Much of the world’s history over the last century has been dominated by the United States. But by the turn of the millennium in 2000-2001, the “American Century” had begun to descend into a chamber of horrors.
The years since then have been marked by the huge financial bubbles engineered by the U.S. Federal Reserve System and the virus of predatory global capitalism. We have the looming worldwide economic crisis with rising bankruptcies, credit disruptions, and soaring fuel and food prices. Alongside has been the thinly-disguised but continuing attempt by the U.S. to conquer the Middle East by force of arms under the heading of the “War on Terror.”
Some have argued that the U.S. at war is nothing new and that we have always been a nation of aggression and militarism. While this may be true, the expansion of the original thirteen states to cover much of the North American continent was done with far less violence than the constant fighting among the European nations over the centuries for domination.
The key event was President Thomas Jefferson’s choice to purchase the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803, thus turning America’s energy to westward expansion rather than competition with the European powers for colonial empires. The long-term result has been a nation that has led the world in science, technology, social and political innovation, and individual prosperity and freedom.
Still, there seems to have been a critical change that took place in both America and the world in the early 1900s.
To many, the arrival of the 20th century seemed to be a time of great hope. There had not been a major international conflagration since the Napoleonic Wars which ended with the Treaty of Vienna in 1815. Despite inequities in income, the industrial age showed promise of raising the standard of living everywhere. Four large nations whose territory had been consolidated during the latter part of the 19th century—the U.S., Russia, Germany, and Italy—were flourishing.
But by 1914, the worst war in history—World War I—had begun. A century of conflict and chaos, which has not yet ended, was underway, with hundreds of millions of non-combatants eventually losing their lives through war, famine, epidemics, or genocide. The modern world has seen many holocausts in addition to the one befalling European Jewry during World War II.
Alongside miracles of medicine, agriculture, sanitation, engineering, transportation, communications, and information technology have come terrible weapons of mass destruction, the latest being depleted uranium. There have been appalling refinements in the diabolical arts of assassination, torture, propaganda, mind control, and political manipulation.
Economic crime has occurred on an epic scale, including currency manipulations, privatization of public resources, the aforesaid financial bubbles, involvement of governments in the illicit drug trade, attacks by financiers on national economies, the creation of offshore tax havens, money laundering, destruction of entire industries to benefit global capitalism, human trafficking, cornering of markets on food and other vital commodities, speculative hedge funds whose managers earn a billion dollars a year, and looting of private companies and pension funds by highly-paid CEOs and executives.
What then happened, especially during the latter part of the “American Century,” to turn so much promise into the continuing spectacle of prosperity for some side-by-side with recurrent catastrophes for others? Likely this question will be debated for centuries.
It would appear, however, that once it became apparent how much wealth the industrial revolution was capable of generating, the world’s economies began to develop so fast that the traditional means of resolving the distribution of power and wealth among and within nations and social classes fell apart. Because human beings were not capable of exercising the wisdom, generosity, fairness, and restraint to master the industrial genie that was now out of the bottle, the worst inclinations of individuals and society exerted themselves. The history of the 20th century and the battles among nations and blocs for supremacy resemble nothing so much as neighborhood gang wars among Mafia dons, the latest being the Bush-Cheney cabal that has controlled the U.S. government since 2001.
Another gang has been those among the world’s money-lenders who became experts at parasitic high finance and got rich through the explosive growth of fractional reserve banking. These people have dominated the economies of nations through such institutions as the Bank of England, the Federal Reserve System, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), and other central and commercial banks, currency and commodity exchanges, and stock and bond markets.
The bankers on the one hand and the political racketeers on the other merged over a century ago under the oversight of figures associated with the creation of the Anglo-American Empire, such as Cecil Rhodes, Lord Milner, Colonel House, Winston Churchill, the House of Windsor, and, as examples of families involved, the Rothschilds, Schiffs, Morgans, Harrimans, Rockefellers, Myers, and Bushes. Among the major projects of the empire in recent decades have been the creation and maintenance of both the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the state of Israel as Western bridgeheads of influence, power, and wealth in the Middle East.
This has led to the ongoing campaign by the U.S. to exercise complete military control of that region, with Israel the principal beneficiary. It is an astonishing spectacle to watch the “world’s greatest superpower” bankrupt itself financially and in its world reputation because its politicians are too corrupt and cowardly to take a stand against the domestic Jewish lobby.
This campaign of conquest seems to have had its roots in the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who intended to bring a new era of peace through rapprochement with the Soviet Union, restraint of Israel’s nuclear ambitions, withdrawal of combat forces from Vietnam, and dismantlement of the CIA as an agency of covert warfare. Kennedy’s brief presidency coincided with an amazing period of social and spiritual renewal among America’s youth in the 1960s.
With the killing of Kennedy, the dogs of war were unleashed. After America’s disastrous war in Vietnam ended in 1975, President Jimmy Carter tried to introduce a policy of civility and restraint in domestic and world political affairs, but he was swept away in the election of 1980 by the “Reagan Revolution,” whose catastrophic legacy we see today.
President Ronald Reagan set in motion the current mudslide of worldwide cataclysms through his huge military build-up, the “Reagan doctrine” of proxy warfare in third-world countries, the pathologically paranoid Strategic Defense Initiative—“Star Wars”—program, and the deregulation of the financial industry. Since our economy is the largest in the world, such action was bound to affect every other nation in making them subservient to the U.S. bankers and financiers who organized themselves in such institutions as David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission.
Bill Clinton, elected in 1992, did little to stem the tide of barbarism. He completed the destruction of the U.S. as an industrial democracy by signing the legislation for NAFTA and opening the floodgates to foreign control of U.S. business. He also completed the deregulation of the financial industry by repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act which had prohibited the merger of investment and deposit banks. But Clinton still was attacked by the right-wing who wanted him to unleash a new military assault against Iraq.
When George W. Bush became president in 2000, the grand strategy of Middle East occupation was facilitated by the skillful exploitation of the 9/11 attacks as the excuse for military mobilization to be financed by the housing bubble and the forced sale of U.S. Treasury debt to foreign investors. The historic jack-up of petroleum prices—including the most recent ones that have brought gas at-the-pump in the U.S. to $4 a gallon—are clearly a de facto tax on the American public to pay for these wars.
It has become obvious in recent months—even as Bush et. al. plot a possible attack on Iran before the end of his presidency—that the rest of the world is heartily sick of U.S. arrogance. Even our allies in NATO have refused to allow us to build a defensive missile shield virtually to the borders of Russia.
And there are indications that the European financial community—headed by the Bank of International Settlements—may force the Federal Reserve to start raising interest rates again to stem inflation, even if this drives the U.S. domestic population into an economic depression. Recent signs from the Council on Foreign Relations are that the U.S. will accept that the dollar can no longer reign supreme as the world’s sole reserve currency and that it must give way to the Euro and the Chinese Yuan in sharing this role. Thus the U.S. political leadership seems to have begun to realize that we will no longer be allowed to posture as the unchallenged bully of the world.
What we may be seeing—even as the U.S. military has extended its reach to the insertion of uniformed personnel in 135 nations—is the end of the Anglo-American Empire and the birth of a multi-polar world. It appears that the more level-headed among the U.S. and worldwide elite are tilting toward Barack Obama as the best choice to manage America’s inevitable decline.
This decline is by no means a bad thing. Through graceful acceptance, America may even have a chance someday to regain its soul. A good place to start would be to establish a National Historical Truth Commission to investigate such historical puzzles as the real causes of U.S. entrance into the wars of the past century; assassinations—such as JFK, Senator Paul Wellstone, and JFK, Jr.; and 9/11. Another worthwhile proposal is for a tribunal on “International and Domestic Crimes Committed by High U.S. Government Officials,” which will be discussed at a national conference planned for Andover, Mass., in September.
Can anything else be done to ease the shocks to come? If people took the trouble to read the available literature, they would see that hundreds of potential economic and political reforms have been presented and discussed—at least in books and on the internet—that could make our society more just, functional, and humane and not just the ugly police state it is rapidly becoming.
In the mind of this writer, a viable economic solution would be policies based on government control of credit treated as a vital public utility, rebuilding of our public and private infrastructure, radical reduction of pollution and dependence on foreign oil through green energy R&D, enactment of a basic income guarantee, and implementation of a national dividend which would monetize productivity and savings.
The theory of a national dividend, not dependent on either taxation or government borrowing, is sound and was worked out decades ago by the British Social Credit movement. It can be seen on a small scale in the annual residents’ stipend provided by the Alaska Permanent Fund. Such a program would be more in accord with the largely successful social welfare policies of the Western European democracies and less with the leanings, for instance, of the American Libertarians. The manner in which they view with suspicion any action taken by representative government to benefit the general welfare—misleadingly labeling it “socialism”—is an ideological dead end.
Of course the mainstream media ignore any real reform proposals, because they are afraid to suggest that there are any alternative political structures to ones that are controlled by usurers and war-mongers.
Ultimately, we are all responsible for the current state of affairs, because we have profited from it in one way or another so must reap the consequences. There is no use worrying about how we might escape the wave of events while everyone else goes down with the ship. But those who at least recognize what is going on have an obvious advantage. From there the only conscionable approach is what it has always been—diligence, honesty, and prudence in all our affairs.
Ultimately, mankind must grow up and became more humane and compassionate. This includes the angry white male American conservatives who—under the tutelage of conniving European-born intellectuals like Kissinger and Brzezinski—have been the real global terrorists for the past generation.
Philosophically, we need to realize that we live in an infinite universe of abundance where all God’s children can be provided for, rather than one of scarcity where we can only survive by taking away what belongs to our neighbor. We can all choose to begin seeing the world in this manner.
We need to understand that we are at an early point of a new age of humanity. If enough people attain a sufficient degree of enlightenment—and it won’t take that many—real change in social, economic, and political relations will follow, just as the flowers bloom in the spring.
Copyright 2008 by Richard C. Cook
Richard C. Cook is a former U.S. federal government analyst, whose career included service with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Carter White House, NASA, and the U.S. Treasury Department. His articles on economics, politics, and space policy have appeared on numerous websites and in Eurasia Critic magazine. His book on monetary reform, entitled We Hold These Truths: The Hope of Monetary Reform, will be published soon by Tendril Press. He is also the author of Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age, called by one reviewer, “the most important spaceflight book of the last twenty years.” His website is at richardccook.com. Comments may be sent via email to EconomicSanity@gmail.com.