Monday, December 31, 2018

You Can Read Me Now In US Naval Institute Blog.

Russian Navy, Mission Found?

You may read my new piece on some doctrine-technology issues in today's USNI Blog post. Link is below. 

Let's Try Q & A And Whatever Else Sticky Post

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.

You May Read Me on Unz Review Too.

1. I got my first piece published on Unz Review today, so you may check it out there

2. You can read my piece on some peculiarities of Russo-Chinese "alliance" at Unz Review. Here:

The Russo-Chinese "Alliance" Explained 

3. Here is the latest One. 

Russia's Stand-Off Capability: The 800 Pound Gorilla in Syria

4. On INF Treaty.   

 The Sand Castle INF Treaty

5. New piece on geopolitics and navalism.

The Russo-Chinese "Alliance" Revisited  

6. My new piece on Putin's speech came out today at Unz Review. 

The Implications of Russia's New Weapon Systems

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Small Bypass.

Since the issue of actual size of economies was raised in previous post, I might as well remind everybody that production and consumption of energy is one of those very real metrics which testifies to the size of actual economy. Since it is not easy, at least for me, to find latest free data on energy consumption and production, we may as well use Wiki here with data for 2014. Obviously it is still not precise metric but it, nonetheless, is very indicative one. Here is some data in British Thermal Unites (BTU).

United States: produces 82 quadrillion BTUs, consumes 98.3;
Russia: produces 55.3 quadrillion, consumes  30.7;
China: produces 91.97 quadrillion, consumes 119.5;
Germany: produces 4.44, consumes 13.1;
India: produces 15,52, consumes 24.3;
Saudi Arabia: produces 27.6, consumes 10.3. 

So, one can make some very approximate (number of times or folds) economies roughly correlate (or have ratio) with, of course, adjustments for climate (e.g. air conditioning is very expensive in hot countries, while heating varies dramatically with climate zone), industry's energy efficiency (some nations still use old traditional melting technology in steel industry etc.). But generally, if you take a look at US energy consumption dynamics here, you will notice a peculiar thing--industrial consumption remains basically unchanged in the last 4+ years. Nations that realistically grow they do increasingly consume energy in their manufacturing sectors--it is an axiom, even when adjusted for modern energy-saving technologies--not the case here. Do the spread, say, from 2007 to 2018 (there is a function for that) and see for yourself. 

So, here is a rough estimate, if we count PPP of Russia and Germany the same (they are virtually the same--roughly 4,1 trillion) and adjust them for energy consumption it becomes clear that (very-very roughly) US and Russian consumption relate as 98 to 31 which is roughly 3.3 to 1, which, accounting for the US being slightly more than two times larger in terms of population than Russia, one gets Russia's PPP GDP of 4.1 Trillion multiplied by 3.3 = 13.53 trillion which gets us in the very rough vicinity of US real GDP. This number is what the US actually produces and it is funny how this very rough ratio of something 3.0-3.5-4.0 pops up periodically in the costs of many weapon systems. Forestalling the argument of US, indeed, having higher wages it has to be also stated that life in Russia, in the same time, is much much cheaper. So, here is a fast, one of very many, adjuster, which doesn't fit Western economic "science" but which allows to get a slightly sharper picture of the world. More precise picture? Well, read my Why Math Models Fail posts and, hopefully, new book when it comes out.

Monday, December 10, 2018

INF Treaty Again.

Daniel Larison continues to exhibit complete unawareness of the Russia's reality (a feature characteristic of US "scholars", read latest piece by "scholar" Gvosdev as an example) and in his calls to preserve the INF Treaty "despite Russia's violations" he characterizes this treaty this way:
The INF Treaty is very much worth saving, and quitting it over a Russian violation is as short-sighted and self-defeating as can be. If the U.S. withdraws, there will be no chance of negotiating a replacement. Not only will the U.S. be held as the one most responsible for killing the treaty, but by ending it the Trump administration will be opening the door to an arms race that no one should want. The treaty is one of the most advantageous agreements to the U.S. that our government has ever negotiated, so it is extremely difficult to see how leaving the treaty benefits the U.S. Quitting the INF Treaty unfortunately fits the administration’s pattern of reneging on and abandoning agreements without giving any thought to the consequences of withdrawal. It makes no sense to give up on a treaty that has proven its worth to the U.S. and our European allies for more than thirty years.
This Treaty is more than just one of the most advantageous for the US it is one of the most one-sided and humiliating treaties for USSR since very little negotiating, in a traditional you give some--you get some back sense, was really done. Gorbachev and his cabal of do-gooders made sure that Soviet military, especially professionals in air and anti-missile defense, were excluded from the decision making process on this issue and, effectively, the INF Treaty was a surrender, one of many that will follow, by Gorbachev. There is a reason why State Duma's Defense Committee Chair General Vladimir Shamanov (former C'n'C of Paratroops) called last week on establishing commission on what he (correctly) stated was a state treason (in Russian) by still living Gorbachev and late Alexandr Yakovlev and Eduard Shevardnadze.

Shamanov is correct in demanding such a commission--it is not just to convict Gorbachev, however deserved by him, of treason--but to make sure that such a political assessment will help to prevent future attempts to sell the national interests out so blatantly. So, Larison, while calling on Trump to preserve INF Treaty misses one important fact. It is not, as Larison points out, just Bolton and his nefarious plans:
The bigger problem is that the administration’s determination to leave the treaty is driven more by Bolton’s ideological hostility to all arms control agreements than it is by any concern about any violations. The administration is seizing on Russian violations to withdraw from this treaty, but it also has no desire to keep New START alive, either. Letting New START die would be even more dangerous, but the administration isn’t interested in extending a treaty that Russia has complied with for almost eight years.
It is the fact which neither Larison, nor Gvosdev, nor any other US "scholar" can wrap their brains around--Russia does not view US as a viable negotiating partner, nor lives in a delusion about American economy, its actual size and trends anymore. Russia sees the US for what she is and was getting ready for geopolitical volatility since mid-2000s. But then again, those people in Russia are counting their blessings that they didn't study in US Ivy League on how to make economic, military and geopolitical forecasts and because of that deal with reality much more professionally than most American so called "scholars" of international relations. At least Gvosdev is now using a somewhat slightly more sober assessments:
I have also some free piece of knowledge to share with Gvosdev--the United States policy (and "academic") establishment has zero experience and understanding of the nature of military power and its applications and the way it is a function of the national power. It is here where, with some minor exceptions, that any rational conversation with American "academe" becomes useless--it simply does not operate within appropriate framework. Russia knows that US is "departing", that its GDP is not vaunted $22 trillion but much-much smaller, that most of US economic growth is a creative bookkeeping (aka fraud) and, finally, Russia knows with a great degree of accuracy the actual scale of American military power. If only US academe learned about it, who knows--much energy could have been saved by not writing contrived foreign policy and military articles. Or as OffGuardian people succinctly observed in their review of John Mearsheimer's latest book, a systemic, chronic ill of overwhelming majority of American foreign policy "scholarship" is that:
I don't think Larison or Gvosdev would like to learn the actual value but without it any rationalizing or reasoning around US-Russian relations becomes a mere sophistry and repetition of the long debunked cliches. The problem is not Russia, which is quite content with herself and is ready to work with almost anybody, but, indeed, American crusading exceptionalist spirit which went completely out of control and threatens to finish off both the US herself and the world around her.       

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Hunchbacks. The Ships Of My Officer Youth.

Cannot believe they pulled this from archives. This is one of the first hulls of what would become a workhorse with incredible sea-keeping properties--project 205P ships. Naval Units of Border Guards KGB USSR workhorse, almost 300 tons of displacement armed to the hilt. Here is 1972 documentary about one of the first hulls of those amazing ships which became known as Hunchbacks in Border Guards and which would perform some amazing feats of service (including actual naval combat) on all Soviet/Russia's seas and oceans. 

I served on many of those and we went to sea when no one else would dare. Here is one, at the 2nd pier in Baku (our brigade) in mid-1980s. 
These ships still come to me in my dreams because time after time they were doing things you wouldn't expect from them. By the time I got to them in 1985 they were updated with satellite navigation (Cikada) and other new, digitized, perks but no matter--those were our home at sea. 
I spent time on many ships and subs in my life, from magnificent Kiev and pr. 641B SSK to Oscars, but these ships still make my heart beat faster each time I see them. This may explain, I guess, my attraction to US Navy's (later USCG) Cyclone-class ships. I am still a mosquito navy guy, deep down. In the end, these were tight, almost family and much less formal, relations within crews. We were ready to die for each-other as were those ships. Just to give some impression--these boats had official angle of capsizing (the angle at which ship...well, capsizes) of 89 degrees, they literally would pull your ass out of deadly angles. I know, they saved my, and my crew's, sorry asses on a number of occasions. 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Why Do They Hate Him?

Because he could barely contain himself when a dying kid told that he dreamed about shaking his hand. Because he is truly admired and loved by generation which really matters--not us, old farts. Because he surely saw this movie:

And it is today--this: 

I don't know, but they hate him and what he brought, back.