Choices: Endless war or wellbeing, clean energy, better worlds?

All 21 days of our new decade 2020 have been even more surreal than what has been the ever-metastasizing malignant normalcy of the past three years. My mind went careening into a maze of “dots” when President Trump assassinated the Iranian general earlier this month (remember way back then?), trying to connect them to make sense, all with the guiding question and really more of a rhetorical worry:

* Is sustainability still possible?
* Can we avert the worst-case climate emergency scenarios when we seem to be utterly ungovernable and accelerating in the wrong direction?
* Can we get along with one another?
* Can we sort out our truly collective aspirations?

One would think that these things are pretty universally desirable. When my mind went off worrying about what had just happened though, the barriers seemed far more deeply rooted in the dark power structures completely invisible to the vast majority of us (1). And yet in terms of dominant mindset, the barriers we face in community-owned renewable energy seem joined at the hip, certainly connected somewhere in that darker power anatomy.

The cost of war is staggering in terms of blood and treasure. The 5th fleet in the Persian Gulf patrolling oil shipping lanes is written off to oil. But the “oil explanation” is an oversimplification. It’s really about the U.S. dollar according to some observers. More precisely what has been called the “Petro-Dollar.” Maintaining dollar supremacy as the world’s reserve currency is necessary to buttress American empire and, in very intricate ways, sustain massive military spending as a quasi-form of money laundering.

In his article (published on counterpunch), America Escalates Its “Democratic” Oil War in the Near East, the economist Michael Hudson reminds us, for all with historical amnesia, that Iran and the dollar issue goes back to at least 1953. Hudson lays out the interwoven politics, geo-strategic maneuvering, linguistics, the manufacture and trafficking of war weapons, macroeconomic finance, and all the rest. Curious minds should read the piece.

This may be the essence of blood money because we are a country financed by war according to Hudson, who writes:

“So maintaining the dollar as the world’s reserve currency became a mainstay of U.S. military spending. Foreign countries to [sic] not have to pay the Pentagon directly for this spending. They simply finance the U.S. Treasury and U.S. banking system.”

Hudson goes on, and I think his question points to a place where we may look to answer my earlier questions:

“The question is, how to get the world’s politicians – U.S., European and Asians – to see how America’s all-or-nothing policy is threatening new waves of war, refugees, disruption of the oil trade in the Strait of Hormuz, and ultimately global warming and neoliberal dollarization imposed on all countries.”

This 2005 book by William Clark is another example of the enduring conflict around the dollar, oil markets, and war making. Maybe the threat posed by the Euro and Iraqi overtures at that time is past, but the story remains the same.
So the next time someone asks where will the money come from let’s remember that the military-industrial complex never has to ask that question. For it the funds are baked into the system. For economic transformation, clean energy, health care or education, well that’s a different tune.

Developing any community-owned solar project is difficult because of the powerful interests against whose grain such democratic energy rubs. Investor-owned utilities, the fossil fuel giants, and big finance to name some names. But the money is there once we have sight (or insight) and begin to see the system in its true light. We know project development method and practice, and some other things that give projects optimal community value, yet find too few organizations willing to try. Until we have that true insight to shatter barriers, I feel like at times there’s only the polemicist.

Confronting a Goliath system, sometimes a slingshot is a powerful thing though. Mindful of the global and trying to build the next community-owned solar project. That story and the project are my slingshot.

Again, the piece is America Escalates Its “Democratic” Oil War in the Near East by Michael Hudson.

1. In “The Price of Empire” (another counterpunch piece) Scott Owen says: “As a nation we have not discussed this most obvious position we are in as an empire or our responsibility in how it’s handled in any meaningful way. That the US is an empire is hardly understood by its own citizens and only truly recognized behind the closed doors of the Pentagon and CIA. Yet the US Empire has grown and grown hidden in plain sight and until now where it’s become the unavoidable elephant in the room and it is pushing us to the walls.” I believe Michael Hudson would add the US Treasury Dept. and the Federal Reserve to that “closed door” list.

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