The Empire Feeds Off Of The Republic – Dr. Michael Parenti

What the military industrial complex in the US learned from Yugoslavia was that they could fight an entire war and not lose a single soldier.

This emboldened those who use war as a means to advance the interests of the empire, but the Empire feeds off the Republic for its financing and as a source for cannon fodder and the Republic is now in decay and falling apart. According to Dr. Michael Parenti.

This is John Robles. I’m speaking with Dr. Michael Parenti, he is a Yale graduate, a noted scholar and the author of several books including The Face of Imperialism. This is part 3 of an interview in progress.


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Robles: Israel is still receiving much of its oil from Iran, you know that right?

Parenti: I didn’t know that, no, sorry.

Robles: Yeah, Iran is still, to this day as we are speaking, Iran is still the key supplier of oil and gas to Israel.

Parenti: Yeah, but the Israelis huh… well, Netanyahu didn’t sound like he wanted to be nice, nice with Iran. It didn’t sound that way at all. He was talking about a tougher line and the like.

Robles: Well, sure, they wanted to…

Parenti: There was a lot of people here talking about bombing Iran. They don’t … they would not … you see they’ve learnt from Yugoslavia – they could fight a whole war and not lose a single soldier. That’s what’s very unpopular in the US, when American soldiers are killed, and “Oh why are they getting killed there; what are we doing over there”, and all that?

But they could go in now and there have been people, including some Russian commentators, who said: “Well they will never go into Iran. It is a hilly country, it is twice as big as Iraq, it’s a bigger population. They would need a million troops”.

Well, they had no intention of occupying Iran, but they can use the model of Yugoslavia which is simply – to bomb it. They have about 10,000 targets: every warehouse, every utility, every power line, every military base, everything. The air force, the US air force is absolutely ready to do that.

Now the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which are the top military leaders of the Air Force, the Navy, the Army and the Marines, they all got together and most of the other people, aside from the Air Force, were very lukewarm and cool. Chief of the Joint Chiefsof Staff was Admiral Mike Mullen and he said: “What are we going to bomb Iran for? It is 80 million people, every one of them is different from each other, they are all human beings. What is the issue? What is this all about?”

And there was one general who also came out and said: “Why war with Iran? What the heck is that all about?”

So, I think by the way, that had an influence on Obama, along with the fact that the American people did not want to bomb, did not want to go into a war. But the American people did not want to go into a war in Yugoslavia, they didn’t want to go into a war in Iraq. But what happens is they play on the fear, and they say: “Oh, these people, oh Iraq – Saddam Hussein is worse than Hitler, he has these secret weapons of mass destruction. He could destroy the whole world.” And Milošević was another Stalin or something. They made up these bugaboo fright stories and a lot of people on the left even went along with that one.

Robles:Well, and they tried to do the same thing with President Putin here.

Parenti:Yeah, he’s another Stalin, yeah. They demonize him, yeah. That he is a power, that he is a dictator, and he’s a power guy and all that, yeah.

Robles:Yeah,I mean, he has done more for Russia since, and he has actually implemented policies that have helped Russia, and have you know growing the BRICS countries. He is consistently called for rule of law, and cooperation and diplomacy in every conflict, and they don’t like that in Washington.

Parenti:Right, yes. Well, John, I think we’ve pretty much covered the…

Robles:Everything in the world I think.

Parenti:Yes, I think we’ve come up with all the problems and solutions of the entire world and right now we will just leave it to other people to help.

Robles:What about solutions? Maybe we can finish up with what…

Parenti:”Solutions” is to organize ourselves and really the Occupy Wall Street, and all of those things were good, except they were too anarchistic. There were a lot of people, “Oh let’s build a lot of tents, we’ll make a little soup, and the tables here, and we’ve got a little mini-library here, and we’re occupying”.

No, we need leaders, we need the organization, that is what the Egyptian students realized when they got rid of Mubarak, they said: “We need leaders. We need organization”.

I said: “Oh, thank God, it is not just anarchists who think you just get rid of the state and you make nice, nice, nice with each other, and dancing around”.

But we also have to reach the American people and tell them what is in your interest – not just a moralistic argument, not just an argument to say: “Look, look it is more decent if we help the right people in these countries and not the IMF or this or that”. But also tell them how this is not in their interest.

Look, the Empire feeds off the Republic. Our Republic is going down. You asked me at the beginning of this interview: “Is the empire in decay, and all that?”

And I wanted to say, (no, the empire), I did say to you: “The empire is stronger and more better funded, bigger with forces than ever, more victories and all”.

But the Republic is going down the tubes, our bridges are falling apart. They are closing libraries here; the public schools are getting abolished. We have levels of hidden unemployment that they don’t talk about. People who have given up looking for jobs so they’re taken off the unemployment rolls as if they are employed, but they are not employed.

See the unemployment only is for how many people are looking for jobs and don’t have jobs. So if you’ve given up, because you’ve been looking for six years, and you’re in poverty and you don’t have food security, you can’t reach the end of the month with enough money for food and so forth. There are millions of people like this now, people who lost their homes and all that.

So, why? Because that money has to be used to go bomb people in Somalia and in Yugoslavia, and name all the countries, you can name them quicker than I can: Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, etc.

Robles:Doctor, if you could, just please tell me, humor me here, I’d just like to hear you say who is behind all this? Who is destroying everything?

Parenti:It would be the plutocracy, it would be these people, we know their names: Dick Cheney, George Bush, Barack Obama. There’re shadings, they have little differences among themselves, those differences are almost always about strategy and tactics, they are not about the basic scenario of what you ask anyone of them, ask any Barack Obama or anyone in his political household, and he’ll say; he just said few months back: “I believe in nuclear power. I’m for nuclear power”. He looked at, and he said: ‘I’m for nuclear power’ and gave a big smile.

I said, “Oh, nuclear power, great, nuclear”.

By building another nuclear power plant he is going to spend $40 billion on these dangerously, dangerously, as we see with Fukushima right now, we are still facing dangers that haven’t been resolved.

And so those are the people, and their instruments are the highly organized instruments of the state, the CIA, the National Security State, the military. Do they have a one fixed group? No. But they have a keen understanding of their own class interests, they most certainly do.

Robles:I think for me, I was pretty much looking for maybe puppet masters manipulating Obama and I thought maybe he…he was awell-intentioned guy who had some higher moral ideals…

Parenti:Oh you had a wait till then. Oh no God, yeah. No, he is a hypocrite all the way through. He just reaches out and loves the Conservatives and just keeps talking, just making compromises with them. He goes into making compromises even before they start any kind of negotiation about something. He is a real disappointment, I must say.

Robles:What did you expect from him, if you could?

Parenti:OhI expected nothing. I expected nothing. But I hoped, I was saying: ‘I hope this guy surprises me and proves me to be wrong’. But he didn’t, he didn’t do that. He proved me to be right and that makes me sorry. He was not a Franklin Roosevelt, he is just another republican.

Robles:And not good at that I would say, but anyway…

Parenti:Yeah. He himself said: ‘Years ago I would be classified as a liberal republican or moderate republican’, or something like that. You know, even saying that is letting people know. Well, I think we’ve pretty much covered everything.

Robles:Yes, thank you very much, I really appreciate it – we’ve been talking almost an hour or so.


Robles:Thank you very much.

Parenti:Ok, well, thank you very much, John.

Robles:OK, it was a great pleasure meeting you, a great pleasure speaking with you, and I hope to speak with you again.

Parenti:Ok, same here, thanks. Bye-bye now.

Robles:Ok, bye-bye.

That was the end of an interview with Dr. Michael Parenti, a Yale graduate, a noted scholar and the author of several books, including The Face of Imperialism. You can find the rest of this interview on our website at Thank you very much for listening and as always I wish you the best wherever you may be.


The Voice of Russia

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