by Brandon Smith, Alt-Market.com
August 3, 2017
Tracking geopolitical and fiscal developments over the past several years is a bit like watching a slow motion train wreck; you know exactly what the consequences of the events will be, you try to warn people as much as possible, but, ultimately, you cannot reverse the disaster. The disaster has for all intents and purposes already happened. What we are witnessing is the aftermath as a forgone conclusion.
This is why whenever someone asks me as an economic and political analyst “when the collapse is going to happen,” I have to shake my head in bewilderment. The “collapse” is here now. It is done. It is a historical fact. It’s just that not many people have the eyes to see it yet, primarily because they are hyper-focused on all the wrong things.
For many centuries now, elitists in power have understood the value of geopolitical distraction as a tool for controlling the masses. If you examine the underlying motivations behind the majority of wars between nations regardless of the era, you will in most cases discover that the power brokers on both sides tend to be rather friendly with each other. In fact, monarchies and oligarchies are historically notorious for fabricating diplomatic tensions and conflicts in order to force populations back under their control. That is to say, wars and other man-made conflicts give the citizenry something to react to, instead of hunting down the establishment cabal like they should.
One of the greatest illusions of human progress is the notion that most conflicts happen at random; that there are two sides and that those sides are fighting over ideological differences. In truth, most conflicts have nothing to do with ideological differences between governments and financial oligarchs. The REAL target of these conflicts is the people — or, to be more precise, the psychology of the people. Conflicts are often engineered in order to affect a particular change within the minds of the masses or to distract them from other dangers or solutions.
These scenarios are taken at face value by many because, unfortunately, most people have short attention spans. If an observer in 2007 was to be transported 10 years into the future, in 2017 they would find a world in dramatic and horrifying decline. The shock would be overwhelming. Ask an observer today what they think of the state of the world and they might not see much to be concerned about. The human mind becomes easily acclimated to crisis over time. We are resilient in this way, but also weak, because we forget the way things should be in order to deal with the way things are.
We only seem to take drastic actions to improve our situation after we have already hit rock bottom. The year of 2017 has so far been host to some extreme accelerations in crisis and collapse, and rock bottom is not looking too far away anymore.
Four trigger points around the globe concern me greatly, not because I think they will necessarily lead to a disaster any greater than the one we are already living in, but because they have the potential to effectively distract the public from more serious concerns. I am of course talking about the powder keg issues of Syria, North Korea, China vs. India, as well as Russia.
First, let’s be clear, the ongoing destabilization of our economy should be the primary concern of every person on the planet, most particularly those in the West. We are living within the husk of a dead fiscal system, reanimated with the voodoo of central bank stimulus, but only for a limited time. Economic decline is the greatest threat to cultural longevity as well as to human freedom. Even nuclear war could not hold a candle to the terror of financial disaster, because at least in a nuclear war the slate is wiped clean for establishment elites as well as the normal population. At least, in the event of nuclear war, the elites face anarchy just like we do.
In an economic crisis, the establishment maintains a certain level of control and thus its arsenal of toys – Including biometric surveillance grids, standing military support in the form of martial law, as well as the delusion among the populace that things “might go back to the way they were before” given enough time and patience.
There will be no nuclear war. Perhaps a limited nuclear event, but not a global exchange. There will be no moment of apocalypse as it is commonly displayed in Hollywood films. However, we WILL witness lesser conflicts as a means to turn our gaze away from the economy itself.
To give a quick summary of the economy so far from an American perspective, I must first remind readers of the constant misinformation that is often used by government institutions and central banks in order to hide negative data. For example, recovery proponents will sometimes cite the supposed “decline” in the number of people registered for food stamp (SNAP) benefits from the 47 million peak in 2013 to 42 million recipients today. Yet, they rarely mention the fact that much of this decline is directly attributed to states now enforcing work requirements instead of simply handing out SNAP cards like Mardi Gras beads.
They also still, for some reason, like to cite the decline in the unemployment rate to 4.4 percent while continuing to ignore the fact that 95 million working age Americans are no longer counted as unemployed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They argue that this is an entirely acceptable condition, even though it is unprecedented, because “home surveys” from the BLS claim that most of these people “do not really want to work.” These utterly ambiguous surveys leave open ended data to be interpreted essentially however the BLS wants to interpret it. Meaning, if they want to label millions of people as “disinterested” in employment, they can and will regardless of whether this is true or not.
Retail store closures have tripled so far this year, with 8,600 stores projected to close in total in 2017. This far surpasses the previous record of 6,163 stores in 2008 at the onset of the credit crisis.
This incredible implosion in brick and mortar business is often blamed on the rise of internet retail, or the “Amazon effect.” This is yet another lie. Total e-commerce sales only accounted for 8.5 percent of total U.S. retail sales in the first quarter of 2017 according to the commerce department. This means that internet retail is nowhere near large enough to account for the considerable loss in standard retail business. Thus, we must look to the stagnation in consumer spending to explain the situation.
U.S. household debt has now hit levels not seen since 2008, just before the credit crisis.
Those looking for government spending to save the day should probably look elsewhere. Nearly 75 percent of every tax dollar goes towards non-productive spending on the part of government.
I could go on and on — it is simply undeniable that nearly every sector of the U.S. economy is in steady decline compared to pre-2008 levels. This instability in the fundamentals will eventually weigh down and crash stock markets, bond markets, currency markets, etc. Such markets are the last vestige of the U.S. economy still giving the appearance of health.
So, there will come a time, probably sooner rather than later, when the piper will have to be paid and someone will have to take the blame for our fiscal non-recovery. The international banks and central banks are certainly not going to volunteer for this even though they are the real perpetrators behind our incessant financial rot. But how do they avoid accepting responsibility?
First, by setting the stage for another scapegoat. As I warned for months before the 2016 election, Donald Trump is the perfect target for a redirection of blame for a market crash. He has even been avidly attempting to take credit for the current market bubble, making it easier for the banks to lay blame in his lap when the entire edifice crumbles.
Second, by warping public focus away from the economic collapse altogether and presenting them with a seemingly more dire threat.
In Syria, this has developed into potential conflict with the Syrian government, Iran and Russia. The establishment could at any moment initiate an attempt at regime change. Not necessarily with the intent to actually unseat Bashar al-Assad, but with the intent to create as much chaos as is necessary to terrify the unwitting citizenry. While Donald Trump has been recently credited with “ending the regime change program” in Syria by ending the CIA training and funding pipeline to “moderate rebels”, this by no means equals an end to the plan to unseat Assad. ISIS has moved west into Europe, and now direct action against Assad by western governments is more probable. The Turkish government recently leaked the locations of multiple US bases within Syria, indicating that troops will remain on the ground and that the fractured country will continue on the same path of instability.
The next and most likely scenario for distraction is North Korea. With North Korea’s latest ICBM missile test, the perceived threat to the U.S. is now complete. The idea of North Korea striking the heart of America with a nuclear weapon is enough for many people to rationalize U.S. strike operations. That said, an invasion on the part of the U.S. makes little sense. Any strike by North Korea would be met with immediate nuclear annihilation; meaning a ground invasion to “prevent” an attack is unnecessary and might actually provoke a nuclear response rather than defuse one. Of course, it is likely that the goal in North Korea is not to prevent a nuclear event, but to once again catalyze chaos and confusion while the global economy and more importantly the U.S. economy sinks further into oblivion.
The US government has just issued a travel ban to North Korea starting September 1st. They have asked all Americans already visiting the country to leave immediately.
Next, Russian tensions are reaching a new level, as the U.S. Senate has passed new sanctions based on nothing but fabricated hearsay, and Donald Trump proves me right once again with his signature on the same sanctions, calling the legislation “flawed” while at the same time displaying overt cooperation with the establishment agenda. The Russian response has so far been to expel hundreds of U.S. diplomats from their country, and warn that the sanctions constitute the beginning of a “trade war”.
My readers know well that according to the evidence I view the East/West conflict to be farcical and theatrical, but this does not mean there will not be real-world consequences to the “little people” caught in the engineered crossfire. I believe this will culminate not in a shooting war, but in an economic war. While the international financiers constructed our bubble economy and will benefit from its failure, it will be eastern nations (and Trump) that receive much of the blame for the destruction of these bubbles.
Finally, an uncomfortable level of discord has been sparked the past month between India and China, both nuclear powers, over a border dispute in a remote valley connecting India to its ally, Bhutan. My feeling is that this is leading to diplomatic breakdown, but not necessarily an open war. Unfortunately, the trigger point stands ready to be exploited by globalists any time they need greater distraction. And, to be sure, a war between two of the world’s largest economies would wreak absolute havoc and provide an excellent diversion for a fiscal crash already set in motion by international banks.
I do not see the timing of heightened geopolitical tensions in 2017 as coincidental. It appears to me that these events are perfectly organized with maximum distraction in mind as we hit the top of perhaps the most massive stock and bond bubbles in modern history. The effectiveness of the smoke and mirrors will depend on the ability of liberty proponents to keep our analytical teeth sunk into the jugular of the establishment elite, as well as our ability to remind the public that these conspirators are the true criminals behind our national and international pain. The more extreme the geopolitical disaster, the more frightened people will become and the harder it will be for us to do our job. Knowing the level of difficulty involved in preventing the terror and madness of the mob, it is not a struggle I look forward to in the slightest.
This article originally appeared at Alt-Market.com.
Brandon Smith is a writer at Alt-Market.com.
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