Boxing Day Musings

I don’t agree with Congressman Dennis Kucinich on everything, but after a while, I find that I agree with him on more and more things, such as his sentiment that generals who publicly advocated certain military policies viz Afghanistan should be fired [as an aside, note the tenor of the comments, and one can, I suppose, get a flavor for who reads “The Hill,” or at least, who read that particular post.] Kucinich went much farther than I did, of course, in calling for a complete American pullout from Afghanistan (which, unlike a pullout from Iraq, which is essential), I remain unconvinced is “a good idea,” though of course, I am certainly also unconvinced that “a surge” from the 189,000 American personnel already in Afghanistan is going to make much of a difference either, other than, probably, getting more people killed (on all sides of the Afghan conflict). But what can you do? As with Iran, Afghanistan/Pakistan (they have to be seen as a unitary situation) has few or no “good” answers, albeit lots of bad ones.
And as time goes on, I’m not as convinced as I once was of the silliness of Kucinich’s proposed “Department of Peace.” Obviously, the military-industrial-Congressional-entertainment-financial-healthcare–energy-complex (I think that’s all of them) isn’t just going to dismantle our over 60-year old permanent war machine…but it’s a nice thought, and maybe nice thoughts might deter crazy-ass Nigerians from trying to set themselves on fire on airplanes (“I’d like to sit in the ‘no self-immolation section’, please”), although to be sure, it probably would not.
Well, it is less likely, of course, that thanks to the universal paranoia that has swept the world (particularly the West) since 9-11, that a lone madman could take out an airplane in that manner without the other passengers intervening to thwart it, the question is whether the wild official American overreaction (two major wars and the attendant thousands of dead and wounded in blood costs and trillions of dollars in treasure costs, embrace of torture, civil liberties rollbacks, etc.)… has made us any “safer.”
Here’s the thing (while I conveniently evade the question, allowing the reader only to infer my answer, though I will submit the question is ridiculous and irrelevant): until to a great extent China and to a lesser extent India began dramatic movement toward industrializing, we had a reasonable chance of deluding ourselves into thinking that our peculiarly untenably gluttonous use of planetary resources could go on indefinitely (defined as “the party won’t end until at least the far end of the life-spans of anyone currently alive”). Well, now that China and India and their 2.6 billion people have added their pent-up demand to that of the USA/EU/Japan and “our” billion or so people… you see the problem, starting with oil and electricity, moving right on to food and water and land and timber and minerals and you name it. Eventually, an equilibrium of sorts will set in, and on the scales of billions of people, the usual way we settle such things is with conflicts great and small… and since everyone involved at the forefront of the struggle (save Japan) is nuclear armed… well, one can draw their own conclusions.
The grim realities of global flooding are such that we can probably no longer afford to screw around with the usual failed human organizations (the modern nation-state, the pathetically weak international organizations that the modern nation-states have allowed, and the modern business corporation) within the time frame we have, before the climate alteration becomes… irreversibly unpleasant (maybe 20 or 30 years, probably less). We won’t talk about “Venus Syndrome,” because, well, it would be too depressing.
How does this tie in to Kucinich, Afghanistan, etc.? You got it: by and large, these are all forms of weapons of mass distraction, to divert attention so that none of us can ask the fundamental question: is our “technology” (and we must include “organizational” technology of the nation state and the business corporation) up to the necessary task of “self-correction” on a global scale to ameliorate the worst effects of their excesses to date? Once again… I’ll leave it to you to infer the answer I would give, and otherwise ask you to draw your own conclusions.