I remember taking a short course on Energy back in the early 80’s where we had a guest lecturer come up one day from Stanford. The whole gist of the lecture was that mankind has based almost it’s complete societal infrastructure on the consumption of a non-renewable cheap energy source – oil. That at some point the finite resource would peak (his guess was about 2000 at the time – not too bad) and that world society would have to essentially implode back to a more sustainable level. This called for the reduction of world population by about two billion people due mostly to reduced food resources over a short period of time (decades). I still remember his answer when I asked him what he thought would happen – like that old Chinese curse – damned interesting times. So here we are in the beginning of damned interesting times and it’s only going to get more fun from here on out.
I always got a kick out of my buddies who would have to run out and buy cheap Norinco SKS’s (AK-47 clones). I used to always asked them if it felt good to support the Red Chinese Army – as good NRA members this used to piss them off, but Norinco is a front for the Red Chinese Army. I feel much the same about Walmart. Yes, much of America is willing to piss it’s future down the drain for a bunch of cheap trinkets made in China. Why is this so?
The Bushco Carrot
American capitalism’s weakness seems to be based on it’s current obsession of instant gratification. Why plan for tomorrow when you’re only interested in buying/burning/using/profiting in the next six months? And this same attitude seems to be found in Bushco’s policies. Indeed, this attitude seems to one of the underlying themes of the current GOP: there is a free lunch, you can have your cake and eat it, and there is no tomorrow. This theme is what has been used to get so many voters to vote wildly against their own economic self interests and support a president who has never supported them. The result has been tremendous federal deficits and trade deficits, both combining to undermine the future of our country. Never in my wildest imagination did I think that such a conservative POTUS would sell the US down the river like Bushco has and manage to take much of the world with it.
The Bushco Stick
What, you say? Mess up the world? Indeed, here we are at the forefront of damned interesting times, and rather than acting like adults and working with the rest of the world to head off this crisis, Bushco has decided to use 9/11 as an excuse to swoop into the Middle East, plant the American flag, and chant his mantra: mine, mine, mine, mine… (Well, you get the idea – it helps to picture Bushco as a two year old having a clenched fists, red faced, both barrels, temper tantrum.)
But 9/11 Changed Everything
I’m fairly certain history will judge 9/11 rather different than Bushco would like. 9/11 outlines in bold flashing red letters the unwillingness of the Bushco Whitehouse to acknowledge or react to the dangers of a real world and an inability to protect our country. And the Bushco response to 9/11, well, much of that will be seen as burning down the barn after the horses have gotten out. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much screwed up for so many by so few.” Given what we now know about the events before and after 9/11, the only explanation for the Iraq conflict was an attempt to enact the “Persian Gulf is the US sand box policy”. This policy has failed.
The Law of Unintended Consequences
The rest of the world did not stand idle while Bushco turned the us in the wrong direction and marched off. We have sweep what little international cooperation was underway off the table and have just begun to reap the bitter harvest of our failed foreign policies. Nationalism is on the march in much of the world. New alliances are forming and a revise world order will result. Unfortunately, the Bushco Carrot has combines with the Bushco Stick to truly leave the US open for military and economic woe. (But lucky for Bushco, it will only impact the little people i.e. everyone but the rich.)
Itchy Trigger Fingers
Given the present US policy of preemptive attack, we are entering a new period of militarism. There has never been a time since the end of WWII where more compelling reasons existed for countries with the capacity to build nuclear weapons to do so than the present. These have become the only absolute guarantee that national sovereignty will be respected by the US. The only other option is to align with another nuclear power while expanding your own military.
The Trap of An Expanding Military
America’s military has been growing since 9/11. Yet, our military’s ability to defend America has been seriously reduced. This is not due to the failures of the men and women of the military. They have been handed an almost impossible task and have performed beyond all expectations, but they cannot be expected to be successful if the policies which govern their actions are flawed. Indeed even if we could magically double our military it is doubtful the outcome would change and it is doubtful we could sustain the cost to our country in people and dollars. As Russia demonstrated, maintaining a large military is a WASTE of resources and a drain on the economy. Am I proud that we have the world’s largest military by far? I am proud of those American’s who choose to serve because they are making great personal sacrifices, but I am alarmed by Bushco’s polices which require us to enlarge the military because Bushco’s policies have FAILED.
Rising Economic Giant China
It’s hard to ignore China’s looming presence. They have just started their climb to economic superpower status. As far as China becoming a big military power, I don’t think that is the goal. As we say, it’s the economy, stupid. America gained it’s position in the world by being an economic giant which reluctantly went to war as a LAST option. Bushco has stood this world view of the US on it’s head. China is all to happy to assume the role of benevolent giant (at least for now). China recently was picked in world opinion polls as a country more looked up to than the US. Am I surprised to see that they are trying to buy Unocal? Or that they are negotiating with Canadian companies for long term contract on oil sands? Absolutely not. They seemed to be resolutely focused on securing their future by peaceful means – something we are definitely NOT doing.
The Shining City On The Hill
Being the leader of the free world empowered the US to ensure that the rights of people came first when Communism collapsed, but we have to lead by action, not by talk. Much of the world no longer trusts the US to act in the right way much as I have do not trust Bushco to act for us. We have abdicated our leadership as a result of Bushco’s mistakes in the war in Iraq. We will not be a world leader during these damned interesting times and we will pay the price.
Damned Interesting Times
So where does that leave us? Does the end of the age of oil represent the beginning of the end, or a chance for the world to come together and move forward. Even as the coming of nuclear weapons represented a time where world war could literally torch the face of the earth, the current rising world societal and economic structure may now become a consuming force which cannot be sustained. Indeed Bushco’s policies may have started a world wide rise of greed and militarism just when we can least afford it.