Friday, December 17, 2010

Falling Forward: America’s Loss of Direction Since the End of the Cold War

You know how when you’re pushing against something heavy and unyielding—a heavy door, say, or maybe a car stuck in a ditch—and all of a sudden, the thing you were pushing against abruptly yields? What happens?

Why, you fall forward, of course.

Especially if you’ve been pushing for a good long while: You were so hell-bent on pushing at the thing—the car stuck in the ditch, the heavy door that wouldn’t budge—that when it finally does move, you over-balance. You fall forward. You might even trip up. You might ever fall on your face—and painfully, at that.

This is what’s happening to the United States: After the long struggle of the Cold War, America is falling forward.

And this falling forward is turning into an epic tragedy.

The United States and the Western allies fought the Cold War against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact between 1945 and 1991—roughly 45 years.

And it was a war, whatever the revisionists might claim: Proxy wars in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan; guerrilla wars in just about every other continent on earth; propaganda wars on every front, in every category. There might not have been open combat between the U.S. and the USSR, but that didn’t make it any less of a war—constant and unabated.

Psychologically, the United States and the West were gearing up for a full-on, total war with the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. I remember reading two best-selling novels that outlined exactly how such a war would take place: The Third World War: August 1985 (1979) by Gen. Sir John Hackett, and Red Storm Rising (1986) by Tom Clancy.

Everyone was preparing for full, open, total war. Everyone was expecting a full, open, total war.

But the war never came—instead, the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc collapsed from their own weight.

When Hungary opened its border to Austria in August of 1989, it was like the tipping of the first domino in a string of them: In rapid succession, East Germans flooded to the West, the Berlin Wall fell, other Eastern Bloc countries started to collapse, and in August 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to be.

Not a shot was fired by any army of the West. It was a bloodless and altogether anti-climactic event—but it had consequences: Consequences we are still grappling with, and which have defined the last twenty years.

To the rest of the world, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc rendered Socialist ideology simply untenable—not to say stupid.

The collapse of the Soviet Union broke the intellectual appeal of Socialism and Leninism more decisively than any military victory ever could have. Had the USSR collapsed because of defeat on the battlefield, there would have always been the lingering sense that the West won “unfairly”—that its ideas weren’t better, merely its armies stronger. 

But the fact that the Eastern Bloc collapsed from internal rot, rather than a battlefield defeat—and an internal rot brought about by the application of Marxism-Leninism—rendered the socialist ideal indefensible, and unsustainable as a political ideology: After 1991, no political party in any country that truly wanted access to political power could appeal to the masses with visions of a Socialist Paradise.

I remember quite clearly how Hard Left parties in Latin America were suddenly shown to be ridiculous and foolish, after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. Ambitious politicians of the Left quickly rebranded themselves as “renewed Socialists”—i.e., capitalist, non-Leninist Socialists. Or in other words, center-Left politicians who fully embraced capitalism, and fully renounced Socialism. Even a whisper of a Leninist, the-Party-as-the-leading-edge-and-guiding-light-of-society talk, was considered—rightfully—idiotic and ridiculous: Laughable.

And as everyone knows, nothing kills a political position as effectively as ridicule.

So in the ideological, intellectual sense, the Western Democracies’ victory over the Eastern Bloc was total and overwhelming: The West had won the battle for hearts and minds—the fabled goal of all those years of Cold War confrontation.

After 1991, there was really no ideology that could seriously compete with the West’s combination of representative democracy and capitalism-with-a-safety-net. The world finally understood that the capitalist democracies of the West were superior to the Marxist-Leninist states of the East—and no one could seriously say otherwise.

Insert enemy here. 
But—supreme irony of ironies—the United States failed to understand its own victory. The victor in this decades-spanning war didn’t realize what it had achieved. America failed to understand the very fact that it had won the Cold War.

Like one of those Japanese soldiers on some forgotten island, still fighting WWII—like a basketball team still playing aggressively and without pause, long after the end of the fourth quarter and the other team has left, defeated—the United States is still fighting the Cold War.

This has been the tragedy and miscalculation that has dominated the last twenty years of world history—a failure of understanding which I think is leading to the collapse of America.

The most obvious consequence of this failure of understanding was that America has yet to de-militarize after the end of the Cold War. 

The U.S. continues with its enormous, globe-straddling military—an unnecessary and back-breaking expense, because the basic rationale for this enormous military expenditure is gone: The Warsaw Pact is no more.

To give just one practical example: Ballistic missile submarines. Part of the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction, this weapons system class was developed during the Cold War explicitly and specifically so as to be able to deliver a nuclear counter-attack, most likely in the event of a surprise blanket nuclear strike by one side against the other.

But once such a threat ceased to exist—that is, once the Cold War was over and the threat of total and overwhelming preemptive nuclear attack was gone—there was no need for such a weapons system. That’s because ballistic nuclear submarines don’t make any sense outside the strategy of Mutually Assured Destruction.

Nevertheless, there are still eighteen Ohio-class boomers, endlessly and pointlessly patrolling the waters around the globe. Their acquisition and operational costs are astronomical, and they have no practical use except as a delivery system for a massive nuclear counter-attack against a surprise, overwhelming inter-continental ballistic missile nuclear strike—a thing which now will never happen.

Yet the United States military continues to deploy these vessels, over 20 years after their practical use ended.

Much of the American military’s expenditures continue in this direction: Deploying weapons and strategies developed for fighting the Cold War, and still being implemented today in 2010—even though the Cold War ended in 1991, and ended in victory.

The cost of all this pointless military expenditure boggles the mind—literally: It makes your mind bump around in your skull like a big ice cube in a small glass. If one considers that the American military budget over the last twenty years has been roughly $600 billion per year in inflation adjusted dollars (not counting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq), and if one supposes that, say, 25% of those budgets are spent on strategies and weapons systems that are useless in a post-Cold War world—such as ICBM submarines—then about $3 trillion have been literally thrown away, since the end of the Cold War.

$3 trillion—and that’s a conservative, back-of-the-envelope number. I wouldn’t be surprised if the refined number is closer to $6 trillion, if not higher.

The reason the military was not cut immediately after the end of the Cold War was because the G.H.W. Bush administration (1989–1993) was not in office long enough to implement any intelligent military or strategic reassessment.

His successor, Bill Clinton, could not fight the military-industrial complex because his political liabilities rendered him harmless to that cabal of interests. Between his draft-dodging, and the military-industrial complex’s brilliant manipulation of the gays-in-the-military issue, the Clinton administration left that interest group alone. So money was spent on pointless, outdated strategies that served no purpose, other than to enrich weapons manufacturers, and shore up the egos of the general staff.

The George W. Bush administration, of course, was full of draft-dodging cowards who tried to cover up the fact of their cowardice with a rah!-rah! militaristic clamor—and once 9/11 happened, the money-spigot was opened for the military until quite literally, they did not know what to spend all the money on.

(It always amazes me how cowards who dodged their Vietnam military service, like Shrub and Cheney, could so cavalierly throw away the lives of young men on pointless wars—how do such cowards sleep at night? Have they no conscience? Or are they so monstrous as to not realize the moral depravity of their actions?)

On a strategic level, the United States continued fighting the Cold War in the sense that it continued to project global power—rescinding its isolationist temperament in favor of an aggressive, Globo-cop, interventionist approach to world affairs.

The United States—as every urbane foreigner knows—is essentially a nation of isolationists: Americans are uninterested in the affairs of the rest of the world. Even putatively sophisticated and cultured Americans are as naive as country bumpkins, when it comes to dealing with the rest of the world.

The only reason the U.S. became mixed up in foreign affairs was because of the Cold War: Up until Roosevelt’s third term, Americans had traditionally shied away from the rest of the world.

That changed with WWII, and especially the Cold War: Fighting the Cold War—which was a global war—meant intervening and interfering and competing against the Soviet Union on every country on earth.

But after the Cold War, the United States continued with its ham-handed foreign intervention—but without the strategic interests it had had when the Soviet Union still existed. American intervention had previously been in order to prevent a Soviet toe-hold. But after the Cold War, American intervention became an end in itself—a pointless exercise that served only to antagonize other countries.

So in defense policy and foreign policy, the United States never realized it was no longer fighting the Cold War—it continued acting as if the Cold War was in full swing.

This only points up to the fact that, in an intellectual, zeitgeist sense, America failed to understand what the end of the Cold War meant.

I was at Dartmouth immediately after the collapse of the USSR and the Eastern Bloc: There were no panel discussions of what the end of the Cold War meant. It wasn’t even acknowledged. The end of the Cold War was treated like a strange bit of news that was met with blank faces, and then ignored.

This is understandable: In 1991, the American academy was dominated by leftist Baby Boomers who for temperamental reasons could not accept that the United States had won the Cold War. Who could not accept that the United States had been right.

Many of these Baby Boomers had dodged the draft and/or protested the Vietnam War. The excuse so many of these people used in order to explain away their unwillingness to fight in Vietnam was that America was evil—America was really Amerika, first cousin of Nazi Germany. Therefore, not fighting in Vietnam was excusable. Indeed, commendable

The simple-minded extension of this argument, of course—and an extension most Baby Boom intellectuals in fact made—was that if Amerika and all it stood for was evil, then the Soviet Union was good, all evidence to the contrary. Therefore, by the standards of this manichean logic, the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact deserved to win the Cold War—not the United States and its Western allies.

This psycho-drama is incomprehensible to non-Americans, but intimately understandable by most in America. The Baby Boomers’ resentment—and indeed, hatred—of America comes from a one-two punch: The failure of nerve of the Baby Boom generation, when it came to fighting in Vietnam; and the collective envy and resentment of the Baby Boomers against the generation that preceded them—their parents, the Depression Baby/World War II generation, who conducted themselves more stoically, competently, and admirably than the Baby Boom generation ever did.

For the Boomers, to accept that America had won the Cold War would have been to acknowledge that the Vietnam War had been necessary, and that the anti-Americanism so prevalent among the Baby Boom generation had been severely misguided, not to say treasonous, not to say wrong—not to say evil.

The collapse of the Soviet Union, and the horrible truths of the Eastern Bloc that were revealed as a result, served only to show off the failure of the intellectual Baby Boomers. It showed that, in fact, they had collectively supported and defended and even championed an ideology that was—at the heart—evil, and wrong.

So the victory of the Cold War was ignored by the American intelligentsia—because it would have shown off their own failings.

Since the middle-brow mainstream media in America traditionally takes its intellectual cue from the academic highbrows, the culture itself seemed to ignore the momentous fact that the Cold War had been won.

As far as I can recall, there was only one serious stab at a mainstream discussion of what had happened—Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man. But that fine book was completely—and I think deliberately—misunderstood by academia and the mainstream media. Fukuyama wasn’t saying that “history” in the sense of events occurring, was over and done with—he was referring to “history” in the Hegelian sense of the development of freedom was over. Speaking as a former student of Hegel’s political philosophy, Fukuyama was right—but he was dismissed by academia and the mainstream media.

(Parenthetically, and just to clue you in as to how brilliant I truly am: I understood roughly 25% to 30% of The Philosophy of Right. You may applaud if you feel so moved. As to The Phenomenology of Spirit? I understood almost 10% of that book—which goes to show you that I’m a fucking genius!)

Why was Fukuyama dismissed? Because he was pointing out that the Western capitalist democracies had won out over the Eastern Bloc—a hard fact to be faced, by that intelligentsia. Hence Fukuyama was caricatured and then dismissed, so as to avoid having to confront the painful fact that the West was right. The Cold War had been worth fighting. The Eastern Bloc—and all its supporters—had been wrong.

Because of this inability—or unwillingness—to celebrate the victory in the Cold War, and the failure to come to grips with that victory’s full implications, the United States continued as if it were still fighting that war.

In other words, the United States is falling forwards: It is still fighting an enemy that no longer exists.

What have been the consequences of this?

Well, first of all, such a stance requires a real, actual enemy, to take the place of the missing Soviet Union—and the chosen enemy has become Islam.

And we have a winner! The enemy is . . . Islam!
The terrorist incidents of September 11, 2001—spectacular though they were—were trivial. I don’t mean to belittle the suffering of those affected by the incidents, but in a world-historical sense, 9/11 was insignificant in and of itself.

It was the reaction to the events of 9/11 which were important—or in the case of the United States, America’s over-reaction.

(A parenthesis: I refuse to call the incidents of September 11, 2001, an “attack”—they were a series of crimes, no different from a stabbing or a rape or a burglary. Would you call the Zodiac murders “the Zodiac Attack”? Would you speak of the “Son of Sam Attack”, in capital letters, as if referring to the Devil or some other boogey man? No you would not. To call the 9/11 incident an “attack” invites the inference that there is some oppositional enemy—and imbues this imaginary oppositional enemy with power and stature that he does not have. The plain fact is, these people who carried out the 9/11 incident were a bunch of criminals—criminals who are now dead, of course, and who therefore can cause no more harm.) 

The invasion of Afghanistan in pursuit of the people responsible for 9/11 was reasonable and understandable—but the unprovoked war of aggression on Iraq was not. Nor is the constant goading of Iran, nor the secret wars in Yemen and Pakistan.

Why have these things happened? Because of an oversized military, and a foreign policy that views American intervention as “necessary and natural”.

In researching the causes of the war in Iraq for a piece I will be posting soon, I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the main reasons for the war in Iraq was the U.S. military’s need to prove its usefulness. 

The enormous size of the U.S. military—a relic of the Cold War—was bound to come under scrutiny, eventually. The American military needed an enemy in order to justify its disproportionate size—because once the Soviet Union was gone, the rationale for its massive size was gone with it. 

So it seems increasinly clear to me that one of the main reasons (though certainly not the only reason) for the pointless war of aggression in Iraq was for the American military to justify its size and composition. 

Hence the American military, running riot through the Middle East—with no clear purpose, no clear strategy, where “victory” cannot be defined, or even articulated without recourse to empy and meaningless clichés. 

The only conclusion a serious observer of the situation can arrive at is that, as a direct result of the 9/11 incidents, the United States declared war on Islam. 

To Muslims, and to every other outside observer in the world, this is a non-controversial statement of fact. Americans might vehemently disagree. Americans might plausibly argue that “declaring war on Islam” was not a choice that the United States consciously or deliberately made, it just sort of happened

—which proves my point: The U.S. fell forward into a war with Islam, because of its failure to come to terms with the end of the Cold War. 

Some people might well argue that the U.S.’s actions have all been aimed at “fighting Muslim radicals”—but as every sensible observer of the situation has pointed out, attacking a people and invading their land creates these “radical Muslim terrorists”. What would you do if, say, Chinese soldiers invaded your town in Indiana? Greet them as heroes? Throw garlands of flowers on their tanks? 

Or try to kill as many of these invaders as you could, by whatever means you could? 

Invading and occupying countries creates resistance fighters. Americans might call these people who resist the U.S.’s invasions of these countries “terrorists”: But to these people, they’re simply and nobly resisting and fighting a foreign invader—


Falling forward: Like I said at the beginning, when the truck you’re pushing suddenly gets out of the ditch, if you’re not careful, your liable to fall flat on your face—

—or worse:

One of the great things about fighting the Cold War was that it required America to redefine—almost on a daily basis—what it stood for.

By its opposition to the Soviet Union, the United States and its Western allies were forced to constantly remind themselves of what they would defend to the death—freedom, human rights and dignity, due process, free speech and democracy—and what they were constitutionally against—a self-selected elite controlling the people, cronyism, undemocratic State diktats, lack of free speech, lack of due process, selective prosecutions, torture, concentration camps—

—everything that embodied and defined the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.

But now that the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact are gone, this constant process of self-examination and redefinition of priorities is gone.

Hence the degeneration that we have seen:
• The human rights abuses—perpetrated by Americans. 
• The blatant lies—WMD’s and all the rest of it—perpetrated by Americans. 
• The secret prisons—perpetrated by Americans. 
• The violation of due process—perpetrated by Americans. 
• The effective elimination of habeas corpus—perpetrated by Americans. 
• The cronyism and institutionalized corruption—perpetrated by Americans. 
• The limitations of free speech, and its persecution by selective prosecution—perpetrated by Americans. 
By not coming to terms with the end of the Cold War, the United States has fallen forward: It has engaged in an imperial war, it has betrayed all of its core principles, it is slowly devolving into a fascist police-state

—come to think of it, the United States is looking more and more like the Soviet Union.

That is the supreme tragedy of America today—it is becoming that which it fought so nobly against, and which it rightfully despised.

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  1. GL, I think you've got this one all wrong, and rather than argue the notions point by point, I'll suggest you read "Full Spectrum Dominance" by F. William Engdahl. The title says it all.

    M.A.D. has been superseded by the doctrine of "anticipatory self-defense" using first-strike nuclear weapons.

    His earlier book "A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order" should also be required history reading for everybody.

  2. Yes, Gonzalo, we have become the thing we fought. Dead on. I spent a significant amount of energy during GW's presidency trying to explain in my right wing circles why Guantanamo was a key piece in the end of our liberty. While many of these people gave GW a complete pass because of his professed faith, I tried to explain that the death of due process would ultimately be turned against those of us supporting the president when a future administration found US to be the "threat."

    I would add one thing, though, about WHY we continue to fall forward with huge military expenditures in the aftermath of the cold war. It is also because of the military being a huge form of Keynesian economic stimulus! Having lived in towns potentially affected by military base closures, I have seen first hand the hand wringing and lobbying that is done to keep the bases open and define the base missions as national security critical. Can you imagine how high unemployment would be if 1/2 our military were cut back? Soldiers, support staff, manufacturing jobs making planes, guns, bombs, etc., retail jobs surrounding now closed bases, etc. These things need to happen, and in by-gone days would have created temporary pain while American ingenuity was mobilized to transition to new opportunities and industries. However, because we have, in fact, adopted the very socialist ideals we defeated, we continue with the defunct system of government leading us by our noses.

    The saddest thing about this? While the communist rule against which we fought the Cold War was ALWAYS implemented through violence and force, we have adopted it in apathetic dependency without even a fight.

  3. Actually GL, I think you've gotten it exactly right; although your hippie-bashing suggests you think the academy liberals were ultimately responsible for us marching into Iraq. That's obviously not the case.

    But yes, the military-industrial complex was not about to voluntarily downsize at the end of the Cold War. It sought justification to keep on consuming all that it did; we did indeed need a new, super-nefarious enemy. And we found one! Imagine that! And so now, even those who scream the loudest about gub'mint spending defend the notion of virtually unlimited defense spending, necessary for our safety and security and liberty - when in fact, it may ultimately endanger all three.

  4. I'd like to go a little further. The creation of the Dept. of Homeland Security was, IMNSHO, a terrible idea. Bureaucracies never die, and this one will of course continue to find "threats" to protect us from. We will have the "security-industrial complex" -- in fact, we already have it -- the military is simply rebranding itself. And think what could happen if a charismatic, bureaucratically savvy person were to become head of DHS. It would make JE Hoover look like small potatoes and could be a path to total power, an end run around the executive and legislative branches. And if DHS were to ever get its hands on the Fed -- Katie bar the door!

  5. Hi GL,

    I totally agree with you here. One of my teachers back in school would say "The only problem with the American Foreign policy is that they mostly treat rest of the world as goats and sheep ". Finally ppl are realizing that although the end is too near now.

  6. Gonzalo, I do agree on some points. but mostly you are wrong.
    #1 USA is a war-monger nation, simple because is a money-machine-maker for its economical system.
    #2 the war in Vietnam was totally an unnecessary war.
    #3 do you ever had been enlisted in the selective service, and draft, boot-camp etc??

    Because you sound like the typical "know it all" and with no experience of being in the military scenery.

  7. Really? So the reasons for opposing Vietnam in the 60s and 70s had nothing to do with opposing the already visible symptoms of militaristic imperialism running out of control? I think you're way oversimplifying the reasons for opposition to US military adventures long before the Soviet Union collapsed.

  8. Agreed that we in the U.S. did not understand the fall of Communism, and that a reappraisal of foreign policy never occurred. You make a lot of very good points. But, your dismissal of the events of 9/11 as just criminal is simplistic to say the least.

    The psychological blow was intense. Yes, it was like a little boy who wants attention and runs up and stomps on an adult foot. But these little bastards took a pencil and put someone's eye out for attention. It showed how a great power with the world's finest military could be wrecked by simple means. And it continues today. We don't know now to react to that - we have no viable plan.

    And I totally reject the idea that if you just mind your own business you will not be a target.
    That's the isolationist impulse. It is false.

  9. Nicely done Gonzalo.

    Those that think the Vietnam war was unnecessary are confusing the government's distrust of the people to wage it, which resulted in the false flag incident that started it. The fact that the Vietnamese government was corrupt didn't help either.

    That said, it was probably the last of the necessary Cold War conflicts, the evidence of which is that it was the LAST of the Cold War conflicts... At least between the USA and the USSR. Everything after that has been an extension of corporate & government interests.

    The final nail in the USSR's coffin was naturally Afghanistan, the "Executioner of Empires". We have truly become that which we hated and feared. Fascinating that this is the case with individuals as well as empires!

  10. Thank you, Gonzalo, for another thought-provoking piece. There is no doubt a substantial element of truth in your basic tenet of "falling forward." I am not sure it represents clear and convincing truth, but the notion surely gives me pause.

    I think you are very good at recognizing inflection points/paradigm shifts in numerous essays. As to 9/11 representing criminal activities rather than warfare, however, I am hesitant to agree. As I see it, warfare has undergone such a paradigm shift. For the first time in history, a handful of individuals with money, hatred and clandestine state backing can kill millions of non-combatants. In all likelihood, 9/11 was but a pinprick compared to what is being planned - and will likely occur - even as we essay to understand the grand themes of history.

    The sympathy I do feel for your current effort is rooted in my mistrust of central government. Until recently, I gave it the benefit of the doubt as to foreign policy, even as I detested and mistrusted its domestic incompetence and expanding tyranny. This dissonance is resolving, however. I no longer see much reason to trust the government's foreign policy. It, too, is omnipresent and omniincompetent. Unfortunately for all of us, defense against WMD's in the hands of medieval lunatics of whatever stripe may be beyond the competence of any one or any group.

  11. GL,

    I really appreciate your blog and perspective but I personally must respectfully disagree with you on this "falling forward" piece.


    The US prevailed in the COLD WAR by colluding with the King Faudh family of Saudi Arabia to depress oil prices. See here for citings during the Reagan Admin:


    The US Military Industrial complex is geared simply to protect the largest oil reserves the world knows - i.e., the ME. Likely it also is a continuum of the original Reagan era Cold War deal to provide SA with continued Military Protection for Cheap Oil. I personally don't think the US Government gives a shit about it's own citizens (see Bailouts, Devaluation of citizens currency, etc) much less those of other countries.

    I do agree with you however, that the US should stop being the world's policeman. Here are a few citings:

    Best and Keep up the Good Work....

  12. The below quote was written by Hermann Wilhelm Göring, a leading member of the Nazi Party:

    “Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

    The above statement applied today with regard to America’s War on Terrorism is as real today as it was in the past.

    As GL points out, America has stumbled forward. I would go further and say America is like a drunken teenager spoiling for a fight. The teenager, who in this case is the USA has so called friends, who quite rightly do not want to get entangled in the antics of their drunken friend, but reluctantly pretend it’s cool because they rely on this drunken idiots control of resources/influence.

    The drunken teenager runs rampant on his way home, pissing in doorways, shouting loudly, kicking bins, damaging cars. Naturally, he makes enemies in the process. This lout travels abroad, he is loud, arrogant, and rarely understands the social perplexities of other cultures, doubtless he makes more enemies.

    He is avoided, and treated with disdain. He has an unfounded arrogance that he is the best, he has the best, and no one is or ever can be better. This is what he was taught from an early age.

    Sadly, unless this teenager grows up and starts to act in a responsible manner, the consequences will be dire.

    His enemies will start taking “pot-shots” at him. Others will desert him when they to feel threatened. The drunken teenager will resort to isolationist practices, akin to a loner who has been abandoned and lost all hope. He eventually goes on a final rampage before killing himself.

    America is in the “Pot-Shot” phase around the World, be that IEDs on Iraqi roads, to snipers in the hills of Afghanistan, or just good old home grown criminals like Major Nidal Malik Hasan, or Timothy James McVeigh and a host of others. As the saying goes: “Who needs enemies when you’ve got friends like this?”

    I hope America starts to sober up, stops pissing in the doorways of the World, treats other countries with some respect.

    Note: I served in the Military, I was there when the Russians were lined up in their tanks in Germany, I was there when the Berlin Wall came down, I even helped in the process.

    “War is when the government tells you who the bad guy is. Revolution is when you decide that for yourself.”

    A World Revolution, is that achievable?

  13. I used to be one of those "rah-rah" pro-defense Republicans... I'm ashamed to admit it, but I even worked as a consultant to a defense contractor in DC until I became so disgusted with the M.I.C. that I quit.

    While soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq couldn't even get armor plating for their Humvees, and were getting massacred by IUD's, these defense contractor lowlifes were still pushing idiotic projects like the Joint Strike Fighter and littoral combat ship.

    (Incidentally, Democrats are no better... They just bankrupt the country in a different way.) Republicans keeps us scared, Democrats keep us dependent. Each picks our pockets in its own unique way.

    Bob Dylan's words are more true today than ever...

    Come you masters of war
    You that build the big guns
    You that build the death planes
    You that build all the bombs
    You that hide behind walls
    You that hide behind desks
    I just want you to know
    I can see through your masks.

    You that never done nothin'
    But build to destroy
    You play with my world
    Like it's your little toy
    You put a gun in my hand
    And you hide from my eyes
    And you turn and run farther
    When the fast bullets fly.

    Like Judas of old
    You lie and deceive
    A world war can be won
    You want me to believe
    But I see through your eyes
    And I see through your brain
    Like I see through the water
    That runs down my drain.

    You fasten all the triggers
    For the others to fire
    Then you set back and watch
    When the death count gets higher
    You hide in your mansion'
    As young people's blood
    Flows out of their bodies
    And is buried in the mud.

    You've thrown the worst fear
    That can ever be hurled
    Fear to bring children
    Into the world
    For threatening my baby
    Unborn and unnamed
    You ain't worth the blood
    That runs in your veins.

    How much do I know
    To talk out of turn
    You might say that I'm young
    You might say I'm unlearned
    But there's one thing I know
    Though I'm younger than you
    That even Jesus would never
    Forgive what you do.

    Let me ask you one question
    Is your money that good
    Will it buy you forgiveness
    Do you think that it could
    I think you will find
    When your death takes its toll
    All the money you made
    Will never buy back your soul.

    And I hope that you die
    And your death'll come soon
    I will follow your casket
    In the pale afternoon
    And I'll watch while you're lowered
    Down to your deathbed
    And I'll stand over your grave
    'Til I'm sure that you're dead.

  14. This is a biiiig topic. I expect the comments here to run and run. Sign of a good blog post tho isn't it ;-)

  15. Dead on, Gonzalo. It is incredible how the U.S. has slowly drifted toward and ultimately embraced communist ideals over the last century. Democracies, given time, alway devolve into socialist societies. Marx and Engles knew this and it's why they said they needed to "win the battle of democracy." Our own government used to teach this to its soldiers and actually railed against the evils of democracy. We were a republic and everyone knew the difference.

  16. Great essay! BTW, Moody has downgraded Irish Bonds quite harshly for no good reasons (as opposed to 1 to 2 weeks ago). Guess the Goldman Sach baron robbers need to close out their Short Position on the Euro. They are getting too obvious these days...robbing old pensioners and widows have never been so easy

  17. I've read many blog posts lately attempting to comprehend why developed, democratic countries have mired themselves in so much debt, while producing such poor results for citizens in recent years. Across the board from economic to health to foreign policy, all we seem to see is failures.

    I think these failures all stem from a single bad meme developed over the years by politicos for dealing with the growing complexity of the problems they face today.

    This failed meme that is the root cause of our civilization's recent plague of problems is the perverse and destructive economics created by the structure of a standing political committee.

    If you are one of the few that makes the weapons for the Pentagon or builds the massive 'projects' around cities for housing the disadvantaged. It doesn't matter if those weapons are no longer needed for the national security or if those 'projects' have been shown to create a culture of dependency that destroys most of the young people that grow up within them. You still want to keep your gravy train flowing.

    Your industry is only a few compared to the many, but you have an enormous economic incentive to bribe or otherwise subvert the committee into continuing the support for your particular gravy train. So you pull out all the stops to make this happen.

    Contrast this with the average citizen's economic incentive to stop the waste that your program represents. The taxes on a billion dollars in excess revenues paid to your particular boondoggle, costs me, the typical taxpayer, only a vanishingly small fraction of my income, less than 1/10th of 1 percent.

    So much is at stake for you that you will offer cushy jobs to committee staffers, wives and kids of politicos, or even to politicos themselves when they retire from office. You will hand out cup cakes to a committee's staff just before consideration begins of something that might help the public by addressing your near-monopoly power in a particular business, as AT&T did just this week.

    For me though, the average citizen, the economic loss from each individual boondoggle, just isn't worth my getting politically involved to overcome. Each individual loss never rises to the level where it is in my economic interest to fight it.

    This is why sub-committees and regulator committees inevitably morph into industry, and existing project protection clubs.

    The economic incentives created by the flawed political standing committee meme insurers that it can be no other way.

    Even a scrupulously honest politico or committee staff member often finds him/herself subverted into living public service for a wonderful job in the private sector. Because an industry wanting them gone from government service, makes them an offer too good to refuse.

    Failure on an unbelievably massive scale can be sustained by this system.

    After creating the mother of all real estate bubble by printing too much money (M3 just before the bust was rising 17% annually) and keeping interest rates artificially low and making terrible loans. The Fed, Treasury Dept. bureaucrats and banking industry were given trillions in additional resources to deal with the problem they had created.

  18. Disagree / understand the desire to make sense of it /

    it is about the ME, Oil, the Jews and their hedgemoney (sic) / I still refuse to keep an open mind to the 2% media owners / I must gird my loins between my ears and realize - it is all about money. The wars you espouse are simply those watching the cheerleaders and believing it is genuine and sincere.

    No - it was always about money and power, and most importantly - keeping the money and power forever.

  19. The comments here are outstanding... As thoughtful as GL's piece actually. Some additional observations:

    1) If the perpetrators of 9/11 had any forethought of how successful (ultimately) their attack would be, their strategy was brilliant. Asymmetrical warfare at its finest... Why? They destroyed us from within. Our REACTION was like an out of control immune system attacking a pin prick (DHS, torture, Guantanamo, Homeland Security, a total destruction of the values we claimed to believe in)... This is classic jiu-jitsu -- use your opponent's strength (military, intelligence, money) to your advantage. What a shame that we weren't astute enough to see this.

    2) Republicans are typically the party of a strong military, Democrats the party of social "equity." They both spend us into bankruptcy and are experts at employing cynical propaganda to do it. Democrats want to keep us dependent on the state -- it's their handouts and redistributionist policies that get them re-elected. Republicans on the other hand want to keep us in fear -- terrified of the "evildoers" in the big frightening world beyond our borders. That's why folks say we have a false political dichotomy -- one keeps us scared, the other dependent.

    3) The military industrial complex is self-perpetuating, extraordinarily cynical and highly destructive. I'm ashamed to say I saw this first hand as a consultant to a large defense contractor in the early 2000's when they were pushing bullshit programs like the Joint Strike Fighter and the littoral combat ship when soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq couldn't even get basic armor plating for their Humvees to protect them from primitive IUD's. These immoral jackwagons at Lockheed Martin, Boeing and General Dynamics fought tooth and nail to protect these totally unnecessary billion dollar programs from cuts.

    4) If you think the military industrial complex is out of hand, the intelligence industrial complex is nothing short of terrifying. For anyone who hasn't read it, the Washington Post's special on the exponential growth in our intelligence agencies -- now coordinating with private corporations by the way -- is shocking. It can be found here:

  20. "The United States—as every urbane foreigner knows—is essentially a nation of isolationists: Americans are uninterested in the affairs of the rest of the world. Even putatively sophisticated and cultured Americans are as naive as country bumpkins, when it comes to dealing with the rest of the world.
    The only reason the U.S. became mixed up in foreign affairs was because of the Cold War: Up until Roosevelt’s third term, Americans had traditionally shied away from the rest of the world."

    Although I am an urban foreigner, I must confess that I didn't know that. Maybe it's because I'm just a plain reader of the facts of history:

  21. We are still being played, the Hegelian dialectic goes on. Just peel the onion - its damnably naive to think the cold war was the last layer. Fukuyama made this mistake, that's what made him laughable. Like the previous poster, I contend that the two party system in the US is to keep us occupied between dependency - fear. The winner is the all powerful state.

    -------------THE STATE-----------------
    50% Democrat-------------50% Republican
    -------------THE STATE-----------------
    You are sanctified............You are sanctified
    Democrats <-YOU ARE EVIL-< Republicans
    Democrats >-YOU ARE EVIL-> Republicans

  22. Vietnam was an undeclared war and NOT approved by Congress or the American people. WWII vets were in the majority then and many opposed any undeclared wars. Containment is not always war; it can be the sacrifice of brave American solders. We had superior weapons to completely neutralize Vietnam and failed to use them if necessary. We have the same weapons today to neutralize any country that attacks the US. I am not a warmonger but why build TNWs and then refuse to use them in self defense if and when that event should occur. 9/11 could have been dealt with by deploying several small well-equipped elite forces to round up the criminals responsible. If we bring our military home and protect our own country and vital interests the cost will be much less and well worth it. For the most part the hippies of the 1960s of college age and older despised America, the US Constitution and American heritage. Many gravitated to government positions. They continue to drive America to the brink of collapse with socialist anything goes intellectual global agenda. The Cold War is over and the US should realize its well-deserved rightful victory. America should begin to rebuild its economy, monetary and manufacturing base producing products, goods and services worthy of trade or self reliance.

  23. Gonzalo,
    A Intentional misrepresentation of reality.
    GL, in the effort of creating a thought provoking essay, you have lost your personal compass. Firstly; The USSR experiment collapsed because of internal corruption, lack of vision. It was not beneficial anymore to the international financiers, who did not see URSS as a returning asset in their global balance sheet. Money begets power and vice versa. The soviet experiment didn’t fail; it was just transferred to the states. Same with WWll and Nazism (paper clip anybody), It has never been about America, as much as the ones’ behind America.
    Terrorism: The new boogie man, terrorism, does not have a nation, and its stealth dominates the world. A new game has come to town, Preemptive War. A war that is fought at a National as well a Personal level (Somebody said TSA/HLS). A war to feed the “National” military industrial complex, a war to keep the citizenry “mentally” busy; occupying the rest of the world. Even Their Own World. Who is behind the Americans?.GL do your homework.
    “The US ; a nation of isolationists”: wrong again your categorization of American is to the stratification of Chileans as ABC1, flaites or rotos. Racist to their own mapuches, pascuenses or even to other South Americans like Bolivians or Peruvians. Do not trivialize, generalize or pontificate.
    You confuse the different levels of right and left “positioning”, blaming baby boomers for their leftist LIKE POSTURE, apparently you have also fallen victim to Social/Political Engineering. In regards to world events, Pearl Harbor and the Gulf of Tonkin incident, like many other global events were groomed to the outcome. Apparently, you are still in the process of Truth Searching.
    (continues below)

  24. Gonzalo (second part)
    9/11: Your 9/11 analysis reflects your inability to correlate multiple events, at different levels; in concurrent time lines. The significance of 9/11 as the foundation to a change in the direction of Global Economical and Political Central Management is evident even to the neophyte. So, refuse to call 9/11 an attack to the Nation State Symbol, place your head in the sand. It’s your choice. But the criminals, terrorists responsible for the planning and execution of this orchestrated operation at still at large. Maybe a few patsies in the entire operation have paid with their own life. However, the central operatives are still out there, in plain sight.
    In researching the causes of the war in Iraq, just look at the record. Who supported the afghan operatives post Russian invasion? Who profits with the control of poppy production?. Who profits with the control of oil production?.
    “ The only conclusion a serious observer of the situation can arrive at is that, as a direct result of the 9/11 incidents, the United States declared war on Islam.” Gonzalo, please; there is no constitutional declaration of war to any nation in the Middle East, do your research. It’s past due. There is an anti-constitutional exercise of power not a congressional approval to go to war. Finally, your carnivalistic allegory of civil responsibilities can be easily transferred to the post-Pinochet-coup in Chile. Hence the degeneration that we have seen:
    The human rights abuses (read Rettig’s commission report)—perpetrated by Chileans.
    The blatant lies—WMD’s (civil war) and all the rest of it— perpetrated by Chileans.
    The secret prisons—(colonia dignidad, los Alamos) perpetrated by Chileans.
    The violation of due process—(detenidos desaparecidos) perpetrated by Chileans.
    The effective elimination of habeas corpus—(estado de sitio, toque de queda) perpetrated by Chileans.
    The cronyism and institutionalized corruption—(from O’Higgins to Piñera) perpetrated by Chileans.
    The limitations of free speech, and its persecution by selective prosecution—(does CNI reminds you of anything) perpetrated by Chileans. GL, don’t take for granted the critical analysis of your fans. Chileans and Americans are as responsible of this global orchestration as Mapuches and Pascuenses are of their “terrorist” labeling in Chile.
    GL, You are being played, you just don’t know it yet.

  25. Hi Gonzalo, the world is more complicated than us vs them. While fight against commies was important, there are more causes around us, and friend in one struggle can well be foe in the other.

    The long and important battle is state dictatorship vs liberty.

    Looking back a century, the Progressive era was a catastrophe, with FED creation in 1914 quite sealing it. Since then it was all downhill for freedom. The state and empire didn't waste any crisis, feeded and grew on them - be it Great Depression, WW2, Cold War.

    America isn't falling forward on sudden lack of sparring partner; it's falling apart after longterm erosion of own integrity, after missing out on the very principles that once made the nation great and the country nice to live in. Don't need to explain _that_ to you, do I? ;-)

  26. Alternative view has it, unbelievable as it may seem, that socialism didn't loose. It still rules in the Central Planning of the Central Banks everywhere - just listen to prof. Jesús Huerta de Soto

  27. I don't have the time to analyze this whole article but it appears that one piece is missing. Muslim nations other than Pakistan will soon have nuclear weapons and a new "cold war" will begin. Only one problem "they" aren't afraid to die for their faith and thus there will be numerous "suicidal" bombings. It looks like we all of the previous cold war armament if we want to save any part of this country...

  28. All the actions, all the conspiracies, all the wars and all the injustices eventually boil down to:
    I'm a control freak. I want to control you, totally. At heart I'm insecure, and if I totally control you, you cannot significantly threaten me.
    Now it's a basic truth of human nature that I cannot TOTALLY control you: even slaves have minds, can escape if capable, will revolt if opportunity arises, so I will ALWAYS be insecure, with an ever-growing need for additional resources, methods and avenues to control you, until I hit limits and go bankrupt, lose wars, suffer reversals and finally defeat, at which point:
    You, having suffered so terribly at my hands, will discover in yourself a dire need to control me....
    Can we learn enough from history not to repeat it endlessly (Reconstruction of the South after the American Civil War, Treaty of Versailles after WWI, ...)?
    Probably not.

  29. It's interesting that you would try this argument even as the US is on the verge of collapse from the self-induced rot of corruption and the excesses of extreme cannibalistic capitalism run amok - you missed the obvious corollary to your argument: the soviets were right too.

    Capitalism is collapsing under the weight of its own corruption. By your logic, the Soviets (and Marxists) were right too, it just took a little longer to prove.

    Of course, in truth your logic is faulty: the fact that one group collapsed from exhaustion before another proves nothing about the underlying "ideologies." That is like solving arguments about who God prefers by jousting.

    Your argument is also faulty on its premise, since the Soviet Union was by no means socialist, it was a putatively left wing totalitarian state. The US, for its part, is hardly a free market nation, is is simply a right-wing socialist nation, which is to say we do our Keynes via defense spending and our central planning via the Federal Reserve.

  30. It is very sad to read the article and the comments of those who still believe in 911 lie and propaganda. Sheepl!

  31. i live in San Francisco and have lived here since a very very young age but was not born here i was here when the presidio was an active military base and there was a variety of public television being broadcast there was a broadcast which came on for several decades called political islam and i found it to be a book which i stole from a college but being a born citizen of my country i don't consider it theft on this broadcast muslim sects would come on the television and announce that they would destroy this country from within and without and the trains would be destroyed and that the highways would be destroyed i had a marine corp. dress blue uniform since the age of eight when i read in time magazine that the embassies were being bombed by islamic extremists i joined the marine corp i wanted to be a master gunnery seargent but i did not get along so instaed of fighting my own opted to leave i did receive an honorable discharge and was reccomended for a good conduct medal after studying i have found that islam is in fact a very fanatical government more goverment than religion the founder of islam was the ruler of saudi arabia.FDSJ

  32. We are clearly overreacting to criminals of the terrorist flavor.

    On the essential thesis, that the US never claimed its peace dividends after the Cold War, that it never grasped the significance of what's happened, I agree.

    But was Vietnam relevant to the failure of the USSR? That's questionable. Would the USSR have fallen if we merely defended our borders? We can't know, and from here the economic collapse of the USSR looks inevitable. This is the toll of corruption, and that system not only lacked the incentives and openness needed to remove it, but had incentives to actively maintain it.

    I am deeply worried by our current incentive system - both the actions of government and the actions of large spenders.

  33. I have much respect for GL, but he's made some major errors here.

    For instance, we no longer have eighteen "boomers". The first four Ohio-class subs were converted to cruise-missile carriers in the late 90s-early 00s, so we now have 14 boomers in service.

    If the NEW START treaty goes into force, we'll have to reduce this number further to meet the new, lower-warhead count.

    And to assert that SSBNs are worthless outside of MAD is way off course. As long as ANYONE has WMDs, we NEED to have a convincing nuclear deterrent. Further, in this dangerous world, we cannot assume we'd never have to consider a pre-emptive strike.

    The REAL waste in DoD is in the force levels maintained. We could slash the Air Force to 14 total fighter wings, the Navy to eight active carriers, the Marines to two active divisions, and the Army to about 28 active BCTs.

    Along with this, close at least half of our 700 worldwide military installations, reduce uniformed manpower to about 800,000, reduce procurement and R & D by 50-60%, scrap Dept. of Homeland Security, and END the quagmire wars in Afpak and Iraq, and we'd lower total "security" spending by 60% or so, and still be able to do what's most important (e.g., missile defense, EMP hardening, protect our porous and dangerous southern border, and be able to quickly respond to a genuine security threat both here and overseas).

  34. Maybe I'm being a bit simplistic here, but the reason the US appears to be "falling forward" is because the cold war is NOT over. I think your premise may be wrong. USSR has only morphed back into Russia with all her allies. And we have ours, like Israel. Iran, Syria, Somalia, Turkey are Russia's allies. And I think Germany will prove to be faithful to her ethnic roots and side with Russia eventually. No, we are still in this east-west balance of power. Its how the world works and will be until something very shocking to the world occurs to bring us into the one world government.

  35. Holy Guacamole, you have touched several nerves. I can say that your line of thinking is very smooth. I especailly liked how you exposed both the guilt and overcompensation for those who did not participate in Vietnam. In the comments that followed that old arguement of not being able to question military action if a person had not been in the military was brought up. I think that reasoning is destructive. It is every citizen's responsibility to question what their country's military is doing whether they served or not. Every citizen needs to own America's defeats and shortcomings such as the attrocities commited during the current wars just as much as the victories.

    Along with that involvement and responsiblity the citizenry will be more inclined to take a closer look at the necessity of the size and mission of the military.

    History has shown time and again how destructive it is for a country's military to operate with autonomy. There is a definite need for oversite and here in America it is long overdue. One of the symptoms of an oversize military is the drain that it puts on resources.

    One of the things that helped many past empires to fall including the Romans was the fact that they kept their vast armies on campaign too long. We need to end our campaigns and turn our swords back into plowshares.

    Thanks again for another well written post.

  36. I found the essay extremely thought provoking. The truth is that we Americans have lost our way. we have become a police state. We have lost our freedoms. Why are we fighting all these wars? Why are we killing innocent Pakistanis with predator drones? How many millions have we killed in Afghanistan, and Iraq? We have created the hate we are experiencing from the rest of the world, it is our fault. How can backward sovereign nations on the other side of the world be our enemy? We are no longer the bulwark of freedom but perpetrators of hate. The only thing the once great United States produces is Trash, Rubbish, bullets, bombs, and criminal banks. Here GL makes sense maybe some of his allegations can be challenged but none of the consequences that he cites and we are experiencing are false. I disagree totally with Muslims, I don't like them, I think they are evil. But I don't need to kill them. I only want to protect Israel. America is a dying country and until we dissolve from this evil that we have created, can the healing begin.

  37. Hi Gonzalo, I found this to be a very thought provoking article. I do not agree with all of your arguments, but nonetheless think you accurately capture the inability of both the left and the right to define a sensible role for the US post cold-war.

    The falling forward is particularly insightful, given our sophomoric flailings as a supposed hegemonic superpower. The tragedy, of course, is our collective inability to define a sensible foreign and domestic policy.

    Keep up the good work!

  38. GL: Several factors are involved.
    1) The politicians did not want to look weak on terrorism, else they feared losing reelection.
    2) The politicians are dependent on the debt creation to finance their expenditures.
    3) The politicians are mostly bought by the campaign contributions of big business, including some large banks.
    4) Big business includes weapons manufacturers.
    5) The banks needed the politicians to legitimize the screw-overs they wanted to conduct to impoverish the populace. They also could use a miltitary would enforce their wishes.
    6) The military needed practice with all these fancy zillion dollar weapons. hence all the stupid undeclared wars we get into.
    7) Other nations were content to let the US pay for world "defense". The Fed prints up the money. The Fed is privately owned by big banks.
    8) The politicians run up the deficit with the aid of the banks to the delight of the military weapons manufacturers.

    It all stems from the biggest con job ever: the removal of precious metals as backing to currency, and the greed of bankers to enslave the population to work to pay them, or default their wealth to them.

    Get it?

  39. your blather could have been said in half the words.

  40. I always said whoever started the Vietnam war should be shot. Well... I never said it to a Kennedy.

  41. I live in Pakistan, one of your so-called strategic partners in your endless wars. Your new enemy is Islam? How silly. Islam is so close to Christianity and Judaism that this noise is incomprehensible. Surely it is clear by now that it has little to do with religion and everything to do with the power game, domination and money.

  42. Gonzalo said:
    "The only reason the U.S. became mixed up in foreign affairs was because of the Cold War"

    Thanks for your efforts in writing those articles, Gonzalo, but this time your analysis is so conventional and hollywoodesque that it made me fall backward.

    Your sentence should rather be put in this way: the only reason there has been a Cold War was because the US always mix up in foreign affairs.

  43. much of this seems cogent, but as a draft dodging u.s. baby boomer, i think the analysis of that mindset is wildly off. no one i know who was in a similar situation thought or thinks the ussr offered or offers a useful alternative to the u.s. if anything the social democratic, less interventionist policies of developed northern europe were/are seen as better than what we had/have here.

    as well, the war in vietnam, which the u.s. lost after great cruelty and expense, is a hard sell as useful to defeating the u.s.s.r. if the french loss had been the end and ho chi minh had taken over the whole country in the mid fifties it would have been as consequential as all the socialists/nationalists who ruled tiny third world nations all over africa and asia in that and the following decades. they would be making labor intensive products for trans national corporations today as surely as they now are.

    bush and cheney are more despicable cowards than clinton and i because they supported the war (and war generally as a cool thing to do if you possibly get the chance -- long as you don't have to fight it personally) and we didn't. jeff montanye (ron paul - 2012)

  44. GL is right on almost every point.

    Dick Cheney can sleep because he is pure Evil!

    Yes, the US is mutating, at increasing speed, into a police-state, and it trying to force its former allies of the West to follow suit.

    Where I differ with GL is that I think the US couldn't "reform" itself after winning the cold war. The reason is that the US, in its post WWII version, had been built specifically to face the USSR.

    Once the USSR has disintegrated, the US should have been "deconstructed" in orderly fashion, then rebuilt, but it couldn't be transformed.

    Imagine that the USSR was a navy ship firing at a coast line, defended by a blockhaus, the US. If the ship sinks, the blockhaus cannot become a hotel. It has to be demolished first, before a hotel is built on the same ground.

    I wrote a post, published on November 20th, titled "Why the West went down".
    While basically I was thinking along the same lines as GL, I introduced a philosophical factor, referring to the Yin and Yang Theory.

    Click on my name if you wish to read more on that.

  45. I got the following by e-mail, from reader C.M.:

    ---Begin Quote---

    That was as sorry a piece of screwed-up illogic as anything I have read lately. You are another example of what has gone wrong with America.

    Why are so many people so desperate to come up with "new" insights, "new" conclusions, "new" results all calculated to down America?

    You are not intelligent - you are sicko, because of a dysfunctional brain. I blame the media, school teachers/professors and recreational drugs.

    ---End of Quote---

    Thought you’d all want to read what he’d written me.


  46. Lots of long posts here, so I'll be brief:

    1. Baby Boomers - Disappointment to their parents, even worse as parents. The most selfish and narcissistic group of douchebags to ever squander the birthright of their forefathers.

    2. Lots of truth in the post, one additional truth. We didn't have to "make up" Islam as an enemy. The Islamo-satanists have done that for themselves. It is a convenient justification, but it doesn't change the fact that Islamic extremism is dangerous, real, and will attempt to assert itself in the absence of resistance. Fortunately they are generally too incompetent to make much serious headway. We will destroy ourselves.

  47. Gonzalo, as always a provocative article. A few observations:

    1) Most working and middle class Christian babyboomers had cojones and patriotism. Almost all my in-laws did not dodge the draft during Vietnam. I, for my part couldn't wait to get out of HS and join the USMC. Unfortunately, the war was over by the time I was in bootcamp. Interestingly, the draft dodging cowards from Cheney to O'Reilly to Christ Matthews(typical MSM 60 years old mouthpieces) are very wealthy today. Cowards and Chicken hawks!

    2) The elephant in the room that is never discussed is the < 2% of the population that controls Wall Street, Hollywood and the MSM. This nation within a nation were key supporters of the Zionist neo-cons that led us to invade Iraq in 2003. This unnecessary war built on a foundation of lies given to us by the MSM has cost us 1Trillion US$ and 1 million innocent civilians lives. In Jesus' eyes this war is unjustified and therefore sinful. Today, this same cabal through their control of the MSM and DC are beating the drums for war wit Iran. Remember, Israel will fight to the last American is killed.

    3) Contrary to some observations posted above, Pinochet saved Chile from becoming another Cuba.

  48. Parts I'm right on board with GL. Other parts I find unpersuasive. My take (based on reading this or that):

    -The U.S. and the U.S.S.R. colluded to divide up world spheres of influence with the U.S. controlling about 2/3rds and the U.S.S.R. the rest (the unofficial Yalta agreements). This is why the U.S. did nothing but talk big when the U.S.S.R. expanded its satellite countries in Eastern Europe. Vietnam, Korea and Afghanistan were the violations to this tacit agreement and hence they became hot wars.

    -Just as the collapse of the Soviet Union rendered socialism untenable, it also rendered liberal-democracy unnecessary. The two ideologies depended on each other for their rationale. With the Soviet Union gone, there is no longer a need to offer up nor defend liberal-democracy. The face of democracy is changing. It is increasingly mere lip service and rhetoric to emerging authoritarian regimes.

    -the Soviet Union was totalitarianism under the guise of Marxist-Leninism. The latter was the rhetoric for a form of dictatorship. The application of totalitarianism - in particular its inability to compete with the dynamism of capitalism especially in the post-industrial age - is what caused the collapse. It was the technological age that left the Soviet Union in the dust and ripe for collapse.

    -The U.S. HAS failed to understand what it reaped in 1989: IF the U.S. had as a goal the spread of liberal-democracy. Maybe that was never the goal. Maybe the goal is just the spread of multi/trans-national corporate capitalism. This does not require liberal-democracy. Which is why the U.S. was always ok with dictatorships as long as it served corporate capitalism.

    -The rationale for a globe-straddling military is economic, economic interests, corporate-capitalist interests. It is also because the U.S. intends to increase and strengthen its superiority and dominance over ALL other potential challengers to further these aims.

    -The U.S. has never been isolationist even in the days of yore when it seemed so. The Monroe Doctrine is not an isolationist doctrine. It's new variant applies worldwide rather than to the Americas.

    -9/11 was a spectacular success - probably far more successful than those that planned it could have ever imagined. Its success was psychological and it depended on the fact that the US had ZERO experience with war on its own territory for over a hundred years. The people were "soft" so to speak and ripe for an assault at a psychological level. It traumatized them. It created enormous fears - the kind that come from living in a land free of the kinds and levels of violence that are common place in other parts of the world (like the middle east, for example).

    -The U.S. military likely does need to prove its usefulness and to "go to work" by actually involving itself in military actions. The US also will not countenance nations that do not depend on or bend to the wishes of the US. Iraq was one example (Iraq's going into Kuwait was a post cold-war action that the Soviet Union would never have allowed. It was the first attempt to test US resolve in the post cold-war era.). Iran is another example. Countries that aim to forge interests and links independent of the U.S. are "enemies" and are to be destroyed. Iran must be destroyed - from this perspective - because it refuses to kiss ass.

    -A War on Terror is the rationale for a two pronged attack - externally it aims to pacify any nation the U.S. thinks is going it alone; internally it aims to pacify its own (and, indeed world) citizens through increasingly authoritarian structures.

    Far from not coming to terms with the end of the Cold War, its ending revealed that the US promoted a liberal-democratic model strictly to combat a "socialist" (but really a totalitarian) model. With that no longer a concern, the US aim of total world dominance through the spread of a corporate-capitalism that seems not incompatible with authoritarian structures, can now be seen by all.

  49. The US died when its people didn't wake up during the JFK assassination.

    They swallowed line and sinker the "one lone man coincidence theory" that it's so-called gov't has been rolling out ever since and even before his untimely death, viz., think Lincoln's assassination and then RFK, MLK, John Lennon, and in the case of 911 (19 lone muslim nuts).

    The country has gone to hell in a hand-basket ever since JFK's removal. He would have ended US involvement in Vietnam after the 1964 elections and maybe extended the silver-back Treasury notes policy that was implemented earlier in his administration.

    It's really sad and telling that during this recent 50th anniversary of the JFK administration, nobody in the lamestream media even bothered to highlight this event, except the following:

    What's even more telling is that even this photo blog entry only got less than 150 comments. When they run photos of an earthquake or national disaster, they'll get thousands of comments.

    AMERICA: YOU have forgotten your true leaders.

    America is dead, spiritually, financially, and materially. Because its people are.

    There is no chance in hell that American (along with the rest of world) would go through GD2 (many years) is going to "recover" without going through hell first and probably a world war again.

    The greatest set of words of profound wisdom that any politician or world statesman ever uttered, in my humble opinion, were those spoken by JFK:

    "For in the final analysis ... our most basic common link is ... that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our childrens' futures and we are all mortal"

    Long live the spirit of JFK!

  50. such ignorance about Baby Boomers as far as Vietnam was concerned. otherwise a spot on story about America.

    were you here in American during Vietnam? i grew up during that period and found the Baby Boomers were one of the main reasons why Vietnam ended.

    your view of Baby Boomers is so Right wingish, i can hardly begin to wonder how you can 2 + 2. so sad to see such BS from someone who has the economic history of the US so right in regards to the USSR and the military industrial fascists that now run America.

    otherwise, the errant thoughts about the Baby Boomers and Vietnam, which i presume was due to ignorance and or not being here then, a great story of the decline of the American Empire.

    please attempt to check the facts on the Vietnam war before commenting about it. those who lived here know the truth about life in America during that time. thanks

  51. This comment has been removed by the author.

  52. Certainly 9/11 was an attack. The Zodiac Killer didn't recruit people to do his bidding. The opinion of the academia left is illogical. Opposing Vietnam was ideological, not a means to an end of the Cold War.

    Your use of "winning" is where I believe my issue lies. You state we "won" the Cold War, but then point out the USSR collapsed from its own weight. Now the U.S. is doing the same. There is no winning. There is just progression and regression.

    Ultimately, I think the "winning/losing" Milton Friedman economic policy masking as a political ideology is a trap. Capitalism didn't give me liberty. Christianity didn't give me liberty. The Constitution gives me liberty. I believe unrestrained capitalism, and unrestrained religion, would love to take my liberty away. As I look at at my insurance premium and my wedding ring, I'm sure of it.

  53. The destruction of 9/11 was an attack on Western civilization and capitalism by 7th century barbarians. If you don't know that, you have not read or understood the Koran. The entire Muslim screed urges such attacks and murders on unbelievers. Moreover, the "death to America" cries from the mosques and streets is not "free speech." It is treason.

    Your arguement that such killers are merely criminals is based on a rather crude equivocation: You name actual criminals, deny that their acts were "attacks," then say that the 9/11 "criminals" are dead.

    Sorry, that won't work. The attacks on Western civilization continue and increasse because Islam is the motive behind the attacks and it is alive and Well.

    Nor is there any war on Islam. Where is your evidence? And when, where, and by whom was such a war declared?


  54. In this article I disagree with GL:

    1 - cold war was only an ideologic war: both USSR and US could never really attack, because they had all the interests in maintain Europe divided in their respective influence spheres, extracting huge surplus value from european workers. Yalta specifically aimed to an imperial spartition of Europe, and the free market/communist ideologies were useful in keeping eastern/western proletariat subdued to respective ruling bourgeoisie/bureaucratic classes.

    2 - In USSR, etc communism never existed. It is called state capitalism. Communism is just a theory (and a practice) for the future of mankind' freedom. If you have wage labour, banks, money and market, as in "socialist" countries, you've not communism. Also, Lenin never said he made the communism. he sid he made the stae capitalism.

    3 - All Hegel philosophical works were destroyed by Marx. Hegel philosophy is totally wrong and idealistic. It is an incredibly and amazingly complex crap, a futile attempt to repair the damage made by Kant to idealism and religion. Dialectic materialism wiped off all this nonsense. And if Fukuyama wrote about the end of freedom in mankind history referring to a hegelian dialectic idealism process, he was double wrong.

  55. I'm beginning to believe that the old values Americans believed they fought for at the time of the cold war didn't really exist in the first place! You're always allowed to say what you want, when you want where you want...if it doesn't disturb the guys in power. This kind of freedom existed in the Soviet Union as much as in the US. But believing that it was for real kept you fighting. You were manipulated, everyone was manipulated, on both sides of the curtain. Manipulation was perfect. Nobody ever noticed, but kept denouncing it in the opposite camp. Neither my Russian nor my US friends seem to understand this. Henri, UK

  56. I don't think the military buildup has as much to do with defense as you think, nor did the Cold War have as much to do with war as you think. It's just a means for certain people to make money. I was never worried about a US-USSR nuclear war, because I thought the same people were behind both arsenals, and they knew they would be blown up also if it ever happened.

  57. In a world with unlimited natural resources, capitalism grows faster then communism because of motivation, efficiency, and re-investment. When natural resources are constrained, all systems depending on growth will fail. Hence the west lasted longer than the USSR but now that oil is in decline the US will also fail shortly. China, with a lower standard of living gets more leverage from oil, hence it will outlast the US but will also fail in a few years.

  58. Re: the Baby Boomer discussion:
    Many of us in the '60s were surrounded in our communities by WWII vets in various stages of disrepair. To refuse to go when called was unthinkable - except for those of lesser moral fiber. These lesser folks stayed in their deferments and became clergy, teachers and politicians in many cases. These professions gave them undue influence on policy as well as on the mindset of following generations.
    These poisonous characters have contributed to many of our current problems.

  59. There are simply too many ideas and opinions all over the map in the GL post and the comments to attempt to reply to all of them. These are my thoughts on some of the discussion points:

    1. The dismantling of any large program or institution is always much harder than its formation. Huge vested interests financially, structurally, and emotionally cannot be easily converted to other purposes. When building anything, you should always be asking yourself what might be its lifespan, and how would you deal with conversion to something new (if possible), or its destruction? I learned this painfully by managing large IT projects. Whether the USA continues to create wars because it failed to understand the end of the cold war is unimportant. War and its weapons systems are the major American product on the world market. Most everything else is made in China with materials from Brazil. That’s a joke, almost.
    2. The military/industrial/financial/media complex that effectively runs the USA and probably the rest of the world doesn’t seem to be interested in succession planning. I really don’t know if there is some super-secretive cabal or illuminati at the wheel here. It is probably more like a loose and frictional set of groups who sometimes cooperate if their interests are mutual, or don’t. Religious/ethnic/national differences are mostly stage settings. The Goring quote from one of the readers I found delightfully appropriate. Define an enemy and ridicule those who oppose as traitors.
    3. While I don’t share the view that Islam is evil, Jihad scares the hell out of me. I agree that the US and its partners have created far more extremists than we have killed by invading Islamic countries. No good will come of this. I would pull everyone out ASAP. Yes, Iraq will collapse into civil war and eventually a divided country. It really has never been a country as we think anyway. Afghanistan is completely hopeless. I liked the description “The Executioner of Empires”. The British and the Soviets stepped on that rake before us, but we weren’t paying attention.
    4. Putting points 1 and 3 together – so what would we do with all those battle-hardened troops and all the weapons and logistics systems? Make green-energy devices? Wind-turbines and solar panels? Just kidding, but that’s not really funny. We have no clue what to do with what we’ve built if it doesn’t keep killing people. I don’t know, but I worry about it.
    5. I was in Vietnam in 1968-69, in an engineering group in the Mekong Delta. I didn’t go because I believed we were stopping the Commies from dominoing (that’s not a word but it should be) Southeast Asia. I went because I was 20, drafted, and the prospect of spending the rest of my life in Canada didn’t seem attractive. In retrospect now, Canada seems very attractive, but that’s another story. The guys in my unit were about 1/3 college kids, and many of them felt as I did – that if we had been born Vietnamese, we’d have probably been VC. Having tanks level your country just doesn’t make you want to hug the guys driving them. Even if they say its for your own good. After I got out, I protested against the war. I guess that makes me a coward or a hypocrite or both.
    6. I have lost any small faith I had in any government being able to function rationally for the future good of its people. I live in California. That should say it all. I just voted for Governor Moonbeam again. Partly because I found Whitman so distasteful, but mostly because I like the wildman aspect of Brown. He should be entertaining at least. Maybe that’s the best we can hope for.

  60. gospel2live: "However, because we have, in fact, adopted the very socialist ideals we defeated, we continue with the defunct system of government leading us by our noses."

    Almighty God will hold us to our vows, and will bring us to repentance {change of mind}.

    "And we have vowed that we shall not be governed by a hostile flag of conquest but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction but with instruments of knowledge and understanding. Yet the vows of this nation can only be fulfilled if we in this nation are first, and therefore we intend to be first." JFK

  61. wake up america! MY FIRST IMPRESSION OF 9/11- It could not happen to a better country

  62. RC: "I believe unrestrained capitalism, and unrestrained religion, would love to take my liberty away."

    Friend: You are right, but be aware, "where the Spirit of YHWH is, there is Liberty".

  63. "Those who hammer their guns into plowshares will plow for those who do not."
    Thomas Jefferson
    Having let Jefferson say that better than I, let me say that countries like America, Russia and now China will always have to maintain a viable military force; it's not a choice -- it's a necessity. Balance of power.
    Unfortunately, the US is now firmly controled by exactly what Eisenhower warned about after WWII -- the Industrial/Military complex. What was once the most prolific and beneficial form of government in the world has morphed into a power hungry monster mutually controlled and contributed to by both the Democrats and Republicans.
    GL, please don't lump all Baby Boomers into the pitiful mess many of them are. Many of us have worked hard in the post-Viet Nam era to actually build something for ourselves, our family and our country. Yes, many of the Boomers are leftist/socialist leaning because they are actually under-educated or educationally corrupted by the leftist controlled education establishment.
    No doubt that we are at a crossroads of ideological and financial turmoil facing an extremely socialist political agenda that is going to tear this country apart in many ways, but I remain hopeful that the true Americans will awaken from their credit induced self-indulgent stupor long enough to take the reins of power away from the corrupt politicians, do away with crony capitalism and return to the profoundly productive system of well regulated capitalism. Even with all of its warts, what other country has given itself and the rest of the world such tremendous advances in science, medicine and technology while asking so little in return? I will fight to the death to defend that America because the America
    that I grew up in was and hopefully will once again be the beacon of freedom and prosperity that was the envy of the world.

  64. In answer to your question, " . . Have they no conscience?"; the answer is yes; they do not have consciences. It is pretty well acknowledged that about one person in 25 to 30 lack consciences. That's a very large figure. Even half that number would screw-up society except for their fear of retribution.

    But such un-consciece people generally gravitate toward positions where retribution is difficult to implement; those are government positions. So, when you say, "Americans" do this or that, better that you say, "those in charge of America" do this or that.

    You may be interested in the ignored ideas of Leopold Kohr. His writing in "The Overdeveloped Nations" (ISBN 0-8052-3683-X) goes a long way in explaining why overdeveloped nations continue to overdevelop until the logical fall. The discussion of the feeding and care of a military is thought provoking. An observation which seems to be right-on is "individual reason is often in itself social treason".

  65. What a bunch of red-neck ignoramuses! Isolationism might have been better for the world. You people have nothing but war on your brains. All your inventiveness, industry and thinking, is bent to just one end, world domination. I am nobody, but
    I don't think it will work. Maybe Americans think they have dropped straight from heaven, but actually they are the same species as the rest of us, about as clever, about as honest, about as stupid.

  66. Since they declared "peace" it doesn't seem to me there has been much evidence of it.

  67. According to a friend of mine who works there occasionally, the Military is spending like there is no tomorrow at both the Trident Nuclear Sub Base in Bangor WA and the nearby Puget Sound Naval Shipyards. Although this keeps the local economy here going relatively strong, one has to wonder why we need to upgrade and enhance these facilities, except to keep the military contractors happy.

    I suspect this type of thing is going on at many military facilities.

  68. "—come to think of it, the United States is looking more and more like the Soviet Union."

    Well Gonzalo, that's easy to understand when you know that the same apatrid, mercantilist power elite who are pulling the strings of the US government(s) today were the ones who were financing the Bolchevik Revolution in 1917...

  69. I bow in honor of your clear-sighted, well-balanced thoughts. Abolutely amazing!

    I fully agree with *all* your remarks on the end of the Cold War, Baby Boomer academia, Vietnam, 9/11 as aa crime, the slow devolution into a fascist police-state.
    And as *the* main effect of the collapse of the soviet Union "constant process of self-examination and redefinition of priorities is gone" in the US, right to the point! Actually it was my gut feeling in the mid 90s already that this would most likely happen, but I lack the eloquence to author a nice essay on it. And my third hand understanding that Fukuyama completely ignored that priority dissolution viewpoint also gave me a negative opinion on his book, besides the misinterpreted spin - thank you for the new angle on Fukuyama's book.

    If I read you correctly, you are actually NOT saying "Islam IS the new enemy of the US" as a concious decision on their side, but "Islam was DECLARED the new enemy of the US". (The subtitle of your third image is a bit misleading.) I once again agree on that: Islam has become the straw man for the US - not really dangerous in a fundamental way, but appalling enough for the occasional public scare. In the end Islam is way too fragmented to be a real essential threat.

    So how will the supreme tragedy end? One can only hope that the Fourth Turning can run its way without large scale war.

    Keep up the great work & happy holidays

  70. GL

    I enjoy your writing style but you often box above your weight. This piece is just the same tired conventional wisdom.

  71. It seem you've forgotten it was muslms who declared war on America thru osama ben lardin with the backing of saud's wahabi teaching's & beliefs.Of course you still blame America for what,s wrong with the world.Wake up this is the time to start call things as they really are not what you would like to believe they are.

  72. Not much of a war, was it? Just a few misguided fanatics who didn't represent Muslims at all. Actually you declared war on them a long time ago when you backed the theft of their lands, property and lives through one of your satraps. Look at the facts yourself

  73. Gonzalo:

    I dodged the draft... I have absolutely no regrets about it.... I did it for practical reasons, not for ideological reasons.... I do not feel like a traitor or a coward, nor do I have any romantic ideas of heroism of any kind. So, frankly, I don't give a shit about that narrative. But thanks for pointing it out anyway.... That is your prerogative...

    However, I do believe that you made some very valid points in your post, when considered from a historical context and in using the physical metaphors for social evolution, you came very close to defining the momentum of the unsustainability of America's imperial ambitions.

    Good post....!

    Best regards,


  74. Patrick says:

    .....Seeing as the cold war was a farce and "we" built the ussr from the ground up, going so far as giving thme nukes through lend-lease, your premise is failed...

  75. The Success & Failure of Neoliberalism – C P Chandrasekhar

    December 11, 2010 3:19 pm
    Focus, India and the World

    THE crisis in the eurozone is leading, once again, to the adoption of policies such as bail-outs and austerity that belong to the neoliberal paradigm that partly precipitated the crisis. In fact, a feature of the recent global conjuncture, starting with the 1997 crisis in East Asia and culminating in the financial crisis and Great Recession of more recent date, is that while economic events have discredited neoliberalism as an economic ideology, it continues to dominate policy discourse and practice.

    The rest here:

    See also:

    Financial Interests Dictate Sovereign Policy

  76. GL said: "Americans are uninterested in the affairs of the rest of the world. "

    This is a most unfortunate statement. It is very difficult indeed to reconcile it with the fact that the US are an empire and have worked to become one right from their inception.
    Their English colonialist DNA has probably something to do with their manifest destiny. Which explains the early annexion of Texas, the fact that the far away Philippines became "American" as early as in 1898 etc, etc, etc...

  77. It's really disheartening to see so many ignorant of the basics of history. Who gives a damn about all the "socialist"/"capitalist" mumbo jumbo, the "fall" of the Soviet Union, Osama (CIA) Bin Laden, and all the other actors on the stage. What matters are people who pull the strings and I can tell you it's not the people you see on TV. There are two sets of people. The greedy, sociopathic, narcissistic, control freaks and everyone else. And of the former group there are those that have the means and the money and those that don't. This has been true throughout history no matter where you start. True there have been anomalous players that may have been rouge good guys, but for the most part it's been the evil bastards that have ran the world. Who gives a crap what the Hippies did or didn't do and Hegel Schmegel. The events you see around you are orchestrated for you by those that want total control and you as their slaves. That said they are also need you to feel important and they don't want to completely stifle creativity because they like their toys too, so they keep you distracted with the propaganda they feed you every way to kingdom come and keep you off balance and angry with their wars. But never angry at them, mind you.

    All the events now are pointing in one direction and that is totalitarian control of everything on this globe by the man behind the curtain. Yes they will make you poor (you don't fight as well when you're hungry), and yest they will chip you and codify you (essential for control) and yes they will even get you to probably like it (safety and security). You just wait and see.

    The time period we live in today is like no other. Because of the technology we have today, total global control is within their grasp for the first time.

    Oh, and one word about 911. Anyone who believes this wasn't an orchestrated event by persons who doubt have no relationship to being muslim or arab should really take their head out of the sand.

  78. I have to agree with you alot on this post GL.

    Just let me add my ever-present mom point-of-view. All of this just heightens the need for more balance in a world where men seem to constantly need to destroy things. Men are bored if they are not breaking things. I know this. I have a 3 year-old son.

    If men were more interested protecting us -- women and mothers as nature intented -- instead of guarding religious propaganda and ill-fated ideologies everything would get better. Mothers have to teach their sons better.

    I don't care what kind of "ism' or economic structure it would be given. No one system mentioned here is right -- they are all doomed. They ignore the basic fundamentals of nature.

    BTW, I have to agree with you on 9/11. Talking about falling on our faces -- we overdid it big time. But if there is a story written somewhere about 'the end of times', there will be men willing to live out a 'self-fulfilling prophecy'.

  79. Hi Gonzalo.. my 2011 Predictions are here. Lets hope I'm not too embarassed.. I didnt to badly in 2010..

  80. Great article and I think you may be right about America`s denial of it`s own victory against the USSR...but only up to a point.

    I believe it did so only because it served its purpose. You have to ask yourself what was at stake during the cold war. Nothing less than global domination.

    After 1991, I think the US military build up was unavoidable. It was gearing up for the spoils of its victory.

    As for the ongoing war on Islam, I think the US gov. is marking its territory for all to see(especially China).

    Energy being the basis of all modern economies and the world`s addiction to fossil fuels have made Islam a prime target.


  81. GL

    Being an avid reader of your blog, I was disappointed with this piece. People who refused to be involved with unjust Vietnam war are, according to you, far left loonies, it was 'now dead criminals' who carried out the 'insignificant' act of 9/11 ! Yeah, right !

  82. Was capitalism (or any 'ism') so marvelous that 2 million Vietnamese had to die and have their country defoliated and flattened? Has capitalism really won? Should you not have flattened the state of Oklahoma because of the Oklahoma bomber? In this part of the world, an unknown but very large number of innocent people, mostly small-scale farmers and camel drivers, have died because of the 9/11 incident.The main planners and culprits still seem to be at large.You might use the euphemism 'collateral damage,' but the psychological fall-out is considerable and, worse still, self-defeating. Socialism might not have become 'evil' if a state of war had not been thrust upon it--war spells the end of all worthwhile values. Terrorism, that favorite word of the alarmists, might not have grown to what it is today if you had not tried 'muscling' it out of existence. War is almost always a failure, even if you win--in any case, victory cannot be defined. War leaves a legacy of suspicion and hatred, but some people never learn.

  83. Patrick says:

    [i]"Great article and I think you may be right about America`s denial of it`s own victory against the USSR...but only up to a point."[/i]


    .....Anonymous Rafik knows very little TRUE History; my assertion above regarding the us having built the ussr from the ground up stands; there would have been no such union had we, through the "jewish" international bankers, brought it into being...

  84. Patrick says:


    .....Anonymous Rafik knows very little TRUE History; my assertion above regarding the us having built the ussr from the ground up stands; there would have been no such union had we, through the "jewish" international bankers, brought it into being...


    How glad are we that at least you have knowledge of TRUE history. Next, you`ll tell us all about TRUE religion or TRUE political ideology.

    Their is no absolute when it comes to history. TRUE HISTORY is and MUST always be subject to constant debate.

    Now, please explain your claim that the "jewish" bankers were indirectly responsible of the creation of the USSR and in what possible way does that relate to my previous post....

    Anonymous Rafik

  85. Patrick says...

    .....As I said, look into the lend-lease program and fdr's role; it isn't hard to find...

  86. to find out why 9/11 really happened see this short interview with the now deceased Aaron Russo-

  87. You know, it's a quite long article, so I did not make it all the way through. Yet, I have a feeling that somehow you have overlooked the fact that the most successfull capitalist country of the present is the comunist China. That messes a bit your conclusions, doesn't it? From a lot of different points, including the military one.

  88. 12.18.2010
    7:30 PM


    I hope this finds you well down there in Chile or wherever you may be.

    For the most past I enjoyed reading your piece "Falling Forward" and for the most part I agree with your conclusions.

    However, I do not accept what appears to be your understanding of 9/11 ... for me, it was the inside job that everyone
    in the 9/11 truth movement believes it to have been. I would respectfully suggest, that you familiarize yourself with the
    work of David Ray Griffin who has written numerous extremely well done books on the details of the events of the day.

    The point IS ... that unless and until even intellectuals and writers like yourself can fully see and understand what 9/11
    actually was then "the attack" which you mention, simply cannot be fully understood. So many "on the left" who refuse
    to look at the clear and compelling evidence, do a tremendous dis-service to their own goals. The events of 9/11 were
    simply not possible without complicit acts within the United States government, this has to be part of the narrative for a
    new understanding of history that would have the potential, but certainly not the guarantee, to fully heal the wounds the
    events themselves caused directly or indirectly, and or further amplified ... the waves of which, are still vibrating through
    our society ... the people who caused them to happen, are NOT dead, they are still very much causing harm long since
    and will be unless and until they are held accountable for their actions, and THAT is what "we" should all be demanding.

    Your's respectfully,

    Lindsay Holt
    Santa Fe, New Mexico USA

  89. It is ironic that the two biggest 'losers' of WWII were Germany and Japan, yet they have become the economic powerhouses of Europe and Asia. I'm sorry but the Vietnam War was an unnecessary campaign and in fact strengthened communism. Even though the commies won, in Vietnam, the Vietnamese are now probably more capitalist than the US. Again more irony.

    People should wake up and realize we are not subjects to be thrown into combat whenever the idiots in charge decide it's in our best interest to fight for their empire. The U.S. Government created the power of the USSR by getting involved in the idiocy that was WWII. They made another mistake by not nuking the Soviets when the monster they created became hellbent on enslaving all of Eastern Europe.

    Better to follow the wisdom of the US founders and avoid foreign entanglements altogether. Isolationists as governments but fully engaged as free individuals.

  90. Gonzalo, I have known this for nearly 30 years.

    In my American days, I frequented a coin shop run by a man who pontificated to the customers. He also posted various messages on the bid board walls. One read:

    "The American economy cannot function in peace."

    I have my ideas as to why this is the case: Americans need to play these political games and cause conflicts in order to remain Number One and profiteer from these disturbances. This is not the action of a teenage lout damaging a neighborhood while drunk but something much more subtle and evil.

    I do not ascribe this to Powers That Be. Those Powers are agents of the American people, each of who believe that he personally benefits from their leaders actions in making the rest of the world underwrite these individuals' ego trips. Consider this Elite as hit men the way sports teams are proxy armies.

    I cite experience and observation. These people behave like this at all levels and walks of life. Just look past the facade.

  91. So after the fall of the Soviet Union what happened to all of the Soviet strategic arsenal? Well, it is still there. At least the ICBM's in Russia are. Now you know why we still need to maintain our stretegic position.

  92. A brilliant piece, but I'd argue one point. You say that in and of itself, the 9-11 attack were trivial. "The terrorist incidents of September 11, 2001—spectacular though they were—were trivial." I disagree. I can't help but think of the events of 9-11 as one of the more brilliant military attacks of most all history. A group of ~25 men, with a total funding of a few tens of thousands of dollars found a weak spot, the US ego, and took perfect advantage of that weak spot. The net effect of that attack has been for the US to pretty much kiss off great portions of the Constitution and drive the country into a debt crisis. As with any military attack the attacking party wants to destroy the enemy with the smallest possible expenditure of resources. That is pretty much what happened what was achieved.

  93. A thought-provoking piece, but it suffers from focusing on the spin rather than the reality. Forgive me if I sound cynical in my analysis, but reading history does not make me feel warm and fuzzy.

    First, calling the US isolationist is to confuse the wishes of the populace with those of the elite, who have always been pro-war and pro-expansionist. Not surprisingly, the elite usually gets its way. For example, Woodrow Wilson won re-election on a platform of OPPOSING US entry into WWI, but clever propaganda and a brain-dead Wilson pushed the US into WWI as the elite wanted.

    Vietnam was spun as being about “stopping communism”, using the image of those nasty dominos falling. The reality was that Vietnam was about surrounding and destroying China, and keeping the profits of the MIC flowing. BTW the issue with China was not so much that it was Communist, but that it was independent and could not be exploited by the West as it had been prior to WWII.

    The “falling forward” analogy after the fall of the USSR is correct, but only because the elite was surprised by how quickly the USSR disintegrated. The USSR had been such a “perfect“ enemy for so long, responsible for so much treasure spent on “defense”, that their demise caught the elite flat-footed, as you correctly pointed out. Parenthetically, the way policy is formulated in the US is as follows: 1) The elite develops a goal, such as continuing their war profiteering till Hell freezes over, after the unfortunate loss of the reason for the war. 2) Influential journalists, media moguls, intellectuals, and think tanks are given the task of rationalizing this goal. 3) Public relations creates the necessary spin / propaganda / ideas / images. 4) The media and intellectuals adopt these ideas and repeat them continuously. 5) The public gets behind the goal and everyone is happy.

    So what really happened after 1989? The US military and defense industry found themselves without an enemy and no mission to justify their present strength and degree of wealth. They fumbled around for 10 years as the defense budget began to be cut. Then magically a new perfect enemy appeared just when needed. It was the real bogeyman! Terrorists! They could be anywhere and it would take 100 years to route them out. Everyone is (scared and) happy again. Unfortunately, accomplishing this goal required an act of treason against the US, but not to worry- the truth won’t come out till all of the original actors have left this world. And then there will be a new enemy to distract from the unpleasant truth. Do you really think 911 was just about 19 crazy Arabs who couldn’t fly planes?

  94. Very thought provoking indeed, but not very avant-garde.
    I see it rather differently. The US promptly redefined its role with the end of the cold war. Redefinition from contender to victor is easy. But becoming and taking on the task as the sole super-power of the world naturally brings plenty of temptation to abuse this power. And after all you would normally not expect a bearded prophet who loves his enemies etcetera to even get a nomination for president in a great empire.
    Having stuck its nose into other people's business too many times (Afghanistan usually spells decline) it is now time for redefinition - again. But this time it will be harder. Redefinition from victor to loser is notoriusly difficult.
    My guess for 2011 is that the cold war will be back. Hey, didn't it already begin in 2008 in Georgia?
    Thanks GL for your post and particularly Andy Shand for your comment.

  95. US is 25th miltiary spender in the world (relative to GDP).

  96. " • The human rights abuses—perpetrated by Americans."

    You can't name any, I expect, except for ones which were punished under the UCMJ.

    " • The blatant lies—WMD’s and all the rest of it—perpetrated by Americans."

    Not one lie there, nor even incompetence; just the safest bet not panning out one try out of 14. BTW, WTF do you think the rest of it is?

    " • The secret prisons—perpetrated by Americans."

    Why shouldn't the interrogation of unlawful combatants be a state secret? How do you imagine this was different at any other time?

    " • The violation of due process—perpetrated by Americans."

    The due process owed unlawful combatants is refused surrender--killing them on the spot-- or lifelong imprisonment at the discretion of the party taking them. Again, this is no new development or even objectionable on it's own terms.

    " • The effective elimination of habeas corpus—perpetrated by Americans."

    Hasn't happened yet, illegal combatants aren't and never have been owed civilian due process.

    " • The cronyism and institutionalized corruption—perpetrated by Americans."

    There you are a blind pig, you got one.

    " • The limitations of free speech, and its persecution by selective prosecution—perpetrated by Americans."

    What, pray tell, does you're fevered brain imagine to be thus?

  97. You clearly see a kleptocratic oligarchy that developed from "the application of Marxism-Leninism", but you are selectively blind to the fact that the American kleptocratic oligarchy developed from the application of laissez-faire Capitalism. Of course, you will point to the Fed and QE and say "no true Scotsman..." However, a Marxist would argue that Stalin did not apply Marxism. Good for the goose, but not for the gander? Yo diría: a otro perro con ese hueso.


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