A Study in Collapse
A Study in Collapse
by J. R. Nyquist
Weekly Column Published: 10. 2 4 . 2 008
The collapse of the ca pi talist world has begun, or so a Communist would explain. Karl Marx long ago anticipated a so-called “crisis of ca pi talism,” when financial institutions would be convulsed and investors panicked. Such a situation would set the stage for a global Communist revolution. The working class would overthrow the bourgeoisie. The workers of the world would unite under Marxist leadership. The “dictatorship of the proletariat” would be born. Once Communism triumphed everywhere the state would wither away. Life would be better for nearly everyone (except the bourgeoisie). The means of production would be socially owned, instead of privately owned. The redistribution of wealth, the elimination of oppressive institutions and class distinctions would pave the way to a Golden Age. The ownership class would be exterminated or reeducated. Such is the revolution dreamt of by Marx and Engels, carried forward by Lenin and Stalin, and pushed today – amid the crash of 2 008.
The financial crisis is important in its own right, but political storms are brewing. Contrary to popular o pi nion, socialism is not dead. The socialist way is so tempting that even the U.S. government – under a Republican administration – appears pi nk and bloated. State intervention is the preferred solution to the crisis. Let the market work? Never! Whatever damage is done, the market will be blamed. Behind the façade of social democracy the militant left prepares its revolution. The theories of Marx and Engels, the strategies of Lenin and Stalin, are ready for a comeback. The specter that once haunted Europe has long haunted the West’s universities, feeding off the intellectual bankruptcy that long ago foreshadowed our financial bankruptcy. We pretend that Venezuela ’s Hugo Chavez is a populist loudmouth, that KGB Officer Putin is our friend, that the Chinese leaders are ca pi talists. Self-deception triumphs because we are too busy shop pi ng and having fun. We suffered propaganda to be our educator, and disinformation conquered us.
Even when a more realistic analysis of China ’s Strategic Modernization recently appeared, the jangle of alarm-bells startled no one. A strong word of warning, today, is self-discrediting. The “neo-conservative” warmongers are blamed, cast aside, and heard no more. How many times have we read about a secret plan to bomb Iran ? President Bush, we are told, learns nothing. It is convenient, as well, that his critics don’t have to learn anything, since they are ever wise and frequently clairvoyant. Who needs a Tarot Card reader when you have a Bush critic? How many times have the pundits said that Iran would be bombed? The danger, they say, is President Bush. He is an aggressive maniac. By comparison the dictators and mullahs of Asia are kindly men, disposed to the ways of peace. Ask Michael Moore. Bush is the most unpopular American president in history. Even at the moment of his resignation, Richard Nixon was more beloved by the people. George W. Bush annoyed us with two wars while we were shop pi ng.
We want no more wars. Let us avoid confrontations. We want no Cold War with Russia or China . Let us use words to soothe, to advertise, to entertain and soften. To say something hawkish is to misspeak. The hawks, let us be clear, are in retreat – along with the Republican Party. Few care about Russia and China ’s war preparations. If the trend continues, Georgia will be abandoned and NATO will fragment. The United States is headed for disarmament. Iraq ’s young democracy is doomed. Afghanistan ’s fate will be determined in Moscow and Beijing . The weakness of the West is now apparent, and the idea of a new Cold War might as well be the man in the moon. It is not something we can believe in. With the stock market falling, talk of a renewed Cold War would prevent a recovery. We don’t need bad international news. We need good news. Tell us, once more, that lovely story about peace breaking out everywhere. Tell us democracy is winning! A new Cold War is out of the way. There will not be another conflict between West and East because everyone has nuclear weapons. These are a comfort and convenience – the military equivalent of fast food. With nuclear weapons the public doesn’t need to think about military affairs or military obligations. You push a button and the world ends – and nobody wants that. So you cannot have a major war. It’s very simple.
Unfortunately our convenience, in this case, is a fiction. Just as Hitler got around the Maginot Line, built to protect France before World War II, the Russians and their Chinese allies can get around Mutual Assured Destruction. Consider the lessons of 9/11 and the prospect of a nuclear bomb hand-delivered by God-knows-who. The United States is vulnerable not only to nuclear weapons, but to cyber-attack. There are many ways to sabotage an open system. There are many ways to bring the United States to its knees. Nearly everyone in the West seems to ignore the mounting evidence that Russia and China want to destroy America . Before you dismiss the idea as paranoid, consider what the International Security Advisory Board (ISAB) recently reported to the Secretary of State about China . According to the ISAB, Communist China has three goals: (1) Regime survival; ( 2 ) dominance of the Asia/Pacific region; (3) prevention of Taiwan ’s de jure independence. But why should Chinese strategists keep three objectives in mind when the accomplishment of one objective entails them all?
The ISAB Task Force wrote: “The United States is viewed as China ’s principal strategic adversary and as a potential challenge to the regime’s legitimacy.” This is undoubtedly correct, but such analysis will never affect policy in a country on the brink of electing Barrack Obama; and more significantly, the collapse of the stock market has turned our heads. Who has tears to spare for America ’s collapsing security system? And yes, serious cracks are beginning to show. “Over time,” noted the ISAB Task Force, “allies may feel compelled to adjust to these new realities of power by becoming increasingly skeptical of U.S. military support in a crisis, fearful of Chinese power, and accommodating to Chinese interests. The beginning of this process may already be seen in emerging Japanese and South Korean private expressions of doubt about the credibility of the U.S. nuclear deterrent.” The ISAB goes on to say, “The United States must take seriously China ’s challenge to U.S. military superiority in the Asia/Pacific region.” And yet, with a troubled economy the United States will do no such thing.
The same could be said about America ’s position in Europe . It is no coincidence that Russia threatens Europe the way China threatens Asia . The two countries coordinate their policy on different fronts. We prefer to define Russia and China as strategic “Competitors.” Using this kind of language, we soften the truth and delude ourselves about the future. The proper word – which nobody dares to utter – is enemy. Russia and China are America ’s enemies, even if America pretends they are something else. We talk about the Chinese or Russians mounting a challenge. What they are going to mount, after stuffing, is America ’s collective carcass. According to the testimony of important defectors, the chief goal of Russia and China is America ’s destruction. To descend to semantics, and allow oneself to be fooled, is the preference of statesmen and policymakers who haven’t long to live. Guided by the preferences of prevailing “business interests,” they refuse to see that everything on earth does not reduce to the “win-win” formula of ca pi talism. There are medieval mentalities at play, and their approach is not “win-win,” but zero sum (i.e., we win and you die). Even if such mentalities are “crazy,” they nonetheless have thousands of nuclear weapons. A return to the Dark Ages is therefore possible. From the point of view of Genghis Khan or Attila, such a reversion may even be preferable.
As little time is left, it is best to be explicit. There is something in the Western mentality that denies the approach of danger. We are so accustomed to convenience we no longer believe in the necessity of inconveniencing ourselves. Such should not be allowed. And yet, the great inconvenience of the hour is the inconvenience required for continued survival. Oh well, we say to ourselves: if it is that much trouble let us perish together in a heap.