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

Friday, June 15, 2018

Thursday, June 14, 2018

And It Started With The Bang!

Russia simply destroyed Saudi Arabia 5-0 at Luzhniki in Moscow today in the World Cup 2018 opener. Good! Goals of all kinds were scored and yes, Russia, is this you? The pre-WC friendlies of this national team were so dismal that even before the opener there were huge jitters about NOT LOSING to Saudis. I will not even mention this national team's dismal publicity--the most hated national team in history. Well, today they made a first step to possible (I underscore that--possible as in may be) redemption. Much more difficult opponents are ahead. But 3 points are 3 points. Golovin and Cheryshev were fantastic. 

Now that I see what is happening in Russia--a global party--I feel very proud about making a decision of getting the hell out before the start of the World Cup because it is craaazyyyy there now!

You think it is not crazy? Get this headline from WSJ today:

This is the most important spots and cultural event in the world--it dwarfs anything next to it. It is both a chance for healthy nationalism but always also a strange mix of split loyalties between hundreds of millions of people--I always was and am a fanatical supporter of Squadra Azzurra, in different times I rooted for France's magnificent team of Platini and Zidanne, and Flying Dutch of 1974 and 1978 stole my heart. I lost my voice screaming for magnificent US team of Bruce Arena in 2002 when only referee atrocity didn't allow boys to do what was unthinkable--to get into the semifinals by eliminating Germany which they dominated all match and had 150% penalty never awarded to them in a historic scale travesty--Claudio Reyna, Brian McBride and guys simply owned Germany all match long. They fvcking outplayed Germans. And in the end, I always rooted for USSR/Russia, but more importantly--it is always the game which billions of people love and that is, in the end, what really matters. Ole, ole. ole...Let the magic start!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

I Would Love To Celebrate North American World Cup 2026, But I Can Not.

Both Bernhard of Moon of Alabama and Daniel Larison of The American Conservative to their highest human credit are ringing in all bells to attract attention to a possible famine and genocide which Saudi Arabia, with the help of UK and US, is about to unleash by attacking Hodeidah--the only port-city which provides delivery of food to Houthis. 

Here is Larison:
The Saudi coalition has waged their war on Yemen with flagrant disregard for the lives of the civilian population, and with the attack on Hodeidah they are doing the same thing on a larger scale. The U.N. and aid agencies have all warned against this attack because of the horrific consequences that will follow, and as usual the coalition governments have ignored those warnings and pressed ahead anyway. The U.S. has been a major enabler of the coalition’s war effort for the last three years, but instead of using its leverage with the coalition to prevent this atrocity the Trump administration is going along with and actively helping the attack. The Saudi coalition has been imposing collective punishment on the people of Yemen for three years in their bid to starve the country into surrender, and by attacking the port that the vast majority the population relies on for their food, fuel, and medicine they are intensifying their efforts to strangle Yemen to death. We are witnessing a massive crime being committed against the people of Yemen, and once again the U.S. is aiding and abetting the governments responsible for it.
I have nothing to add here, other than this atrocity being a direct and completely justified case for R2P and by the Right to Protect I don't mean a casuistic cynical imperial action which American interventionists are so fond of, especially when bombing with impunity innocents. I mean literally--a protection of population of Houthis from deliberately induced famine by a Saudi regime of head-choppers and sponsors of terrorism, who also happened to be America's "dear allies". Obviously, very little could be done to stop this atrocity at this time, but documenting it becomes a very important task.  As well as keeping it visible in media.

Why Mathematical Models Break Down. And Why Our Life Depends On That-1.

It is in human nature to quantify things—nothing is wrong with that. Quantification allows us to see some order in otherwise seemingly chaotic things, it also allows to predict the outcomes based on those quantifications. Sometimes predictions pan out but often they do not. As the events of the last 20 or so years showed us, no mathematical model, no matter how sophisticated, can properly predict global strategic balance, even despite availability of what became known as a "Big Data". Two things do not allow to trust such a modeling fully:

1. It matters WHAT data and WHO counts it. A famous meme of GIGO—Garbage In, Garbage Out did not appear out of nowhere—recall a complete trash all US pollsters were providing prior to the latest US Presidential Elections. This example alone is a good illustration of a dreadful influence biases provide even in something as large politically as electing POTUS. Then, of course, comes WW II and how it was "interpreted" in the West. 

2. Anything related to strategy and military is inherently human at the very foundation, and as such it is stochastic in nature, that is susceptible to the introduction of random variables and those variables sometimes become this proverbial monkey wrench which screws up all, even perfect, plans. In the end, the data itself MUST be full and reliable—otherwise one gets Wall Street reports on the state of economy, which are as reliable and are as connected to the actual reality as I am a NASA astronaut. 

For a former military professional who had to deal with some operational issues and who survived the collapse of the USSR, it was always fascinating for me how the outcomes may be influenced by accumulation of sometimes really insignificant disruptors which literally change the state of the affairs almost instantaneously and dramatically—in global matters a decade or two is not that long, really. In historic terms it is altogether—an instant. Dmitry Orlov is very good in describing some of the factors which, in particular, influence collapse on a societal level. But my point here is simpler—it is to give some insight on how things go haywire in military-political field and how they lead to a gigantic outcomes. 

I am aware--people do not like math. But hear me out here, the math presented herein is not really that difficult. At least, I tried to exclude any kinds of even remote references to differentiation (and integration) which necessarily accompany all kinds of models—it will all be within very basic algebra of a middle school level, at least I tried to keep it there. So, here it is: The Global Status of the Nation. One of the methods (models), which is based on the body of works by all kinds of geopolitical thinkers from Mahan, Morgenthau and, eventually, RAND Corporation. Some notable Russian thinkers also contributed to it. It is, indeed, natural for people to have a number on anything. So, many thought for more than a century about how to put "a number" on the might of the nation. In my book I gave a brief review of the CINC (Composite Index of National Capability) and reviewed some of the predictors for military victory as well as the components of the status of nations. 

So, here is the (Nation's) Status Model developed within the framework of the massive project titled Complex System Analysis and Modelling of Global Dynamics, which was done on the base of the world-renown Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics of Russian Academy of Sciences. A lot in this model also was taken from RAND's estimates of national might. Well, here is this general formula. 

Don't despair—this formula is as simple as a toilet. To get to the value of Status at any given time you have to merely multiply the values. In it, S(t) is a measure of a nations global status. S(t) merely stands (as a function of time) for Status of the nation in given time. In this formula FA(t) is a value (again—time dependent, hence (t)) of a function of "influence" which is not related to geopolitical factors and accounts for the product of values obtained for quality of governance, economic and military independence, plus additional factor of being in coalition etc. The formula for this is not difficult, albeit long, and with a calculation of a factor of governance based on expertise. We will omit reviewing this factor and go directly for G(t)—a geopolitical potential of the nation. Here, we go for the formula and this is how it looks:

In this formula all Xs with subscript stand for shares of the nation in global indices of: T-territory, D-demography, E-economics, M-military. Numbers above are exponents or the power to which those indices must be raised. These ARE very easy indices to find since all of this data is in the open. That is with a huge exception of the Military index. But let's do some simple math exercise—let us compare G(t)s of say US and China, accepting FA(t) for both of them as equal and thus easily disposed of in our basic analysis. Let's see how the United States looks in its main Xs in G(t) formula. For that we go to Internet and get data there, let's count things for the US and China:

T--territory for the US will be almost the same as China's, both have about the same size of territory, but let us be anal about it and go for 9.147 million square km for the US (and, consequently—9.326 for China). Consequently the SHARES in the global scheme of things are as follows: US—6.13% of global land mass (I use round number of 149 million for the World's total land mass) and China's-6.26%. 

D--demography, easy. The United States' population is 322 million, China's—1,404 million. Consequently the SHARES in the global population are as follows: US—4.31% of total population (I use round number of 7,467 million for the World's total population) and China's-18.8%.

E—economy. Easy again, we go for PPP as normal people do and here it is: US GDP is (per CIA)—19.36 trillion, China's—23.12. Consequently the SHARES in the global GDP are as follows: US—15.24% of total GDP (I use CIA's round number of 127 trillion for the World's total GDP) and China's-18.2%.

M—military. Before I announce a train wreck here, ask yourself a question when looking at the formula of G(t) why XM, that is military component not only has the largest exponent (0.43) of them all, beating even Economy and why Military needs its own formula for calculation? Here is the formula: 

Where M1 is a Share of the nation in global military expenditures (I need to hear warning bells and sirens going off like crazy now) M2 is a military potential of the nation's Army, M3 is a military potential of nation's Navy and, finally, M4 is a potential of a strategic nuclear forces. The immediate question which arises here is HOW does one calculate PROPERLY all those indices. Let us calculate comparative G(t)s and, as a consequence, S(t)s for the US and China based on assumed military parity, that is American XM=Chinese XM=1. Just an example, not real indices. So, G(t) for the US will be, using basic scientific calculator: 
0.5*(1+1^0.43)*6.13^0.11*4.31^0.19*15.24^0.27 = 

For China this will look like this:

0.5*(1+1^0.43)*6.26^0.11*18.8^0.19*18.2^0.27 = 

As you can see here, China squarely beats the United States for a title of the nation with the most geopolitical status, granted that we initially assumed that both nations have the same value of function of influence FA(t) and that their  XMs are equal--but they are not and the main REAL, tangible, component which will define most of those status bids is precisely this very XM and how it is interpreted correctly by serious analysts. That I will review in the next post. Needless to say, however, any calculation of national power and status without serious review of doctrinal, strategic and operational issues is a complete baloney--but that is what Western so called "expertdom" was doing for the last few decades. We all know the (catastrophic) results...

To Be Continued...