“…after a period of indeterminable length, but possibly quite short, the American way of life will fade into history. If mankind survives the related upheaval, and if future archaeologists and sociologists and anthropologists examine the remains of the former American civilization and its impact on the world, it will be determined to have been yet another blow out of an empire — consumed with wealth accumulation, beset by corruption, and ultimately unsustainable.”
Soon after September 11, 2001, the discussion by American government officials regarding the American response began to pour forth. A memorable one was by American Vice-President Dick Cheney, who before becoming vice-president had been leader of the largest oilfield supply company in the world. Dick Cheney said regarding the goals of “terrorists” and the “appropriate” American response: “The American way of life is non-negotiable”.
That mindset explains why President Bush AND presidential nominee John Kerry BOTH favor continuance of the American war in Iraq and why vice-presidential nominee John Edwards said at the Boston convention: “We are going to WIN that war!” That is why the American military in Iraq is invading nonstrategic cities like Najaf with overwhelming force, disarming Iraqis and preventing the institution of a free democracy in Iraq while advocating the Orwellian concept of “Democracy by appointment” (by an occupying military power).
The American government officials and presidential candidates of both parties know all about Peak Oil and the fact that (UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES) the American way of life (as we know it) is nearing its end. Even if the U.S. were to successfully continue its policy and maintain control of Iraqi oil and even extend the policy and control all Persian Gulf Oil, the end is in sight for the consumerist American way of life.
The American way of life is on borrowed time. Perhaps that is what the Project for the New American Century was all about. Perhaps the PNAC was an acknowledgment that American hegemony and even American “normalcy” cannot extend beyond 100 years. The reality is that the American way of life, according to Petroleum geologists and analysts cannot be maintained as we have known it even for another twenty years, in all likelihood. In fact, some believe that the American way of life has already begun to irreversibly change, and for the worse, and the change will be catastrophic.
For instance, American freedoms are being lost AT HOME. The installation of a surveillance apparatus and legal machinations to invoke a true BIG BROTHER process are well underway. In the intermediate future, American citizens will not only be unable to exercise a real ability to question their government and petition it for redress of grievances, but Americans will likely find themselves living in a techno-oriented police state in which they are in heavy debt, with all their assets and incomes monitored and even controlled by the central government. How much freedom could exist in that America?
The distribution of wealth in America is changing, and with it the American way of life for poor people. The great likelihood is that, in the future, when survival of the way of consumptive life is at risk, the poor will be deemed expendable and not worth the cost and effort required for maintenance, even at poverty levels. No one can say that in a few years, when cheap energy is no longer available and food itself becomes scarce, the central government might enact operations and policies to liquidate the poor in ways that would make Himmler proud.
The American way of life has always been a two-tiered system in which the wealthy elite exercise control of government and wealth, and allow an adequate trickle down effect to placate the masses and stimulate enough wealth generation at lower tiers to provide a surfeit of wealth to be skimmed and accumulated by the elite. With the advent of Peak Oil and the end of the growth economy, the American way of life will become “each man for himself” and the rich will have the upper hand for survival itself (with a likelihood of survival in comfort/luxury for a prolonged period of time).
The wealthy American and world elite already know all of the above and they are not only aware of it, but they are planning strategies to enhance their own survival and comfort at the expense of everyone else. But Americans of all social classes have a degree of priority in this planning over all Iraqis. Entire Iraqi citizens and infrastructure are deemed expendable. American warplanes are welcome to bomb Fallujah and Najaf and every other city in Iraq, and no more pretense is being made of serious rebuilding The principal idea behind the American invasion and occupation of Iraq was always to consolidate strategic control over Iraqi oil and with a secondary goal of attempting consolidation of American control over the entire Iraqi economy. The same wealthy Americans who skim the wealth of American workers for their own wealth also will skim Iraq’s wealth for a period of time, if it is deemed cost-effective. There is no altruistic motive in the American invasion and occupation of Iraq whatsoever, never was, and never will be — even if Kerry/Edwards were to win the presidency. You NEVER hear Kerry/Edwards talk about rebuilding Iraq, do you?
In the end, after a period of indeterminable length, but possibly quite short, the American way of life will fade into history. If mankind survives the related upheaval, and if future archaeologists and sociologists and anthropologists examine the remains of the former American civilization and its impact on the world, it will be determined to have been yet another blow out of an empire — consumed with wealth accumulation, beset by corruption, and ultimately unsustainable. But just because serious thinkers and leaders of the current status quo know it is not sustainable, does not mean that they can resist the alluring attempt to continue sustaining it — because “The American way of life is not negotiable” (Dick Cheney, 2001).
by courtesy & © 2004 Stan Moore