The Malta Independent 26 May 2019, Sunday

The Breakdown of American Order

Simon Mercieca Monday, 21 May 2018, 07:48 Last update: about 2 years ago

One could discredit any discourse of an impending end of American hegemony as mere speculation but French historian and demographer Emmanuel Todd, in his book After the Empire: The Breakdown of the American Order, clearly has strong views on the subject. Todd has a track record that his demographic predictions come true. When conventional wisdom stated that the USSR was an empire that was there to stay, Todd wrote a book predicting the fall of the Soviet Union. He reached this conclusion on the premise that the USSR had a high infant mortality and a low birth rate. This is a symptom of a serious demographic catastrophe and no country, particularly one behaving as a world superpower, can afford such demographic trends. What Todd declared in 1975,  became a historical fact in 1989.


In After the Empire, The Breakdown of the American Order, which is not written in an anti-America disposition, Todd argues that the USA is no longer a super power. On the contrary, she is locked in a massive disruptive phase that is causing her decline. The US is no longer stable. She is imploding.

Todd’s arguments came to mind when I read about America’s reckless behaviour these days. Immediately on taking office, the Trump administration pulled out from its international economic agreements. There was the attack on Syria. Now there has been the American decision, announced officially on Tuesday 8th May that America is withdrawing from the Iran Nuclear Deal of 2015.  These are all symptoms of a general malaise, one which did not start with Donald Trump. It began long before. Trump, in his particular approach is trying to re-address matters in the interests of the US. Indeed, he is desperately trying to stop America’s decline.

The President’s major success is the way he is dealing with North Korea. But even this success risked having a premature end after Bolton wished Kim Jong-un a similar end to Ghaddafi. Trump had  to contradict Bolton to salvage the deal.

The Korean issue cannot be separated from the Syrian or the Palestinian issue. The problem here is Iran. Clearly, Trump wants to focus only on Iran. America cannot cope with two enemy countries engaged in ‘nuclear’ rearmament simultaneously. I think that this is the main reason why America has pulled out from the Iran deal. This is only beneficial to America and Israel.

The immediate consequences are that, once again, America will again impose economic sanctions on Iran, and Europe is expected to follow. France was with the US in the attack on Syria. Now its major companies, Peugeot, Renault and Total have to withdraw from Iran. Total has already pronounced itself that it is going to do so. It cannot do otherwise. Total is a multinational company controlled by American banks. The irony of it all is that a company in China has already expressed its interest to replace Total in Iran.

Unfortunately, Macron’s answer has been weak. He is trying to find a middle way between the interests of the USA and France’s investments in Iran. Judging from Todd’s writings, he would recommend bold action that should only take into account France’s interests. 

The only country welcoming Trump’s move has been Israel. Israel has always considered Iran a threat to her survival. One needs to remember that Israel became a nuclear state in clear breach of international agreements. 

Clearly, to save America, Donald Trump is waging what can be defined as a ‘proxy’ war. In this proxy war, his only secure ally is Israel. Israel knows that without American support, the state of Israel cannot continue existing. It is a country surrounded on all fronts by enemies. The existence of Israel is the only fact that unites a highly divisive and fratricidal Muslim world. 

Therefore, it is no coincidence that Trump presents as reason for withdrawing from the Iran deal, documents produced by Israel. But no one believes Israel’s proof. On the contrary, the United Nations stated clearly that Iran is adhering to its international commitments on the nuclear deal. 

As a demographer reflecting on Iran and Iranian society, the accusations being levelled by America that Iran has been engaged in international terrorism are unfounded. Iran has never sought to engage in wars or acts of terrorism against western countries. Iran has never exported the country’s form of Islam to Europe.

It is America’s and Israel’s allies, the Saudis, who are supporting the spread of Islam in Europe. While European states do not fund religion, due to their vision of secularism, the Saudis are using their oil money to support the spread of the Sunni version of Islam at the expense of Christianity. It is a known fact that mosques in France, including those associated with radicalism, were built thanks to Saudi money.

The situation becomes even more confusing as Americans have a tendency to bring the card of human rights into play to justify their actions. They accuse Iran of being anti-gay and of holding executions in public. In terms of executions, the US has nothing to boast about. But from a demographic point of view, what is most striking, is the use of sexual issues. Iranian society is today on Western levels. The fertility rate of women in Iran is today less than that in France!  Attendance in mosques is very low in Iran. Attendance is on the same level as that of Christians in Europe. In Turkey, until Erdogan took office, the attendance in mosques was much higher.

Yet, such arguments are not enticing the European electorate. The massacre of Palestinians cannot be ignored in Europe nor can one ignore the way Americans and Israelis justified opening fire on the protestors. The Americans justified this blood-bath on the premise that Israel was being invaded and each country has a right to defend its territory. But there was no invasion in this case, as the Gaza strip is under Israel’s control. For security reasons, Israel has created a big concentration camp, where around 1 800 000 are held prisoners. This is a human time bomb. This is the only reason why Israel has now had to resort to weapons to quell the protestors.

There is only one code when it comes to geo-politics. Issues on principles or ideology no longer hold water. Geopolitics is governed solely by internal national interests. It is clear that internal interests in the Middle East are dictated by American ones.

Israel can continue with her actions with impunity. This is going to keep the American and European liberal agenda in check.  Faced with the massacre of Palestinians and the stalemate situation at the United Nations, many in Europe are starting to realize that Liberalism, like Marxism, has rendered democracy futile.  Emmanuel Todd’s advice to Europe (or better still France) is to start seeking other sources to ensure -  what he terms - stability and to safe-guard the Republican spirit.


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