America’s Perfect Storm
A fiscal train wreck is one thing but when it is combined with the following elements it makes the recipe for a perfect storm as American as apple pie. Meanwhile back on the ranch America’s president and congress cut taxes during war time and America’s elite dances a merry jig to the tune played by the pied pipers of flat earth economics.
Historically speaking, rivals always eventually emerge to bring an end to great empires, but the present one seems uniquely qualified to engineer its own demise.
The following projections and facts are in no particular order for the order changes naught a whit the laws that govern even such exalted beings as Republicans and Democrats. The laws I speak of here are physics and the all too inevitable cycle of violence, blame, retribution, and violence; which I will refer in this piece by the fancy CIA moniker of ‘blowback’. (Little known historical fact: Mankind long ago discovered a perpetual motion machine, it is called the vendetta.)
- Blowback from the destruction of the economies that made up the Soviet block. Fuel for this particular fire includes the insanely ill-advised public gloating by America’s power elite over said destruction.
- The accelerating divide between North and South as a direct result of the technocratically isolated decisions made by the WTO, the World Bank and the IMF. Institutions that to date have been dominated by America and are clear examples of what America’s financial elite think of as democracy.
- The rapid moving up the food chain of those considered superfluous to the economies of the developed world and the even more rapid concentration of wealth into the hands of those who directly benefit from the economic activities that are central to a military and police security state. In a plutocracy, of course, money is power making this trend perhaps the most frightening for America and the rest of the world because of what America can do to itself, to the rest of us, and to the planet that sustains us all.
- The ecocide of Iraq resulting from the scattering of over 300 tons worth of micron sized depleted uranium particles on to the battlefields and population centres. Bill Maher says that, “Eventually they will be better off without Saddam.” Perhaps. After all, all that needs be done now is to wait 4.5 billion years, the half life of DU, to find out. We need look no further than the experience of America’s own troops from the first gulf war (180,000 on permanent disability) to understand what the future holds for the Iraqi people. Simply put, America will never be forgiven this. (If W. was looking for a legacy he undoubtedly found the longest lasting one in history.)
- America invented the bomb, dropped the bomb twice to show the world her power and her willingness to use that power, and led the arms race at every stage. Today she is the only nation on earth using radioactive munitions, working on the next generation of nuclear weapons and the weaponization of space.
Addendum: Perhaps the most under-reported story of the last century: The detonation of the equivalent of over 400,000 Hiroshima sized bombs into the earth’s atmosphere. According to some scientists this was very likely responsible for as many as 60,000,000 cancers worldwide.
- Peak oil production is likely to occur by 2010 if it has not already happened. Marion King Hubbert released his extraordinary predictive model in 1956 to the oil industry and the geological community. Almost fifty years later we are forced to listen to the, “If the past is any guide”, childish prattle of an obviously dissociated Alan Greenspan as he dreams the dream of his and America’s chance at a second childhood. Hoping against hope for technological solutions to physical limits as we come to the end of growth model economics. Those of us that were around for the chaos of 1973’s gas line-ups can only shudder to think at what is “coming soon to a theatre near you”.
- Legalizing assault weapons and the wearing of ‘sidearms’. America finally falls irreversibly victim to a combination of base greed, venal electoral cunning, and a mythologized simpler past when killing red Indians was a universally recognized good. The inevitable result, of course, being spectacularly inappropriate and lethal use of these weapons, addiction to spectacle being America’s final straw. This in all likelihood will lead to a further ratcheting up of the law and order fear factor by those holding and seeking electoral office and the funding of these politicians by those who benefit from the ensuing reallocation of increasingly scarce government resources. This thereby fulfills the right wing prophecies about the government’s intentions and ensures the downward spiral of government for and of the people.
- Of course even these potential horrors may well pale in the end in comparison to the consequences arising from global warming and the accompanying climate change, unstable weather patterns and rising tides.
- Extinction rates exceeding the late Jurassic period and a human population that far exceeds the carrying capacity of the planet. Unless of course by tomorrow, late afternoon at the latest, we all decide that we can live as peaceably and frugally as the Cubans. Given the recent death of 1/3 of all amphibians it is something we should seriously consider. After all it is rightly said that, “Amphibians are Nature’s canaries, dying in the coal mine that we are making of her earth.”
America is the self-acknowledged leader of the world a position she got the old fashioned way, by destroying her rivals. They say it’s lonely at the top, Chalmers Johnson says, “Things that can’t go on forever, don’t.” Whether it is fair or not, most of the world has decided that America’s way of doing business is “out to get them”. Not an unreasonable assumption on their part, given that the conservative estimates are that 40,000 people die of hunger and related causes every single day, 826,000,000 are chronically malnourished, and 100 billion dollars could bring water and sanitation to the world. Meanwhile America gives tax breaks for SUV’s, spends hundreds of billions on ‘tactical’ (finally the ultimate oxymoron) nuclear weapons and the weaponization of space. Her weakness revealed America resolves to hold the world hostage? At the very least a fair question I’d say most would agree.
Being denominated as the ‘petro-dollar’ by OPEC, the ‘debt dollar’ by the IMF and the World Bank, and the world’s reserve currency is a purely political phenomenon. As long as America was aligned with her financier’s purposes this was allowed to continue despite its obvious irrationality. But now America has finally overstepped her bounds and she will be reined in from her profligacy, though whether to good effect or not is still very unclear.
Finally on a personal note: When the aforementioned is put together with America’s internal lack of oil, gas, and even water, Canada would be wise to look very closely at defending herself sometime in the first half of this century. For there is little doubt that America as a mortally wounded giant will be even less able to make rational decisions than she was when her cheeks were fat and rosy with empire. The result of this is certain to be that elements within her administration seek to save her predominance with one last grasp at periphery to consume. No doubt this will be hailed as an operation to guarantee Albertan’s freedom from the pernicious influence of the ‘Frenchies and Socialists’ . The geological fact of Alberta’s oil deposits and Canada’s water being purely coincidental no doubt.
Published Tuesday, October 19th, 2004 - 12:07pm GMT
Jeff Berg works and lives in Toronto, Canada. He can be reached at jeffberg (at) rogers.com
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