Monday, July 6, 2009

...while there's still time.

“What we should do,” said George...

“ fuck off,” said a voice, which was not that of an officer. “ We should fuck off while there's still time.”

"The advice was so sensible, and the owner of the voice so experienced in these matters, that it remained only to put it into practice.”

Eric Newby
Love and War in the Apennines

Canada should remove itself from the grasp of its delusional southern neighbour, while there's still time. True, we can't leave the continent, but we can tell the truth and resist the madness.

Madness is the current Marine invasion of Helmand, which will end, according to its commander, “never.” And then there's crazy talk about building a wall between Pakistan and Afghanistan, an idea hideously similar in imagination to the Berlin Wall, the Great Wall of China,The Great Firewall of China, the West Bank Wall, and all other futile efforts to separate people who by any sane standard should be together, crazy talk that reminds me of various efforts to build a wall across the DMZ in Vietnam, and some thought to erecting a giant orbiting mirror to reflect the sun onto Vietnam so as to “deny” the Viet Cong the night. I didn't make that up, it was in Time magazine, Friday, January 13, 1967, to be exact.

The American military appears to have some institutional personality disorder marked by a rigid belief that all problems can be solved by American force, particularly overwhelming military force, a belief impervious to repeated disastrous experiences. We could call it the Curtis LeMay Delusional Airpower Disorder, the conviction that bombing will work for any given problem, and if it doesn't, the conclusion is not that bombing isn't the answer, but rather that the bombing was inadequate. And now we can have non-stop bombing, by creepy drones run from the creepy Creach Air Force Base, at zero risk to American air crew.

While all this is going on, Dr. Doom is once more laying it on the line about the future economy. He was right last time, so why wouldn't he be right this time? We're not talking horse-racing here, we're talking about somebody calling the future from a position of evidence, reason, and history.

Also, he's talking about the Chinese, always an interesting story since they seem to be lending the USA money to finance its aimless land war in Asia.

“As I discussed a few weeks ago in a New York Times op-ed the Chinese are flexing their muscles on the question of the global reserve currency system dominated by the dollar.

“With the revision of the SDR basket (so far including only dollar, euro, yen and pound) coming to the table next year it is clear that the Chinese will push for including the renminbi in the new SDR basket. And senior Brazilian policy sources suggest in private that, if the RMB is included in the SDR, so should the Brazilian Real as there is already a much deeper bond market for Real debt and as - unlike China - Brazil has a more liberalized capital account. And the Russians are now openly pushing for commodity currencies - the Canadian and Australian dollar but also the Ruble - to be included in the SDR basket. And the BRICs are on record pushing for the IMF to issue SDR denominated debt.”

And as I understand it, the annual American military budget is almost exactly the annual government deficit.

So let's imagine how this works, the Chinese taking the long view and the Americans taking the ostrich view. The SDR becomes the new world reserve currency (I found out, as a civilian who has access to the Web, that SDR means “Special Drawing Rights”, and that the SDR has an exchange rate with US dollars, calculated daily). As that happens, the Chinese stop buying US dollars, and inflation hits the US as expected. The dollar starts to drop relentlessly against the SDR. The USA finds it can no longer afford to keep 800 military bases overseas, since their expenditures are in SDR. They have to consider selling assets, like the new US$ 1 billion embassy in Islamabad they haven't built yet. The only buyer for such a monstrosity would be the Chinese, who, funnily enough, would want to pay in US dollars, of which they have a considerable store, becoming less valuable by the day, and so are able to pay for a building they lent the Americans money to build, at a price considerably below cost, and the Americans still owe them money! You've got to like this. If you're Chinese.

But meanwhile, back in the immediate future, the Americans have to pull their troops home, home being where they can support them, but at this point there is no more need for so many soldiers, and so quite a few are pensioned off at rates that don't keep up with the now rampant inflation. Civil disorder becomes a problem, and Canada gets nervous, having food, water, and natural resources, not to mention a “civil assistance pact” that would allow for American soldiers, of which there is now a surplus, on Canadian soil. At that point also, we have to wonder about an American coup, which may be happening in slow motion anyway, American military policy being weirdly separate from anything Obama can make a case for. Restless American soldiers can be sent to save Canada from terrorism, supported by drones that were once patrolling the Manitoba/North Dakota border looking for illegal immigrants and terrorists, but are now armed and can identify insurrection from 30,000 feet. The Alberta/Saskatchewan oil fields are “secured”.

This is a very unpleasant picture I'm painting, and I know it's not just me that's worrying. Perhaps Canadians should talk about it.

While there's still time.