227) American Drivers

If you can acknowledge the recurring cycle of events, then you must acknowledge that the powerful US Presidents fit perfectly into the pattern of the Horsemen. Promising peace and prosperity through political deals, they have led America and the world from one catastrophe to the next. The following is just a brief sampling.

George Washington during the Napoleonic Era

Abraham Lincoln in Bismarck’s Era

  • White Horse: led the country through the US Civil War, conviction, humility, oratory skills Freed the slaves.
  • Red Horse: The U.S. Army underwent an enormous expansion during the Civil War (1861–65), growing from 16,000 troops in December 1860 to 1,000,000 by 1865 plus another 500,000 Confederate troops at its height, resorting to conscription to maintain their vast armies. The Army Reorganization Act of 1866 provided for a standing army which saw almost constant combat in the Indian Wars, the Mexican American War, the Spanish American war, and the Philippine American War. When war came again in 1917, the U.S. Army was well prepared.
  • Black Horse: “Destruction, hunger, lawlessness and violence in the South, one million plus homeless African American refugees, white male population decimated by the war, governments in many places ceased to exist, cities in shambles, farms destroyed, new labor arrangements of tenant farming and sharecropping became a way for wealthy whites to continue dominating society and keep blacks repressed well beyond the Civil War, poor African Americans and some whites routinely convicted of vagrancy or other crimes then sentenced to prolonged periods of forced labor leased to mines and plantations cheaper than slaves (In Alabama, convict leasing constituted 73% of the state’s revenue in 1898), lasted for almost 60 years. Redeemers passed Black Codes that sidestepped the 14th Amendment by passing Jim Crow laws at the local and state levels. Paramilitary groups like the Ku Klux Klan used intimidation, threats and attacks on people and property to preserve white supremacy.”
  • Pale Horse: “The Civil War was America’s bloodiest conflict.  The unprecedented violence of battles such as Shiloh, Antietam, Stones River, and Gettysburg shocked citizens and international observers alike.  Nearly as many men died in captivity during the Civil War as were killed in the whole of the Vietnam War.  Hundreds of thousands died of disease.  Roughly 2% of the population, an estimated 620,000 men, lost their lives in the line of duty.  Taken as a percentage of today’s population, the toll would have risen as high as 6 million souls.” In addition, there were 50,000 civilian deaths during the war, the overall mortality rate for the South exceeded that of any country in World War I and all but the region between the Rhine and the Volga in World War II. The American Civil War produced carnage that was often thought to be reserved for the combination of technological proficiency and inhumanity characteristic of a later time.

Theodore Roosevelt In Bismarck’s Era (America presidents have shorter terms than European rulers)

  • White Horse: led the country into Imperialism throughout the 1890s, increasingly relying on its military and economic power to pursue foreign policy goals Freed workers from exploitation by Industrialists and began noble policy of furthering the Progressive agenda around the world.” Roosevelt believed that the United States had emerged as a world power, and he sought ways to assert America’s newly-eminent position abroad by involvement with European conflicts and strengthening ties with Great Britain.
  • Red Horse: through his successor Woodrow Wilson: Wilson was the first U.S. president to visit Europe also the first to claim the U.S. role of making the world “safe for democracy.” American involvement in World War I tipped the victory to the allied side and caused Britain and France to falsely declare the Germans guilty of starting the war, rub its nose in defeat with heavy war reparations, and grab German and its losing allies’ colonies overseas. Woodrow Wilson demanded that the German king, Kaiser Wilhelm II, abdicate. All of these post-war depredations paved the way for the rise of the hyper-nationalist and jingoistic Hitler.”
  • Black Horse: Before World War I, the global economy was growing robustly. There were no limits on immigration and no need for passports. Governments were small and kept their budgets balanced…after World War I countries imposed restrictions…protectionism set the stage for the Great Depression. Countries dropped the gold standard. Governments learned their people would submit to taxation and conscription if it meant protection from outside forces. The U.S. top tax rate rose from 7% in 1915 to 77% in 1918, rising above 90% in 1944. Lenin called the rise of government influence during the war as “wartime socialism.” He used it as the basis for the Soviet Union. The German government printed money to pay for the war. It increased the number of Deutschmarks in circulation from 13 billion to 60 billion. Germany’s sovereign debt went from 5 billion to 100 billion marks also printing money to meet the 132 billion marks of Treaty of Versailles’ reparations. As a result, Germany experienced hyperinflation. Production collapsed, leading to a shortage of goods, especially food with the price of everyday items doubling every 3.7 days. Sandwiched between the giddy 1920’s and World War II, the 1930s saw a huge disparity in the lifestyles of the common man and those considered High Society. on “Black Friday”, October 29, 1929 the stock market crashed. Within a year 5,000 banks collapsed and six-million workers lost their jobs. By 1933 more than 15-million people – one-quarter of the workforce – were unemployed. The Great Depression was partly caused by the great inequality between the rich who accounted for a third of all wealth and the poor who had no savings at all…For the vast majority the 1930s was a time of misery. But for many American dynastic families, parties helped to escape the reality on the street and the grander the better. While storefronts stood empty, the 47-storey Waldorf-Astoria Hotel opened in 1931 at a cost of $42 million ($600 million today)…The Ritz was another favored venue for extravagant celebrations…Barbara Hutton, grand-daughter of the dime-store magnate Frank W. Woolworth, made her debut there in 1933. Costing more than $60,000 ($1million today)…on the West Coast  even greater excesses were witnessed, at a time when most Americans could not afford to feed their family.
  • Pale Horse: Troops movement in WWI helped the spread of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Worldwide, one out of three or 500 million people got sick. Of those, 50 million died, some within hours. In the United States, one out of four got sick. Of those, 675,000 died.

Franklin D. Roosevelt & Harry Truman in Hitler’s Era Transfer Staging of World War from Europe to America

  • White Horse: strategically led America through WWII to take a world power from Great Britain and Germany. Conquered fear – of the Great Depression which he ended, of WWII which he won, and of world isolation which he overcame by making America the world leader by fighting and winning WWII.

American Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy

Red Horse:  The Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States and their respective allies, generally considered to span the 1947 Truman Doctrine to the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, as each supported major regional conflicts known as proxy wars. Thus America has been permanently fighting overseas wars since WWII, with the exception of a 3 years hiatus after the debacle of ending the Vietnam War, and two other 1 year pauses.

The Cold War

During World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union fought together as allies against the Axis powers. However…Americans had long been wary of Soviet communism and concerned about Russian leader Joseph Stalin’s tyrannical rule of his own country. For their part, the Soviets resented the Americans’…delayed entry into World War II, which resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of Russians. After the war ended, these grievances ripened into an overwhelming sense of mutual distrust and enmity…

In his famous “Long Telegram,” the diplomat George Kennan (1904-2005) explained the policy: The Soviet Union, he wrote, was “a political force committed fanatically…” America’s only choice was the “long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies…” This…would shape American foreign policy for the next four decades…

The containment strategy also provided the rationale for an unprecedented arms buildup in the United States. In 1950, a National Security Council Report…called for a four-fold increase in defense spending.

In particular, American officials encouraged the development of atomic weapons like the ones that had ended World War II. Thus began a deadly “arms race…”

Space exploration served as another dramatic arena for Cold War competition. On October 4, 1957, a Soviet R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile launched Sputnik (Russian for “traveling companion”), the world’s first artificial satellite and the first man-made object to be placed into the Earth’s orbit…In the United States, space was seen as the next frontier, a logical extension of the grand American tradition of exploration, and it was crucial not to lose too much ground to the Soviets. In addition, this demonstration of the overwhelming power of the R-7 missile–seemingly capable of delivering a nuclear warhead into U.S. air space–made gathering intelligence about Soviet military activities particularly urgent… 

what came to be known as the Space Race was underway. That same year, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a public order creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a federal agency dedicated to space exploration, as well as several programs seeking to exploit the military potential of space.

Presidents JFK, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan – Cold & Proxy Wars in Korean, Viet Nam, Afghanistan…

  • Black Horse: famine and poverty throughout the world touched by US wars.
    •  At the end of 2000, violent conflict and its aftermath had left nearly 24 million people in 28 developing and transition countries and territories food insecure and in need of humanitarian assistance.
    • In addition, some 35 million war-affected refugees and internally displaced persons showed high rates of malnutrition. Armed conflict leads to the destruction of crops, livestock, land, and water, and disrupts infrastructure, markets, and the human resources required for food production, distribution, and safe consumption.
    • Combatants frequently use hunger as a weapon: they use siege to cut off food supplies and productive capacities, starve opposing populations into submission, and hijack food aid intended for civilians. Even after wars have ceased, landmines continue to exact high costs in terms of human life, economic and social development and agricultural production. Safe removal of 60-70 million unexploded landmines from 70 poor countries could expand agricultural lands; by 88-200 percent in Afghanistan.
  • Pale Horse: deaths
    • Over 12 million people have been killed by American troops in The Korean War, The Vietnam War and wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Each of these three conflicts have something in common: they were wars fought in the name of making the world “safe for democracy.” A particular horror was the largest use of chemical weapons against civilians since World War II, the massive use of Agent Orange against Indochina where it continues to poison people today.  It may take Vietnam and Laos thousands of years to recover.  In the case of Iraq, American spy satellites helped Saddam Hussein use use poison gas against the troops of Iran.
    • Millions of people, both civilians and military personnel, lost their lives…where United States and Soviet Union proxy wars took place.
    • Because so many nuclear weapons were stockpiled during the Cold War, the chances of an intentional or accidental nuclear strike were dramatically increased.

The Soviet Union fought an increasingly frustrating war in Afghanistan throughout the 1980s while the Soviet economy faced the continuously escalating costs of the arms race. Dissent at home grew until the Berlin Wall came down in 1989-90, borders opened, and free elections ousted Communist regimes everywhere in eastern Europe. In late 1991 the Soviet Union itself dissolved into its component republics. With stunning speed, the Iron Curtain was lifted and the Cold War came to an end.

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