Category Archives: About Dreams

Tomgram: Alfred McCoy, Trumping the Empire

NOTE:  I’m posting this copy of a “Tomgram” article for 2 reasons.  

One, this particular article (I’ve read many others with a similar theme but none as clearly stated) “validates” what I said about Donald Trump as a potential POTUS when he first entered the race for president of the US of A.  What I said then, and have repeated so many times since that it feels this has been going on for years, is this:  Were I an American citizen entitled to vote I’d vote for Donald Trump.  For one reason only.  I see Trump as the perfect architect of the irrecoverable downfall of the American military-industrial corporate empire and attendant hegemonic powers.  I would vote for Trump as the instrument millions of America’s victims of US-based corporate exploitation and USA military oppression have been waiting and praying for since that empire’s military defeat in Vietnam.  My thoughts were never meant as any kind of anti-American people statement but as an anti-hegemon dream fulfillment. 

Two, for the “2020” scenario of US military debacle in the Middle East at the end of this article.  Not only is it quite entertaining, to some of us who “live” our current history in mind and heart, it is a prophecy.   (Sha’Tara) 
____________________________________________________________________________

Posted by Alfred McCoy at 4:23pm, July 16, 2017.
Follow TomDispatch on Twitter @TomDispatch.

Email Print

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: In September, Dispatch Books will publish the next in our line-up of explorations of imperial America: Alfred McCoy’s remarkable In the Shadows of the American CenturyKirkus Reviews has praised it as “sobering reading for geopolitics mavens and Risk aficionados alike, offering no likely path beyond decline and fall.” Among the impressive range of comments we’ve gotten on it come two from Pulitzer Prize winners. Novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer, writes that McCoy “persuasively argues for the inevitable decline of the American empire and the rise of China… Let’s hope that Americans will listen to his powerful arguments.” And historian John Dower states that the book “joins the essential short list of scrupulous historical and comparative studies of the United States as an awesome, conflicted, technologically innovative, routinely atrocious, and ultimately hubristic imperial power.” As with all his work since the CIA tried to stifle his classic first book, The Politics of Heroin, back in the early 1970s, McCoy’s is leading-edge stuff and a must-read, so reserve your copy early by clicking here. Tom]

I was 12. It was 1956. I lived in New York City and was a youthful history buff. (I should have kept my collection of American Heritage magazines!) Undoubtedly, I was also some kind of classic nerd. In any case, at some point during the Suez crisis of that year, I can remember going to the U.N. by myself and sitting in the gallery of the General Assembly, where I undoubtedly heard imperial Britain denounced for its attempt to retake the Suez Canal (in league with the French and Israelis). I must admit that it was a moment in my life I had totally forgotten about until historian Alfred McCoy, whose new Dispatch Book, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power, is due out in September, brought it to mind again. And I certainly hadn’t imagined that Suez might have any applicability to this moment. But almost 16 years after this country’s disastrous “war on terror” was launched and with yet another major Middle Eastern city in rubble, we are undoubtedly witnessing a change in the balance (or imbalance) of power on this unruly planet of ours — and who better to make sense of it than historian McCoy?

Think of him as a modern Edward Gibbon, writing in the twenty-first century on the decline and fall of a great empire. However, unlike Gibbon, who wrote his classic book on Rome centuries after its empire had disappeared from the face of the earth, McCoy has no choice but to deal with American decline contemporaneously — in, that is, the very act of its happening.

I had a canny friend who assured me a couple of decades ago that when European countries finally started saying no to Washington, I’d have a signal that I was on another planet. So we must now be on Mars. I was struck, for instance, by a recent piece in the Guardian describing the G20 summit as “the ‘G1’ versus the ‘G19.’” In other words, it’s increasingly Donald Trump’s Washington against the world, which is the definition of how not to make an empire work. Since imperial decline may, in fact, have been a significant factor in bringing Donald Trump to power, think of him as both its harbinger and — as McCoy so vividly describes today — its architect. Tom

The Demolition of U.S. Global Power 
Donald Trump’s Road to Debacle in the Greater Middle East 
By Alfred W. McCoy

The superhighway to disaster is already being paved.

From Donald Trump’s first days in office, news of the damage to America’s international stature has come hard and fast. As if guided by some malign design, the new president seemed to identify the key pillars that have supported U.S. global power for the past 70 years and set out to topple each of them in turn. By degrading NATO, alienating Asian allies, canceling trade treaties, and slashing critical scientific research, the Trump White House is already in the process of demolishing the delicately balanced architecture that has sustained Washington’s world leadership since the end of World War II.  However unwittingly, Trump is ensuring the accelerated collapse of American global hegemony.

Stunned by his succession of foreign policy blunders, commentators — left and right, domestic and foreign — have raised their voices in a veritable chorus of criticism. A Los Angeles Times editorial typically called him “so unpredictable, so reckless, so petulant, so full of blind self-regard, so untethered to reality” that he threatened to “weaken this country’s moral standing in the world” and “imperil the planet” through his “appalling” policy choices. “He’s a sucker who’s shrinking U.S. influence in [Asia] and helping make China great again,” wrote New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman after surveying the damage to the country’s Asian alliances from the president’s “decision to tear up the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal in his first week in office.”

The international press has been no less harsh. Reeling from Trump’s denunciation of South Korea’s free-trade agreement as “horrible” and his bizarre claim that the country had once been “a part of China,” Seoul’s leading newspaper, Chosun Ilboexpressed the “shock, betrayal, and anger many South Koreans have felt.” Assessing his first 100 days in office, Britain’s venerable Observer commented: “Trump’s crudely intimidatory, violent, know-nothing approach to sensitive international issues has encircled the globe from Moscow to the Middle East to Beijing, plunging foes and allies alike into a dark vortex of expanding strategic instability.”

For an American president to virtually walk out of his grand inaugural celebrations into such a hailstorm of criticism is beyond extraordinary. Having more or less exhausted their lexicon of condemnatory rhetoric, the usual crew of commentators is now struggling to understand how an American president could be quite so willfully self-destructive.

Britain’s Suez Crisis

Blitzed by an incessant stream of bizarre tweets and White House conspiracy theories, observers worldwide seem to have concluded that Donald Trump is a president like no other, that the situation he’s creating is without parallel, and that his foreign policy is already a disaster without precedent. After rummaging around in history’s capacious closet for some old suit that might fit him, analysts have failed to find any antecedent or analogue to adequately explain him.

Yet just 60 years ago, a crisis in the ever-volatile Middle East overseen by a bumbling, mistake-prone British leader helped create a great power debacle that offers insight into the Trumpian moment, a glimpse into possible futures, and a sense of the kind of decline that could lie in the imperial future of the United States.

In the early 1950s, Britain’s international position had many parallels with America’s today. After a difficult postwar recovery from the devastation of World War II, that country was enjoying robust employment, lucrative international investments, and the prestige of the pound sterling’s stature as the world’s reserve currency. Thanks to a careful withdrawal from its far-flung, global empire and its close alliance with Washington, London still enjoyed a sense of international influence exceptional for a small island nation of just 50 million people. On balance, Britain seemed poised for many more years of world leadership with all the accompanying economic rewards and perks.

Then came the Suez crisis. After a decade of giving up one colony after another, the accumulated stress of imperial retreat pushed British conservatives into a disastrous military intervention to reclaim Egypt’s Suez Canal.  This, in turn, caused a “deep moral crisis in London” and what one British diplomat would term the “dying convulsion of British imperialism.” In a clear instance of what historians call “micro-militarism” — that is, a bold military strike designed to recover fading imperial influence — Britain joined France and Israel in a misbegotten military invasion of Egypt that transformed slow imperial retreat into a precipitous collapse.

Just as the Panama Canal had once been a shining example for Americans of their nation’s global prowess, so British conservatives treasured the Suez Canal as a vital lifeline that tied their small island to its sprawling empire in Asia and Africa. A few years after the canal’s grand opening in 1869, London did the deal of the century, scooping up Egypt’s shares in it for a bargain basement price of £4 million.  Then, in 1882, Britain consolidated its control over the canal through a military occupation of Egypt, reducing that ancient land to little more than an informal colony.

As late as 1950, in fact, Britain still maintained 80,000 soldiers and a string of military bases astride the canal. The bulk of its oil and gasoline, produced at the enormous Abadan refinery in the Persian Gulf, transited through Suez, fueling its navy, its domestic transportation system, and much of its industry.

After British troops completed a negotiated withdrawal from Suez in 1955, the charismatic nationalist leader Gamal Abdel Nasser asserted Egypt’s neutrality in the Cold War by purchasing Soviet bloc arms, raising eyebrows in Washington. In July 1956, after the administration of President Dwight Eisenhower had in response reneged on its promise to finance construction of the Aswan High Dam on the Upper Nile, Nasser sought alternative financing for this critical infrastructure by nationalizing the Suez Canal.  In doing so, he electrified the Arab world and elevated himself to the top rank of world leaders.

Although British ships still passed freely through the canal and Washington insisted on a diplomatic resolution of the conflict, Britain’s conservative leadership reacted with irrational outrage. Behind a smokescreen of sham diplomacy designed to deceive Washington, their closest ally, the British foreign secretary met secretly with the prime ministers of France and Israel near Paris to work out an elaborately deceptive two-stage invasion of Egypt by 250,000 allied troops, backed by 500 aircraft and 130 warships.  Its aim, of course, was to secure the canal.

On October 29, 1956, the Israeli army led by the dashing General Moshe Dayan swept across the Sinai Peninsula, destroying Egyptian tanks and bringing his troops to within 10 miles of the canal. Using this fighting as a pretext for an intervention to restore peace, Anglo-French amphibious and airborne forces quickly joined the attack, backed by a devastating bombardment from six aircraft carriers that destroyed the Egyptian air forceincluding over a hundred of its new MiG jet fighters. As Egypt’s military collapsed with some 3,000 of its troops killed and 30,000 captured, Nasser deployed a defense brilliant in its simplicity by scuttling dozens of rusting cargo ships filled with rocks and concrete at the entrance to the Suez Canal.  In this way, he closed Europe’s oil lifeline to the Persian Gulf.

Simultaneously, U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld, backed by Washington, imposed a cease-fire after just nine days of war, stopping the Anglo-French attack far short of capturing the entire canal. President Eisenhower’s blunt refusal to back his allies with either oil or money and the threat of condemnation before the U.N. soon forced Britain into a humiliating withdrawal. With its finances collapsing from the invasion’s soaring costs, the British government could not maintain the pound’s official exchange rate, degrading its stature as a global reserve currency.

The author of this extraordinary debacle was Sir Anthony Eden, a problematic prime minister whose career offers some striking parallels with Donald Trump’s. Born into privilege as the son of a landholder, Eden enjoyed a good education at a private school and an elite university. After inheriting a substantial fortune from his father, he entered politics as a conservative, using his political connections to dabble in finance. Chafing under Winston Churchill’s postwar leadership of the Conservative Party, Eden, who styled himself a rebel against hidebound institutions, used incessant infighting and his handsome head of hair to push the great man aside and become prime minister in 1955.

When Nasser nationalized the canal, Eden erupted with egotism, bluster, and outrage. “What’s all this nonsense about isolating Nasser,” Eden berated his foreign affairs minister. “I want him destroyed, can’t you understand? I want him murdered, and if you and the Foreign Office don’t agree, then you’d better come to the cabinet and explain why.” Convinced that Britain was still the globe’s great power, Eden rejected sound advice that he consult fully with Washington, the country’s closest ally. As his bold intervention plunged toward diplomatic disaster, the prime minister became focused on manipulating the British media, in the process confusing favorable domestic coverage with international support.

When Washington demanded a ceasefire as the price of a billion-dollar bailout for a British economy unable to sustain such a costly war, Eden’s bluster quickly crumbled and he denied his troops a certain victory, arousing a storm of protest in Parliament. Humiliated by the forced withdrawal, Eden compensated psychologically by ordering MI-6, Britain’s equivalent of the CIA, to launch its second ill-fated assassination attempt on Nasser. Since its chief local agent was actually a double-agent loyal to Nasser, Egyptian security had, however, already rounded up the British operatives and the weapons delivered for the contract killers proved duds.

Confronted with a barrage of angry questions in Parliament about his collusion with the Israelis, Eden lied repeatedly, swearing that there was no “foreknowledge that Israel would attack Egypt.” Protesters denounced him as “too stupid to be a prime minister,” opposition members of parliament laughed openly when he appeared before Parliament, and his own foreign affairs minister damned him as “an enraged elephant charging senselessly at… imaginary enemies.”

Just weeks after the last British soldier left Egypt, Eden, discredited and disgraced, was forced to resign after only 21 months in office. Led into this unimaginably misbegotten operation by his delusions of omnipotence, he left the once-mighty British lion a toothless circus animal that would henceforth roll over whenever Washington cracked the whip.

Trump’s Demolition Job

Despite the obvious differences in their economic circumstances, there remain some telling resonances between Britain’s postwar politics and America’s troubles today. Both of these fading global hegemons suffered a slow erosion of economic power in a fast-changing world, producing severe social tensions and stunted political leaders. Britain’s Conservative Party leadership had declined from the skilled diplomacy of Disraeli, Salisbury, and Churchill to Eden’s bluster and blunder.  Similarly, the Republican Party has descended from the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and George H.W. Bush to a field of 17 primary candidates in 2016 who promised to resolve an infinitely complex crisis in the Middle East through a set of incendiary policies that included making desert sands glow from carpet-bombing and forcing terrorists to capitulate through torture. Confronted with daunting international challenges, the voters of both countries supported appealing but unstable leaders whose delusions of omnipotence inclined them to military misadventures.

Like British citizens of the 1950s, most Americans today do not fully grasp the fragility of their status as “the leader of the free world.” Indeed, Washington has been standing astride the globe as a superpower for so long that most of its leaders have almost no understanding of the delicate design of their country’s global power built so carefully by two post-World War II presidents.

Under Democratic President Harry Truman, Congress created the key instruments for Washington’s emerging national security state and its future global dominion by passing the National Security Act of 1947 that established the Air Force, the CIA, and two new executive agencies, the Defense Department and the National Security Council. To rebuild a devastated, war-torn Europe, Washington launched the Marshall Plan and then turned such thinking into a worldwide aid program through the U.S. Agency for International Development meant to embed American power globally and support pro-American elites across the planet. Under Truman as well, U.S. diplomats forged the NATO alliance (which Washington would dominate until the Trump moment), advanced European unity, and signed a parallel string of mutual-defense treaties with key Asian allies along the Pacific littoral, making Washington the first power in two millennia to controlboth “axial ends” of the strategic Eurasian continent.

During the 1950s, Republican President Dwight Eisenhower deployed this national security apparatus to secure Washington’s global dominion with a nuclear triad (bombers, ballistic missiles, and submarines), a chain of military bases that ringed Eurasia, and a staggering number of highly militarized covert operations to assure the ascent of loyal allies worldwide. Above all, he oversaw the integration of the latest in scientific and technological research into the Pentagon’s weapons procurement system through the forging of the famed “military-industrial complex” (against which he would end up warning Americans as he left office in 1961).   All this, in turn, fostered an aura of American power so formidable that Washington could re-order significant parts of the world almost at will, enforcing peace, setting the international agenda, and toppling governments on four continents.

While it’s reasonable to argue that Washington had by then become history’s greatest global power, its hegemony, like that of all the world empires that preceded it, remained surprisingly fragile. Skilled leadership was required to maintain the system’s balance of diplomacy, military power, economic strength, and technological innovation.

By the time President Trump took his oath of office, negative, long-term trends had already started to limit the influence of any American leader on the world stage.  These included a declining share of the global economy, an erosion of U.S. technological primacy, an inability to apply its overwhelming military power in a way that achieved expected policy goals on an ever more recalcitrant planet, and a generation of increasingly independent national leaders, whether in Europe, Asia, or Latin America.

Apart from such adverse trends, Washington’s global power rested on such strategic fundamentals that its leaders might still have managed carefully enough to maintain a reasonable semblance of American hegemony: notably, the NATO alliance and Asian mutual-security treaties at the strategic antipodes of Eurasia, trade treaties that reinforced such alliances, scientific research to sustain its military’s technological edge, and leadership on international issues like climate change.

In just five short months, however, the Trump White House has done a remarkable job of demolishing these very pillars of U.S. global power. During his first overseas trip in May 2017, President Trump chastised stone-faced NATO leaders for failure to pay their “fair share” into the military part of the alliance and refused to affirm its core principle of collective defense. Ignoring the pleas of these close allies, he then forfeited America’s historic diplomatic leadership by announcing Washington’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord with all the drama of a reality television show. After watching his striking repudiation of Washington’s role as world leader, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told voters in her country that “we must fight for our future on our own, for our destiny as Europeans.”

Along the strategic Pacific littoral, Trump cancelled the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact on taking office and gratuitously alienated allies by cutting short a courtesy phone call to Australia’s prime minister and insulting South Korea to the point where its new president won office, in part, on a platform of “say no” to America. When President Moon Jae-in visited Washington in June, determined to heal the breach between the two countries, he was, as the New York Times reported, blindsided by “the harshness of Mr. Trump’s critique of South Korea on trade.”

Just days after Trump dismissed Moon’s suggestion that the two countries engage in actual diplomatic negotiations with Pyongyang, North Korea successfully test-fired a ballistic missile potentially capable of reaching Alaska or possibly Hawaii with a nuclear warhead (though experts believe Pyongyang may still be years away from effectively fitting such a warhead to the missile).  It was an act that made those same negotiations Washington’s only viable option — apart from a second Korean War, which would potentially devastate both the region and the U.S. position as the preeminent international leader.

In other words, after 70 years of global dominion, America’s geopolitical command of the axial ends of Eurasia — the central pillars of its world power seems to be crumbling in a matter of months.

Instead of the diplomacy of presidents past, Trump and his advisers, especially his military men, have reacted to his first modest foreign crises as well as the everyday power questions of empire with outbursts akin to Anthony Eden’s.  Since January, the White House has erupted in sudden displays of raw military power that included a drone blitz of unprecedented intensity in Yemen to destroy what the president called a “network of lawless savages,” the bombardment of a Syrian air base with 59 Tomahawk missiles, and the detonation of the world’s largest non-nuclear bomb on a terrorist refuge in eastern Afghanistan.

While reveling in the use of such weaponry, Trump, by slashing federal funding for critical scientific research, is already demolishing the foundations for the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower’s successors, Republican and Democratic alike, so sedulously maintained for the last half-century. While China is ramping up its scientific research across the board, Trump has proposed what the American Association for Advancement of Science called “deep cuts to numerous research agencies” that will mean the eventual loss of the country’s technological edge. In the emerging field of artificial intelligence that will soon drive space warfare and cyber-warfare, the White House wants to reduce the 2018 budget for this critical research at the National Science Foundation to a paltry $175 million, even as Beijing is launching “a new multi-billion-dollar initiative” linked to building “military robots.”

A Future Debacle in the Greater Middle East

With a president who shares Sir Anthony Eden’s penchant for bravura, self-delusion, and impulsiveness, the U.S. seems primed for a twenty-first-century Suez of its own, a debacle in the Greater Middle East (or possibly elsewhere). From the disastrous expedition that ancient Athens sent to Sicily in 413 BCE to Britain’s invasion of Suez in 1956, embattled empires throughout the ages have often suffered an arrogance that drives them to plunge ever deeper into military misadventures until defeat becomes debacle, a misuse of armed force known technically among historians as micro-militarism. With the hubris that has marked empires over the millennia, the Trump administration is, for instance, now committed to extending indefinitely Washington’s failing war of pacification in Afghanistan with a new mini-surge of U.S. troops (and air power) in that classic “graveyard of empires.

So irrational, so unpredictable is such micro-militarism that even the most fanciful of scenarios can be outpaced by actual events, as was true at Suez. With the U.S. military stretched thin from North Africa to South Korea, with no lasting successes in its post-9/11 wars, and with tensions rising from the Persian Gulf and Syria to the South China Sea and the Koreas, the possibilities for a disastrous military crisis abroad seem almost unending. So let me pick just one possible scenario for a future Trumpian military misadventure in the Greater Middle East.  (I’m sure you’ll think of other candidates immediately.)

It’s the late spring of 2020, the start of the traditional Afghan fighting season, and a U.S. garrison in the city of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan is unexpectedly overrun by an ad hoc alliance of Taliban and Islamic State guerrillas. While U.S. aircraft are grounded in a blinding sand storm, the militants summarily execute their American captives, filming the gruesome event for immediate upload on the Internet. Speaking to an international television audience, President Trump thunders against “disgusting Muslim murderers” and swears he will “make the desert sands run red with their blood.” In fulfillment of that promise, an angry American theater commander sends B-1 bombers and F-35 fighters to demolish whole neighborhoods of Kandahar believed to be under Taliban control. In an aerial coup de grâce, AC-130-U “Spooky” gunships then rake the rubble with devastating cannon fire. The civilian casualties are beyond counting.

Soon, mullahs are preaching jihad from mosques across Afghanistan and far beyond. Afghan Army units, long trained by American forces to turn the tide of the war, begin to desert en masse. In isolated posts across the country, clusters of Afghan soldiers open fire on their American advisers in what are termed “insider” or “green-on-blue” attacks. Meanwhile, Taliban fighters launch a series of assaults on scattered U.S. garrisons elsewhere in the country, suddenly sending American casualties soaring. In scenes reminiscent of Saigon in 1975, U.S. helicopters rescue American soldiers and civilians from rooftops not just in Kandahar, but in several other provincial capitals and even Kabul.

Meanwhile, angry over the massive civilian casualties in Afghanistan, the anti-Muslim diatribes tweeted almost daily from the Oval Office, and years of depressed energy prices, OPEC’s leaders impose a harsh new oil embargo aimed at the United States and its allies. With refineries running dry in Europe and Asia, the world economy trembling at the brink of recession, and gas prices soaring, Washington flails about for a solution. The first call is to NATO, but the alliance is near collapse after four years of President Trump’s erratic behavior. Even the British, alienated by his inattention to their concerns, rebuff his appeals for support.

Facing an uncertain reelection in November 2020, the Trump White House makes its move, sending Marines and Special Operations forces to seize oil ports in the Persian Gulf. Flying from the Fifth Fleet’s base in Bahrain, Navy Seals and Army Rangers occupy the Ras Tanura refinery in Saudi Arabia, the ninth largest in the world; Kuwait’s main oil port at Shuaiba; and Iraq’s at Um Qasr.

Simultaneously, the light carrier USS Iwo Jima steams south at the head of a task force that launches helicopters carrying 6,000 Special Operations forces tasked with seizing the al-Ruwais refinery in Abu Dhabi, the world’s fourth largest, and the megaport at Jebel Ali in Dubai, a 20-square-mile complex so massive that the Americans can only occupy its oil facilities. When Teheran vehemently protests the U.S. escalation in the Persian Gulf and hints at retaliation, Defense Secretary James Mattis, reviving a plan from his days as CENTCOM commander, orders preemptive Tomahawk missile strikes on Iran’s flagship oil refinery at Abadan.

From its first hours, the operation goes badly wrong. The troops seem lost inside the unmapped mazes of pipes that honeycomb the oil ports.  Meanwhile, refinery staff prove stubbornly uncooperative, sensing that the occupation will be short-lived and disastrous. On day three, Iranian Revolutionary Guard commandos, who have been training for this moment since the breakdown of the 2015 nuclear accord with the U.S., storm ashore at the Kuwaiti and Emirate refineries with remote-controlled charges. Unable to use their superior firepower in such a volatile environment, American troops are reduced to firing futile bursts at the departing speed boats as oil storage tanks and gas pipes explode spectacularly.

Three days later, as the USS Gerald Ford approaches an Iranian island, more than 100 speedboats suddenly appear, swarming the carrier in a practiced pattern of high-speed crisscrosses. Every time lethal bursts from the carrier’s MK-38 chain guns rip through the lead boats, others emerge from the flames coming closer and closer. Concealed by clouds of smoke, one finally reaches an undefended spot beneath the conning tower near enough for a Revolutionary guardsman to attach a magnetic charge to the hull with a fateful click. There is a deafening roar and a gaping hole erupts at the waterline of the first aircraft carrier to be crippled in battle since World War II.  As things go from bad to worse, the Pentagon is finally forced to accept that a debacle is underway and withdraws its capital ships from the Persian Gulf.

As black clouds billow skyward from the Gulf’s oil ports and diplomats rise at the U.N. to bitterly denounce American actions, commentators worldwide reach back to the 1956 debacle that marked the end of imperial Britain to brand this “America’s Suez.” The empire has been trumped.

Alfred W. McCoy, a TomDispatch regular, is the Harrington professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of the now-classic book The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, which probed the conjuncture of illicit narcotics and covert operations over 50 years, and the forthcoming In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power, out in September from Dispatch Books.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, as well as John Feffer’s dystopian novel Splinterlands, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt’s Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2017 Alfred W. McCoy

Listening in Time

(short story,  by Sha’Tara)

“I know you are keen, and willing.  Good traits in a researcher.  But you are missing the key ingredients.  You must sit quietly, by yourself, for hours, maybe days, and listen in time.  Listen to the voices of the dead, and the pre-incarnate.  They are in the voices of “others” and in the sounds of the earth: the wind, the cracking soil, the moving grains of sand, the patter of the rain on scrabbly hard-pan soil.  They come on the heat waves.  Sometimes they get playful and paint mirages which tell stories from within your own heart and soul which your tired and bleary eyes will translate into images of desires.  

If you do not learn to listen, all you will accomplish in these places as you sift through dirt and rubble is collect garbage.  It will be recognizable as works of the people but it will reveal no stories, no myths, no history.  These you will have to create from your own imagination and trust me on this, it will not be the same stories as what was, even if the entire world should buy your interpretations.  Honest archaeologists are a rare breed but there is nothing written, either in this desert or in mountains, that says you can not be one of that small group.  When you teach yourself the secret of time listening the people who made and used the objects you unearth, they will tell you their stories.  Some will seem strange and some will be, to your modern understanding, quite unbelievable, but just listen.  It is not your call to re-interpret the lives of others according to your current knowledge: that is sacrilege.  Let the ghosts speak; let them tell their story, and accept it at face value.  It may be that they lie to you, but let it be: do not add insult to injury by adding to the lies.  After all, as you will discover in time, all of your history is lies.  There is no truth to be found on this world, or in this universe.  We know, we’ve been looking for millions of your years and there is no such chimera.”

I was young then, and I’d been experimenting with the local flora under the auspices of a would-be witch doctor who called himself George but whose real name was an unpronounceable Mexican word that sounded like apple-cotle or aptly cotli.  This particular drug induced “time dreams” he had told me, and… “You should only smoke a small amount at sunset.  Sit against a rock, or a tree if you can find one, and set your mind free to roam.  Do not try anything, just let it all go.  It is the time of the spirits and sometimes one of them will notice you and approach you with a story, or some advice.  Just listen and do not try to make any judgment about what you hear, or think you hear.  Put your own thoughts aside and just absorb.” 

I smoked slowly, not eagerly, trying to practice “wisdom” in my folly.  How long I sat against the rock that dug into my back, feeling the sand getting cold beneath me, I don’t know.  Darkness came and the sky exploded with myriads of pin-points of lights: star, planets, meteors, even satellites and flashing lights of planes.  Time passed and I no longer felt the cold, nor the loneliness or that deep fear of the dark unknown.  I “slept” with eyes open, hearing and learning to listen.  I heard small animals squeaking to one-another, some unrecognizable insects repeating endless calls; owls, even one loud shriek of what could only be some wild cat, cougar perhaps.  It didn’t matter.

It seemed as if I’d become a part of the landscape, an extension of the rock I leaned against.  I felt a deep well-being; a thoroughly unfamiliar certainty.  I was “here” and “here” was where I belonged.  This was “home” like nothing had ever been.  “Here I sit, and here I remain,” I thought, against all common sense.  I felt the cold, hunger and thirst but it did not matter to this “me” that was being absorbed by the land, the air, the sky, the universe, the cosmos.  In that time I was no longer a body-centered, or physical being.  I was a member of the cosmic races, with a part of me resting upon a planet called earth – a very small, very strange planet. 

That’s when the voice came to my mind; when I heard the words I quoted above. 

I have been digging up history in this part of the world for almost fifty years now.  I’ve become old and bent.  My skin is like that of a lizard, dry and scaly, with brown spots.  I’ve loved being naked in the sun and it has left its marks on my body but I don’t care.  He was my lover and I cherish his touch still.  I haven’t become famous.  No best seller came from my notes; no following.  People came here to dig with me, and left to seek fame and fortune.  Some managed it, returning to tell me about it.  Some even provided funds so I could remain here, on my wind-swept plateaus digging up ghost stories; me, the crazy Canadian who should have been more at home on the snowy wilds of northern Canada, than here. 

To the local people, I am “loca perdida” or the crazy one, though many come just to be with me, or to listen to my stories.  They come to get me sometimes, either with a jeep, or even a donkey, and take me to a village feast so they can hear some of my stories about their ancient peoples.  They seem to have no difficulty believing me, and I have wondered about that.  Do they also listen in time? They “pay” me in food, or in new blankets for my tents or shelters.  Good people, all of them.  I’ve always felt safe here; not sure I could have managed that in cities where people crowd unhappily together, hardly ever getting to know each other though rubbing shoulders every day.  How sad is that life, I think.

Here I remain.  Here I belong for my body’s time being.  Here I taught myself to listen in time and it is here that I will die so another archaeologist, another time listener, can find bits and pieces of my presence in this place and unearth my own story – a story that will have meaning only to her and the few who carry our vision of living in time.  

How I wish I could express, in words, how blessed my life has been and how much I look forward to new digs out there in the stars, knowing that when I sit down and look up I will see more stars.

I am Nothing, I am but a Chimera

[thoughts from    ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

I harbor in my mind this wonderful thought: that I am Nothing.  If I am Nothing, then I don’t need anything.  I don’t crowd other life, demanding space for myself.  I don’t consume, eat, absorb, collect and hoard “stuff” because being Nothing, I need nothing.  I can walk, or float if I wish, observing and learning. 

In this wonderful and recurrent vision, I walk among earth life somewhat unseen.  If I am touched, I can realize this but the other, the one who touches is only aware of a shadow, some sense that “something” happened and a diminishing sense of dread, or transport.  

Being Nothing, I have an infinite number of choices on how I interact with the world around me.  There is nothing that world can do about my choices because being Nothing, I cannot be controlled in any aspect of my life.  Being Nothing I do not need approval or love, nor do I care if fear, hatred or indifference is expressed towards me.   

This is interesting, and I am curious: could Nothing be feared? Could Nothing be hated, resented? Could Nothing be loved?  Could Nothing render a presence of divinity?  

Of course it can; it always does though it is not thought of as Nothing.  Though Nothing cannot be seen it can be sensed in the sense of being a Chimera.  I know how fearful or awed people can be of the Chimeras planted in their minds from childhood and from particular stages of their lives. 

What are those Chimeras?  They are what is believed outright without personal experience of, nor proof of; something “everybody” believes they know while actually knowing nothing about it.  Something believed because “someone” or “something” in authority said it was so.  Because someone taught so.  Chimeras are born of faith in Gods, teachers, preachers, leaders, entertainers, bankers, lovers, doctors, scientists.  They pass their Chimeras on to the world and while they are being used as a convenience (and always for profit and mind-control) they are simultaneously gestated into a next generation so they may guarantee the endless turning of the squirrel cage.  

The world is full of Chimeras.  Gods, of course, top the list, but enemies are the most used models.  They are a particular species of very convenient Chimera – always needed and in a constant state of being invented and given to poetic license.  Enemies allow people to hide their own failings and evil inside a Chimera, a Demon whom they fondly hope will never be encountered for that would create a reality shift problem.  That is why “refugees” (the enemy) are a major problem: by their presence they create a breakdown of faith in the chimerical mental construct.  Once allowed in they no longer serve as a convenient Chimera and new ones must be invented.  As Pooh would say, “Oh, bother!”

Lesser Chimeras are other people’s beliefs that don’t jive with ours.  If we create the alternative fact that theirs are evil, then we can conveniently claim that ours are good and pure.  More Chimeras are other people’s races and skin tone; gender or language or how they interact and even how they eat. 

Chimeras are the mind-prisons of the Somethings.  I know this because when I exist as a Something, I bring my Chimeras to life, and how they love to dance their dance of death with me. 

That being explained, it remains that the most dangerous Chimera is someone who is Nothing.  Someone who cannot be manipulated, controlled, pushed into a corner, dummied down, bought, imprisoned or “frightened to death” using any of society’s control mechanisms.  Someone who doesn’t have an ego to be stroked. Someone who is always free regardless of circumstances.

It is a truism that what we own, owns us.  By that same token, what we believe also owns us.  When we are owned, we are slaves. 

What I enjoy most about being Nothing is I can live with nothing and I can choose whether to feel fear, or loathing, or anger, or express love unconditionally, or feel happiness, or simply enjoy quiet comfort whereas a Something can only experience a part of those choices. 

Nothing can sit on a cloud and sleep until the cloud dissipates, then glide along on the wind, perhaps to land on a ship on the high seas, on an island or on a high mountain or in the middle of the desert where Nothing communes alone with Joy. 

Nothing can wander freely in the middle of a war zone unscathed, except for the burning pain of ever-present Sorrow, that being a given.  

Being Nothing would serve no purpose if Nothing could not live in the constant experience of knowing Joy and Sorrow intimately.  That is, after all, the whole point of being Nothing – to experience living a life in total freedom of choice; where consequences do not raise questions of conscience because they affect only Nothing.  They never harm, nor hurt the ego-beings: the Anythings or Somethings.  Emotionally a Nothing is a closed system.  What a Nothing experiences doesn’t affect the external world at all.

Can a physical entity, or being, be Nothing apart from dreams and visions?  That would be some trick now, wouldn’t it? 

A Nothing Chimera walks between the worlds of man and that of spirit.  Can the embodied Nothing join those two worlds and if it did, what must be the outcome? 

World Bridger (a Vision)

              Dreams and visions.  They come to those who seek them; who seek understanding in all the places where society, civilization, the System, the Status Quo or “The Matrix” insist there can be no understanding except through blind belief and blind obedience.  It insists that everyone must follow the pattern laid out by the Powers that Be, from “God” on down.  Anyone can own a piece of the puzzle if that piece is handed down from those in authority.  If it isn’t then it’s illegitimate, illegal, blasphemous, immoral – take your pick: you are not supposed to have it and must destroy it, or hand it back to the authorities to be destroyed (or hidden in their underground vaults).  If you insist on keeping unauthorized information you place yourself in danger of the “Inquisition” – and be certain that said Inquisition exists within every form of totalitarian power, whether it be religious, scientific, academic, political or financial.  Those who have stood against the Inquisition know what I’m writing about.  Take Galileo; Julian Assange, Joan of Arc, Salman Rushdie, Chelsea Manning… and speaking of “whistleblowers” – check out the list on Wikipedia.  So many others who spent their lives in prison, were executed and tortured to death because they held to a truth that was denied by the System.  Also, if the subject interests you, read up on how the biblical prophets were treated in their days as they pointed out the error of the ways of Israel… errors which caused many a terrible conquest and diaspora; errors which are being repeated today by that same nation and which will have the same ends, for ways not changed means of certainty that history must repeat itself for Earthian humanity.  

                                        World Bridger  (a vision)
           (from the files of    ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara)

          In the darkness, I heard a deep voice echoing.  It said: “You are Tara, daughter of Earth, you are a Planet Bridger…”  As I peered into the dark, which was the dark of space, I saw two planets orbiting.  Then the voice continued: “In the depths of space, two twin worlds move slowly towards each other through the eons of time… Soon they will come close enough to each other for a bridge to be formed…” 

          I looked at these two twin worlds.  One was pristine, beautiful, green, lush, full of life.  Its waters were blue and clear.  Everywhere was a sense of pure joy.  The other was the opposite: it was blighted, polluted, desecrated.  Smoke swirled around it, and on its surface people ran here and there aimlessly.  There were wars being fought, and famine was rampant.  There were plagues and diseases of all kinds.  Pain, misery and death marked the passage of time there…

          When these two worlds approached one another, at some perfect timing, a ball of reddish/golden light appeared between the two planets.  Inside this ball of light was a being apparently sleeping.  Then, I found myself there: I was that being, Tara, the Bridger.  I awakened from my sleep and began to stretch myself.  As I did so, I emerged from the ball of light and it vanished. 

          In space, I stretched my feet towards the pristine world and I saw them enter the soil and become a part of the landscape.  I could feel the well-being of it, the invitation to share in its bounty.  I stretched my head to the wrecked and wretched planet, and when I touched it, my hair, which flowed in abundance, entered that soil like millions of roots, and I became a part of that world.  I felt the burning of it, an unwholesome uncomfortable feeling within my head. 

Now, there was a bridge between two worlds.  Soon, people from the blighted world began to walk upon my flesh; to wonder at, to ponder, this phenomenon.  Some, recognizing the bridge, gave thanks and in gratitude, quickly made their way to the waiting Edenic world.  Most, sadly, were afraid of the consequences of trusting in this new thing, and chose to just wander around a bit, then returned to their miserable existence.  Another type of human came to explore my body: the ‘gold diggers” or resource seekers .  These brought the same tools they had been using to destroy their planet.  They proceeded to cut up my flesh, looking for treasure.  Finding nothing of interest to their blighted senses, they too returned to their world to continue in their pointless existence.

          In time, when the two worlds were again beginning to orbit apart, all those who were upon my body left.  Most opted to remain on their old world, afraid of the future presented to them.  They could not believe that this new world was ‘real’. 

          When I was completely clear of traffic, of human life, I pulled myself free of the old world.  My hair tore out of my head and remained in the soil there.  I pulled my legs away from the new world, and my feet remained in that soil.  I rolled myself into a ball… and died… or so it seemed.  I became non-living, in the sense that we know it.  My body also vanished in space.  Then the voice came back and said: “In time, when this cycle is complete, you will again return to bridge these two worlds, for you are infinite, you are life.”

          By choice, and by whatever means given us over time upon time, some of us become world bridgers.  Our calling and our choice may never be known by anyone, but as my “new age” friends were fond of mentioning, we are anchors.  By our presence and by our thoughts we “anchor” certain energies within worlds and these places of power often remain untapped for millennia.  Then we come back and we find these ancient treasures that belong to us, and we learn how to use them and expand them.  Sometimes they can give us enough power to rise up into public awareness and create waves of changes.  Think Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. – individuals with charisma, with the power of compassion: such doesn’t just happen, nor does it happen overnight.  Long, long planning and many lives go into building such awareness.  Does it make any difference?  It can, for those who observe, listen and act on their own wisdom as the above vision demonstrates.

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream: the Statue, Then and Now

Book of Daniel — The Vision, old and new.

 (Another vision from    ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara)

The books called the “Bible” are not difficult to understand, least of all those who deal with dreams.  But so much darkness has been cast upon the words by would-be interpreters, by greedy fools; by writers of bad fiction, but mostly by Religion, that it takes careful re-reading to “get it” if one is looking, say, for information in prophetic writings of long ago.  An open-minded person, educated enough and perhaps with a degree of wisdom can get much valuable information from that maligned and misunderstood book.

A case in point:  The prophet Daniel lived during the Babylonian Jewish Diaspora, circa 530 BC.  During the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, the king had a dream of a majestic statue that had a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron and feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.

 While he was looking and admiring this colossal statue, “a rock was cut out but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.  The statue collapsed and was reduced to broken pieces, like chaff and the wind swept them away…”

Daniel (Daniel 2:31) interprets the vision according to his information at the time.  The interpretation, except for the last part, is now ancient history.  Babylon fell, as did the other empires symbolized by the statue.

 The vision remains as a reminder that “history” repeats.  There is a new interpretation of this vision, which I will share because I have had a similar vision, but to do with these times, not those of 2500 years ago.

My vision has to do with the corporate world, banking, the military industrial complex, medical and prescription drugs cartels; energy and food empires built on aggressive exploitation of natural resources, including the ubiquitous usage of human slave labour.  It speaks of hierarchies and bureaucracies.  The head of gold is those who lord it over these powersdictators of empires, CEO’s and elitist fat cats on the boards of directors: the richest men on this world.  Most of the statue’s energy flows up there and there is not enough left to make the entire statue of gold, nor would those at the top allow that! 

 So must come the next echelon of “leaders” – those who are represented by the chest and arms of silver.  These too are rich, and have a greater “reach” than those at the top.  The second layer of power: politicians, heads of various military and security state agencies, despots of all kinds in politics, religion, business, “mobs” and families; heads of charitable” (read tax-free) organizations – all those whose positions depend on those at the top but are autonomous from those below them.

 Then come the bureaucracies – the “belly and thighs” of the statue – those entrusted to make it work; to suck the energy from the bottom and move it to the top.  The mid-level corporate managers, the bean counters… and those qualified to “have the great ideas” and push corporate fanaticism through advertising, etc.   Professionals of all stripes, research and development scientists, teachers, doctors, lawyers and judges, law enforcers, local bank managers, on it goes.  Those who must believe and push because they have sold their souls to the upper parts of the machine; because it makes them comfortable, relatively rich and feeling safe.  

 Finally come the feet of the statue, those who support and feed it: the working class.  There is some iron in them, which means they actually believe in the ponderous contraption they laboriously and pointlessly support with their faith, their hopes, their love even… and ultimately, their mindless laboring and ignominious, pointless death.

But it must end, as all things that have grown out of balance; as have all empires in the past.  And in the collapse of this monstrosity, most of those who support it must, of course, die with it and their remnants will be swept away by “the rock cut out, but not by human hands.” 

In my vision the “rock” is nature turning against man in a final showdown in which only the planet can win.

There was more to my vision:  I saw beyond the pollution storm of environmental destruction; beyond spiritual corruption and mental bankruptcy

I saw what remained beyond civilization’s collapse; what had survived in underground testing labs; what was dead to feelings and could never understand empathy: I saw the rise of the Cyborgs.  Human machines gradually taking over because they needed so little “natural” energy to operate on.  They could live in a poisoned environment.  They could reproduce themselves, repair themselves and even evolve through trial and error processes using old and new technology and what they had absorbed from brief interactions with non-earth people who had shown up during the catastrophic destruction (The ancient “creators” from planet X, Nibiru, perhaps?  It wasn’t clear who these interlopers had been, just that they had made a brief appearance and made a quick exit.

 

These Cyborgs, I saw, were determined to hunt down and kill the last surviving “true” humans on this world for they sensed them as dangerous competitors.  Well, not surprising.  They had, after all, the “memories” of the pre-Cyborg human race.  A necessary part of their awareness, their programming.   They understood that if the humans survived, the many battles would go to the Cyborgs but the final war would be won by the surviving humans… and history repeats itself!

Oh well, hints of “Terminator” and other sci-fi stories and movies.  But in these confused times where nothing, anything or everything can be believed, or believed “in”… who’s to say what is fiction, what is prophecy?

I would not offer my dreams and visions as prophecies — just some food for thought.  Something to help us “slow down” and do a bit of thinking outside the box. Nor is this about taking a stand for survival: there is no surviving earth.  This world has evolved itself as a treadmill; an exercise machine for Earthians.  When our time’s up we have to take off our sweaty exercise stuff, shower and dress appropriately for “out there” and exit the “club”…

 “And what’s “appropriate”? someone might ask. 

 Depends on what’s “out there” for you.  Think: why have you done all that exercising all those years?  What was your purpose?

To live a life, I suppose” would be one answer.  “I really have no idea” would probably be the most common reply.

“How could anyone possibly know what’s out there?” someone else may add

 All they’d get for answer to that is a smile and a reminder that it’s all on their destination ticket.

 “I don’t have a destination ticket” another may challenge.

The answer to that is, that’s not a choice.  Everyone has a destination ticket.  All are born with it and it’s a part of one’s entire life.  Perhaps now would be a good idea to locate it and read the fine print.  Who knows but what one’s life lived without due care and attention may have caused to be written on the “admission” side of the ticket? 

 

Questions and dreams

…dreams, from   ~burning woman~ …by Sha’Tara

Questions that have remained unanswered for me: should dreams be shared with others?  Should they remain as “private” information?  Are they meant to explain other realities to individuals, or to collectives?  Are they part of the the great “collective unconscious”?  Information given by “others out there” as warnings?  Or simply how our memories, when the body is resting, are re-formatted by the mind to be stored in permanent “hard disk” space?

And speaking of space, I like to think that dreams are like space: if it’s only for me, what a waste!
 
Especially if one has spent a lifetime learning how to dream, how to retrieve the information imparted there, even something as simple as remembering them.  Especially after learning to assimilate day-time and night-time information to create a whole new paradigm of understanding.
 
So, about those dreams:
 
Some time ago I had a wild and crazy series of dreams – could have been just one dream covering many scenes and sequences too.  The main part takes place on a meadow and grassy fields bordered to the east by a barb-wire fence, to the north by oil refineries on a river and to the west by open country.
 
I stand at the south, facing north.
 
The skies are slate grey, dark.  A violent storm is blowing, but not a normal wind storm, or hurricane, though the movement of the air is just as great or worse.  Best comparison would be a wind tunnel with a giant fan.  The “wind” is blowing from the west, carrying anything and everything with it.  Nothing is left standing in its path.  I see grass, trees, clothing, unrecognizable material things and sheep.  Yes, sheep.  Blowing in the wind and being thrown violently into the barb wire fence.  One is still alive and struggling to free itself but cannot.  It has a reed branch pushed sideways through its nose and is trying to push it out with its hoof, unsuccessfully.  Gradually, the animal is “emptied” until only a head and skin are left hanging on the wires.  White strips of clothing are also ripping and tearing from the barbs and blowing away.
 
I hear voices, as of people talking from a distance.  They are speaking of a “pollution storm” and how they should have known it was coming and done something about it.  Then I realize that the “sheep” are really people, or better put “sheeple” — who did not care, did not hear, refused to hear and are now being ripped apart by this “storm” that is anything but natural.
 
I hear the voices again and they are saying: “We thought the Middle East would have invaded and taken over by now.  Wonder why they have not?”  But as I looked to the oil refineries, especially at the tall stacks painted a dark, dull, red and black, I notice the lettering on them is Arabic.  And again, I realized how the “take-over” was done, not by ordinary people from the Middle East, but by the oil consortiums and I see the connection between the refineries blowing their smoke into the air, and the “pollution storm” that is destroying everything.
 
I’m unable to truly portray the intensity of this event.  I remember feeling a sense of deadness, of deep sadness, knowing that for years the people had been warned of something like this; knowing that it was all preventable with a bit of common sense, some sacrifice and will-power.  But the people had been led down the garden path of commercial lies; of bodily comfort at any price and had never learned to reach out to the oppressed who supplied the pre-pollution storm “good life”.
 
So, I think such a dream is really a prophecy in simple symbols. 
 
The next dream:  I am standing in space looking up.  I see the moon and the earth further out, at about the same distance away as I am from the moon.  Both are incredibly beautiful, reflecting fully the light of the sun.
 
The information I have is that the moon’s orbit has begun to decay and in a short time the moon will lose it’s ability to remain aloft and go crashing into the earth.  Again voices, people around me talking.  We have decided to attempt to “prop-up” the moon’s orbit to prevent it from crashing into the planet.  In my hands and around me are “spacers” – those flat metal objects we use in venders to correct the spacing between different sizes of cans or bottles and prevent double vends or jams.  I’m looking at these familiar things and working out a plan to use them in this endeavor.
 
Then I begin to understand the significance of these “spacers” — I am not standing “in space” but observing from a space station, or space ship.  The “spacers” are us, not the objects.  We have come together as people of “space” to prevent a catastrophe, if possible. 
 
Our feelings are quite normal, professional you might say.  No fear, no excitement, no despair.  It’s as if this situation is not uncommon and we’ve done this before.  It’s just a matter of calculating the forces and creating new force-fields to replace those that are collapsing.  Yet we are not calloused about the situation and we know that much depends on the people of the planet if it is to survive.  We cannot do this thing alone.  We can provide the technology but we cannot “DECIDE” the outcome, that is we cannot provide the collective planetary will energy that is absolutely necessary for the success of our efforts on behalf of the people of earth.  And we certainly feel empathy for all the life involved here.  The empathy is not, for the most part, reciprocated from the planet’s surface.  And our chances of success correspondingly diminish.
 
After I woke up and shook off some of the heavier energies surrounding this event I realized once more how much “detachment” is mis-understood here.  Earthians hear “detachment” and sense “I don’t care”.  But as the dream showed, the “spacers” (including me) who would save this world cared a great deal more than the people on the planet.  They could really care because they were detached about the outcome.  They had nothing to lose or gain, whether they failed or succeeded.  Either way, they would go on to other duties in “space”.  So… they could focus on the problem fully.
 
Many more details, other events in-between, but this is already too long a read for most.

     The Star Dancer

       I have no recollection of having posted this very short story.  If I did, it would have been many months ago, and “followers” have changed drastically since.  If it is a repeat for you, just ignore, although I have made some edits.  thank you.                                               

                                                               a short story by  ~ Sha’Tara ~

One could almost say she had the characteristics of a winter bird without stretching the comparison.  A killdeer on a windswept dune in December heard only after darkness covers the shores, that would describe her presence. 

Slim of build, almost translucent of skin, she could stand in perfect stillness beside a doorway and remain unseen by those passing in and out.  Generally silent, there was a quality to her voice that demanded stillness and silence.  Not from weakness nor self-pity, her way of remaining in the background was her means of allowing her to observe the world, voicing some of her thoughts little more than the occasional soft word.  She could just as easily remain alert and active for long hours without apparently tiring.  Never was she seen indulging food or drink beyond a body’s basic needs.  Her pleasure, and she radiated pleasure, did not emanate from satisfying carnal desires. 

She was not what would be called pretty, but she was truly beautiful, with the movements of a small wild animal raising its head to look inquisitively at the world; with the velvety touch of an angel.  And what to say of her attire?  She wore no makeup and draped herself in the simplest of styles, in second-hand clothes.  If asked why she didn’t spend more on herself, she’d smile, as if shyly, and shrug.  “It doesn’t go with the innocence of children,” would be the extent of her explanation on the subject. 

Certainly, the innocence of a child would have described her.  She was called naïve by some.  To that she’d reply, “Do not confuse naïvety with innocence.  I choose to remain innocent.  It is my way of counteracting the many grave faults of this man’s world.  Do not make the mistake of thinking I am unaware of what goes on here or helpless to do anything about it.”  Only then did her voice take on the severe tone of the Teacher, a tone of voice loaded with implications which none but the awakened caught.

She was an empath.  Compassionate.  When she interacted with strangers, she mostly smiled and helplessly, they would smile back at her and then at one-another.  All children who met her were attracted to her, that is until the time when their innocence was forcibly taken from them.  Then she faded from their eyes and their memory.  They will not remember her until they get old and tears will roll down their lined faces in realization of what they had encountered; what they could have learned; how much it could have changed their lives.  

There were tragedies in her life as in every life.  Through it all, she brought hope and comfort where none existed.  That was her nature — to give, not to take.  It was as if she gave her own flesh and blood to those in need.  She “fed and clothed” by what she did not spend on herself – that was one of her “open” secrets.  But with each sorrow, her translucence increased.  A dawn would come to finally dim her starlight beyond earthly recall.

It didn’t matter what they called her, I recognized her from times before time.  She was of the Star Dancers; those whose home is the infinity of the Cosmos; who scatter themselves as stardust over myriad of worlds and touch the lives of countless others.  Sadly, yes, some of us get lost and for long periods, sleep in forgetfulness.  Our memories of the Star Dancer are but myths in the conflagration of time that burns within our confused minds.

But she did come.  A speck of dust on the wind, perhaps, but she appeared on our horizon, burning off into the skies like a meteorite. 

What does that matter now that she is gone, you may well ask?  What matters is, she came, scattered a bit of magic stardust and there was joy where none was to be had; there was hope where despair had held sway. 

What matters is, I can now remember and continue to do some of what she began.  How could anyone forget such a passing?  How could anyone mourn?  How could anyone who ever encountered her not make a supreme effort to remember?