In June of 2004 I had a dream that for days haunted my waking life. It was simple, but very, very vivid. The season was green. There was great confusion and fighting. And then a flat, detached, verbal message:
The United States will be destoyed in two years.
It would not have been the first time I had had a prophetic dream. Occasionally, very occasionally, I have such dreams. They are always vivid. Sometimes they are labeled: The dream itself claims to be prophecy. Sometimes they prove true.
This dream was not labeled. So I had to ask myself: What is it about?
As it happened, my personal issues–longstanding, ongoing–were not at the time giving me much distress. My daily life was ticking over routinely, neither bad nor good. The dream stood unexplained.
Then, I could already see that America was moving toward disaster; what I did not see was how the timeline could be so short. In the year and a half since, actions have been taken that have accelerated the time line greatly, and now I do see, or start to. By last summer (30 July 2005) Ian Welsh at The Blogging of the President could write that that the economic crash would come in mid-to-late 2006. This is the view that comes–not from dreams–but from crunching the economic numbers.
So many things can change the time line–to extend it, or to bring it forward.
This Sunday last I woke tense as a bowstring: It was like being back in my childhood. It took a while to understand this. In the mid-to-late 1950’s, the world hovered on the edge of nuclear war. This was, on the one hand, because the US was using the threat of nuclear war as a bluff in a very risky geopolitical game, but also because, high in the military and intelligence agencies, there was a faction that actually wanted the war to occur.
Their calculation was that the US would loose a few cities–perhaps a half dozen, not more–and this was an acceptable price for being able to conquer the Soviet Union outright by force. (Optimistically, they thought the US would withstand such damage intact, and that a beaten Soviet Union could easily be occupied.) I was aware of this attitude, and it gave me terrible nightmares.
As it happened, this faction was always kept down, until JFK was elected, smoked some dope (Timothy Leary describes this), and after the Cuban Missile Crisis, gradually reduced Cold War tensions. (Ironically this was after having run and won on the issue of the ficticious “missile gap.”) The threat of nuclear war receded.
We are returning to those days, when some planners want to launch nuclear war for reasons of policy.
Firstly, the Bush people are desperate. The bluff and counter-bluff of Iran is not the main point; the main point is that all their policy initiatives are now failing. Having switched from soft imperialism to the hard imperialism of military force, they find that the US Army is pretty much destroyed (though not the Air Force and Navy).
The Bush regime is obsessed with reclaiming control. They really cannot imagine they are not omnipotent, and when reality hints otherwise they get in a mind to throw a tantrum. More effective options are still available, but that would entail admitting reality, re-calculating, and adjusting–and that is the precise thing they don’t want to do. Ignoring reality is called “being tough.” We have chosen leaders whose masculine insecurity has reached absurd–and absurdly dangerous–levels.
(There is a reason Bush does all those crotch shots.)
Meanwhile, what is the biggest tantrum they can throw?
Secondly, America has changed. In the ’50s and ’60s Americans would have been outraged at any policy resulting in the loss of even a single city. Now, to our surprise, we discover that one of America’s largest and most important cities can be destroyed through willful government policy and neglect, and no one cares. Certainly no one who counts; nor the great Middle Class. Americans have always been hugely disdainful of the lives of others (“life is cheap in [name your country]”); now they have become equally disdainful of the lives of other Americans. This opens up a window for the friends of nuclear war.
An opening wedge for nuclear war is already public–the proposed use of “tactical” nuclear bunker-buster bombs. It should be remembered that the Soviets never accepted the idea of “tactical” nuclear weapons, always asserting that they would respond to a “tactical” one in the same way as to a “strategic” one. This was a logically sound response, and the US could never treat it as a bluff. Just so, however the world might respond to the launching of nuclear war, it is unlikely they will seek to serve America’s semantic convenience.
How likely is nuclear war now? Not very. My dream certainly does not assert our destruction is nuclear. But the probability is no longer “essentially zero,” and this changes the shape of all the other probabilities of the future. For one thing, it imposes on those who oppose America the need to increase their asymmetry, so as not present a nuclear target. Europe is starting to make very subservient postures, and this is wise. China will soon have to make a great show of yielding, though if this is done right, they too will gain more than they lose. Americans are not the only people who can bait-and-switch: An era of rotating crises seems imminent, each one minor, and each one building on the previous and on the Bush administation’s inability to actually accomplish anything in the real world. From Latin America to Nigeria to Iraq to Iran to the ‘Stans to Korea to Taiwan and back again, the possibilities are endless.
Meanwhile, sadly, but obviously, we are now in pre-war days. Just as in the first half of 1914, when everyone could see that Europe was heading toward war, though no one could see what would set it off, now the opportunities for open conflict are multiplying. The stakes are clear, and the US has demanded total surrender: No negotiation is possible.
Nuclear war will most likely be avoided by American implosion, which would obviate it. Asymmetrical war is designed to promote this. It is already the direction we are heading.