We went to a delightful garden party in Washington. Everybody had an idea. Some smart. Some stupid.
These were bright, well-educated people. Many had gone to Harvard or Yale. Many held high positions in the government. Others were successful lawyers, businessmen, or entrepreneurs. Some thought the key challenge of the 21st century is protecting the environment. Some thought energy scarcity was the most important thing. Still others were worried about saving the European experiment.
What held this diverse group together? Why was your editor invited?
“We all hate the empire,” said an attendee. “It’s the only thing that we agree on.”
One gave a little talk, explaining how America’s imperial spending endangers the Rooseveltian social welfare state. After you pay for so many drones and waterboards there is no money left for a New Deal or a Great Society, he pointed out.
Another was concerned that we were all becoming slaves in our own country:
“The constitution has been suspended. Habeus corpus denied. The president seems to take pride in approving the ‘kill list’ personally, just like Richard Nixon chose the bombing targets…or Josef Stalin selected those to be purged. Future historians will have their work cut out for them, explaining how Barack Obama, who promised to bring the Pentagon under control, then became the biggest pusher of America’s imperial wars…”
Another was worried because the nation was going broke:
“I don’t care what you say. You can’t spend money like this without going broke.
“And the logic of it is completely ridiculous. The neo-cons say we need to project American power in order to protect American power. They say, for example, that we need bases in the Mideast…and we needed to go to war with Iraq…in order to protect the vital flow of oil to the US. So they ended up spending something like $3 trillion in order to protect about $350 billion worth of oil imports. That is the kind of math that puts you in the poorhouse.”
It’s the kind of logic that sends you to hell. Japan’s “co-prosperity sphere” was based on the same imperial reasoning. In order to maintain its power, Japan had to control the flow of energy and raw materials to the home islands. That meant it had to build up its military machine. Then, it needed more resources…to support its military machine!
And so…the US swaggers to its ultimate comeuppance.
“The US has set a dangerous course,” said another guest. “It is one thing to walk softly with a big stick in your hand. It is quite another to use it to stir up a hornet’s nest. Then, the big stick doesn’t do you any good. The bees sting you.
“The US has a big stick — the biggest, most expensive military in the world. But you can’t hit bees with a stick. And they are learning how to attack us. They can make drones — which are cheap — too. They are learning how to conduct internet warfare too — which is also cheap. The big stick doesn’t help. You can take your big stick and whack a foreign government, but while you’ve got your trillion-dollar military machine swinging its big stick, some small group launches a small, next-generation drone attack and takes out your aircraft carriers. It spends $1 million…you spend $100 billion. You go broke. And you’re dead too.
“Same thing with this Internet war that the Obama administration launched. You can swing your big stick, but you can’t hit a computer virus with it. When one of these groups…and it could be funded by Russia or China, for all we know…comes up with a ‘killer app’ virus, life as we know it in the US comes to a stop. And then the big stick stops swinging too…because it depends on the US economy.
“It’s really sad the way this has evolved. Back at 9/11 there were probably only a tiny group of real fanatics who wanted to do harm to the US. Everyone was on our side. Everyone wanted to put the terrorists out of business.
“Now, the US has been killing innocent people…and the world doesn’t like it. I don’t blame them. And I’m afraid the next time there’s a 9/11, millions of people all over the world will cheer…”
Bill Bonnerfor The Daily Reckoning
Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries. A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America's most respected authorities. Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind The Daily Reckoning. Dice Have No Memory: Big Bets & Bad Economics from Paris to the Pampas, the newest book from Bill Bonner, is the definitive compendium of Bill's daily reckonings from more than a decade: 1999-2010.
“And I’m afraid the next time there’s a 9/11, millions of people all over the world will cheer…”
Bill please do NOT let anyone discourage you from writing long posts as you stated last week. They are really, really good! You have captivated my wife and I with your writing style and family adventures for several years now and we truly read you every day. We NEED you in our lives. Thanks for ALL of your posts and effort.
Ditto Bill, please do not let a vocal minority that never has anything good to say discourage you. You have many supporters out here, keep up the good work and keep telling the truth as you see it.
I would not cheer another terrorist attack. I would cheer the dismantling of the Fed and the IRS though.
I do not know if I am captivated, what I
do know is that I read the Daily Reckoning
’5′ days a week. By the way is Addison off his sabbatical ?
What is with this sudden embrace of Drones? Why oh why are they needed in the U.S. (haven’t they engendered enough hatred on foreign shores)?
It’s surreal how out of the blue government decides that 30,000 are needed to be flying above the U.S. spying on the citizens.
This is bad, it sets a terrible precedent.
Nothing good will come from this.
The post could have been even shorter:
The bright, well-educated people from Harvard and Yale hate America.
To which I reply to them, go f ur slf.
I remember just a few short years ago (remember the 2008 presidential debates?) just by calling the U.S. an “empire” would have had you committed. Nobody seems to mind so much anymore. We’re making headway.
Gman, until you lean that the government ad the countrymen are separate entities, you can never understand why a true countryman would want the USG to fall. That is if the countryman cannot destroy it himself. But judging from your user name, you are part of that problem that stands on us.
@M Mir – Don’t feed the troll.
When is Obama going to return his nobel peace prize?
Are there any institutions left which are what they purport to be?
1984 is upon us.
sure as Humpty Dumpty a sittin on that wall, this empire has to fall.
“Gman, until you lean that the government ad the countrymen are separate entities, you can never understand why a true countryman would want the USG to fall.”
oh one learns that on reading the doi. “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government etc”. but that is not what is advocated here and elsewhere. what is advocated is not altering or abolishing or forming any government, but just standing aside and letting someone else do the work of altering or abolishing or forming a new government that suits infestors. which is perfectly in line with the infestor approach to life – let others do the work while you skim the profits.
and may I remind you that the largest number of casualties on 9/11 were private citizens and not government workers?
“Don’t feed the troll.”
oh come come. if you had an effective answer to what I say you would state it.
tell you what. if the owners of the blog ask me to limit or stop posting, I will.
“But judging from your user name, you are part of that problem that stands on us.”
since you don’t have the slightest idea of what I do it’s clear what your idea of the problem is.
What goes around comes around.
Americans,,, stand by to enjoy the fruits of your governments doctrine.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”.
So far so good. (present company excepted)
While our evil leaders do their stuff, most of us are still learning the rules of the game. As unbelievable as they seem to be.
And the real killer is that all this empire is not even for our benefit! We, the 99.9%, are losing jobs, losing homes, growing poorer, not because we have to sacrifice to defend ourselves. No, we are sacrificing so the super-rich can become even richer. If the nation really faced an enemy, then Wall St. moguls and the CEO’s of the military-industrial complex corporations would not have any patriotic right to take home the $25M/yr salaries they are getting these days. “Patriotic duty” would include them too. When only the man in the street is called upon to sacrifice, you know something smells bad.
When you've got a room full of 200 oil insiders scratching their heads at current high prices, something's gotta give.
For most investors, it’s weird to think of stocks as their go-to investing option.
The petropoly has bills to pay and setting the price of oil was a simple way to balance their budgets.
Investors don’t seem to care that what's propping up their investments is what will ultimately destroy them: government monetary policy.
For the next decade the energy revolution will be likely confined to the US, displaying the robustness of American entrepreneurship.
Why the Sage of Baltimore’s commentary persists through America’s changing times.
After attending Platt’s oil conference in London I want to relay two important themes you need to know.