Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Mystery of American Violence

In a recent article, Paul Craig Roberts examined the violence unleashed on the world by a succession of recent US presidential administrations. Most of these acts were either partly or entirely illegal under international law, and all of them without exception were initiated with bogus justifications. Roberts concludes that “Washington is a collection of morons, people stupid below the meaning of ‘stupid’.” Yet he himself sounds dumbfounded: “What is the reason for all the death and destruction and the flooding of the West with refugees from the West’s naked violence? We don’t know.” The only rationale he can find is that “…violence is what America is. There is nothing else there. Violence is the heart of America.”

Undeniably, there is a lot of truth to that. But what is missing in his analysis is explanatory depth and predictive ability: what are the underlying mechanisms that make this violence inevitable, and what has recently exacerbated this tendency toward gratuitous violence, leading Trump to risk a possibly suicidal confrontation with heavily armed and fortified, and quite possibly nuclear-armed North Korea? The charge of stupidity certainly stings, but while even very smart people often have trouble following the thinking of other very smart people, a stupid person is more or less an open book. If the hive mind of Washington is indeed perfectly stupid, any smart and experienced person, such as Roberts, should be able to predict its every stubbed toe, rake to the forehead and pratfall. And yet, says he, “We don’t know.”

Clearly, there is something else going on—something lurking beneath the deceptively idiotic surface of New York Times/Washington Post/CNN “fake news” coverage, beyond exasperated presidential tweets and unrelated to asinine White House press conferences. There must be some hidden force driving America’s lurch toward self-defeating violence and, no, it’s not Putin’s “hackers” or “trolls.” We could waste a great deal of time looking in vain for a secretive yet rationally self-interested actor, be it “the swamp,” the “deep state,” Wall Street, the military-industrial complex or a cabal of globalist bankers. For all of the above, the upside from a surge in violence and instability is tiny (remember, the US government is $20 trillion in the hole, pensions are woefully underfunded, infrastructure is falling apart, Obamacare is rigged to blow, economic growth is dead, yadda-yadda). On the other hand, the downside—of a humiliating military defeat—is huge, and possibly fatal to everyone who relies on and profits from the status quo. Let’s keep in mind that the US military is the most expensive in the world, but also one of the most impotent. It’s been 15 years and it still hasn’t been able to pacify Afghanistan. The only “facts on the ground” it is reliably able to create are humanitarian disasters. And now this teetering pile of obsolete military junk commanded by pampered incompetents is steaming toward North Korea… Let’s even bother looking for a rational explanation.

I have developed a theory that nicely accounts for these facts. Since in the current fraught political atmosphere some might regard my appraisal of the situation as incendiary or seditious, it will remain hidden behind a paywall. Rest assured that I am not attempting to exercise my right to public free speech, should any still exist. You have to pay for it, it is private, and it is being offered in confidence. Your payment of at least $1 is a contract for the conveyance of private information intended for your eyes only.

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