Monday, August 18, 2008

Kunstler on the US and Russia.

August 18, 2008
Reality Bites Again

In the first part of his article he discusses how the US has put military bases in all the little countries ringing the core Russia, basically in all the little -stans that used to be part of the Soviet Union but now are not, or nearby neighbors of said little countries. Then we get to the part I want you to notice:

...It's one thing that US foreign policy wonks imagined that Russia would remain in a coma forever, but the idea that we could encircle Russia strategically with defensible bases in landlocked mountainous countries halfway around the world...? You have to ask what were they smoking over at the Pentagon and the CIA and the NSC?

So, this asinine policy has now come to grief. Not only does Russia stand to gain control over the Baku-to-Ceyhan pipeline, but we now have every indication that they will bring the states on its southern flank back into an active sphere of influence, and there is really not a damn thing that the US can pretend to do about it.

We could have spent the past ten years getting our own house in order -- waking up to the obsolescence of our suburban life-style, scaling back on the Happy Motoring, reconnecting our cities with world-class passenger rail, creating wealth by producing things of value (instead of resorting to financial racketeering), protecting our borders, and taking the necessary measures to defend and update our own industries. Instead, we pissed our time and resources away. Nations do make tragic errors of the collective will. The cluelessness of George Bush is nothing less than a perfect metaphor for the failure of a whole generation. The Boomers will be identified as the generation that wrecked America.

So, as the vacation season winds down, this country greets a new reality. We miscalculated in Western and Central Asia. Russia still "owns" that part of the world. Are we going to extend our current land wars there into the even more distant and landlocked Stan-nations? At some point, as we face financial and military exhaustion, we have to ask ourselves if we can even successfully evacuate our personnel from the far-flung bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

This must be an equally sobering moment for Europe, and an additional reason for the recent plunge in the relative value of the Euro, for Europe is now at the mercy of Russia in terms of staying warm in the winter, running their kitchen stoves, and keeping the lights on. Russia also exerts substantial financial leverage over the US in all the dollars and securitized US debt paper it holds. In effect, Russia can shake the US banking system at will now by threatening to dump its dollar holdings...

We messed up, class, and badly. Russia didn't stay in a coma, and it is still ready and willing to use nukes, too. We didn't work to secure our economic future - we gave it away to China and India, amoung others. The imperialism of the US has just about extended itself as far as it can - and a retraction is inevitable now. I wouldn't bet on the US having any real chance of getting either the gasoline or the economic situation back "how it used to be." Just like the old Roman Empire and countless other empires before us, there's no place to go from here but down - just like our once rulers, the British, whom we threw off some 230ish years ago (remember the sun didn't used to set on their empire? Well, it does now.) Now we are the ones being "thrown off." We are losing our friends and allies. American hegemony is now just a memory - and maybe it never was anything other than a myth to start with. We squandered our opportunities and let the robber barons bleed this country dry and run us into the ground. Anything and everything except the real culprits - ourselves - will now be blamed for this situation. That, you can bet on.

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