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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

americas afghanistan 1 of 3


AMERICAS AFGHANISTAN

A lot of analysts at the time began calling the Soviet war in Afghanistan “Russia’s Vietnam”, to compare their endless quagmire to ours just completed.  There were similarities such as the financial drain, obviously guerrilla war, but not others such as civilian discontent over the war ( the KGB wasn‘t entirely keen on any such activity, just as today the PC Police constitute our version of oppressing dissent ).  But I’m wondering how much of this was transference.  What was quickly pointed out about Russian was ignored about ourselves.  In hindsight it has been suggested that the Soviet Empire crashed and burned due to Afghanistan coupled with their Peak Oil.  And that Reagan encouraged the collapse through getting the Saudi’s to open the oil spigot to squeeze the Soviet treasury.  It has also been suggested by certain Author Cottage Industries ( when an author attempts to create his own niche publishing phenomenon such as the Bermuda Triangle guy, or the 2012 Mayan Calendar guy,  the Gods Built The Pyramids guy, etc. ) that the Soviet elite hide underground, making us believe the collapse, soon to surprise nuke us when our guard is down.  I don’t buy either scenario, much.

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Granted, Peak Oil has already collapsed our empire, but we built our economy on cheap and affordable oil and once the cheap bloom wore off the rose, our economy took a big squishy.  Why would that apply to the Soviets?  Their economy wasn’t oil consumption based.  It was Cold War based ( as was ours, but long before Vietnam we were trying to fund both guns and butter, Cold War and civilian luxury consumption.  THAT is what collapsed our economy, doing both.  The Soviets didn’t have that issue ).  So I think that clearly that explanation was both the inclination to view the world through your own prism and also the usual build up of propaganda making Presidents omniscient.  There might be a kernel of truth in it or it could just be outright BS.  As far as the other explanation, the stealth nuke attack, well, almost thirty years later we are still awaiting it.  I’m sure the guy has long ago faded away to author purgatory.  Unless he hit upon another brilliant conspiracy theory to peddle.  For the life of me I can’t remember his name or book title, only that he lived up in northern California ( probably in a fallout free corridor, so I have little doubts about his sincerity, just his choice of anxiety ).

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As far as lack of oil revenues collapsing the economy, we have a bit of a history of wishful thinking when it comes to the Russians, always hinting that if it wasn’t for us they would never have survived.  Without our Lend Lease program, it is inferred, the Nazi’s would have kicked their ass.  Without our allowing them to sell their oil, they were doomed.  Without our wheat sales they would have starved.  Without our computer chips their economy was doomed.  Without our unique American Exceptionalism,  their Vietnam spelled their demise.  Now, I for one am certainly not claiming any special insight on my part.  When the Soviets were around, I feared them just like everyone else.  When I was reading about Peak Oil awhile ago, I believed the Reagan Plan Of Oil Attack.  But looking back at it now, with a bit more information under my belt, I can’t claim I’m buying any of that.  Our Elite’s attack dogs have always been bamboozled by the Russians.  We didn’t understand them, and always were half assed guessing and pulling ponderings out of our ass.  We didn’t know them so we feared them and then when their empire collapsed we just started throwing theories against the wall hoping something would stick, hoping to substitute surprise with regal sounding explanations.

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My own guess, which has as much chance as the experts of being correct, is that Russia is just like all the other empires of the last five centuries which did not follow the last several millennia rule of collapse due to the colonization of the globe by the western powers ( we could debate if Russia is Asia, Western, or a hybrid, but for this we’ll just call them western-with Japan being the only real exception ).  Before, you killed your soil and your empire collapsed.  This is still the case, just with the caveat that for the last 500 years you could use colonial resources to postpone that inevitability ( some did better than others, for shorter or longer periods of time.  Portugal seemed to span the globe, as did the Netherlands, but their choices of colonies didn’t seem rich enough to keep their empires from crumbling quickly.  Spain did pretty good all things considered.  Britain did very well even without their American colony, while France was on again, off again.  Perhaps their fabled emotionalism leading to inconsistencies over time ).  The last hundred years oil muddied those waters.  Colonies used to be mostly about surplus nitrates, but are now about oil.

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Russia had Siberia and other colonies.  But like most other empires, they could pick some really poor choices.  Sometimes you thought you got a real gem and ended up with an expensive turd.  Or visa versa.  Russia thought Alaska was a waste of money and got rid of it.  Probably not the worst choice, since even though it had oil, that has proven to be marginal long term and would have been a bitch to transport, so hindsight hasn’t really proven them wrong.  But when you are saddled with colonies that don’t produce enough resources that are needed currently, and they become problematic to hold, you go from a resource source to a resource drain and then it becomes advantageous to eliminate the colony.  France and Britain held on to their colonies through the two world wars but afterwards no longer had the finances to hold on to them when they once again rebelled.  And some certainly were not worth holding.  Vietnam provided rubber, which was in no way needed as compared to its Syrian or North African oil producers.  It foolishly kept spending scarce resources in Vietnam AND closer to home, ensuring they could keep neither the important one nor the far less important area.  Russia had her share of under producing colonies.

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The Soviet Union might have fallen, but the country of Russia didn’t collapse.  Her political situation changed, such as ours did or Germany’s did, but she didn’t collapse per se ( not to dismiss the real suffering of the populace at the time ), but shed imperial possessions that were uneconomic ( Kazakhstan or such might have butt tons of natural gas, but so does Russia, and that was a lot of territory to garrison for a few fields of production-and was Muslim.  Not that all Muslims are created equal, but I won’t digress here other than to speculate that at the time perhaps the Stalin legacy hadn’t yet dissipated and the divisions were worse than today ).  It was a political or colonial imperial collapse, not necessarily an economic or ecologic collapse.  Afghanistan was fought no differently than The Great Patriotic War, leading one to question the prevailing American theory of “colonial war collapses the economy”.  Simply, how Americans do an economy and how Soviets did were two different things.  Having said that, should we apply the American theory to ourselves?

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Was Vietnam the end of the American Empire?  Was Vietnam America’s Afghanistan ( yes, I’m aware of the reverse timeline in the question )?  It must be remembered that even if severely diminished, the United Kingdom is still viable economically.  It’s economy might be on par with other collapsed empires such as Spain or Portugal, but despite losing most colonies and most petroleum sources, all its coal and factories, it is still a functioning economy.  It just hasn’t been a true empire for a very long time.  Could the same be said of the United States?  Did our empire fall with Saigon?  Just because we still have garrisons in other countries and fight wars doesn’t mean we are still an empire.  It just means we haven’t finished stripping all the copper from the walls.  The house is still a shelter, if a very poor one.  Britain still has garrisons in other nations such as Ireland and Iraq.  They just have lost most control over most valuable resources.  I would argue that America is basically in the same situation, just to a lesser degree.  Let’s discuss resource control, nation state warfare, technology and economics, domestic economy, irregular warfare, and computer chips, basically applying all the Soviet arguments to the US.

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Oil production for the lower 48, Alaska and the Gulf Of Mexico are all in the toilet for conventional petroleum ( I’ll get to the unconventional shortly ).  The Gulf spill was a highlight on how uneconomic deep well production already was.  Alaska oil is down to a trickle, sometimes so low the oil is in danger of sludging up from lack of friction, not to mention the thawing permafrost issue ( in effect, the foundation for the pipeline is cracked ).  The lower 48 was long ago tapped out ( again, on a relative basis ).  Fracking Oil, more of a ten year production cycle than the conventional oil forty year, is all that remains in our oil reserve.  And those ten years are about up.  We lost Venezuelan tar to China, after our Color Revolution there didn’t work out so well.  If it wasn’t for Canadian sludge ( showing signs of decreasing ), and an increasingly tapped out Saudi Arabia ( you think the war against Yemen and Qatar isn’t about replacing their decreasing production? ), we wouldn’t have a whole lot of oil to play around with.  Of which our economy is already collapsing with the amount we have ( volume staying the same, net energy therein decreasing ). 

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On that basis alone, energy availability, our economy is doomed.  We’ve had declining energy since 1971, just as Britain has with its coal reserve and North Sea oil declines.  Just like Britain, you still have energy long after the empire crumbled.  So the question becomes, does the start of decline mean the end of the empire?  It wasn’t too long after the Soviet Oil Peak that their empire was shrunk.  Their economy collapsed with the oil supply.  It wasn’t an imperial die-off, just a shrinkage.  The country had continuity enough to orderly shrink it’s liabilities along with its assets.  Why wouldn’t this same criteria apply to the US?  We think we are still an empire and that, perhaps, Iraq and Afghanistan mean the eventual end to our empire, but my contention here is that we are just like all the other failed empires that has shrunk in a more or less orderly fashion.  If you look at our domestic situation rather than our overseas possessions, you get a much clearer picture of this ( not that our overseas colony losses aren’t also an indicator.  Just because we manage to hold on to a military base there doesn’t mean we own the country as a colonial prize ).

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In the actual domestic arena, you could argue that large areas of the country have completely collapsed economically and are only marginally controlled.  Detroit and New Orleans aside, think of the large urban areas controlled not by force or occupation troops but by tribute to the barbarian chiefs.  Only money keeps the ghettos in line ( the sporadic outbursts designed to remind DC who is actually in charge there ).  As oil shrunk ( in energy delivery terms ) we first lost our capacity to meaningfully project real military force ( Granada?  Really? ), then lost our economic mastery ( Japan, anyone? ), then started losing our domestic colonies ( inside the lower 48.  Hawaii never really stopped being an invaded and occupied hostile territory and is only held for the Pacific naval occupation ).  Washington DC has absolutely zero control over a lot of its territory.  Even the Midwest, the grain belt, is barely pacified.  We ceded control, in large amount, of the globe by diverting corn from export to domestic consumption as ethanol.  I submit to you that ethanol was NOT about subsidizing SUV drivers but about a bribe to the farm belt.  The area is economically devastated, and ethanol was an economic stimulus to pacify the locals.  Big Ag might control the food business but a guerrilla force can halt production easily.  Big Ag is an absentee owner and an economic collapse there would see insurrection ( there was a very good novel on just this subject-a warning shot across the bow? ) that destroyed the means of production. 

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If my thesis is correct, we’ve already ceded control of most of the globes oil producing regions by withdrawing grain bribes so as to bribe the local food and fuel production region.  Does that sound like an Empire in control, or in decline?  Remember where the focus on the white trash meth epidemic took place?  And about when it ended?  I’m telling you, you are a DC elite, and you see the primary calorie source region start to look like the Appalachians, you panic rightfully.  For the last twenty years things have unraveled exponentially.  If you dig deep enough you start to guess at how bad things really are.  I’m stopping here for today, and we’ll continue tomorrow.

END

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15 comments:

  1. Ultimately, I believe the USSR collapsed because of the old Russian saying, "They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work."

    I believe the U.S. is collapsing mainly due to the fact that we allowed short term corporate profits to trump long term sustainable stewardship.

    This country had enough natural resources, Yankee ingenuity, and personal motivation to better oneself to have a lot longer ride than we ended up with. Bad management, greed, and populous indifference trashed our economy, natural resources, and dumbed down our population a lot sooner than it should have.

    Oh well, at least we live in interesting times.

    Idaho Homesteader

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    1. Interesting times, sure, that makes up for it :)

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  2. Opioids are the new meth. Washington D.C.has been over run by barbarians. Time for a new religion. Bisonism might work. Do we need to crucify our founder, or is that old hat?

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    1. Most DEFINATLY that is old hat. Disregard! Disregard!

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  3. Actually material aspect in themselves mean little.

    The real criteria of power is what is inside peoples' heads. If you look at our world today a lot of what is inside people's heads comes from Youtube/Google/Netflix/Twitter/Amazon etc.

    So the US in itself might be getting somewhat obsolete (sovereignity in Western Europe States has become a joke since 2003) but the global players I listed and othersare doing very well, thank you.

    As for a new religion, I think monotheism itself is way too dangerous. It means that there is one set of rules for the whole universe.

    Wicca, Voodoo, Gaia, Mara Satrucha wathever etc. and assorted fetishes & superstitions are much better concurrents. You don't have too lok far to see how deep the damage already is.

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  4. "Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."

    -Winston Churchill

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    1. What about the "Winston, if you were my husband I would poison you" "If I were your husband I would take it".

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  5. It’s kind of ironic how one war brought the Bolshevik revolution and Lenin into power, and another one ended it. The Russians are a practical people, unlike their western counterparts, and don’t do PC. So it’s surprising that they would have muddled around in Afghanistan for so many years. This should have been a sign to most American’s that entering Afghanistan was not going to end well, or for that matter, end at all.

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    1. We didn't learn guerrilla warfare from Vietnam, why learn about it in Afghanistan. The Russians did learn, and were successful in Chetznya ( spelling ) as well as learning from their Color Revolution and stopping it in other areas such as Georgia and Ukraine. So, they make the same mistakes we do, but learn from them unlike us.

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  6. Jesaus Christt! 1 of 3? So what is your point? Oil Oil Oil!
    You need on get on that bike and ride,. ride, ride!
    Gives me headache! Now that U have "retired" post how to articles and not politcal rants about Trump under the dark area's of I love Hiitlary but wont pretend to give real advice about surving! When was the last time U got off the couch and rode that bike? Just askin. Nice hair on your shaved head! Yes I live in ELKO.

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    1. Rode this morning, thanks for asking. Do you need a time, so you can run me over? If you live here. How many how-to's do you think I can do posting every day? For 11 years it was five days a week. How many posts is that? Are there enough how-to's in total for that? Do you even support my writing? Or do you expect me to pay for these how-to's out of my savings? I'll stop now.

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    2. Retired? I have been gone for a few months. It sounds as if you’re no longer employed in the conventional sense of the word?

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    3. I was either going to quite my job or punch the whore in the face until I broke a few knuckles on her teeth, then went to jail. Been brewing for years. Once quite, a job I thought I'd hold until real retirement, why look for another? Full time writing. Low pay, huge benefits like sanity and low stress. This is why I'm seven days a week, around three times the word count total.

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    4. I see. I had a feeling it was something like that. Didn’t realize that it was that bad though. I’ve never liked working for other people. My anti-government, anti-feminist, anti-gay agenda views, are not well received by others, often not even by those that refer to themselves as conservatives. Of course now that I’m older, I understand that such views can never be publicly revealed. Even still, I’m different enough that I could never be happy working amongst most people, and having to deal with their PC nonsense day in and day out.

      It’s a sad fact James, but most people are just bastards, present company excluded ;)

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    5. I used to be fine. Leave me the hell alone and let me do my job. Most folks used to do just that. But this last one? I won't get started. Now it is just best not to work for any more morons.

      Delete

I must moderate-trust me. You don't want to see what happens otherwise. Sometimes it takes awhile to respond as I only check two or three times a day. No N-Bombs, nothing to get me libeled. Otherwise, have at it. If you criticize me, make sure to praise my hair first.