Wednesday, 22 January 2003

Red, White, and Blue Storm Rising

by Michael Rivero

I am a great admirer of the writer Tom Clancy, despite his tendency to portray the CIA as icky-sweet do-gooders who would never dream of doing the sorts of things we know the real CIA actually does do. But Clancy is a good writer and has created plausible scenarios in his books, one in particular of which comes to mind at the present time.

In the book, "Red Storm Rising", World War Three starts when a fictionalized USSR, economically unable to purchase the oil products it needs, simply decides to take them. In order to conceal what is in essence a war of conquest, the fictionalized USSR manufactures a provocation by staging a fake terrorist attack on a symbolically important building in Moscow. Faked evidence is used to pin the blame on a target nation, and the fictionalized USSR starts a war on two fronts; a "just cause" war which masks a second front moving to grab the oil fields. This is a very believable scenario to the public, and the book was a best seller. It's one of my favorites.

Thus it is with some amazement that I watch as the very people who turned that book into a huge commercial success seem oblivious to the parallels in the so-called "War On Terror".

Whereas the fictionalized USSR in "Red Storm Rising" required the plot device of a refinery disaster to kick off the story line, the United States has arrived in precisely the same situation as the fictionalized USSR in the book through chronic mismanagement. It is no secret that the United States is in and has been in serious financial trouble for decades. The total governmental debt of the United States is estimated at $17 trillion (with a "T"). The interest alone on the federal portion of the National Debt now exceeds the entire personal income tax collected from every tax payer in the nation. And, since the full interest payments are not being made, let alone the principle, the debt continues to skyrocket. Claims of an election year budget surplus, which ignored the debt entirely, were little more than a bookkeeping trick in which the government spent Social Security payments as if they were general funds, along with now-failed predictions of ever increasing economic growth.

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