Tom Engelhardt

The Last Superpower?

I was born on July 20, 1944, almost two years after Joe Biden arrived on this planet and almost a year before You Know Who, like me, landed in New…

Are We the Dinosaurs of the 21st Century?

Let’s admit it: We are indeed mad creatures. This should truly have been the time of our discontent. The northern hemisphere just experienced the hottest summer in recorded history, including month by…

A Global Maui Moment

From the earliest kingdoms to late last night, history has been the story not just of the rise of great powers but of their decline and fall. So, normally, there…

Extremely Extreme

Hey, who knows? It could be the Gulf Stream collapsing or the planet eternally breaking heat records. But whatever the specifics, we’re living it right now, not in the next century, the…

A Third Way? Don’t Sell Us Short

In case you hadn’t noticed — and how could you not? — there have been more than 500 (yes, 500-plus!) wildfires burning across the vast reaches of Canada, an unheard-of number, and…

War, What Is It Good For?

I was born on July 20, 1944, amid a vast global conflict already known as World War II.  Though it ended with the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in…

Old News in a New Year

Let me start 2023 with a glance back at a December news moment that caught my eye. To do so, however, I have to offer a bit of explanation. First,…

An Obituary for Our World

Oddly enough, I’ve read obituaries with fascination from the time I was quite young. And yet, in all these years, I’ve never really reflected on that fact. I don’t know…

Living in a Sci-fi World

Honestly, if you had described this America to me more than half a century ago, I would have laughed in your face. Donald Trump becoming president? You must be kidding!…

The Ultimate Blowback Planet

Once upon a time, long, long ago — actually, it was early in the year 2000 — I was involved in publishing Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire. It…

Ukraine in Perspective

A Historical Feast of Death and Destruction from the Peloponnesian Wars to Late Tomorrow Night Excuse me if I wander a little today — and if it bothers you, don’t…

Cold War II or World War III?

He’s our very own emperor from hell, an updated version of Nero who, in legend, burned down Rome on a whim, though ours prefers drowning Washington.  Why, just the other day,…

America’s Two Pandemics

Imagine that you were experiencing all of this (and by this, I mean our lives right now) as if it were a novel, à la Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year.  The…

My Year and Welcome to It

Whether the pandemic that’s swept the world started from a bat or not, as 2021 ends, I think it’s safe to say that we’re all far battier than we were when it…

Welcome to the Martians!

Our World Is Increasingly Like a Science-Fiction Novel Who knew that Martians, inside monstrous tripodal machines taller than many buildings, actually ululated, that they made eerily haunting “ulla, ulla, ulla,…

Assassins-in-Chief and Their Brood

What a way to end a war! Apologies all around! We’re so damn sorry — or actually, maybe not! I’m thinking, of course, about CENTCOM commander General Kenneth F. McKenzie,…

My Extreme World

Admittedly, I hadn’t been there for 46 years, but old friends of mine still live (or at least lived) in the town of Greenville, California, and now… well, it’s more…

Failed Empire?

It was all so long ago, in a world seemingly without challengers. Do you even remember when we Americans lived on a planet with a recumbent Russia, a barely rising…

Living on a Sci-Fi Planet

Yes, once upon a time I regularly absorbed science fiction and imagined futures of wonder, but mainly of horror.  What else could you think, if you read H.G. Wells’s War of…

A World at the Edge

Let me start with my friend and the boat. Admittedly, they might not seem to have anything to do with each other. The boat, a guided-missile destroyer named the USS Curtis…

Slaughter Central

By the time you read this piece, it will already be out of date. The reason’s simple enough. No matter what mayhem I describe, with so much all-American weaponry in…

The American Century Ends Early

Like Gregor Samsa, the never-to-be-forgotten character in Franz Kafka’s story “The Metamorphosis,” we awoke on January 7th to discover that we, too, were “a giant insect” with “a domelike brown…

Partyland 2020

What If, After 9/11, George W. Bush Had Thrown Parties? And What If, After the Pandemic Arrived, Donald J. Trump Had Launched a Global War on Covid-19? 'Tis the season…

Osama bin Laden Won (Twice)

It’s July 2020 and I’m about to turn 76, which, as far as I’m concerned, officially makes me an old man. So put up with my aging, wandering brain here,…

The Assassin-in-Chief Comes Home

“Be assured of one thing: whichever candidate you choose at the polls in November, you aren’t just electing a president of the United States; you are also electing an assassin-in-chief.”…

War Addicts, Inc.

My first question is simple enough: After 18-plus years of our forever wars, where are all the questions? Almost two decades of failing American wars across a startlingly large part…

The Age of Trump, the End of What?

French king Louis XV reputedly said, “Après moi, le déluge.” (“After me, the flood.”) Whether that line was really his remains unclear, but not long after his death did come the French…

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