You may believe, as pretty much everyone I ask tells me, that there was only one other choice available, namely “letting Putin win.”

By Richard RJ Eskow, The Zero Hour Report

Global events sometimes seem like a lethal chaos — violent, intermittently explosive, but without pattern or shape. Western forces seem more like terrified tank crews in the nighttime jungle, high on hallucinogens and firing blindly at anything that moves.

actual world military spending 2022

Even to their own citizens, the actions of Western governments seem to lack clear goals. Why invade Iraq? Why back Israel’s murderous violations of international law — even if, as is the case with Joe Biden, it may turn out to be political suicide? The list of seemingly incomprehensible actions goes on and on.

Campaigns like Manifest Destiny or the Cold War were tragic and murderous, but at least it was clear what they were after. What’s driving Western powers today?

The Tricontinental Institute for Social Research recently published a report on what it calls “Hyper-Imperialism.” While the report raises as many or more questions as it answers — it couldn’t do otherwise — I consider it an important step toward understand the current stage of global power.

The authors define “hyper-imperialism” as “imperialism conducted in an exaggerated and kinetic way.” The authors comment that:

“The spasmodic quality of its exertion is felt by the millions of Congolese, Palestinians, Somalis, Syrians, and Yemeni living under US militarism whose heads instinctively jerk for cover at sudden sounds.”

They say a dying animal is the most dangerous creature of them all.  The same may be true of empires.

Here are some excerpts from the report:

“Hegemony is historically lost in three stages: production, finance, and military.”

“The United States has lost hegemony in production, though it still has some remaining areas of technological hegemony, including those related to the military. It is seeing its financial hegemony challenged, though still in the very early stages …”

“Without productive power and knowing that its financial power is at a tipping point, the full suite of imperial technologies and control that the US had is no longer at its disposal, therefore it’s channeling its power through the mechanisms it has left, culture, the control of truth, and war.”

“The Palestinian people in Gaza are certainly feeling the palpable barbarity of NATO+ and the forced ‘mass consensus’ of which the Global North is capable.”

The staggering extent of Western military expenditure is illustrated in the chart below, which I have taken from the report.

actual world military spending 2022




But the report deals with non-military aggression, too:

“It is not a matter of exaggeration to say that the Global North has declared a state of open hostility and war on any section of the Global South that does not comply with the policies of the Global North. This is seen in the joint declaration on EU-NATO Cooperation published on 9 January 2023: ‘We will further mobilise the combined set of instruments at our disposal, be they political, economic, or military, to pursue our common objectives to the benefit of our one billion citizens.’”

The analogy of a wildfire came to mind as I read it. What firefighters fear most is the moment when the firestorms scattered across a landscape come together and form a mega-conflagration that is far more difficult to contain. The more common metaphor of a runaway train ( a troop train, in this case) also came to mind.

This is not to say that I was discouraged by the report. Far from it. There is a growing movement to resist the Global North in this effort, both in the West and globally. For that movement to succeed, however, it will need both information (facts and figures) and understanding (‘pattern recognition’ regarding the forces that are battering our world). This report is an excellent step forward on both fronts.

I interviewed Mikaela Nhondo Erskog, one of the report’s authors. That video is below: