Human beings like to believe they are in control of their destiny, but when the history of life on Earth is seen in perspective, the evolution of Homo sapiens is merely a transient episode that acts to redress the planet’s energy balance.
— David Price, Energy and Human Evolution
Observers and commentators heroically pursuing the truth of contemporary inter-national episodes too often fall into ad hoc or mystical explanations of world events. Like Steve Bannon (with his “Fourth Turning” ideas), these theorists assume that history is cyclical in nature.
However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Physicists and biologists know better: the entire history of individual large animal species, from emergence to extinction, has been proven to be (on average) roughly one-hundred thousand years; the entire history of type-G stars, like our own, has been calculated to be (on average) roughly ten billion years. Mankind is well past its use-by date; having exhausted the energy reserves upon which urban and industrial life depends, it will soon go the way of the dinosaurs. No other sapient species will arise to take humanity’s place; the resources required no longer exist, and more importantly the sun itself hasn’t enough life left to fuel the enterprise.
Current events therefore amount to a vicious game of “Last Man Standing”, a contest whose players have discarded long-term planning for “triage” and the visceral seizure of attacks-of-opportunity.
The top triage priority is hydrocarbon reserves. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Iran, Russia, Syria, Venezuela – all the targets of American imperialism share this one commonality: hydrocarbons (the resource from which 80% of all human energy derives).
The near term goal of American Empire is Russia; there is no long term goal, for the Davos 10,000 know the truth that they hide from everyone else. Their aim is merely to delay the inevitable and to make others bear the brunt of the incredible suffering to come.
Nothing can save the Davos 10,000 from inevitably following their victims, but that is a matter for some other day.
Today, they must liquidate their most recent attack-of-opportunity ploy: the marshalling of terrorist armies with the ultimate aim of turning them on the Russian Federation. The latter has (much to shock and horror of western elite circles) revealed itself not only capable of defeating takfiri irregulars, but even of taking the fight to the imperial core. This was not expected. The immediate plan was to turn Syria into a terrorist breeding ground, create an independent Kurdistan, and then from there to attack Iran. Russians know that were Iran to fall, their future would be cloudy indeed. Iran will not fall, however. Neither will Russia. Nor China.
Given this, the President of the United States has travelled to Riyadh to give crystal clear directives to America’s Arab underlings – they are to halt support (at least obvious support) for ISIS and Al Qaeda.
The takfiri gambit was a failure.
Work must instead be directed toward four imperatives: 1) to free resources already under US control; 2) to bring production back to the continental US; 3) to modernise neglected capital stocks; 4) to externalise costs having to do with wastes (i.e., global warming).
Were the above imperatives achieved with awe-inspiring brilliance, mankind would still exit the planetary stage. Global warming causes failure, no matter what civilisation foots the bill.
The above will not be an awe-inspiring success, however.
The population of the United States is now above three-hundred and thirty million, each citizen consuming (on average) just under half-a-million tonnes of raw materials and natural resources every year to maintain their “middle-class” standard-of-living. That’s one-hundred and sixty-five million tonnes! There is absolutely no chance that America can muster that amount of raw material, and the total increases over time, in order to maintain its civilisation. Its energy requirements alone amount to twenty million imperial barrels per day. Its steel requirements are nearly one-hundred million tonnes per year, but American domestic production peaked in 1970; copper will peak in the next ten years; oil and natural gas have peaked (no matter what the shale oil men claim), and coal will peak far sooner than cornucopians promise (in the next twenty years). The prime cornucopian, the modern economist and policy advocate (whether capitalist or communist), refuses to acknowledge the basic importance of resource stocks. As innumerable scientific journals reveal, the resources currently under US control are already too few for it to continue its hegemonic role in the world, no matter how many environmental protections are eliminated by President Donald J. Trump.
One of the underlying reasons for the Trump victory on November 8th, 2016, was the realisation by America’s “ownership class” that globalisation, too, was a failed gambit. By this, I mean not only that it had fomented much popular ire over exportation of jobs; but, more importantly, that it gave China control over sensitive components vital to American military weapons systems. The computer parts that go into missiles, the magnets that go into radars, and the specialty metals used in the F-35 are all supplied by China, Japan and other Asian nations. In event of a major war, the US military’s restocking of these components would instantly be terminated. Thus, Trump’s talk about “jobs, jobs, jobs” is really about wars, wars, wars. So far, he has not been successful in sparking a major relocation of production back to the lower forty-eight.
Given this alone, Uncle Sam will not fight a war against Russia and China because it cannot fight a war against Russia and China.
Were Fightin’ Sam to be so insane as to initiate hostilities with the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic, reasonable analyses have pointed out that the nation’s neglect of its capital stocks means a mere eighteen targets (18!) would reduce the GDP of the United States by over fifty-percent. Its electrical system is well over fifty years old and is plagued by vulnerable bottlenecks that undergo stress and failure scares every summer. Without electricity, crude oil cannot be refined into gasoline. Without electricity and gasoline for emergency generators, hospitals, police stations, fire stations, not to mention military instillations, cease to function. The ASCE’s Infrastructure Report Card gives the United States of America a D- grade (the lowest mark a nation can get). The country’s airports and traffic control systems are falling into disrepair. Its ports need major rebuilding. Forty percent of its over half-a-million bridges is over fifty years old. The average age of its 90,000 dams is fifty years. Twenty percent of its roads is in serious and dangerous disrepair. A full quarter of its schools are falling down. Public transport, what there is of it, is also over fifty years old. A repeated refrain emerges. The United States stopped maintaining its capital stocks in the early 1970s, at just about exactly the time it peaked in oil production, steel production, per capita wages, and murders of foreign “enemies”.
Taking into consideration the “Three Ds” (debt, debased living standards, and de-industrialisation) that have followed in the decades since, President Trump can hardly be expected to realistically “Make America Great Again”.
The world’s number one emitter of greenhouse gases is the United States. As the Trumpster transforms America into an even bigger dumpster than it is at present, the costs associated with the side-effects of global warming will rise. These include storm wreckage of coastal cities, rising seas, desertification of much of the western half of the continent, migration of diseases that had no presence in formerly temperate regions, migration of populations, plummeting GDP, and fewer government funds to deal with these and other problems. In no way is a country so captured by the ideology of economic growth going to be able to respond to these challenges.
The slaves of their own maniacal world-view, the people of the United States will elect any maniac at all who promises to return their wasteful, intensively energy dependent and materialistic way-of-life to them. Indeed, they already have done exactly this in electing Donald Trump (who, until he promised all a return to pre-1970 America, was considered a crass businessman that few wanted around). For the present, this maniac is trapped within certain frames of action by Russia, China and Iran. But the present will give way to a crisis-ridden future; and during that future geopolitical events must be understood as arising from humanity’s population overshoot, resource depletion, and die-off (as that accelerates). Already, the events of the last twenty years have been the product of these realities. Whether nuclear weapons are used, or not, in the troubled times ahead depends on some power (possibly Putin, but no one can know) being able to disarm the United States. Certain sources in Russia claim that plans and a timeline are already in place.
With or without nuclear war, bloom-and-dieoff has sent all extinct species before our own into oblivion.
It’s nothing mystical.
It’s simply the truth of how fate unfolds.
The term Homo sapiens appearing in the subtitle quotation literally means, “Wise ape”. In fullest honesty, human beings are not wise; they are at best a clever scavenger, adept at seizing opportunities but little able to respond with foresight to evidence indicating hardship ahead if sacrifices are not made now (long before the crisis arrives). Industrialism was a temptation too seductive to resist. Were mankind actually sapient, it would have considered sagely the reports of its scholars (like Friedrich Engels) who foretold the destruction that industrialism would to do to our habitat. It would have altered course long, long ago.
The first scientific papers arguing that the earth was demonstrably warming were published in 1840.
American oil engineers first predicted that global oil production would peak, plateau, and then decline in 1949.
Warnings were aired. Mankind refused to listen to them. It remains now only to understand geopolitical events aright.
No ad-hoc explanations.