To justify the unjustifiable, leaders in Washington tout the economic advantage of endless war—they admit to imperialism—and do so because they’ve no domestic or international mandate for spiraling conflict on multiple continents. The Emperor is naked, he has stripped right in front of us. United States has lost—has willfully abandoned—the Mandate of Heaven.

America’s mandate has adapted and evolved through defeat in Vietnam, deep financialization, and entanglement in Eurasia post-9/11. To make sense of Nero’s fiddling, it’s worth tracing American imperial politics since the end of the Cold War, particularly as relates to the War on Terror.

Sons of Heaven at the Unipolar Moment

Barack Obama will go down as the last Good Emperor. A gifted orator and first African American president, Obama embodied a fulfillment of history lost at the unipolar moment. Answering the challenge of the anti-war movement, Obama’s election unified those twin pillars of 21st century liberal consciousness: Fukayama’s ‘End of History’ and Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilizations,’ the latter brought viscerally to life in the 9/11 Attacks occurring under an otherwise inglorious and disdained Bush the Younger.

From 2008 to 2016, across successive invasions and escalation on all continents and along the southern border, US Empire maintained and expanded its historic mandate against both terror and social injustice: resistance and reaction at once. Himself facing racism and Islamophobia from domestic political opponents, Obama skillfully deflected these to target nations, reframing bland ‘humanitarian intervention’ and the War on Terror into a civilizing mission understood by liberals left and right: gleeful neocons and those put off by neocon excesses.

At home, Obama oversaw the transformation of US energy policy as well as federal legalization of same sex marriage: themes now central to the narrative of American might and morality. Democracy, climate, human rights—results may vary, but all are raised against imagined authoritarians in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iran; in Russia and in China. The jingo finds sophistication, the budding radical despondence in a world benighted by unlimited manifest savagery.

Of course and however, partisan animosity did not relent; nor the violent white nationalism which exploded under Clinton at Ruby Ridge, Waco and Oklahoma City. Democrats have found no fitting successor among Obama foreign policy alums. Republicans stand equally bereft. An opening was left for one New York gentryman to seize the banner of ‘Hope and Change’ in a historically unpopular regime marked by renewed political violence; record asset inflation; pestilence, flood and drought. Four years later, Obama’s VP and the oldest sitting president took to the White House like a child to the throne.

Biden Abandons the Mandate of Heaven

Upon coronation, Biden declared “America is back.” Eight months later, US troops—spooked by an alleged ISIS bombing—opened fire into throngs of unarmed Afghan refugees at Kabul International Airport, killing 170 civilians and 13 of their own comrades: one final massacre before ground forces fled the famed “graveyard of empires,” heart of Mackinder’s ‘Heartland.’ Since that day, the Empire’s mandates to the world, its vassals and its subjects have been challenged categorically and on multiple fronts.

In the Ukraine, NATO nears military defeat as stockpiles dwindle and EU businesses and families suffer prolonged energy and commodities shock. Profound frailty is revealed within a post-industrial metropolis; contrasting starkly to Russian energy, mineral and industrial exports which have endured sanctions and maintained the ruble. American commentator Tucker Carlson’s recent visit to Russia has sparked a new ‘kitchen debate’—America this time on the losing end. Interview with President Putin demonstrates again the intellectual eclipse of Western leadership.

Worse yet is the 51st State’s liquidation of Gaza Palestinians. In response, occupation forces are targeted in Palestine and Lebanon, Iraq and Syria. Yemeni naval blockade has wrested control of the world’s single most vital shipping lane, challenging in the most concrete terms Washington’s self appointed mandate of maintaining freedom of navigation. Arab normalization with Zionism is off the table, tearing apart Trump’s Abraham Accords. Regional imperative and consensus for a recognized Palestinian state is upending Oslo. Massacre and displacement at the border of Gaza and Egypt now threatens Camp David, the foundation of America’s presence in West Asia. Frontier closing in.

As significantly, UN Court at The Hague affirmed last month Zionist genocide against Palestinians. Long overdue invocation of the genocide convention marks a tectonic shift away from US diktats towards international consensus and dispute resolution in the spirit of the UN charter. All myths and exceptionalism are drowned in the blood of martyrs. United States has lost the Mandate of Heaven.

Rejected at the UN and at home, Biden stressed before Congress on Tuesday that “While this bill [$60B+ to Kiev] sends military equipment to Ukraine, it spends the money right here in the United States of America.” Abandoning the Mandate of Heaven, Biden admits to imperialism; admits America turns blood to GDP consciously and as policy. Abandoning the Mandate of Heaven, he vetoes yet another proposed Gaza ceasefire, mocking the world and debasing the UN Security Council.

Multipolar New World Order

Staggered by defeat in Vietnam and succumbing to deindustrialization, the United States regained its footing with the fall of the Soviet Union, arriving beleaguered at the unipolar moment. Reprieve however was not without acute economic, military and ideological anxiety as the world liberal bulwark struggled to imagine itself in the void of Soviet communism.

In 1992, Francis Fukuyama answered that liberalism had completed history, ours was the Last Man and what authoritarians held out would inevitably yield to liberal permanent revolution. Four years later, Samuel Huntington marked history’s perpetuation via the ‘Clash of Civilizations,’ a post-ideological, post-national cataclysm pitting the sum of Westernism against competing cultural, civilizational forces—chiefly revolutionary Islam. Fukuyama’s progressivism and Huntington’s racialism each continue to shape the broad contours of 21st century liberal thought, and are affirmed as much as repudiated by events unfolding.

History was not easily shrugged off by Bush I or Clinton (see ‘Desert Storm’ and Rwandan genocide respectively.) It is not until Bush II’s contested election and the rise of the neocons that Washington grasped the opportunity of the moment. The unipolar world order, faintly sensed in the waning days of the Cold War, was realized in Iraq and Afghanistan; finally metastasizing into the ‘Rules Based’ Order which challenges no camp or ideology but the United Nations and international law itself.

Grasping for Heaven’s Mandate is accordingly not any single state or civilization but the entire community of nations, a new non-aligned movement for justice and development: law as opposed to rules; multipolarity opposed to hegemony. At the fore are the Palestinian martyrs of a Resistance Axis spanning Yemen to the Donbass. They are joined by an expanding ecosystem of treaties, dialogues, infrastructure and circulatory systems led by BRICS-10; encompassing OPEC, some 36% of global GDP and more than 3.2 billion people—a new world already realized.