Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The USA is a “Failed State”: An Interview with Paul Craig Roberts

Question: Dr. Roberts, the United States is regarded as the most successful state in the world today. What is responsible for American success?

Dr. Roberts: Propaganda. If truth be known, the U.S. is a failed state. More about that later. The U.S. owes its image of success to: (1) the vast lands and mineral resources that the U.S. “liberated” with violence from the native inhabitants, (2) Europe’s, especially Great Britain’s, self-destruction in World War I and World War II, and (3) the economic destruction of Russia and most of Asia by communism or socialism.

After World War II, the U.S. took the reserve currency role from Great Britain. This made the U.S. dollar the world money and permitted the U.S. to pay its import bills in its own currency. World War II’s destruction of the other industrialized countries left the U.S. as the only country capable of supplying products to world markets. This historical happenstance created among Americans the impression that they were a favored people. Today the militarist neoconservatives speak of the United States as “the indispensable nation.” In other words, Americans are above all others, except, of course, Israelis.

To American eyes a vague “terrorist threat,” a creation of their own government, is sufficient justification for naked aggression against Muslim peoples and for an agenda of world hegemony.

This hubristic attitude explains why among most Americans there is no remorse over the one million Iraqis killed and the four million Iraqis displaced by a U.S. invasion and occupation that were based entirely on lies and deception. It explains why there is no remorse among most Americans for the countless numbers of Afghans who have been cavalierly murdered by the U.S. military, or for the Pakistani civilians murdered by U.S. drones and “soldiers” sitting in front of video screens. It explains why there is no outrage among Americans when the Israelis bomb Lebanese civilians and Gazan civilians. No one in the world will believe that Israel’s latest act of barbarity, the murderous attack on the international aid flotilla to Gaza, was not cleared with Israel’s American enabler.

Question: You said that the U.S. is a failed state. How can that be? What do you mean?

Roberts: The war on terror, invented by the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney regime, destroyed the U.S. Constitution and the civil liberties that the Constitution embodies. The Bill of Rights has been eviscerated. The Obama regime has institutionalized the Bush/Cheney assault on American liberty. Today, no American has any rights if he or she is accused of “terrorist” activity. The Obama regime has expanded the vague definition of “terrorist activity” to include “domestic extremist,” another undefined and vague category subject to the government’s discretion. In short, a “terrorist” or a “domestic extremist” is anyone who dissents from a policy or a practice that the U.S. government regards as necessary for its agenda of world hegemony.

Unlike some countries, the U.S. is not an ethic group. It is a collection of diverse peoples united under the Constitution. When the Constitution was destroyed, the U.S. ceased to exist. What exists today are power centers that are unaccountable. Elections mean nothing, as both parties are dependent on the same powerful interest groups for campaign funds. The most powerful interest groups are the military/security complex, which includes the Pentagon, the CIA, and the corporations that service them, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, the oil industry that is destroying the Gulf of Mexico, Wall Street (investment banks and hedge funds), the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical companies, and the agri-companies that produce food of questionable content.

These corporate powers comprise an oligarchy that cannot be dislodged by voting. Ever since “globalism” was enacted into law, the Democrats have been dependent on the same corporate sources of income as the Republicans, because globalism destroyed the labor unions. Consequently, there is no difference between the Republicans and Democrats, or no meaningful difference.

The “war on terror” completed the constitutional/legal failure of the U.S. The U.S. has also failed economically. Under Wall Street pressure for short-term profits, U.S. corporations have moved offshore their production for U.S. consumer markets. The result has been to move U.S. GDP and millions of well-paid U.S. jobs to countries, such as China and India, where labor and professional expertise are cheap. This practice has been going on since about 1990.

After 20 years of offshoring U.S. production, which destroyed American jobs and federal, state and local tax base, the U.S. unemployment rate, as measured by U.S. government methodology in 1980, is over 20 percent. The ladders of upward mobility have been dismantled. Millions of young Americans with university degrees are employed as waitresses and bartenders. Foreign enrollment comprises a larger and larger percentage of U.S. universities as the American population finds that a university degree has been negated by the offshoring of the jobs that the graduates expected.

When U.S. offshored production re-enters the U.S. as imports, the trade balance deteriorates. Foreigners use their surplus dollars to purchase existing U.S. assets.

Consequently, dividends, interest, capital gains, tolls from toll roads, rents, and profits, now flow abroad to foreign owners, thus increasing the pressure on the U.S. dollar. The U.S. has been able to survive the mounting claims of foreigners against U.S. GDP because the U.S. dollar is the reserve currency. However, the large U.S. budget and trade deficits will put pressures on the dollar that will become too extreme to be able to sustain this role. When the dollar fails, the U.S. population will be impoverished.

The U.S. is heavily indebted, both the government and the citizens. Over the last decade there has been no growth in family income. The U.S. economy was kept going through the expansion of consumer debt. Now consumers are so heavily indebted that they cannot borrow more. This means that the main driving force of the U.S. economy, consumer demand, cannot increase. As consumer demand comprises 70% of the economy, when consumer demand cannot increase, there can be no economic recovery.

The U.S. is a failed state also because there is no accountability to the people by corporations or by government at any level, whether state, local, or federal. British Petroleum is destroying the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. government has done nothing. The Obama regime’s response to the crisis is more irresponsible than the Bush regime’s response to Hurricane Katrina. Wetlands and fisheries are being destroyed by unregulated capitalist greed and by a government that treats the environment with contempt. The tourist economy of Florida is being destroyed. The external costs of drilling in deep waters exceeds the net worth of the oil industry. As a result of the failure of the American state, the oil industry is destroying one of the world’s most valuable ecological systems.

Read the rest here.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary U.S. Treasury, Associate Editor Wall Street Journal, Professor of Political Economy Center for Strategic and International Studies Georgetown University Washington DC.


  1. "The US is a failed state..."?!! LOL...is there any other kind relative to human well being?
    Yes Dr. Roberts, and the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and the tides ebb and flow and man has done nothing about it!

    This is one frustrated statist who has synthesized all the political ideas from Reagan to Obama and spewed them out in an angry screed. He has failed in his life's work and can do nothing but vent.

  2. The problem is not government. We need basic rules. The problem is with the idea that bigger and bigger government is good and that bigger and bigger corporations are good. Some mistakengly feel the problem rests soley with government.

    Roberts again is doing us a favor. He continues to educate the masses about the failure of globalism. The failure of the bigger government/bigger business/bigger entities. And the failure in allowing another state dictate our foreign policy. This includes the UN.

    The concept of internationalism/globalism, et al, continues to destroy our jobs, families, way of life, etc.. It has given us elite rule- unaccountable rule. Total corruption.

  3. The right conclusion, but for the wrong reasons.

    Efinancial is correct. He's just another whiny statist whose vision of utopia turned out to be severely flawed, and now he wants to blame somebody, everybody else for it.

  4. To Efinancial:

    Better to appear ignorant and uninformed than to speak and remove all doubt.

  5. I often enjoy Dr. Roberts' insight with regards to Constitutionalism and the Central State's foreign policy maneuvers. Although I must admit I am quite befuddled with the economic input by Dr. Roberts. From my chair it reads as standard commie dreck. 'Capitalist greed' produces massive lithospheric oil pressure releases? How about all the capital investments, savings, resource allocations, and technological advancements, engineering prowess, etc., that occurred just to develop the ability to be able to think about drilling that far below sealevel. Were they all due to 'capitalist greed'? Come'on Dr. Roberts, fire a neuron before you spew such ignorant drivel.

  6. Hi Mr. Roberts,
    Why are you criticizing the president for not solving the oil problem in the ocean? Do you think this little problem is worth the attention?
    Mr. Obama has more important things to do than to take care about the oil in the ocean. First of all not all the fishes are dead yet, so why should he do something to stop the oil? Second of all Mr. Obama needs to prepare World War III by attacking Iran. This is actually the most important and urgent thing right now, because the Bilderberger gave the order to do so. Also he needs to take care about the war in Afghanistan, to ensure that the drug-dealers can grow dangerous drugs without getting interrupted by Al-Quaeda. This is really important, because these Moslem terrorist want to stop the drug-trade. This is really unforgivable. Imaging your children would not have success to drugs anymore… Mr. Obama is the chosen man to bring the change he promised: The New World Order will grow and we will die. Is this not what you always wanted? Some people call it Zionism, I call it Satanism.
    But if Mr. Obama does not reach this goal completely then just vote for the republicans again, they will do the rest…

  7. There's nothing "communistic" about Dr. Roberts' words. The word is thrown around way too much lately. He may talk of capitalistic greed,but he didn't say capitalism is bad, just that it has gone unchecked. Corporations found out that they can buy politicians in order to get them to pass policies get them higher profits. A recent ruling by the Court made it possible for these corporations to contribute as much as they want. No cap. How can any average American citizen top that?

    We all know voting is a sham so no matter how discontent we get with our "representatives" they can still be voted in again and again because all you have to do is have some corporate sponsor give you oodles of money to create ads full of foul mouthed lies and propaganda without actually saying what you will DO for the people. And the corporate sponsor will do it as long as the "representative" keeps supporting policies that benefit the corporation and not their constituents.

    Then we have the same corporations buying up our media outlets so we get severely filtered information and "journalists" telling us who to vote for.

    THEN the corporations found out they can make even more money through war. So they find a boogey man to fight and we are now in an endless war because we aren't fighting a state, we are fighting people our own government created. We have the CIA training a group of misfits to fight another country then, when we throw them out with the bath water and create policies and support regimes that resulted in the degradation of their people, they fought back. And we act shocked about it. They have cunningly created a perpetual cycle of war with no end in sight because we blow up people indiscriminately and those that are left alive join with the "enemy" to give us a piece of their mind. We still act shocked and horrified and rationalize it as them hating us for our freedom. Quit kidding yourself. They hate us because we stand by and watch and laugh and encourage it more. They hate us because, as Dr. Roberts said, we are full of ourselves. And some of the comments prove this.

  8. Dr Roberts is 100% correct in his assessment.The US Government, does not respect National or International laws.He has correctly pointed out the Sectors the US Businesses concentrate on.This is what Globalists do for forming ONE WORLD TOTALITARIAN GOVERNMENT.