Sunday, October 23, 2016

The future is looming

It is a grey and drizzly day. Trees are leafless or just about, no weather the dogs or we enjoy and the chickens will not go outside either.
Lately I've been watching the media and a picture is emerging that leaves me rather upset. No, frightened is more like it.
The US is moving material to Norway, fighter jets to Iceland and the Netherlands plus more and more troops deploying elsewhere around the globe, especially around the edges of Russia. Russia on the other hand, by heads of Putin, is continuously warning us, via the media, that we are being steered towards an armed conflict on a massive scale. Declaring no fly zones in Syria, the US of course not accepting. The Russian navy sailing toward Syria. The situation there is spinning out of control and a direct confrontation is all but inevitable.... And if that isn't enough, then there's always the South Chinese Sea, where once again the US is present an area with a military volatile situation, where surprisingly the Philippines change sides, turning the cold shoulder on the US.
The financial systems are failing us and about to implode (impending bankruptcy of the Deutsche Bank ring a bell?) and what better way to distract people from that rather uncomfortable bit of "news" than to create chaos by swarming mainland Europe with refugees and to beat the drums of war? Western mainstream media is all too eager to spread the word of terrorist threats everywhere and, here in Sweden, not a day goes by where the Russian threat is not being mentioned either. Many a blatant lie these media spread has been unravelled and proven false in alternative media, but the general populous is very willing to ignore those, almost instantly labelling them "conspiracy theorists". End of discussion there......

I don't have to draw out the geopolitical picture as it is at the moment. Those smart and brave (or dumb) enough can see that for themselves. the answers are out there for those willing to look and see..... The US, commanding it's NATO minions to follow, is steering us toward a war by cornering Russia, littering the globe with military bases, taunting the Chinese in the South Chinese Sea and generally making enemies, wherever their boots touch the ground. No, long in advance, so they create an excuse to send in those boots in the first place.
The tone of voice by US politicians and high military ranking officers is clear:"We will beat Russia"... Question is:"Why should you?", but that's a different matter altogether and one that will become insignificant, once the curtains fall.

What is keeping me preoccupied these days is:" And then what?"
What if, no when, war brakes out? I can not speak for others, but when I look at Sweden I get quite nervous. Sweden, having no military worth mentioning, despite starting drafting in conscripts again next year (which should be saying something too!!) is utterly defenceless. A collapse within a week is the general estimation. Any major deployment of troops by either side would be met with very little resistance. And yet that is not my main concern. My main concern is its total dependence on import, when it comes to daily life. According to several sources Sweden's level of self sufficiency is about 45-50%, but 100%  dependency when it comes to fossil fuel based resources. And Sweden is easily cut off from the outside world, when it comes to bulk transport. And that is its achilles heel; transportation.
In case of such a cut-off, and in a war scenario that would be pretty much instantly, food- and fuel supplies would dwindle quite fast or become seized by the government for military and emergency services. Just a 50% reduction of oil import alone would mean a famine within weeks.
Any outside help that might make it over here, would end up in one of the three major cities, which house roughly 2.2 million of the total population of 9.6. That would mean supplies would probably never even leave the cities. I have no idea what an average person would need to live in weight, but it would take a daily armada just to feed each and everyone of those cities.
Even if, by some miraculous event, supplies were to leave the cities, there'd be mobs waiting for them just a few miles down the road, inland. So those inland would be left to fend for themselves and there aren't many who know how to. Even the vast majority of farmers depend on fuel and imported seed and fertilizer for their crops. Shops would be empty within days (hours more likely). Anyone remember the food riots of Venezuela in 2015?? And their issues are still not sorted! The problems continue in a country that has plenty of resources, but where the government has sold out its own people, just as it is happening here.... Where people on the fringes of society are pushed over the edge.
Taken during the venezuela lootings

But then the next blow will come: electricity. Although Sweden does have its own hydropower plants, windmill parks and nuclear reactors, these can not provide enough. Not by a longshot. So any remaining refrigerated or frozen food would spoil.... fast. The same might go for medicine. Some of it has to be kept refrigerated, but all of it has to be transported.

If there is anything our current society is totally dependent on, then it is those 2; transportation and electricity. And one single event just might knock out those 2; a severe winter storm or a flood might do it, but then people could still rely on help from the outside, since it would most likely be pretty local. But what if an entire country got cut off?? Especially a country like this one, highly vulnerable, completely helpless and picking the wrong friends. Social order would collapse in the blink of an eye. Then what? United we stand, divided we fall and this country appears to have completely lost any form of homogeneity, of community.

I am considering 2 options; the static one and the mobile one. Both have their distinct (dis)advantages.
The first one allows for stocking up on food and other supplies, having a vegetable garden and livestock and house a family in relative comfort. However it might just as easy attract unwanted attention, making you an easy target. You'd need a decent community, willing to help and defend each other. Plus it would be very hard to leave behind if the situation calls for it. As I mentioned before, a sense of community is all but absent in the village we live in, but we're working hard on that. Another issue is that we are the only ones seriously growing food and having some form of livestock here, making us stand out quite a bit.
The latter one makes it easier to adapt to the situation, simply by moving away. But it would mean quite a logistic endeavour, involving a functioning car and above all, fuel. If either fails, (and fuel might quickly become scarce) you are stranded. And a moving, working car probably would make a nice target as well. Lesser numbers also make a far less effective defense. And winter especially makes the latter option a whole lot less attractive, despite having a large, heated tent and field beds.

As a matter of fact I have just finished a book dealing with such a scenario resembling my visions and it confirms all I have feared, but also brought some new insights. Despite it being fiction it is very realistic. And grim.

I worry...
Yeah, I really worry....

Will my kids belong to the generation that has to rebuild it all? If so, I sure do hope they will do a much, much better job then the ones before them did. because those really fucked up.
Either way, when everything does go belly up, we're in a world of hurt big time and my vivid imagination paints a picture that is none too pretty...

9 comments:

  1. Many comments here. First off, since it looks like The Donald will not be President what will he do? He loves the limelight. Word is he will start "Trump TV" which would presumably be a vehicle for all his thoughts and ramblings. It could be good in theory except that a lot of his thoughts are negative and divide people. Talk about community building. Non existent. So, good that he's a watch dog. Bad that he's divisive.

    I would hope people wouldn't act so horrible as one sees in the Hollywood apocalypse movies. But who knows? You're really right that supplies would run out almost immediately. Here in the central valley we could eat grapes, pistachios and almonds. (Ha!) The nearby Mexicans are a helpful bunch but who knows how they would feel about anglos overrunning their farms. They have guns absolutely for sure. We hear them practicing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trump or Clinton, what does it matter? The end result for John and Jane Doe will be the same. Like choosing between the Plague and cholera as they so vividly put it here.
      And we both know how people will react. We've seen it, haven't we? What if it hits 3-4 months before nutseason? And maybe the Mexicans are practicing for a reason? Who do you think the great white race will turn on, when things go belly up?

      Delete
  2. No I don't think so. The two candidate's style couldn't be any different. But I guess if you compare them to plague or cholera the end result is likely death so in that sense they would be the same.

    I don't know that we know how people will react. We've seen the movie but that's Hollywood. I'm trying to think if we've ever had a historical precedent for apocalypse.

    Round here if someone is truly in need people band together to help. Our neighbor came over with his garden hose when our well went out. However that's not catastrophic proportions.

    The Mexicans will do all right. They, by in large, know how to do things. My husband and I always joke that if you want something done hire a Mexican. The lady next door has vegetables growing in a weed patch. It's not all manicured. I didn't even realize she had something growing until I saw her out there harvesting. The weeds are thick and the vegs hidden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do not mean Hollywood. How about some major US cities in recent years or, indeed, Venezuela?
      Indeed we have no precedent for any apocalyptic events, but neither did we have a general population so entirely dependent on direct supplies from others, without any kind of reserves or knowledge to fall back on. A population so completely dependent on information from screens (or unimaginably shortsighted and stupid). A population that, once the dust settles and the smoke clears, will have very little in resources left to rebuild and "advance".

      Delete
    2. What happened in Venezuela? Maybe we should look for examples of "mini-apocalypses" to see what human behavior might be like. When those happen and an area is wiped out people rally together and come from all parts of the globe to help.

      So it would have to be a global wipe-out or nearly so to make people behave badly.

      Yes, it's a tenuous thread we live on and so far we have escaped. There's no reason to panic but it is prudent to quietly become more self sufficient.

      We finally got our first rains of the "rainy" season. Which is not rainy by other people's estimation but there it is. And we're grateful.

      Delete
    3. Venezuela has some serious problems with supplies, mainly food. A huge scarcity. In 2015 large lootings erupted in the cities, since people were starving. A little google-fu should cough up some interesting articles.
      A global wipe-out? No, with today's interconnectedness a serious disruption in a larger area would set off a cascading effect, making it more or less global in the end. Such a disruption might be a conflict like those that are being orchestrated around the globe right now; South Chinese Sea, Ukraine or Syria.
      The first would cripple the entire Asian region, ruining exports to the western countries and dealing a severe blow to the financial markets located there. The second would not only destabilise the entire region around it, but most likely cause major forces to clash and thus the conflict would spin completely out of control very fast. Those major forces are present everywhere around the globe, thus setting off conflicts around the globe and disrupting regions there. The third would pretty much do the same, but this time the muslim world and Israel are right next door.
      There aren't many countries that can take care of themselves, but these conflicts would completely disable any form of import/export. The entire western world, and that includes the US, Russia AND major players throughout Asia, would collapse, since we all need something that is produced some place else; oil from the middle east is the main concern, but also bulk food from around the globe, not to mention all the industries we westerners have outsourced to low wage countries. They however are dependent on raw materials from another part of the world etc., etc. Global transport would collapse almost instantly due to the threat of violence and the lack of fuel.
      And in many of these places people have lost the knowledge and infrastructure to take care of themselves. Most people have shrugged their shoulders at the knowledge the elderly possessed, have done away with books, containing that knowledge and switched to a smartphone with facebook and snapchat. Practically all the lowtech, power independent tools and equipment needed for the production of basic necessities have ended up on the waste dumps. Those that did survive are being sold at secondhand stores as trendy gimmicks and fashion items.
      And as icing on the cake we are looking at generations that have been taught that nothing else really matters but they. The majority of people today live the me-me-me- and buy-buy-buy-lifestyle. Plus we have become soooo many.
      We are looking at a never before seen cocktail of conditions that is so volatile, so completely unstable and unpredictable that we have no idea of how to predict, behave or handle the outcome. But add those conditions and numbers up and you see that it has become a huge balloon, inflated to the max. All we need is a pinprick.

      Panicking will do us no good. However knowingly looking the other way, when trouble is clearly coming our way, is probably even worse.

      Delete
    4. I do agree that people by in large haven't a clue how to "do things". In a way I feel fortunate to be "poor" because it's made us be knowledgeable in ways the general public is not. Sheesh when we were at the ranch the owners were pretty dang clueless. But all our neighbors then and now are pretty self sufficient. Poverty has its uses.

      Yes, we are so many and we really need to not hide from reality. I actually feel hope because young people like you, Ben and Corina are keeping the flame of self sufficiency and knowledge alive. My favorite books of all time (and I have a lot of favorites) are the Foxfire series. Ever heard of them?

      Delete
    5. I sometimes wonder if that would make us leaders or targets. And even those like us would be hard pressed without fuel for our tractors and chainsaws or electricity for a handful of homesteading- or everyday appliances. Yet the shift over to a life without those would probably be less painful and difficult.
      No, I do not know the Fox series. What are they about?

      Delete
  3. The Foxfire Book: Hog Dressing, Log Cabin Building, Mountain Crafts and Foods, Planting by the Signs, Snake Lore, Hunting Tales, Faith Healing, Moonshining, and Other Affairs of Plain Living. Paperback – February 17, 1972 by Eliot Wigginton (Editor)

    (From Amazon) I have all of them. Mr Wigginton took his high school kids and went back into the hills to find old folks and to document their knowledge. Fun to read and also try some of the instructions. Like Leather britches beans. (dried) and other things. Pictures included.

    I would hope we would be leaders. Cross fingers. I guess it might hinge on whether people knew us before an "incident" and whether they looked at us as leaders before anything happened.

    ReplyDelete