The self-inflicted chaos of our times
Mankind as willing hostage to a dehumanizing global tyranny
This blog is about history, our history-the very immediate, the distant past, and the distant, distant past. As has been pointed out on many occasions we ignore history at our own peril. It tells us where we have been, where we are, and where we are going.
We live in an overwhelming present which in itself is somewhere between difficult and impossible to grasp. The past and future are largely ignored and the present is slandered by the powerful forces that want to drive the world down to a feudal monoculture that serves their greed and less than respectable appetites.
Like the French Medieval poet Francois Villon I feel like a stranger in my own country. The reason being; I am old enough to have known another Canada, far from perfect, but one that had more self-respect than it has now.
I do not pine for the Canada I once knew, but I do advocate a renewed and better Canada that stands up for its values, not allowing them to be subverted; and a Canada that takes a dynamic and proactive role in the modern world.
There are many voices out there who advocate nation states are necessary sacrifices to the present world order; but the present world order is chaotic and the present status quo has proven itself utterly corrupt and unworthy.
Mankind is hostage to a tyranny of our own making. At the epicenter of it is the imminent threat of nuclear war which we choose to ignore.
What history tells us
An historical reference point comes from the book From MAD to Madness. It is the death bed memoir Paul H. Johnstone who worked at the Pentagon from 1949 to 1969. It is prefaced with an essay, The Dangerous Seduction of Absolute Power, by his daughter Diana Johnstone, an American Journalist based in Paris. The Forward to the book is written by Paul Craig Roberts.
In his own words Johnstone described his work:
From 1949 to 1969 I worked for Air Force Intelligence, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, I helped make estimates of the military capabilities of potential enemies, I helped develop recommendations concerning targets to be attacked from the air in event of war. I helped prepare estimates of the physical damage, and of the cumulative effects of that damage upon the nation sustaining it, that might result from nuclear war.
Johnstone was also one of the principle authors of the famous Pentagon Papers leaked to the press in 1971 by Daniel Ellsberg, which was instrumental in bringing the Viet Nam war to an end.
“MAD” in the title refers to the Cold War l acronym; Mutually Assured Destruction- as it became clear to all during Cold War I that any nuclear confrontation between the US and the USSR would result in mutual annihilation; Undeterred we have marched ourselves into Cold War ll which is utter “Madness” and Paul Craig Roberts explains why:
We are in a far more dangerous situation than the Berlin Crisis and Cuban Missile Crisis in the early 1960s. Washington is guilty of reckless and irresponsible aggression toward the other two major nuclear powers, Russia and China. Compared to the care taken during Paul Johnstone’s era, Washington today appears to be insane.
The madness of today is that Washington seeks absolute power and is the unchallenged global bully. For her part Diana Johnstone explains how we have been seduced and corrupted by this quest for absolute power. It all dates back to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagaski in 1945.
The bombing of these two cities was gratuitous. Japan was soundly defeated and suing for peace. The Manhattan Project that conceived the atomic bomb would not be complete without testing the product. These two cities suffered accordingly. To bomb them was not a military decision but a political one. Top military leaders, from Eisenhower on down, strongly opposed the bombings as unnecessary and inhumane. Unfortunately, President Truman was entranced that the USA now had the ultimate weapon and being in possession of it granted them absolute power over the world:
President Harry S. Truman was meeting with Churchill and Stalin in the Berlin suburb of Potsdam when secret news came that the New Mexico test of the atomic bomb was a success. Observers recall that Truman was “a changed man”, euphoric with the possession of such power. While more profound men shuddered at the implications of this destructive force, to Truman and his “conniving” Secretary of State, James Byrnes, the message was: “Now we can get away with everything.”
“Now we can get away with everything,” has to be one of the most ominous statements ever made by a political leader and is the essence of US foreign policy to this day. With these bombings the USSR realized it must also have a nuclear capability if it was to survive. In 1949 it exploded its first bomb. The Cold War was born. So too was the US attitude toward the rest of the world:
The decision essentially reflected the dominant political culture of the United States and its attitude toward other peoples: an attitude of profound mistrust, unless they are white and English-speaking, like the British. The common expression is, “all they understand is force”. This attitude is profoundly dehumanizing, and amounts to treating other human beings as less than dogs
Since the time of Hiroshima and Nagaski the US has become an out of control psychotic militarist state addicted to endless warfare, the endless exploitation of other states, and the endless fabrication of mock enemies to justify its ongoing global belligerence. Russia is the present scapegoat for all of America’s ills and the object of its aggressions. It is not a threat, but a target, as it, along with China, are the two countries that block America’s obsession for absolute global hegemony.
When the US bombed Hiroshima and Nagaski in 1945 this was the pivotal event setting in motion the global tyranny we know today; the tyranny to which we are held hostage. It has designated itself as the global “dog” trainer and the world community obliges by allowing itself to be treated as dogs, captive to this ongoing tyranny. History tells us the world has been held hostage to the imperial ambitions of a singular superpower for the last seventy years and this will continue to be so unless we have the determination to free ourselves from this tyranny.
Paul H. Johnstone served in an army of scientists, academics, and intellectuals who haunt the bowels of the Pentagon to this day. They plot war, doing study after study, on the best ways to kill peoples and countries. But as Johnstone noted himself on many occasions, these studies are so often negated by the human factor. No one really knows how an enemy is going to react, what factors were left unaccounted for, what event might bolt out of the blue to alter the course of battles. Johnstone ended his memoir with the following:
We were hung up on the horns of two dilemmas. One was our militarily indefensible commitment in Berlin. The other was the then unresolved, still unresolved, and probably forever unresolvable problem of devising military strategy in a world committed to the institution of warfare while possessed of weapons that, if used, would prove suicidal.
In the end, he saw the endless devising of military strategies as futile and suicidal. Knowing this, strategists are now devising first strike strategies that would instantly destroy the enemy such that no retaliation is possible. They are also trying to justify the use of tactical nuclear weapons, but even these are four times as powerful as those used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So as MAD no longer prevails; complete and utter madness does. One insanity has been substituted for yet another.
The Here and Now
The here and now is shaped by two more events, one the result of the other; the collapse of the USSR in 1991 and 9/11 in 2001. These two events would have been much closer together had there been a Republican president rather than Democrat Bill Clinton. To make 9/11 happen the ultra-right needed a stooge president in place and Bush ll was the designate. He arrived in office January 2001 and 9/11 followed thereafter.
With the collapse of the USSR there was no longer any countervail to US power but to exercise it a pretext had to be created and the 9/11 false flag was it. The War on Terror was created to justify endless warfare and endless militarism, and the US pursuit of global domination.
When Bush made his famous declaration: “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” He was delivering an ultimatum to the world community that American power was now absolute. In the tradition of James Brynes “Now we can get away with everything,”
Just to emphasize his point it was only two years later, March of 2003, US forces invaded and destroyed Iraq based on false propaganda and after the country had already suffered ten years of brutal UN sanctions. It was said at the time Iraq was invaded to send the world a message: The US will destroy at will as it sees fit. Good to their word, we have seen serial warfare since; Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, with Iran on the short list. Russia and China, the two great road blocks to complete global hegemony, are being courted with the threat of nuclear annihilation, by those insane enough to actually consider using the bomb-again.
Not so radical solutions
“Powerlessness and silence go together. We should use our privileged positions not as a shelter from the world’s reality, but as a platform from which to speak. A voice is a gift. It should be cherished and used.”
The above quote by Margaret Atwood is one of the main inspirations for setting up this blog. This quote is more pertinent today than ever as we are seeing the abject powerlessness that comes about where people and leaders fall silent. Where there is silent acquiescence we feed the tyranny, serving to deepen it. Where we do not sculpt our own destiny malevolent others will do it for us.
We do indeed occupy a privileged position and to use it as a shelter from the world’s reality is a grotesque abdication of moral responsibility. As Thomas Merton so correctly observed we have suffered a deadening of conscience.
The human species is blessed with the unique gift of “voice.” It is as essential to our survival as nuclear weapons are threatening to our survival. It is there for us, readily available, the greatest of gifts.
Where voice and conscience come alive people are empowered.
Where we play the role of silent appeasers the tyranny is self-inflicted and we are culpable.
Silence is no longer affordable. Help to spread the word.