June 13, 2013…The newly elected president has done poorly. Not as poorly as he might have, but still there are things needed to be done that have not. The flu pandemic has ravaged the country but that has actually cut down on the amount of people needing to be fed, and moved around with fuel. But the president has not been able to get fuel to places he has needed it to be. Vast acreages in the Midwest lie untilled, and there are rumblings now about those who did get fuel for planting. The majority party in Congress has made sure their constitute farmers have gotten the lion’s share of the fuel, and that has enraged those who are doing without. Worse, Alaska, who has to import almost all of their foodstuff is threatening independence. Militarization of the oilfields in Alaska is an exercise in poor judgment, and causes someone to set off three very large bombs on the pipeline. As the flu epidemic begins to wan just a bit, gasoline hits ten dollars and fifty cents a gallon in the places it still exists.
An early hurricane cuts through the Gulf of Mexico tearing down ten oil platforms and true panic for fuel sets in. There is no hope for plugging the new gushers and New Orleans sits in an oily bathtub as no help at all arrives from Washington. Half a million people are now on foot and they are all looking for someone to go. Local militias spring up to protect their towns from the refugees. The disorder spreads as cars and truck sit idle and people wander looking for food. Those with food must kill those without, and those without must kill those who have food. The looting and killing spreads out from New Orleans into neighboring regions and the Balkanization of America begins in earnest.
The Eastern Seaboard of what was once the United States of America will be a killing field. The nearly nonstop urban sprawl between Boston and Washington D.C. will turn into a vast refugee camp then as the food runs out, nothing short of Jungle Law where increasingly smaller bands of humans kill anything and everyone for food. This will be played out anywhere there is a population of over a one hundred thousand people in a very small area, including the West Coast. The centralized government will relocate to some remote area and operate just slightly less efficiently.
There are entire classes of human beings who will die simply because there isn’t a way to keep them alive anymore. When medication of all sorts runs out those depending on it will have no recourse at all but to live without it, or not live at all. Simple things that we never noticed before will become important as there will be no more antibiotics, no more tetanus shots, no more treatment for broken bones and even simple cases of the flu will be more deadly. In the first horrible year there will be widespread death and destruction on a scale that we have always thought could only happen in Sarajevo or Beirut or...
There could be enough food stored somewhere to keep the military in some sort of cohesion and that might be civilization’s best bet. The military has the ways and means to control crowds, albeit it harshly at times and they also have a good logistics network. The downside is if fuel runs out totally the military will only be strong where they are, and not where they aren’t.
As bad as it will be here, if the pandemonium spreads to places like China then there will be death of a scale that is frightening. Having a billion people wake up to discover the food transportation system is dead or dying is something that must keep more than a few Chinese up late at night. India, likewise overpopulated, finds itself at odds with Pakistan over choice fertile lands, and that war will be settled with rifles, not nuclear weapons. Without the economy to support such weapons, most countries will disarm their nukes. I am assuming there is some program in place in each nuclear state for just such an event. If I’m wrong about this one, there won’t be a world left to recover from what happens next. Look for some countries to cease to exist, at least as a functioning state. Those heavily dependent on foreign aid will find themselves totally cut off from their supply of food or money or both. With the greater powers in turmoil, and no money coming in from the sale of oil, the Middle East will erupt into flames. Many corrupt people will attempt to use this time as a means of grabbing power and petty dictators will spring up everywhere. Where the nations are already poor and struggling this will happen just as often as when the larger and richer countries begin to fragment.
The upside to all of this is there will be some places that are relatively safe. Small farming communities where there is a history of horsemanship and farming will have the ways and means to start over again. Those places with low water tables where simple hand pumps could work will be better off than those places where the water is electrically pumped. Those places where fishermen still operate boats with sails will fare better than most.
America will rise from the ashes of those terrible years when people discover they can fuel their tractors with corn oil or methane from animal waste. Like the four years of World War Two, the years following the Great Crash will be dark years full of deprivation and fear, but it seems this sort of trial is needed before a country can really more forward again.
I suspect that at the end of the day, the United States military will be able to keep order well enough to prevent a total collapse everywhere at once. It may not be pretty, but because our military is made up of men and women from all parts of the country, they alone represent everyone everywhere. From this what new America will be given birth no one can tell.
I can only tell you that the government that is in place right now has neither the wherewithal nor the will to prevent such a disaster from taking place.
They have proven this time and again.