Children are taught it and adults repeat it. In the Western world, “religion” is the knee-jerk response as to why wars in the distant past were fought. It’s any easy way to explain away complex issues. By drawing God into conflicts that are entirely man made, initiators of the violence absolve themselves of all responsibility.
Though the uprisings in the Middle East were initially, and correctly, attributed to high unemployment, widespread poverty, lack of opportunity, rising prices and rampant corruption, it would not take long for the script to change from implicating politics and economics to implicating God.
Shortly following the downfall of Hosni Mubarak, western politicians, the media and analysts sounded the alarm: “Beware, here comes the Muslim Brotherhood.” Yet, two months later, polls showed only 10 percent of Egyptians would vote for the leader of the Brotherhood as president.
And if the Brotherhood wasn’t a frightening enough group to use as a pretext to blame religion for the troubles, there was always an endless supply of faceless, nameless, Islamic extremists lurking in the shadows, waiting for the opportunity to set up Sharia Law and threaten governments around the world.
But it was not religion that sparked the conflagrations. As “the good book” has it, “money is the root of all evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10)
It was neither God nor Allah that would take the world into “The 1st Great War of the 21st Century.” It was the falling bottom line.
In 2011, all across Europe, the bottom continued to fall out of the bottom line. Like Greece and Ireland before it, the Portuguese government, after religiously vowing never to ask for a bailout, asked for a $118 billion bailout from the European Union.
Bailouts were not gifts, but debt traps – loans at interest rates lower than the private sector but still unmanageably high. Endlessly piling new un-repayable debt on top of old un-repayable debt would not solve the underlying problem, If fact, it would worsen it. By imposing forced austerity measures and draconian spending cuts in order to service the debt, the bailed-out nation would reduce its productive capacity and its ability to compete in the global market.
Moreover, the indebted nations would be required to privatize valuable resources and industries to service the debt, with the profits going to creditors, often in foreign countries.
In layman’s terms, “bailout” is a euphemism for state sponsored loan-sharking. Precious national assets are sold at bargain basement prices to political insiders, robbing the nation of its wealth.
How did the bailouts of Portugal, Ireland and Greece figure into the Great War? It was the same bottom line issue that brought on the “Arab Spring.” Apart from nationalities and languages, the provocations were the same: high unemployment, restless youth, rising prices, etc. – and, of course, corruption.
But it wasn’t the stereotypical Middle Eastern-style corruption of vulgar Arab sheiks doing dirty deals behind closed doors with shifty business moguls. In Europe, corruption was refined, honorable, prudent and openly practiced. It was called “banking.”
Legal, state-sanctioned European financial corruption that made more billions for billionaires and mega-millions for multi-millionaires had crashed or crippled many EU member countries.