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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/11/14

Balls, Brains and History: The New Crimean War

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As Pankaj Mishra puts it, "...the spell of Western power has finally been broken. ... Much of the 'emerging' world now stands to repeat, on an ominously larger scale, the West's own tortured and often tragic experience of modern 'development.' " He closes his book with this gloomy forecast: "...it is easy to imagine that this [21st] century will be ravaged by the kind of economic rivalries and military conflicts that made the last century so violent."

One of the amazing ironies of the Ukraine/Crimea imbroglio is talk here in the US of the "strategic" sale of natural gas from fracking in the United States. Sale of US fracked gas to Europe and Ukraine will put strategic pressure on Russia, which now sells gas to Europe and Ukraine. In other words, our nifty empire has gone from sucking oil and gas from under the sands of Saudi Arabia and Iraq to, now, sucking gas out of US geological layers in a manner that will potentially taint US water supplies and who knows what else -- all for strategic leverage over Vladimir Putin and Russia. How's that for balls? It's a literal case of a declining empire sucking the life out of its own homefront to reinforce its overextended imperial perimeter.

American Exceptionalism may have washed on the way up, but it's a whole different thing and won't wash so well on the long, slow decline downward. We in the United States would benefit from some honest self-examination so we can come to terms with our past and figure out just what is really worth fighting for in the coming years.

To re-fit America, I'd start with re-distributing wealth, decent health care for everyone, good education and a downsized military/surveillance budget. Empower Americans from the bottom up to become good citizens again. If that scenario transpired, I'd be the first to join the fight against anyone, inside or outside our borders, who chose to attack us.

We don't need bigger balls; we need humility and smarter brains.  


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I'm a 72-year-old American who served in Vietnam as a naive 19-year-old. From that moment on, I've been studying and re-thinking what US counter-insurgency war means. I live outside of Philadelphia, where I'm a writer, photographer and political (more...)
 

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