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-- Something Priceless Has Been Lost Forever - A Sober Look From Europe at the Trap Closing on the U.S. -- The Bush Administration Has Been Suckered

by Michael C. Ruppert

[© Copyright 2003, From The Wilderness Publications, All rights reserved. THIS IS A SUBSCRIBER-ONLY STORY AND MAY NOT BE POSTED ON A WEB SITE WITHOUT EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION. Contact This story may be redistributed, circulated or copied for non-profit purposes only.]

March 30, 2003, 1300 (FTW), AMSTERDAM-- In this, perhaps the most multi-cultural city in all of Europe, where English is universally spoken as a second language, something has shifted and it is very noticeable. When I enter any sidewalk café and, through the mélange of accents from British, to French, to German, to Middle Eastern, to Chinese, to Indonesian, ask for a coffee and a croissant, my American accent produces a subtle but tangible reaction in the crowd. A cone of silence develops in my immediate vicinity, as people on the street listen for my attitude and watch my bearing to see if I am a "Bush American". Do I support a war that is universally hated here and that has woven a thread of quiet fear through the sidewalks, bicycle paths and canals?

This is the city that sheltered Anne Frank during the Nazi occupation of 1940-44. This is the city where the first and only really significant, non-violent civil strikes against Nazi rule took place throughout occupied Europe. This is the city where one finds more Rembrandts and Van Goghs than anywhere else on earth. This is also the city that is home to the world's most famous red light district and cafés that sell hashish legally. This is the city that is known for its universal tolerance of everything except that which harms.

One of my subscribers, a German who has come to the conference at which I am speaking, seeks me out. We talk of what is happening in the world and I realize that slowly, but inexorably, Americans are becoming identified here as "The New Germans", "The New Occupiers."

News coverage here at the Hotel Grand Krasnapolsky, perhaps Amsterdam's best-known hotel, is vastly different from America. Not only is there CNN, there is the BBC, and stations from France, Italy, Germany, Asia and the Arab world. The war looks vastly different through these eyes. It looks bad enough on CNN.

I am speaking at a conference sponsored by Nexus Magazine, an eclectic Australian publication with large followings in Australia, continental Europe, Britain and the U.S. I listen intently to one of the speakers, a famed Dutch journalist named Willem Oltmans, as he discusses the war. Now in his 70s, Oltmans fought in the Dutch resistance and blew up Nazi troop and supply trains. He is a national hero.

He is unequivocal in his message. "Bush is an idiot and he has been suckered by Russia, Germany, France and China."

I was already on this page.

Oltmans does not hesitate to compare the current American government to the Third Reich. Its tactics and propaganda are all too familiar to him.

I was already on this page.

What Oltmans doesn't seem to grasp is the whole issue of Peak Oil and what it means for human civilization. Just days ago, the BBC took a chilling look at the issues of declining discoveries, increasing demand, decreasing supply, over-stretched production capacity, and economies and civilizations on the brink of collapse. I hope Oltmans stays for my presentation.

But where Oltmans and I agree completely is this:

What if Russia, which is still smarting from the looting of its economy by the U.S. in the 1990s, and France, which has lost most of its global economic clout over fifty years and still remembers the Nazi conquest of the last century, and Germany, which has been a virtual U.S. vassal since Hitler's defeat, and China, which has one of the world's strongest economies, had set up the U.S. to fail miserably in the Middle East?

What if they had lured the U.S. into a false sense of security about its military might? What if, over a period of eighteen months, they had diplomatically boxed the U.S. into a position where Bush’s military bluster, lack of sophistication and neocon conceit had made him arrogantly commit to the 21st century equivalent of Napoleon's and Hitler's failed marches on Moscow?

I have previously observed that Vladimir Putin of Russia, where oil costs between $14 and $22 per barrel to produce, knew what would be in store for his nation if the U.S. achieved its now elusive quick victory. France, Germany and China also knew: Russian oil would be totally noncompetitive for maybe 5-10 years. In that time, Russia would cease to be any kind of a threat to anyone. If the U.S. controls Iraq and Saudi Arabia, it will dictate economically to the entire planet.

Now that the war has begun, Russia need only blink and intelligence information and supplies reach Iraq. China need only subtly touch its chin and Silkworm missiles and mines are funneled to Iraqi defenders. France and Germany need only look the other way and intelligence and strategy reach the Iraqi military. All of the non-aligned nations, reacting to an American unilateralism so reminiscent of Nazi Germany, can encourage a hundred things that demonstrate the abject vulnerability of the Empire:

A rebel insurrection that shuts down Nigerian oil production; a coup in the Central African Republic that might threaten the region; or an attack on CIA and military personnel in Colombia.

After only 11 days of war, one frequently sees the resurrected images of Vietnam on all of the non-American news channels and in the non-American newspapers: Vietnam, the quagmire; Vietnam, the debacle; Vietnam, the human catastrophe; Vietnam, the American defeat. Vietnam. Vietnam. Vietnam.

International TV broadcasters laughingly show pictures of the drug-running, weapons-smuggling Oliver North posing as a correspondent in the new Reichsministerium of Propaganda called FOX News. Everyone in Europe knows who and what Oliver North is. So very few in America do.

For the United States, the blunt truth is that the war will not be won until Iraqi oil production has reached 3 million barrels a day; the American economy will not regain strength until Iraqi oil production is at 5-8 million barrels a day. Putin can easily sustain Europe with his diminishing reserves while Americans (and Iraqis) now literally must bleed for every new barrel the U.S. economy obtains.

But the United States will not win this war. The Arab world is approaching full revolt. The neocons have become Dr. Strangeloves clinging to their bombs while more educated and sophisticated minds know that the war, as far as the U.S. is concerned, is already lost. Lost also, most likely, are the U.S. economy, the dollar, and U.S. imperial hegemony.

As the foundation is being laid in the United States for the discrediting and sacrificing of the Bush neocons, and as the biggest global realignment in more than a hundred and fifty years begins, I am forced to ask, "What if this is part of a larger plan?"

All I know is that all my life I had wanted to come to continental Europe in an atmosphere in which America was seen as a liberator and remembered for that and for all the things I grew up believing in. Instead, I have arrived in a continental Europe where I cannot help but feel that the people around me have their antennae out, just as they did 60 years ago when the Wehrmacht rumbled through these beautiful streets proclaiming itself to be the friend of the Dutch and offering them a better way of life.

What the United States gained in terms of European good will after World War II has been lost forever. And as the Euro continues to remain stronger than the dollar, there is little incentive anywhere for people here to remember.

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