Let’s dispense with Mayan calendars from the outset. Neither do I have any interest in misinterpreted antiquities made into modern hoaxes, nor do my readers have any interest in debunking them. If you came expecting that, please move back over to the MUFON website and carry on in peace, or “Live Long and Prosper,” or wait to be beamed up, or whatever it is you do. The coming year promises a great number of possibilities, but an accumulating body of evidence suggests that many of them are decidedly bad, at least to the greatest numbers of the American people. We face many challenges in the coming year, but they need not be apocalyptic. Rather than engage in a load of useless, fear-mongering hyperbole that will be all too common over the next week or so, let’s take a look at the real threats that we face, and conduct an honest assessment of our ability to mitigate them, both from the standpoint of individuals, and also as a nation.
Of course, the possibilities are endless, even discounting Mayan Calendars and the lot, but I think we can group these easily into three major categories, since there’s no real way to predict natural disasters despite the insistence of some who should have by now departed for MUFON. Let us consider our worst threats what they almost always really are: “Man-caused disasters” of one form or another, and that they fall into three major categories we I will list as economic, military and political. Carl Von Clausewitz would have argued that the latter pair are merely different forms of the same thing, but in this context, I’d like to confine them to their separate definitions.
Let us begin with the category most likely to bear rotten fruit: The economy is in a horrible condition, and despite the trickery of an administration using rigged numbers to make a case for re-election, it’s clear that we’re in serious trouble. Perhaps worse is the fact that in Europe and around the globe, the problem of sovereign debt is now choking off economic growth. The European Union teeters on the verge of collapse, and yet they continue the dishonest and immoral policy of putting good money after bad. Worse for we Americans, our own Federal Government and Federal Reserve have joined in the delaying tactic. All they really hope to accomplish at this point is to stall the inevitable long enough to cross the finish line in November. The question now becomes: Can they?
While the banking and financial segments remain in global turmoil, the larger domestic issue of immediate importance is the dramatic and persistently horrendous unemployment numbers. The most reliably consistent numbers from perhaps the most thorough analysis tell us that total unemployment now stands around 23%, despite the rosy picture created by the U3 numbers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is a dangerous number, because it implies certain sociological results that will tend toward violent crime and general civil unrest. Worse, despite the fact that the U3 number will probably continue downward with even greater seasonal adjustments now being implemented as the administration continues to tinker with the numbers, there’s another problem to consider: The US is far from the only country seeing this sort of problem, as France is now reporting unemployment levels not seen since the Great Depression.
All of this paints a frightening economic portrait, but it pales when measured next to the potentially devastating effects of a collapse of the US Dollar. Nobody alive in the United States really has any sense of what hyperinflation looks like, but here’s a primer on the subject. The problem is that such a collapse is now increasingly likely, since our own currency has been so thoroughly intermingled with the Euro. It’s likely that if the Euro goes, our dollar will soon after follow, and we now find that the US Treasury has permitted large institutions with large positions in European derivatives to seek shelter under the umbrella of the FDIC. This effectively puts US taxpayers on the hook if these things fail, and you can bet that if the Euro falls as it now seems is inevitable, we’re in for a rude awakening.
The military situation is becoming increasingly grim in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. Having pulled out of Iraq less than one week ago, we are already seeing an increase in violence in that country. Obama may have managed to pull us out of Iraq, but history may well record he had done nothing but to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Whether you favored the Iraq war, and the occupation that has persisted for most of a decade, it goes without saying that it is the height of foolishness to have spent so much in blood and treasure only to walk away when victory was close at hand. It might have taken years more to stabilize Iraq completely, but it is doubtful that it will be able to stave off Iranian intervention.
Iran is now flexing its muscles in the Persian Gulf, and is threatening to close off shipping. That would become an instant crisis, and might well start a round of hyperinflation as fuel prices would likely soar to levels scarcely imagined. War in any form in the Middle East threatens our security, and threatens to cripple our economy, so that a foreign policy of the sort we’re now witnessing threatens to undermine the future of the United States.
Israel continues to be isolated, and it’s unlikely they’ll see any substantial relief while Barack Obama persists in office. More, leftist elements continue to work to undermine Israel by working in concert with a number of radical Islamic groups. Israel must now concern itself with an increasingly antagonistic Egypt, and this suggests a scenario in which Israel may have little alternative to at some point make a vigorous defense either by preemptive strikes, particularly against Iran, but also perhaps against other states that continue to have designs on their nation. This remains true for the so-called “Palestineans,” as well, and there are numerous scenarios by which this could rapidly escalate into full scale war. Any such war is apt to have profound repercussions here at home, but also globally.
The next area of concern is the political realm. We have a President that is quite happy ruling in a manner contrary to the will of the people, and he’s content to watch things collapse as he does so. Worst, his overarching policy is one of bailing out the Europeans to no avail, and in supporting our historical adversaries around the globe. Still, even with all of this agitating against his re-election, he is thought to have good prospects if only because the sheer number of dollars he has raised and will continue to raise will present a serious obstacle to any opponent.
Speaking of his opponents, all that have materialized thus far have serious problems that will likely make them less than thoroughly effective by way of opposition. Romney will be obliterated on his flip-flops, and it will be shown that he is more like Obama than Obama himself. Meanwhile, the strategy Obama is broadcasting is to run against Congress, specifically the House of Representatives now controlled by the Republicans, and they’re bending over backward at every opportunity to make deals with him and Harry Reid over in the Senate. What neither Boehner nor any of the other establishment Republicans understand is that each time they make deals with Obama, they’re cutting their own throats. Of course, RINOs like Senator Dick Lugar, (R-IN,) insist otherwise as he now prepares to face a primary challenge of his own.
Add to this the uncertainty about the future of Occupy Wall Street, and what role they’re apt to play in the coming elections, and what you have is a recipe for disaster, particularly if any of the economic or military possibilities discussed herein come to fruition. I wonder when it comes down to it, and an angry mob packs the mall in Washington DC, whether Barack Obama will stand by the principle underlying his earlier declaration that “Mubarak must go.” After all, what will happen when the American people are demanding he must go? My bet is that such would be viewed differently, somehow.
The inevitable question I receive after such a posting is: “What can I do about it?” The simple answer is “I don’t know.” The more complete answer is “I can tell you what I am doing,” and leave you to judge for yourself. You must prepare a few things, and those must include supplies of necessities such as food and medicine. You must be ready to live without fuel. You must be prepared to barter when necessary. You must absolutely be prepared to defend yourself, your home, and your family. You must prepare your family to defend themselves in your absence. Again, most of these things are measures prudent people should prepare for in all seasons, because one never knows what will happen, from natural disaster to war to almost any possibility. Maybe it’s the soldier in me, but I believe in preparedness, and whatever happens, I will always bet on those who prepare over those who don’t. It’s really that simple.
On the political front, I will say this much: Americans must become engaged like never before, and here I am speaking specifically to Tea Party patriots, constitutional conservatives, and anybody else who wants to see the nation put back on a course that will promote prosperity. We must demand that our elected representatives, our Senators, our state and local officials, and yes, our candidates for the nomination all set forth specific objectives for slashing expenditures, reforming government, and holding their feet to the fire. We must be discerning and vigilant, and not be tempted to fall for what appear to be quick and easy solutions to problems that will not be resolved by half-measures. Unless and until we the people make enough noise, politicians will pander but make no substantive change, because much like our President, they are in a perpetual delay tactic, every trying to stave off your discovery of how poorly they have done as stewards of your government.
On the bright side, we might just make it through, but if so, it will only be because we had done all we were able, and the sooner people recognize that this will take their direct involvement, the more likely we are to avoid disaster. Part of what I learned as a young man in the Army is that to prepare is also to repair, because you will inevitably discover things in your preparations that will help you make the scenarios for which you prepare less likely.
It’s much like Y2K at the end of 1999, for which governments and businesses spent untold billions to prepare for a disaster that never substantially materialized. Many talking heads have assumed that it didn’t occur because it could never occur, but this is dishonest. The truth is that our preparations largely prevented catastrophe, but history records no catastrophe, so it’s hard to demonstrate. All those preparations were not “for nothing,” because in truth what they did was prevent the disaster. That’s the best reason to prepare. It always has been. As we lurch toward a new year full of frightening possibilities, it’s also a year of substantial hope.