Oct. 21, 2007
Ah, what a toxic array of possibilities is spread now before Americans…
Will it be mere extension of economic ruin for all but tycoons, under Hillary or Barak or Mitt or Rudy?
Or will Shrub and Darth refuse to budge and deepen our impoverishment under openly fascistic martial law?
Or might the brewing Turkish/Kurdish skirmish ignite our next world war?
I wrote the preceding notes a week ago, expecting to raise eyebrows with further musings on how easily a Turkish advance into Kurdistan could escalate into an ultimate horror, given various energy pipeline schemes involving Turkey as a hub. But while I was working out the intricacies of allegiances, Shrub stole my thunder. His ruminations on World War III are less complicated. He’s set to invite global conflict on the sole pretext of denying Iran further nuclear know-how. Not a bomb, nor facilities equal to producing one, but simply a growing body of knowledge. New message: No more tinkering or you’re toast.
After Shrub’s calculated, pretend-casual words, the notion of World War III isn’t jaw-dropping, but there’s still some new-news in the essay I’d intended. Most outside the transnational oil and gas club would be surprised by the shape and scale of “Pipelineistan” — a term coined by Pepe Escobar in his book Globalistan: How the Globalized World Is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, Ann Arbor, MI, Dec. 2006). His volume, a far more thorough presentation of rivalries within the energy arena than I’d ever seen before, is hard slogging. While reading it, I’ve also been studying more recent antics of key players. Putin keeps popping up in the catbird seat, playing Europe and Asia against one another on behalf of Gazprom (now barely controlled by the state at 51 percent and on track to become the world’s largest corporate entity before long), and American companies keep losing out on deals at every turn.
I’ll elaborate on this lore soon, in a review of the book. For the moment, though, let’s review the prospect of World War III. Should it break out right away, we’ll probably lose. Face it, we’ve never been weaker — our treasury depleted; our debt stratospheric; our export trade based on arming other countries; our military so enfeebled it needs mercenaries; our populace dumbed-down and deluded; and respect for our nation around the globe as eroded as our civil liberties. Some Superpower we are, after three decades of policies that picked our pockets to enrich corporations with no fealty to anything but profits and tax-dodging.
So what the freak can Shrub and His Thugs be thinking? Yeah, they could bomb Iran in a heartbeat, as they’re itching to do, and embroider the tale with any lies they like. And they could instantly impose a draft, along with martial law. Whipping up a media frenzy would be harder this time, but doable, especially since they have all those concentration camps ready for dissenters. Enthusiasts could be rewarded with decent pay and benefits in defense industry jobs, as a full-bore War Economy takes off — those employees’ gains balanced against use of prisoners as slave labor, so profits wouldn’t suffer; they’d soar. The government and its corporate owners might even throw in extra enticements for willing workers, maybe letting them keep their homes and forgiving some of their debt. Meanwhile, many of the same companies, ostensibly American, could cash in on the “enemy” side, too, as quite a few U.S. firms did by operating in Hitler’s Germany.
But what if governments elsewhere kicked foreigners out and nationalized their holdings? That isn’t unthinkable. And what if there’s too much loathing here for all critics to be controlled by Shrub’s hired killers? Millions might well refuse to work for his war machine and band together in the streets, not allowing themselves to be grabbed at home off the world’s radar.
It seems too vast a chance for them to take, doesn’t it? And yet reality has never stood in their way before. Neo-cons boast that they “make their own reality,” remember.
So what do they stand to gain from waging a war they can’t win? Is helping their buddies make billions enough to justify the waste and the horror?
Well, in Iraq it has been. There’s no downside for those who created and sustain that debacle. Win or lose, the war-makers, their abettors and the investors get paid. All costs are borne by suffering Iraqis, our troops and American taxpayers.
Picture World War III as the same sort of corporate invention, but bigger: a clash of Titans, not governments but corporations wanting more and at last willing, in red ink terms, to risk some bleeding. That their proxies who do the actual fighting risk lives, limbs, health, freedom, even countries they love will be sheer sound and fury, signifying nothing to those in the boardrooms, who care only for the balance sheets and their personal hoards. No doubt Shrub craves the chance to drop bombs across Pipelineistan, where our corporations have built much less infrastructure than others. In a day or two, he could set the competitors back by a decade — and, with what he’d see as luck, the war might even spread to South America, so he could pound the latest pipeline there.
But what would this action do for us? Our foes have nukes, but why should they bother? Once we stop getting any oil, life as we know it would cease. There’d be no imports at all and government policies have made us made dependent upon them. Is the point that we’re deliberately to be made desperate, so there’ll be no more sass about rights and minimum wages?
Seems that way, doesn’t it? So any World War III that we’re pushed into fighting capriciously at this time would be a war we’d fight against ourselves.