for
asylum. This has made the Americans upset, because, you see, the
Russians were bombing “their” terrorists—the ones the Americans
recruited, armed and trained... and then bombed? I know, silly—but
true. The Russians will have none of that, because their approach
is, if it looks like a terrorist and quacks like a terrorist, then
it is a terrorist, so let's bomb it.
But it is understandable that this approach is unpopular with the
Americans: here they were carefully pumping the place full of
weapons and equipment, and bombing carefully around the edges so as
not to blow up any of it, and the Russians just blunder in and blow
it all up! The Saudis are absolutely livid, because it was they who
paid for much of it. Plus the terrorists are their own
Wahhabi-Takfiri brethren—the ones who like to declare various other
Muslims that they don't happen to like to be infidels, in direct
violation of their own Sharia law. Does that remind you of anyone?
But it doesn't appear that the US can do anything to stop the
Russians, or the Chinese who also want to get a piece of ISIS to
stuff and mount, or the Iranians and the Hezbollah fighters who are
ready to march in and mop up what remains of ISIS once the bombing
missions destroy all the war materiel it has amassed. And so it's
time for Americans to start an information war by accusing the
Russians of causing civilian casualties.
Of course, being Americans, they have to prosecute this information
war in the silliest way possible. First, you trot out your claims of
civilian casualties before the Russians fly a single sortie. Oops!
Then you stuff the social media with fake pictures of wounded
children produced beforehand by performers in white helmets paid for
by George Soros. And then, when asked for evidence, you refuse to
So far so good, but let's get even sillier. Immediately after
screaming loudly about Russians causing civilian casualties, the
Americans blow up a hospital in Afghanistan that was run by Medecins
sans Frontières, in spite of being informed of its location both
before and during the bombing. “Don't kill civilians... like this!”
Could it get any sillier than that? Of course it can: the US can
start blatantly, nakedly lying about the event: “There were Taleban
fighters hiding in that hospital!”—no, there weren't; “The Afghans
told us to bomb that hospital!”—no, they didn't. Bombing that
hospital was an actual war crime—so says the UN. Are are the
Russians now going to listen to criticism from war criminals? Don't
It's really hard to tell, but anything seems possible now. For
example, the US no longer seems to have a foreign policy: the White
House says one thing, the State Department another, the Pentagon a
third, Samantha Power at the UN pursues a foreign policy of her own
using Twitter, and Senator John McCain wants to arm Syrian rebels to
shoot down Russian planes. (All five of them? John, don't be silly!)
In response to all this confusion, America's political puppets in
the European Union are starting to twitch uncontrollably and go
off-script, because the nerve center in Washington is no longer
sending them clear signals.
How is this all going to end? Well, since we are all just being
silly, let me make a humble suggestion: the US should bomb
everything inside the Beltway in Washington, plus a few counties in
Virginia. That should significantly degrade the country's capability
for being extremely silly. And if that doesn't work—so what? After
all, it is clear that results don't matter. As long as the military
contractors are getting paid, it's all good.
Dmitry Orlov is a
Russian-American engineer and a writer on subjects related to
"potential economic, ecological and political decline and collapse
in the United States," something he has called “permanent crisis”.
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