All This And World War, Too?

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by James H. Kunstler of,

The situation in Ukraine hotted up this weekend and threatens to blow this morning with the Kiev government affecting to send “anti-terrorist” troops into the eastern cities where ethnic Russians seized buildings. (In the olden times of Europe, they had witches and devils. Now, thanks to our example, they have “terrorists.”) While this impending civil war would be rather dire for Ukraine, it presents the obvious questions: 1) does it matter to anyone outside the region? And in particular, 2) is it any business of the USA?

War hawk kibitzers on the sidelines (e.g. The New York Times) are making a big deal of the 40,000 Russian troops marshaled around the border of eastern Ukraine. So what? That’s just a few thousand more than the 33,000 US troops deployed to Afghanistan, America’s current “nation-building” project. But the troop numbers swing to our side of the balance beam if you throw in the nearly 3,000 American boots-on-the-ground stationed in Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic, and the roughly 15,000 in Kuwait and Bahrain. I don’t remember the Russians complaining very much about all this US military hyper-activity in their part of the world over the past decade.

At least somebody has stuffed a cheese Danish (or something) in John Kerry’s pie-hole the past week. The walking haircut-in-search-of-a-brain has stopped making ridiculous commitments to the US-and-EU-installed Kiev government. And President Obama has stopped drawing laugh-out-loud lines in the sand. I suspect if they resume beating that drum, they could provoke some unrest in our own country. Not everyone is glued to the Kardashian Channel with his fist in the Cheez Doodle bag. And not all of the army vets returned from operations in Muslim lands (the ones that haven’t committed suicide, that is) have such a high opinion of the overall outcome there.

Barack Obama, who I voted for twice, is on his way to becoming the worst US president in my lifetime, at least — and maybe in the whole cavalcade going back to the very start of the republic. I don’t want to get too sidetracked in this brief blog space today, but isn’t it stupendously asinine that Mr. Obama’s Justice Department and his SEC appointees only just last week became interested in the pervasive swindle of high frequency trading on Wall Street after author Michael Lewis went on 60 Minutes. Like, they hadn’t heard about this years-long orgy of front-running until now? Strange to relate, I actually might feel more comfortable if Vladimir Putin was massing troops on the Mexican side of the US border to keep Americans safe from our own bungling and destructive government.

Aren’t a number of things obvious about the Ukraine situation? Such as: the Russians have a greater interest in preventing chaos there than the US has in any provisional disposition of the Ukrainian border and the composition of its government. Such as: for most of the 20th century Ukraine was essentially a Russian province, and at various times before that the ward of several other eastern European kingdoms. Such as: Russia has a huge investment in gas pipeline infrastructure in Ukraine upon which depends a substantial portion of its national income, not to mention the winter-time comfort of most of the countries in western Europe.

Hence my plea: will parties in the USA (including Obama camp “progressives”) stop cheerleading for a showdown over this hapless doormat of a faraway nation whose destiny is not entwined with the people of Ohio, Nebraska, Rhode Island, or any of the other fifty states? We have enough to do in our own country to adjust to the new realities of the unraveling turbo-industrial global economy — and, by the way, we are not doing a damn thing to address any of it. Our domestic political conversation at all levels is juvenile and idiotic. I’d rather see US troops shut down WalMart, which has been way more destructive to the US economy (and the livelihoods of our people) than the bandits in any central Asian rat-hole. I’d rather see the US spend its dwindling capital restoring our passenger railroads than paying off the debts of strangers half a world away.

This is turning into a Vietnam moment for the US political scene. Where are the Fullbrights and Bobby Kennedys of today who have the guts to rally US citizens against insane government behavior? What elected officials among all the bought-off Koch Brother catamites and Wall Street errand boys will stand up for reality-based principle? When will the young people of this country pull their eyeballs away from their iPhones and their heads out of their cloacal vents? When will the United States begin the long-overdue task of getting its own act together?

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intric8's picture

"Will parties in the USA (including Obama camp “progressives”) stop cheerleading for a showdown over this hapless doormat of a faraway nation whose destiny is not entwined with the people of Ohio, Nebraska, Rhode Island, or any of the other fifty states?" - WORD!

y3maxx's picture

In days of old the leader would lead the charge at the front of the cavalry....not from the first tee.

NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  In days of old the leader would lead the charge at the front of the cavalry

What year was that?

Brutlstrudl's picture

Over the years, there were a number of them. Atilla, for instance.


kaiserhoff's picture

Teddy Roosevelt springs to mind.

Stackers's picture

"hotted" ? I'm not entirely sure that is a word

NoDebt's picture

"Barack Obama, who I voted for twice, is on his way to becoming the worst US president in my lifetime"

You're a little late with that revelation, friend.  Better late than never, I suppose.

Xibalba's picture

Just wait for President Reid.....

DeadFred's picture

There's no President Reid in our future. We've all died and ended up in hell and Obama is going to be President FOREVER!

<so it seems sometimes>

icanhasbailout's picture

Might be closer to the mark than you'd be comfortable with. The sheer hardcore evil that he relentlessly advances through his appointments and EOs is more than enough to take seriously the scenario of an engineered emergency that indefinitely (aka forever) delays elections.


This stops when the next generation says:

aVileRat's picture


Rome fell when the people of Rome no longer had a motive to defend their allies. If Russia pushes right to Germany (and it looks like he Will with Moldova & Romania), then Western life as we know it is done. No joke. Not another empire bothered to recognize a Roman government for the next 900 years until the Holy Roman Empire reformed from legacy corporate holdings that were turned into trust assets around 600 AD that locked up & controlled key natural resource deposits like peat (heat energy), metal (for consumer discretionary products), logistics (road hubs) and textiles (oils and dyes). Anyone want to google what kind of assets the Forbes 100 have been purchasing this year ? It's not gold or heirloom seeds.


Vart Drader's picture

A Visigoth army of about 50K people sacked Rome in 410 AD. The city of Rome population alone counted more than 1/2M people, let alone the neighboring provinces. And Rome has not been sacked for 800 years before. How was that possible?

Seer's picture

"The sheer hardcore evil that he relentlessly advances through his appointments and EOs is more than enough to take seriously the scenario of an engineered emergency that indefinitely (aka forever) delays elections."

Sigh, and this gets a bunch of up-votes... Apparentlhy people missed this exact proclaimation during the Bush years.

People repeatedly get fooled into thinking that the real work/action is being done at the POTUS level...  WIth GWB it was the oil industry.  With BO it's the financial industry.  It's ALL the same; AND, it's all collapsing because there is insufficient growth to sustain it all (it's less conspiracy and more human hubirs [believing was can have perpetual growth on a finite planet, if only <fill in the blank> would be removed from office/capitalism be more pure etc.]).


Wonder what the Mormon or the dinosaur-arms guy would have managed to do had either been POTUS...

Spastica Rex's picture

Pray for a Republican.

That'd fix everything.

What? Bush?


Pure Evil's picture

Nah, we'll just drag out and reanimate the corpse formerly called McCain and do a nationwide tour of Weekend At Bernies.

ArkansasAngie's picture

Neither a republican nor democrat be.  There is no lesser of two evils here

Leave no incumbant in office.

prains's picture

you'd be better off just getting rid of the office all together

Seer's picture

Thank god there are people out there with brains!  +1,000,000

I'm constantly amazed at how ignorant people are of the source of the problems: I beat on "small govt" people because they just don't get it that you can't just crack a barn door open a little and expect that the horses won't get out!  And, the historical norm for humanity is tribes and such: not saying that that's what I want, just stating facts.

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

I agree. Your average guy on the street, working full time, taking care of a family, etc, may be a little late to the party. But when you come from a place like his, he didnt just start bloggng, you had more than enough time to figure this out before the 2012 elections. Its not like its hard to see for anyone with an internet connection and a mild sense of curiosity. There were plenty of sources for him to have figured this out halfeay through the first term. Or, you could have just paid attention during the campiagn. Either way, this guy has a lot of explaining to do

Anusocracy's picture

Most people are well protected from the truth by something called confirmation bias.

Emory study lights up the political brain

When it comes to forming opinions and making judgments on hot political issues, partisans of both parties don't let facts get in the way of their decision-making, according to a new Emory University study. The research sheds light on why staunch Democrats and Republicans can hear the same information, but walk away with opposite conclusions.

The investigators used functional neuroimaging (fMRI) to study a sample of committed Democrats and Republicans during the three months prior to the U.S. Presidential election of 2004. The Democrats and Republicans were given a reasoning task in which they had to evaluate threatening information about their own candidate. During the task, the subjects underwent fMRI to see what parts of their brain were active. What the researchers found was striking.

"We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning," says Drew Westen, director of clinical psychology at Emory who led the study. "What we saw instead was a network of emotion circuits lighting up, including circuits hypothesized to be involved in regulating emotion, and circuits known to be involved in resolving conflicts." Westen and his colleagues will present their findings at the Annual Conference of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Jan. 28.

Once partisans had come to completely biased conclusions -- essentially finding ways to ignore information that could not be rationally discounted -- not only did circuits that mediate negative emotions like sadness and disgust turn off, but subjects got a blast of activation in circuits involved in reward -- similar to what addicts receive when they get their fix, Westen explains.

"None of the circuits involved in conscious reasoning were particularly engaged," says Westen. "Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it, with the elimination of negative emotional states and activation of positive ones."

StandardDeviant's picture

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. explained it more succinctly in "Cat's Cradle":

  "Tiger gotta hunt.  Bird gotta fly.
  Man gotta sit and wonder why, why, why.

  Tiger gotta sleep.  Bird gotta land.
  Man gotta tell himself he understand."

Seer's picture

Humans are all "sinners."  We're all with flaws.  Not in defense of Kunstler, I could really care about him, but it's the bigger message that he speaks to that's more important.  Again, message, messenger...  Yeah, what a stupid fuck for voting TWICE for Obama- repent! (ha ha)

max2205's picture

No they will not look up from their phones. A 20 year old when bananarama got elected is now 26-27 has a crappy job no pussy/dick lives at home goes to grad school with no goals doesn't actually talk to anyone except texting and in 5 more years will be untrainable unhireable.

Talk about a lost generation......

duo's picture

Bananarama is insulted by your statement.   Anyone who remembers the real Bananarama is at least 40 by now.

McMolotov's picture

This is shaping up to be a cruel summer...

prains's picture

yes..... a 1941 operation barbarossa kinda summer

TammanyBrawl's picture

That video gave me calluses.

FeralSerf's picture

Just because junior lives at home doesn't mean he/she doesn't breed.

Look at the bright side. Granny gets to see her grandkids everyday. It's the new family unit.

mrpxsytin's picture

If by "new" you mean the way that family units have lived for all but a miniscule amount of human history, then I suppose you're right...

Splitting three generations into separate abodes is a total luxury. How about some respect for those families that are able to put their pride aside and live together in the same house? Yes, it is a regression. But it beats paying all your income to a slumlord. 

People are rediscovering what it means to live within their means. This is a good thing.

FeralSerf's picture

"People are rediscovering what it means to live within their means. This is a good thing."

People are rediscovering what it means to be poor and no longer part of a middle class. For their feudal lords, this is a good thing. For the ones that are falling out of the middle class, not so much.

This does not mean a lack of respect for the victims.

Are you a sock puppet in the employ of the perpetrators?

Seer's picture

"and in 5 more years will be untrainable unhireable."

You mean they WON'T be perfect slaves?

Listen, I get what you're saying here.  However, if you're really paying attention you'd see that the entire CONTEXT is shifting.  When everyone is broke and in debt just who is left to buy all those "credible" products from which "employment" (of the "trained") is made possible?

That there are non-motivated people out there doesn't mean that they're necessarily stupid or lazy.  Right now our entire system is unsure where it's going.  Expecting that recent pubescent humans can figure IT all out is kind of pushing the realistic meter...

BigJim's picture

In the old days, most kings that didn't inherit their thrones were usually tremendous fighters - either victorious in beating off invading sociopaths, or being victorious invading sociopaths themselves. And any King that wanted to survive had to generally be ruthless and cunning to stay on the throne; in an age of acute scarcity, too many people wanted it.

Guys like Cincinatus are pretty rare, sadly.

SWRichmond's picture

Its destiny is intertwined with that of the MIC, America's credibility as a world bully, and Obama's credibility...well, forget about that last part.

maskone909's picture

Cnn non stop flight 370 coverage

McMolotov's picture

Do they have BREAKING NEWS ALERTS!!! for every supposed ping that's detected?

maskone909's picture

Lol almost causes seizures

Haus-Targaryen's picture

It reminds me of Greta and Natalie Holloway. 

bania's picture

I clicked on the article because of the Bieber pic. What the hell?

Ignatius's picture

And left after  "Barack Obama, who I voted for twice..." ?

One of the purposes of war is to control the domestic agenda.

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

Ya, well, I didn't vote for Obama. Twice.

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

no shit, i really want to like this guys articles. He has a style and attitude that i can relate to, until he gets to that part. He voted for obama twice. While i appreciate that he now regrets it, where was he in 2012. You could have said mostly the same shit a couple years ago, since all this shit was well known then, but he voted for him a 2nd time. It took over 4 years for you to realize that it wasnt raining after all, you were getting pissed on. And your mouth was open. Knustler is so fucking stupid and dense that it has taken him almost 6 years to figure this out. You can find hoodrats on youtube that figured this shit out 2 years after obama was elected, yet it takes knustler close to 6. Hard to be taken seriously as an intellectual if you are that dense

Rakshas's picture

.....I voted for Obama twice....... 

Akin to a Rob Ford moment.....  the waiter said i was doing lines at the Beer Garden.......


and could you pass me down another shovel I have to dig this hole deeper... 

TimmyB's picture

The problem with the American political system is that the only thing worse than voting for Obama twice is having voted for the GOP candidates twice.

Seer's picture

Well, I'll see ya and raise ya: I didn't vote (at least) twice, for ANYBODY!

Robot Traders Mom's picture

Someone clueless enough to vote for Obama once, let alone twice (and admit it), shouldn't be on ZH.

Arius's picture

"Barack Obama, who I voted for twice"

no wonder i like you man ... you rock!