Wednesday, March 2, 2011

'Check Engine' Light

For the first time I see U.S. oil dependence as a real existential threat. The perfect storm is raging while we are agonizing over Charlie Sheen. Oil prices alone will crush our economy. We can now appreciate the efforts of previous administrations designed to keep it all together. ‘Containment’ had become an intricate game that demanded increasingly complex solutions. Clearly, our present administration does not know how to play.

We went to war in Iraq in response to 9/11. It was not something we could avoid. Admittedly, we ran the risk of destabilizing the region. It did not destabilize. We actually were on the right track. The countries of the Middle East were reminded to mind their manners. They did - for a time. When it became clear that America was crumbling from within and that we would not be able to sustain the drive, they began to bolt. The election of Barack Hussein Obama confirmed to the world that we were finished.

Now, voters' remorse. We don’t even have it in us to criticize our president’s handling of the job. We’re just desperately hanging on till the next election cycle, watching as we circle the drain. Our fear that we won’t last that long is already palpable.

Russia and China will survive. It’s not that our past presidents were so much smarter or capable than Putin or Hu Jintao. But at the very least it was a more or less even match. Now, ‘the U.S. is out of the game’. We’ve left the stadium and taken our ball.

There is one attribute that elevates the leaders of China and Russia (and those of most other nations) to the status of players on the global gridiron: patriotism. Most leaders take pride in their countries. They may have different ways of expressing it; different approaches; different ideologies, etc. But, in almost every case, they do what they do to give their nations a chance to survive. Even Kim Yong-Il rattles his bones of a nation to fair advantage. There are only two notable exceptions: Iran and the U.S.

Iran is so locked into an eschatological vision, it pays no heed to possible consequences. This, while current U.S. leadership wildly pursues some utopian ideological throw-back to some unworkable drug-induced version of a coma. Both are so arrogant as to ignore any and all warning signals.

I’ve been driving for years with my ‘check engine’ light on. So far so good. I haven’t had problems. It’d be a bit different if I still had to ferry kids to and from soccer practice. Or, if I were running a country with over 300 million people in it.

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