Has the West Reached Its Limits?
Lehman Brothers Times Square headquarters. Photo © 2007 David Shankbone.
"Change" Part I
Lehman Brothers Times Square headquarters. Photo © 2007 David Shankbone.
“Train-wreck” doesn’t even begin to describe what is starting to happen to the U.S. today with the financial crisis, an onrushing depression, and the failure of George W. Bush’s war policy as he is faced down by Iran and the Russian bear.
But in an even broader sense, the West, as a civilization, after a century of world war and the utter failure of global finance capitalism, may have reached its limits.
Those with a vested interest in the status quo dismiss any suggestion that something is wrong. This includes Donald Luskin, author of an article in the Washington Post on Sunday, September 14, titled: “A Nation of Exaggerators: Quit Doling Out That Bad Economy Line.”
Luskin writes, “The relentless drumbeat of pessimism in the media and on the campaign trail” is “a virus.”
He continues: “Sure, there are trouble spots in the economy, as the government takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and jitters about Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers, amply demonstrate. And unemployment figures are up a bit, too. None of this, however, is cause for depression -- or exaggerated Depression comparisons.”
Continue reading, and you find out who Luskin is: a campaign adviser to John McCain.
We know that “where you stand depends on where you sit”—and who pays you for advice. So is a catastrophic meltdown coming?
If so, probably a majority of the people in the world are thinking: “Serves them right.” For the last 500 years, the West has been striding across the globe, armed to the teeth with firearms, warships, bombers, and—more recently—depleted uranium, enforcing the “white man’s burden” by enslaving nations and peoples and confiscating everything of value—ranging from art objects to gold to oil—that can be carried away.
The financiers behind it all have also used the diabolically clever practice of creating money “out of thin air” to put the natives everywhere into debt, and, when that has proven insufficient, of doing the same to their own populations.
All this is rationalized by various brands of racism, cultural superiority, social Darwinism, historical determinism, “dominion of the Elect,” “God’s chosen people,” etc. Or, simply, “might makes right.”
Some call it “The New World Order.”
So today, we Americans, denizens of the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” victors in two world wars, bearers of “democracy” to Afghanistan and Iraq, allies of the brave Israelis who hold high the banner of Judeo-Christian values among the ungrateful Palestinians—well, we Americans owe our own bankers almost $70 trillion at most recent count. With the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, we owe holders of bad housing loans, including the governments of China , Korea , and Japan , another few trillion.
The bluster of Kissinger, Brzezinski, the Kristols, the Christian fundamentalists, and their paid-off politicians and media millionaires notwithstanding, America —indeed, the entire West—has been found out, perhaps even checkmated on the world stage.
The Bush/Cheney wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have blackened America ’s name forever. Iran has called our bluff. In Israel the gap between rich and poor is increasing as much as in the U.S. According to an article by Ian S. Lustick, the Palestinians have stood up to the Israelis to the point where more Jews are emigrating from that country than are moving in, and where those who remain are increasingly huddling around Tel Aviv as a safe haven. (Ian S. Lustick, “Abandoning the Iron Wall: ‘ Israel and the Middle Eastern Muck’,” Middle East Policy, Vo. XV, No. 3, Fall 2008.)
In the 1990s, the European bankers used U.S. and NATO forces to dismember Yugoslavia so George Soros and the Rothschilds could gobble up Balkan resources. But that strategy is failing in the Caucasus, where the Russians fought back against the genocidal attack by Dick Cheney’s poodle, Mikheil Saakashvili, the New York-trained attorney the CIA got elected as the president of Georgia .
And now the people of Ukraine , the “Little Russians,” realizing what the West has in store for them, are rushing back into the Slavic fold and may be only a year or so away from reuniting with their “Great Russian” cousins across the border.
What is telling is to watch the Western financier press, chiefly the Washington Post and the New York Times, fume about Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin and his “authoritarian” manner. An example is the article by Times correspondent Ellen Barry on Putin’s September 11 press conference in Moscow . She wrote, “In three-and-a-half hours, in tones that were alternatively pugilistic and needy, Vladimir V. Putin tried to explain himself.”
I’m sorry, Ms. Barry. You and your editors may think your writing is cute, but Vladimir Putin is the foremost figure on the world stage today. He will remain so after George W. Bush leaves the White House disgraced.
Putin is heir to an epochal movement of patriots who began in the 1970s to take back Russia from within. It started with a base of operations within the KGB and the Orthodox Church, led to Gorbachev’s glasnost in the 1980s, and culminated in the Second Russian Revolution of 1991. At that point, the Western financiers gleefully rushed in to support an assault from the Russian “oligarchs” who were looting Russia of everything it owned.
The oligarchs were the shock troops of a financier assault that had already begun to overlap in the West with the Russian Mafia. Cheered on by the Washington Post and aided by academic advisors from places like Harvard, this international syndicate nearly destroyed Russia during the 1990s. But when Putin was appointed interim president by Boris Yelstin in 1999, and after winning the presidential election of 2000 in his own right, he began to fight back.
From the mid-1970s to today, thousands of Russian gangsters, along with many hard-line Bolsheviks/Stalinists, were allowed to emigrate. Many settled in the U.S. and are here today, and many more settled in Israel . In fact, one reason the price of condos in New York , Miami , Tel Aviv, and elsewhere has inflated so much reportedly is the flood of cash from racketeering.
The crooks have allied themselves with the Colombian drug cartels and have heavily infiltrated the world’s financial systems, even setting up their own banks for laundering money and speculating in the commodities markets.
Today, Putin is cleaning out the remaining gangster class. His efforts reached a milestone in January with the arrest in Moscow of Semion Mogilevich, called “the world’s most dangerous man.”
Putin has declared that the world will not be governed in a “unipolar” manner; i.e. by the U.S. military as the police force for the global financiers. This does not mean Russia has to be our enemy. In fact the world would be much better off, and much safer, if we joined with Russia as allies in keeping the peace.
But to do that our system would have to change, because finance capitalism is far too unstable to coexist with other nations as equals. It must either grow or die, because it always needs new victims to pay the interest on its usury practices and to finance its speculative balloons. As a last resort, it needs the kind of financial institution bailouts being engineered by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson, where the only remaining stopgap is borrowing from public funds and adding to the national debt.
Once economic growth stops, as has now happened, and all the bubbles to restart it have blown up, as has also happened, the end really is nigh. Especially if the host—the U.S. —is bankrupt.
What is coming at us today isn’t just another downturn. If people like McCain adviser Donald Luskin doubt it, maybe, instead of writing campaign propaganda, they should ask the fired CEOs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the stockholders of Lehman Brothers, whose shares have dropped ninety percent in less than a year, and the millions who are losing their homes.
Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain are calling for “change.” Well, if I were standing on a beach with a 100-foot tsunami roaring in my direction, I would call for change too. Except I would not be standing around arguing about the meaning of the words “lipstick on a pig.”
Richard C. Cook is a former U.S. federal government analyst, whose career included service with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Carter White House, NASA, and the U.S. Treasury Department. His articles on economics, politics, and space policy have appeared in numerous websites and print magazines. His book on monetary reform, entitled We Hold These Truths: The Hope of Monetary Reform, will soon be published. He is the author of Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age, called by one reviewer, “the most important spaceflight book of the last twenty years.” His website is www.richardccook.com. Comments or requests to be added to his mailing list, or for information on his Special Report entitled “Election 08: Crime Family Food Fight or Threat to Mankind?” write EconomicSanity@gmail.com.