Wednesday, May 29, 2019
The Limits of American Destructiveness
Of course, it was a simple enough matter to pierce this veil of hypocritical politeness and to point out that the US, living far beyond its means, has only managed to survive by looting the rest of the world, but anyone who dared to do so would be ostracized, sanctioned, regime-changed, invaded and destroyed—whatever it took.
The US establishment has lavished its wrath on anyone who dared to oppose it ideologically, but it reserved its most extreme forms of malice for those who dared commit the cardinal sin of attempting to sell oil for anything other than US dollars. Iraq was destroyed for this very reason, then Libya. With Syria the juggernaut bogged down and stalled out; with Iran it is unlikely to ever get started.
Even the spineless European politicians are now forced to admit that US policies are designed to enrich certain American interests at the expense of their constituents; they understand by now that further denial would cause them further harm at the polls. Most insultingly to the American ego, US attempts at making Russia and China submit are being greeted with shrugs, titters and eye rolls. And now anybody who wants to can openly criticize the US and scheme behind its back.
How times have changed! US politicians and officials have abandoned all attempts at maintaining decorum and no longer disguise their rapacious, grasping ways. Instead of veiled threats, they now deploy big lies and fake threats. Focusing on the manufacture and dissemination of fakes, they have been attempting to use them to coerce obedience. There are the fake threats—Russian, Chinese, Iranian, North Korean, Cuban—that are used to call for discipline within NATO and for compliance with US unilateral sanctions.
There are also the fake (or false flag) events—a Boeing shot down over the Ukraine by “pro-Russian rebels”; the Skripal poisoning; fake chemical attacks in Syria preposterously blamed on the government; damaged oil tankers in UAE blamed on Iran. These fakes are being used as an an excuse to wreck everything—international security and trade agreements, the systems for insuring that these agreements are adhered to, and world trade.
Before the Americans would do their best to wreck anything that wasn’t theirs, then work to replace it with something that was theirs; but now they have nothing to offer as a replacement for what they are destroying. The only thing the US can offer China is Chinese victory in the trade war. China does not need the US, and this point is being rather loudly pounded home, not just by the Chinese government but by private companies and individuals as well.
First, there is a flood of countersanctions. In particular, a halt to the export of rare earth minerals will shut down electronics manufacturing and with it the entire US high tech sector. Then there are the bonuses to those who buy Huawei products and punishments for buying anything American, up to and including eating at McDonald’s. iPhones have been all but banned—not by the government but by peer pressure. Taking a trip to the US is now a firing offense. There is now a good chance that, caught up in this patriotic uplift, the Chinese are being prepared to make any sacrifice for the sake of outright victory in their trade war with the US.
But do the Americans still have the power to destroy? When Saddam Hussein decided to start selling oil for euros, the CIA organized a provocation that caused him to invade Kuweit as punishment for stealing Iraqi oil. This allowed the US to organize a gigantic expeditionary force with divisions from a large number of countries, including Syria and Egypt and pretty much all of NATO. After a decade of Hussein festering in place, a somewhat smaller coalition dealt him the coup de grâce, destroying Iraq in the process. The victims of the American invasion and occupation outnumber Saddam Hussein’s victims by orders of magnitude. Later, the same thing was done to Muammar Qaddafi, for similar reasons, and Libya is likely to remain as a ruin. There, some sort of minor coalition was cobbled together.
But now the US finds that it urgently needs to knock out Iran because otherwise it will be too late. It is time to form a new coalition and Mike Pompeo has started racing around Eurasia. First off, he offended the Germans by canceling his state visit with Angela Merkel on a moment’s notice and without offering a reason. Instead, he flew to Baghdad—a perfect location for launching an attack on Iran, except that the Iraqi response was a message of solidarity with Iran, willingness to mediate the US-Iranian dispute, and consideration of a ban on US troops on Iraqi soil.
And so Mike flew to Sochi, where he met with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and, briefly, with Putin. Most likely, Putin told him where he can stuff his war plans, and so Mike canceled his planned trip to Moscow, to avoid having Sergei Lavrov wipe his feet on him again. And so Mike flew on to Europe, where he got a quick “no” on Iran from EU foreign policy head Federica Mogherini and an outright refusal to meet from the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Great Britain. And so Mike flew back to Washington. You can’t tell anything by looking at his smirking fat mug, but I am sure that he was crying on the inside.
US actions around the world can now be compiled into two lists. The first list is of what the US has succeeded or may yet succeed in wrecking. The second list is of what the US wants to or has been trying to wreck but won't be able to. There is no third list of what the US has managed to wreck and then make whole again. The challenge for the whole world is to move as many items as possible from the first list to the second list. There are many ways of going about doing this that do have a chance of working and one that doesn’t: negotiating with Americans. Because they lie and cheat and aren’t worth talking to.