Sunday, May 9, 2010

As the world burns, and other ironies

Apparently Vice President Biden doesn't understand the meaning of the word irony. It would be "ironic" that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, other countries would stand up for themselves against the overpowering US nuclear arsenal? Sounds like some serious "New American Century" bull to me. We must remember that only the United States has the authority to ever use fission weapons.

Essentially, however, Biden is posturing. Recently General James Cartwright just came right out and said that a military strike against Iran would be more or less pointless, unless the administration was willing to engage in a long-term occupation. Considering our record on that issue, especially recently, that wouldn't be the wisest idea. (I have a lot of respect for "Hoss" since he pointed that out. There has been a lot of bluster and swagger from this admin and the previous one and it's nice to have a reality check now and then. Unlike McCain's comments in that same article. "About time" that we pulled the "trigger"? Douglas MacArthur got dismissed for getting trigger happy too, Johnnyboy.)

Naturally there is real, non-military pressure growing against Iran: the voluntary cut of fuel sales to the auto-dependant country. Japanese and Indian companies have complied, and China seems to have as well. It's a two-edged sword, ain't it? There's already a shitton of dissedence in Iran following all that election hootenanny, and some added pressure on the lives of working-class people could kick up fresh dirt. (Our rulers understand class politics even if our own class doesn't.) On the other hand, these complications are clearly the doing of the American Devils, and that could stir up some Iranian nationalism and support for a nuclear program. A society isn't a machine you can just feed formulas into and get a dependable product; these unofficial sanctions, and any more stringent measures, will also create a lot of unintended consequences. (It might also not help the US regime's case that Iran must have seen this coming.)

And let's not forget Biden's audience: the European Parliament, that wonderful bastion of Western Democracy, which is teetering on the edge of complete and total collapse. (If I could draw political cartoons worth a damn, it would be Biden addressing Europe in a disintegrating house, shouting "Never mind the foundations, gentleman, worry about the neighbors!" But I can't so you'll just have to use your imagination.)

You know, this parliamentary politics feels more and more like arranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic, what with the biggest ecological disaster in history bubbling up right off the coast of Louisiana. Oh, and the rumor that the oil dispersal chemicals used might also be mutagens. (How do you want your fish - oiled or three-eyed? - or your wildlife, or your fishermen for that matter.)

Clearly both the economy and the environment have been repeat victims of oily businessmen with no limits to their lust for profit. BP is like Goldmann Sachs: it sucks for them not because of the disaster but because they got caught at what everyone else is doing. (It's also interesting to note that in my home state, Arnie has backpeddled on California offshore drilling faster than you can say "I'll be back." Image, in this case, trumps profit ... for now.) The environment is the one area where corporations the amount of damage caused by corporations can exceed the profit they rake in. After all, it's their pollution and mismanagement of resources that caused climate change and other ecodisasters in the first place.

Niether the United States, nor Iran - neither Greece nor Germany - neither BP nor Goldmann "You Can't Stop Us" Sachs - neither the European Union nor the United Nations - not a single one of these undemocratic, capitalist institutions are sufficient to handle the sheer depth of shit into which they have driven themselves. Perhaps the US can topple Ahmadinejad and the rest of that regime, but it won't be able to control the free-spin of events that will result as all the social forces within that country leap into the open like the insides of a split watermelon. Germany might bail out Greece and Greece might institute the social cuts necessary, but it will be "ironic" how the infuriated people made to pay for a crises they didn't cause will seek some way to hold their leaders accountable. BP can put a lid on the oil and the gov't can put a lid on Goldmann, but capitalism has its way of worming into the next sensitive spot in search of a pound of flesh. Intra-state governments and global corporations alike are beautiful top-down monoliths indeed, but they are run by cretins with savior complexes (at best) and we can no longer rely on them to provide us any sort of assurance or life-quality.

Our only option is, as workers, to run things for ourselves.

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