The US Is Discrediting All Arguments For Why It Should Lead The World

Caitlin Johnstone
5 min readMay 28, 2024

Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):

One by one, the US empire is discrediting all of its own arguments for why it should lead the world. All the violence, tyranny and injustice it claims to be keeping at bay with its globe-dominating leadership is being inflicted by the empire itself, in more and more brazen and egregious ways each year.

The entire premise behind the empire’s containment strategies, military encirclement and cold war brinkmanship with China is that obviously the PRC needs to be stopped from rising and displacing the US as the global leader, and arguments about the need to control Russia and Iran by any means necessary arise from the same premise. These arguments are accepted as a given by many on the basis that the US is a free and democratic country which promotes liberal values and opposes authoritarianism, so of course it’s better to have the US in charge of world affairs.

But every point which could be used to bolster that argument is being rapidly eroded by the US itself. The US is making the world a much more violent and dangerous place. The US is assaulting freedom by perpetrating and facilitating more and more injustice and authoritarianism. The US is undermining international law by constantly violating it. Every argument that could be made for the merits of US global leadership gets weaker by the day.

As the US backs Israel in routinely committing horrifying massacres in Gaza, it’s clear that the US cannot claim to be making the world a more peaceful and harmonious place.

As the US and its allies recklessly ramp up nuclear brinkmanship with Russia over the failing proxy war in Ukraine, it’s clear that the US cannot claim to be making the world safer.

As the US denounces the International Criminal Court for applying for arrest warrants of Israeli officials, and supports Israel in dismissing the orders of the International Court of Justice to cease its assault on Rafah, it’s clear that the US has discredited its claim as the upholder of the “rules-based international order”.

As online censorship and banned pro-Palestine slogans are increasingly normalized throughout the US-led western world, it’s clear that the US has discredited its claim to being a protector of the freedom of speech.

As the US inflicts violent police crackdowns on anti-genocide protesters on university campuses nationwide, it’s clear that the US has discredited its claim to being a protector of the freedom of assembly.

As the US backs Israel in murdering a historic number of journalists and shutting down Al Jazeera, while itself imprisoning Julian Assange for journalistic activity exposing US war crimes, it’s clear that the US has discredited its claim to being a protector of the freedom of the press.

As the US supports its proxies in Kyiv canceling elections in Ukraine while providing military assistance to most of the world’s dictatorships, it is clear that the US has discredited its claim to being a major promotor of democracy.

Whatever argument you could come up with for why the world benefits from US leadership, there are major stories in the news right now which soundly discredit such claims. The evidence is in, and that argument has been lost.

This is not some empty rhetorical point I’m just making to show that my worldview is better than those of the mainstream western empire apologist; it is extremely relevant to present and future developments of unparalleled importance to the survival of our species.

The US empire has been simultaneously ramping up aggressions against China and Russia as well as in the middle east with increasing recklessness that appears bound for a massive military confrontation with at least one major nuclear-armed state at some point in the coming years. It is doing so because the rise of China means US planetary hegemony will be on its way out the door unless something significant occurs, and the empire managers appear to have calculated that it’s worth risking the life of every terrestrial organism to force that something significant to occur.

The only possible argument that this is a sane or reasonable thing to do is that the world is better off with US leadership than without it. But as we just discussed, every possible premise of that claim has been soundly discredited by the actions of the United States. And it’s only getting worse.

This to me makes it abundantly clear that the world would be better off without US leadership.

Whenever I say this I get empire apologists in my comments furiously arguing that if the US doesn’t dominate our planet then China will, but there’s no evidence that China seeks to supplant the US as a unipolar planetary hegemon, and the assumption that there must always be one unipolar power dominating the globe is ahistorical nonsense. In all of human history there has been only one unipolar planetary hegemon, namely the US empire, and it didn’t exist until the fall of the Soviet Union in the nineties.

It is not rational to believe that something which has only happened one single time in all of history must be the norm for our world. Multipolarity has been the norm, not the exception, throughout all the rest of our time on this planet prior to the emergence of US global supremacy some three decades ago.

None of this is to suggest that a multipolar world will solve all our problems or give rise to peace and harmony. But it is clear that accepting the emergence of such a world is preferable to a world in which the US empire seeks to suppress and delay its arrival with rapidly increasing amounts of violence and aggression, up to and including ramping up for World War Three and playing insane games of chicken with armageddon weapons.

The US empire is too crazy and sick to be allowed to rule the world anymore. There is no argument to be made that the benefits outweigh the costs. There is no reason the world’s great powers cannot come together and collaborate toward a healthy world for the benefit of everyone, if humanity can just shrug off its primitive impulse to dominate and control.

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