Why do empires fall? Sometimes, it’s easy to identify a cause. Whether led by the Kaiser or by Hitler, Germany’s Second and Third Empires were destroyed by world wars. Germany’s ambition was simply too great, its militarism too dominant, its policies too harsh to win long-term converts, its leaders too blinded by the pursuit of power, its enemies too many to conquer or otherwise neutralize.
Other imperial falls are more complex. What caused Rome’s fall? (Leaving aside the eastern part of the empire, which persisted far longer as the Byzantine Empire.) Barbarians and their invasions, say some. The enervating message and spirit of Christianity, said the historian Edward Gibbon. Rome’s own corruption and tyranny, say others. Even lead in Roman water pipes has been suggested as a contributing cause to Rome’s decline and fall. Taking a longer view, some point to the rise of Islam in the 7th century and its rapid expansion into previously Roman territories as the event that administered the final coup de grâce to a dying empire.
In recent months Donald Trump has shown no hesitation to comment critically on political developments in Iran, Pakistan, Venezuela, and North Korea. He supported protests in Iran against "the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime." He deplored the many years of US military aid to Pakistan, for which "they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. . . . No more!" His criticisms of the Maduro government in Venezuela were accompanied by the threat to use the "military option," reminiscent of what Trump had once said when talking about Mexico. And of course his personal insults directed at North Korea’s Kim Jong-un are now legendary.
Such interference is now taken for granted, for in Trump’s world, relying on diplomacy and abiding by the principle of noninterference in others’ affairs have no currency in Washington. Of course trying to destabilize other countries, even to the point of seeking regime change, has been part and parcel of US foreign policy for a long time. The difference now may be the constancy of Trump’s interference, and the undiplomatic language he uses.
Confirming that the US military presence inside Syria had little to do with fighting ISIS, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson unveiled in detail today the real US strategy for Syria: overthrow of the Assad government.
In a speech at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and introduced by President George W. Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary Tillerson vowed that the United States military would continue to occupy Syrian territory until three conditions are met:
First: ISIS must be destroyed.
This condition is made all the more problematic by the well-reported fact that it is the United States government that at every turn seems to pull ISIS chestnuts out of the fire. From handing them weapons to allowing them to escape when they are trapped in places like Raqqa, it almost seems like the US does not want to really see the end of ISIS.
While ISIS has been defeated in Syria, the US military has no plans to leave the country. In fact, the Pentagon is building new, permanent military bases on Syrian soil. But the Syrians don’t want American troops on their soil and it’s pretty illegal to put your troops into another country without permission. So why stay? To “counter Iranian influence in the region.” But how did Iran get so much influence in the region? The US invasion of Iraq and the US destabilization of Syria were a shot in the arm to Iran’s influence in the region. So if US interventionism in the Middle East keeps making Iran stronger and the US claims to want Iran to be weaker, why does Washington keep intervening in the region? We try to sort it out in today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
President Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review, due next month, is expected to call for the development of new, “low yield” nuclear weapons and a lowering of the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons. Is the Pentagon still fighting the Cold War? We discuss in today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
I am embarking on a world tour that is set to take me to several countries in five continents, starting Feb 20. I am taking advantage of the publishing of my book The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story to shed light on a new take on the history of the Palestinian people, one in which the refugees are the core theme. The Last Earth is not the story of the past only, but the present and the future as well. I hope you like the book and come to see me when I arrive to speak at your city.
I am scheduled to speak in the US, Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. Please see below for more details about each specific event. The list will be updated frequently.
The Last Earth
The book which is published by Pluto Press has been described as a “fierce and strenuous challenge to the traditional approach to history in which Palestinians, mostly refugees, are the true protagonists.”