The scenes from Kabul prompted ten thousand newspapers to frame Saigon evacuation images alongside those from Afghanistan. Only this time Youtube was available to show human bodies falling from US Air Force planes, as Afghans clung to landing gear to escape the Taliban. The scenes, the bitter reality of it all, brought back the memory of America’s southeast Asia scars from half a century ago. We lost, again.
As I write this, the press corps of every nation on Earth is pecking away trying to get a handle on the ideological carnage President Joe Biden just dumped out. A couple of trillion dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives, and two decades of lies make for powerful news, I’ll give them that. There’s only one thing wrong with all the keen analysis and sensationalist reporting, though. It’s all wrong. President Biden did not just get sleepy and forget all those US allies now grumbling over the Taliban taking back their country. Somebody, sometime in the last few months, handed the US President some really bad news. That’s my take.
Afghanistan is so far on the back burner of US policy now because it never was on the front burnder. This is why things look so bad in Kabul. To understand what I am about to suggest, you need to look back to the Vietnam Era, just for a bit. We all know that the military industrial complex outgoing President Eisenhower warned us of. The war profiteers snagged their trillions from the flawed Domino Theory. They, the shareholders that is, built financial empires greased with the blood and guts of American and Vietnamese people. This is no big secret. But, what most people forget is the economic carnage that beset the United States right after Saigon fell. Yes, some of you are feeling me already, I sensed it just now.
A report from Federal Reserve History dot org entitled, “The Great Inflation – 1965–1982” will enlighten some, and remind others, on how a great society forced a great reset when economists were blamed for stagflation etc. I am hesitant to touch on economics, since I hate the subject so, but the situation Biden faces now is the same Nixon faced all those years ago, only much worse. Hell, they’ll probably get Sleepy Joe to resign too. 2021 is 1975, America’s oil problems, a real estate bubble, and an economy that’s about broke have returned. Here, let me quote from the aforementioned article on the Vietnam era situation:
“The origins of the Great Inflation were policies that allowed for an excessive growth in the supply of money—Federal Reserve policies.”
Remember, Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society was expensive, as was the Vietnam War, and those moon launches did not come cheap either. Nixon was forced to nix the gold standard, and the dollar became pure paper, or “air” if we tell the whole truth. We’ve no space here to discuss the ramifications of the Great Depression, but the collapse of the Bretton Woods agrement, the establishment of the so-called Phillips curve in pursuit of lower unemployment, and other factors like fiscal imbalances and energy shortages culminated about the time Saigon was evacuated. A peanut farmer from South Georgia named Jimmy Carter took the Oval Office, hostages were snatched in Tehran, the Shah fell, and a Russia hater named Zbigniew Brzezinski advised Carter to “give the Soviet Union their own Vietnam in Afghanistan.”
Funny, it all seems like yesterday, real, and horrific in the essence we now realize. And remember, it was in the midst of the Saigon betrayal that crude oil prices quadrupled, only to turn into a second energy crisis after the Iranian revolution brought a second energy crisis in 1979. This second crisis tripled the cost of oil. Remember I pointed to this, because we are headed there again. Imagine President Joe Biden gettiong hold of some files and advisers snatching his arm after taking office, that is what all this Afghanistan hubub is all about. His meeting and mini-reset with Russia’s Vladimir Putin is part of the mess too.
Remember, back in the summer of 1980 inflation in the United States was near 14.5 percent, unemployment was over 7.5 percent, and Carter was a bum to most Americans. Then along came Hollywood cowboy turned politician, Ronald Reagan. Smooth as silk, Reagan introduced a form of economics that made billionaires out of millionaires, and the military industrial complex was not just back on track, America was building fleets! I was part of the 600 ship navy. It was fiscal carnage what our Navy was spending for socket wrenches and coffee cups back then. But, I am ahead of myself.
To understand where we are headed now that Kabul is firmly in the hands of the people we supposedly defeated twenty years ago, we need to remember the long-term effects of the early 1980s recession. We need to equate the Afghanistan pullout as a true redux of Vietnam in the economic and ideological senses, and to recall how 80s economics and policy contributed to the Latin American debt crisis, the long-lasting slowdowns in the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan African countries, the US savings and loans crisis, and the adoption of neoliberal economic policies throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Biden is just playing the Jimmy Carter role, after having taken over for a sumblier and meaner version of Gerald Ford. Short version? Hold onto your seats my fellow Merikans. The really bad news out of Afghanistan will inform you of a paper war and a democratiztion joke of gigantic proportions. Read this Jerusalem Post story, and cringe right along with me. Corrupt, top to bottom and sideways, and back home things are not much different.
President Biden is faced with a calamity that makes the oil embargoes look like a windshield wiper blade replacement at the fill-up station. Global warming, scoffed at by both Obama and Trump (Remember Copenhagen and Obamey), is a wildfire (real and figurative) engulfing the Earth in every corner. On the economic side of things, in the United States, the average person has no hope of ever owning a house, prices for a dump with a broken picket fence are in the hundreds of thousands. And the coronavirus has not only caused the biggest budget deficit in US history, it threatens to shut down the world once again as new variants seize the vaccinated and unvaccinated. And the news dogs croon over the fall of Kabul.
Meanwhile, ultra-high net worth individuals with assets for investment of more than $30 million, grew by 24% worldwide in 2020. Household wealth fell accordingly, of course. Since the pandemic began, Michael Bloomberg made an additional $6.89 billion. Our old friend Rupert Murdoch made over $14 billion, and George Soros pulled in an additional $8.3, and that’s just the New York billionaires. The combined wealth of all US billionaires increased from $2.9 trillion in March of 2020 to $4.7 trillion by July of this year. It might interest some to know, Jeff Bezos doubled his wealth during this pandemic period. Elon Musk increased his fortune by a multiple of eight fold. I mention these people because of the Forbes 400, almost every one on the list inherited substantial fortunes or gained leverage from their social statues, and these “elites” are the only people gaining from world catastrophes.
Now, on to how Biden has to bail out of Kabul, and fast. The system is busted. The huge deficits cranked out by the treasuries of the world are, of course, being paid for by the 99%. But the money machine is too big, too fragile now, and looming catastrophes like climate change have these elites a bit more worried than usual. There’s something huge on the horizon, and I think the last thing the American president needs are loose ends in the mountains of Afghanistan.
The United States has used up most of her strategic oil reserves making SUV drivers from Philly happy. Pressuring Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and other gas and oil producing nations has not worked to generate more supply. The Saudis are all but done producing anything that will pump through a pipeline without mixing it with seawater. And America’s reputation is the least of Joe Biden’s worries. In fact, it’s not the biggest worry for any of us. The other foot falling, is.
Climate change is the defining moment humanity faces. The central bankers are already freaking out trying to quickly reverse decades of apathy and denial. Afghanistan or Vietnam, by comparison, are trashcan fires inside a bigger cataclysm that will wreck nations, and cast billions of people into a dark age. Biden knows this, Putin seems worried too. The problem is, they got advise a little bit too late. Just now the banksters get worried? From Baltimore, Maryland in the US, to Bangladesh, the effects of climate change come with the tides. Sea level is rising, and temperatures in places like the Mediterranean are transformative. We are witnessing a calamity only Hollywood could dream up, only it’s real.
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.