I want to share with you the most discouraging words I have read lately. A matter-of-fact statement that demands consideration. Just an anonymous observation that I had to conclude was depressingly likely.
It was at the end of a Financial Times account of the international court’s $50 billion ruling against Russia in the Yukos oil company case and how claimants would collect.
The FT wrote:
“One person close to Mr. Putin said the Yukos ruling was insignificant in light of the bigger geopolitical stand-off over Ukraine. ‘There is a war coming in Europe,’ he said. ‘Do you really think this matters?’ “
Spoken as an inevitability. “There is a war coming in Europe.”
This is the one hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of World War I.
It is a war that historians are still at pains to explain. There was the precipitating event of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. But another spark might have ignited the dry tinder of Europe as easily. There was plenty of fuel for a conflagration in complex alliances and mutual defense agreements. Presumably in a desire to demonstrate its might, Austria insisted on punishing Serbia for the assassination, as if the Serbian people had risen as one to kill the archduke.
Instead of trying to unravel it all with narratives that only contain partial truths, it might be better to simply observe that war was in the air. Many sensed its inevitability. In Switzerland, Jung dreamed of Europe flooded in a sea of blood. In terms of his archetypal psychology, one could say the gods of war strolled to and fro upon the face of the earth with a thirst that could only be quenched by the spilling of human blood.
|Despite the myths propagated by Keynesian economists, war does not create prosperity. It does quite the opposite.|
And so it was spilled. In horrifying quantities. Sixteen million deaths; about ten million military, almost seven million civilian. Twenty million were wounded.
The ashes of World War I bequeathed us Hitler in Germany, Lenin and Stalin in Russia.
War serves many purposes. It distracts from the malfeasance of the political classes as it busies giddy minds with foreign quarrels. It creates a symbiosis in which the media serves the state in its relentless grab for bigger budgets and greater police powers; while the state feeds the media’s need for high drama and the narcotic of fear. It provides for the deification of the state, which is then entitled to command all resources — human and material — without challenge or objection. If the state is divine, enemies and dissenters alike must be evil and dealt with accordingly.
Despite the myths propagated by Keynesian economists, war does not create prosperity. It does quite the opposite.
Indeed, war provides coverage for the ruination of the economy and it generally relies on the destruction of the currency. And so we find that in World War I consumer prices rose 110 percent; in World War II, they rose 74 percent; 207 percent during the Vietnam War; 35 percent so far during the “War on Terror.”
Free-market economist Ludwig von Mises, put it this way:
“War prosperity is like the prosperity that an earthquake or a plague brings. The earthquake means good business for construction workers, and cholera improves the business of physicians, pharmacists, and undertakers; but no one has for that reason yet sought to celebrate earthquakes and cholera as stimulators of the productive forces in the general interest.”
Nevertheless, we have a confrontation with Russia characterized by an escalating war of trade sanctions. With U.S. elected officials already using terms like “bring Russia to its knees,” we are a short step from the ramping up of weapons provision and a full-fledged proxy war.
And what exactly is the basis for this bellicose environment? The prevailing view, the one cultivated by the governing classes, the simplistic spin from the media, goes something like this:
Putin is an expansionist thug determined to take over Ukraine. He fomented this crisis and will stop at nothing to achieve his ambitions.
That makes good fodder for chest-thumpers and warmongers. But if war’s carnage and our economic destruction are to be avoided, it is helpful to consider another narrative.
[Editor’s note: The truth is finally coming out … the Obama Administration is secretly shipping weapons to Islamic rebels! And in Charles’ exclusive report, BETRAYAL in the White House, he gives you what you need to protect your hard-earned wealth and even grow richer as this crisis unfolds.]
In a recent conversation with me on a national radio show about the way that U.S. interventionism enabled the ISIS jihadists now taking over Iraq, Daniel McAdams, the head of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, put the untold side of the Ukraine story in easy-to-understand terms:
“As you know, Charles, the problems in Ukraine happened when the U.S. was solidly behind a coup in the western part of the country earlier this year, in February. But the people in the east who voted for the guy who was thrown out were irritated that their vote was stolen essentially by this coup and so they said they are not going to go along with it. If you keep this up we’re going to break away.
“That doesn’t absolve any violence on either side, but the people who ran the coup then went out to the east and tried to force them back in. So there you have this mess and the U.S. keeps ratcheting up sanctions.”
David Stockman, a former Reagan official, says that the suggestion that the operative U.S. principle in Ukraine is opposition to partition is “a historical tommyrot.” He reminds us of Yugoslavia that “has been partitioned now into half a dozen smaller states — Slovenia, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Kosovo and Bosnia” by the U.S. and its allies.
So far in this piece I have refrained from conclusions about Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 since not all the evidence is in and indeed some seems to be withheld. But a willingness to draw conclusions only from evidence does not apply to our elected classes. U.S. intelligence officials who provided reporters a private briefing under a pledge of anonymity say they do not know the identities or even the nationalities of those who launched the missile.
Senator Dan Coats of Indiana must have a private intelligence network of his own. Either that or he is willing to put our future prosperity at risk in a rush to war since he insists that the incident “reveals to any remaining doubters the nature of Putin and his brutal ambitions and ruthlessness.”
But before we squander what is left of our prosperity after the last failed and needless war, why don’t we examine Senator Coats’ assertions? Putin has been in power in Russian for 15 years. During that time who has attacked, invaded or bombed more countries? Russia or the U.S.?
If we have reached the point where war is now inevitable, such questions are superfluous. Rationality and forethought hold no sway when the gods of war thirst for human blood.
Invest accordingly. Own gold.