Friday, September 14, 2007

Indian summer

August was a bust - (luckily I wasn't here to enjoy all the gray clouds and rain) but September, so far, has been a golden month.

I'm reading (re-reading) A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman. It's a history book about the calamitous 14th century.
(from Amazon) "In this sweeping historical narrative, Barbara Tuchman writes of the cataclysmic 14th century, when the energies of medieval Europe were devoted to fighting internecine wars and warding off the plague. Some medieval thinkers viewed these disasters as divine punishment for mortal wrongs; others, more practically, viewed them as opportunities to accumulate wealth and power. One of the latter, whose life informs much of Tuchman's book, was the French nobleman Enguerrand de Coucy, who enjoyed the opulence and elegance of the courtly tradition while ruthlessly exploiting the peasants under his thrall. Tuchman looks into such events as the Hundred Years War, the collapse of the medieval church, and the rise of various heresies, pogroms, and other events that caused medieval Europeans to wonder what they had done to deserve such horrors."

Looking at that paragraph, something jumped out at me. "...Others, more practically, viewed them (the disasters) as opportunities to accumulate wealth and power."

Right now, Naomie Klein has a book out called 'The Shock Doctrine', where she speaks about the myth of the peaceful transformation of the world into a free market. In her book, she argues that the transformation was anything but peaceful, and often was pushed through by force after such disasters as war or earthquakes disoriented the people in the country. Reading 'A Distant Mirror' and drawing parallels from 'Shock Doctrine', I'm struck by how this policy has emerged throughout the ages as a sort of 'the best for the bullys' doctrine. The biggest, strongest, and most ruthless profit from the weak and unprotected.
I think that a lot of the US government right now is about making a huge profit on shock and awe. Maybe it's time we started thinking about the weak and unprotected, and stop supporting the bullys of the world.
and if you still haven't cottoned on to the fact that the war in Iraq was 'all about the oil, dummy', here is a paragraph you should read:

"...The law that was finally adopted by Iraq's cabinet in February 2007 was even worse than anticipated: it placed no limits on the amount of profits that foreign companies can take from the country and placed no specific requirements about how much or little foreign investors would partner with Iraqi companies or hire Iraqis to work in the oil fields.
Most brazenly, it excluded Iraq's elected parliamentarians from having any say in the terms for future oil contracts. Instead, it created a new body, the Federal Oil and Gas Council, which, according to the New York Times, would be advised by "a panel of oil experts from inside and outside Iraq". This unelected body, advised by unspecified foreigners, would have ultimate decision-making power on all oil matters, with the full authority to decide which contracts Iraq did and did not sign. In effect, the law called for Iraq's publicly owned oil reserves, the country's main source of revenues, to be exempted from democratic control and run instead by a powerful, wealthy oil dictatorship, which would exist alongside Iraq's broken and ineffective government."

Yes, the oil of Iraq has been grabbed by the vultures, and now the profits are winging their way to the (80$ a barrel anyone?) pockets of Bush and Co.
Shock and awe - it's a shocking disgrace.


John Nez said...

Interesting combination of philosophies there... and so apt. I think the peril the world faces is the inevitable unbridled corporate greed that's taking over everything. I say 'inevitable' because it just seems that's the law of commerce... to make the most profit regardless of the cost to society.

Such a disaster prone new millenium... it's about time those UFO's arrived to save us all!


Seeley deBorn said...

You gotta wonder what kind of fiction will be the result of today's atrocities. Already there are movies (one of which I'm sure is being funded by Saudi oil companies), but what will they write in 600 years?

Rosie said... make the most profit regardless of the cost to society.

Amen John. My 17 year old came home from school because this whole Iraqi oil business came up in his Economics class. Even at 17 he's disgusted by the whole thing. No wonder America is so hated. Most of the world believes, rightly so, that all Americans feel a sense of entitlement to the earth's natural resources.