The crisis and chaos engulfing the Middle East and Ukraine is evidence of US imperial decline, as Washington learns the harsh lesson that no empire lasts forever.
In the wake of the Vietnam War – the end of which was marked by news footage of US personnel and a select few Vietnamese collaborators being evacuated from the roof of the US Embassy in Saigon in 1975 – the United States entered a prolonged period of decline when it came to its ability to embark on major military operations.
For all the massive destructive power in its arsenal, the Vietnamese had exposed US imperialism as a giant with feet of clay. The name given to this period of hard power retreat was the ‘Vietnam syndrome’ and lasted from 1975 to 1991, when the US and an international coalition embarked on the First Gulf War to force Iraqi troops out of Kuwait.
We are witnessing a similar period of US imperial decline now with regard to Washington’s inability to stage large-scale military operations. It arrived as a consequence of the failed occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, both of which achieved nothing except the eruption of terrorism and extremism across the region, and by extension the world.