Monday, December 20, 2010

The Tiwanaku, Tension on the Korean Peninsula, And a War that will Benefit No One

12/20/2010 Cochabamba, Bolivia Pop in your mints

We are still whiling away the time here in Bolivia.  The food here is different, the result of years of more than 34 ethnic groups exchanging and mixing recipes.  “Silpancho”, for example, is a dish of rice and potatoes covered by a razor thin meat patty with a fried egg and chopped peppers on top.  It is like a meat pancake with egg on top.  Perhaps one day it will appear on the menu at IHOP. 

Bolivia is rich in History.  The most dominant culture in the “Altiplano” (High Plain) of the Andes Mountain Range which occupies much of Western Bolivia was the Tiwanaku.  The Tiwanaku, to which the present day Aymara of Western Bolivia trace their origins, began as a small agricultural village around 1500 BC.  Around 400 AD, the population began to urbanize and went from being a local force to a predatory state.  They learned the way of Empire.  What is the way of Empire, you may ask?  Simply put, it is to dominate by force, create trade agreements, create cults (religion), demand tribute, and control the “redistribution” of what is collected as tribute.  Does this sound familiar?

In the case of the Tiwanaku, their form of tribute was food.  They took the food production from regions located in what are now Peru, Bolivia, and Chile and then redistributed it according to the political need of the elites.  The Empire spread due to its continued food surpluses until a widespread drought occurred and food production began to slow and, consequently, the influence of the Tiwanaku began to weaken until, in 1000 AD, what was left of the Tiwanaku Empire simply disappeared.  Later to the region came the Incan and later the Spanish conquerors but before they came, this area lay desolate for nearly 450 years.  All the result of a long streak of bad weather.

But enough about the misfortunes of the Tiwanaku Culture, what is unsettling us today here at The Mint is the continued mention of tensions on the Korean Peninsula.  War is good for no one, economically or otherwise.  For this reason we are firmly against it.  Self defense makes perfect sense in our view of the world but open aggression has no valid productive purpose.  We fear what is going on in Korea and what is being presented is simply a warm-up for a conflict that the US Empire feels it must have with China.  Remember that South Korea is a proxy for US Interests and North Korea for Chinese Interests.

What is going on there has the feel of a school yard spat where the smart kid has been loaning lunch money to the class bully while the bully who has been borrowing continues to tease the first kid.  The smart kid has been getting braver and, despite the fact that the teachers have been trying to help the two get along, the situation is becoming increasingly antagonistic.  At the next recess, any friction could cause a fight between the two of them.
Will The Tribes of Afghanistan take down yet another Empire?
But why would the US Empire want to pick another fight?  They are still cleaning up and consolidating in Iraq and are in Afghanistan for no apparent reason other than what could be called “Suicide of the Empire.”  The CIA produces mountains of data but it seems that they are short on History.  Don’t they know that the Median and Persian Empires, Alexander the Great, the Seleucids, the Indo-Greeks, Turks, Mongols, British and Soviets were all swallowed up by the Tribes and Terrain of Afghanistan?

As if Financial Suicide were not enough, The US Empire appears intent on doing itself in by Military insanity.  But that is the way of empires, they grow by open commerce and rule of just law, and they perish in debt, conquest, and corruption.

The decline can take a long time, however.  You have to be patient to follow long trends. Sometimes longer than your own life span.  It is wise to study and understand History.  Unfortunately the current US leadership, judged by their actions, appears to be falling short on both counts.

Stay Fresh!

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Key Indicators for Monday, December 20th, 2010

*See FED Perceived Economic Effect Rate Chart at bottom of blog.  This rate is the FED Target rate with a 39 month lag, representing the time it takes for the FED Target rate changes to affect the real economy.  This is a 39 months head start that the FED member banks have on the rest of us on using the new money that is created.