All Hell

From the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler
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angels leave hell

Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation  August 4, 2014

That tractable beast, World Opinion, was apparently looking the other way when US video war-gamers blew up wedding parties and donkeys by remote control in Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan, not to mention the now long ago shock-and-awe bombardment of poor innocent Iraq. It’s not paying much attention these days to the remorseless advance of ISIS (or ISL or the Islamic State) as it cuts a psychopathic swath through the Middle East marked by wholesale executions of civil servants, beheadings of “infidels,” and the occasional crucifixion of suspected enemies and traitors. UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon is so busy issuing condemnations of Israel that he has forgotten to ask Hamas the elementary question: What part of… quit firing rockets… don’t you understand?

Demonic forces are on the loose again now one hundred years after Europe blew itself apart for no good reason. (Why? Because some young Serbian nobody killed the heir to the Austrian throne on a back street in Sarajevo?) Maybe we are making a mistake to think that any sort of rationality applies now. Here in the depraved and disintegrating USA, we pretend that Afghanistan threatens our national interest from 7,000 miles away while denying that Russia has any business with its crumbling next-door neighbor (and former province), Ukraine — the crumbling of which was bought and paid for by the US Department of State and CIA.

The long sobering aftermath of World War Two is over now and World Opinion can once again assume the role of a rough beast slouching toward cataclysm. Starting from the premise that nothing is funnier than unhappiness, how funny is it that the US affects to manage the great demographic upheavals of the Middle East and Europe while it can’t even protect its own citizens from the still-florid looting and swindling operations of Wall Street — not to mention the wholesale renting of congressmen, cabinet secretaries, supreme court justices, and White House aides by US chartered corporations?

World Opinion is easily massaged by grandstanding around children who have been put in harm’s way deliberately by cynical adults. The UN was, shall we say, less than fastidious about Hamas stashing rockets and other war materials in their Gaza schools. In fact, they didn’t make a peep — for years — and now they dare squawk that these arsenals are being targeted, even as Hamas continues its rocket attacks? Did these UN morons ever grok the possibility that they were being played? And, of course, not to change the subject too harshly but note also how children are being used to play the suspension of US immigration laws by cynical US political party hacks. Despite the dishonest pleadings of undocumentarians, what part of… illegal immigrant… remains unclear,?

Here is what I think is going to happen now. Israel will withdraw from Gaza. Hamas’s war-making ability has been deeply degraded for a while, but any further rocket attacks will be answered in kind. Perhaps the citizens of Gaza will rethink who they want to have as leaders. The action will shift back to the ISIS swath across Syria and Iraq. ISIS has become a juggernaut, seizing enough money and valuable assets like oil and gas fields to greatly expand its vicious operations. You can say this about ISIS: they are very plain about their objective: to reestablish a fundamentalist caliphate — that is, to return to the eleventh century. Personally, I think the Middle East is primed for exactly that outcome, since its brief adventure as a wealthy, modernized oil-producing region is reaching its natural limits. The very specter of that fate is enough to destabilize the fragile political arrangements there, and may actually hasten the arrival of those natural limits as the activities of ISIS shuts in the necessarily rational operation of the companies that run the oil wells, pipelines, transport terminals. Watch what it does to capital markets, without which oil production founders anywhere.

Speaking of capital markets, keep your eyes on the US indexes. Never has so much fragility-in-motion come so close to an implacable wall of consequence. All hell seems to be breaking loose.

 

***

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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