"Maybe there's hope in your scenario, JR. The ultra-rich care only about money, and the looting of the treasury and the economy has already progressed so very, very far that I don't think even the ultra-rich will be making much money in a McCain administration. There's just not much left to steal."
What we are going through has been repeated over and over again in the six or eight millennia that military conquest and pillage has been popular with elites. Although there are many argu-
ments favoring the view that the US has been an imperialist, expansionist power nearly from our beginnings, we were able, due to unique circumstances, to enjoy the best of both worlds -- imperial domination abroad and productive abundance at home. Hence investment in domestic production and social improvement was possible along with military adventurism. This was a historical anomaly.
The more common routine has been austerity and misery at home amongst the common people (who's greatest ambition became to join the military). Think Sparta, Rome, Victorian England, the Mongols. This historical trend was explored in Herbert's Dune series. The only marked exceptions I can think of that violates this rule was the Caliphate which invested heavily in their society and some short lived imperial efforts utilizing foreign mercenary troops like the Dutch.
Simply put, a nation can not field an ever expanding predatory army and offer prosperity to the common folks at the same time. Happy, well fed, secure and well educated people do not make for the kind of ruthless killers such an army needs. So, as I see it, and have written about before (see Childhood abuse and the role it plays in maintaining coercive power), the looting that is going on is preparatory to reconfiguring the USA (and likely Canada and Mexico as well) as a garrison state. In short, create misery as a recruiting tool. Imperialism abroad and humanism at home is virtually unknown in history.
This is the core understanding that has turned me into an optimistic doomer. An imperialistic state still needs an infrastructure for the manufacture of weapons. In the event of a catastrophe that disables the entire economy, the system of imperialism will not survive. We
The worst possible exit from the condition of imperial garrison state, and the most common in history, is military overreach and defeat on the field of battle.
If, as seems increasingly possible, our rulers make the mistake of provoking a nuclear war with Russia by overplaying their hand (as we just witnessed in Georgia) then our species itself is at risk.
There will be no winners in such a war. We will exterminate ourselves.
then will have a chance to reestablish liberty and the rule of law.
There are a lot of candidates in the wings waiting to play the role of instigator of such a collapse. As discussed earlier I favor the high altitude nuclear explosions scenario because of minimal harm, but actually, some as yet unforeseen combination of causes is a more likely route. Ideally, the rest of the world would respond with economic sanctions, à la what happened to Iraq between the wars (talk about poetic justice!) that would make it impossible for the US and its allies to continue arming. I doubt though that this path will be taken. The lunatics running our imperial project have managed to convince any potential participants in such a sanctions regime that they are quite ready to nuke anybody that gets in their way. This is the foreign policy approach pioneered by Nixon -- crazy leadership with a finger on the button as a convincing deterrent to any thought of resistance to our rule.
The worst possible exit from the condition of imperial garrison state, and the most common in history, is military overreach and defeat on the field of battle. If, as seems increasingly possible, our rulers make the mistake of provoking a nuclear war with Russia by overplaying their hand (as we just witnessed in Georgia) then our species itself is at risk. There will be no winners in such a war. We will exterminate ourselves.
As incredibly dumb and gullible as the US public is continually proving itself to be, it is just possible that the population will adopt a policy of non-compliance with the Imperial State. As ignorant as we are, we are still more educated and aware than any previous population that has undergone the garrison state process.
The Russian Revolution was the result of Russia's armies mutinying on the field. Perhaps our military will mutiny as well, but that has to be considered a very long shot.
If the mothers of the US stopped their children from joining the military in sufficient numbers that might do it. No imperial project in the modern world has been able to rely totally on mercenary troops (though there is no doubt that our depraved leadership would try in the event of our population becoming unmanageable). In the final analysis the future of any species is in the hands of its mothers. Let's hope the mothers realize their potential power to bring this madness to a halt.
So yes, there will not be much left to steal, but that is just part of the plan to steal the wealth of the rest of the world in toto. Pity the poor ultra-rich people. They only want one thing -- EVERYTHING.