March 16, 2006
Zooming Out
Regional integration in Asia and Latin America is a crucial and increasingly important issue that, from Washington’s perspective, betokens a defiant world gone out of control. Energy, of course, remains a defining factor — the object of contention — everywhere.

China, unlike Europe, refuses to be intimidated by Washington, a primary reason for the fear of China by US planners, which presents a dilemma: steps toward confrontation are inhibited by US corporate reliance on China as an export platform and growing market, as well as by China’s financial reserves — reported to be approaching Japan’s in scale.

Two paragraphs and you’re in a different, higher-order world. It’s like zooming out in Google Earth: you see things at a more general level.

So, from this level, what’s up with the India deal?

The key is India-China cooperation. In January, an agreement signed in Beijing “cleared the way for India and China to collaborate not only in technology but also in hydrocarbon exploration and production, a partnership that could eventually alter fundamental equations in the world’s oil and natural gas sector”, [Siddharth] Varadarjan [deputy editor of the Hindu] points out.

An additional step, already being contemplated, is an Asian oil market trading in euros. The impact on the international financial system and the balance of global power could be significant. It should be no surprise that President Bush paid a recent visit to try to keep India in the fold, offering nuclear cooperation and other inducements as a lure.

As Karen Kwiatkowski has been saying for a long time, preventing the world oil market from converting to euros was one of the most important reasons for invading Iraq.

We’re looking at significantly reduced US influence in the world. A coupla tens of thousands of insurgents in Iraq, armed with explosives, hand-held weapons, and a certain amount of suicidal courage, are handing the vaunted American military a defeat of the Vietnam type: that is, one based on poorly-conceived justifications. We’re not losing in Iraq because our military is inept; quite the contrary. Rather, we have once again given our military forces an impossible mission. (Avoiding this situation was the original point of the Powell Doctrine; but instead of defending it, when push came to shove the doctrine’s namesake dumped it, and lied to help start another war. That’s what Colin calls “being a good soldier”.) Determined insurgents always win; and the Iraqi insurgents have the added benefits of sufficient supplies of money, arms, and recruits. (Of course the number of recruits is a matter for which Bin Laden, Zarqawi, et. al. should thank President Bush, the most productive employee in the Al Qaeda recruiting department.)

Couple another military quagmire with enormous debt, whose crippling effect was intended by the so-called small-government conservatives, and you have a helpless giant, or, as the title of the article suggests, a crumbling empire.

One more…

Venezuela, apart from supplying Argentina with fuel oil, bought almost a third of Argentinian debt issued in 2005, one element of a region-wide effort to free the countries from the controls of the IMF after two decades of disastrous conformity to the rules imposed by the US-dominated international financial institutions.

One wishes that members of the current administration were able to describe the current situation as simply and accurately as this.

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Posted by Chuck Dupree at March 16, 2006 04:52 AM
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Absolutely on target. Great post. Too bad Bubble Boy will never read it, not that he could understand it if he did.

Posted by: CCRyder on March 16, 2006 8:29 AM

Unless we can minimize the cost of our military with international cooperation, we are doomed. We may be doomed anyway. Empires come and go. The Soviet Union went down the tubes because they couldn't sustain themselves militarily or economically. It is likely the same thing will happen to the U.S. The sad part is that the U.S. is so ineffective even with its current wealth. Imagine how pathetic and dangerous it will be when people start fighting for the scraps.

Am I happy about all this? Not really. America needs to step up, fight global warming and poverty and quit trying to bully the world.

Posted by: tstreet on March 16, 2006 9:58 AM

I think the empire is doomed. But as to how pathetic and dangerous it will be when we're fighting for scraps, we still have the option of following the British model.

Posted by: Chuck Dupree (Belisarius) on March 16, 2006 12:20 PM
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