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Kunstler: Lousy Deals and Turning Wheels

Public Policy

In that long ago yesteryear of 1979, before blogging, tweeting, twerking, hacking, posting, ghosting, doxing, and all the other Internet-enabled compulsions of the present day, a gang of inflamed young men, said to be students, invaded the US embassy compound in Teheran and took fifty-two American embassy personnel hostage — crossing an age-old line of geopolitical conduct that kicked off the epic conflict between global Islam and a USA-led West, still on-going as you read.

I followed the Iran Hostage Crisis avidly… the gibbering mullahs, the blindfolded captives, the rotating cast of double-taking prime ministers who lectured Jimmy Carter on the Nightly News, the rescue attempt fiasco that killed eight American soldiers out in the Persian desert. Oddly, what I remember most after all these years was the fact that the hostages ran out of dental floss and had to swap around between them the same recycled last strand for weeks on end — a ticket to periodontal hell, if ever there was one.

And then, as if by magic, Iran released the hostages on Ronald Reagan’s inauguration day and our splendiferous “morning in America” commenced. What really began that day, of course, was the asset-stripping of this land and its people, leading to the political disorders of the moment. Forty years later it’s hard to say which nation is a bigger pain-in-the-ass on the world stage, Iran or the USA. But the net effect of all that mutual antagonism is a vast region from North Africa to Central Asia of failed states, ruined cities, and dead bodies.

I’m rather skeptical that President Trump will manage to get a new-and-improved “deal” with Iran after tearing up the old one put together by Mr. Obama, which may have not been of much value anyway. I don’t believe that anything in it would have really deterred Iranian technicians from developing a serviceable nuclear weapon. It’s just not that hard to do anymore, given the number of physicists trained all over the world since 1945.

Until recently, the Obama agreement gave the appearance of some cover in the long-running feud, an impression, at least, that the two sides could talk to each other, which has now been erased. What’s changed is a recognition that the agreement did nothing to stop Iran’s intervention in three of the current hot-spots of the region: Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, where various contingents of Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah, Houthis, and even Iranian military regulars have carried the Shia battle flag in the ancient struggle to displace their Sunni adversaries, sponsored by Iran’s arch-enemy, Saudi Arabia — leaving wreckage everywhere. And, of course, let’s remember the Sunni factions include the savage ISIS and al-Qaeda gangs.

Which points to the elephant in the room with the 900-pound gorilla on its back: the fact that underlying all this terrible destructive action in that part of the world is a religious disagreement. (While, of course, underlying even that is a long emergency of human population overshoot and a desperate struggle for dwindling resources of all kinds.) It has surely been the dream of that aggressive American faction known as the Neocons, to up-end the entrenched mullahs who run Iran. The theory, I think, is that religious maniacs are always and everywhere more dangerous than secular maniacs and, if we could only get rid of these apocalyptic whack-jobs, a country like Iran might be made a “normal” nation again. The Neocons also assume that a majority of Iran’s younger generations are good-and-goddam sick of the ruling mullahs, and eager for their own regime change. And so now the Trumpsters, apparently, are determined to squeeze Iran until something over there gives.

Is it too obvious to say that our previous efforts at re-engineering the various governments of the region have all ended in failed states? “Normality” may just be a mirage in the desert these days. What happened in the Islamic oil states was an historic anomaly, short-lived and catastrophic. What we’re witnessing is the slow-motion collapse of civilization at the margins. A corner of the world that was once emptier and quieter is on its way to being empty and quiet again, but not without a tragic convulsion of violence on the journey there. What’s happening on the margins these days will shortly move toward the center.


14 Comments on "Kunstler: Lousy Deals and Turning Wheels"

  1. Dredd on Mon, 14th May 2018 12:55 pm 

    Oh yeah, I remember Mr. Kunstler.

    Not long after that came the shining city on a hill (Arrested Development: The Creep State).

    And finally, Alzheimer mode.

  2. Outcast_Searcher on Mon, 14th May 2018 3:20 pm 

    Speaking of yesteryear, how’s that ludicrous “Y2K will rock your world” prediction working out?

    As someone working in IBM mainframe IT, my prediction of “some people may need to stand in line to resolve this glitch or that, but overall, the tremendous amount of testing being done for MANY platforms shows that it won’t be a big deal at all” seems much more prescient.

    Of course, I cheated. Actually being heavily involved in Y2K prep, analysis, backup, procedures, coordination, etc. for a major IBM IT shop with lots of clients, I wasn’t just guessing or making shit up to flog products like “Y2K buckets” for big profits.

    What’s sad is that people continue to listen to proven clowns like this, no matter how many decades they spew mostly nonsense.

  3. Gary Goodson on Mon, 14th May 2018 4:50 pm 

    I first saw Kunstler speak before a class of Carnegie Mellon University students in the 1990’s -I’ve since read two of his books; The Long Emergency and World Made By Hand. The decrease in energy returned on energy invested is happening in enough parts of the world to slow much of the economy. His message timing may be off, but I’d stop short of saying he’s wrong.

  4. MASTERMIND on Mon, 14th May 2018 4:53 pm 

    Kunstlers world made by hand is koombaya…too much Bob Dylan hippie dippy woodstock, growing up for him!

  5. Jerome on Mon, 14th May 2018 4:54 pm 

    The Shah’s kids have been roughing it in Beverly Hills these intervening years and have even made reality shows to demonstrate that they are ready to rule IrN again in Trumpian style. There is still a lot of oil in them there hills and a Trump tower would be perfect to relaunder their money.

  6. JuanP on Mon, 14th May 2018 6:33 pm 

    “Forty years later it’s hard to say which nation is a bigger pain-in-the-ass on the world stage, Iran or the USA.” No, it is not. Very few people other than Americans and Israelis have a problem determining who the biggest assholes are. Iran has almost never bothered anyone in the world in modern history. Most countries in the world have good relations with Iran.

  7. Makati1 on Mon, 14th May 2018 6:43 pm 

    Keep the wars in the ME and out of Asia. Take it to the imperial homeland instead. Body bags will be the hot sales item in America if Trump keeps poking his betters.

  8. MASTERMIND on Mon, 14th May 2018 7:53 pm 


    The wars are soon coming to a town near you.. this is a battle to the death.. Winner take all..

  9. Keith McClary on Mon, 14th May 2018 11:44 pm 

    “Which points to the elephant in the room with the 900-pound gorilla on its back: the fact that underlying all this terrible destructive action in that part of the world is a religious disagreement.”

    For a minute there I thought JK was talking about Israel. Bible stories are actual history. The “Jewish People” (=Jewish mother or Orthodox conversion, according to Judaism’s Halaka law ) is the same “People” as an Iron Age cult.

    But it turns out he is talking about different religious maniacs.

  10. Makati1 on Mon, 14th May 2018 11:46 pm 

    MM, I very much doubt that they are coming to the town I live in now. No reason to. The Us (Trump) is already backing away from China. They hold the Aces in this hand. The US holds the Joker.

  11. Makati1 on Mon, 14th May 2018 11:53 pm 

    The Jews are the thorn in the side of Islam. Has been for 75 years. But the major dispute is between Shiites and Sunnis. Like the Protestant vs the Catholics in previous years (and to some extent, even today). Religious wars are always bloody and have no real world basis. Fighting over a non-existent god is the height of stupidity/ignorance.

    Death is the end, not the beginning. Live a good life here and forget about a fantasy life later. It ain’t ah gonna happen.

  12. MASTERMIND on Tue, 15th May 2018 12:16 am 

    Goldman Sachs: Something strange is happening with the US economy

    Fake unemployment rate, from the Bureau of lies..

  13. MASTERMIND on Tue, 15th May 2018 12:34 am 

    My Prediction

    Financial catastrophe resulting from resource depletion and a debasement of value of fiat currencies. Then a 3-month window of tyranny and government lockdown on citizens, followed by a 3-month window of absolute carnage and death. Then, a period of about 6 months of slow die-off and that’s pretty much that. Oh, and starting sometime within the next 5 years or so…

  14. Dooma on Tue, 15th May 2018 6:57 am 

    Not a single mention about Isreal in your piece Mr Kunstler? They are the main antagonists in this current situation. Benjamin Netanyahu has been turning himself inside-out lately as he rants about the destruction Iran is going to commit. I am waiting for him to bring out his’ cartoon bomb again.

    Isreal, you have nuclear weapons and disallow any external auditing of your stockpile. Iran will get the bomb so suck it up and keep on doing what you do best and keep killing Palestinians. For now.

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