Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Here is the post which I will try to keep sticky for people to ask questions and share their thoughts which are not on topic. This, I think is known as Open Thread. Fire away.
Friday, June 14, 2019
I was driving home today from work and listened to Thin Lizzy with Phil Lynott delivering with a raspy wonderful voice Whiskey In The Jar. Phil, who was half-black, would beat the shit out of anyone in a bar if they didn't call him Irish. Sadly, he died from drugs--what a waste of an artistic genius. But it brought me back to a more Irish way to die prematurely and no--I am not talking about Gary Moore who had no fvcking business leaving us so early. Among Irish genius alcoholics Rory is one of the most underappreciated music geniuses and, probably, being a blues player from God he had many people who wouldn't like to concede to his sheer brilliance, but, after the Whiskey In The Jar on the radio today, I somehow want to remember a guitar firebrand from Cork (how appropriate).
Those who wonder what whiskey in the jar is, Russians, in the best tradition of pickling in the 3 liter, well, jars, have the answer:
Ah, yes, it is Friday...
Hudson, who, by my primitive criteria, is one of the best (true) economics and economic history brains of our time doesn't mince the words and calls it as he sees it (correctly): Trump’s Trade Threats Are Really Cold War 2.0. Hudson correctly identifies the issue:
He opens negotiations with a threat. That costs nothing, and you never know (or at least, he never knows) whether he can get a freebee. His threat is that the U.S. can hurt its adversary unless that country agrees to abide by America’s wish-list. But in this case the list is so unrealistic that the media are embarrassed to talk about it. The US is making impossible demands for economic surrender – that no country could accept. What appears on the surface to be only a trade war is really a full-fledged Cold War 2.0.
Let's see: by now Trump and his gang of misfits and chicken-hawks headed by knightly Bolton and sophisticated Pompeo threatened pretty much most of the economically viable world. The issue here (for Trump and, by implication, the United States) is that nobody really is quaking, as Pat Buchanan put it, in their boots. Here, Hudson gives some really good rationale for this lack of quaking:
Trump’s trade tantrum is that other countries are simply following the same economic strategy that once made America great, but which neoliberals have destroyed here and in much of Europe. U.S. negotiators are unwilling to acknowledge that the United States has lost its competitive industrial advantage and become a high-cost rentier economy. Its GDP is “empty,” consisting mainly of the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) rents, profits and capital gains while the nation’s infrastructure decays and its labor is reduced to a part-time “gig” economy. Under these conditions the effect of trade threats can only be to speed up the drive by other countries to become economically self-reliant.
I am sincerely happy that my diagnosis of the United States, of which I am writing for years now, follows so closely Michael Hudson's. In fact, we still do not know the true scale of the loss of the key enclosed technological cycles in the US. We all know it is bad, as this terrifying report to this very same Donald Trump testifies to. Did Trump even read it? Did he get the gist of it? I am beginning to believe he didn't. Someone in his Administration did, but not him. With each passing day I only reinforce my opinion on him as one trick pony fed on a steady diet of American exceptionalism and values of New York's shady real estate business--this is not enough for trying to save such country as the United States, let alone declare and win Cold War 2.0. One really has to know the real battlefield, be that economic or, which is a whole other story in the US, military one.
The trick, however, is to explain it to the cabal of "political scientists", sociologists and other foreign relations "experts" infesting fat remuneration greased corridors of Establishment, that they know shit about either battlefields. Those who know, or understood finally, however few of them, they are out of ideas precisely for being those proverbial one trick ponies--US establishment can not produce anymore someone different. Delusion still abounds, though, with professors in basically nothing continuing to wax strategic and military when having zero qualifications for that. The world is complex, it is getting even more complex with astonishing acceleration and new ideas are needed to preserve it peaceful, even if relatively, and with some hope for the future. Current American political class cannot do it and will increasingly find itself at the curb of the humanity's highway. So, it will be left with only one thing to do, as one trick ponies know, to threaten until, as Hudson points out, they self-destruct and take the country with them. I have no problem with this cabal going down, the country? We may need to discuss that separately--I know some prescriptions are out there, the main question--WHO is going to implement them.
P.S. In a wonderful news: sue their asses into utter financial destruction! Somebody started doing this. Read excellent piece by real left-wing American:
About fvcking time.Campus Wokesters with boundary problems got “woke” for real on Thursday when an Ohio jury laid an additional $33-million for punitive damages on top of $11-million in compensatory damages already awarded against Oberlin College for running a “social justice” campaign to ruin the business of a four-generation small-town bakery that followed the shoplifting arrest of three black Oberlin College students there in 2016.
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Now Russian VKS fly in support of Turkish Army which came under the fire of Jihadists. What do ya know.
Russia’s Air Force has carried out four strikes in Idlib province, Syria’s last jihadist stronghold, after Turkey asked for help in ensuring the safety of its troops in the area, the Defense Ministry said.The Turkish side provided the coordinates of “terrorists in Idlib” to the Russian military after Turkish troops came under fire from Al-Nusra-linked militants, leaving three servicemen injured.“As a result, large concentrations of militants and field artillery positions from which the Turkish observation post had been shelled were destroyed,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Take it any way you want, but this is an indication of a rather close coordination between Moscow and Ankara, there is no other way about it. While I still do not make a call on the S-400 deal for Turkey, it seems, if to follow latest news, S-400 will be delivered, as will the deliveries of F-35 stop. Did Erdogan make up his mind? One thing is for sure for Turkey--Eurasia looks increasingly economically attractive and, surprise, surprise, people East of Kiev do not bomb countries into stone age, in fact, the opposite is true. Make no mistake--there are many thorns in this possible arrangement for both Turkey and Russia, but Turkey understands, I think, that any dreams about European "future" are pretty much dead both for political and, inevitably, social reasons. The economic reasons will follow, if not already. Especially once BRI becomes a reality.
In related news, the United States continues to coerce India into rejection of her $5 billion dollars-worth of S-400s (in Russian) and by now this routine is getting simply tired and predictable. I am, of course, aware of the situation in Persian Gulf and two "torpedoed" tankers there. It stinks to heaven with false flag and I do not even want to discuss it, since 99.99% sure that Iran has nothing to do with it. But, I also should clarify my position on Russian-Iranian relations, which I will do at some point of time--this clarification is needed for people who think that Russia is automatically Iran's security guarantee. This is NOT the case and Iran has to know that the free stuff, as it was the case with USSR ready to support any kind of "lefty" regime, is not available--there is nothing free in this world in international relations. Russia remembers really well WHERE Iran ran to the moment the sanction were lifted, disregarding a decisive role Russia played in lifting those sanctions. In other words--it is not black and white there between Tehran and Moscow. Some mutual work needs to be done. But about this--later.
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
By now many of you know me in terms of most of my views. If you follow my writing--articles, books, this blog--you cannot fail to notice that I don't take kindly to all kinds of social, political science and national security "studies" academe. First: political "science" is not a science and it used to be known as political history of the world. Secondly: geopolitics as it used to be known in times of its founding fathers, notably Halford Mackinder, is pretty much irrelevant today for a simple reason that it cannot exist without serious, very high academic level, understanding of the warfare. Modern warfare requires very serious knowledge of, both through academic training and experience, increasingly complex technology and the way it interacts with military and political institutions. One needs good level physics and things of such nature as weapons integration and operations theory to get some grip on it. They DON'T teach that in political "science" courses, nor classic geopolitics, born in the times of slow propeller driven bi-planes and main caliber guns of battleships shooting at the distances in excess of 30 kilometers, is applicable in the time when modern supers-sonic and hyper-sonic missiles have ranges in excess of 1,000 kilometers and receive targeting from satellite (among many other methods) recon systems. My book, which is about to hit the shelves, is precisely about it. My first one was also about it to a large degree.
Well, surprisingly, here are opinions at TAC.
For decades, international relations scholars have increasingly worried that American foreign policymakers aren’t buying what they’re selling. From the Vietnam war to NATO expansion to the Iraq war, the Beltway foreign policy elite has frequently ignored the work of academics who study those subjects, often at great cost to the nation. Why do foreign policymakers so rarely pay attention to scholarship on the regions they are bombing and seeking to dominate?Michael C. Desch, political science professor at the University of Notre Dame, lays blame at the feet of the academy. In his new book, Cult of the Irrelevant: The Waning Influence of Social Science on National Security, Desch writes that “the privileging of complex methods and universal models over engaging substantive issues…reduced the policy relevance of the work of many academic defense intellectuals.” In other words, by moving toward abstruse ontological questions (“Sovereignty and the UFO” comes to mind) or complex statistics or formal modeling (coefficients or Greek letters), incentives inside the academy have shifted the field in the direction of policy irrelevance.
It became irrelevant because it was irrelevant from the inception, because specifically in the West this field couldn't established simplest causalities--relations between cause and effect--because:
1. Western approach to history, as recent events so dramatically demonstrated, is about feel good, not about looking facts in the face and their proper arrangement which satisfies these very cause and effect. The problem here is deeper, it is in metaphysical view that truth is really unknowable--but that is grossly inaccurate, to say the least;
2. One can not develop policy (or strategy) when one operates on a delusion and profound ignorance of warfare, which defines human history. United States as a society has no experience with that in modern times 20-21st centuries. Hence, as Justin Logan (the author of the piece) motes:
In a country as powerful and secure as the United States, elites can make policy built on shaky foundations. Eventually, the whole thing may collapse. Scholars should focus on pointing out these fundamental flaws—and thinking about how they might help rebuild.
Removing all this pseudo-academic BS such as "ontological", "epistemic" etc., it all comes down to this: unless one has a serious background in military, one shouldn't be getting into modern warfare, especially with a "method" which distorts grossly a picture of military balance, operational art, tactics, technology, which, as we all witnessed in the last 20 years, is a road to hell. I write about this non-stop for years, especially after it became very clear that the view of war, military history and of real geopolitics Western political "science" produced in the last 30 years is nothing short of a disaster, which unfolded upon encountering global realities, and, with some very few and, frankly, minor exceptions, is mostly a trash. In even simpler words--political "scientist" needs to understand how real geopolitical balance forms, before any of those scientists decide to bless the world with their "wisdom"--a skill long ago lost in the West in "academe" because they don't teach it properly, if at all.