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The Narrative of Fear and Insecurity

On March 4 1933 FDR in his inaugural address to the American people said,

“…the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself….”

And it’s true. It is fear more than anything else that prevents people from turning away from what has failed them and stays their hand from picking up the tools which would allow them to build what would work better.  And precisely because it is true, every politician, banker, judge and general has realised that if they wished to stop change from weakening their grip on power and wealth, then what they need above all else is …more fear.

As FDR went on to say, it is

“…nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes….”

So if you want to control a people and contain their desire to replace the system which benefits you, with one that benefits them, then you need to feed them fear and the more of it and the more slippery and inscrutable it seems to them, the better.

A looming, shadowy foreign power lurking just beyond the borders is always good.  Russia, China, Communists in general, or if they are too far away, then any kind of socialist will do at a pinch.  In 1983 Margaret Thatcher famously branded British miners and their union as  ‘The enemy within.”  Terrorists are a wonderful new fear.  They are everywhere, much like Red’s used to be under every bed.

All these are good and have been used, still are used, to good effect. But there is a new fear, one closer to the fear FDR was talking about. And the currency of that fear is Debt.  Here is a very short history, in just a few sentences, of how debt became the currency of fear.

In the era of Clinton in the US and Blair/Brown in the UK there was a sea change in the ‘left’. I think Clinton, Blair and Brown had all decided that the traditional left dream of redistributing wealth from the richest to the less well off, was no longer politically viable. Reagan and Thatcher, they felt, really had shifted the political ground.  What to do? The answer, I think, was fed to them precisely by those whose wealth the left had traditionally been trying to ‘redistribute’. Why try to prise wealth from us, the wealthy, they whispered,  when instead we wealthy people will be delighted to give the poor debt instead? Instead of being at war with the wealthy and the managers of our wealth, why not work with us? Leave wealth with those who ‘have earned it’ they would say. Leave it with those who know how to manage it, how to make it grow and give a healthy return. Instead, give the poor debt.  Or to paraphrase the obvious, “Let them eat debt.”

And so Clinton and Blair and Brown re-launched the left, or murdered it, depending on your point of view, with their new idea. Leave wealth with the wealthy and give the poor debt.  Free the financial world from silly FDR-era restraints and irksome, stupid regulations and allow a rising tide of debt to float all boats.

And so long as  you could convince others, and believe yourself, as that arch fool Brown declared, that he had left behind boom and bust, then all was good. The rich were no longer assailed for being rich nor asked to give any of it up, to those less well off. In fact the new politics needed their wealth and was in fact tailor made for them to become much more wealthy. The poor would be given debt as a substitute for wealth. They would feel wealthier, and would indeed have more to spend. And as long as house prices grew faster than their debt payments, and the stock market made every GDP figure larger and more endlessly fabulous than the last, then the debt machine would churn on and on.  Debt was sugar without the calories. You could gorge without getting fat. What could go wrong? House prices were never going to go down again! Remember that?

And then it popped and fear bloomed.  And a lesson, I think, was learned .

People knew that in the good times Debt kept poor people quiet. Like any drug it could take away the fears and worries of being poor. For as long as their high lasted they would feel better, happier and politically calmer.  Debt drugged the poor into happy passivity. Why should they listen to those who argued for the old, hard, political struggles, when the politics of debt was so seductive and easy? People encouraged you to have debt. They fell over themselves to give you as much as you wanted. More in fact. Much more.  More than you needed. More than you could every really pay back. But who cared? This was true for the poor but also for the entire system of banks and traders and funds that made the system work.

The political lesson learned, was that when the bad times came, far from being useless or harmful, debt worked new wonders.  In the bad times debt created fear. Fear of losing your house, your job, your future.  Debt, in the last ten years has created a powerful, pervasive, global narrative of nameless fear.  Debt is a fear that is everywhere. Not just over there, a weapon pointing at you from afar, but right here at home. It could reach in to your house and take it from you. And there was no one who would prevent it. It was not a foreign invader but a new force of nature. This was the new narrative. It was just the way things were and are. You can yell about austerity but debt does’t care. You are in debt and your whole nation is in debt. And debt is a faceless, unknowable, uncontrollable, supranational, almost supernatural force which you cannot tame or defeat. So proclaimed the new debt-backed narrative of fear and insecurity.

The political lesson is that in the  good times, use debt to drug and pacify. In the bad, use it to create fear and insecurity. The same debt that floated their boats can be used to drown them. And it might just be that the fear and insecurity of the bad times can be maintained for longer than the drugged euphoria of the good times.  All you need to make it last and last and last some more… is more debt. It’s simple, if you need more fear, create more debt. Raise that debt ceiling. Expand your lending criteria. Embrace sub-prime. They are not your enemies! They are you allies. Through them you create the debt that creates the fear that creates the supine acceptance of the system that has enslaved them.

It’s perfect.


But not quite.


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38 Responses to The Narrative of Fear and Insecurity

  1. Per Kurowski September 5, 2017 at 10:47 pm #

    “It’s perfect… Almost… But not quite.”

    Indeed, because most of that debt that anticipated future demand, was also based on the irrational fear bank regulators had of what was perceived risky, and so most of it has gone to dangerous overpopulate perceived, decreed or concocted safe havens, like sovereigns, house mortgages and the AAArisktocracy.

    Had the allocation of bank credit not have been distorted in such a way, there would not have been, or be, such large debt bubbles that could pop.

    But its not over, the 0% risk weights assigned to sovereigns assumed to be fiscally disciplined, plus all sovereign debt purchased by central banks with QEs, tells us that on the contrary what we really must fear, is what we do not fear at all, what we believe utterly safe.

    Or, as Voltaire said “May God defend me from my friends, I can defend myself from my enemies”


    • Golem XIV September 6, 2017 at 2:36 pm #

      Hello Per Kurowski,
      I agree that the zero risk weighting of sovereigns is a thoroughly unsafe harbour.

  2. Deanna Johnston Clark September 6, 2017 at 1:55 pm #

    yes…the unholy, diabolical trinity of debt and marketing and peer pressure.
    In the depression it ruined farmers and keeps the party going now with homes and cars.

  3. George September 7, 2017 at 1:37 am #

    Give me the power to create money out of nothing and loan to you at interest and I will show you what power is. If you do not pay me back I will take the asset and if the asset is no good the Fed will by it at full price and make me whole; if it is good, as it usually is, I pick up some pretty nifty assets. If I screw up and make my balance sheet suggest me insolvent the Fed will give me free money to correct my position I and others in my Bank will get a bonus for it. How much more productive as a Bank can you be? I can even lend to Governments and when they don’t pay austerity is my game plan. This never works out for the debtor either so in comes the IMF to pay me off while they insist that the debtor nation sell off their infrastructure to pay the money back to IMF that was so nice to bail out the debtor nation. There are two requirements however: That the infrastructure such as water and sewer, ports,toll roads, electrical grids and anything else the IMF designates be sold, The second part is that it be sold to American investors waiting in the wings, you know guys like George Soros, a parasite for sure and others like him. Now, me being one of the original lenders and knowing these people as I do, gives me an opportunity to buy an equity position in the robbery! As time goes by the whole world is being sucked into the scam where the rich wind up with all the marbles and feudalism reigns again. The very thing that brought about the Revolutionary War. They you are fellow serfs.

  4. Kreditanstalt September 7, 2017 at 6:16 am #

    They murdered not ‘the left’ as much as they ended the notion of left-of-centre politics being about redistribution and nationalized ownership (of the means of production).

    And Blairism, Clinton-ism, etc., sold themselves to the social justice warriors…instead of ‘scientific socialism’, of public ownership and of state involvement in the economy we have been inundated with obsessing about ‘sexism’, ‘LGBTQQ…’, ‘women’s rights’, minimum wage increase advocates, environmentalism, race politics, and, as we have seen just recently, with historical revisionism, the airbrushing of history and cultural Marxism writ large.

    A government policy of “divide and conquer” it has been said – in place of any real seizure of the means of production, of class-based analysis and of redistribution of assets (“tax the rich”) – which would REALLY scare those in high places.

    While I, as a libertarian, heartily disagree with socialism of any sort I would have welcomed Bernie Sanders’ success and I do welcome Jeremy Corbyn’s. Anything to put some fear into the authorities.

  5. Postkey September 7, 2017 at 10:13 am #

    “A looming, shadowy foreign power lurking just beyond the borders is always good. ”

    Such as the Soviet Union?


    “Taken together, these four volumes constitute an extraordinary commentary on a basic weakness in the Soviet system.
    The Soviets are heavily dependent on Western technology and innovation not only in their civilian industries, but also in their military programs.
    An inevitable conclusion from the evidence in this book is that we have totally ignored a policy that would enable us to neutralize Soviet global ambitions while simultaneously reducing the defense budget and the tax load on American citizens.”



    • steviefinn September 7, 2017 at 9:27 pm #

      I recall a point in time – Nottinghamshire miners stating that they were returning to work in order to continue paying their mortgages.

      • Golem XIV September 7, 2017 at 9:31 pm #

        Those were times that are seared into my mind. We are not going back there.

        • steviefinn September 7, 2017 at 11:49 pm #

          My Dad summed it up with one word….” shackles “.

  6. johnm33 September 7, 2017 at 11:01 pm #

    Universal debt is the answer, but there has to be equal debt for all, at the same price. Creating money as debt for everyone at the same interest rates the bankers get would work for me, well just as long as we could all access the same amount. I wonder how society would evolve?
    http://www.oftwominds.com/blogaug17/world-domination8-17.html he forgot no. 6 find an enforcer who works for beans, and thinks he’s a player.
    Then of course there’s this http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/lee-carnihan/tax-and-spend_b_17452090.html?
    which would be redundant if we could all draw from the well.
    Glad to see you back

    • Kavy September 10, 2017 at 10:31 am #

      Good articles.

      • Kavy Kevin September 10, 2017 at 9:02 pm #

        As many have said before, the ruling elite can just borrow all the money they want at almost zero interest rates from banks that create the money out of nothing and then they can go and buy up everything for sale in the world. Then the ruling elite will pay back the bankers the interest owed out of the profits they make from selling the world’s resources and commodities, but the bankers are the ruling elite. In other words, they got it all for nothing,

        People born in resource countries may own almost nothing and be dead poor while all the profits from their country’s resources get sucked through Wall Street and the City of London. Now the elite own the whole world but not Russia and China, and that grieves them, about the profits they see lost, even though they have billions, or maybe even trillions.

  7. Kevin September 9, 2017 at 9:59 pm #

    It could be so different, we could have helped stem excessive population growth and developed new technologies long ago to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels as well as save the environment while the ruling elite could have made their fortunes out of new the industries. But nope, despite our intelligence we’re kind of really stupid. The pathological ruling elite even got their economists to say that greed was good because they were particularly greedy and short sighted.

    What horrible times we have lived through seeing the ruling establishment get it so wrong and now our civilisation is crumbling because? As Paul Craig Roberts says we gave our leading edge in technology away because it boosted short term profits to export our industries abroad and with it the good jobs, and so without the decent wages we maxed out on credit instead and this has hollowed out the wealth of our societies straight into the pockets of the elite, and this is the classic way that civilisations die.

    They say the frog in a pot that’s being slowly heated does not notice the temperature rising and so it gets boiled to death, so too most people don’t see how our civilisation is crumbling. It’s getting harder and harder but they just put up with it. For example, the trend for courier and delivery companies to do away with their own staff who they would have equipped with vans and uniforms and to use self employed people instead who use their own cars seems to be increasing. Gone are the pensions, the holiday and sick pay, the regular hours, and the reasonable wages.

  8. Just me September 10, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

    Part 1 of 4….”Negative Interest Rates and the War on Cash (1)”


    “ECB Tightens Noose Around Bank Accounts”


    “The Next Spanish Bank Teeters, at Worst Possible Time”


  9. VN Gelis September 21, 2017 at 10:18 am #

    How Greece Became a Guinea Pig for a Cashless Society

    • Kavy September 30, 2017 at 1:19 pm #

      Interesting, VN. Thank you.

    • steviefinn October 11, 2017 at 4:32 pm #

      I read that a few days ago & as I have lived in Ireland for twenty years, i cannot really comment, although I do know that there was hardly any evidence of the competitiveness described during any of my daughter’s schooling – perhaps it is as a result of all those New Labour targets which failed miserably in their aims, but have likely led to a negative effect.

      I do think that it should be London in the title rather than England as that is where he was living, which I’m not sure could be used as a valid template for the whole country. Strikes me as a bit strange that an article from basically a nobody has managed to get so much coverage – still he will now be back in the Netherlands where everything is apparently sweetness & light & there is never incidents involving nasty people which can serve to describe around 60 odd million other inhabitants.


      • Jacob October 13, 2017 at 9:24 am #

        The ‘’Nobody’’ StevieFinn mentions is Joris Luyendijk. Mr Luyendijk studied Political Science, History, Arabic Religious Anthropology in Amsterdam, Kansas (United States) and Cairo (Egypt). Between 1998 and 2003 he became a correspondent for the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant reporting from Cairo, Beirut and East Jerusalem. In March 2001, he published a tip of the veil of Muslim extremism, even before the connection between Islam extremism and terrorism became a broad issue. Due to the attacks on September 11, 2001, the book became a bestseller. In April 2002, Luyendijk received the Golden Pen for his reporting from the Middle East after the attacks of September 11.
        From 2003 to 2011 he lived again in Amsterdam. About his experiences as a journalist in the Middle East he wrote the book ‘’It’s just people’’. This book is about the impossibility of good, objective journalistic reporting in the Middle East. The problems he describes are also about the impossibility of speaking freely in dictatorships and the power of propaganda. For this purpose, he received the Dick Scherpenzeel Prize in 2006, and in that year he was named Journalist of the Year. In 2007 he won the NS Public Prize and in 2010 the Prix des Assises du Journalism, the first time that this award went to a non-Frenchman.

        In 2006 and 2007, Luyendijk presented the Dutch VPRO TV interview program Zomergasten, for which he spoke with Naomi Klein, Desmond Tutu and Garri Kasparov. In winter 2008-2009 he again presented the TV program with this time as guests: Isabel Allende, Jeffrey Sachs and Tariq Ramadan.

        In 2011, Luyendijk moved with his family to London, where he kept a blog about the financial world of the City of London for The Guardian from an anthropological perspective. The adventure resulted in the book Swimming With Sharks in 2015, which concludes that the financial institutions that make sure the economy operates properly can throw the world into disrepair. The book sold 306,866 copies in 2015 and was the best-selling book of that year. This book about the City has appeared in over fifteen countries.

        Joris Luyendijk believes there are good reasons for the Netherlands and others to leave the EU, just as there are good reasons to stay. The EU is a dilemma full of trade-offs. If the EU is to become truly democratic it needs to conduct an honest and open debate about what it wants to be, and then build the structures to go with it.

        Joris Luyendijk wrote the article to reflect on his time in the UK. The people reading and contributing to David Malone’s blog are reflecting on all the challenges we humans are facing in our short time on this earth. Let’s keep doing that ….

        • steviefinn October 16, 2017 at 3:58 pm #

          I actually agree with much of what he says, especially in terms of the media, but I would add his former nest the Guardian & others including the BBC to the list, who when it comes to Geopolitics & the EU are just as economical with the truth when it happens to suit them – perhaps it is this general lack that people like us end up here.

          I also agree about the class problem which was partly illustrated by the woman in the playground anecdote. I notice he didn’t mention the abuse that was sent the other way, when perhaps his nice middle class friends joined many others in heaping abuse on those who had punched a hole in their complacency as a part of a desperate attempt to be heard.

          He did not choose a good six years, as by then a combination of the fallout from the banking crisis & austerity measures have increasingly during that period taken their toll. It also appears that things have changed in the Netherlands over that period too – funny how all those nice people have voted for the Right & a Neo-Fascist. Maybe if he had a good look around on returning, he might find an angry working class woman who has issues about what probably does not feel like Utopia to her.

          It is after all Europe who have been the experts when it comes to Fascism & personally I believe that the English working class deserve credit after 30 odd years of the short end of the stick, for largely bypassing BNP for UKIP.

          Despite all the celebrations that the Dutch peroxide lunatic didn’t win, he is in & can effect policy, now how loathsome would we be if that fat BNP fella was in the same position ?. During those days when our cannon fodder crossed the channel, the Dutch had contributed around 50,000 members to the Nederlandsche SS. Still that is all in the past, but today’s news from Austria is not I think encouraging for those who seem to believe that by saying populism is dead enough times is in itself enough to make it go away.

          No need to examine whether austerity & globalisation have anything to do with it. Perhaps I missed it but those two & the presumably loathsome banking centre in London were given a free pass in his article. He is obviously a part of the reform the EU from within brigade of which I have noticed a few who since Brexit who have gone from some interest in these issues, to turning a blind eye to anything that dares to critisice their now “Precious “.

          He mentions Corbyn who is probably the most likely progressive alternative with a chance of being elected in Europe. Helped by many ” Deplorables ” in old safe Labour seats despite never getting a damned thing from the Blairites, who I suspect are those in line with the Guardian & other comfy Lefties is where the authors sympathies lie.

          I’m not sure the Dutch have anything to compare, but my knowledge is limited to a certain leader of a supposedly Leftist party who became Schauble’s little errand boy namely Jeroen Dijsselbloem despite it being discovered that he had faked his CV. , became the the very enthusiastic enforcer of austerity to the surprisingly not flourishing from the wonders of the EU Greeks. The man who just after the Commission described the thuggery in Catalonia as ” Proportionate ” & an internal matter, was in Athens telling the Greeks the date they should hold their election.

          Under the current Neoliberal framework I believe that it would be possible to make a case for just about anywhere being loathsome in some ways. Seeing as he has personally not been in any way seriously harmed his loathing just strikes me as the same angst shown by many who fear that their own interests are now threatened, which to my way of thinking in comparison to ” The Poor “, who he & others apparently weep for is little more than an inconvenience – he is however correct in that they will no doubt once again as usual feel the brunt of the change.

          I lived in ROI for 8 years & during that time I lost my wife to cancer, my beautiful house & my source of income. The latter 2 items due to catastrophic timing on my part due to needing to get a mortgage before I became too old as part of a new life. I made it worse afterwards due to believing the bunk of how we would all return to the way it was, which led me to acting accordingly in my decisions. The bank pulled the rug from under me by withdrawing my business overdraft as otherwise I might have been able to hang on, despite the industry that I worked in having collapsed due to the crisis.

          I eventually fled into NI where I found some temporary work but ended up in a situation where my partner & I lived for around 6 months on around £ 70.00 per week. Since then I have re-invented myself & am gradually climbing out of that for us version of short term hell. It gave me a taste, but I cannot imagine what it must be like for those for who it is the norm & have no hope, something which I was always fortunate to have.

          I could write a list of the things that are bad in the Republic, but off the top of my head – the corruption at all levels of society, the usual banking stuff, the exclusive clubs filled with those who game the system for their own ends & were responsible for the deregulation of the Dublin banking whorehouse. The fact that I found certain Irish people were very two faced. The TD’ developers who were also running local planning departments, the NAMA fiasco, A union man elected as the leader of a the Central bank, the treatment of Jonathon Sugarman, the prostration before the Troika, the inclusion of Britain’s worst tabloid press with Irish before the word Sun etc, alongside the rest of the local owned media broadsheets with their see & hear no evil method also applied by the state broadcaster RTE. a class system of haves & have nots with an underclass supported by the widely despised ” Traveller “community & finally as in England the total abandonment by a supposed Leftist party of it’s supposed constituents.

          I do not loathe that country or blame it for my own troubles. For all of the above some of which affected me directly I found plenty to offset the bad, mainly from the ordinary people of that country who as in England are just trying to get on with the usual day to day stuff of raising a family etc. As with their equivalents in England the health workers perform miracles in the face of a constant squeeze & I envy their community spirit which I was included in when times got tough. All this so called ordinary behaviour goes on unoticed as it does in England & elsewhere, but for me it is the foundation of a country.

          The chattering classes, politicians & media only appear to take notice of the extreme, but otherwise especially when they rear their now designated as ugly head for not being happy with their increasingly lousy lot, their plight is ignored, & they are often being blamed for it as they are then turned into a huge blob of humanity using the same stereotyping by people who effect to despise the same behaviour in others.

          I find his analysis a shallow one which only tells a part of the story & I personally do not loathe any country based on what is being done to it by forces I consider as evil. I am although only an uneducated, working class nobody, but here is a little something regarding the ECB originally from a group that do not look the other way, on who is helping to steer it in the desirable direction for a few. Good luck with reforming it is all I can say. I don’t think he will get his cake & eat it in terms of no federalism as that is what is needed to nail the lid down firmly enough on that structurally unsound box.


          • Jacob October 17, 2017 at 3:49 pm #

            Joris Luyendijk was asked to say something this weekend at the commemoration of the Battle of Passendale in Southwest Belgium. He said that he discovered that this conflict is actually much more relevant to our time than the endlessly cited and filmed World War II.
            Hollywood and the film industry are fond of World War II, because what is more beautiful for visual storytellers than a real bad guy? This allows the viewer to fully identify. With such fierce and simple emotions, that in the end you will sell movies.
            The total destruction of the Nazis was justified and therefore, Saving Private Ryan is an exciting movie about the allied landing on D-Day. The good wins. Even the gratuitous misanthropy of Quentin Tarantino is too plum when he leaves a group of American-Jewish soldiers in the Inglourious Basterds out of wreck action against the Nazis.
            But move Saving Private Ryan to the tricks of Verdun or the Somme. Fifty thousand British boys and men drowned here in the mud. Then you had the more than four hundred thousand soldiers killed or injured in another way. Count on the millions of traumatized people, including Adolf Hitler.

            Then what? There are no simple bad guys in the First World War and no happy ending. Nobody wanted a conflict on this scale. The then British Prime Minister, Asquith, certainly knew his country would stay out of the war. Almost all parties knew they were going to win, and soon too. “Back home before the leaves fall.”

            World War I contains a lot of meaningful lessons for the world now than the Second. Because many conflicts and political processes in our time are characterized by uncertainty, ambiguity and unforeseen side effects. See the mission in Afghanistan or the conflict in Ukraine. Take the crazy imperfect nuclear agreement with Iran. See the euro crisis in Greece or the political and soon economic paralysis in which the United Kingdom has been since the referendum. Nobody saw this coming and nobody wanted it ….
            The First World War is asking us for humility. In the end, we learned the lesson that you can all of a sudden find yourself in a war. With that thought, British Prime Minister Chamberlain conducted his appeasement policy against Hitler. When the dictator turned out to be power hungry, the world had to fight yet – against a significantly stronger Germany.

            Afterwards, one could once again learn from history: that evil must be addressed as early as possible. With this argument, Iraq was invaded in 2003, with catastrophic consequences. The Allies had not prepared because they trusted the power of their own ‘’good intentions’’.

            Einstein said “As a human being, one has been endowed with just enough intelligence to be able to see clearly how utterly inadequate that intelligence is when confronted with what exists.”

          • steviefinn October 19, 2017 at 1:32 am #

            “Afterwards, one could once again learn from history: that evil must be addressed as early as possible. With this argument, Iraq was invaded in 2003, with catastrophic consequences. The Allies had not prepared because they trusted the power of their own ‘’good intentions’’.

            I would take issue with the above Jacob, perhaps there were good intentions but as the war was illegal, based on lies, people like Cheney made a fortune out of it & it was pushed by a bunch of Neo-Cons like Perle, Kristol etc, It is I think enough reason for cynicism without even mentioning the ‘ O’ word. Now the Neo-Con Bolton is pushing Trump into war with Iran, which I suspect wont be the usual walkover & could I think lead to the ultimate showdown at the OK corral.

            Yes Hitler was evil & I think I am correct in saying that Chamberlain held back due to the worry of a return to the Somme mincer, & Petain apparently decided on the Vichy option for the same reason. I suppose that with hindsight after the mayhem which nobody could have imagined before the fact, it is easy to say that it should have been done differently, especially as there was no precedent for fascism, which for the German people must go down as one of the biggest ever historical shots in the foot, along with Mao & Stalin via the revolution.

            As for evil, I cannot think of anything else to describe the Americans adventurism since ” The Good War ” with it’s estimates for civilian deaths being at around 20 million added to the devastation caused in countries which produce what some call black gold,, which has turned out for the many to perhaps be more deserving of the name black death. Perhaps that is why films are still made about WW2 – Vietnam & the rest are much more problematic.

            Russian WW2 films tend to reflect the reality they had shoved down their throats by around 85% of the Wehrmacht’s resources – perhaps one of the problems wit US adventurism is that the really dirty work is always far away & the population only have Hollywood to go by. I also don’y buy the opinion that the EU has kept the peace for around 70 years as I am pretty sure that those who took on the role of the world’s policeman would never have allowed it to happen. They still have a reduced amount of around 60 bases in Europe & of course Nato at the core has been around for quite some time.

            It does appear that so far the Europeans are now less keen on aiding & abetting the Middle Eastern follies, which is a good thing – perhaps part of the reason is that they have been receiving almost all of the blowback.

            Iran’s population is I think about 80 million & would probably be a much harder nut to crack than the previous pushovers so would probably need to be bombed to the usual pile of rubble leading to a huge exodus of people who would have no other option than to flee. At the very least it would destabilise the region which might suit the Neo-Cons very well as it would probably badly effect the underbelly of Russia, which is something I am sure that Putin is well aware of

            I do not believe we shall see trenches stretching from the coast to Switzerland again as the fashion since WW2 has been that civilians are the main casualties & in any case those who tend to historically fight each other have nuclear weapons which they can point at each other in the now old game of neither side can win. Civil wars perhaps & the breakdown of civil order, but the root of that will be economics, although if the EZ were to collapse the deficit countries could possibly become better off while Germany & the other surplus countries would suffer.

            My main worry is another one of those so far reported incidents of around 19 near nuclear button presses. History doesn’t repeat itself but mankind’s evil in the shape of wars unfortunately does. Everybody is just guessing when it comes to the rhyme, which so far has always defied our collective imagination, I just hope it does not end in a full stop.

      • Phil T. October 15, 2017 at 3:12 pm #

        steviefinn, in case you have not found it, there is a rather engaging Prospect podcast attached to the article that features 3-contributors to this month’s Prospect (including Luyendijk). Have a listen mate, and take care of yourself there in Ireland with Ophelia approaching…


        • steviefinn October 16, 2017 at 4:03 pm #

          Thank you Phil T & I will check it out – you lost me last night in terms of the meaning of Ophelia, but have since realised & am now sitting safely as the storm causes an almost demonic dance among the fortunately small trees next to the house.

  10. Capa October 17, 2017 at 12:19 am #

    It seems as if we are inching towards an increasingly economically feudal like societal structure – one that existed not so long ago, historically speaking. While the status quo may be using fear as a mechanism of control and influence, society seems to be acquiescing.


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