Washington’s House of Straw
Being a well-traveled city slicker, I am not unfamiliar with the architecture of Anglo-Saxon cityscapes, particularly that of their capital cities. London radiates with ancient history, its architecture embedded in its long heritage and fabled traditions. Ottawa is unique in its river location merging two cultures, French and Anglo-Saxon, at its border. Canberra is brash in its grid-like symmetrical modernity, while Wellington is Wellington. Each of the Anglo-Saxon capitals makes its own statement on behalf of the nation it symbolizes.
Yet for sheer impact—a conveying of the impression of modernity embracing both power and prestige—no cityscape compares to that of Washington, d.c. But what is it that today, in all reality, lies behind this grandly imposing facade?
Last week I paid my second visit to the capital of the single greatest nation on Earth. The architecture still hugely impresses with its demonstration of national confidence—a literal brick, mortar, concrete, steel and glass gigantic boast of power.
When I first toured Washington, it was in a far different time, reflecting a far different mood. That was in 2006—before the September 2007-08 financial industry meltdown. Back in 2006 the banks and brokers were riding high, wheeling and dealing their nation’s economy to the brink of the greatest financial collapse since the Great Depression of the late 1920s, seemingly oblivious to the inevitable outcome.
Now we return to Washington, d.c., five years on from that 2006 visit, to a city that hosts a divided Congress, caught in the choke hold of debt, under an administration that has largely lost the support of a constituency to which it promised hope and change during the razzamatazz of the 2009 election campaign.
Today the bloom has certainly gone from those swelling campaign promises. The nation is patently broke and teeters on the edge of default on its massive national debt. This is a distinct reality despite the fiction peddled by those who claim that the U.S. is “too big to fail.”
America today lives out the classic fool’s paradise of continuing to spend on credit while its blundering treasurers print billions of paper dollars that technically have no worth at all. That “worth” is the sum total of confidence that the global market has of the currency’s sustainability. The fact is, that “worth” of the greenback is destined to disappear overnight when America wakes up one morning to see that the world has finally lost its confidence in the U.S. dollar.
The nation’s enemies are realizing that the once mighty United States of America is but a paper tiger. Chaos and collapse await. They will strike with a suddenness that will take the breath away and literally stop the hearts of many a present-day highflier when America’s debt is called in. This will foreshadow the great financial collapse that will shock the international markets with a ferocity that will cause tectonic geopolitical changes on the world scene and empower the European superstate into global dominance seemingly overnight.
America has forgotten that there has never, ever, been an empire throughout history that was “too big to fail.”
Few economists, if any, read the scene in its total global current-day reality let alone its historical perspective. Why should they? They are largely of the same generation, the same mindset as those same individuals who oversaw the financial binge that got America into this trouble. Those same individuals are continuing to oversee America’s misguided policy of deepening its pit of debt by encouraging the nation in the pretense of spending its way out of its ongoing crisis.
As we walked the neat streets of Washington, interspersed with its lush green parks, Herbert W. Armstrong’s prophetic words rang in my ears: “[T]he world continues in a downward spiral in its plunge into world economic collapse and the end of civilization as we know it” (member and co-worker letter, July 22, 1984). That was written just 18 months before his long life ended.
On the surface, when touring America’s national capital five years ago, that would have been hard to imagine. Yet the very next year, the bottom dropped out of the U.S. economy. The crisis began with America’s liquidity crunch in 2007 and consummated in global recession in August 2008. For the U.S., its debt chasm has been deepening by the month ever since.
Very recently a long-awaited warning rang out from the largest holder of U.S. debt. China currently holds in excess of $3 trillion in its foreign exchange reserves. In three separate statements, Chinese representatives indicated that they are gearing to divest their nation of two thirds of that mountain of dollars!
The Chinese news agency Xinhua reported on April 23:
China should reduce its excessive foreign exchange reserves and further diversify its holdings, Tang Shuangning, chairman of China Everbright Group, said on Saturday.
The amount of foreign exchange reserves should be restricted to between 800 billion to 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars, Tang told a forum in Beijing, saying that the current reserve amount is too high. … Tang’s remarks echoed the stance of Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of China’s central bank, who said on Monday that China’s foreign exchange reserves “exceed our reasonable requirement” and that the government should upgrade and diversify its foreign exchange management using the excessive reserves.
Further reinforcing the point, Xinhua reported:
Xia Bin, a member of the monetary policy committee of the central bank, said on Tuesday that 1 trillion U.S. dollars would be sufficient. He added that China should invest its foreign exchange reserves more strategically, using them to acquire resources and technology needed for the real economy.
With Japan also poised to dump U.S. dollars in the process of reconstruction following its recent tsunami, this is not good news for the U.S. administration given its present policy of debt monetization. In fact, depending on the timing and the methods adopted by China and Japan in divesting themselves of over-commitment to holding U.S. debt, the results could be catastrophic for the American economy.
Touring Washington’s Capitol building is an inspiring experience when reflecting on America’s remarkable history and unprecedented rise to greatness as the world’s single greatest nation. Yet touring that impressive edifice while musing on a realist perspective of the current state of the Union could be somewhat demoralizing, realizing that the nation stands on the brink of total financial and economic collapse. It could be even more demoralizing if one was to dwell on America’s increasing habit of seeking to appease its enemies, notwithstanding the recent assassination of Osama bin Laden.
Thankfully, we were able to reflect on a far greater vision than the once hopeful American dream as we listened to our guide relate the drama of the brief history of this nation. For we know the source of this nation’s blessings, the reason for its current state of progressive decline, its painful short-term outcome, and its glorious long-term future!
The sight of two spitfires flanking a World War ii-vintage Lancaster bomber flying over the royal wedding party on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on Friday reflected, among all the pomp and pageantry of the moment, Britain’s last great stand for freedom—a freedom it guarded and for which it fought so tenaciously, alone, for two courageous years but seven decades ago, before the rising might of America came to its aid.
Those years of power and glory are long gone for Britain and its once great empire. They are fast fading into history for a once great American nation, caught in the inevitable decline that follows when a nation forgets and fails to honor the divine Source of its national blessings—rapidly becoming a house of straw.
As we left the precincts of Washington’s Capitol building we did so with a fresh perspective on the marvel of America’s brief history, yet with a deep concern for the current state of this once great nation. Even more than that, we departed moved and motivated with a renewed commitment to do all in our power to support the work of this magazine and its affiliate enterprises in the effort to declare a great final warning to the covenant peoples of the U.S. and Britain, and its dominions, in the face of their great national trials ahead—a renewed determination to give all who have the eyes to see a vision of the incredible hope that awaits those who will truly heed that warning!