Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Gathering Storm

Those with eyes to see and ears to hear can give pause to the events now unfolding before us. The hegemonic empire of our time stands poised with talons extended towards its latest would-be victims. Here is a not-so quick and dirty synopsis:

Under the pretext of protecting the peace, the United States government marches towards war with Iran, Syria and Lebanon. Carrier battle groups prowl the Mediterranean, Red Sea and Persian Gulf awaiting the order to begin a long-expected aerial campaign against Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program. Statements issued by the U.S. markedly resemble those issued in the fall of 2002, when similar denials about the desire to initiate hostilities were officially voiced. Then, as now, the pieces have been moved into place: large amounts of fuel have been moved to forward bases in the area, while Patriot missile batteries have been set up in Israel and cooperative Gulf states in preparation for the inevitable retaliatory response.

Ground forces in neighboring Vichy Iraq have been substantially bolstered in recent months, ostensibly to curtail the patriotic resistance movement there. The real question remains as to whether it will be enough to withstand an expected ground assault from the stricken Iranians in conjunction with a simultaneous uprising from the till-now compliant Vichy regime in Baghdad - a regime trained and indoctrinated in Tehran but installed with American tanks. That is but the least of the empire's worries. The Russian Federation is building Iran's nuclear facilities, and has thousands of engineers working on Iran's new reactor. The Russian government has stated unequivocally that an attack on Iran whilst their engineers are working there would be considered an attack on Russia; in recent weeks Russian Tu-95 Bear intercontinental bombers have buzzed U.S. aircraft carriers in the Sea of Japan several times.

Another wildcard for the empire to consider is Beijing, which invested roughly $100 billion in Iran's oil industry in 2005. Iran now supplies roughly 15% of China's energy needs, and it is unlikely that China will stand idly by while their economy is hobbled at the knees by a significant loss of their oil supply. Over the past year Chinese officials have stated they may exercise a 'nuclear option' of their own - to dump their $1 trillion of U.S. treasuries, which would collapse the bond market overnight and grind the U.S. economy to a hyper-inflationary standstill. While few smug beltway analysts consider this a likely move, the fact that it has been telegraphed in advance means it remains an option on Beijing's table.

In the empire's corner is Israel, a tempestuous ally with a habit of starting wars knowing that Big Brother will always bail them out at the 11th hour. Israel has a sizable nuclear arsenal with a Triad (land, sea and air nukes), one of few in the world besides the U.S., Russia, France and possibly China. France has also been quietly building a naval presence in the Persian Gulf in support of the U.S., while Great Britain has been an active junior partner in the U.S.'s campaign to take up the white man's burden in the brown man's deserts. Minor players in this unfolding drama include Lebanon - a broken state with factions both allied with and opposed to the empire, and Syria, which has a mutual defense treaty with Iran. Lebanon and Syria lie directly in the line of fire for Israel, but it remains to be seen how effective their militaries would be in a full blown conflict.

Behind this all is the global economic crisis spurned by decades of fiat currency overproduction, fractional reserve banking, government-sanctioned private malinvestment and elite power broker nepotism gone haywire. A recent analogy to note is the .com market crash in the months preceding the empire's 'New Pearl Harbor,' an event actively wished for by the empire's ascendant mandarins in the years just prior to the .com bust. When thieves cannot conceal the evidence of their robberies they invariably burn the house down while making off with the loot. Interestingly enough, to this day nobody dares say what happened to all the gold that was hidden in the vaults under the World Trade Center, nor do they mention where exactly all the Iraqi oil production is actually headed to. I strongly suspect neither booty will surface to the benefit of the American or Iraqi people anytime soon. This backdrop is both the stuff of nightmares and the wet dream of sociopaths, and it makes a fitting and darkly auspicious air for the launch of this literary endeavor.

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