The United States of Razor Wire
“This will never be the same country again. We have lost the talent needed to maintain a federal republic.”
So says U.S. Army Col. (ret) Patrick Lang, a former intelligence officer. It’s a terse, penetrating comment by an old soldier. It’s hard to disagree, and there’s plenty to dissect.
The United States of America have – plural verb on purpose – reached a strategic dead end.
The Republic of 1787 is over. American history is canceled. Events have caught up with us.
This is now a country of razor wire, the new symbol of governance.
What does this mean for you? I’ll offer some ideas below.
For now, let’s dig in…
Begin with the obvious. Namely, the coming inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden in Washington. D.C. on Wednesday, Jan. 20.
And please… It’s not so much about Biden the person, or even as a lifetime politician.
It’s not about how smart Biden is (and he has certainly bragged about being smart).2 Or what he allegedly “believes,” even though over 50 years in politics he’s believed quite a few things.
No, this is about what Biden represents. It’s about who his enablers and handlers are. It’s about the people in politics, media and big money (really big money!) who got him nominated and elected and who will shape the manner in which he governs.
I’ve touched this rail before, discussing “old politicians,” lobbyists and heavily monied interests who run things in America.
Which brings us back to the inauguration…
Historically, inaugurations have been noble public ceremonies. A “hail and farewell” of sorts, as political power changes hands, whether within the same party or between Republicans and Democrats.
In the past, and even in the worst of days, people gritted their teeth, came together for a day or so, commended the new president and wished a farewell to the one departing. It was a quadrennial opportunity to celebrate nationhood.
Not this year.
For obvious reasons (see the past 10 weeks), mutual bitterness is nothing short of caustic. You could pickle steel in the sulfurous, acidic bile that flows through the pipes of Washington, D.C.
Indeed, nothing says things are unwell like metal fences topped with razor wire.
Hmm… at least someone put flowers in the fence. Courtesy Voice of America.3
Are fencing and razor wire necessary? Or is this another garish display of hyper-reactive political-military theater, suitable for life in our looming prison-nation?
Fences and razor wire definitely send a message that there are certain people on the inside of government who deeply fear some element of people on the outside.
Look at it this way with razor wire. If you ain’t “in,” you’re definitely “out.”
In many respects, fences and razor wire are a fitting culmination to 2020.
Sadly, it’s what we’ve come to expect from our governing class after a year of lockdowns; after contradictory and nonsense orders by inflated, imperious politicians and bureaucrats; and after expanding economic and social control by boy-billionaire tech oligarchs.
Fences and razor wire drive home the point that last year’s petty tyranny was but a foretaste of the new feudalism on the horizon. Well, we saw it coming.
Then again, last year’s petty tyranny was also a glaring display of how far the U.S. has regressed as a nation, after several decades of deindustrialization, financialization and globalization.
In the midst of a global pandemic, the country awoke to the fact that it cannot manufacture most of its basic medicines and medical products.
Meanwhile, across the world, fences and razor wire are symbols of government hard power. Long-ago, we mocked the former Soviet Union for building what we called the Iron Curtain in Europe. We spoke with disdain of an ugly wall that surrounded half of Berlin.
Now, steel fence and razor wire ring the iconic American Capitol. And apparently, many people are fine with that.
Of course, fences and razor wire represent a hasty, panicked government response to what happened on Jan. 6, aka “Black Wednesday.”
Then, a crowd at the Capitol turned into a mob, and the mob turned into a riot. People stormed the building, broke in, created a spectacle, made a mess and left injury and even death in the wake. I discussed it here.
Almost always, here at Agora Financial and St. Paul Research, we’re skeptical (if not cynical) toward politicians.
But in this case, there’s a certain understanding that members of the House and Senate were mortified to have their legislative inner sanctums invaded by wannabe power-grabbers dressed up in ninja-warrior garb, waving colorful flags. We get that.
Flags inside U.S. Capitol, courtesy of Quartz.4
But as with much that involves the never-ending psychodrama and insidious lawfare of U.S. politics, immediate reaction has transformed into draconian overreaction.
It’s fair to say that Black Wednesday’s outrage itself has now been weaponized. And while the unsightly fences and razor wire may eventually go away, the sentiment behind them will linger.
After all, razor wire speaks volumes about what America’s political class thinks of the people outside the fence line; — more than those elected worthies might have suspected.
Throw in the 25,000 soldiers defending the ceremony; or is it 40,000? Well-armed too, with scary rifles and heavy machine guns.
Add in Stryker infantry fighting vehicles. And F-16s on alert. And Patriot missile batteries.
All of this to do what? Apparently, to protect the Capitol from another takeover by people like this oddball guy, wearing a furry, horned helmet.
C’mon man… Seriously? Courtesy ABC News.5
A more reflective U.S. political class might have read its own news accounts.
For example, there’s this telling tale of unpreparedness from the government-supported Voice of America News:
“Law enforcement officials in charge of protecting the U.S. Capitol repeatedly declined offers of additional assistance ahead of Wednesday’s protest-turned-riot that forced lawmakers to take shelter, delaying certification of the results of the country’s presidential election.”6
Or consider this item from no less than National Public Radio: “Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser also wanted a light police presence at the Capitol.”8
In other words, the U.S. government was politically embarrassed on Jan. 6, in no small measure due to its own lack of preparation. Sound familiar?
People in “decider” positions decided not to call for a suitable protective or defensive presence; perhaps a few hundred national guard, or state police from neighboring Maryland or Virginia.
According to the government’s own, well-funded information channels, Black Wednesday was as bad as it was because of unpreparedness for a well-planned and telegraphed event. That fateful day of Jan. 6 held all manner of predictable negative outcomes.
Meanwhile, post-riot, the political class went nuts over the Capitol event. This after many of the same players dismissed a summer and fall of riots across the land, from Portland to New York, when parts of entire cities went up in flames.
So now it’s time to bring in the troops. Erect fences and razor wire.
Ah yes. Now they tell us.
Despite heavy security, however, the inaugural committee has planned a splendid façade of imagery. The Mall is a sea of flags and light.
Washington Mall, decked out for new President. Courtesy NBC News.8
All that’s missing is people. Few spectators are expected to come, based on COVID issues, not to mention all the fence lines, razor wire and armed soldiers.
With regard to the methodology and power of this unpeopled style of political pageantry, with all the flags and lights, I’ll refrain from deep commentary.
But allow me to refer you to the local library to check out a copy of Albert Speer’s 1970 book, Inside the Third Reich. Take a look at Chapter 3, where Speer discussed the “décor for the party rally” at Nuremberg.9
Yes, Nuremberg. The flags and lights are that creepy.
And where are we headed? Sad to say, but on current trajectory the future of the country is a bleak landscape of expanding political, social and economic control by people who don’t know what they’re doing.
Or worse, maybe by people who actually do know what they’re doing.
Looking ahead at the individual level, it’s more facemasks, more lockdowns, more regulation, more expensive energy and food. Stand by for more cancel-culture.
At a higher level, look for more deficit spending, more hare-brained schemes from incompetent bureaucrats, and probably more wars.
As it all unfolds, we’ll have fewer of those quaint, traditional freedoms like freedom of speech; it’s too subversive and all. Wrong think will be frowned upon.
This dystopian future is coming from much the same people — the perpetrators, and/or young acolytes —– who made an utter mess of things over the past several decades.
The conception of supreme national interest by the people who are behind what’s happening in Washington are quite narrow. It’s centered on maintaining dollar/petrodollar hegemony in the world and keeping up the money flow to Wall Street.
Worry about Main Street? Well, not so much.
In many respects, this whole setup is reminiscent of the last decade of the Soviet Union, with its gerontocratic cadre of leaders, and an entire class of criminal oligarchs who looted and asset-stripped the place. I touched on that here.
And we’re well along on a journey to a dark place that has been decades in the making as I’ve discussed previously.
Good luck to President-elect Biden. But I’ll be amazed if he can even begin to lead the country out of where we are. Heck, he was one of the navigators who brought us here.
And perhaps somewhere, in a nation of 330 million people, there’s someone who can lay out a new vision for continuing this political experiment as a federal republic, but it’s way late in the game.
Looking ahead, you’ll want to own precious metals. Do the best you can in a tumultuous economic time. And be prepared for unfortunate events.
On that note, I rest my case.
That’s all for now… Thank you for subscribing and reading.
Byron W. King
Managing Editor, Whiskey & Gunpowder
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9 Inside the Third Reich