Today the US Military abandoned perhaps the most strategically located air base the United States has ever controlled. More than Guam or Diego Garcia or Al Udeid, the capture of Bagram gave the Pentagon the strategic high ground in the center of Asia and, therefore, unprecedented offensive strike capabilities.
With Iran and the Middle East to the West, Russia to the North, China to the East and Pakistan to the South, American control over Bagram Air Base may be seen in retrospect as the high-water mark for US Empire. The retreat from that long sought-after catbird’s seat may eventually be seen as the beginning of the end of US hegemony.
Whether this turns out to be more like the evacuation of Saigon than the empire-ending exit of the British from India, today’s move represents a HUGE loss for America’s world-dwarfing military. Uncle Sam got his ass kicked, and it’s the second such ass-whooping since we started the Global War On Terror in the wake of a shocking, awful attack by the one country we did not bomb or invade … our oily allies in Saudi Arabia.
The murderous, torturous global war we unleashed in the wake of the Saudis’ attack did lead to a rapid expansion of US Empire … but the inherent immorality of the predicate for that expansion ultimately made the empire abroad untenable and the society at home ever-more manic and disjointed. And now we’re mired in a deep, soul-rotting denialism that’s turned our political culture into a macabre reality show.
The bloodlust, hubris and stupidity that led to wars on a failed state we helped to create (Afghanistan) and a bystander nation that posed NO THREAT (Iraq) feels today like a chicken that’s come home to roost. Sadly, that will be no consolation to the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who died over there while we here at home went to Home Depot to buy ready-to-install bathroom vanities.
The crass vanity revealed by that stark divide should force us to take a minute today to step back and look in the mirror, for our future as a polity depends upon finally seeing ourselves as the world sees us … and for who we really are. We are a decaying empire with a long ledger of unpaid debts fueled by our self-serving Exceptionalism.Tweet