Alfred W. McCoy

Articles by this author

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Friday, August 25, 2017
The CIA and Me (Or How I Learned Not to Love Big Brother)
Note from TomDispatch: This piece has been adapted and expanded from the introduction to Alfred W. McCoy’s new book, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power . In the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks, Washington pursued its elusive enemies across the...
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Monday, July 17, 2017
Trump’s Road to Debacle in the Greater Middle East
The superhighway to disaster is already being paved. From Donald Trump’s first days in office, news of the damage to America’s international stature has come hard and fast. As if guided by some malign design, the new president seemed to identify the key pillars that have supported U.S. global power...
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Tuesday, April 04, 2017
The Bloodstained Rise of Global Populism
In 2016, something extraordinary happened in the politics of diverse countries around the world. With surprising speed and simultaneity, a new generation of populist leaders emerged from the margins of nominally democratic nations to win power. In doing so, they gave voice, often in virulent...
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Monday, February 22, 2016
How a Pink Flower Defeated the World’s Sole Superpower: America’s Opium War in Afghanistan
After fighting the longest war in its history, the United States stands at the brink of defeat in Afghanistan. How can this be possible? How could the world’s sole superpower have battled continuously for 15 years, deploying 100,000 of its finest troops, sacrificing the lives of 2,200 of those...
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Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Grandmaster of the Great Game: Maintaining American Supremacy in the 21st Century
In ways that have eluded Washington pundits and policymakers, President Barack Obama is deploying a subtle geopolitical strategy that, if successful, might give Washington a fighting chance to extend its global hegemony deep into the twenty-first century. After six years of silent, sometimes secret...
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Monday, June 08, 2015
The Geopolitics of American Global Decline
For even the greatest of empires, geography is often destiny. You wouldn’t know it in Washington, though. America’s political, national security, and foreign policy elites continue to ignore the basics of geopolitics that have shaped the fate of world empires for the past 500 years. Consequently,...
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015
The Real American Exceptionalism
"The sovereign is he who decides on the exception,” said conservative thinker Carl Schmitt in 1922, meaning that a nation’s leader can defy the law to serve the greater good. Though Schmitt’s service as Nazi Germany’s chief jurist and his unwavering support for Hitler from the night of the long...
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Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Surveillance and Scandal: Time-Tested Weapons for US Global Power
For more than six months, Edward Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency (NSA) have been pouring out from the Washington Post , the New York Times , the Guardian , Germany’s Der Spiegel , and Brazil’s O Globo , among other places. Yet no one has pointed out the combination of factors that made the NSA’s expanding programs to monitor the world seem like such a slam-dunk development in Washington. The answer is remarkably simple. For an imperial power losing its economic grip on the planet and h
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Monday, July 15, 2013
Surveillance Blowback: The Making of the U.S. Surveillance State, 1898-2020
The American surveillance state is now an omnipresent reality, but its deep history is little known and its future little grasped. Edward Snowden’s leaked documents reveal that, in a post-9/11 state of war, the National Security Agency (NSA) was able to create a surveillance system that could secretly monitor the private communications of almost every American in the name of fighting foreign terrorists. The technology used is state of the art; the impulse, it turns out, is nothing new.
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Friday, November 09, 2012
Beyond Bayonets and Battleships: Space Warfare and the Future of U.S. Global Power
It’s 2025 and an American “triple canopy” of advanced surveillance and armed drones fills the heavens from the lower- to the exo-atmosphere. A wonder of the modern age, it can deliver its weaponry anywhere on the planet with staggering speed, knock out an enemy’s satellite communications system, or follow individuals biometrically for great distances. Along with the country’s advanced cyberwar capacity, it’s also the most sophisticated militarized information system ever created and an insurance policy for U.S.
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