Empire: Geopolitics & Empire is joined by Emanuel Pastreich, who
serves as the president of The Asia Institute and as director
general of the Institute for Future Urban Environments.
declared his candidacy for president of the US as an independent
in February of 2020. Welcome to Geopolitics & Empire, Mr. Pastreich.
Emanuel Pastreich: It's an honor to be here.
Geopolitics & Empire: I came across your work recently, your
writing and your interviews, and I thought I had to have you on
the show because you have many unique insights and you've got a
fascinating life experience.
It is hard to peg who you are
because of your interesting background. If you could just
briefly maybe tell us, who is Emanuel Pastreich?
Emanuel Pastreich: Right.
Well, that's a tough one and I'm maybe
not the most qualified to explain myself. I came from a
relatively establishment background in the United States.
still wearing a tie, and I was a professor of Asian studies, so
I spent a good part of my life in Korea and Japan, and I studied
Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. When I was at the University of
Illinois back in 2000, 2001, I became quite committed to
opposing the totalitarian rule in the United States, which
continues to the day.
And as a result of my efforts with others,
I ended up being basically unable to work in the United States
and living in Korea from 2007. Tried to come back to the United
States once in 2019, which was not successful.
I'm back in the United States after three years away; just
arrived a week ago.
I am trying my best to address real issues
in the United States and to puncture a hole in the blanket of
hypocrisy and fraud that has wrapped around every aspect of
American society, and, by extension, around the world. I want to
talk about real things.
I had declared in February, 2020, when I saw what was happening
with this so-called Biden-Trump election, that I would run as an
independent candidate for president and address real issues, not
with any particular leftist or rightist perspective.
I tried to
just scientifically address what were the problems in the United
States. And that caused a lot of problems, but it did give me
the chance to get in the habit of giving talks, speeches, which
has now become my primary means of expressing myself.
I hope we can return to politics based on intellectual inquiry,
on a moral commitment, and on real engagement with citizens, as
opposed to a fraudulent "feel good" approach to blanket
Geopolitics & Empire: I purchased your book "I Shall Fear No
Evil." I think people can download it for free. You touch on
most of your points in that book.
I agree with much of what you say. And maybe we can start with
what you touched on: what's wrong with the US?
I'm from Illinois, I'm from Chicago, and 20 years ago I saw a
lot wrong. I'm a history major, former teacher, former professor
of history, I could just see the cycle of history.
Emanuel Pastreich: Where were you teaching?
Geopolitics & Empire: Well, I taught abroad in Kazakhstan and in
That's part of the story. I decided to leave the United
States. When you're born as an American, you never imagine we
were an empire.
I thought we were just a country, the United
States, and then you realize there is stuff we get into like
9/11, and other things.
The reality is we're an empire, and
we're the biggest empire in the history of the world. So we are
starting all these wars, killing millions of people.
There's a lot of good that America has done, but a lot of bad
too. We have to be fair. There's the militarism. And we're
bankrupt financially - you talk about that. I also think that
spiritually we're bankrupt.
Emanuel Pastreich: Intellectually too.
Geopolitics & Empire: We're at each other's throats. Then
there's the techno-authoritarianism. I might get you in into
trouble. In April, I believe the Department of Homeland Security
told PayPal to shut off my account. I'm banned from using
Emanuel Pastreich: Well, congratulations.
Geopolitics & Empire: And so if you could tell us basically,
what's wrong with America as you see it?
Emanuel Pastreich: Well, to some degree it's a cyclical process.
If you have any institution, any government or empire and it
runs 250 years, you start to have these institutional
contradictions and collapse. To some degree it's because of the
institutions that were originally set up no longer correspond
with the reality of how decisions are made, or how the economy
I happen to like the US Constitution and I refer to it.
It's not a perfect document, but it gives some basic principles
for governance, which I think are quite unique.
It was a unique, successful experiment in history. It doesn't
mean the United States was successful, it just means that
concept of constitutional government where they took some of the
essence of what was discussed in Greece and Rome and tried to
take the empire out of it.
That was the concept behind the
United States. It was a noble experiment that offers much for
However, it was flawed from the beginning. Obviously slavery,
the destruction of the native peoples, also the idea of real
estate and how it was imported here and enclosure, all that part
of the project was obviously flawed.
But we did have some good
aspects to the United States, which sometimes were positive for
But over the last 50 years, we saw the militarization of the
economy and then this move towards a radical expansion of
financialization and privatization.
And in that process, I
think, we also have to take note of the end of the Cold War,
which has been celebrated in what we're force fed in media and
But the end of the Cold War was essentially the
end of an opposing perspective in the world.
the Cold War (I'm not saying Soviet Union or the People's
Republic of China got it all right) socialist nations at least
offered a different perspective, were able to suggest that
things like class struggle, the concentration of capital, and
ideology were topics to talk about.
These were things that were
important in their newspapers and universities.
And when the
Soviet Union and China basically went over to a modified
neo-capitalism, with a little bit of socialist characteristics
mixed in the drink, then we lost that other perspective in the
And as a result from the 1990s on increasingly these ridiculous
ideas about economics spread.
In the United States, or in Japan,
or in Germany in the 1970s - through the 80s even, there were
professors of economics who took Marxist economics as a major
part of their approach to economic theory.
There are zero people
like that now, except for bloggers.
We've lost this potential for other perspectives. It's not
saying that Marxism is perfect. I'm not a Marxist by the way,
but I'm sympathetic to Marxist analysis. I think that addressing
class issues and finance and ideology is critical.
And so we now
are in this position in which consumption, growth, exports are
assumed by basically everybody to be essential for the wellbeing
of people, or that the stock market has a relationship (other
than parasitic) to the lives of ordinary citizens.
These things are accepted as truths, right? They're talking
about a rise in the stock market as good for you.
And we have in the United States now these cardboard messiahs,
whether it's Bernie Sanders, or AOL, or Donald Trump who come up
with these quirky ideas about what economics is, or how we can
be more progressive, concerned with working people.
But essentially they buy into the entire economic money system
and they're not interested in saying,
"Why don't we make people
independent from money?"
They're not trying to say, we can
We don't have to spend money. People in the 19th century, most
of them didn't use money. They used it only when they went to
market once a month to buy things they needed. Some metal
products or certain items like clocks.
But basically in their
daily lives, they were able to support themselves and their
communities were able to support them. That is real economics;
Actually that's the real meaning of market economy. It has
become a horrible term that's been so distorted. Market economy
means you go to the market in your community and you sell
carrots, or the chairs you made, and you exchange them with your
neighbor who is selling butter, or fabrics or whatever.
have this mutual support system.
Now market economy means
Facebook and all these
techno tyrants, which print up their own money by devaluing our
money, and they control the entire system.
They set up these IT
systems (like the technology we are using now) in which we are
forced to communicate with each other, to exchange, to buy
things through them.
They control the means of production, means
of distribution, means of sales, and the means of communication,
and increasingly the ideological structure itself.
these false conservatives and these false progressives whom we
are supposed to buy.
Geopolitics & Empire: That was my next question.
We've got an
oligarchy in the US and I think it's just as bad as the Russian
oligarchies and these foreign dictatorships.
I think the issue
for us is that because Americans are more prosperous, we care
less - as long as we can buy our nice cars, iPhones, and other
We don't really care about our oligarchy, but they're
just as bad, if not worse.
You mention sham elections. I agree with you; just to read a
quote from your book, you say,
"I say that if we do not have an
election in which someone like me can be a candidate, can have a
chance to be covered in the media, that we are not holding
elections but rather holding an impressive sham.
We have no
intention of recognizing any such sham elections.
In fact, until
there is an election in which someone like me can get proper
attention and the chance to be on the ballot, we will not
recognize any of these elections."
Just a quick thought on the elections.
As you say, on our left,
our right, we've got fake conservatives and a fake left. No one
is anti-war anymore on the left.
Emanuel Pastreich: That's true.
Geopolitics & Empire: There's a handful on the right, but they
all stay within a certain bounds. None of them have ever crossed
the red line.
Emanuel Pastreich: Right.
Well I think the decision to run as
independent candidate for president was a serious one. I take it
quite seriously and I put a lot of work into the speeches.
preference to my book is out in 40 languages. I don't have
Croatian, but I have many other languages - many from Central
Europe for that matter.
It was a campaign both in the United
States and also globally meant to say, let's have an alternative
And we've been basically blocked out. I think that American
elections were always flawed. I wouldn't say there was a perfect
time, but there's been a catastrophic collapse of the political
system over the last 20 years.
And the result is these sham
elections, as I was suggesting in my recent post.
Now politics is determined not by elections, but by false flag
operations, like 9/11 or COVID-19 or these mass shootings,
whatever, these are how politics are determined, not by voting
at the ballot.
In order to move beyond, to go back to some logical, scientific,
rational process, I think we have to look back to the founding
of the United States, or other countries, and recognize that the
basis for the United States in the beginning, and the ways in
which it was successful, were based on revolutionary thought,
recognized that the United States is a revolutionary country.
That's the core where we start.
And we have to say that the
Declaration of Independence notes very clearly,
"When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing
invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under
absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to
throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their
Our two founding documents are the Declaration of Independence
and the Constitution.
You not only are entitled to, but you have
a moral obligation to oppose this system, to overthrow it, and
to create a system which is democratic, transparent and
That is my position when I am running as a candidate. I would
love it if people vote for me, if they put me on TV, and if I
got attention like Donald Trump, or these bedridden people like
But that's not my purpose. My purpose is to be revolutionary.
And so I believe the best way that I can affect politics, that
we can affect politics, is to take a stand and to say,
the truth. This is what needs to be done."
I'm not interested in
whether the New York Times or
CNN will cover me, because they're
so corrupt and so useless and dangerous, that as far as I'm
concerned, we should lock them all up too.
I have no interest in
pandering to them.
And I would also say that that was the major mistake made by so
many people in the United States over the last decade (as we
fell into late imperial decay):
they thought, I have this good
idea, what might be a good idea, and in order to realize that
idea, I'm going to compromise.
I'm going to downplay it, going
to soften it up a little bit, modify it in such a way that, one,
the New York Times will mention me, and two, some wealthy donor
will give me money.
And my position is to say, I'm not going to do that. And that
this is the only way to achieve real change in the United
States, and globally, to draw a line in the sand.
It may seem pointless. You might see me as someone who is a
failure. I was not able to work in the United States from 2007.
I have been unemployed for long periods of time, which was not
all that pleasant.
But I think that my actions were more
politically meaningful than if I had compromised on 9/11 and
other issues and tried to play the game here in
Geopolitics & Empire: Just one real quick question on 9/11, not
to go in depth, just get your big picture take.
One of my
subscribers recently tuned to the email list told me they're
signing off because I believe 9/11 was a false flag operation.
And I'm like…
Emanuel Pastreich: It's so obvious
Geopolitics & Empire: For me you're not a serious person if you
can't take on the false flag operations.
My response to him was
that in graduate school in Geneva, Switzerland I was taught
about this type of thing. It is a basic historical fact.
Roman Empire did it. Nazi Germany did it.
Emanuel Pastreich: I would even say it is an ancient tradition.
Geopolitics & Empire: Russia has done it. It's a basic military
NATO has done it. Japan has done it, Israel has done
it, Turkey has done it. Tell me a country which has not run the
false flag operation.
But just real quick, you mentioned previously, but also in one
of your writings, you've written the false flag,
critical tool in American politics by creating mass trauma in
the population that inhibits the formation of organized
resistance or the possibility of rational intellectual
And so just your quick take on 9/11.
Emanuel Pastreich: Well I think that in that respect,
extremely successful. Basically it shut down the American mind.
We need to use Hermann Broch's term "the sleepwalkers" to
describe our ruling class.
We see people who are intellectuals,
who are extremely well educated.
They read books.
lawyers, doctors, businessmen, but they're incapable of
conceiving of what is happening.
They're basically sleepwalking
through history, unable to conceive of these higher-level
traumatic shifts in governance.
And so 9/11, is most representative in that respect.
taken one semester of physics in high school, you can figure out
that this event was impossible. It cannot possibly be true. I
watched it. I was in the US, at the University of Illinois,
Urbana-Champaign at the time. I saw it. I was not a physics
I thought, this is not possible. Something else is going
But there's no way that if two (if it's what happened) airliners
crash, it'll cause three buildings that made of concrete
reinforced with steel to collapse. It cannot possibly be true.
But I think looking back on it now, that that was the whole
point; the point was, just like with
COVID-19, to force-feed the
population a story which was not credible from the beginning.
And the purpose of that,
was to degrade the ability of citizens
to think for themselves scientifically and co-opt an entire
class of intellectuals.
I've written about this topic using the ideas from
Benda's classic book "The Treason of the Intellectuals" from
That was a large part of 9/11, and of COVID-19.
This large class
of privileged intellectuals, people like myself, decided - and I
saw this at the University of Illinois and elsewhere - that they
would go on with this incredibly stupid, unbelievable, argument
on physics and on geopolitics to explain this trauma.
They went along with it. They took the money.
There are always
going to be some intellectuals like that, but the fact that
there were so many for both 9/11 and COVID-19 who were willing
to buy the story indicates something deeply wrong.
I have a classmate who's a teaching at MIT and I talked to her,
and talked to her about COVID-19 at the very start. She was just
following the rules. I know that she's smart enough to know that
it just doesn't make any sense scientifically.
As I put it in one of my articles,
technology buried science in
a shallow grave...
We have a system in which technology is
mistaken for science. We moved towards this "sciencism," as
opposed to science.
In sciencism the truth is determined by
experts at Harvard or Stanford, or wherever, as opposed to by a
rigorous investigation of phenomena.
That started before 9/11. You can trace it back. In some ways it
started with Oklahoma, which was the precursor to 9/11.
if we hadn't had the trauma of the Oklahoma bombings, that 9/11
would've been harder to pull off. And finally, I would conclude
by saying that many of these things they're planned out.
(defense advanced research projects agency) and
RAND and other
agencies - now there's a proliferation of these think tanks or
consulting firms - planned these traumas.
From the 1960s on they
carried out a whole series of studies in psychology, mass
trauma, et cetera, in which they essentially came up with these
classified plans, some of which have been declassified, most of
which have not.
The plans describe how to transition a
population from one state to another over time through the use
of mass trauma.
And that's what 9/11 was about. Oklahoma was the first point of
mass trauma, then 9/11, then COVID-19 - and there were a few
others in between.
On the one hand the operations had very specific agendas, what
they were trying to do in the short term.
But there is a larger
agenda, which is to create a totalitarian state, on in which
people are not aware, as you mentioned, that the system is
There's a radical alienation between the reality on the ground
and the manner in which ruling class intellectuals, who set the
tone and the message, perceive the world.
We live in a fantasy
world in which we are told this is how the United States works. And then there's the reality of how it really works.
they've become two unrelated realms.
Geopolitics & Empire: Just to comment on the academic aspect, I
worked in education, in academia here in Mexico, and just as you
described it, I find it sad.
Most academics, all they care about
is their money, their salary, their wages, and their career. I
want the truth. I had my classes taken away from me when I
taught at a high school and at a university.
And the trick was
that it's harder to get fired from the high school than it is
Emanuel Pastreich: Interesting.
Geopolitics & Empire: After one or two semesters they took away
my courses at the university on international relations because
I was talking like you are.
Eventually there was a new person
who took charge and he didn't know my way of thinking. And so I
got my courses back. It's just really sad.
It just goes back to
the fact that the people want the money, they don't care about
Emanuel Pastreich: Well, I've seen that.
academics now, and I see this in my colleagues, people who I
used to be quite close to in another lifetime.
priority to be getting grants. And so grants are the goal,
certainly not scientific method, right?
They must go along with
what grantors want. And that process no longer involves any
sense of public good, or of government or institutions that are
run for the public good.
We have the Drew Faust, the previous president of Harvard. When
she retired, she was appointed to the board of directors of
Goldman Sachs. Unprecedented in American history. But it's
So the priority for these research institutes and their
administrators is their ability to suck up to global capital.
That is what it's about. And so obviously if we're talking about
BlackRock, or other Blackstone, or other private
equity, these guys are sophisticated.
They hire consulting firms
and tell them how to modify teaching and academic research at
Harvard over time so that it serves their purpose, essentially
they help to cover your tracks for you.
You do not modify
intellectual discourse in too explicit a way. You throw in a
little bit of multiculturalism here, a little bit of gender
theory there; you talk about how unfair it is that poor people
are not doing so well, but you don't identify the process of how
we got here.
It's become, I think it's a major, major industry, this whole
distortion of reality in advertising, public relations,
consulting, and then on beyond that in research, academics,
journalism, and the basic principles of discourse now.
form of prostitution...
I like to talk this trauma in terms of incest, rape, and
prostitution, the three fundamental traumas in human relations,
in sexual relations - sexual relations have profound symbolic
power in our society.
And all of them, incest, rape and prostitution, have their
equivalents in our political world and in our intellectual
And that's what we're witnessing. Increasingly we're
talking about all of those.
Incest is the false flag, the
internal compromise in which the compromise is so profound for
the victim that it can't even be addressed.
Rape is similar in
that it brings the person into this relationship which was
unwanted, but in a way which is so embarrassing (and sometimes
involves some mutual attraction), that it becomes so horrific
that the individual cannot even conceive of what happened.
And so in many cases of rape in the real world, people never
report it because they think it is so demeaning to the self and
they can't even confront it in themselves.
In the case of prostitution, that which should be expression of
concern, or affection, or love, or commitment to family, becomes
a means of making money, a service.
And we see such a distortion
all across our society, especially in education.
teachers being concerned with society or with students, or with
family, it becomes just a means to produce money.
Maybe you are
not selling your body but you are selling your soul.
Geopolitics & Empire: I wanted to have you unpack COVID-1984, as
I call it, and basically the same thesis I've held from the very
beginning, January, 2020, you put into words, I never viewed
that there was a 'pandemic' at all.
My theory is that it was
planned, this whole event. It was either some low key bio weapon
or it was entirely manufactured from whole cloth. Either way,
there was no 'pandemic'.
We just could have just gone on with our
You wrote recently on your Substack, and I recommend people read
this article, the links will be in the description.
"Operation COVID-19 was a global coup d'etat disguise as a
'pandemic' that was launched against China and the world in
And that continues onto the present."
You say that, the reality is that a tiny group of key players
the super-rich in the US and in China coordinate
closely to promote COVID lockdowns in China.
And you say that
everywhere they were applying this digital dictatorship. This is
All the nations did it. I was living in
Kazakhstan, I fled through the US to Mexico.
And in some places you couldn't even buy
food without it.
It's like the Book of Revelation. You can't buy
or sell without the mark.
Emanuel Pastreich: That's true.
Geopolitics & Empire: I some places they say you can't even go
to the public park without vaccine certificates.
I can see that
it's a global elite that has no allegiance to nationality. It's
the US elite, it's the Chinese elite.
And they use, as you said,
these private tech IT companies that are already embedded within
all of our countries. We're basically being run by big tech.
Could you tell us more about how you see COVID?
Emanuel Pastreich: Well, I think you've described it quite
I maybe just add a few words to say how it
works. I think one of the key aspects of this takeover has to do
with the concept of government.
So we're being fed this
narrative by the controlled opposition that says government is
bad, inherently bad, and all the bad things happen because of
evil politicians or bad government.
Now, obviously, government
is bad these days, but if you say that government cannot
possibly serve a purpose, meet the needs of the people, that
this is a nihilistic and depressing perspective.
I think that
view is being force-fed to us by those power elites in order to
discourage us from trying to organize ourselves and to create
That is the
first thing I would say.
The second part is the takeover of local government, and central
governments, around the world by these IT companies.
it's in Sichuan province or it's in Oklahoma, local governments
are lobbied and then intimidated, bribed and threatened, in
order to get these IT companies to run government for them.
whereas you previously had government officials, good and bad,
who basically made the decisions based upon various pressures
from around them in the community, now you have just one or two
government officials, the president or the governor, or
And their job is to outsource the budget to these IT
companies who run everything for them. This happened to
universities; it happened elsewhere.
This is a profound transformation.
So essentially when you see a
message that says, the government does this, or this is the
government, or this QR code is scanned by the government, in
fact, there's no government behind it. It's not government in
any sense of the word.
It's a totalitarian dictatorship run by
these global IT companies...
And they have some tricks to hide their tracks, but it's not
that hard to figure out.
Basically Amazon, Google, Alibaba,
there are 10 or so big players are taking over the world.
then there are smaller customized players.
For example, as I
mentioned, in Israel we have
Black Cube and other customized
private intelligence firms that facilitate the transformation. I
think they were very much involved in what's happened in China.
I was criticized for this for not giving the evidence for this
transformation in China, but just take my word for it.
I'd be happy to give you the evidence at some future date. But
they also were very much involved in it.
And so we need to combine the evidence from these precedents.
the one hand, we have the research from DARPA and from RAND from
the 1960s and 70s, how to modify people's behavior and also how
to take over basically the government through this privatization
Then we have the research from Guantanamo Bay and the
so-called torture programs after 2001 in which experiments were
carried out (Naomi Klein describes this in some detail -
Shock Doctrine') on how
to modify behavior through isolation,
i.e. social distancing,
masks, and other forms of repeated ritual behavior...
These rituals associated with COVID-19 are meant to be
meaningless and fraudulent, and most importantly, the person
involved at some level knows that the rituals (like wearing a
mask) are fraudulent - but he still does them.
And that action of
participation in one's own destruction degrades the ability to
So you can create very passive environments through
Those two strategies were combined with some understanding of AI
and how it could be used to induce a passive, narcissistic,
self-indulgent and decadent culture among people, especially in
the mid-level ruling class.
I discussed this in my article, "the
We see in America this
fake ruling class,
people who went to Harvard and they become lawyers and doctors.
They own three million, five million, $10 million in assets and
a house by the beach or in France or in Italy.
They think they're the ruling class, but it's a fraud. The
ruling class are these people who control basically the means of
production and they control the nature of money. Those people
are worth hundreds of billions.
We don't even know how much
they're worth because they make it up for themselves.
But for those people, the billionaires, the difference between a
lawyer who has $10 million in assets and a homeless person is
the difference between a roly poly and a spider.
We are all bugs
from their perspective.
They know, based upon the reports they
receive from their private intelligence and strategy teams, that
by creating this false terrarium economy wherein there's an
imagined ruling class headed by someone like
Biden, and it also
contains a lot of poor people in it so as to create a visible
little conflicts among us, that you can blind people to the fact
that the whole system is all enclosed and controlled by this
And finally, much of the analysis that could be helpful for
understanding economics is prohibited.
I hate to stress Marxist analysis because I'm not really a
Marxist, but I'm also practical. Whatever approach works I will
use - as I told Josh Jadwin the other day.
Marxist economics can be extremely helpful. I don't think we
should dismiss it just because we have some bias fed to us by
the controlled opposition.
We're trapped in this system wherein
the ideology is controlled by these people, as is the means of
production, the means of distribution, the means of
communication, and money itself is controlled by them.
And they're dumbing us down. I think we have supercomputers
They've calculated how fast or how slow to move
towards the totalitarian system, how to create false conflicts
like how Trump is excluded from Twitter, or whatever - all
But it works because people's thinking has been so
degraded by technology.
In fact, technology like
Twitter is designed to degrade your ability to think...