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/ A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E
M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 1
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M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 1
By Robert Ross
on The Unraveling
We're in the middle of some-
thing . . . something historic. Life
on this planet, geopolitical rela-
tionships . . . geological stabili-
ties . . . financial certainties . . .
are all coming unraveled. Bob
Dylan's famous line from The
Ballad of a Thin Man expresses
the surreal confusing state we
live in . . . "something is hap-
pening here, but you don't know
what it is, do you Mister Jones?"
Whether it is the 9.0 earth-
quake in Japan, the toppling of
multiple governments in the
Middle East, the new war -- the
west versus Libya -- the ongo-
ing meltdown of nuclear reac-
tors at Fukushima Daiichi, or the
financial crises and the subse-
quent bailing out of multiple
governments in Europe . . . there
is something happening here . . .
and we really don't know what
it is . . .
Trying to figure out where this
is all going is an exercise in futil-
ity. The unraveling is happening
too fast. History may offer some
hints though. As Mark Twain
said, history may not repeat, but
it rhymes.
Revolutions are rarely clean
events. Franz Kafka once said:
"Every revolution evaporates and
leaves behind only the slime of a
new bureaucracy." When Julius
Caesar crossed the Rubicon in
Italy, it was the start of a revolu-
tion -- one that would eventu-
ally lead to Julius Caesar being
declared "dictator in perpetuity"
and head of the Roman Empire.
The French revolted in the late
1700's which led to Napoleon's
military exploits throughout
Europe for the following twenty
The Bolshevik revolution -- a
people's revolution -- led to the
most repressive form of govern-
ment the world has ever seen.
Castro's revolution, the Iranian
revolt in 1979, and lest we not
forget the Chinese revolution led
by Chairman Mao, all resulted
in turmoil and authoritarian gov-
ernments. The U.S. revolution,
on the other hand, was relatively
straightforward -- five years of
fighting, and the rest was . . . as
they say, history.
As this article is being penned,
there are revolts and transitions
in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain,
Yemen, Jordan and Syria. If his-
tory is any guide, it's fair to say
that these will not be quick and
clean events. We need to be pre-
pared for protracted conflicts
between those loyal (and depen-
dent) to the old regimes, versus
those who just want "change,"
versus religious ideologues.
Haiti, Chile, New Zealand
and now Japan -- four devastat-
ing earthquakes in the last 14
months. But Japan has experi-
enced the ultimate nightmare, a
9.0 earthquake, a tsunami and
a partial nuclear reactor melt-
down. This begs the question: is
something geologically differ-
ent happening? A quickening?
Subduction zones gone rogue?
Or is our high-tech modern me-
dia just showing its adeptness
at covering tragedy and suffer-
ing as it happens? Thirty years
ago, we would read about tragic
events the following day rather
than the live broadcasts we now
The USGS has put out a chart
com/earthquakes.cfm) dating
back to 1900 which shows a
huge spike in destructive earth-
quakes in the last 10 years. The
USGS does however refer to
this chart as "deadly and de-
structive quakes between 6.0
and 8.0" rather than earthquakes
in general.
Since the population of the
earth has grown from 1.6 billion
in 1900 to more than six billion
today, earthquakes today versus
1900, are going to take a much
larger toll on population centers
throughout the world. But one
still has to wonder -- this was
Japan's largest recorded earth-
quake . . . ever! There's some-
thing happening here . . .
The timing of our new military
adventure -- regime change in
Libya, couldn't have been worse.
As a nation, our plate is full, with
multiple wars, high unemploy-
ment and a financial quagmire
that will only get worse as time
progresses. Nevertheless, this
new war has captured the imag-
ination of our T.V. news media
with their fancy charts and re-
tired Generals giving a bomb-
by-bomb account as though this
were a sporting event.
Libya will not be a quick and
easy fix. Along with tribal loyal-
ties, there are millions of Libyans
dependent on the status quo and
an unknown amount of Libyans
who want to dismantle the sta-
tus quo.
The question of financing
these wars is no longer discussed
by politicians or mentioned in
the mainstream media. The web-
site has
documented the cost of the Iraq
and Afghanistan wars, which is,
as of late March, 2011, over one-
trillion dollars. A trillion -- the
new billion -- has lost meaning
in our lexicon. Libya will add to
our indebtedness at a time when
many Americans are urging Con-
gress to live within our means.
The unraveling continues,
each hour brings a new event.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister of
Portugal resigned due to budget-
ary issues. Today (March 26) up
to 250,000 protesters march in
London -- some rioting -- be-
cause of cutbacks. In the mean-
time, the EPA identifies trace
amounts of radioactive iodine,
cesium, and tellurium in Cali-
fornia, consistent with the Japa-
nese nuclear incident.
Where this is going is impos-
sible to say. As Bob Dylan so
aptly mused: there is some-
thing happening here . . . but in
this case, neither you, nor I, nor
Mister Jones really knows how
it's going to turn out.
Robert Ross can be reached by e-
mail at:
Copyright 2011 by Robert Ross, all rights reserved
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