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The US Empire Strikes Back: Russia Takes the Hits, China Lives in Fear
By John Stanton
National Security Writer
F-117 Nighthawk, the first operational aircraft specifically designed around stealth technology.

"In a very real sense, we are shipwrecked passengers on a doomed planet. Yet, even in a shipwreck, human decencies and human values do not necessarily vanish, and we must make the most of them. We shall go down, but let it be in a manner to which we may look forward as worthy of our dignity." — Norbert Weiner

Russia and China are no match for the United States’ Instruments of National Power. The Pale Blue Dot’s existence is at risk if nuclear weapons are employed by either or both sides.

American military, political and economic support for Ukraine has little to do with any real concern for the lives of the Ukrainian people. They are merely cannon fodder for the larger goal of ensuring that there will be no multipolar world that undermines US power or seriously challenges US dollar hegemony as it is today.

Further, the US, as Empire, with a big E, seeks to continue to expand its military alliances through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) compelling would be nation-state competitors to steer clear of state sponsored violence against US NATO allies. It seems likely that NATO will continue to expand with Sweden and Finland set to sign on next, and NATO expansion beyond Europe to include nations in Asia is already well underway.

Nikkei Asia reported on April 8. 2022, that, “NATO members agreed on Thursday to increase ‘practical and political cooperation’ with Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, in response to China's failure to condemn Russia's war in Ukraine. "We agreed to step up cooperation with our partners in the Asia-Pacific, because the crisis has global ramifications," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at a news conference, concluding two days of meetings of foreign ministers from the military alliance. The four Asia-Pacific countries were invited to attend the NATO gathering in Brussels. China's unwillingness to condemn Russia, and Beijing "join[ing] Moscow in questioning the right of nations to choose their own path" represent "a serious challenge to us all," Stoltenberg said.”

Big Move: Beat Down Russia and China

The year 2022 will be looked upon as a time when the United States of America—after suffering an embarrassing military defeat in Afghanistan; military and political setbacks in Iraq, Libya and Syria; leveling cities in Iraq and Syria in pursuit of ISIS (for example, Al Raqqa with the killing of thousands of civilians in the process); and succumbing to a powerful political lobby (Israel) that seeks to stymie a peace process with Iran—made its move to hide and heel to a barn Russia and China and crush their vision for an alternative monetary system and a power center to challenge the USA.

The game is afoot, well underway.

At home, the American scene is plague by high inflation, supply chain problems, 1 million COVID pandemic deaths, and a political fracture that sees 73 million former president Donald Trump supporters clamoring for the man to run for president in 2024. President Joe Biden appears to be visibly mentally degrading as footage of him seeking to shake hands with people who are not there, wandering aimlessly after speeches, and going dangerously off script, causing the populace to wonder who, really, is in charge of foreign and domestic affairs.

Still, with all its internal and external woes, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk get richer, the nuclear triad gets modernized, the Pentagon budget is (with all subsidiaries) over $1 trillion US, and social welfare programs continue to be cut, all the while the stock market finds ways to profit of the Russia v Ukraine conflict and assorted global suffering.

This is reality, not conspiracy. It is looking in a comparative manner one’s position versus others and assessing where one stands. Americans like to believe that it is always morning in America. It is not. History, current affairs, global perceptions, all this must be studied to get a sense of events underway and try to guess-best at those that are to come. It is not “whataboutism” as many like to claim.

Smart money is on the USA to succeed at this newest vision quest: to knock Russia and China down many notches. This is because the USA possesses Instruments of National Power (INPs) that, together, no nation or group of states, can successfully challenge. Oh, there may be a Vietnam or Afghanistan debacle now and then but these are setbacks, not defeats, in the minds of America’s political, military and economic leaders.


The INPs are these: Diplomacy, Information, Military, Economic, Finance, Law Enforcement, Intelligence and People (or human capital)—DIMEFLIP for short. It is absolutely critical to understand the extent of these tools that taken alone are powerful enough, but together, have not been matched in recent times. The INPs should be studied by critics and proponents alike to understand how the USA wields power both foreign and domestic. They are located on the World Wide Web in the appendices to the US Army Special Forces Unconventional Warfare, 2008 document, publication 3.05-130. Find them and read them closely.

The USA is employing most of its INPs in the Russia v Ukraine conflict. Aggressive Diplomacy corralling much of the world’s nations to sanction and condemn Russia. Superb use of the Information domain specifically military information support operations (MISO) to shape world and US opinion to support, uncritically, Ukraine. The partial use of Military power in providing Ukraine with advisors, training and weaponry. Economic and Finance INP’s used to cut off Russia from SWIFT and impose punishing sanctions, as well as encourage US defense contractors to ramp up production of weaponry specifically for Ukraine. Intelligence used to conduct ISR airborne operations around the borders of Ukraine to spy Russian troop and weapons movements, and CIA operatives on the ground. Law Enforcement used to threaten Russia’s president Putin with war crimes or get Julian Assange extradited to the USA, or claim legal authority for torture, false imprisonment, or war. Finally, People or Human Capital as citizens, or foreigners, are needed to fight and die, manufacture weapons, support wars, and to believe in the American Way of Life and Exceptionalism.

Nuclear weapons, you say? Well, the USA has a First Use policy but doesn’t talk about it like Russia does. According to, “Current US policy does not restrict the president’s ability to order a nuclear strike for any reason at any time. The military may reject an order that is perceived to violate laws of war, and there are legal concerns about the role of Congress authorizing the use of force, but as a matter of broad understanding, the president can launch nuclear weapons when and if s/he chose to.”

China: All Talk

China is talking a good game supporting Russia in the media, buying up its resources and companies, but it refuses to step up to the plate militarily and fight to get into the fight. Russia is bearing all the burden of the broader goal of creating and alternative world order to the USA’s that includes the BRICs, a non-dollar denominated universe, and a counterbalance to the American power. Russia’s hand was forced by the USA’s NATO push in Ukraine but now it seems a distant memory as World War III looms, and exact causes are to be left to historians.

No one can predict where Russia v Ukraine and USA/NATO will lead. Russia’s initial combat operations in Ukraine,as reported by pro-Russian websites Southfront and the Vineyard of the Saker, left much to be desired, but it is thought by the authors of those sites that Russia will adapt quickly.

We close with famed astronomer Dr. Carl Sagan and an excerpt from the Pale Blue Dot (PBD), the PBD being the Earth seen from a Voyager satellite four billion miles away.

“The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds…Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.”

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John Stanton is a Virginia-based writer, journalist, and teacher specializing in national security and political matters. He has provided his commentary on the above issues to world's famous news media, appearing CBS Evening News, ABC, and CNN. His articles have been carried in a variety of media around the globe. Reach him at






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