Hmmm . . . talking about signs, preludes and overtures, this is shaping out to be one hell of a wagging tail.
I hope this time the US administration has the consent of China, or at least someone able to step in and fill in the gap once the North Korean regime is toppled. No joke. If this goes down, and it’s looking increasingly like it might be, the USA taking on North Korea, it better go down well. There’s no margin for error. We can’t afford to turn this into another Iraq or Libya or Syria (assuming it’s not another Vietnam) because if we do, fuck it, we might as well consign 21st-century Western civilization to the dogs of war, in fact, to the warlike mongrels who never win anything because they don’t finish what they start.
How did things change so much? We used to be the good guys, for lack of a better term.
I’m talking about the West in general, which the USA leads. We used to stand for freedom, prosperity, progress, innovation, pluralism and creativity. Our values were conducive to inclusivity and breakthrough.
Now we’re ‘preemptive aggressors’ who can’t finish the job.
If we’re going to be preemptive aggressors, whatever that means — it doesn’t sound too tasty — let’s at least win. Finish the damn wars and move on. Do something else with our culture instead of playing out the same old bogeyman stories, creating areas of tension everywhere, power gaps that perpetuate the conflicts. We’re destabilizing the entire world so that the military-industrial lobby can meet its sales quotas. How retarded is that? If the industry has surpluses to offload, let it find a more benign way of doing it, or none at all. Write off the damn product, stop manufacturing so many arms. Curb the supply and give the ‘market’ a break — it’s a market in their eyes, so let them at least respect it, and deal with it as one, giving it some space to breathe and regain its energy and demand for conflict and blood. End the fucking wars, for now, and settle for Pax Whateverana, something! Unstick ourselves from the rut we’re in and start heading places again, doing something with our civilization, anything other than the cankerous state of our current paradigm.
Or, here’s an idea, we could not wage wars at the drop of a hat in the first place. Crazy idea, I know!
Then again, I’m too much of a cynic, sorry, a realist — I’m too much of a realist for that kind of outlook. In a world of hominids there will be firearms and bombs and conflict. In a world of Putins and Erdogans and Trumps and Mays and Orbans and Dutertes and other strongmen and strongwomen, in a plague of straw leaders and buffoons dressed in official attire there’s no such thing as peace. Only rest periods between waves of perpetual conflict. Naqoyqatsi. Life as war.
Look it up. It’s a thing.
Na-qoy-qatsi: (nah koy’ kahtsee) N. From the Hopi Language. 1. A life of killing each other 2. War as a way of life. 3. (Interpreted) Civilized violence.
So yeah, if this is when things heat up again, let everything go down well, at least for us. Looks like we’re heading for trouble one way or the other. It’s that kind of time, when everything points toward large-scale confrontation. I’m sure if the Trump administration hadn’t wagged the dog, Hillary Clinton’s would have, if not in North Korea, then somewhere else, as did Obama, silently, with drones, and George W. Bush in Iraq (Afghanistan is a different matter, exempt in my eyes), and Bill Clinton in the North Lewinski region. Ok, let’s skip Bill Clinton. Low blow. The only Defcon 1 Bill was associated with was the one at home following his Cigar Club adventures.
Jokes aside, if we’re truly heating things up in the global theater, let the generals decide a course of action that is purely military in nature, then deploy, enter the fray, and beat the shit out of the opposition — then, before the dust settles, hand over in a proper manner to a regional superpower. Let them take over, smooth things out. Keep a lid on it.
Easier said than done — it ain’t Risk, or Warcraft — but it’s better than the shitshow we’re dealing with now. Syria, Iraq, Libya. What a mess!
The theater of geopolitics is tricky, not easily fixed, but there comes a time when a spade has got to be called a spade. What is broken and not working needs to be pointed out, acknowledged for the faulty item that it is. Our foreign policy is a disgrace. We are launching wars everywhere, then not even winning them. Not even losing them. Simply perpetuating them, adding fuel to the fire till it spreads to the next area, and the next. Feeding the frenzy.
If we’re going to engage in war politics, Bellum Whateverana, we need to be smart about it. Martial. Forge alliances, involve friendly powers in these wars, should we decide to wage them, promoting stability antebellum. If we’re going to preempt, we need to be cynical about it. We need to be effective. We can’t afford another ‘free’ Libya with its slave-trading post-Gaddafi ‘peace’ regime, or another Syria with its everyone-against-everyone setup. Enough of this cancerous bullshit.
Yes, politics has always been dirty. No war was ever fought for righteousness. Even WWII, that archetype of righteous resistance to evil, it had a strong business element behind it. The records show that many corporations outside Nazi Germany were happy to provide products and services to the Nazis before and even during the war in some cases, at least until public opinion turned. Then, following the will of the people, a new strategy was put in place, a fresh money-and-power scheme, one involving the destruction of the monstrous Nazi regime, after which the entire world could be rebuilt, at a price, and according to Western (and other) standards.
So the engines of war were commissioned fully and undeniably against the Nazis. And rest is history.
The counteroffensive (we weren’t preemptive back then) was executed in a cold and calculated manner, obeying the money laws. That’s how business and politics work on the grand aggregate level, the geopolitical level, and nothing has changed, nothing ever will. It’s politics, dirty, rotten, scheming, conniving war games. So be it! At least let’s be smart about it. Not too smart, no need, just enough to win any war we enter, and finish it, put a damn end to it (War On Terror anyone?) and move on, live our lives on relatively peaceful terms.
Until the next crisis.
(The War on Terror. It will continue till the end of time the way it’s been set up. How the hell do you fight a concept or feeling? Terror. Anything that frightens us can be called ‘Terror.’ The longer we engage in this war, the further away we move from victory. We exhaust ourselves, our entire cultural capital wasted in a futile exercise of strength against phantoms and bogeymen.)
Give us a break, motherfuckers. I’m talking to you, powers that be! The terrorists, fuck them, we can’t control every maniac out there, but we can control the way we react to them, the way we deal with their malice. We can square up to them in a way that will allow us to win, not exhaust the shit out of ourselves, turning paranoid and disillusioned. If not for the sake of human decency, then for the sake of good business, solid results. No good can come of a paranoid, exhausted, war-weary population. At some point the whole setup is going to collapse on our heads, and your profits with it. Give it a rest, dear powers that be, and by rest I mean apply the brakes. Give people ten or twenty years of peace.
Unless, of course, you’re worried that people are turning too soft, unable to compete in a world of shortage and hustle, graft and conflict, caught between less fortunate countries whose citizens are tempered daily in brimstone and deprivation. Is that what you fear — other people’s distemper? Is that what you’re doing, keeping our population close to the edge, making them tough?
If so, you’re doing it all wrong. The best tonic in this case is a victory — a clearcut, decisive victory that will make us feel good and righteous again, assured of the rightness of our civilization. Inspired by our feats and leadership, we will be ready to do it all over again, go to the ends of sufficiency if need be. A victory is what we need, clearcut and proper. Not a Iraq-type festering wound kind of victory, or a Libya farce, but a WWII-style cleanup that will seal the deal for a time to come.
Then again, no deal is ever sealed. Down came the Nazis, up came the Soviet Communists, and what a nasty case of bastards they were. Take one shit orchard down, another one sprouts in its place. There is no real resolution. Only respite. We are deluding ourselves if we think this is a post-war era. Europe has been fortunate enough not to fight a major war on its soil since WWII, but this is only because technology has made the world more accessible. Wars have been simply exported, engineered, outsourced and consigned to proxies, areas that seek to fight their own battles, kickstarting their given policies with force, as people tend to do in the wake of disagreement — conflicts we are more than happy to fund through lucrative arms and trade deals, keeping everyone ‘Over There’ occupied in lethal activities while we enjoy our time of ‘peace.’ Crafting an arena far away from home for others to fight in, and for us to visit once in a while and practise our homicidal skills. We need to stay in shape, after all.
We forget that national and cultural and religious destabilization has a way of spreading. We think the mess we’re creating will be contained. We’re deluded like that, blinded by easy money and highfalutin theories of post-war society and economics.
The truth is, conflict is as much a part of life as before, waxing on, waxing off. The pieces are in place, and so are the strongmen and strongwomen, the straw leaders and buffoons, working their tricks on a fatigued, confused, agitated population. Something’s going to give, soon. Tails are going to roll, and with them some loud talking heads. The war will get serious, turning into a fully fledged conflagration.
The question is, where do we stand when it happens, and what do we represent? More importantly, are we in a position that merits victory? Or are we entering the fray like meat in a sausage machine, our entire culture just another meal on the dining table of bomb merchants and tender drawers?
From your outstandingly pragmatic Spin Doctor,
Eyes open, mind sharp.