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Is the cold war over yet? (if we won, why are we dying?)

[reprinted from Yahoo tech|ticker]

America Won the Cold War But Now Is Turning Into the USSR, Gerald Celente Says

There’s a lot of talk these days about America being an empire in decline. Gerald Celente, director of the Trends Research Institute, goes a step further, arguing America is following a similar path as the former Soviet Union.

“While the many glaring differences between the two political systems have been exhaustively publicized – especially in the U.S. – the glaring similarities [go] unnoticed,” Celente writes in The Trends Journal, which he publishes.

In the accompanying video, Celente describes some of these similarities, including:

A rotten political system: He compares politicians (Democrats and Republicans alike) to “Mafioso” and says campaign contributions are really thinly disguised “bribes and payoffs.”

Crony capitalism: Like in the USSR of old, Celente laments that so much of America’s wealth (93%) is controlled by such a small portion of its population (10%). Owing to that concentration of wealth, the government makes policies designed to reward “the bigs” at the expense of average citizens (see: Bailouts, banks).

Military-industrial complex: The USSR went bankrupt fighting the cold war and Celente fears the U.S. is “squandering its greater but still finite resources on a gargantuan defense budget, fighting unwinnable hot wars and feeding an insatiable military stationed on hundreds of bases worldwide.”

As with many observers, Celente thinks America will suffer the same fate in Afghanistan as the USSR, the British Empire, Alexander the Great and all others who’ve ventured into the “graveyard of empires.”

The irony, of course, is that while America defeated Soviet Communism and won the Cold War, perhaps our greatest threat today comes from China and its booming state-controlled economy.



  1. ZJD wrote:

    Our greatest threat today does not come from China; it comes from those within this country who embrace ideologies that lead us ever more towards decline.

    If anyone is interested in a sobering analysis on this subject, I recommend reading the New York Times Bestseller “American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century.” It was written in 2006 by Kevin Phillips, a former Republican strategist and now political analyst.

    He draws many economic and sociopolitical parallels between the current U.S. empire and the former empires of the Dutch (16th & 17th centuries) and the British (18th & 19th century). The first part of the book discusses the role that oil has played in the emergence of America as a world power and its continuing influence on our foreign policy (think Iraq). The second part discusses American religiosity and the intertwined nature of Christian fundamentalism with the political right, which reached a peak during the last administration. Lastly he covers our economy, focusing on the rise of the financial services sector over the past few decades, along with soaring debt. It’s a strange feeling to read something from 2006 which so uncannily foreshadows what happened in 2008.

    Sorry to sound like another glowing review, but it really is a good book if you’re interested in that sort of in-depth analysis.

    Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 11:53 am | Permalink
  2. Don wrote:

    I agree with each of the three main points. Politics have escaped the world of reason and prudence on all sides. Clear, rational thought is so rarely heard that, even when spoken, it isn’t recognized by the vast majority of those following the political circus we’ve become.

    Robert Reich adds his two cents in the SF Chronicle today with regards to the wealthy and the middle class and the financially elite at . He states that the wealthiest 1% of Americans take in 23.5% of the income!!! The middle and lower classes in this country feel powerless because, in many ways, they are. Why on God’s green earth should a hedge fund manager make $1 billion a year?

    I know many disagree with me, but I believe that the decline of the US started under the Reagan administration. The government made the largest non-wartime expansion in its history up to that time primarily due to military spending. This ramp-up of military might producing programs is partially credited for the bankrupting of the USSR as it tried to keep up. Unfortunately, the US failed to remember that was why it was spending the money and has kept doing it to this day to maintain this military juggernaut we’ve become. A new F-35 fighter? Approximately $200 million per copy according to Center for Defense Information (includes all the development costs amortized over the expected number of aircraft produced).

    In many ways I agree with ZJD. I believe the biggest threat to the US is internal, not external. China is definitely a major player on the world political and economic stage, but if we can’t our act together, our slide to 2nd and 3rd and 4th place in the world’s economies will be, in many ways, self-induced.

    Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Permalink
  3. Mad Hatter wrote:

    I for one do not disagree with you Don. I firmly believe that if there is an Edward Gibbon in our future, he will place the beginning of “The Decline and Fall of the U.S. Empire” squarely at the feet of Reagan. I had hoped that middle class America would recover from the spell he cast on the nation and begin undoing all of the damage that he has caused. Fat chance…even Obama tried to present him as a president that he wanted to model himself after.

    Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Permalink
  4. pat andrews wrote:

    Well said, Don (et alia) I feel that at this time, when we had hoped for a liberal answer to “. . . those within this country who embrace ideologies that lead us ever more towards decline”(ZJD), that the disease of Reaganomics has infested the current administration as well. They only pretend to be liberal when the “plate is passed!”

    Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Permalink
  5. patriotsgt wrote:

    Interesting analysis and many good points by all.
    I think it is time to seriously determine how much world military presence is enough. I think 65 years in Germany and Japan, and coming up on 60 years in Korea is enough time. Not to mention Kosovo, Serbia, Egypt and many other small outposts around the world. Bring them home; spend the money on debt reduction and fixing our broken entitlements and education programs. I am not advocating a complete “turtle in the shell” policy like the 1930’s but with our capability we can react from our own shores well enough.
    The next major issue voters push for should be term limits for politicians. It was never intended to be Senator or congressman for life. It was intended that individuals would answer the “call to service”, drop their jobs, serve their nation, and then return to the private sector. Seats for life only grow corruption and the temptation to abuse power. 12 years max for Senators, 10 years max for Reps.

    I see the references to Reaganomics, and I can’t help but compare that to Biden’s and the DNC’s current strategy to run on the “it’s still Bush’s fault” platform this fall. Since the end of Bush #1 in 92 (18 yrs), we have had a Democrat President for 10 of them. When do we acknowledge that we own some or most of our current situation pointed out by many. I don’t think Americans are so dimwitted to believe that it’s still all Bush’s or Reagan’s fault for all our woes. When we start the conversation with “it’s …..fault” the conversation is already over.

    Monday, August 23, 2010 at 7:27 am | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    There you go with the false equivalence thing again.

    Monday, August 23, 2010 at 9:11 am | Permalink
  7. tenthirtytwo wrote:

    Personally, I find the parallels between the current US military and the Revolutionary War era British army to be quite ironic.

    The British army was a fearsome beast. Yet we beat it largely by using guerrilla tactics and the landscape. In spite of their numbers, in spite of their funding, they still lost to, more or less, a rag tag bunch.

    Now look at us today. Surely our military power is a fearsome beast. Who would be dumb enough to stand up to us? Nobody. And look what has happened. We are sunk in military quagmires fighting against guerrilla tactics by people who are using the landscape against us.

    Our billions of dollars are unable to win a victory against a dedicated army of poor people fighting in tattered rags using AK-47s. History can only teach you lessons if you are willing to listen.

    Monday, August 23, 2010 at 10:19 am | Permalink
  8. Don wrote:

    @ PatriotSgt – Your first point if well taken. We spend $billions each year on our world-wide network of bases and many of them are in countries in which there is no plausible threat to American security. Some are under the umbrella of NATO or other bilateral security agreements. We are slowly pulling out of some countries (e.g. Japan) but seem to do so only at the insistence of the host country.

    As to my comments about the start of America’s fall starting under the Reagan administration – just to be clear – I don’t blame Reagan for all the failures and foibles that have occurred in the last 30 years. I look at his administration as the starting point of the growth of the deficit, the mindless spending on the military, and the idea that progress means burying our heads in the sand and looking to the past for the supposedly perfect fix. I also look at the Reagan era as the start of the questioning of science when it doesn’t fit someone’s ideological purpose.

    Monday, August 23, 2010 at 11:16 am | Permalink
  9. patriotsgt wrote:

    Don, don’t get me wrong either, i’m none to pleased with conservative performance during this time. Conservatives are as guilty as any for riding the good times into the ground and not exercising forsight. Thinking our 90’s period of relative stability and growth would continue forever with out adjustments was foolhardy. The republicans total collapse of fiscal foresight in the first 4 years of Bush 43 is inexcusable, they should know better or so they’d like us to believe now. I don’t expect liberal democrats to practice fiscal conservatism so how can I be upset with them.

    I do think that all our problems as a society are gov’t issues. The govt would like to take responsibility for everything from education to finances, but in my opinion they shold not. (will save education and finances are for another blog topic)

    Question – does anyone know the historical percents of wealth controlled by population for say 1935, 1925, 1910, 1900, and earlier? If I had to guess I would say either these statistics have remained relatively the same or we have improved slightly over time.

    Monday, August 23, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Permalink
  10. Iron Knee wrote:

    According to the article linked to by Don ( — by a former US Secretary of Labor), until 1980 the richest 1% of Americans controlled no more than 9% of the national income. After that things went crazy, and they now control 23.5%. Likewise, in the 70’s CEOs took home 40 times the salary of their average workers, but it has grown to the point where they now average 350 times! And even during the current recession, the top 25 hedge-fund managers took in an average of $1 Billion each (and their marginal income tax rate was only 17%, far less than the typical family’s rate).

    Monday, August 23, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Permalink
  11. patriotsgt wrote:

    IK- Thats exactly why I would not have given 1 cent in taxpayer bailout. When I heard wall streets excuse (about the high pay and bonuses) that all the talented finance people would go somewhere else to work, I laughed. Where are they going to work and make that kind of money, Cuba? We should have let them fail, but on the advice of Paulson and Geithner (both big bank wall street insiders themselves) what do we expect. Bush and Obama appointed them so they’re both guilty as well, and congress approves the fed chairman. Nothing is too big to fail, because there is too much money to be made. Someone would figure out how to save them or start again.
    IK – thanks, anybody have any historical pre WWII data?

    Monday, August 23, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Permalink
  12. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Taken from:

    “Here are some dramatic facts that sum up how the wealth distribution became even more concentrated between 1983 and 2004, in good part due to the tax cuts for the wealthy and the defeat of labor unions: Of all the new financial wealth created by the American economy in that 21-year-period, fully 42% of it went to the top 1%. A whopping 94% went to the top 20%, which of course means that the bottom 80% received only 6% of all the new financial wealth generated in the United States during the ’80s, ’90s, and early 2000s.”

    And not sure if I saw this on this site (probably), but and . No really, we obviously need more tax cuts for the rich and less capital gains tax. Really.

    Monday, August 23, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Permalink