18 Jul 2022

Part I of II How did we get here? Prelude to an American Dream/Nightmare

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The PolicySmith has observed over the decades a certain element of US society pursuing the goal of the rest of the world embracing “how right and good we are.” How the US purity of purpose should be self-evident and if only they understood us the rest of the world, including Rogue States would embrace us and our system. That same goalhas been pursued by fossil fuel energy industries. For decades the industry was nearly silent as its opponents demonized and excoriated it.

Both the U.S. on the world stage, and the oil and gas industry domestically, find themselves victimized by mischaracterizations and misunderstandings. This essay tracks both histories and in Part II will illuminate the evolution of today’s energy reversal and the result of our election misadventures both shaking and stirring the country. No wonder James Bond requested only one of those options!

The Free World finds itself in mid-2022 cornered by a century of longing and dreams of a world society united for the common good of all peoples. The first misstep in aid of that goal was the post-World War I League of Nations. It failed for multiple reasons — membership was disallowed for Russia and Germany, the U.S. did not join, no member was willing to provide military support, among others.

Fast forward past World War II for a second attempt — the United Nations was formed in 1945. Representatives of 50 nations drafted its Charter which was ratified by major powers and a majority of the other participating countries. Almost immediately splits in whatever unity there was surfaced and widened. The Arab world went to war over the nation state of Israel. Egypt’s Nasser tried and failed to form a United Arab Republic. East and West split over Europe and Korea. Mao’s Communists drove the Nationalist party from the China mainland onto Taiwan.

Hope, if not optimism, remained despite China’s virtual closure, apartheid in South Africa, and assorted despots in the Americas and Africa. Then America’s can-do spirit morphed in the late 1960s and early 1970s. From President Kennedy’s call to the new generation, creation of the Peace Corps the wellsprings of optimism degenerated into a legion of baby boomers at war with conformity. The result was race riots, cities under siege, Viet Nam protests — and hippies, drugs and a counter culture that would live on in various forms to the present.

Watergate, turmoil and stagflation in the US, the Arab oil embargo, all-time high oil prices and long lines at gas stations plus the Iran fiasco on Jimmy Carter’s watch eroded optimism to a low ebb — a national malaise — entering the 1980s. Old fashioned optimism was reinvigorated when Ronald Reagan’s realpolitick, “Morning in America” and “Trust but verify” became the new order of the day. Reagan’s Star Wars initiative, deregulation and subsequent cratering of oil prices sank the Soviet dinghy. Just after he left office the Iron Curtain fell and optimism soared. The good guys won. When the Tiananmen Square protests were squelched optimism retreated and sanctions were imposed on the world’s most populace nation.

Despite the obstacles, one could sense the optimism in the self-anointed do-gooders on the Left with the election of President Clinton. The campaign theme “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” embodied that optimism essentially not evident in Boomers since the Kennedy election. Aging peaceniks, hippies-turned-stockbrokers and the Woodstock/Aquarius true believers found a new/old cause. The environment, social justice and the kernels of “wokeness” were germinating. Personal peccadilloes, not a “vast right wing conspiracy” sidetracked the Clinton leadership but Albert “Lockbox” Gore happily assumed the mantle. He would set the world on a sustainable path — fix Social Security, cure global warming and move the Progressive agenda…after all, he had invented the Internet.

But he lost by a hanging chad or two, Bush the younger won and then 9/11 struck a near fatal blow to optimism. The darkness of that day and those that followed cast a pall over the Free World as the Middle East murderers celebrated. The Gulf War energized the Left and the “No War for Oil” canard was the daily drumbeat. The 2008 economic implosion was an ignominious end to the Bush years.

The election of the first black US President reignited optimism in some quarters and poured fuel on the fire of The Woke. The pal of terrorist Bill Ayers, congregant of Jeremiah Wright, community organizer, the man with a buried past would be the one to set America on the course to Progressive nirvana. In other quarters reactions to leading from behind, apology tours, health care tumult and professorial hubris redoubled resolve to, as the 2016 candidate put it, “Make America Great Again.”

Economic doldrums, moribund growth, lingering doubts about old business deals and an uninspired campaign by the former First Lady gave her a plurality of the vote but not the Electoral College. As Donald Trump enters the White House in 2016, a review of the rise of the Rogue States is in order.

Russia — the ebullience of Boris Yeltsin and independence from Soviet domination of countries behind the Iron Curtain gives way to the rise of Vladimir Putin and an autocracy bent ultimately on restoration of Russia’s “greatness.” He proceeds slowly in the Bush years but Obama’s palsy demeanor allows the oligarch unfettered adventurism, invading Georgia, Chechnya and exerting tighter and more lethal control over his minions. And he baldly annexes the Crimea. No shots fired, nothing more than a whimper from the West. Putin finances it all with record oil and natural gas prices.

China — From an era of relative recovery and relaxation after the Tiananmen debacle, Chairman Xi ascended and government’s merciless grip on society tightened. Though the “one child” policy was relaxed, pressure on and torture of religious outliers including the Falun Gong, the Muslim Uyghurs, et al, intensified. Xi also pressed for influence in South America, Africa and the Middle East with the Belt and Road initiative. The notable push back came from Australia and Japan. Again the Obama strategy was to appease and negotiate with zero demonstration of will or force.

Iran — The Mullahs’ theocracy of murder, repression and terrorism was met in the Obama years with a nuclear “deal” that allowed unverified “peaceful” development of nuclear capabilities and a shipment of billions of dollars in cash to Tehran. As a bonus, oil prices rose dramatically in the Obama years funding the Mullahs misadventures, sowing discord throughout the Middle East. The “Death to America” boys destabilized the fledgling democracy in Iraq and pursued the annihilation of Israel in the bargain.

North Korea — The six party talks went nowhere in the Obama years, just as they had not in the Bush years. Kim Jong-Il tantrums, bellicosity and the occasional missile launch plus bad haircuts had a solid eight-year run during the Obama years.

Western Hemisphere — When Fidel passed, optimism briefly bloomed and Obama began normalizing Cuba relations, angering Cuban ex-pats in the U.S. A state visit late in his second term resulted in commercial flight resumption and some easing of lesser restrictions. Good news for cigar aficionados. Then there’s Venezuela — a brief encounter between Obama and Nicolas Maduro resulted in Maduro stating that he did not trust the U.S. President. Sanctions continued. Administration after administration had given lip service to fixing immigration in general and the illegals crossing from Mexico in particular.

Prior to the Trump presidency, the Obama administration built more than 100 miles of border wall and promised a crackdown on criminal networks running drugs across the border. Among that administration’s “achievements” was the brainchild of Attorney General Eric Holder. “Fast and Furious” was a nearly 2,000 firearm illegal purchase for $1.5 million. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and others allowed the transaction so as to track the sellers and purchasers, believed to be connected to Mexican drug cartels. Two weapons linked to Fast and Furious were found near the scene of border patrol agent Brian Terry’s murder. Holder was cited by the Senate Judiciary Committee for contempt.

This past is prelude to the chaos of the Trump years and the steering into the ditch by, as Joe Biden declared his cadre, the “adults are back in charge and the competence is breathtaking.”

Next: Part II of II — Presidents Trump and Biden — Good Grief!

One Response to Part I of II How did we get here? Prelude to an American Dream/Nightmare
  1. There is so much more, but I leave the book authorship to others — my forte’ is the 5 to 8 minute read…

    I am reading Tom Sowell’s book on the anointed. Spot on as always from crime to race to those “helping” minorities to abortion, he destroys the narrative of the elites. Prosperous and peaceful compared to what? The 1990s? Tell it to the Uyghurs, the North Koreans, Afghans, Iranians, Cubans, Ukrainians and the legions of others under the thumb of murderers, kleptocrats and Central American thieves and drug cartels. Yes, fentanyl and terrorists in waves across our southern border give me succor and comfort — same as I get from Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, Al Gore, Kerry and Dr. Fauci.


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