Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Fear Itself

After September 11th, 2001, the people of the United States became exceptionally wary of the world. It “became” possible for a plane to randomly streak from the sky at any moment in order that Islamic fundamentalists could kill our most cherished family members. And yet, our fear itself contains the solution to our problem, for when we ask ourselves why 9/11 was so terrifying, we find that it was a result of our shock and lack of preparation. We sensed that we were helpless, as if drastic measures needed to be taken immediately, even though we had already lived safely for years in nearly complete unawareness of the truth, which is that it had been possible for such an event to occur for decades before the attacks materialized.
We were afraid of the world as a result of the realization of our ignorance, but suddenly, we desired a quick and easy solution. In response to the attacks, we grounded all of the airlines, and our cars took to the highways, despite the fact that statistics from the past decade proved passenger cars were still generally much riskier modes of transportation than commercial planes—even when the recent outliers of terrorism were taken into account. What is more, in reality, the terrorist threat level was much lower after the initial attacks occurred, as civilians adapted their expectations and became extremely wary of virtually any Middle Eastern passenger (this happened nearly instantaneously, as evidenced by Flight 93), while law enforcement and emergency agencies were more prepared; the Air Force and air traffic controllers would have had much more warning than they did initially before 9/11 should any plane have deviated from its course. Any intelligent terrorist of the post-9/11 world would be foolish to attempt to use similar methods as those already deployed—the initial attacks were successful as a result of their “novelty,” even though it is outright socking our armed forces responded as slowly as they did given the number of fighter aircraft available and the amount of training missions they conducted on a routine basis—it is not as if airplane hijackings and hostage situations were new incidences in the world, and most domestic military bases had little else to be worried about in the post Cold War world.
It is commendable that we finally awoke, but our eyes are still barely open.
Mathematics is thought to be a type of logic that is based around known laws, but even when one attempts to use this system in order to be a practical decision maker, they must first define what their parameters are to be—even basic data can be useless if it is too narrow or too broad in scope.
What exactly is one trying to measure when one asserts that something is “terrorism?”
If one can not explain such a basic concept as “terrorism,” or, in other words, if they can not even identify the problem they wish to solve, certainly, one should wonder how they are to create an accurate solution.
Some people may think that it is rather easy to define what terrorism is, and it may sound idiotic to question such a matter, as the answer may be “obvious,” but the reason the United States fell prey to the attacks in the first place was as a result of our failure to be more inquisitive.
Traditionally, terrorism has been defined to be a psychological method of inducing fear in order to influence a person or society towards a desired action. Domestic hostage situations and/or kidnappings for ransom are acts of terrorism according to this parameter—we should certainly define simple armed robbery to be an as thus; even verbal assault could be qualified as an act of terrorism!
What is more, we could say that a politician that intentionally creates or embellishes irrational and imaginary threats towards a nation is practicing the art of fear in order to convince their society to follow the leader’s plan—it is not as if police agencies distinguish between fake or real bombs when individuals threaten a community in order to achieve deviant purposes.
Surely, if we count all of the aforementioned specific matters to be terrorism, we must be very concerned, for the general phenomenon of such would be far more widespread than we may assume based upon the particular types of terrorism broadcasted and labeled as thus by today’s major news organizations.
But if one truly wishes to defeat the newly formed common idea of terrorism, which is to say that terrorism originates from “Islamic fascism,” our enemy’s major objectives must be understood as well. If the ultimate purpose of terrorism is continually thwarted, such criminals would, more than likely, eventually give up out of frustration—at the very least, they would need to develop entirely new tactics from scratch.
It would be naive to say that Bin Laden and others like him are completely moronic psychos, and that they would kill people for no reason whatsoever, which is why the United States have had a specific and well-known policy for decades in regard to the fact that terrorism is non-negotiable.
So, what specific action do Middle Eastern terrorists in particular desire from us?
Is their point to make western society convert to Islam?
If such is the case, one should conduct a survey in order to discover the number of people that became Muslim converts as a result of the September 11th attacks in order to measure the ultimate fulfillment of the terrorists’ plans thus far—one may not be sure of the exact result of such a study, but the figure is probably too small to even bother looking into, as it seems intuitively that the terrorist attacks were more than repulsive to the vast majority of Americans. This should be rather obvious to anyone with a semi-functional brain: if one sticks a gun up to another’s head, the victim will likely do what they are told, but they will certainly not believe in serving the aggressor’s cause. It is not as if an ordinary American would feel that by converting to Islam they could save our country; there are likely a very small handful of people in our country that are so cowardly as to assume Islamic extremists may suddenly take notice when we convert, much less that such murderers will then have mercy on us, but such Americans would definitely be few and far between. However, some of our population may have looked into “Islam” in order to have discovered the problem of terrorism—and ironically became intrigued with sects that are incredibly peaceful, which would not have fulfilled the more specific goals of Islamic terrorists, as even Islam is a very divided religion in certain respects, as evidenced by Iraq in recent times.
But if converting Americans to Islam is not the main reason for such terrorism, there are other possible answers. One of these goals may be to restore the caliphate system and to create a super-empire of Muslims throughout the Middle East. This may be a slightly reasonable goal to certain Muslims, but then again, it would seem highly unlikely to a reasonable person in general that merely killing innocent people would help one achieve their ambitions. Even the detonation of a nuclear weapon in a United States’ city would fail to bring about any relatively positive change in Middle Eastern affairs—the entire United States could be destroyed and Europe and Asia would fill our void on top of the world much more quickly than any other people would. If there is a chance for Islamic extremists to create a Superpower of their own, it could be the potential result of the entire Middle East finding a common enemy in the form of America (perhaps if we indiscriminately bomb their cities in order to “teach them a lesson”), but America has many friends in the region to this day, and we would need to invade a very large number of allied and neutral countries in the area in order for this to occur—and even then, Iraq is a proof as to how well people in the area get along with one another, even after the United States have caused a more than fair amount of collateral damage in this specific region alone. The Middle East in general is so fractured politically it is incredible: Africa is the only major landmass of the world with more widespread social instability.
The only somewhat realistic and probable goal of terrorism would be to use the political division present in the Middle East in order to create a shortage in the world oil market through senseless chaos in order to generate greater corporate profits (and/or to use kickbacks and political power in order to capture even more resources in the area), as quantity and price determine the revenues an industry may generate, and as many citizens may not think about such matters, which could theoretically allow such evildoers to get away with their wrongs, which may seem reasonable to them if they believe there is no such thing as God and/or Justice in the Universe, and that materials are all there is.
There are times when it makes sense for an industry to cut some of their productions in order to capture the consumer surplus of the market segment of those that demand such products (consumer surplus is the difference between what a person is willing to pay, and what they actually pay)—this is the reason OPEC was formed in the first place, which is also the reason why the United States experienced long lines for gasoline in our past. However, the OPEC cartel is not perfect: basic game theory explains why it would be beneficial for a member country to cheat the others and to produce more than they “should.” Even industries that collude informally often make sure price signals are already in place before they make any move, but terrorism would be more than a signal for some nations; instead, it would be a binding “agreement.”
This latter theoretical goal of terrorism has definitely occurred, and it will only become worse if the United States find ourselves in another major catastrophe in the region, and/or, more specifically, if we continually heighten tensions between our country and Iran (if not only through the use of rhetoric), much less between our people and Saudi Arabia—although, to some extent, our enemies would not desire oil to climb too high in price, as our citizens would soon search for alternatives.
And yet, even if this is not the primary goal of Islamic terrorism, and the aforementioned restoration of a caliph is the long-term answer for the existence of today’s “jihad,” even the more mediocre rising Kings of Islam would recognize the need for wealth in building their empire, and would use the form of resources that is most abundant in the region in order to accomplish their task (if they are not even this economically inclined, we surely have little to worry about).
This theoretical preliminary goal of terrorism has been enjoyed by those with an indirect interest in such matters as well. There are times when one’s enemy is not necessarily an enemy: the United States used the Soviet Union in order to destroy the Nazis. Both the Saudi Arabians and the Iranians enjoy high oil prices—as do the oil corporations of America, many of which have businesses and/or established trade relations throughout the Middle East; however, companies that are substitutes for oil also enjoy the chaos that has erupted in the region, as economically speaking, when the price of a good increases, the demand for its substitute increases as well—wind and solar power companies should be secretly happy with Islamic terrorism; in fact, alternative energy corporations love extremely high oil prices more than anything else. It would certainly be morally difficult, at the very least, for green corporations to be opposed to a higher price in their substitute’s various markets—they may make remarks against the matter, and they may even make some amount of “effort” against terrorism in an attempt to save face, but these actions are not much different than when a tobacco company stamps a warning label on their products: in the end, it seems as if it may not even matter if people know the truth or not—what matters is that industries appear to care.
It is more than likely that the Islamic fascists of September 11th are nothing more than pawns in the games of much larger Kings. Some may think that we should create conspiracy theories on this matter, and that we may even go so far as to say that the Middle Eastern terrorists were directly working for energy interests all along, as Bin Laden in particular does have historical connections with the Saudi royal family, but this does not matter whatsoever.
Did it matter, after all, that a hurricane occurred before certain residents of New Orleans looted stores for television sets?
People are not often motivated morally so much as they are financially, and it is rare to find a person that will turn down what they see to be an enormous material benefit when they feel there is little chance they will face negative consequences as a result. Even so, the demand for oil is theoretically much more elastic in the long-run (elastic demands are simply desires that are under consumers’ control); the problem is that most of the American masses of today do not think about the future a great deal—even after we have had a bucket of cold water thrown on our faces, we still wish to slumber—indeed, even some “poor” Americans have hardly cut back their consumption of oil since the price of gasoline spiked, despite oil corporations in America alone having made record profits since 9/11, even though it is difficult to keep track of their revenues worldwide to begin with!
And yet, we may still need to identify terrorism even more specifically.
Simplicity is often a fantastic way in which to discover solutions to problems, and terrorism relies upon fear in and of itself for one end or another. Yet, fear is a basic emotion that is somewhat controllable, especially on the level of an individual, as “terrorism” is only a stimulus of fear at best. It would take a psychologist, perhaps, to measure exactly how much fear (and hopelessness) our country has been in as of late, but an even better question may be why our country holds such fear.
From a psychiatrist’s point of view, all of us could simply take enormous amounts of anti-anxiety drugs in order to defeat “the greatest threat of the 21st century,” as terrorism may be nothing more than chemical reactions in our brains, but one must wonder if the problem is not biological since the vast majority of our population did not simply take pills to make life better for ourselves, and instead, supported the militaristic response of our government, not only before, but more importantly, even when it was known to be based upon false assumptions. Instead, the ones that were most adamant in leading the charge into Iraq based upon the “evidence” of weapons of mass destruction were those that were re-elected yet again into various branches of government, even though, to be certain, our fear should have subsided somewhat by the 2004 election year, although we theoretically became fearful for the lives of Iraqis, in which case our later votes made even less sense, as our newer fears were the result of the foolishness on the behalf of our forces’ commanders. It is reasonable, at times, to have a person clean up the mess they have made when they have been paid to do a job right the first time, but it is a different matter entirely to pay the same person twice in order to merely “fix their mistake;” however, to be fair, the Iraq War did produce some positive benefits.
Iraq is a “Democracy” now—that much is certain (the fact that the nation needs over 150,000 foreign troops in the area, marital law, and hundreds of billions of dollars of foreign aid in order to maintain their “freedom” seems to be inconsequential for some of us).
But perhaps terrorism is more than simple fear in and of itself.
The physical effects of terrorism will occur regardless of our emotions.
So let us say that terrorism is simply the embodiment of chaotic and meaningless physical death—it is surprising, frightening, and mysterious, but it is largely preventable; at the very least, we can reduce its effects. When we equate terrorism with irrational death, it is very easy to measure. In fact, to some extent, our politicians and major news outlets seem to define terrorism as having occurred when death took place, although they usually attribute the cause of such as being a result of “rogue individuals” not attached to any conforming state—this should make one wonder what a “rogue state” is to begin with.
A dictatorship is definitely not necessarily a “rogue state,” as evidenced by China’s great power on the International stage, and by Pakistan’s alliance with the War on Terror (not to mention the Saudis’), but let us put all of these nations aside, as we seem to think such governments are fine when we are their friends, which is actually somewhat reasonable, as I do not wish for one to believe that I advocate hatred towards these countries as well in order that we be consistent in our philosophy; instead, as shall be expressed later, we should work with all countries peacefully—yet firmly (and wisely, of course).
But in any case, according to the media’s method of identifying the extent of terrorism through a simple and direct death toll, September 11th is still the only major instance of Islamic terrorism in the United States in any of the last six years prior to 2007. Through the division of the official count of approximately 3,000 persons killed on 9/11/2001 by the number of years since then, we find that we have maintained an average death rate by such a form of terrorism at an amount of 500 people annually.
We could include U.S. military deaths in Iraq since the recent invasion as part of our parameters, or the enormous figure of 80,000 (at minimum) and counting dead Iraqi civilians thus far, but let us not do so, as the later problems have been stated to be as a result of fighting a war on terrorism, although it is unlikely these problems would have occurred under a relatively impotent Saddam Hussein/U.N. bodyguard, although there is a slight argument in stating this to be a possibility which could have occurred anyhow. It is true that Saddam Hussein conducted atrocities on his people when the United States did not care much about the problem at the time such genocide was actually occurring.
However, it would be difficult for many people to disagree with the point that terrorism requires a highly advanced intelligence agency, and an incredibly efficient Special Forces unit. Although the United States have both of these, to some extent, one must wonder how F-35s are going to provide great benefits in the fight against terrorism for the relative amount of money they cost—aside from the fact that such planes burn a great deal of fuel during the conduction of any mission in the air—one must also wonder how they are to achieve targeting information without a human element behind them.
If one is wondering what F-35s have to do with terrorism, or, more specifically, what these units are in the first place, they are largely a matter of national security, and secrecy (these will be discussed in more detail and in a greater context later on in this book). They are stealth fighter jets, after all. But what one can be sure of is that these are being given a greater priority than what should be the source of their use, as their creation would be equivalent to spending an exorbitant amount of money on a golden hammer while paying an artisan barely enough wages in order to put food on their table (while simultaneously failing to train the laborer in their craft). Perhaps an analogy is not the best way to describe such thinking; however, dollar signs, once again, are often easier for us to understand.
When one examines federal spending, they shall find that the F-35 program is currently projected to cost well over $200 billion. It would stand to reason that such an amount of funds as thus could go quite far in the gathering of intelligence, and that the cutting of the plane’s production and development would result in hardly any less benefit to America in the form of the elimination of rogue groups—specifically those that are the fanatical cells of Islamic fascism, which house themselves among ordinary civilians and even appear to be common people. How many Islamic terrorists own sophisticated radar and advanced missiles in the first place: are they going to feel a need to shoot down a plane traveling faster than the speed of sound when they can simply strap on dynamite vests and walk onto buses?
The F-35 would certainly be useful in a conventional war against Iran, but then again, a stable Iraq and Afghanistan would make a war with Iran much less likely, and the United States of the past have aided violent revolutions in all of these countries through barely any direct military involvement/funding on our behalf in comparison to the measures we are taking today.
Who ever thought throwing money at a fire would put it out?
There are often reasons for death by “rogue states” in the first place. When one understands these reasons, they may find that intelligence agencies and Special Forces are not especially necessary and/or cost-effective means to security either. Instead, a major reason for Middle Eastern terrorism is ironically a result of western militarism to begin with—the effects we are feeling today are the results of decades of wrongdoing.
We are often told that we must fear Iran, and that they are full of Islamic fascists, but they are also a country that has maintained a small arsenal of F-14 Tomcats for thirty years, which were given to them by the United States’ government when “Iran’s” shah was in power. At that point in time, Iran was being run by an individual that worked for the United States through proxy in order that we may have supposedly fought the Soviet Union, although it could just as easily be argued that we were fighting the people of Iran from maintaining their own Democracy in order that we could have procured more oil from their nation at cheaper rates. Eventually, another dictatorship arose in our place that was not as friendly towards us, and that is the simple story of today’s Iranian problem.
Iraq followed a similar path before the recent U.S. invasion, although in Iraq’s case, our own former dictator simply got out of hand.
Before this, however, there were the Ottoman and Persian Empires and WWI.
Even so, let us not become too complicated in our understanding of history.
Today, the War on Terrorism is mostly a war in Iraq anyhow; Iran is a side note often blended together with chaotic arguments of fear, although, to be certain, Iran is in a much better position to produce nuclear weapons than Iraq was before the United States invaded the latter nation: the Iranians even admit to enriching uranium, and they have a nuclear power plant in the works. And yet, the United States relied upon forged documents to invade Iraq, whereas the Iraqis merely had a nuclear power plant—that is to say, before Israel bombed it, which makes one wonder how a bombing of Iran’s reactor would make us feel anymore safe in another ten years, if not immediately.
Considering the United States can hardly control one country without nuclear weapons, it would seem to be asinine to think we could take care of those with such weapons programs in the same manner that we have, as Iran is not nearly as weak as Iraq was before the recent U.S. invasion, while the United States are not quite as strong. We are certainly weaker than we were in social matters, such as those which are International, and even according to domestic popularity measures. What is more, the War on Terror thus far has also made us relatively weaker in materialistic and militaristic ways—China and other foreign governments (and disloyal multi-national corporations) have greatly benefited from our struggle thus far: it is certain that they have acquired our monetary power from our national debt, to some extent, although they have lost a fair amount of funds due to our government’s ever-hotter printing presses.
But let us revert briefly in order that we may speak once more about Saddaam Hussein, who we labeled together in the same “Axis of Evil” as North Korea and Iran (we shall get to North Korea as well in a moment). Although history is not one of our popular majority’s strong suits, despite how long many of us were mandated to attend school, we must understand such matters, as we were friends with Saddam Hussein in the 1980s and helped the “Iraqis” informally when they launched an invasion of Iran, which is yet another reason why it should not be surprising that the Iranians hold a good amount of hatred towards us, as hundreds of thousands of Iranians died as a result of Saddam’s greed—and our aid. This is not a conspiracy theory of propaganda made up through one’s imagination: our recent Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, who was emphatically supported for years in our recent War on Terror, can be found in photographs to be literally shaking hands with Hussein.

Of course, many of us already understand this history of the world.
A few of us, however, seem to think that there is some divine and mysterious explanation for all of this, and that we should be patient when these types of leaders are friendly with dictators one year, and enemies with them the next, but there is a difference between maintaining peaceful relations with dictators and supporting dictators’ wrongdoing. Patience is a virtue, but the same people fighting the War on Terror today are also those whom have held influence over Middle Eastern affairs for decades¬.
Why do we continue believing in politicians that have not solved any problems yet, even though we have literally spent hundreds of billions of dollars trying to secure areas of the world that are hardly worth a fraction of that amount of money in comparison to what else we could have done with such—assuming our funds are even helping the Middle East more than they are harming the area?
One would think Iraq would be in a much better economical position today, as the country has no longer been severely sanctioned by the most powerful economic entity in the world during the last four years, which has been untrue ever since Iraq invaded Kuwait, even though the later invasion was probably seen to be perfectly reasonable to Saddam, as Kuwait was hardly anymore Democratic than Iran was at the time the U.S. supported Saddam’s invasion of the latter nation: the whole matter is quite confusing, of course.
But if the reader would allow for me to go out on a limb, let me say that we have already wasted a great deal of time and energy on the matter of terrorism, as the United States have spent roughly four times more on the War on Terror thus far than Iraq’s entire gross domestic product was worth in 2006, and therefore, that we should leave the area immediately, as we have “helped” them enough.
If it were not for the large rise in the price of oil in recent times, one could be certain that the Iraqi state would be “producing” even less than they are now, especially considering many of their oil pipelines have been destroyed in recent years—the country seems incapable of creating much of anything else: if they are truly able to produce far more than black gold, the United States are seemingly incapable of helping them develop such alternatives anytime soon.
It should not be difficult for Iraq’s GDP to grow at a rate of at least 20% annually for the next ten years as a result of the sanctions having been dropped against them, the enormous direct injection of U.S. aid, and the price of their main commodity being fairly high, or virtually any one of these matters singularly, but perhaps we should be very satisfied if their GDP only grows at 10% annually, as this figure would be higher than U.S. growth and would look very good in a newspaper, even though Iraq should also have much higher marginal returns to capital than America since they are relatively under-developed (this is related to the law of diminishing returns).
A higher marginal return to capital means that a new tool in Iraq would create a much higher rate of growth in their nation compared to the effect the same new tool would create in the United States. To see why this is so, in the extreme, imagine that a theoretical country is completely primitive—they have hardly any modern technology whatsoever: Malawi is a good example of a nation that is even poorer than Iraq, even though Malawi was already relatively more Democratic than Iraq was before the War on Terror began. A few hundred pieces of heavy machinery and engineering and agricultural specialists would drastically increase the Malawian society’s ability to perform work, while the same additional inputs in the United States would barely induce a proportional effect on our nation’s economy, as we already possess thousands upon thousands of highly efficient machines, which have been employed for years in various productive functions of road/factory construction, etc. It would not be an exaggeration to state that a bulldozer given limited complementary factor inputs (gasoline, maintenance expenditures, etc.) would affect Malawian GDP growth 100 times more than such investments would the GDP growth of the United States; if anything, a bulldozer in Malawi would likely be much more useful than this very rough estimate (if a nation hardly possesses any roads whatsoever, even a temporary dirt track would be enormously beneficial in the meantime—many advanced technologies do not require an extensive matrix of productive inputs in order that they may be extremely beneficial).
One would hope that the Iraqi people will begin embracing methods of peaceful creation and reason, especially since their country could have little hope in another ten years if they carry onward in their present course, as would the rest of the Middle East, assuming the people of the United States begin to care about fuel-efficiency.
Let us examine our current oil situation to see why this is the case.
Assuming it is absolutely necessary for us to own personal vehicles in the first place (this will be discussed later on in this text), imagine how much more valuable a delivery car would be if it were a hybrid car in the case of a possible war with Iran in the near future—even a vehicle that is only 15% more fuel-efficient than a normal economy car would be worth a great deal, as gasoline could become at least 50% more expensive than it is today. This possibility increases the value of any premium paid for these types of devices in certain demand functions, as their owners are given significant options for the future.
This is not to say that hybrid cars are a good economical decision for the majority of ordinary consumers today, although these vehicles do enjoy high resell costs, which one should consider, but surely, if we are to give tax breaks to hybrid car owners, it is only logical that we should also give proportionate tax breaks to standard economy car owners, for 8-cylinder engines are drastically more inefficient as methods of basic travel than their 4-cylinder counterparts. If saving fuel was the reason for the recent hybrid tax incentives, any buyer of a standard economy car should have received at least 70% of the tax break a hybrid car buyer was given, as the marginal difference in fuel-efficiency from an 8-cylinder engine to that of a 4-cylinder one is roughly 50%, whereas a hybrid is only about 20% more fuel-efficient than a regular economy car at best, especially since American car companies have already disadvantaged themselves enough with their undiversified investments in sport utility vehicles for soccer moms that never use their 4X4 capabilities, as many of them adorn their enormous wastes of resources with pieces of metal that are wasted entirely when they barely bump into concrete curbs.
It does not make sense to only promote a slightly incrementally better device than another given a spectrum of devices, nor does it make sense to develop a highly advanced technology when a simple and immediate solution is at hand.
Nevertheless, a hybrid car would be far more efficient than a standard economy machine if the former were simultaneously equipped with a next-generation common rail diesel engine. It would certainly make sense for our government to spend our tax dollars (or not collect them) on these types of developments—such vehicles would be able to surpass a 70 mile-per-gallon standard relatively easily.
Then again, if the United States wished to lower domestic gasoline prices immediately, we could simply eliminate our tariff on Brazilian ethanol made from sugar cane.
We could also cut back on traveling during our vacations.
We have even more short-run potential than thus, however.
This book may already be much too un-American, but it is for these reasons, among others, that I believe we should leave Iraq immediately, and instead, focus on freeing our economy. Even so, according to the way that I see the world, I am somewhat with you; I’m not only against you.
My opponents need not worry—we can still be friends.
The major issue that I have with the War on Terror is this: in my humble opinion, in which you are fully free to argue with me, if you feel like it, which I hope you shall, as we are supposedly a Democracy, which will help my theory a great deal from a dialectical point of view—people usually ally themselves with countries and markets that will be the most profitable for them.
As far as the Middle East is concerned, it should not be difficult for the United States to win even more allies in the region without the use of warfare. We do not have a vital “need” for their oil. For although it may be justifiable to ignore and to even support the ends of dictators when one’s survival is absolutely necessary, this is beyond a slippery slope at times: there has never been a need for us to have compromised our values as greatly as we have since WWII especially, even if we are to say that our past actions in the Middle East were once necessary in order that we may have fought the Soviets. For our most deadly weapons systems were powered by nuclear reactors long ago.
In fact, one of our greatest drains in our oil resources is the conventional weapons complex we run. For example, an M1A2 Abrams tank only claims a fuel-efficiency of roughly 0.6 miles per gallon; a fighter aircraft uses a different fuel mixture than gasoline or diesel (and probably consumes far more fuel per mission than a land-based vehicle), but all of these machines are surely inefficient ways in which to solve the “problem” of energy. It is more than likely that our military has burned more fuel during training missions and proxy wars in the past thirty years than that which we could have marginally procured by keeping either Iran or Iraq on our side peacefully, as both countries would have had an enormous incentive to have supplied us with oil if we had been a neutral force in the region. This should not be difficult to believe, as Iran ended up siding with the Soviet Union anyhow, despite our extensive militaristic efforts, insofar, to reiterate a point made earlier, which will also be made again later on, that they eventually took our F-14s when they left our “alliance,” and possibly gave some of the technology to the Soviets, which could be part of the reason we “need” the F-35 so much today, even though some F-35 technology has been purchased from Russian firms—one may only guess how much more engineering is necessary to create a much more sophisticated multi-million dollar fighter jet rather than an enormously more fuel-efficient twenty-thousand dollar car.
As a matter of fact, Canada and the United States have plenty of oil to begin with—it’s just somewhat expensive to produce sometimes. This may not always be the case, however, for although we may sometimes look to “God” for solutions to the “energy crises,” our government has still spent a great amount of money researching alternative energy development (we haven’t spent a relatively great amount of money researching alternative fuel sources, however; indeed, our cars will likely drive themselves through robotic technology before they give up gasoline given our current state of affairs), but in reality, the answer to the problem of oil is quite simple—our dependence on foreign oil in particular is a result of many of us believing we need to drive expensive boats, jet skis, and other such forms of conspicuous consumption (a sociologist would call this symbolic interactionism, while a layperson would call this “bling”) on top of the distances we drive on vacation, even if we do only have basic internal combustion engines at our disposal, which is really quite unpatriotic when one thinks about the matter, as we are sending our sons and daughters over to Iraq to die when we could have simply flown planes over the poor nation and dropped billions of dollar bills on their populace, which would have roughly distributed the money somewhat, although we could have used ground forces to accomplish the task even more effectively, as organized groups would have likely found it more difficult to steal the majority of our currency gift. In any case, we would probably be in better favor with most of the people over there, as we could have left shortly afterward and made them solve their own problems, which should have worked fine, as the Iraq war has been compared by President Bush to be similar to the American Revolution: the French did not patrol U.S. cities for years after we militaristically separated ourselves from the British crown.
After all, where do our oil expenses eventually end up?
Our own government gave us the answer when they stated Iran to be a state sponsor of terrorism. It is not as if the Iranian government can generate massive revenues by merely printing currency—they hold a major stake in the oil industry: when the price of oil increases, so does their ability to raise funds. Therefore, logically, if Iran is sponsoring terrorism, one’s massive purchase of oil indirectly sponsors terrorism! If we are so worried about terrorists being able to purchase expensive weapons of mass destruction and sophisticated missile defense systems, then why don’t we announce a limited boycott of petroleum?
I am not suggesting that we walk everywhere, but can we not at least give up our luxuries?
Have we forgotten the great power in such a thing?
I realize mere “non-consumption” may be “un-American” too, as we could not even peacefully give up tea once, even though most of us don’t drink it any longer, which is quite sad, as green tea in particular has a good amount of anti-oxidants, which are said to be quite healthy—but we were able to give up buses at one point in time, the latter of which we should probably embrace again as well. Even if we do not buy oil directly from Iran, once more, by lowering the United States’ consumption of oil we would increase the world’s supply of such, which would affect Saudi Arabia as well, insofar that the latter nation may even feel a need to let their women drive.
But maybe Saudi women are none of our business.
I do not believe North Korea is even worth covering in this section, as they are an indirect threat to us as a result of our indirect sponsorship of once conjectured, yet now realized enemies, at best, as any nuclear weapon purchased from North Korea by a Middle Eastern terrorist would, once again, probably be accomplished through oil funds anyhow (assuming North Korea would be foolish enough to sell such a weapon), but let us examine North Korea in some amount of detail. Although it is strange to believe Kim Jong-il is related to September 11th, he is certainly psychotic and irrational, and he definitely does not hold much love towards us.
Even so, it would be incredibly foolish to assert that the United States should risk invading North Korea preemptively; unless, that is to say, it is assumed that we are completely psychotic and irrational ourselves. To begin with, the North Koreans maintain a large amount of artillery that are capable of hitting Seoul (the capital of South Korea), as the North’s military units have been placed along the border of both nations, and as they are dug deep into their mountainsides, which would take some amount of time for us to eliminate through conventional means. What is more, the North Koreans have plenty of chemical munitions capable of causing massive death among the South Koreans, even without a small nuclear deterrent on their side. To be blunt, this would make any sort of “preventative” invasion on the behalf of the United States incredibly nonsensical, as we would more than likely guarantee the deaths of tens of thousand of South Koreans, while there would be even more drastic “economic” consequences for all involved.
If, however, North Korea were to commence firing weapons of mass destruction at South Korea for no apparent reason, it would be perfectly justifiable for the United States to intervene, inasmuch that we may even use low-yield tactical nuclear weapons on any of the artillery sites in question—yet, the simple fact of the matter is this—the United States should no longer have anything to do with South Korean military policy at this point in time!
This is not to say that we should not remain fantastic allies with the South Koreans, especially economically speaking, but although it may have been necessary for South Korea to have been a U.S. military protectorate in the past, the South Koreans are more than capable of defending themselves independently today. One could discuss numerous details of the South Korean war machine, insofar that individual South Korean military units could be contrasted with their “similar” counterparts of the North Korean arsenal, but let us not do so herein in order to save time.
Instead, suffice it to say that annual South Korean military expenditures are already nearly as much as the worth of the entire North Korean’s general gross domestic product, even though South Korea spends a much smaller proportion of their own GDP on military matters while South Korea also (not coincidently) maintains a far higher rate of economic growth. To put matters simply, North Korea must spend a ten times proportionally larger amount of their GDP on military functions merely in order to maintain their nominal military expenditures at the same level as that of the South Koreans, even though the North Koreans will need to use an even larger proportion of their economic resources heading into the future if their only goal is to keep up with South Korean nominal military expenditures! For although South Korean labor is more expensive than North Korean labor, the South Korean machines require much less maintenance, and what is more, their machines and labor force are far more capable, especially when they fight on South Korean soil, as they may use the peaceful South Korean infrastructure to their advantage as well.
In fact, South Korea could reduce their military spending by 33% of their current levels as a percentage of their GDP while they would still be able to maintain a significant advantage over the North Koreans’ weaponry. This would allow the South Koreans to grow at even higher economic (and militaristic) rates in the future, as their reduced military expenditures could be invested in more constructive scientific matters (and/or in needed infrastructure, etc.); the South could simply cut taxes on their private enterprises by such a proportional amount, which would allow their economic power to be utilized far more efficiently still. If South Korea were to maintain an even higher rate of economic growth into the future, eventually, they would be able to continue reducing their military spending as a percentage of their GDP—until their military spending would be only ½ of a percent of their nation’s total economic output—and yet, their nominal military spending would still be much higher than the North Korean’s when the poorer nation would be spending 50% of their GDP on theoretical violence merely in order to keep the latter’s nominal spending in pace with the South Koreans’ nominal amounts. What is more, the South Korean’s would likely experience an increasing amount of trade with the world, for their nation would be looked upon as being a peaceful example among nations, as barely any countries on Earth are willing to maintain such relatively small military forces, while the North Koreans would appear increasingly foolish to label the South Koreans to be a nation of aggressors.
And yet, the South Koreans could be even more peaceful than thus!
South Korea is already so overwhelmingly economically superior to North Korea that the South Koreans could immediately reduce their arms expenditures to ½ of a percent of their current GDP level immediately. In so doing, they could significantly reduce taxes on their people. For in reality, if a war broke out between the two Koreas at the moment, it would be very one-sided—especially if the South Koreans fought defensively, which is to say that they would not even need to launch major counter-strikes into North Korean territory. The North Koreans would quickly run out of fuel if they attempted to invade the South Korean state, and the former’s economy would collapse rather quickly from within. In fact, if the South Koreans take the more extreme example of this demilitarized/decentralized economic advice, and only spend ½ of a percent of their GDP on the most effective parts of their military for the next five years, their growth will be enough to allow them to make their military expenditures 0.25% of their GDP by 2012, whereby their nominal defense expenditures will still be higher than the North Korean’s (this should not be surprising, as the state of Rhode Island currently maintains a higher GDP than North Korea based upon purchasing power parity). The South Korean’s could certainly find many highly cost-effective ways to defend their nation if their budget required it. All of this South Korean advice thus far is to say, of course, if South Korea is not concerned about being able to defend themselves from anyone else.
But if the South Koreans are worried over the militaries of the Chinese and even the Japanese, they could still cut their military expenditures by a great amount, for the South Koreans could merely create a handful of nuclear weapons and significantly reduce their highly expensive invasionary forces simultaneously. Indeed, WMDS would be a highly capable South Korean deterrent against any threat they may imagine from North Korea as well—what is more, such weapons would even be useful as a defense against any threat posed to South Korea by the United States (but surely, if the United States were to allow South Korea to build such weapons, they should not feel worried about us attacking them). Of course, some may be startled at such thoughts, as many people feel South Korea should not build such weapons as thus, for it may start an arms race in Asia, but if anyone is responsible for such an arms race, it is China (although China may semi-reasonably blame the United States for their newly created need for many more nuclear weapons). But it is hard to develop a real economy when one is spending all of their money on fireworks—especially poppers—and the United States should not bear the full burden of defending the entire Asian continent anyhow.
Then again, since South Korea already relies upon the United States’ nuclear arsenal through proxy, while the United States may risk destruction from a purely peaceful economic alliance with the South Koreans should the North Koreans continue their present course of “isolationism” (we could drop our economic sanctions on the North Koreans and become a neutral force in the region, although it is doubtful we shall do so, even though we have done so with Vietnam, Pakistan, and China), South Korea could spend absolutely nothing on their military today, and wholly rely on ours, and instead use their finances in order to develop their auto-industry even furthermore, insofar that they could eventually become equal to the Japanese in such productions, which would eventually provide even more competition for U.S. firms, which may be good for everyone in the long-run, as we could possibly discover technological methods that could be used to make even more fuel-efficient cars than those mentioned earlier in this section. At the very least, our cars would surely be much more powerful (the average horsepower of our cars has increased by more than 50% during the past twenty years), which would even allow the poorer among us to drive the “sports” cars of today, insofar that we could all rush for our highly priced morning coffee a few seconds faster than we already do—unless, of course, we find ourselves stuck on our “underdeveloped” freeways, in which case marginal horsepower shall be useless, for an absolute horsepower increase would hardly be more beneficial for consumers when we are attempting to merge on our roadways, as such times as thus are often more of a battle than not.

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