Friday, February 10, 2012

Empires


In a rare moment of dissent with the archdruid, I offer the following.

Consider the following quote from his most recent posting.
The path ahead leads straight into a theme that most Americans don’t want to discuss at all, and that they and the rest of the world’s population desperately need to discuss: the political, economic, ecological, and military implications of the twilight of America’s global empire.
Now, I agree that we are looking at a decline in relative American power over the next years.  Much can be done (and it would appear, is being done) in Washington DC to exacerbate this trend, but, if you take the issue out of a one way street approach and analyze it in a manner that takes in all possibilities, I would posit that the empire isn't going anywhere and will remain temporarily stronger.

Our society has made a couple of choices over the past century.  We generated a couple of French-style mass levies to fight a couple of big wars.  This grew an arms complex second to none.  It also generated large residual populations of arms trained veterans who were not going to go back to the farm after they saw Paree.  The wealth of the post WWII period and the poorly thought out overall strategy in Vietnam produced the Westmoreland doctrine with its tacit understanding with the then-upwardly mobile middle classes that their precious sons would no longer be required to bleed out on foreign shores.

But these doctrines are now coming to fruit.  We have developed a military technology and capability as frightening to a potential foe as can be imagined.  We have developed a class of soldiers (just for giggles, look into who is in the military and establish what they came out of, I would propose that we are rapidly developing a true Kshatriya class here in the US).   While they have started out as an appendage of the political branch of government, true warrior castes are not usually content to be dogs.

We are living in a world where access to raw materials and  wealth will become increasingly more competitive.   The competition will not be in terms of price points or the invisible hand of the market, but rather, who is in physical control of the resource.  Physical control of the resource is what is going to be the limiting factor soon.

Just remember that our most reliable method, and to honest, the most time tested of any method of obtaining control of something is to march in with a military force and take it.  When push starts coming to shove, those who push and shove rise in relative status.  For the past thirty or so years, the free -market types have had their little fling.  They have attempted to use arbitrage sneaky business deals to buy access to resources not properly ours.

But the business deals that are held so sacrosanct right now are pretty slender reeds.  Rest assured that they will bend in the wind.  They will also break at any serious pushback from the opposite side of the equation.  When petty little business arrangements start drying up, you can rest assured that the arms complex and the new warrior caste will see to it that the resources and power that now comforts them will continue.

I truly expect that the military will begin to rise in the near future.  I think that the shallow and short-sighted in Washington and New York will try to disband them and leave them in the cold in order to save costs and funnel the savings into business coffers.  It won't work.  Just ask the folks back in 17th century England who tried to disband the New Model Army.  Cromwell was the end of that process, and he was nothing but good at what he did.

I don't really regret it having to come to this.  It will be a phase in the overall process.  The military junta that will achieve control will fail, they all do.  But it will allow the system to right itself and allow for a renewal.

2 comments:

russell1200 said...

He gets a little pompus at times. A wave of his hands and he vanguishes the American Empire.

I think his stronger argument might be the decline of everybody. Why would the United States be the country that declines relatively moe in the peak oil scenario he describes? We have a lot more oil than most places.


But he is very well read, and even his weaker arguments are better thought out than many peoples strong arguments.

Craig Cavanaugh said...

Well said. And you're right about the "warrior caste"; generations of military "lifers"...