Posted on 16th January 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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The West has lost control of the world and disaster awaits

We’re going to need a great of luck to avoid a nuclear catastrophe – and this can be traced back to the First World War and the death of Frederick III in 1888

British soldiers line up in a narrow trench during World War One

British soldiers line up in a trench during World War One Photo: Hulton/Getty Images

As we look forward to the First World War commemorations, three stark conclusions are hard to refute. First, that in the course of this century we will need a great deal of luck to avoid a nuclear catastrophe. Second, that the Enlightenment has failed. Third, that this can all be traced back to the Great War.

As a result of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, it seemed that mankind might make a decisive break with the scarcity and oppression that had characterised previous eras. There was, admittedly, one early warning. The French Revolution proved that a radical reconstruction of society on abstract principles was likely to end in tyranny and bloodshed. But after 1815, the 19th century developed into one of the most successful epochs in history. Living standards, life expectancy, productivity, medicine, the rule of law, constitutional government, versions of democracy – there was dramatic progress on all fronts, and in the spread of civilisation across the globe.

Then one of the scourges of modern life struck and killed. In 1888, Frederick III became Emperor of Germany. Queen Victoria’s son-in-law, he was a thoughtful man who had an easy relationship with his English relatives. By temperament he was a constitutionalist, a liberal and no enthusiast for militarism. As he had served in the field with distinction, Frederick could have mobilised the prestige to justify his pacific inclinations.

It was not to be. Already in the grip of cancer when he ascended the throne, he lived for only 99 days. There is an irony. Frederick, not a blood relation, would have had much in common with Prince Albert. The new Emperor, William, Albert’s grandson, was more like some of the worst Hanoverian princes. Envious and insecure, he was a strutting little ponce of an emperor: Kaiser Sarkozy.

It is by no means certain that 1914 could have been avoided. There was a great deal of tinder around, and most of the policymakers had a wholly insufficient understanding of the horrors of modern war. But a German emperor of immense authority, who would have been seeking a 20th-century version of the post-1815 settlement, who might even have invented the concept of collective security – it could have worked.

If so, Adolf Hitler’s name might now be gathering dust in a police file: “Failed artist and casually employed house painter, who sometimes tries to rabble-rouse the bierkeller dregs in the poorer quarters. Once spent the night in the cells for causing a disturbance outside a Jewish household…” An early British socialist, Robert Tressell, wrote a novel about house painters, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. Without the Great War, Hitler would have been a mere unchronicled ragged-trousered misanthropist.

If only; 1914-1945 was the worst period in European history since the Dark Ages. In 1914, there was talk of “the war to end all wars” – possibly the most fatuous geopolitical mistake of all time. It makes “the new world order” sound like common sense. By the end of the First World War, they were rolling the pitch for the Second. Enlightenment, the Whig theory of history, any other theory based on inevitable and steady improvement: they had all formed a Pals’ battalion and died in the trenches.

The deaths continued. By 1945, Europe was staring into the abyss, and we know what Nietzsche said: “If you stare into the abyss for long enough, it will stare back at you.” The stare was broken, the Third and final war avoided, not by a reassertion of civilised values, but by the atom bomb. Mankind survived because of mutually assured destruction.

Apropos of atomic weapons, there is another terrible thought. If Hitler had not been anti-semitic, he would have won the Second World War. Instead of dismissing atomic/nuclear physics as “Jewish science”, suppose he had persuaded enough Jewish scientists to work for him? He would almost certainly have had the Bomb first. But anti-semitism was at Hitler’s black and evil core. In the bleak midwinter, why do we need ghost stories to provide a frisson of pretend horror, when real horror is available in unlimited quantities just by contemplating the last 100 years?

The wars left Britain too exhausted to deal with a brace of imperial difficulties. Even if we had not been so depleted in blood and treasure, India would have been tricky. From Macaulay onwards, the wisest intellects who involved themselves with Indian affairs knew that English rule was a trusteeship, not a 1,000-year Reich. But when it came to India, Churchill’s was not a wise intellect, and he would have had supporters. No wars, therefore no imperial overstretch: assuming that wisdom had prevailed, India could have been brought to independence gradually, not in a post-war scuttle. It could also have been brought to independence as one country – so no Pakistan, that most dangerous of all failed states.

Equally, if there had been no First and Second World Wars, there would have been nothing like the same pressure for a Jewish nation in Palestine. The odd rich philanthropist, satiated with first-growth claret and sick of the falsity of drawing rooms, might have persuaded some similar-minded kibbutzniks of the delights of ditch-digging. As they would probably have paid the previous Arab proprietors 50 times what the land was worth, there might have been no trouble. It should have been possible to create a self-governing Jewish enclave in Palestine for the price of a few broken heads in the odd inter-communal riot.

Without Pakistan, without a chronic and insoluble Palestinian crisis – those two Ps that will continue to torment mankind, no matter how many mattresses are used to squash them – this century would look promising.

As it is, we have the two Ps, and mutually assured destruction is breaking down. It worked during the Cold War, and it has worked between India and Pakistan. Could it work between Israel and Iran? Could the Iranians be trusted not to hand some stuff out at the back door? For that matter, is it inconceivable that there could be a seepage from Pakistan? What about miniaturisation? A couple of hundred quid in a high-street computer shop will buy you something more powerful than the Pentagon’s computer resources 40 years ago. All other forms of technology are becoming smaller, cheaper and more accessible. Is nuclear weaponry really immune from that?

While the whole world was turned upside down in the 20th century, Islamic societies were not immune. Though it would be absurd to talk as if Islam was the same from Morocco to Malaysia, there are forces and fractures in the Muslim world, many of them related to religion; some of them producing young men who hate us and everything we stand for. The West has lost control, and it all started in 1888. We will need a lot of good fortune to steer through the next few decades. Happy New Year.

  1. Stephanie says:

    Ok, so why did he completely leave out the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire? Both key players during World War 1 (So much that inflation let Russia into a Revolutions and into the arms of Lenin) and World War 2. I think the collapse of those two empires (Especially the Ottoman Empire) would have a more direct linkage to issues in the Middle East. Also, WTF does Frederick III have to do with anything? How is it that Wilhelm II (correct spelling) isn’t the key player along with Hinderberg if you are going to discuss in an article 20th century German history?

    Bad article, bad history.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

    16th January 2014 at 4:52 pm

  2. Jackson says:

    Right on, Administrator… mostly.

    Another theory is that the seminal event was when Wilhelm 2nd (Kaiser Bill) shit canned Bismarck.

    Edward Grey’s secret treaty with France is also a strong challenger for the key event.

    Churchill, Asquith, Lloyd George of the Brits; Kaiser Bill, Bethmann-Hollweg of the Bosch; the Tsar; the… oh, there are so many others to blame and so many turning points.

    But it was a glorious war, wasn’t it?… Suffering, sacrifice, and, for us, a splendid outcome. That’s what we’re lacking today… a great crusade, a great war, and a great outcome. With luck we’ll have our own NeoCon forced trial and triumph… Agree?

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    16th January 2014 at 5:11 pm

  3. Kill Bill says:

    It reeks of conspiracy theory, but some, actually few, things make sense as it pertains to WWI and II

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    16th January 2014 at 5:27 pm

  4. Zarathustra says:

    The Jews were easy to blame in Weimar Germany because Jewish Banksters financed Germany’s enemies in the Great War and assraped Germany afterwards. They are making the same mistake in the US and it will come back to haunt them when the time is ripe. Some people never learn.

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    16th January 2014 at 5:36 pm

  5. Kill Bill says:

    Z, its not about religion.

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    16th January 2014 at 8:12 pm

  6. dc.sunsets says:

    This is so euro (and Anglo) centric.


    The single most disastrous precondition for the 20th century’s horrors was Robert E. Lee’s decision to fight the War for Southern Secession by set piece battles rather than guerrilla warfare.

    This handed Tyrant Lincoln’s industrialized North the upper hand, which he quickly pressed (and then sent Sherman on the first burn-rape-loot pogrom of the Early Modern Era).

    Without a unified state, the USA, to serve Wilson’s arrogant, Progressive fantasies, the stalemate of World War One would have ground both sides down to a negotiated peace.

    Possibly, Russia would not have been bled to the point where the Bolshevik Revolution succeeded. No Leninist victory, no 20th century bloodbath of democide.


    What we KNOW, however is that without the punishment of the one-sided Treaty of Versailles, there would be no fertile nationalistic ground for Nazi seeds.

    Without US entry into World War One, it might have been a lasting peace afterward…at least for longer than the intermission between Acts 1 and 2.

    Maybe the Atom Bomb would not have been developed.

    Of all nation states, only the USA has had the wealth to confiscate to field its vast navy. Only the USA could launch the British-designed modern, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier which has been the source of so much mischief on the part of our RISK ™ playing ruling Neo-conservatives.

    Sorry folks. It all began with Lee, Lincoln, then Wilson, FDR (source of the “unconditional surrender” demand that extended WW2 and led to the USA dropping two nuclear weapons on largely civilian cities…including a POW camp incinerating American airmen) and the West’s Butcher, Truman.

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    16th January 2014 at 8:59 pm

  7. dc.sunsets says:

    The seeds of war are planted long before.

    FWIW, Prechter notes that in an Elliott Wave sequence it is “wave C” of cycle degree or larger that yield wars.

    The first decline in a correction, usually labeled “wave A,” is usually mostly limited to financial destruction. The recovery after that, “wave B,” causes people to immediately think that the prosperity of the prior bull market is back. When this turns out to be false, as “wave C” rolls over and stocks & the economy plunge again, it’s not just financial destruction that occurs.

    This is where major wars occur.

    Given that the “correction” we began in the year 2000 is one degree (at least) larger than the one that led to World War 2, we can infer that the financial destruction of that “wave A” (which we’re still tracing out, and have yet to really plunge for as yet) will be worse than the financial hardships of the Great Depression.

    The really scary part is that if this model holds true, after we bottom in a few years after a devastating economic contraction and depression, the rally that eventually occurs will be but part of a correction. When it ends a few decades from now and economic hardships return in the “wave C” it will (according to theory) culminate in a war possibly even worse than the twins of World War One and Two.

    Think nuclear.
    Think biological.
    Think chemical.

    We are ruled at all times by scorpions.
    In the ancient fable of The Scorpion and the Frog, the frog was of the same belief, that imminent self-destruction would stay the “hand” of the scorpion and allow the frog to safely convey them both across the river.

    The nature of the scorpion, however, was to sting. The frog forgot that the scorpion was not a frog; it was by nature something entirely different and always a deadly threat.

    We, as a society, let our optimism, society-level Chauvinism, our confusion over technology and experience with the familiar lull us into creating a titanic threat to our lives and our future, one we seem to understand as little as did the residents of Pompeii prior to the historic eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius.

    As usual, it is not the small and foreign (small arms like an AR15, in this case, to the person who doesn’t own one) that threatens our children sitting at their school desks, it is the monstrous and familiar, whose incalculable destructive power rests cradled in the hands of megalomaniacs who have spent their entire adult lives steeping in human blood. They are not like us, despite appearances, and any belief to the contrary is childish, naïve, and self-destructively stupid.

    What happens if such scorpions decide that the USA (or world) must be destroyed in order to save it?

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    16th January 2014 at 9:08 pm

  8. Kill Bill says:

    What happens if such scorpions decide that the USA (or world) must be destroyed in order to save it?

    Revolution is the way to one world government. Communism and Capitalism are the theses.

    Dr madness has subsidized both.

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    16th January 2014 at 9:34 pm

  9. dc.sunsets says:

    I concur. I’m an atheist, but (paradoxically) I believe violence is always in the service of Satan.

    The path of peace and of life is withdrawal.

    Withdraw consent.
    Withdraw participation.
    Ignore as much as you can.
    Walk away whenever safe to do so.
    Secession is the watercourse way.

    Violence is always anti-life. There may be times when it is absolutely unavoidable, but when that occurs it is prima facie evidence that you should have decided to BE SOMEWHERE ELSE at that moment in time.

    The need for violence is often evidence of a failure to plan to be someplace else.

    (That said, pacifism as a philosophy is paradoxically anti-life, too. Cultivating weakness invites predatory behavior.)

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    16th January 2014 at 9:40 pm

  10. Kill Bill says:

    Look, there, upon the wall.

    *kick you in the crotch*

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    16th January 2014 at 9:42 pm

  11. Kill Bill says:

    (That said, pacifism as a philosophy is paradoxically anti-life, too. Cultivating weakness invites predatory behavior.) -dc

    Does a shark eat its prey to extinction?

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    16th January 2014 at 9:44 pm

  12. Kill Bill says:

    Even the shark raises sheeple.

    dc,eat me..

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    16th January 2014 at 9:49 pm

  13. dc.sunsets says:

    If I was hungry enough.

    I’m on a diet, though. No assholes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    16th January 2014 at 10:24 pm

  14. Reverse Engineer says:

    The so-called “improvements” of the 19th Century all came on the back of cheap energy, first through Coal mining (&burning), then onto Oil drilling (&burning).

    The distribution of the benefits of all this energy burning was not very good, a few people got immensely wealthy, and MOST of the world was impoverished, rolled over by industrial tanks and turned into the polluted sewer it is today.

    HTF anybody can look at the Century from say 1815 to 1915 and say this was GOOD is a complete moron. The world did not go to shit in 1888, and it didn’t go to shit because Archduke Franz Joseph got Assassinated either. It went to shit long before that, but this period just made it WORSE.

    Bruce Anderson is a complete Numbskull. The “West” losing control in 1888 was not the problem, the problem was the west GAINING control around the time of the enlightenment and colonization of the New World. The “West” brought disease and Genocide across the globe at this point, and simply rolled over anyone in the way with a steady progression of more powerful weaponry.

    This is plain stupid stuff, and it surprises me Jimbo would post it. It is so wrong I can’t count the ways.


    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

    16th January 2014 at 5:39 am

  15. Nonanonymous says:

    dc, i’m still waiting for you to get to the answer. everything you’ve said so far is a paradox, or is that the answer?

    That’s quite inscrutable, although, Zen is a higher plane. Remember that while you’re getting eaten. JK

    However, one of the tv shows we watched as a family growing up was Kung Fu. Caine wasn’t anyone to f*** with. Maybe Carradine should have let someone in on his sexual proclivities, and he would be alive today.

    I know the answer, but you seem to have rejected it. Why?

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    16th January 2014 at 7:57 am

  16. TeresaE says:

    If ifs and buts were candy and nuts then everyday would be Christmas.

    Lots of supposition, lots of accusations, little to no evidence to back it all up. And nary a mention of the true world powers, guys like the Rothschilds. He blames it on the death a ruler that ruled for less than 4 months, yet only gives the true backers a slight mention. Perspective.

    But I do agree that if the South would have realized this was a true war – on our Constitution – instead of Washington aggression against “property” rights, maybe things would be much different now.

    Maybe not. Somehow I think the PTB would still have been fine, would still have been attempting to fulfill some centuries old rich guys’ wet dream of Utopia on earth.

    The ripples in the pond that led us to world war are varied and many. It is truly hard to say what Butterfly Effect would be had from one – or more – events going differently.

    Really though, it matters little to today.

    Looking back longingly at history proclaiming that “if’ this or “if” that went a different way is nothing but a fool’s errand.

    Reality is our present PTB have all the money, all the power, all the resources and don’t want/need about 95% of us.

    That is the real danger, Sherman’s (and many, many others) atrocities aside.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    16th January 2014 at 9:23 am

  17. dc.sunsets says:

    @TeresaE, I agree.

    TPTB are still people (flaws and all), only they’re even worse off because (as Rothbard observed) they’re surrounded by fawning yes-men and sycophants, having the effect of making these people nuttier than squirrel turds.

    Human innovation handed these megalomaniacs destructive power none of us can really grasp. Ballistic missile submarines, anyone?

    You did raise an important issue with international banking. Funding both sides of every murderous organized insanity has been their operation since at least the Napoleonic Wars.

    They’re even more embedded, tick-like, now than ever. This bodes ill for our future.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    16th January 2014 at 10:07 am

  18. flash says:

    Hear! Hear!

    Taki- Here it is nice and simple. Serbia is an Austrian dominion, or whatever you want to call it. She is part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Crown Prince Franz Ferdinand visits Sarajevo and is shot dead along with his wife by a Serb nationalist with close ties to other Serb nationalists in the armed forces. Austria is outraged and makes heavy demands, as well she should. This is stretching it, but let’s have some fun. What would Uncle Sam have done if, say, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton had been cut down by some extremist in Puerto Rico? Well, I for one would vacation in San Juan the next day, and I’d spend lots of money too, but then I am known to say and do rash things. So the Serbs ask the Russians for help and guarantees in case the Austrians march in, and the Russians give it. The trouble is that the Russkis have a treaty with the French and the British that if they go to war, the other two will follow. So the Austrians ask the Germans for a guarantee and the Germans refuse to give it.

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    16th January 2014 at 9:31 am

  19. El Coyote says:

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    16th January 2014 at 2:13 am

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