EDITOR’S NOTE (Nick Stamatakis) Drawing from the almost mythical story of Croesus, King of Lydia, who misinterpreted the Oracle of Delphi’s answer to his question and destroyed his own Empire, Michael Hudson, one of the brightest scholars of our time (read his bio here), explains the sequence of ill-advised political decisions that brought America’s Empire to its knees…


America has Just Destroyed a Great Empire

By Michael Hudson

Herodotus (History, Book 1.53) tells the story of Croesus, king of Lydia c. 585-546 BC in what is now Western Turkey and the Ionian shore of the Mediterranean. Croesus conquered Ephesus, Miletus and neighboring Greek-speaking realms, obtaining tribute and booty that made him one of the richest rulers of his time. But these victories and wealth led to arrogance and hubris. Croesus turned his eyes eastward, ambitious to conquer Persia, ruled by Cyrus the Great.

Having endowed the region’s cosmopolitan Temple of Delphi with substantial silver and gold, Croesus asked its Oracle whether he would be successful in the conquest that he had planned. The Pythia priestess answered: “If you go to war against Persia, you will destroy a great empire.”

Croesus therefore set out to attack Persia c. 547 BC. Marching eastward, he attacked Persia’s vassal-state Phrygia. Cyrus mounted a Special Military Operation to drive Croesus back, defeating Croesus’s army, capturing him and taking the opportunity to seize Lydia’s gold to introduce his own Persian gold coinage. So Croesus did indeed destroy a great empire, but it was his own.

Fast-forward to today’s drive by the Biden administration to extend American military power against Russia and, behind it, China. The president asked for advice from today’s analogue to antiquity’s Delphi oracle: the CIA and its allied think tanks. Instead of warning against hubris, they encouraged the neocon dream that attacking Russia and China would consolidate U.S. control of the world economy, achieving the End of History.

Having organized a coup d’état in Ukraine in 2014, the United States sent its NATO proxy army eastward, giving weapons to Ukraine to fight an ethnic war against its Russian-speaking population and turn Russia’s Crimean naval base into a NATO fortress. This Croesus-level ambition aimed at drawing Russia into combat and depleting its ability to defend itself, wrecking its economy in the process and destroying its ability to provide military support to China and other countries targeted for seeking self-dependency as an alternative to U.S. hegemony.

After eight years of provocation, a new military attack on Russian-speaking Ukrainians was conspicuously prepared, ready to drive toward the Russian border in February 2022. Russia protected its fellow Russian-speakers from further ethnic violence by mounting its own Special Military Operation. The United States and its NATO allies immediately seized Russia’s foreign-exchange reserves held in Europe and North America, and demanded that all countries impose sanctions against importing Russian energy and grain, hoping that this would crash the ruble’s exchange rate. The Delphic State Department expected that this would cause Russian consumers to revolt and overthrow Vladimir Putin’s government, enabling U.S. maneuvering to install a client oligarchy like the one it had nurtured in the 1990s under President Yeltsin.

A byproduct of this confrontation with Russia has been to lock in America’s control over its Western European satellites. The aim of this intra-NATO jockeying was to foreclose Europe’s dream of profiting from closer trade and investment relations with Russia by exchanging its industrial manufactures for Russian raw materials. The United States derailed that prospect by blowing up the Nord Stream gas pipelines, cutting off Germany and other countries from access to low-priced Russian gas. That left Europe’s leading economy dependent on higher-cost U.S. Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).

In addition to having to subsidize domestic European gas to prevent widespread insolvency, a large proportion of German Leopard tanks, U.S. Patriot missiles and other NATO “wonder weapons” are being destroyed in combat against the Russian army. It has become clear that the U.S. strategy is not simply to “fight to the last Ukrainian,” but to fight to the last tank, missile and other weapon being deleted from NATO stocks.

This depletion of NATO’s arms was expected to create a vast replacement market to enrich America’s military-industrial complex. Its NATO customers are being told to increase their military spending to 3 or even 4 percent of GDP. But the weak performance of U.S. and German arms on the Ukrainian battlefield may have crashed this dream, while Europe’s economies are sinking into depression. And with Germany’s industrial economy deranged by the severing of its trade with Russia, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner told the Die Welt newspaper on June 16, 2023 that his country cannot afford to pay more money into the European Union budget, to which it has long been the largest contributor.

Without German exports supporting the euro’s exchange rate, the currency will come under pressure against the dollar as Europe buys LNG and NATO replenishes its depleted weaponry stocks by buying new arms from America. A lower exchange rate will squeeze the purchasing power of European labor, while lowering social spending to pay for rearmament and provide gas subsidies is plunging the continent into a depression.

A nationalist reaction against U.S. dominance is rising throughout European politics, and instead of America locking in its control over European policy, the United States may end up losing – not only in Europe but most crucially throughout the Global South. Instead of turning Russia’s “ruble to rubble” as President Biden promised, Russia’s balance of trade has soared and its gold supply has increased. So have the gold holdings of other countries whose governments are now aiming to de-dollarize their economies.

It is American diplomacy that is driving Eurasia and the Global South out of the U.S. orbit. America’s hubristic drive for unipolar world dominance could only have been dismantled so rapidly from within. The Biden-Blinken-Nuland administration has done what neither Vladimir Putin nor Chinese President Xi could have hoped to achieve in so short a period. Neither was prepared to throw down the gauntlet and create an alternative to the U.S.-centered world order. But U.S. sanctions against Russia, Iran, Venezuela and China have had the effect of protective tariff barriers to force self-sufficiency in what EU diplomat Josep Borrell calls the world “jungle” outside of the US/NATO “garden.”

Although the Global South and other countries have been complaining about U.S. dominance ever since the Bandung Conference of Non-Aligned Nations in 1955, they have lacked a critical mass to create a viable alternative. But their attention has now been focused by the U.S. confiscation of Russia’s official dollar reserves in NATO countries. That dispelled the thought of the dollar as a safe vehicle in which to hold international savings. The Bank of England’s earlier seizure of Venezuela’s gold reserves kept in London – promising to donate them to whatever unelected opponents of its socialist regime U.S. diplomats designate – shows how sterling and the euro as well as the dollar have been weaponized. And by the way, what ever happened to Libya’s gold reserves?

American diplomats avoid thinking about this scenario. They rely to the one unique advantage the United States has to offer. It may refrain from bombing them, from staging a color revolution to “Pinochet” them by the National Endowment for Democracy, or install a new “Yeltsin” giving the economy away to a client oligarchy.



  1. If the political culture in the U.S. changes, someone might open a museum dedicated to the victims of capitalism or the U.S. empire, whose death toll would be much greater than the 100 million blamed on Communism, writes CovertAction Magazine’s Jeremy Kuzmarov.

  2. ” it wasn’t the mobsters who ran the most organized criminal schemes in America, and EU/Nato , but corrupt political “bosses,” “The gangs were thugs in the employ of the political machines,”, intimidating opposition candidates and funneling votes to the boss. In return, the politicians and police chiefs would turn a blind eye to illegal gambling and prostitution rings. .” half million dollars a month in bribes to police, politicians and federal investigators.”

    Howard Abadinsky, a criminal justice professor at St. John’s University and author of Organized Crime.

    Crimes of racketeering include murder, drug and weapons trafficking, smuggling, prostitution, and counterfeiting, extortion, fraud , Briberr, Human Trafficking , Murder, robbery , stealing , obstruction of International Commerce

    What Mr. Hudson describes is an “International Crime Syndicate running a Racketeering and Protection Racket by the Competng Political Organized Crime families of America… the Republiczan and Democratic Party!

    And of course no International Crimes Syndicate could get away with Mass Murder and the breaking of International laws without the cooperation of a criminal corrupt law enforcement Agencies of the United States…the Merrick Garland DOJ , FBI and the self appointed “Policemen of the world ..”U.S. MPS of the U.S. army !

    And like the notorious Jewish Crime families of 40″s and 50’s famously Known as Murderers Inc. who were led by Bugsy Segal and Meyer lansky ..now run by George Soros , Adam Shiff, Chuck Shumer, Victoria Nuland , Janet Yellen, Merric=k Garland , Anthony Blinken, TransJender Admiral Rachel Leving …Majorcca, and most of Zionist Joe Biden Cabinet and Democratic Party who have collaborated with Jewish Mob bosses Zelensky and Netanyahue who in the Protection RAcket are wagin war on Russai, Syria, Palestine , Iran , Venezuela , Cuba, Yemen, Iran etc etc using Christian Capital to corner the world Economic Market by ethnically cleansing from Europe all business competitors threatening the Economic monopoly of U.S. UK, an d Israel…including Oil and Gas and every other asset listed by Mr. Hudson !

    Symptomatic of Organized Grime ..is in the old day’s Journalist like Tucker Carslson closing in on ther Racket would simply be murdered! Howevr , Organzied Crime realized it was bad for business , because it was a lightening Rod directly leading to the CRime syndicte ! So today , they don’t kill journalist they have Chuck Shummer order the firing of Jouralist who have a Negatice impact on the U.S congress and Government


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here