Trump’s tremendous Iran screw up makes me think of the Suez Crisis. But then almost everything does. I may be a little obsessed with the Suez Crisis. There’s a certain poetry to it. Maybe because it’s one of those rare examples of the United States doing the right thing. But as this video explains, it is also a warning. The Suez Crisis is my choice for the end of the British Empire. It’s an example we should all be thinking of more as Donald Trump accelerates the end of the US Empire.
Video Transcript after the jump…
Hey There. Last time I talked about the way that Trump is building a massive international coalition in opposition to US interests. The controversy over the Iran deal is only the most obvious place where this is happening. His growing attempts to trash the world trade infrastructure are another example. Today I’d like to talk about why that matters.
And to do it I want to talk about the end of the British Empire. I’m writing a book at the moment called Avoiding the British Empire, and it’s about how the US Empire can avoid falling into the same traps that the British Empire did.
Historians favor many different dates for the end of the British Empire. But the one that makes the most sense to me is 1956, with an event we know as the Suez crisis. In 1956, Britain, France and Israel invaded Egypt. It was a classic piece of imperial skulduggery. Supposedly in the name of peace, Britain took back the Suez canal that Egypt had just nationalized. It looked like a success. Then the United States intervened.
This intervention in the Suez crisis didn’t involve a single US soldier. US president Eisenhower wasn’t interested in backing this 19th century play from fading European powers. He simply told the British that if they continued their occupation, the United States would no longer support the British pound. Britain had no choice but to back down.
This destroyed British prestige forever. Though only 16 British soldiers died, it was the end of the Empire. After 1956 if the British wanted to look like a big deal on the world stage, they could only do it by allying with the US. Independent British power in the world ended with the Suez crisis.
One of the goals of this channel is to fend off a similar Suez moment for the United States. Some people think China will play the role of the United States when US Empire goes the way of the British Empire. That strikes me as pretty unlikely. If absolutely everything goes right for China, for another half century, then maybe it could occupy a position similar to the United States in 1945. But that’s probably not going to happen.
No, when the US empire is told to take its ball and go home, it will be a world-wide coalition that does it. This moment should have been decades off. The US has actually done a pretty good job of providing benefits to a wide range of people, and playing natural enemies off of each other. Most of the components of any broad US alliance have more reason to be suspicious of each other than they do of us. Sane leadership from the United States should have meant decades before we had to worry about a Suez Moment. But this Iran deal issue risks creating a real international anti-US coalition today not decades from now.
It probably won’t. We might still have the power necessary to force Europe into new anti-Iran sanctions. But they wouldn’t be happy about it.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing about all of this is the fact that we’ll probably make it through a Trump term, and possibly even two without feeling the effects of this horrifically bad decision. It will be Trump’s successors that have to deal with Iran as North Korea, and a richer world that hates us.
The Man is a vandal. Make no mistake, Donald Trump is a turning point in US history. It’s not a turn for the better.
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