Saturday, March 2, 2013

 Easy But Impossible 
    In John Kerry we have a new Secretary of State who actually speaks the language of diplomacy, that being French. Thus when his demarches are dismissed and things go de mal on pis he’ll be au courant.
    Lots of people thought his predecessor, Hillary Clinton, was terrific at the job even though a list of her tangible accomplishments wouldn’t fill the back of a post card from one of the countless exotic locales where she looked in on the empire’s endless interests.
    That she left the empire weaker than she found it is no mark against her tireless efforts. It’s just a fact of life that ever more nations are finding ever fewer reasons to obey Washington and Wall Street. By the same token, WWS have ever fewer means to enforce their writ on the other 95 percent of the globe.
    The big guns of the empire used to be military, industrial and financial power. The first two are suffering long-term decline, and the third, though growing like poison ivy, requires ever more debt to fertilize itself. 

  The problem with the military is that its multi-trillion dollar success at enriching contractors has not been been matched by competency in combat. It’s hard for an empire to intimidate its adversaries and rivals when it's losing wars to third world countries and feudal tribes.
    America’s non-pareil industrial might was dismantled and delivered to the Chinese, among others, because they worked cheaper. Bad move. Better to have a country full of people making cars than people washing cars.
    Only finance has made out--literally like a bandit. Indeed, it overwhelms the global economy. A new survey by Bain & Company of Romney repute tells us that, “Today, total financial assets are nearly 10 times the value of the global output of all goods and services.” In other words, a business that exists as pixels on screens and numbers on paper is worth ten times more than everything else on earth--including Jay Leno’s car collection.
    Though we are still the leader in finance, that doesn’t mean much.  First, because we’re also hopelessly in debt. Second, because finance is an easy game for resource- and cash-rich countries to play. That means we’ll have ever-growing competition when it comes to turning deals. Third, because finance is inevitably a house of cards.
    So that doesn’t give son excellence Monsieur Kerry much to work with.  That’s if he expects to help the empire grow despite its parlous condition. He’ll have it a little easier if he and his bosses in the White House and on the street are realistic enough to begin sensibly managing its dotage. Lots of former imperial states are doing well (the global capitalist crisis aside).
    Sadly, realism was banished from Washington some time ago. America’s problems abroad and at home are easy but impossible to fix. Easy because they are reparable through reason and impossible because the greedheads and crazies who run the place have subject reason to rendition.
    So, good luck to you, Secretary Kerry.  I trust you will serve President Obama as ably as William L. Marcy served Millard Fillmore.