Deep State Blues

Off the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler

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Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation  March 16, 2014

 

     Those of you too caught up in Lady Gaga’s latest cutting edge art project — she arranged for another woman to vomit on her while seated at the keyboard to show, well, I guess to demonstrate that not even vomit can stop the power of pop music — may have missed the latest moves in our nation’s foreign policy quest to remain Hall Monitor of the World. It appears that the Crimean peninsula has voted rather persuasively to become part of adjoining Russia, a nation that they were functionally a province of longer than the USA has been the independent and exceptional beacon of liberty that we became. Now, all that’s left are some procedural formalities, and then our side has promised to do some very bad things to punish Russia for this dastardly outcome.

     Have the Lady Gaga fans forgotten that our country set this whole fiasco in motion by promoting a tug-o-war between a proposed Russian free trade zone (the Customs Union) and the European Union (another trade zone) with Ukraine as the rope? Alas, the rope broke in the early going, leaving the Russians to try to splice it back together in some way that aligns with the ethnic composition of the territory and their treaty perquisites regarding port facilities on the Black Sea. This “crisis” has got Secretary of State Kerry pulling his hair out, perhaps in his own personal quest to achieve mature male hair equality with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Mr. Kerry has more work to do before the world will stop calling him “a haircut in search of a brain.”

     Notice that for ten years the Russians have not been jumping up and down as the USA hops from one Central Asian state to the next blowing things up and arranging affairs so that hundreds of thousands of people get killed — quite a few by our cunning model airplanes controlled by military video gamesters, who blow away “folks” on morning watch before repairing to the nearest Taco Bell for an order of Doritos Locos (and a chance to watch Lady Gaga get vomit-tagged on their iPhones). I wonder how the USA would feel if the Russian foreign ministry ginned up an operation to persuade Texas to secede from the Union (again).

     What will be the next step of the menswear model in the oval office? Is he coordinating with the EU to make sure that Russia can’t sell its products to anyone, say, the EU, which really has nowhere else to buy a great deal of the methane gas it uses every winter to keep the pipes from freezing? Of course our country has made promises that it will export liquefied natural gas to Europe from the depleting shale plays of Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas — but, wait a minute (or maybe five years) because we have to build new pipelines, gas export terminals, and a fleet of compressed gas tanker ships before that’ll work. But maybe Europe will have five exceptionally mild winters until then. Note to Mr. Obama: increase National Prayer Breakfasts to once-a-month.

      Then there is the question of what Russia may offer to do to the USA in return. Perhaps nothing, because America is doing such a good job of imploding under its own fecklessness and inertia. If I were Mr. Putin — not saying I want to be, you understand, but in the spirit of conjecture — I would just kick back and tune in on the Web to watch this nation of overfed clowns and tattooed savages vomit over each other, since that is apparently now embroidered into the zeitgeist. Mr. Putin could also (in the spirit of the game of chess, which he is reputed to be good at) add some frisson to the situation by stealthily unloading quantities of Russian-held US Treasury paper, not to crash the market but just enough to turn the ten-year bond above the 3.00 percent line — a point at which the US government’s bankruptcy (that is, inability to service our debt) creeps above the horizon like a bad moon rising.

     State Department chess players are gloating at the moment that the Russian ruble has lost ten percent of its value this year. No doubt a few functionaries in the Kremlin are going boo-hoo over this. But remember: they are a nation who lost about 8.6 million soldiers to overcome Hitler. Do you think a little austerity will persuade them to cede Ukraine to the Walt Disney Company? Has anyone in the pay of America’s Deep State asked themselves whether it really matters to us who runs Ukraine? Did it matter to us before and then after the Soviet regime collapsed? What was so terrible about Ukraine joining the Russian free trade zone that we felt compelled to go in and vomit all over it?

 

***

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

 

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