The Collapse Of The American Empire
The collapse of Empires is nothing new. They come and go, as any student of history can see. In ancient times, we can read of the decadence of the Roman Empire, which brought about its collapse. In more recent times, the older among us in Great Britain have witnessed the collapse of the British Empire, which included one quarter of the population of the world.
Although that Empire crumbled away from 1945 on, as colony after colony became independent, in reality its real downfall had already begun in 1917. It was in that year that Great Britain went bankrupt as a result of the Great European War that had been started in 1914, largely by the megalomaniac Kaiser and international armament manufacturers. Thus, in 1917 Great Britain had been forced to borrow money from financiers in order to continue the war, making political compromises to do so (1). 1917 and not 1914 marked the real turning-point in world history in other ways too. It was after all in 1917 that the Russian Revolution, financed from New York, took place and within a few weeks the USA had entered the European War. As a result there began what many call ‘the American Century’, nearly a hundred years of US dominance of the world, as Western Europe entered not only into its first suicide pact of 1914-1918, but also its second, from 1939-1945.
However, the collapse of the British Empire since 1945 and at more or less the same time that of other Western European Empires, like the French, the Belgian and the Portuguese, is not the most recent collapse of Empire that we have witnessed. In some ways the collapse of the Soviet Empire, from 1989 onwards, was even more dramatic. Embroiled in a pointless, imperialistic war started in Afghanistan by a senile leader, the Soviet Empire had gone bankrupt and so lost its colonies. Like the collapse of the British and other Western European Empires, the Soviet collapse also echoed the collapse of the decadent Roman Empire, which has always provided an imperial model for Imperialism.
For the bankruptcy of the Soviet Empire, like that of the British and Roman and all other Empires, was not only financial, but also spiritual and therefore moral (for spirituality is the source of morality). Almighty God allows empires because they do more good than harm. However, there always comes a decadent phase, when they begin to do more harm than good. And thus they are allowed to fall. Such was the case of the British Empire, which went from noble, even Evangelical, aims and fell all too often to base commercial greed, in its opium wars in China, its concentration camps in South Africa and in its immoral colonial class in East Africa, India and the Caribbean.
The spiritual bankruptcy of the Soviet Empire became apparent to me in 1976. Then, visiting the Soviet Empire, I saw how nobody believed in Communism. I saw how the country was ruled by cynicism and inertia. Already then the ‘Communists’ clearly did not believe in their own ideology, but were a Mafia simply out to line their pockets, boredly clapping Communist gerontocrats, who themselves did not believe in their system. Little wonder that at that time the writer Solzhenitsyn called for people there to stop living the lie (‘zhit’ ne po lzhi’). He knew that once people started living for the truth, then the whole system would collapse. That is precisely the process that began after 1985. At that time the Party no longer ruled, even in name, the Empire was simply ruled by a Mafia, an Establishment kleptocracy (‘nomenklatura’ in Sovietspeak). Fortunately, since the year 2000, that criminal class has largely been eliminated and some of them now live in exile in London (where they are sheltered by the British government) and Russia has revived.
However, it has become clear that this is not the last collapse of an Empire which we are to witness. For we are now witnessing the collapse of the American Empire. This is the very Empire, whose rise began ninety years ago. It seems that although the American Empire has outlasted the Soviet Empire, it is to last less long than any of the Western European Empires, let alone the Roman Empire. Although it began in 1917, its golden age was to be in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Then, surely, it did more good than harm and the generosity of its people became legendary and is still warmly appreciated.
However, already in the 1960s and 1970s, its power had peaked and decadence was becoming visible. Thus, it lost the Vietnam War, because, supporting a corrupt and unpopular regime, it lost the moral high ground, even against the Communist enemy. Already in the 1970s, the same Solzhenitsyn warned the Western world of its moral bankruptcy and was disbelieved. Today, the USA, supported to some extent, or at least not actively resisted, by a spineless and venal Western Europe, has started wars against Serbia, Afghanistan and Iraq, and may even want to start a war in Iran. These are all wars which it cannot win and indeed wars which it is already clearly losing. Baghdad, which means ‘God-given’, has indeed become a graveyard for poor and unknowing American soldiers, sent to die by a government for invisible ‘weapons of mass destruction’
Not only does the American Empire, led at best by incompetence, at worst by greed and lies, suffer bankrupting, unwinnable and terrorizing wars, which are begun out of hubris (the illusion of self-satisfied pride). It also has a national debt of several trillions of dollars, which is supported largely, but temporarily, by China’s purchase of US government debt. Now with its illusory debt-financed boom over, the US is plunging into a crisis, as its housing bubble has burst and it faces soaring oil prices. With a dumbed down public education system, at its worst capable of turning out some of the most ill-educated and ill-behaved children in the world (not unlike the system in the UK), with a health system intent on profit and not health, with a non-existent public transport system, with a throwaway culture of unparalleled wastefulness, with an obesity crisis without precedent in human history, with a dollar so weak that American corporations are asking to be paid in euros, there are those who wonder how much longer the American Empire can continue. And this is no time for Western European countries to gloat. Having passively, or actively bought into the illusory ‘American dream’ for so long, they too will have to help pay the cost of the real American nightmare. Western Europe is dragged down by the measure of its own compromises with the ideology of pride, that is imaginary superiority.
THE REBALANCING OF THE WORLD
Some love to despair and are already preparing for the end of the world. But this is an exaggeration. The American Empire will not collapse overnight; nor will Western Europe be dragged down very suddenly. This process is taking years, not a few days. And the collapse of the American Empire is not necessarily the end of the world, simply the end of a world. It can be positive, not negative. Just like climate change, all this is happening in order for our age to become an opportunity to overcome the excesses of the past, an opportunity to repent, to change of way of life, an opportunity to rebalance the world.
Moreover, there is now emerging an alternative to the end of this Western dream world – and this is in Russia. Although Western right-wingers, who secretly loved the Cold War, at present rant about ‘the revival of the Soviet Empire’ under Vladimir Putin, this is absurd. In Russia there is indeed a revival, but it is a revival of the Russian Empire, not of the Soviet Empire, which is long dead. Indeed, it could be argued that the Soviet Empire died as long ago as 1943, when 25 years after Lenin had ordered the massacre of the Russian Imperial Family, Stalin realized that the war against Germany was winnable only with the support of the Russian Orthodox Church, not only not a Soviet institution, but indeed the direct opposite of a Soviet institution. And that war was indeed won by the Russian, and not Soviet, Empire, for Stalin’s crass military ineptitude would have lost it.
Russia visited the Communist ideology and found it catastrophically lacking. And the Communist materialist ideology, imported into Russia mainly by those who had sadly lost their faith, is only Western materialist liberalism carried to its ultimate extreme. Therefore, as Russia discovered during its Mafia rule by Westernizers in the 1990s, Western liberalism is no alternative to Communism – it is as bankrupt as Communism, because it is only a variation of Communism. It was for this reason that in the year 2000, inside Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church, the bearer of the conscience of all the East Slav peoples, was at last freed to glorify as saints of God the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Communist Yoke, including the Imperial Martyrs. Thus began a new era, which also set Russia on a collision course with the Western world and the intolerance of its anti-Christian political correctness. This is the one-dimensional, secularist ideology of the Western right to be immoral and to justify its immorality.
In this way Russia and all the other East Slav peoples, together called Rus, have returned to their roots, Orthodoxy. We have no other ideology, no other belief. With Communism as dead as Western liberalism, the Russian Orthodox Church, with its 187 bishops, with its sister-Churches around the world in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and in Japan, in Serbia, Poland and Czechoslovakia, increasingly in Bulgaria, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Greece and Cyprus, is now laying the foundation of the new Russia, the new world. And the fact is that this new Russia has a popularity in China, in Iran and in the Middle East, whose conflict only Russian diplomacy can defuse and resolve with a justice and authority that no other nation on earth now possesses.
The Soviet Empire fell, but the Russian Empire is rising in its place. Even the most deluded are beginning to understand that the Soviet Empire was not only the gravest of errors, the most tragic episode of usurpation, the most catastrophic erring from Russia’s historic path and destiny, but also that Russia is now returning to normality and its rightful place on the world stage. It is time for those who have erred in turn, those who have acted against the Russian Church, who have sought the favour of the powers that be, out of weakness of soul, against the principles and integrity of the Orthodox Faith, to return also, whether in parts of the United States, in Paris, in Istanbul, or elsewhere, to their destiny and rightful role.
Over sixty years ago one of the greatest Russian saints, St Seraphim of Vyritsa (1866-1949), prophesied that: ‘A time will come when there will be a spiritual flowering in Russia. Many churches and monasteries will open, even those of other faiths will come to us in ships to be baptized’. I have long thought that the time will come when we in the West will be forbidden to baptize. Here is the prophecy that confirms the thought. It might be well to ask for a Russian passport now…
Priest Andrew Phillips
Written on 15/28 November 2007, as the Kursk Root Icon departs from Felixstowe to Munich, where, in the ROCOR Cathedral, His Holiness Patriarch Alexis II celebrates before Her, together with their Eminences Archbishop Mark and Bishop Agapit.