Friday, March 24, 2006

The next popular war

Since September 11 there has been ongoing speculation that the Bush Administration would counter one crisis or another by triggering another terrorist attack on American soil.  The Republicans are in a particular funk at the moment, and with elections coming up, the idea that another attack might occur is difficult to resist.

On the other hand, Bush now bases his entire Presidency on the illusion that he is the guy to protect Americans from terrorism.  It will be difficult to blame the next attack on Clinton.  After the Dubai ports fiasco and other questions about American port security, the responsibility for a new attack might turn right back at Bush.  Another attack blamed on another Middle Eastern country that the United States is talking about attacking follows a fairly obvious pattern.  The average American is dumber than a can of paint – a significant proportion of Americans, and an overwhelming majority of the soldiers in Iraq, still think Saddam had something to do with September 11! – but even Americans might start to wonder about the Bush Administration going to the same well again.  Some might even wonder why a country like Iran, which seems to be in the cross hairs, would do something with no strategic military significance but which would surely lead to immediate reprisal, and total nuclear destruction. 

The Pentagon is moving its chess pieces around the world to prepare for a war with China.  Despite all the talk about the ‘long war’ / ‘war on terror’, the Pentagon is voting with its pocketbook and buying things that would not be useful to fight the ‘long war’, but are directed specifically at fighting a war with China. China and the United States seem headed to a conflict over energy, with American plans to seal up the world’s hydrocarbons under total American control running straight into understandable Chinese concerns about energy security.  Chinese internal harmony is fragile, and depends on the plan of increasing prosperity through increasing industrialization, a plan that would be ruined by an energy crisis or even the threat of an energy crisis.  We are seeing the beginnings of the energy conflict in American resistance to Iranian gas supply to China.  Newly announced pipeline notwithstanding, Russia would prefer to send its energy to Europe, and the Chinese leaders must be starting to feel the noose tighten.

Although the war would be about oil and gas, it would probably be nominally about Taiwan.  Support for Taiwan comes right after support for Israel in the neocon play book, and either side can find some casus belli based on Taiwan without breaking into a sweat.  The advantages for the Republicans are enormous.  Besides a permanent place in power, just think of the size of all the corrupt military contracts!  A war the size of a China war would lead to just the type of fascist military organization in the United States that neocons like Ledeen drool over.  A big added advantage for the United States is that a victory over China would wipe out most of its deficit problem.  That fact alone, and the fact there seems to be no other way out of the upcoming American financial crisis, makes the war seem inevitable.