As we speak of bubbles yet unpopped, I will suggest two. In general, the United States defense industry constitutes a bubble, even as contrarians accurately understand that governments in financial trouble and facing a discrediting national collapse tend to go to war to silence domestic critics and squeeze the last nickel from the collective coffers for their political and corporate friends, and as both parties fight to save the industry as a last ditch "jobs" program for the children. It is the way of all empire, and will be so for us. Thus ultimately, big state debt- and deficit-funded defense spending is a bubble overdue for a collapse, a sputtering and then a raging rush away from this wasteful, unnecessary and over-hyped industry. When during budget debate time, every other radio advertisement you hear in Washington demands you heart Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, overwhelming even the incessant push for antidepressants, one can sense the concern that someone will find out about this house of cards, and observe that it struts upon the stage, as Shakespeare would say, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Far more vulnerable to an imminent pop, with few tears by average Americans, will be foreign financial aid to all countries, including Israel, the largest recipient of such aid. AIPAC is stale and aging, an old man’s commiseration club, sufferable only because it is habitual. Christian Zionists, some of whom I witnessed earlier this week engaged in verbal and physical violence towards a CNIF member, are losing their cool in more ways than one. For the first time, I met an infamous supporter of U.S. tax-funded assistance to Israel and its geographical expansion, a retired three star Army general and helpful contributor to our current pro-Israel policy that includes several wars and occupations in the Middle East, and our torture and rendition of detainees. He worked as a second to Stephen Cambone and was part of the neocon cadre so prominent in the Pentagon and Executive corridors in 2002 and afterwards. The portly and emotion-driven Jerry Boykin must have been a weak and angry shadow of his former self, I thought to myself.
But indeed, he is what he is, and what he always was. What changed was my perception of him, my new and concrete awareness that he was a fraud, a walking sale pitch for more war and war spending when, in fact, none was or is necessary. Oil will be pumped, processed and traded, and Israel will survive and prosper, even as the United States withdraws financial aid and symbols of military might from the region. The great build-up of bases in the region, from Saudi Arabia to Iraq, in Bahrain and Kuwait, in North Africa and Afghanistan – all without a serious defensive debate or justification is amazingly typical of a bubble in the months and years before it decisively collapses. It’s the hurry up and get on board phase of the Ponzi scheme, the mad rush to get in on the deal, because it is almost too good to be true.
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