They say the darkest hour …

13 Mar

Not even her worst enemies could call Caitlin Johnstone a Pollyanna. She is never other than terrifyingly forthright on a US aggression as easy to ascertain and quantify – by the few willing to set aside meta-narrative in favour of facts – as it is to debunk the wall to wall propaganda of China and Russia being threats to world peace. As I’ve said more than once:

The USA rings the planet with 800 military bases, outspends on weaponry the next ten spenders put together, has been at war for almost its entire history and has slaughtered millions – by bombs, invasions, murderous ‘sanctions’ and terror unleashed – in this century alone. Mostly in far off lands.

In what universe can anything remotely similar be said of China or Russia? 

In her blog post today Caitlin continues in this vein, noting that:

The US war machine is making it more and more explicit that its position on Taiwan is very different from its position on Ukraine, in that it will directly commit American troops to fighting a hot war with China over Taiwan. This is especially concerning because US military encirclement and provocations with Taiwan are making that war more and more likely, in the same way western provocations made the war in Ukraine more likely.

It makes grim reading when an unshifting tangible – a hyper-financialised and plunder-reliant US empire (though not its peoples) under threat from a weakening of dollar rule – co-exists with the crazies having captured US government.

Yet today Caitlin – again, no Pollyanna – finds a glimmer of hope. Have the crazies overreached themselves? Is the thought stirring within slightly less deranged wings of the US ruling class …

In an article titled “Who Benefits From Confrontation With China?“, none other than the New York Times editorial board taps the brakes with a wildly US-biased but still-welcome argument that “America’s increasingly confrontational posture toward China is a significant shift in U.S. foreign policy that warrants greater scrutiny and debate.”

“Americans’ interests are best served by emphasizing competition with China while minimizing confrontation. Glib invocations of the Cold War are misguided,” NYT argues.

In a Washington Post article titled “Democrats and Republicans agree on China. That’s a problem.“, Max Boot (yes, that Max Boot!) argues that the bipartisan foreign policy consensus on escalations against Beijing are a sign that something dangerously ill-advised is in the works.

“The problem today isn’t that Americans are insufficiently concerned about the rise of China. The problem is that they are prey to hysteria and alarmism that could lead the United States into a needless nuclear war,” Boot writes.

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria echoes Boot’s criticism of the Washington foreign policy orthodoxy, saying that “Washington has embraced a wide-ranging consensus on China that has turned into a classic example of groupthink.”

A new Financial Times piece titled “China is right about US containment” acknowledges that Xi Jinping’s comments about encirclement are “not technically wrong,” and says that betting on China’s submission in the new cold war “is not a strategy.”

… that, as Barry McGuire warned back in ’65, we stand on the eve of destruction?

It’s hardly time to embrace your own inner Pollyanna. Caitlin’s glimmer of hope may, as she notes in an obligatory caveat, be fools’ gold. But as we dialectical materialists often say, the darkest hour can come right before the dawn.

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5 Replies to “They say the darkest hour …

  1. Thanks for this Phil. Meanwhile the Aukus submarine pact has brought us closer to nuclear Armageddon. I often see UK and US nuclear submarines sailing up the Clyde – They send shivers down my spine. Dark evil silent beasts, the most destructive war machine ever created. Some, for example the Orion Class, carry over 200 nuclear warheads, each 30 times more powerful than the ones dropped on HIroshima and Nagasaki with the capacity to destroy a whole city. That’s one button pushed and over 200 cities utterly destroyed and the environment around them forever ruined in less time than it takes to order and take delivery of a pizza.
    And now the US, its pet monkey the UK and the idiotic Andrew Fisher’s Labour Party in Australia have ensured the Pacific, Southern and Indian Oceans as well as the Timor, Tasman and Coral Seas will have these evil machines patrollng in them. Why? Because the US is obsessed with having power over China. Not least because China holds trillions of dollars of US debt and has the potential to destroy the US economy.
    These stealth submarines have passive sonar and are virtually undetectable, so much so that in 2009 two nuclear submarines, the UK HMS Vanguard and the French Le Triomphant, collided. Neither knew the other was there. Safety concerns were dismissed by the military as ‘This was a freak occurrence.’ The Vanguard was carrying 48 nuclear warheads on 16 missiles, and Le Trimophant similarly.
    Of course this incident was kept secret until an unknown source from Faslane sold the story to the Sun a few weeks later. Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, the first sea lord, was forced to make to make a statement. “Two submerged submarines, one French, one British, were conducting routine national patrols in the Atlantic Ocean”, he said. They “came into contact at very low speed … nuclear safety had not been compromised.”
    In my opinion, ‘the darkest hour is just before dawn’ is a good working hypothesis until you see how truly apocalyptic so many forces at work are. Climate chaos, an eco-catstrophe, the 6th Mass Extinction underway and now irreversible, desertification, polluted oceans, anitbiotic resistant diseases rapidly rising and nuclear Armageddon… I’d now say Cassandra-like, the darkest hour is just before it goes pitch black.

    • Uncanny. I’d just hit send on today’s post – very much abut the Aukus Pact – when your comment came in.

      As regards what comes after the darkest hour – and I’d attach to your list the accelerant of financial meltdown (followed by that of rule of law) as the rulers and beneficiaries of our hyper-financialised West run out of options – you’re right of course. Me, I’m so much the Cassandra I enjoy the novelty, every once in a while for however brief a spell, of doing a Pollyanna.


      • I’m always banging on about the eco-apocalypse and the Anthropocene Extinction and then one of these dark dark beasts comes slowly and menacingly up the Clyde and I’m reminded all over again of the dreadful threat from another direction. All directions it seems. And now it seems I’m going to have to explore the approaching meltdown of the global economy and its implications. Famine, mass migrations, the collapse of order within society as the wealthy and powerful protect their interests whatever the cost to ordianry people. We know they already do that but it will be out there with no possibility of disguising their utter ruthlessness. Time for me to sit in the eye of the storm, drink my tea with compassion, live in the moment with a love for all life and walk in the mountains. Two weeks ago I saw a Golden Eagle flying. It was magnificent beyond words

        • Time for me to sit in the eye of the storm, drink my tea with compassion, live in the moment with a love for all life and walk in the mountains.

          Copy that, Anne. Not only is it entirely possible to love life to the full, and gaze unflinching at the world’s needless horrors. In my experience the two go hand in hand – dialectics again!

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