During World War Two, the Japanese deployed units of pilots who turned their planes into bombs, and sacrificed themselves in the name of their emperor in a holy war against U.S. ships. They would aim for the deck of aircraft carriers and do as much damage as they could at a cost of their equipment and their lives.
Guerrilla armies refined the tactic and made it less pricey. Much lower cost suicide belts with explosives are now used by individuals to terrorize their enemies without having to sacrifice weapons systems.
Now, American politics has spawned its own kamikazes in the persona of ultra-right wing fanatics in suits who are ready to blow up the world financial system if they don't get their way.
The use of the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling was carefully calculated as a political weapon to terrorize financial institutions and governments by playing a game of their own version of apocalypse now.
Concede to our political demands to shrink the government, no matter what the cost to the poor and or benefit dependent and even federal employees, or we will further destabilize the system.
Our issues trump yours, say these contemporary kamikazes, because we have the votes. We don't care if the nation defaults on its financial obligations.
They take no prisoners is their approach; "Let it all fall apart" is the threat, "our way or the highway" is their mantra.
In response, the Obama administration has been offering what it calls "a grand bargain," which was off the table and is now back on after the White House signaled it would accept a short-term debt-ceiling hike. This approach, however, assures that the issue will stick around like a club to keep the battle going.
The "grand bargain" will allow for $4 trillion in budget cuts over the next decade. It will cut Medicare and Social Security in the name of "reform."
The tension is overheating in a Washington already drenched in the sweat of summer humidity. National Public Radio compares the discussions to a game of high-stakes poker:
"If you remove the politics, the talking points and the media from the debt-ceiling showdown, you end up with something that looks like a high-stakes, no-limit Texas Hold 'em poker game. You've got posturing, risk-taking, betting and, of course, bluffing."
The Atlantic Wire reports:
"As the deadline approaches, both parties will start flexing less and compromising more. ... According to The New York Times, the Republican hard-line stance on raising taxes is starting to splinter. Some have 'appeared more willing to consider a deal locking in spending cuts that Mr. Obama has said he would take if balanced by new revenues.'"
The relentless righteousness of the ideologically driven Tea Party-backed "caucus of the crazy" freaked out not just the President and the Democrats but many Republicans who, like them, depend on financing by Wall Street.
In a world of crashing currencies and defaults on the European horizon, they don't want the same here as trigger-happy hardliners dictate to the country, and by extension the world.
The political coup threatens to turn into an economic coup even though economic issues are being used for partisan political purposes.
Wall Street is doing some political bombing of its own to get the GOP leadership to try to rein in their renegade factions out to please a base, which is, in turn, funded by the billionaire Koch brothers and others with self-interested agendas of their own.
Schoolyard bullies have nothing on these guys who have been holding the political debate hostage to their simplistic message points, which are then drilled into the nodding minds of their base over the years by the likes of the Fox Views Network and their right-wing radio brigade.