The Lull Before the Social Storm

Jack D. Douglas

There comes a time finally when the accelerating crises and sufferings and rages become too much to bear and something sets off an explosive cascade of events that quickly leads to a vast social explosion.

Vast social revolutions and wars are often preceded by periods of giving up on reforms, despairing withdrawal from public life by the best and brightest, and even peacefulness which seems to have become the normal condition in spite of deep conflicts and growing crises beneath the surfaces of public life. Often, earlier periods of intense conflicts and crises have been overcome and resolved, so it comes to look like that is the normal in life. This lulls most people into assuming their worse fears cannot happen, but this leads them to lowering their guards against growing conflicts and crises, so small ones can more easily cascade down into massive ones. If people expected they could become vast wars or revolutions or implosions, they would take more precautions to prevent that. But when lulled in expecting the worst cannot happen, the worst than they could ever imagine often explodes suddenly.

The cataclysmic French Revolution came after many decades of attempted reforms and conflicts which people had come to think of as unending. It started with new attempts at reforms, then incidents that did not seem so important, then all of it a sudden it exploded. WWI came after so many decades of peace in Europe, in spite of imperial conflicts around the world and an arms race, that most people thought a major war was impossible. Then a single murder in the far away Balkans set in motion an explosive cascade of events that led to a cataclysmic war. The Russian Revolution was preceded by such a long "lull" encouraged by European peace and reforms by the tsar that even Lenin was near despair and was living abroad. After several years of WWI and growing poverty at home, the Russian front imploded and a small event at home triggered a revolution that started small and democratic and then exploded into one of the vastest social revolutions in history. The beginning of WWII on the crucial German-French front was so quiet for so many months after France and Britain had declared war on Germany after it invaded Poland that it was called the "Sitzen Krieg" in Germany, the sit-down war, then it exploded as Germany invaded through the Ardennes. This was repeated near the end of the war as Germany built up its forces secretly for attacking through the Ardennes again.

Obama's War Against Pakistanis

Jack D. Douglas

I watched an interview with Bob Woodward about his new book, Obama's Wars. It was mostly inside-dopsterish Woodward at his worst. But at the end a young anchor asked him what the U.S. attacks in Pakistan were going to produce in the near future. He smiled in his all-knowing and impish way, said he could not really say [of course], but "I think you should strap yourself in!" Translation: you ain't seen nothing yet, so hang on Sloopy and fasten your seatbelt for a wild ride ahead.

This time he was right. In the last few days since then the U.S. has openly attacked Pakistan twice and today the enraged and humiliated Pakistani military shut the vital U.S. supply lines from the Pakistani ports into Afghanistan. Supplies are the carotid and aorta of U.S. and Nato forces in Afghanistan where they are already losing the nine-year-old war.

I doubt the Pakistanis will actually launch military attacks on the U.S. at this point. But they are showing they mean business. They don't plan to be another victim of American imperialism any more than they already have been. They are not a defenseless Cambodia or Afghanistan the U.S. can bomb into the stone age without serious fighting.

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