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Between a Rock and a Laugh Track

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Published : September 02nd, 2013
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( 32 votes, 3.7/5 ) , 12 commentaries
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Category : Editorials





 After the British parliament put the kibosh on following the American punishment brigade to Syria, and then NATO, and the UN wrinkled their noses at the project, well, that pretty much left President Obama to twist slowly, slowly in the wind — washed, rinsed, and hung out to dry. It looks like a watershed moment in the USA’s increasingly klutzy career as the world’s hall monitor. International power relations are suddenly in flux. A phase change has occurred causing all that was solid a few days ago to melt into liquid.

     The Iranians are having a good laugh, for now. Mr. Assad of Syria responded with a beaming smirk. However, any sentient observer can see this region of the world for what it is, a political demolition derby which, left to its own blundering devices, would blow up the whole arena when the last player sputters to a standstill.

     First of all, it seems to me that extremists in the Republican-dominated US House of Representatives have been quietly searching for a pretext to impeach President Obama. Committing an overt act of war without congressional approval would have been a good case, legally, despite the fact that executive branch war-making has been absolutely the rule for decades in Washington. The British parliamentary move against the avid David Cameron pretty much begged the question for American legislators. The foggy part is whether they would actually come back to Washington from the fried dough alleys of their state fairs and mount a “debate” about whether it would be a good or bad thing to whack Syria for gassing more than a thousand of its own citizens.

     Lately when America mounts a high moral horse about how other nations behave, we have gone into these places and smashed things up, bringing much more death and destruction than we anticipated. The hope is always that some surgical military operation can correct a political illness, but a cruise missile is not exactly a scalpel and once the patient is blown to pieces it is rather hard to patch up the body politic again. You’re just left, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, with a lot of bloody fragments fought over by political rats and cockroaches.

     Syria is a real crossroads both for America’s policy in the region and for its position on the world stage. The region is in a state of destructive turmoil that is likely to lead to the further fall of regimes and the breakup of states. Many of these states are figment nations anyway, with boundaries drawn in the 20th century by the winners of the two world wars. The discovery of oil from North Africa to Iran and beyond has been catastrophic for everybody in the world, but most vividly for the exploding populations of these mostly desert states, which could not have supported so many people without the artificial support of petro-money. Now, faced with the specter of peak oil production, the whole region is flying apart from the stress of population overshoot, including countries like Syria which never produced much oil itself.

    But the drama over the trade in the oil remaining only becomes more intense. For instance, the position of Saudi Arabia, pretending to sit quietly on the sidelines through all this, is curious. There are rumors, unverified, that the gas incident in Syria happened because Saudi Arabia sent canisters of Sarin to the Syrian rebels, who then mishandled them and gassed their own neighborhood. The world’s recent experience with so-called “intel reports” about weapons has made everybody skeptical of claims made by politicians that a particular country poses a danger to others.

     Otherwise, there is a whole other strategic realm of concerns around the petro trade and its financing that is totally off the radar screen of the mainstream media. For instance, the sometimes erratic but brilliant blogger Jim Willie describes the larger struggle of Russia, Iran, China, and other interested parties to displace the US dollar dominance in oil trade — in particular a dollar based on increasingly sketchy US Treasury bonds, which has deformed global banking, roiled currencies, and made the settling of international accounts problematical for everybody else in the world. The opposition to the US, and its client / partner Saudi Arabia, the story goes, would replace the dollar with gold-backed oil trade and a logistical work-around based on a growing pipeline system from Iran and beyond, in Asia, to desperate customers in Europe. The implications are a collapse of the dollar (and the US bond market), a wedge between European and American interests, and a dominant partnership of oil-and-gas rich Russia with China — that is, a major power shift from west-to-east.

    Who knows how much of this has informed President Obama’s decision process. The stall in the American whack-attack against Syria may itself be a symptom of the swirling new conditions in world finance and power relations. In any case, a great empire — which we have been — can’t afford to make idle threats. The outcome of the Syria melodrama may be that the US has been knocked down a big step in its ability to project power without terrible consequences to itself.



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James Howard Kunstler has worked as a reporter and feature writer for a number of newspapers, and finally as a staff writer for Rolling Stone Magazine. In 1975, he dropped out to write books on a full-time basis. His nonfiction book, "The Long Emergency," describes the changes that American society faces in the 21st century. Discerning an imminent future of protracted socioeconomic crisis, Kunstler foresees the progressive dilapidation of subdivisions and strip malls, the depopulation of the American Southwest, and, amid a world at war over oil, military invasions of the West Coast; when the convulsion subsides, Americans will live in smaller places and eat locally grown food.
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Another piece of subtle dis-information by our "chosen" but "brilliant" apologist for Israel and the Zionist machine that is the spur in the ribs driving the lame horse America into another costly war for the sole benefit of Israel.

Not one mention of the the Zionist influence in this article which is always the case with Jimbo. He always lays the cause and motivations at the feet of some brutal, backward, overpopulated Arab nation or the backward Christians who are busy at "fried dough" events doing the same stupid things they always do....listen to Republicans. Jimmy is a sly little dog even though he is an entertaining read at time but the truth always slides of his page as he is a master at covering for those he thinks have a right to rule the world even if Israel wouldn't last 6 months without all the hundreds of billions of $'s that comes form those "dumb Christian" taxpayers who don't have a clue what goes on as the same people own the media that hides, twists, obfuscates the real facts much better than Jimmy boy.
Rate :   4  9Rating :   -5

If you allow others to delete comments - mine and others - by hitting the 'abuse button' without review you will destroy the integrity of your commentary section.

Those who do claim 'abuse' without justification ought to be blocked from making any further comment.
Rate :   12  1Rating :   11
Kunstler is at it again. He criticizes America for interfering militarily in the affairs of other nations and says, "Lately when America mounts a high moral horse about how other nations behave, we have gone into these places and smashed things up, bringing much more death and destruction than we anticipated."

...and then 'mounts a high moral horse' of his own by ranting again about peak oil in this article, and previous rants against suburbia, strip malls, and automobiles. Kunstler is against America interfering in the lives of individuals in other nations --- but has no qualms about advocating interference in the lives of Americans.

Rate :   13  5Rating :   8
Its bad enough that you've decided to back up Obama by taking issue with JHK posting about screwed up US foreign policy but then you once again go putting words in the mans mouth, commenting on something that is not covered in the piece that he hasn't posted. So just where did JHK advocate interference in the lives of Americans? I've never seen him come even close to such a boneheaded comment. In fact you know that he takes Obama to task for his ever increasing intrusion into the lives of US citizens.

So you could have cheered him n for having the guts to tell it like it is but instead you grumbled and farted till you could come up with something negative to post. Your like a conspiracy machine when it comes to JHK, you are always throwing out comments that are aimed at slandering him rather than commenting on what was posted.

Not so? Well then tell me where he said anything about strip malls and automobiles. It's all in your head Jim C. Like I said a long time ago, get back on the meds!

You're the problem Jim C.
Rate :   7  5Rating :   2
We've never seen Jim criticize Obama, never in all of his squawking. If one were left to deduce where Jim C's political allegiance lies then it would be clear that he is an Obama supporter. Think back, every time JHK slams Obama for some stupid maneuver Jim C is right there pounding on JHK. Yes Jim C is a staunch Obama supporter. This post just adds more evidence. No wonder his nonsensical rants are so demented, he's way out there on the left waving the liberal flag.

Nuff said
Rate :   9  4Rating :   5
On Aug. 13th of this year in response to another of Jim's comments you posted: "You'll get no more response from me, you are not worth it.... Good bye ignorant little man."

i will not state what your multiple failures to keep your word say about you, for i am a decent person. But be assured, it is not anything you would want your daughter to hear. So please keep your word. Your comments without exception have always been utterly banal and have done nothing whatsoever to move any discussion. You have never put forward an idea of your own and seem to be capable of nothing more than character assassination. i am rather sure you consider your droll drivel to be bon mots of inspired brilliance and if so, you would be sadly mistaken. You have nothing to offer. You have never had anything to offer. So pretty please with sugar on top, do all of us a favour and just go away; consigue una pinche vida!

Should you not, you should be aware that as with Hart and his on line personae, i will not waste another second of my life either reading or responding to anything you post. And unlike you, my word is my bond.

Rate :   4  7Rating :   -3
If for one moment you were to take your head out of your ass you would have seen that I responded to Hart, not Jim

As for you word being your bond, have look through your many useless posts and you'll see a pattern of saying things like "I’m done with you" and then a few weeks later you actually respond to the same individual again. I at least responded to Hart, in your case your ego tends to always drag you back into the ring for another round of stupefaction. You mention character assassination, as it should relate to me. Please do post here, where in my response to Hart do I say anything that can outside of the confines of you miniscule brain be considered as such (but please do take what I just said as character assassination as that's what it was intended to be so that you would have a reference point).

It's become obvious that we have here two stupid little old men, Vox and Jim C.
Rate :   6  4Rating :   2
Oh look, another Vox screw up. And yet another comment from Vox protecting Jim C. We know that Jim C has many logins, can it be that Jim C and company are actually extra Vox logins?

A case worth considering as we've never in all the wasted data base space Vox has logged seen anything where he tells Jim C to shut the hell up or anything similar. There are a few comments where he points out some inconsistencies but never anything truly critical. Yes, it seems there is a pattern developing where Jim C, Vox, FreedomFirst, BDB, Lovetochat, and maybe countless other users are really one person doing exactly what Vox claimed Hart, I, and Schwerpunkt were, the same person. Well back at you Vox, we now see who the real abuser is.
Rate :   6  4Rating :   2
Well Vox, based on Iesos' defense and your not being able to comprehend who he was answering, one could say to you: ficou fodido
Rate :   5  2Rating :   3
You spent who knows how much time, out of the little you have left, looking up what someone else said and when so you could get on your imaginary high horse and try to make someone else look bad?

If anyone needs to get a life its you bucko.
Rate :   5  3Rating :   2
Kunstler is a social planner and has written numerous articles on the ideal urban community. Here's an except from one called HOME FROM NOWHERE, published in the Atlantic Monthly:

In that article he states: "The neighborhood is limited in physical size, with well-defined edges and a focused center. The size of a neighborhood is defined as a five-minute walking distance (or a quarter mile) from the edge to the center and a ten-minute walk edge to edge. Human scale is the standard for proportions in buildings and their accessories. Automobiles and other wheeled vehicles are permitted, but they do not take precedence over human needs, including aesthetic needs. The neighborhood contains a public-transit stop."

Here is a man who thinks he has the knowledge to determine how people should live...and he's free to express such. But note that in his ideal community he will "permit automobiles and other wheeled vehicles" but only if "they do not take precedence over human needs, including aesthetic needs." And who will determine those human or aesthetic needs???

Kunstler may well have some grand vision of an utopia society, but such grand visions usually end up as Orwellian States.
Rate :   8  3Rating :   5
What you just posted is almost word for word what many municipalities are working towards. Higher density communities geared around walking to amenities with public transportation being the main means to get outside of the community. This is nothing new. If JHK put this in a book the best you could accuse him op is plagiarism. If you don't believe me then do some research and you'll discover that this has been planned for many years and is already being implemented, along with many other more sustainable aspects such as all houses in the new developments being required to make use of solar heating and cooling technologies with increased insulation and distributed grid power generation(read that as solar and wind power), in many jurisdictions.

If this is the basis of all your attacks against JHK for the world made by hand crap you keep dragging up then you need to get active and go after far greater powers than little old Kunstler. The master plan is not his making, it’s your liberal governments plans for more socialization in our daily lives that are behind all this. JHK is just a minnow in this pond of planned life style crap.

And please, don't take this to mean I'm a tree hugging pusher of the whole an made global warming BS as I am on the other end of the argument.

But to the point, he did NOT bring this up in this article, YOU did. Think about it this way, anyone that has a mind set to believe in that sort of thing will view your posts as just that much more reason to turn up the heat on getting this stuff passed into law. Your shooting your self in the foot every time you drag it into a discussion.
Rate :   7  5Rating :   2
Latest comment posted for this article
You spent who knows how much time, out of the little you have left, looking up what someone else said and when so you could get on your imaginary high horse and try to make someone else look bad? If anyone needs to get a life its you bucko. Read more
Verboten - 9/3/2013 at 9:36 PM GMT
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