Evslin: Two lessons half-learned in 2022

How we can avoid a dystopian novel becoming reality

by Tom Evslin

In Lionel Shriver’s dystopian novel The Mandibles: a Family, 2029-2047the US falls into chaos when it learns that it can’t just print money forever and that ignoring China’s (so far fictional) invasion of Taiwan led to international helplessness for the US.

Fortunately, perhaps, we learned in 2022 that there is a consequence to infinite federal largesse financed by the Federal Reserve creating money. The ridiculous theory that money can be printed in infinite amounts without adverse consequences (Modern Monetary Theory) has been discredited. The Fed has learned the lesson and is reversing its free money, zero interest rate policy. However, there is no sign that political Washington has learned the same lesson. The only bipartisan acts Congress is capable of are huge spending bills full of special interest handouts like the recently passed $1.6 trillion Omnibus Bill passed last month and the ironically named $738 billion Inflation Reduction Act from earlier in 2022. The collision between Fed policy and congressional vote-buying may well lead to a recession – which will, of course, be an excuse for more spending. A lesson half-learned.

Tom Evslin

If left unanswered, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would have had disastrous consequences for freedom and world order. Most credit goes to Ukraine for its incredibly brave defense. However, President Biden has so far done a very good job of rallying America and most of the free world to arm the fighting Ukrainians and reduce Russia’s economic ability to fight this war. Current NATO members have recognized the threat; Sweden and Finland are prepared to join and strengthen the alliance.

IMO we should be giving Ukraine more advanced weapons; but we have come a long way from the socks (or was it gloves?) that President Obama sent after Russia’s invasion of Crimea.

There are still many Americans calling for a compromise (give part of Ukraine to Russia); others inexplicably side with Putin. Europe is paying a hard price as it weans itself from Russian oil and gas and not all Europeans want to pay that price.  Can’t call this a lesson learned until Putin is defeated and seen to be defeated.

There are many more lessons to be learned from 2022 (blogs to come); but we will be a long way towards avoiding Lionel Shriver’s path to dystopia if the two lessons above guide us in 2023.

Categories: Commentary

8 replies »

  1. Mr. Evslin has proven one thing: that he’s an expert watcher of TV. I guess he feels provoking Russia into a nuclear conflict is no big deal.

    I’m stunned how a supposedly intelligent person could be so obtuse to the real facts about Ukraine. Even Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and stalwart progressive, knows a thing or two:

    “In 2014, the U.S. backed a coup in Ukraine that installed a government that included neo-Nazis and was antagonistic to Russia. The coup triggered a civil war when the ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, the Donbass, sought to secede from the country, resulting in over 14,000 people dead and nearly 150,000 displaced, before Russia invaded in February. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to Jacques Baud, a former NATO security advisor who also worked for Swiss intelligence, was instigated by the escalation of Ukraine’s war on the Donbass. It also followed the Biden administration’s rejection of proposals sent by the Kremlin in late 2021, which might have averted Russia’s invasion the following year.” 

    • I also really liked this part from that article:
      Melman, who coined the term “permanent war economy,” noted that since the end of the Second World War, the federal government has spent more than half its discretionary budget on past, current and future military operations. It is the largest single sustaining activity of the government. The military-industrial establishment is nothing more than gilded corporate welfare. Military systems are sold before they are produced. Military industries are permitted to charge the federal government for huge cost overruns. Massive profits are guaranteed. For example, this November, the Army awarded Raytheon Technologies alone more than $2 billion in contracts, on top of over $190 million awarded in August, to deliver missile systems to expand or replenish weapons sent to Ukraine. Despite a depressed market for most other businesses, stock prices of Lockheed and Northrop Grumman have risen by more than 36 and 50 percent this year.

      Tech giants, including Amazon, which supplies surveillance and facial recognition software to the police and FBI, have been absorbed into the permanent war economy. Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Oracle were awarded multibillion-dollar cloud computing contracts for the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability and are eligible to receive $9 billion in Pentagon contracts to provide the military with “globally available cloud services across all security domains and classification levels, from the strategic level to the tactical edge,” through mid-2028.

  2. Part of that inflationary spending Evslin warns about is driven by the imperialist perfidies he eggs on. So unlikely that E himself is able to learn.

  3. Tom, where is this “free world” that Biden is supposably rallying? Canada-nope, Australia-nope, EU-nope. There is no longer a “free world” to rally. A country that is not free cannot lead a “free world” that does not exist.

  4. Excellent article. Helping Ukraine is helping ourselves. If Putin is allowed to take that, what will be next? This is not the famous domino theory of Vietnam days. There is a reason why the former Soviet Republics, and now countries like Sweden and Finland, have joined NATO. My grandparents came from Poland and when I was younger we still were in touch with relatives there living under Soviet rule. The concept that they hated the Russians would be such a vast under statement as to be laughable. Maybe some of those who oppose our assistance to Ukraine need to go live in police state for a while and find out what that is like and what actually having freedoms means.

    This is a classic case of pay me now or pay me much more later. America Firsters who want to remain oblivious to what is going on in the rest of the world and how that affects us need to get their heads out of the sand. This threat is real. Putin will not stop until he is made to. The threats that we face from overseas adversaries is real and growing. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that we are safe here because we are surrounded by oceans. It’s not 1950 anymore.

  5. The debacle in Ukraine is 100% American provoked and prolonged. Evslin needs to stop watching CNN or whatever and look into events and US players going back decades… two US backed color revolutions, vast corruption & money laundering and at least eight or nine years of state sanctioned Bandera Nazi anti-Russian ethnic violence. And for ______ sake, Russia didn’t “invade,” Crimea. The Crimeans held a very clean vote and 90+% of the population, mostly ethnic Russians, voted to rejoin Russia, which was “gifted,” to Ukraine by Krushchev in 1954 and also happens to contain Russia’s single most important naval base. The Donbass region also voted and petitioned Putin to absorb them after the US coup of 2014, but Putin refused, seeking to avoid conflict. But if Evslin thinks Russia won’t go nuclear should they lose this war, seen as an existential threat, he’s not paying attention. I feel terribly for the people of Ukraine being murdered by the US Neo-con driven proxy war with Russia, but the Ukrainian government ain’t the good guys here, and neither is the US. It’s “inexplicable,” that Evslin’s this ignorant.