Thursday, April 28, 2011

中近東革命とアメリカ崩壊 The Middle Eastern revolts and the collapse of America

The leadership of America is in panic. Japan suffers it's greatest natural disaster in 1,000 years, and the American Secretary of State can only spare a few hours to visit Tokyo to show her support, on her way back to the US from Korea.


Actually, I don't think she really meant such a short visit as an insult. The truth is, the situation of America is truly perilous. The price of oil has stubbornly refused to go back down, and has been over $100 a barrel for some months.


This means the end of America as a civilized nation. America totally depends on cheap oil for all transport, to be able to grow so much food so cheaply with so few people. And to transport it to cities for people to eat.


I have long watched Peak Oil, and I have long felt that it could destroy America in about 7 years or so. That would be time to try to construct some electric trains, or some kind of public transport system.


Unfortunately, the American Right is dead set against trains, calling them socialist.


In this editorial below, George Will, a respected commentator of the American Right, says that trains are of the past, they were modern 200 years ago.


Mr. Will refuses to consider the concepts of Peak Oil. He says that the plan to build high speed trains in America is in reality a secret plot by American Liberals to force Americans to abandon individual thinking, and force Americans to think collectively. He says that Liberals do this in order to force Socialism on America.


Mr. Will is one of the smarter people on the American Right. Yet here is this article, he is writing pure fantasy. I am really saddened by his refusal to understand.


Americans simply cannot except the idea that the age of personal automobiles is over. They keep looking for some miracle, like Tar Sands or offshore Brazilian oil fields.


Both sources of oil do exist, but they are incredibly difficult and expensive to extract, and they do not exist in the quantities needed to keep the American cars running.


There is no alternative to an electricity based public transport system, but Americans refuse to consider it.


The geologist M. King Hubbert first presented his theory of Peak Oil to the Shell Oil company in 1956. Back then, half of the people who heard the theory understood it, half panicked and denied that America would ever face a crisis.


But with the revolts in the Middle East, I think the US is out of time.


The reaction of the United States to these revolts certainly shows confusion.


The Obama administration went back and forth over whether to support President Mubarak of Egypt or the revolution.


There was mixed reaction to Libya's revolt, first, let us support in militarily.


But then couldn't make up their mind what to do.


In any case, America had no ability to intervene, only 1,200 Marines are immediately available for ground operations.

America is now overstretched. And Saudi Arabia is not at all stable.


Saudi Arabia has already sent troops into Bahrain. And demonstrations have already begun inside Saudi Arabia. When the leadership of Saudi Arabia changes, look for oil to be $150 plus. Maybe $200 a barrel.


The fact is, after America invaded Iraq in 2003, oil production has never been able to stay at pre invasion levels. Now Libyan oil is not being pumped. A revolt in Saudi Arabia would turn off the oil faucet. Which brings us to the fact that American foreign policy in the Middle East has been a total failure.


America will disappear into anarchy in days. This is not fantasy. The British government feared this in 2008. They called it "9 meals from anarchy"

America has a a similar "Just in Time" system. American supermarkets only stock three days of food in general. If supplies do not constantly come, they run out.


The United States faced a complete failure and disintegration of local civil authority in the Hurricane Katrina disaster.


American officials have learned that local law enforcement and local officials cannot be relied upon, so a Federal military command has been established.


Compare this to Japan in it's recent massive earthquake. In Japan local officials, police and fire personnel performed their jobs, even if they did know about the safety of their own families.


In America, in Hurricane Katrina, many such personnel did not report for duty but went home to take care of their families. I remember news clips on TV of people looting electronics stores in New Orleans as the Hurricane approached. Uniformed New Orleans police officers were among the thieves. Leading the way, breaking the window glass of the store.


But what if the disaster is not local, but the entire country? And with Peak Oil, it will not be a local disaster. Transportation will begin to fail nationwide.


I have a hunch that serious trouble will begin for the US in the fall of 2011. I really don't think that the entire nation will disintegrate in 3 days. I think it will be more like a year and a half for the entire nation to disintegrate. But trouble will start and will inexorably increase.


What will America look after the collapse? I think areas with natural water supplies and low population will survive somewhat intact. This will be the American Pacific Northwest, and the rural Great Lakes region, the rural areas of the American Northeast. However, cities in these areas will not survive. It will be impossible to deliver food to them.


Alaska will be relatively all right. Hawaii will starve, as there is no way they can produce enough food locally to feed the population.


Drought is increasing in America. The future for the American Southwest is hopeless in my opinion. Not enough water, and when food deliveries become impossible because fuel is too expensive, people there will not survive. Good bye Los Angeles. The region supported an Indian population of 3,000 when White people first arrived. That is the natural capacity of the land. Now more than ten million people live there. Water comes from as far as across the Rocky Mountains to supply Los Angeles. There is no longer enough.

The Great Plains states also show a tendency to revert to desert. They depend on one aquifer, it is being depleted faster than it is being replaced.


Americans are remarkably sanguine about these problems. I think this is because of the belief of American Exceptionalism. Americans think that things will turn out well simply because they are Americans.


Americans have not made any preparations whatsoever for the problems of Peak Oil and Global Warming. So far as I have seen, The Obama administrations proposal to build high speed trains is the only government proposal I have seen in this area.


And it has been destroyed by political fighting from the American Right, and American financial collapse. There is now no more time, and no more hope for American survival.


Americans themselves refuse to consider these problems. Abortion rights, whether President America was born in America and can truly serve as President, and Gay Marriage are still the biggest social issues. Americans argue about non important things while their nation collapses around them.


Monday, April 18, 2011

福島第一原発事故は本当にレベル7ですか? Is the Fukushima nuclear accident really a Level 7?

I sit here this week in Tokyo with a heavy heart. After the Earthquake, Tsunami, And Fukushima nuclear plant troubles, Japan has suffered a fourth disaster. The Japanese nuclear watchdog agency announced that the Fukushima problem is a Level 7 event, not a Level 5 as previously stated by the Japanese government.


However, Chernobyl released 10 times the amount of radiation.


Having been born outside Japan, I have some idea how foreigners will view this declaration, and it won't be good.


So why this declaration? I was listening to several interviews on the news in Tokyo, and I think I have the answer. One common theme struck me. Several people being interviewed, university professors and so forth, remarked on the foreign press comments soon after the disaster happened.


Now I have written before how the foreign press has panicked, and written many extreme falsehoods.


However, the American government has come up and announced that they made a mistake in declaring a 50 mile / 80 kilometer evacuation zone.

Frankly speaking, I was little surprised that the Americans would admit that they made a mistake. But they did.


So what happened? Here is my guess.


I first arrived in Japan in December of 1974. That was roughly some 25 years after the end of WWII. At the time when I came here, A veteran of the Imperial Japanese Army or Navy would have been somewhere around 45 years old at the youngest. In 1945, that would have made him 20 years of age.


I met many people who had experience in the Japanese armed forces of WWII, and enjoyed many conversations with them about their experiences. As a military historian, it was wonderful to hear first hand stories.


However, the conversations of Japanese men who had not been in the military, who were in their early 40's, their 30's and 20's when I arrived, were markedly different.


They seemed terribly depressed about Japan and everything Japanese. And everything American was superior and wonderful.


Coming from America, this surprised me greatly. America has many difficulties and faults. Americans may not like my saying this, but it is true, Americans call America "An experiment in progress"


That means that it is nowhere near perfect. Anybody who spends any time analyzing American political debate, will realize that there is a lot of discussion how to make or remake American society.


But when I came to Japan, I found a society where everything worked and worked well. Busses and trains ran on time, nearly always. People cooperated with each other for the common good.


So why did the younger generations of Japanese people see America as such a great country in the 1970's? After defeat, Japan was terribly poor. People had believed that Japan was invincible, but America won the war.


To their thinking, it must be some special spiritual quality of the American people. Americans were superior, Americans were Gods.


Also, Americans themselves have always been claiming to be the best nation, the best people on earth. I think people in the 1970's simply believed this.


These people are now in their '60's and '70's, and in Japan, that means that they are now in positions of responsibility.


Of course, to Japanese people in their '59's or below, they never thought of Americans as superior people. Many Japanese have traveled to America, and are surprised at the low standard of living that most Americans have. And that Americans are not in general all that knowledgeable about anything.


The average Japanese person today, they have a much more realistic opinion of Americans.


I think the election of the Hatoyama administration in 2009 was an expression of Japanese desire for a more equal relationship with America.


This is hard for America, dealing with a country on an equal level. It will be interesting to see how this will work out for the future of the Japanese/American relationship.


I think that this declaration of Level 7 was made to satisfy the initial foreign panic. To the minds of the people who decided this, foreigners, meaning Americans, are always right, Japanese are always wrong.


Yet foreign governments don't agree with Japan's declaration. The Russians and the French say that this incident is not a level 7 event.


The Americans say that risk is now declining.


To the outside world, Japan now looks like a nation of idiots, they will think the situation must be much worse, the Japanese government must be hiding something.


What is the truth about the radiation leak? OK, what has been found is that there IS a plume of fallout that extends beyond the 30 kilometer zone.


Here is it is on maps:


This BBC map shows the Japanese government evacuation zone.


This is a Japanese government computer generated map showing the plume.


The plume of fallout is not high enough to cause immediate evacuation, but delayed evacuation in certain areas has been ordered.


We can see that it does extend beyond the evacuation zone in the north. Looking at the Japanese government map, we can also see that there are areas quite low in radiation just to the west of the Fukushima complex.


I cannot see how this incident can be labeled a Level 7. In my opinion, I would say that it is a serious Level 5.


The Japanese government has been working hard to reassure foreign countries that Japanese agricultural products are safe, and that it is safe to visit Japan. Now, because of this Level 7 declaration, foreigners will not believe us.