Sunday, February 22, 2009

The US awakes from denial, but to what?

What We Don't Know Will Hurt Us
Frank Rich, The New York Times: One of the most persistent cultural tics of the early 21st century is Americans' reluctance to absorb, let alone prepare for, bad news. We are plugged into more information sources than anyone could have imagined even 15 years ago. The cruel ambush of 9/11 supposedly 'changed everything,' slapping us back to reality. Yet we are constantly shocked, shocked, by the foreseeable. Obama's toughest political problem may not be coping with the increasingly marginalized GOP but with an America-in-denial that must hear warning signs repeatedly, for months and sometimes years, before believing the wolf is actually at the door.

Paul Woodward, War in Context: There is a pathological optimism inherent in every colonial enterprise. And while a pillar of America's founding mythology is that this is a nation which cast off the chains of a colonial power, that myth serves to obscure the fact that with or without British oversight, the American project always required that America be conceived as a quasi-divine creation and not a colonial imposition on an already inhabited land. This image of an immaculate conception has thus always made it difficult for America to develop a healthy sense of the tragic. Yet a fixation on a hopeful future inevitably requires a denial of death.

The Wall Street Journal, interview with Nouriel Roubini: How long will it be before the administration goes in formally for nationalization? 'I think that we're going to see the policy adopted in the next few months... in six months or so.' That long? 'Six months from now, even firms that today look solvent are going to look insolvent. Most of the major banks -- almost all of them -- are going to look insolvent. In which case, if you take them all over all at once, you cause less damage than you would if you took over a couple now, and created so much confusion and panic and nervousness.'

Chris Hedges, Truthdig: The specter of social unrest was raised at the US Army War College in November... The military must be prepared, the document warned, for a 'violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States,' which could be provoked by 'unforeseen economic collapse,' 'purposeful domestic resistance,' 'pervasive public health emergencies,' or 'loss of functioning political and legal order... Further, DoD [the Department of Defense] would be, by necessity, an essential enabling hub for the continuity of political authority in a multi-state or nationwide civil conflict or disturbance.'

In plain English, something bureaucrats and the military seem incapable of employing, this translates into the imposition of martial law and a de facto government run out of the Department of Defense.
Image source here.