In This Edition: At The Edge Of A Precipice
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Sludge Report #113
At The Edge Of A Precipice
We the people of planet earth stand at the edge of a precipice. As the bombs rain down on Kabul, Jalalabad and Kandahar we should not in anyway underestimate the stakes being played with in this game of war.
Pakistan is destabilised. Indonesia is destabilised. Saudi Arabia is destabilised. Across the great divide in the United States, a sharp escalation of the fear cycle is well underway.
It is hard in the circumstances not to feel a sense of cynicism about the anthrax scares in New York and Florida. Is this just a precursor to an attack on Iraq?
Maybe, maybe not. But one thing can be said for sure, this is an extremely convenient development for US hawks. Especially those who wish to widen the theatre of conflict to include Iraq, a far more credible target than the already bombed into the stone age Afghanis.
The US public can now be considered a people under siege. Consequently they are putty in the hands of their President, who in turn appears to be fighting the kind of war most people moved beyond when they graduated from primary school.
To wit, George Junior continues to rabbit on about “smoking the evildoers out of their holes”.
But George’s failings, though they be legion, are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to assessing the level of risk through the world as a whole at this time.
Not that you would get this impression off the BBC or CNN – with both networks now firmly in their “at war” mode – but the reality of U.S. “War Against Terror” is that the international coalition against terror is falling apart.
In the past few days Saudi Arabia has refused to even allow UK PM Tony Blair to visit!
And it is hard to blame them. Critics point out, quite rightly, that the presence of Blair in many of the Middle Eastern nations, which are already under rising internal pressure, is purely counter productive at this time.
In their desperate rush to find allies that will back their bombing campaign in Afghanistan, the US has now moved some of its focus to the central Asian republics of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
Again CNN has been slow to report the appalling human rights records of these nations.
Meanwhile in the world of global financial markets, where an arguably equally significant long term battle – in terms of its destructive impact on the lives of ordinary people - is underway, the story is much the same. Hawkish optimists dominate the public front, while the fundamentals gradually fall to pieces in the background.
If the meltdown of the sharemarket (financial services), tourism, retail and air transport industries weren’t enough, there is the central cause of all our troubles waiting just below the surface, oil.
So far oil prices have behaved in a remarkably benevolent fashion, but for how much longer? If Sludge were an oil futures trader then the developing Saudi Arabian and Indonesian situations would be giving me the heebee geebees.
At this point in the game we the people of planet earth have perhaps one final chance.
We can continue down the morally corrupt path we are on – which leads to more war, fear, security paranoia, quite possibly revolutions/civil wars in several Islamic nations (at least one of which has Nuclear weapons), and a recession on a scale last seen in the 1930s – or we can stop.
And how do we do that?
A miracle would help. But saving that, Pakistan could decide that participating in George Junior’s crusade is no longer in its National Interest, which it isn’t, so that shouldn’t be too hard.
If Pakistan says stop. Then the war stops.
And then perhaps the world’s newest Nobel peace prize winner, might be allowed to do its job.
In so many ways, simply the name, United Nations, says it all.
Anti©opyright Sludge 2001