Friday, May 31, 2019

It Is Friday, 1965. New Year's Eve.

Yes, Yuri Gagarin is still alive and stunning Larisa Mondrus sings and dances with the other first man in the open space, Alexei Leonov. Ahh, yes, I am still 2 years old;))) 

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Were There Any Other Options?

I don't buy for a second all those Russian-China economic "integrationism" arguments, despite obvious attempts by China and Russia to form some sort of common Eurasian market. Russia and China are neighbors and economic... competitors. But, right now many Russian-Chinese broad economic, social, scientific and military  contacts make total sense in a face of unruly and ungovernable United States. In fact, those are only natural. Yet, there is one item on Russian-Chinese agenda which sets Russia apart from everyone else for China. As South China Morning Post notes in its opinion piece: 
Beijing is stepping up efforts to seek support from regional and global players such as Russia and Central Asian nations as its geostrategic rivalry with Washington heats up. President Xi Jinping is expected to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin next month, when he will also address the St Petersburg International Economic Summit, Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov told state-run TASS news agency earlier....The latest flurry of diplomatic activity comes as competition between China and the US intensifies on several fronts including trade and technology, the South China Sea and the Arctic, where Beijing’s partnership with Moscow –funding and building ports, berths and icebreakers off Russia’s shores– has drawn criticism from Washington. It will be Xi’s second time at the St Petersburg forum, and observers expect the Chinese leader will reaffirm Beijing’s commitment to multilateralism and promote the nation as a champion of openness and cooperation.
Pay attention to the highlighted, as well as rather realistic assessment by this very same South China Morning Post in this title of its other analytic piece.  
Russia launches nuclear icebreaker Ural to exploit Arctic’s commercial potential – with two more to follow...The drive is part of a push to strengthen Moscow’s hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States and Norway, as well as newcomer China.  
A-ha, warmer now. In continuation of my yesterday's piece on competitiveness and a series of my articles on this issue (such as this one), I suggest to pull back a bit and try to take a look at a larger picture. No, I am not talking about a Huawei affair dominating current headlines all over the world, I am talking about things even more important than US-China trade war--I am talking about fundamental conditions which will allow China to win this war. But first let's talk about conditions which already now prevent China from winning such a war. I wrote also, not for once, about it--China is not competitive with the United States where it really matters, Shipping Lanes Of Communications (SLOCs), especially Indian Ocean SLOCs, which are crucial for China's trade. PLAN is simply not a competitor for US Navy in the open ocean. For now. When and IF (I stress it--IF) PLAN will be able to compete with the US Navy underneath the waves, until then the Arctic looms large, very large, for China's sea trade. If the United States, in the feat of desperation (it is possible, but who knows how probable) decides to cut China's Indian SLOCs before a bulk of Chinese trade is removed within Eurasian landmass, the whole Huawei affair will look like a fart in the hurricane. 

The time is ticking away. Enter Russia, the issue here is not just Russia's massive, largest and most advanced ice-breaker fleet in the world, it is the fact that Russia develops her Arctic at a break-neck speed, developing both civilian and military infrastructure, including building fully operational airfields capable to base latest in Russian ASW/Patrol Aviation such as IL-38Ns and full blown Air Defense (S-400, S1, the works, a whole shebang) areas such as Kotelnyi Island, which pretty much explains what is Russia up to in terms of her capabilities in this very Arctic and why it will be almost impossible to rival those by anyone from USA to Canada, to China, not to speak of Norway. Considering also the way Russia treats her submarine forces, one may easily see that Northern Sea Route will be defended extremely well. So, there is very little, in fact zero, doubt that China is very interested in this route, because unlike in the Indian Ocean where US submarine forces may run rampant against China's marine commercial traffic and PLAN will have a hell of a time trying to do much about it, Arctic Route is a different game--friendly Russia is there and Russia's combat and patrol aviation, and submarine forces will be able to keep this SLOC opened for China, not for free, of course. 

Add now also a purely geopolitical aspect here. China only now begins to experience what Russia has an unrivaled experience in--a serious stand-off against major power(s). Russia's game till now was huge militarily--from Ukraine, to Syria, to Arctic, to new weapons systems, Russia is in a kinetic mode non-stop. China is yet to make a full claim to real superpowerdom and for that she needs Russia and her immense military potential, capable to defend most of Eurasia against any attempt on Eurasian integration. China doesn't have such capability and so the dance between comrades Putin ans Xi continues. No, of course, both men have excellent relations which can be called friendship, but Putin knows damn well that China needs Russia now in a really big way, including this very important moral support factor, which can be described in boxing terms as old experienced trainer patting his new talented protege, title challenger, on the back before his fight with an intimidating champion and telling him: "Don't worry, son. You'll be OK". People who underestimate an immense importance of  this moral support factor in international relations, they know very little about international relations. Enough to take a look at an insatiable American appetite for "high moral ground" and to be admired. Look what happened once this moral ground was lost--it is in a front of your eyes. 

So, China can win only with Russia's help which is expressed apart from, already mentioned, moral support factor in being cooperative with China's supply lines and throwing around Russia's significant economic and immense military weight. China, unlike the United States, does have geopolitical currency "to buy" Russia. But as any seller who knows a real value of what he (or she) sells, Russia will ask a "fair" price and China will agree. The world now needs Russian-Chinese close cooperation and, possibly, some form of a formal alliance, while transitioning into new geopolitical and economic paradigm. But as never before, it becomes clear that two great cultures and empires are on the even footing vis-a-vis each-other, far from wet dreams by many Western "analysts" predicting for Russia a complex of "junior partner" in relations with China, when in reality it is Russia who went to hell and back in 20th and 21st century who has a well earned privilege to pass judgements on how China may come of age as a true superpower by means of facing off with her largest foe. But then again, did China even have  options other than getting together with Russia whose energy and military power is and will continue to be one of the drivers of Chinese successful entrance into the ring with the United States for a real fight? I don't think so. After all, as Marx stated--the freedom is a comprehended necessity. 

P.S. Meanwhile, the video of the assembly of the first serial SU-57s. 

I am sure very many arm-chair aerospace "analysts" are about to make their "opinions" heard;))

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

You Can Not Fix Stupid (In Terminal Stage).

I am no economist, I never pretended to be the one or be able to grasp economics completely, but I slept (when I could) through couple of political economy courses in naval academy and I certainly, once in a while, like to "do numbers". I also like, when I have time, to read what Michael Hudson has to say about modern Western economic "science" and I agree completely with Hudson's (and not only his) assessment:
In general, to put it in a layman's lingo, you see a financier waxing "economic" or trying to teach you something about real economy and how it works--run away. After all, as Hudson (and, again, not him only) stresses:
As you may have guessed it already, for my line of business, be it my full time job in aerospace industry or what I write in books and this blog, ability to have your both (or one, at least) feet on the ground is a must. It is especially important, imperative really, whenever dealing with such tricky subjects as real economic and military (that is combat) potentials which by their very nature do not tolerate platitudes and contemporary Western "economic science" methodology. In fact, the very foundation of this so called "economy"--global financial capitalism is in the process of implosion due to its massive, historic in nature, crisis and, what Marxists would describe, an accumulation of the irreconcilable contradictions. Those are too many to be listed in a short blog post but one of them, which is a complete loss of the touch with reality, could be. 

Enter Swiss-based and, actually, quite famous IMD Business School for Managers, Leaders and other BS in the world of modern "economy". As any globalist institution dealing with anything BUT real economy, they love to create ratings and they surely created one for 2019. It is called. World Competitiveness Rankings. Well, see for yourself--here is one screen-shot of these rankings, which, as IMD states is created based on criteria of "facilitation of prosperity." 

Well, how do you like that? UAE and Qatar are in the Top-10 of "competitiveness". Here we may have to decide for ourselves what do we really want to be represented in terms of "competitiveness".  "Prosperity"? Well, if we take this path, I am not surprised in the least that UAE and Qatar are in the Top 10. After all, Qatar's only real economy is solely based on Western technologies and expertise in extraction, processing, transportation, sanitation, defense, well, basically everything, plus, of course, slave labor of the pool of hapless, primarily Asian and Hindu, workers who live in inhumane conditions and are, well, slaves for all intents and purposes. This contingent of slaves is primarily responsible for Qatar's "competitiveness", since also allows native Qataris avoid what is a worst curse and a taboo for many (not all) Gulf Arabs--a productive labor. Yet, these imbeciles from Switzerland think that because the only thing which sustains those Gulf shitholes, oil and gas that is, somehow "facilitate prosperity" then their economies are "competitive". Obviously, as is the case with many people who think iPhone to be high-tech product or are impressed by the lipstick on the p... I mean--for showoff shallow opulence of Gulfies' urban centers, it will be difficult to grasp a simple fact that once slaves and Western technologies are removed from Qatar, UAE or Saudi Arabia, those places will degenerate into their normal medieval state really fast because they are...well, not-competitive in the world of real economy and besides oil and gas have zero competencies and skills in anything, except, drum roll--finances. In other words, they know how to accumulate money and blow them on articles of extreme luxury--all of them produced in the West. 

For people not to misconstrue me as Gulfies-basher (albeit I have zero reasons to admire them for anything), another strange entry is Luxembourg, which with the exception of steel industry (owned by India's Mittal Steel), is nothing more than high standard of living service (finances, of course) economy appendix of EU, which on its own is nothing--zero economically. Again, the question is--WHAT field Luxembourg (a lovely European tourist attraction) is "competitive" in? Competes with WHO, HOW? A conundrum, isn't it? Now let's take a look at the other screenshot, a lower segment of competitiveness, as defined by Swiss MBAs and Ph.Ds in non-existent sciences:

Can anyone explain to me how Lithuania or Estonia which produce next to nothing, except for some foods and STDs for visiting NATO troops, are above Italy? Yes, Italy, which out of own resources produces this, as one example out of many:

Well, this plus Juventus and, of course, this:
How Chile, which is nothing more than a raw materials appendix, is higher than Russia? When was the last time Chile launched own satellite constellation (Russia launched yet another GLONASS-M two days ago), built nuclear power station or manufactured this:

One can only wonder what perverted world those people in this Swiss "business" madras live in when create such idiotic, completely detached from reality, ratings. It is, however, expected from people who have zero STEM and industrial education and whose grasp of hi-tech and modern industries is limited to code writing in C++ or Java and, at most, numbers of SMART phones sold. For these people who continue to BS everyone, I have my own rating based not on some "facilitation of prosperity", the prosperity comes with it, but on:

1. Serious hi-tech manufacturing with full enclosed technological cycles, with everything this entails, from defense to top notch STEM education and research of SCALE (Luxembourg, UAE, Qatar--these are not you);
2. Access to resources, energy and ability to "facilitate them". 

Here is my competitiveness rating for 2019 (I hate all those ratings but these ignoramuses from Switzerland made me do it):

1. USA;
2. China;
3. EU as a whole organization, for now;
4. Russia; 
5-6. Germany-France-Italy triangle;
5-6. Japan;
7. India;
The rest are merely for secondary technological and resources roles and markets. It has to be specified even more:
Only nations with very highly developed machine-building complex are real competitors, the rest are merely markets for consumption of those machines, period. 

But to develop such a complex one needs more than some fake pseudo-education in modern "economics". These complexes are developed by top-notch engineers, designers and industrial managers--a set of skills on the order of magnitude more complex and difficult to gain than of some MBAs, whose over-supply helped to drive, among many other factors, a present crisis of the financial capitalism, which in the West resulted in increasing loss of skills, not to mention of a strategic vision,  required for a transition to the economy of the future, where people, other than urban hipsters and snowflakes from Instagram and Twitter, will drive spaceships to the Moon,  Mars and asteroid to mine them for resources, will cure cancer and expand human life, will be able to harness new types of propulsion and maybe, just maybe, make world a better place, less violent. I can guarantee only one thing in this vision--those people will not be graduates of IMD institution, nor will they come from Qatar or UAE. But then again, what do I really know, I don't have MBA and do not measure everything in dollars, or rubles, for that matter.