Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Echoes of the Guns of August

The First World War began 100 years ago this year. Due to the communications and transportation technologies of the time, there remained a significant lag time between the heads of state declaring war in the aftermath of Archduke Ferdinand's assassination and the commencement of hostilities. Procedures had to be followed, public support garnered by hook or by crook, and the militaries had to mobilize. First by train, and then by ship, Allied and Central Powers deployed their forces in Europe and elsewhere around the globe (though, to be fair, this was primarily a European affair). Hostilities--i.e. people shooting at each other--commenced on August of 1914, hence the meme referred to in the title (and the title of Barbara Tuchman's famous book on this moment in history).

That war changed everything. According to some, the First World War was the true end of the 19th Century, as the social paradigm that existed before the war did not survive it. The chaos that the war wreaked upon the world, especially in the West, did not end with the 1918 armistice; the changes in female social status, the shifts in political and philosophical paradigms, the economic upheavals (both the boom of the '20s and the bust of the '30s) were all foreseeable consequences of the costs incurred prosecuting the war. The common man, by and large, profited little or not at all from it- and the Versailes Treaty ensured that peace could not last, but instead that the war would resume within the lifetimes of those men who survived this round. The real beneficiaries, as usual, were the elites.

As Smedley Butler said, war is a racket. That war was one, and so has every war since then. (Arguably, every war from the 18th Century in Europe forward, but that gets into Crazytown turf.) Since then, the nature of war as a racket has become increasingly clear, and the propaganda required to manufacture consent (and therefore support) for war has had to become increasingly sophisticated to obscure the truth. More advanced manipulations, at higher levels of operation (more economic and less diplomatic in their schemes; this would become formalized and systamatized after the Second World War in the corporate-centric trans-national system that John Perkins would reveal in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

Perkins revealed that war, in this system, was the final failsafe when the system's ordinary operations could not be sustained due to the toxic effects of its operations. What is not clear in that book, or in the follow-up (A Game as Old as Empire: the Secret World of Economic Hit Men and the Web of Global Corruption), is that this system existed in familiar--but less company-centric--iterations before Perkins' time. Butler's testimony of his military operations, by way of the United States' government, does make clear that military operations--including formal, declared wars--are (as Sun Tzu, Machievelli, and Clauswitz all teach) nothing but politics by other means, and that means war is a tool of Empire.

So, why the echoes? August, especially in Europe, remains a time for many to take Summer vacations (holidays, for you folks on the other side of the pond)- and the establishments of the world are very keen on those vacations. Therefore, political events that make significant shifts in the world increasingly trend towards beginning (if not also ending) in August, with precursors or catalysts put in place in the months before; long before the backroom deals that spawned the phrase "October Surprise", we had this become a thing- World War I was just the first prominent expression.

Now we see a lot of similar things going on. Massive international alliances, each on hair-triggers, manuevering for advantage in a struggle for dominance are again a thing. An increasingly unstable global economy, threatening total collapse, is in the air and with it increasing political destablization that opens the door to radicalization and fractionalization (and therefore to infilltration by hostile interests seeking to shape events to their advantage). Attempted and successful assassinations of major figures are accelerating in frequency. Sooner or later, if this goes on, the conditions for a repeat of World War I will manifest- and soon thereafter, those conditions will produce that war. This is why I say "echoes"; history doesn't necessarily repeat, as such, but it often rhymes.

Empire knows this, and seeks to ensure its survival now that one host seems too week to continue and another host seems ready for the taking by leaping from one to another by way of war and the chaos that comes of it. This is the long game of Empire, that toxic meme that's ruined Mankind for so long, and now that more and more of us are aware of it we have a chance to kill it; all we need to do is deny it the chance to swap hosts. Let the current one die, quarantined and isolated, and scour its remains to be certain; don't let the emerging response become infected. Not easy, not painless, and not without sacrifice- but the opportunity exists, here and now, to stop Empire from extending its unnatural existence any further, to make Empire fall.

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