New World Order Geography Quiz!


With even the policy wonks of the U.S. empire admitting that their collective reputation and influence on “the rest of the world” are in tatters, it’s time for a new world order geography quiz. Multipolarity, here we come!

Can you name the outlined countries on these maps? Answers are at the end with embedded links to recent news of their moves toward independence from U.S. control (or, in one case, flouting public opinion to make a “defense” agreement with the empire).

Map A – recently withdrew from US-led ‘Combined Maritime Forces’ in the Persian Gulf

Map B – U.S. officials claim it is about to be brought under the hegemon’s “nuclear umbrella”

Map C – NATO is on the ground stoking sectarian violence here and appears to be preparing to bomb this nation — again

Map D – university students nationwide staged protests demanding their prime minister not sign a “Defense Cooperation Agreement” with the U.S. before public review occurred (he signed it anyway)

Map E – African National Congress General Secretary Fikile Mbalula hails from this nation; he recently scolded a BBC reporter about British war crimes when criticized for not sanctioning Russia as demanded by the U.S.

Map F – nation with a long coastline on the eponymous Persian Gulf, it recently achieved rapprochement with rival Saudi Arabia in an agreement brokered by China

Map G – this nation’s president sent a letter to President Biden this month complaining that, “the U.S. government, specifically through USAID, has for some time been financing organisations openly against the legal and legitimate government I represent”

Map H – a war-torn nation that recently rejoined the Arab League after a long absence

Map I – agreed with visiting Iranian President to no longer use the U.S. dollar for trade between the two nations

(And in case you missed my first two geography quizzes, you can find them here and here.)


Map A – United Arab Emirates

Map B – Taiwan (not a nation, rather a province of China)

Map C – Serbia

Map D – Papua New Guinea

Map E – South Africa

Map F – Iran

Map G –  Mexico

Map H – Syria

Map I – Indonesia

Moral Injury For Memorial Day

My garden is blooming red, white, and blue for Memorial Day though the red is poppies, a symbol reminiscent of the blood soaked fields of Europe after WWI. The paperwhites remind me of my grandmother who would force bulbs to bloom indoors each year to get through mud season, and they also remind me of the older version of Memorial Day which was more memorial in general and less of a frenzy of patriotism. I now know the holiday originated from ceremonies a Black community held to remember fallen soldiers after the civil war that seems to have involved more flowers than flags.

The blue is provided by forget-me-nots and who could forget the people once near and dear to us now departed?

It is the living dead, the veterans struggling with moral injury, who say year after year how hard this day is for them. The more unjust our imperial wars seem, the fewer people are willing to participate (about 9% these day), and the harder the narrative machine grinds out flags and gushy rhetoric thanking veterans who often don’t wish to be thanked.

Moral injury is often misdiagnosed as PTSD, which is a real injury from wars also but different being about fight-or-flight alarms your brain can’t turn off. Moral injury is about the images burned into your memory of innocents, often children, suffering from the actions of your side who you can no longer see as the good guys. It’s about forgiving yourself for the unforgivable, and on top of it putting up with a culture that insists on glorifying the most shameful episodes of your life.

Cannon fodder is, by definition, of little interest to the empire managers who use bodies to further their business ambitions.

Each year I put flowers on my family gravesite in a nearby town. Not buried there is my maternal grandfather, a conscript sent into Nagasaki after the nuclear bombing there. Not an affluent man, he refused his G.I. benefits on the grounds that he didn’t want anything from a government capable of that level of evil. 

My other grandfather is buried nearby. He is the one who told his son who was keen to enlist to fight communism in Korea, Don’t believe them when they say the next war is a good one. There is no such thing. Of course my father went anyway but missed seeing combat, and he passed his father’s observation down through the generations. No one has enlisted since.

This does not stop the local veterans organization from putting a flag in a veteran medallion holder on my younger brother’s grave each year. Likely they’re confusing him with our grandfather due to sharing a first name. I’ve asked them to stop but every year they don’t, and every year I remove all the flags from my ancestors and sibling’s graves.

I even remove the flag from my grandfather’s grandfather’s grave, a veteran of the civil war who shot himself, albeit years later. I’m the only one keeping up the old family graves at this point, so I figure it’s my call.

I put out pots of geraniums and those remind me of my grandmother, too. A white lilac the family planted for my mother is in bloom for Memorial Day, fragrant and ephemeral as life. I’ll march with the peace contingent in a parade tomorrow that required legal action to allow any peace messages at all. 

Memorial Day, 2015, Topsham-Brunswick parade

The U.S. as a whole seems to be suffering from moral injury as we destroy country after country in our lust for imperial spoils. Diseases of despair like suicide, depression, and substance use disorders including death by overdose continue to climb. No amount of glorious flag waving changes any of that.

There’s a lot to remember on Memorial Day.