Chapter 4 - The Incompetence of the King?
"Steve had brought a newspaper to the park where we met. We met at his favorite bench in the middle of a wide-open lawn. He pretended to discuss the newspaper with me.
"Peter, Peter, why did you travel half way around the world just for that?" he greeted me while he looked at me across the top of his glasses and smiled. "Did you come across the Atlantic, and across the iron curtain, to hear me telling you what you already know?"
He reached his hand out. "It is so nice to see you again," he added. "Still, you could have saved yourself the trouble."
"I'm not here on my own behalf, Steve. The President of the United States of America is in a terrible bind. He is petrified with fear over the financial crisis. My boss wants to have your assessment as to what kind of danger we are in as the result of the financial breakdown in the West. He assumes that you have access to people who know how this development is perceived in the Soviet Union."
Steve broke into laughter and immediately put the paper down, so as not to give the impression there was anything that funny in the paper.
"My boss thinks that your network of friends in the scientific world includes connections to high places. Such a connection would be invaluable in this case. That is why I have come. Now, with this said, you can tell me what I already know."
Steve began to laugh again. "Are you sure you are not trained as a comedian, rather than as a diplomat?"
"Don't make jokes about this, Steve. That's serious!" I interrupted his laughter. I held my hand out until he stopped. "The President is afraid that the Soviets will exploit the weakness in the West that exploded unto the surface. He is afraid of a nuclear strike. In fact, he is so terribly afraid that he wants to preempt it! The first strike option is on the table, Steve. I am not joking. His advisors are pushing. They want him to preempt a possible Soviet first strike that they fear may be the Soviets' response to our weakness."
Steve shook his head and laughed again. He folded his paper up and laid it on the bench beside him.
"If this wasn't so serious, it really would be funny," I said cautiously in a tone of agreement.
"The man is insane and incompetent," said Steve in reply. "There is an economic crisis unfolding, and he wants to turn it into a strategic one too. He wants to throw nuclear weapons around. That is no way to solve an economic crisis."
"I know this, Steve, but how do the Soviets see this thing?"
"They are insane too, but not quite as insane. Remember, it was the West that pushed them into this nuclear-war standoff in the first place."
"I know this, Steve. But that doesn't answer how the Soviets are viewing our economic crisis, Steve? The delicate balance of power has suddenly shifted. Will the Soviets exploit it? Or are they afraid too, wondering if we are crazy enough to do something stupid to cover up our inability to deal with this crisis? That's the standard response in the imperial world when things fall apart internally, isn't it? If the imperial's credibility is on the rocks at home, they make war abroad. That's standard imperial practice. That's what usually happens, and that's what should be expected in this case, as an American response. Surely, that's what the Russians should be afraid of ever since America became an Empire."
Steve just smiled like a father might smile that has to explain to a child for the nth time what is up and what is down. "Sure there is a little crisis in the making. I hear a few rumbles in the markets, but that's all, Pete. The situation is not yet acute, and won't be for some time. We live in the modern world, Pete. We don't live in the dark ages. The USA is still the greatest economic and military power on the planet. Everybody knows that. It's not an empire yet and will never be one, though many would desire it. The Soviets know this. They are not stupid. The big question is, do you know it? And the bigger question is, do you know what lies in the future if our insane and incompetent President continues to destroy everything that has been built, that we once represented?"
I shrugged my shoulders, silently.
"If America's economic disintegration continues, the Russians may have cause to be afraid of in the future," said Steve. "Then they may act rashly, but not now."
I nodded in agreement.
"Tell me, what do you see on the economic front?" Steve asked. "You are an economist as much as I am, in the way we had talked about it before. You understand as well as I do that without love in society, there is no economy. So tell me: how much love do you see? Is there still some love left in society? And how much greed do you see? Greed and poverty corrupt society and destroy the foundation for its physical existence, which love would build. Is greed all that you can see? Or is there still some love left? So tell me Peter, how far has the pendulum swung towards greed, terror, and poverty, and away from love?"
I told him that I saw a lot of evidence for both poles being represented. I told him that I still saw a lot of love in society, even while I saw a strong trend towards greed and poverty, which together threaten to rule the world some day.
"There is your answer," said Steve. "Greed causes people to steal from each other's living, and as a consequence, people die inwardly as human beings, and the economy disintegrates as a consequence. Poverty adds to the effect. It impels people to become greedy by the corruption of fear. If a people loose their Soul as human beings, they are bound to become fearful. People then become greedy out of fear that they won't survive in the long run. So they become corrupted. Yes, Peter, I agree, we see a lot of that happening now. We see the results of this trend getting worse bit by bit. The economies are beginning to collapse, and the financial system that represents them becomes more and more a hollow shell. But what do we see on the other side, Peter? Is there any love left in society that reflects the humanity of human beings? Is there any humanity left that powers the economies in which people enrich one-another's existence and their world and their civilization? Is that all gone?"
"It's diminishing," I replied, "but there is a lot of it left."
"So, there's your answer, Peter. Tell your President that he's not facing an acute economic crisis yet. Tell him that the Soviets see this in the same way. But they, like I do, see the trend. So tell your President that he still has time to repair the system. Tell him that he has the opportunity to correct what is leading up to a real crisis that threatens to be greater than anything he can imagine. Tell him that he can make history, and become a great President, if he is courageous and takes a stand for the truth. This means taking a stand for all humanity. That means scrapping the private world-financial system, and building a comprehensive federal-credit system for the redevelopment of the nation and by the same process also the redevelopment of the world. Beyond that he needs to recreate a fixed-exchange-rate system for the world, modeled after the Franklin Roosevelt originated Bretton Woods System that the USA has stupidly trashed in 1971, and fully restore the Glass Steagall Legislation that is designed to prohibit banks from becoming financial derivatives gambling casinos. If he can't do this, he must resign. It's as simple as that. That's the only sane response to the ongoing worldwide financial and economic collapse. You can't fix the problem by throwing nuclear bombs around. That's an insane response. You can only fix the problem by eradicating what caused it. And that's your task, Peter, the task of America. And you can do this. The principles for doing this exist now. They have always existed. The Universe exists now. America is a nation of human beings now, and this puts it into the most powerful position that exists. There is nothing more powerful in this world than a human being."
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