Tuesday, June 25, 2019

You Are Being Trolled

The world is on the brink of war, again. And again. And, yes, yet again. And then it’s not on the brink of war any more… but wait, there’s more! Of course there’s more, there always is. US aircraft carrier battle groups are steaming toward North Korea… or not. They are steaming about aimlessly, nowhere near North Korea, but in a very threatening manner. Then Trump and Kim Jong Un meet, get on great, sign a piece of paper that means nothing and part friends. Now the aircraft carriers are steaming about far less menacingly. Then Trump and Un meet again, to sign some other meaningless piece of paper, but then John Bolton shoots his mouth off and the deal is off. But Trump and Un continue to exchange love letters, so the bromance isn’t dead. In any case, war between the US and North Korea is not just unwinnable but unthinkable: South Korea’s capitol is within striking range of North Korean artillery and all US military bases in the region are within range of North Korean rockets. War with North Korea is definitely off. Executive summary: nothing happens. So, what was that all about?

Now it’s about Venezuela. Its democratically elected leader is declared to be a usurper and a suitable replacement is found by the name of Random Guy-doh. American vassal states around the world are bullied into granting him diplomatic recognition as Venezuela’s president even though he’s just a random guy in an apartment in Caracas. Some trucks get torched on a bridge between Columbia and Venezuela. They were carrying humanitarian goods such as spools of wire. There is talk of military intervention, but it’s just talk. The Bank of England confiscates Venezuela’s gold, the US freezes Venezuela’s oil company’s bank accounts in the US and hands them off to a bunch of shady Venezuelans who steal it. That part makes sense; the rest of it? Meh! In any case, a US military incursion into Venezuela is not within the realm of possibility: Venezuela has Russian air defense systems which make it a no-fly zone for the US air force; also, fighting guerrilla action in Venezuelan selva is not something the US military is capable of. Executive summary: nothing happens, again.

Now it’s about Iran. Trump pulls out of the carefully negotiated international deal with Iran and says he wants to negotiate another one. If you notice, that’s a truly idiotic move, along the lines of “I am never paying you back, so lend me more money.” If a country is not honoring the deals it has already signed, why bother negotiate any more deals with it? (That’s a rhetorical question.) Iran announces that since the US isn’t honoring the deal, Iran won’t either. A bunch of oil tankers get damaged and the US tries to blame Iran for it, but nobody believes the US. And so a couple more oil tankers get damaged and the US tries to blame Iran for it again, but nobody believes the US again. And so the US flies a drone into Iranian airspace shadowed by a reconnaissance plane with an international crew on board, hoping that Iran makes a mistake and shoots down the reconnaissance plane. But Iran shoots down the drone and it falls in the shallows, in Iran’s territorial waters, rather than in international waters 100 feet deep, which is what the US claims to have happened, but nobody believes it. Iran swiftly fishes out and proudly displays the wreckage of the no longer top secret drone. The Americans spin a tale about wanting to attack Iran but calling the attack off at the last minute. Oil prices go up a bit. The US oil patch is producing flat out but hemorrhaging red ink like crazy. It needs higher oil prices in order to avoid a huge wave of bankruptcies. That part makes sense; the rest of it? Meh again! In any case, a military attack against Iran is unthinkable: Iran has the ability to close the Strait of Hormuz to all shipping, cutting off a third of all of the world’s oil exports and blowing up the global economy, US included. Executive summary: nothing happens, yet again.

There are various other non-events in other parts of the world. NATO ships steam about the Black and Baltic seas, where they are pretty much sitting ducks in case hostilities with Russia turn kinetic. So, what that tells us is that hostilities will not turn kinetic because those ships are expensive and there is no money to replace them. There are also NATO exercises in the Baltics, which are right on Russia’s border. They practice invading and slaughtering civilians in quaint medieval villages staffed with Russian-speaking extras pretending to be peasants eager to surrender. (Technically, that should be categorized as a fantasy game rather than a training exercise.) The Russians remain unimpressed. They want nothing to do with the Baltics, which used to be transit states for Russian exports but now they aren’t needed for anything at all (except as a NATO stomping ground). In any case, talking about waging war against Russia with a straight face is something that only extremely stupid people are capable of doing. Executive summary: nothing happens.

Do you notice the refrain? (I am sure you do.) What’s going on is that a has-been country, which can’t stop squandering what little resources it has left on a useless but ridiculously bloated military-industrial complex, is trying to generate activity in order to justify continued lavish defense spending. All sorts of experts and pundits play along, claiming that the threat of this or that war is very real and that therefore we should all be paying attention to what’s happening. But what’s happening is that you are being trolled.

There being nothing better for it to do, the US is trying very hard to troll the whole world, but more and more the world is either refusing to be trolled or trolling the US right back.

• When the US threatens to cut off access to the US financial system, the world works on circumventing it.

• When the US imposes tariffs and sanctions, the world responds by reworking its trading relationships to exclude the US.

• When the US threatens countries with military intervention, the world responds by constructing new alliances and making security arrangements that isolate the US.

But most importantly, the world simply waits. The US is now running a budget deficit that is over a trillion dollars a year and taking on debt at about the same rate as it was during the height of the previous financial collapse. What do you think will happen when the next financial collapse hits? (According to a lot of authoritative voices, it should hit either this year or the next.) Meanwhile, I hope that you enjoy being trolled, because I am sure there will be more trolling from the US, just, you know, to keep busy, I guess.

The American Troll in his native habitat


de amateureconoom said...

as always an interesting read. My anger grows as the US is responsible for lots of suffering in the world directly(wars in afghanistan, Irak, Syria) and indirectly(sanctions against Lybia, Venezuela, Iran. The US is the bully of the world and partnering with Israel and Saudie Arabia to threaten Palestinians, North Koreans,Russia...

Mike D said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Helix said...

I think you're underestimating the Bolton/Pompeo/Pence crowd. I don't put anything past these people to justify starting a war with Iran. And I do mean anything.

Tamara4U said...

Unfortunately collateral sewage from yanklandia is flowing south of the border down here to beanersville in the form of anti-narco funding via the "Merida Initiative" to the point that the planets #1 consumers of Coca-cola are seeing a lot more police state manifestations thanks to the $1.6 billion of central bank funny greenbacks spent so far. WTF?!?! We wandering white whale refugees came down here to get out of those jackbooted fun and games. How far south does one have to go to escape this deightful USSA trolldom, anyway? The dangerously flopping tail of the dying empire dinosaur is scraping across its southern neighbor. President AMLO is sending 6000 National Guard troops the the Guatemalan border to supposedly squash central american gringo wannabes and it's going to make our usual bribing of Guatemalan immigration officials more difficult next time we go for a new tourist visa.... where's good ole white priviledge when you need it?

DurangoKid said...

Quite the contrary. The river of cash to the weapons makers flows like a spring flood. That's the point of this exercise. Of course the US could spend its treasure on preparing for the end of oil, clement weather, etc. But that's a hard sell.

Unknown said...

I blame the intertubes. Once upon a time, a despot could come up with a regime-change template that worked like a charm, and use it over and over and the rubes were never any the wiser. Stir up a domestic opposition, pick a champion, ridicule the reigning government, and demand elections. Then get control - often no more complicated than asking permission - of exit polling, and claim the exit polls show a landslide victory for the fresh-faced champion, but the election commission's results (obviously a tapestry of lies) show a narrow win for the (corrupt) incumbent! International fury ensues, badda-bing, badda-boom, new leader who promptly privatizes everything, to the hand-rubbing delight of the giant multinationals.

But you can't do that any more. Within hourlets (more than minutes but less than hours) of Guaido's initial toothy smiles on international media, he was exposed as another American plant, educated at one of those peaceful-protest camps in the Yew Ess of Aye and groomed to appear from nowhere as a son of the soil and champion of the people. The great regime-change spider in the middle of the web had to slam its cards down and recognize him immediately as the rightful leader of Venezuela, using the most ridiculous rationale imaginable, even to the point his handler - Elliott Abrams - had to say right out loud that his temporary presidency (30 days or whatever) would actually start when Maduro stepped down. Well, what is he now, then? And things went downhill from there.

I don't know if I'd actually call what America is doing 'trolling', because that often implies teasing your targets from a safe distance of knowledge they don't have, and it seems more to me like busywork - bustling about the world shouting commands for public consumption, so Americans can be reassured that Uncle Sam is still kicking ass and taking names. But the economic rot is deep and pervasive. Unfortunately, one way of kick-starting a dodgy economy (not to mention wiping the books of a few mistakes) is starting a war with somebody, whereupon Americans can always be relied upon to rally 'round the flag.

That's not necessarily a position that there will be one, because the USA is stretched too thin to take on any of its present 'global enemies' except for Venezuela - that, it could probably manage. Iran could not be put under in time for the next election, and perhaps not at all, and - significantly - America can no longer count on putting together a powerful coalition against it because Europe has already made it known it disagrees with the US position, and has even gone so far as to circumvent it, to the now-usual blowhard threats of economic measures.

If The Donald blinked at the loss of 150 Iranian lives (incidentally, don't believe that because it is completely made up), why would he press the Go button on an operation that would cost thousands of American lives, all plainly from pique, because Iran is not doing anything wrong or illegal?

don said...

The situation with Iran is a powder keg waiting to ignite. The US sanctions will force Iran to take some kind of military action, and then the US will let loose. And US public opinion will be behind Trump, as it was behind Bush when he attacked Iraq.

Ike said...

You have got to laugh. Rouhini calls Trump retarded for sanctioning someone whose only major assets are a house and a prayer centre. Trump responds by threatening to obliterate this and that thereby proving he is retarded. then the msm gleefully reports it all because it makes them feel important.

Bob said...

1. It is sad seeing so many resources go down a military rat-hole but I'll take that to WWIII. Your logic that the US won't start anything when it has warships in harm's way provides me great relief. But I do share Helix's fears about Bolton and Co. being capable of truly uncharted, psychopathic acts.... When anti-social people go down, they usually take others with them.

2. I've seen animals being castrated and your previous "de-masting" article brought up those images quite vividly! May Quidnon be strong! Ha!

3. On an entirely unrelated note, do you have any insight as to why German company Bayer bought Monsanto at a time when Monsanto is facing enormous RoundUp/glyphosate liabilities??

Thanks again for being there.

Bob, Houston

Kapimo said...

Bolton, Pence, Pompeo and the rest might be trolls, but do not act as if they were aware of it. Hopefully, they will one day find out.

Anonymous said...

Celebrity Apprentice: White House Edition.

Grant Piper said...

Like magic, it is about diversion. What else is going on that is not 'in the news'? Carriers are now a liability, so 'lilly pads' of US bases are built. check. US dollar is worthless, but most of the world's gold is kept in Fort Knox - and they won't release it back to the rightful owners. So the US 'possesses' huge gold reserves. check. ditto Bank of England. Wars are lost on the ground, but the oil flows freely and securely, as does the opium. check. It feels good to rubbish a country, and the USA is an easy target in many ways, but all the while USA Inc. gets what it wants at the expense of others.

Pamela Storer said...

Reading this made me realise from exactly which deep down reservoir of avoided self knowledge America "created" Jabba the Hut.
Bloated, too fat and mired in arrogance to defend itself, just ready to be strangled by a girl in little clothing armed with no more than a bit of chain.
Sounds about right.

Pamela Storer said...

The only thing I haven't been too sure of regarding this "will they or wont they" launch a war, was whether they were so over the top insane that they have lost that essential sense of self preservation.
I thought of it following a comment made by Alex Christoforou on The Duran, regarding the self destructive actions of the UK Tories. He couldn't' understand, he said, that they seemed unable to act in a manner that would preserve themselves - that they were driving an old established political party onto the rocks, out of some crazy ideology and sense of entitlement. That they couldn't see that if they continue in this way, they are toast. Gone, finished.
It made me wonder if the same "Ruling Class" hawks in US might not launch some utterly destructive war out of the same mind set.
Pointing out, as this article does, how often they back peddle and creep out of the back door, is encouraging. It does suggest that at least that much is left - their sense of self preservation. Because with that, we truly are in deep and dangerous waters.

toktomi said...

Unfortunately the collapse and death of the American Empire will not be an isolated event. The resulting black hole will suck the entire global industrial human society directly in behind the Yankee implosion.

"No need to wonder why
We're all gonna die"

Brian Fleck said...

Nothing can change until there is an alternative to the US dollar. The US dollar floats upon access to the US financial and legal system. It is highly imperfect but I believe the Least Dirty Shirt principle is their Trump card, so to speak. The liquidity of the USD is key, and gold can't replace that easily. It will take a long time to unwind the world's interconnected reliance on the US$ - the US advantage is, in fact, very deeply entrenched and even as they try to fuck it up, the system needs that ubiquitous liquid accepted unit of exchange.

alex carter said...

It's a delicate game, because the civilized world has to somehow encapsulate and starve the US/Anglosphere but it's a dangerous beast that doesn't mind taking the rest of the world down with it.

jal said...

The USA is leaving Afghanistan.

Will they leave by sea? The fleet is on standby.

Who will get all the military assets left behind?

snuffy said...

I honestly believe Alex,as intertwined as the world economy IS,trying to cut the USA out of the picture is cutting ones own throat.It was designed that way.The original stranglehold was the Saudis requiring payment in oil by the almighty US dollar.Many,MANY other economic ties exist that would harm the ruling elites of every nation should hostilities break out.
There is quiet conversation being made in a lot of places now,as the real powers in the world recognises it is on the knife edge of the kind of economic catastrophe that has been confined to fantasy novels.[fortunately].
Not wanting to spend my retirement years in a apocalyptic novella,I am hoping things quiet down a bit.Trump is trying to scare hell out of folks,to "Rally round the flag"...but hes inherited a nation that has a bad taste in its mouth from all the wars its been fed the last 50 years.Those carriers are sent to places to project "force".[They can also be sent to walk around with a big "kick me" sign on their stern....hoping someone would be foolish enough to do so.4-5 k dead American sailors would do nicely to start ww3]
The very best propaganda cant change #1 Stagnant real economic gains of the shrinking middle class,#2 The Homelessness,Poverty,Bone-breaking bleak future many this generation see as their future.#3 The way society rubs their nose in the fact they cant have what the top 5% consider their right.Like simple things as affordable health care.
I have no answers.The powers that be know whats coming,and will not take the kind of actions that are needed,as it would mean their demise.[J.Dimond book on how complex society fail/collapse has some incredible insights to this cycle].
Trumps tariffs[taxes by any other name] might slow the deficit spending....But the looming economic re-set button that is going to get pushed will cripple the USA and every major power.
War is a wonderful way to hit the re-set button,but the consequence of true,all-out world war, are the reason those before us set the world economic systems as they did,intertwined,connected,and mixed...to prevent any one country believing they could survive relatively unscathed.
One of the biggest problem I see,is that [except for the warriors families],the USA has been able to use military power elsewhere,without facing consequence "where they live".I have a bad feeling this will change,and we will see its consequence HERE.

tsisageya said...

The world is not on the brink of war. It's bullshit.