West’s co-optation of Gulf states’ jihadists created the neocon’s best friend: an Islamist Frankenstein
I believe that as individuals, we must conduct “wars” in our families and communities to radically alter how we live. More importantly, we must engage in the ongoing transformation of our psycho-spiritual awareness so that we are not just giving lip service to our desire to live in a new paradigm, but are actually embracing it and functioning in alignment with it. Curiously, the original meaning of the Islamic term “jihad” was not a holy war on anything or anyone external, but a holy war on one’s own psyche—a conflagration with unconsciousness that resulted in a profound spiritual awakening.
A soft landing for America 40 years from now? Don’t bet on it. The demise of the United States as the global superpower could come far more quickly than anyone imagines. If Washington is dreaming of 2040 or 2050 as the end of the American Century, a more realistic assessment of domestic and global trends suggests that in 2025, just 15 years from now, it could all be over except for the shouting.
In this essay, which will appear in five installments, I hope to explore some of the social implications of simplification and decentralization. Will wars and revolutions break out with ever-greater frequency? Will democracy thrive, or will traumatized masses find themselves at the mercy of tyrants? Will nation states survive, or will they break apart? Will regional warlords rule over impoverished and enslaved survivors? Or will local food networks and Occupy groups positively transform society from the ground up?
The Great Drought of 2012 has yet to come to an end, but we already know that its consequences will be severe. With more than one-half of America’s counties designated as drought disaster areas, the 2012 harvest of corn, soybeans, and other food staples is guaranteed to fall far short of predictions. This, in turn, will boost food prices domestically and abroad, causing increased misery for farmers and low-income Americans and far greater hardship for poor people in countries that rely on imported U.S. grains. This, however, is just the beginning of the likely consequences: if history is any guide, rising food prices of this sort will also lead to widespread social unrest and violent conflict.
President Obama has blamed tensions with Iran as the reason behind rising oil prices in the US causing the US to buy oil at above peak oil prices and use its reserves.
As the world economy crashes against debt and resource limits, more and more countries are responding by attempting to salvage what are actually their most expendable features—corrupt, insolvent banks and bloated militaries—while leaving the majority of their people to languish in “austerity.” The result, predictably, is a global uprising. This current set of conditions and responses will lead, sooner or later, to social as well as economic upheaval—and a collapse of the support infrastructure on which billions depend for their very survival.
From competition among hunter-gatherers for wild game to imperialist wars over precious minerals, resource wars have been fought throughout history; today, however, the competition appears set to enter a new—and perhaps unprecedented—phase. As natural resources deplete, and as the Earth’s climate becomes less stable, the world’s nations will likely compete ever more desperately for access to fossil fuels, minerals, agricultural land, and water.
The New 30-Years' War: Winners And Losers In The Great Global Energy Struggle To Come, By Michael Klare
Think of us today as embarking on a new Thirty Years’ War. It may not result in as much bloodshed as that of the 1600s, though bloodshed there will be, but it will prove no less momentous for the future of the planet. Over the coming decades, we will be embroiled at a global level in a succeed-or-perish contest among the major forms of energy, the corporations which supply them, and the countries that run on them. The question will be: Which will dominate the world’s energy supply in the second half of the twenty-first century? The winners will determine how — and how badly — we live, work, and play in those not-so-distant decades, and will profit enormously as a result. The losers will be cast aside and dismembered.
As nations compete for currency advantages, they are also eyeing the world’s diminishing resources—fossil fuels, minerals, agricultural land, and water. Resource wars have been fought since the dawn of history, but today the competition is entering a new phase. Nations need increasing amounts of energy and materials to produce economic growth, but—as we have seen—the costs of supplying new increments of energy and materials are increasing. In many cases all that remains are lower-quality resources that have high extraction costs. In some instances, securing access to these resources requires military expenditures as well. Meanwhile the struggle for the control of resources is re-aligning political power balances throughout the world.