Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

The End of Something


The euro is going down and may take the 17 nation euro zone with it, if not the entire 28 nation European Union.  Or maybe it will be the other way around?  Does it really matter?

Having never recovered from the 2008 recession, the collapse of the euro will drive the U.S. economy deeper into the quagmire of more unemployment, negative economic growth, schizophrenic fiscal policy, Congressional gridlock, inflationary monetary policy, and the rout of the dollar.  Is it possible that whatever the White House, the Congress, or the Fed may do will make not one whit of a difference?

To deflect public opinion away from their incompetence and corruption the White House, the Congress, the Fed, the European Central Bank, and all of the political leaders of Europe need an international scapegoat.  What could be better than a war against some unpopular rogue state such as Cuba, Iran, North Korea, or Venezuela whose leader is considered by many Americans to be demonic.

Enter Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bearing gifts for American and European political leaders.  “Have I got a deal for you,” says Netanyahu.  “Why don’t NATO and its Arab allies take out the nuclear weapons program of the terrorist state of Iran?  It would divert the attention of the American and European people away from their economic woes.  Everyone (except the Iranians) would gain.”

With the demise of Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Muammar Qadhafi, and Kim Jong Il, there are few demons left with whom to wage war.  Bringing down Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would significantly enhance Barack Obama’s chances for re-election in 2012 and help preserve the political status quo in Europe despite the economic turmoil.

And then what?  Iran is no Iraq.  This would not be kid’s stuff.  For starters, Iran has some very influential friends, not the least of which are Russia and China, who would be unamused by such an attack.

Unless the NATO strikes severely inhibit Iran’s ability to respond militarily, one could expect almost instantaneous retaliation by Iran in the Persian Gulf, closing down the Strait of Hormuz as well as oil production in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq.  This would effectively shut down the global economy.  If Iran were not in a position to respond militarily, then either Russia or China might do so.  They would perceive an attack on Iran to be a major threat to their national security.  China could always opt to pull the plug on the trillion dollar or so investment which it holds in U.S. Treasury bonds sending the U.S. economy into an even further death spiral.  China could also offer to help refinance the European economy thus driving a permanent wedge between Europe and the United States.  Russia might cut off the supply of natural gas to Europe as well.

And if Russia or China retaliates on behalf of Iran, how might the United States respond?  I think it is quite likely that the American Empire would launch missile strikes against Moscow or Beijing depending on the circumstances.  And since the White House and the State Department love to proclaim that all options will be on the table, one cannot rule out the possible deployment of nuclear weapons by missiles targeted at Moscow and Beijing.

Could this be the beginning of the endgame?  If so, so what?

Maybe Meursault, the Algerian clerk who narrated Albert Camus’s famous novel The Stranger and who was sentenced to death for murdering an Arab, said it all upon the death of his mother:

Mother died today.  Or, maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure.  The telegram from the Home says:  YOUR MOTHER PASSED AWAY. FUNERAL TOMORROW.  DEEP SYMPATHY.  Which leaves the  matter doubtful; it could have been yesterday.

Thomas H. Naylor is Founder of the Second Vermont Republic and Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University; co-author of AffluenzaDownsizing the U.S.A., and The Search for Meaning.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 25, 2016
Hiroyuki Hamada
Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power
Kathy Deacon
Plus ça Change: Regime Change 1917-1920
Priti Gulati Cox
President Obama: Before the Empire Falls, Free Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Robin Goodman
Appetite for Destruction: America’s War Against Itself
Richard Moser
On Power, Privilege, and Passage: a Letter to My Nephew
Rev. William Alberts
The Epicenter of the Moral Universe is Our Common Humanity, Not Religion
Dan Bacher
Inspector General says Reclamation wasted $32.2 million on Klamath irrigators
David Mattson
A Recipe for Killing: the “Trust Us” Argument of State Grizzly Bear Managers
Derek Royden
The Tragedy in Yemen
Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
Norman Pollack
Centrist Fascism: Lurching Forward
Guillermo R. Gil
Cell to Cell Communication: On How to Become Governor of Puerto Rico
Mateo Pimentel
You, Me, and the Trolley Make Three
David Swanson
Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn’t
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians