Professionals discuss logistics. You all know this saying which is ultimately true. Russian Armed Forces today celebrate a Day of Rear Services (and Logistics). It is a huge universe of crucial supply services, from ammo and fuel to food and pay, which also has its own War College--Academy of Material-Technical Supply named after Army General Khrulyov. No armed forces in the world can fight without rear services, which also, as was the case in WW II ended up being not so in rear and very often in the very center of heavy fighting. So, here it is--a good army (and navy) are only as good as the provisions delivered to them by logistics.
Friday, July 31, 2020
We all live in a time of devaluation. Everything is being devalued: human live, dignity, US Dollar, liberty, you name it. But what devalues even faster than all that are words, or, rather, their meaning, their semantic load. Like an old line of words written in ink which fades away with the age, words lose their meaning in the modern United States. I am not talking about Orwellian trick of replacing an actual meaning with something else, such as rioters and insurgents in Seattle or Portland being called "protestors", no, not that. I am talking about US main-stream media, who apart from being staffed with a lot of human compost, and who share responsibility for tearing already damaged United States apart, are complicit in devaluation of meanings.
Here is an example: De Blasio Blasts 'Tyrant' Trump Over Election Delay Musing. Make no mistake, I like good hyperbole myself and use it once in a while, but US media do not know the limits beyond which meaning of tasteful disappears and simple BS and pathos start. They don't--look at them, from morons in NYT and WaPo, who do not understand that if shit they shovel into out faces hits the fan they may experience a rather unpleasant reckoning with people coming for them, to all kinds of other media personalities who never experienced any real difficulty, let alone danger in their life and still think that journalism is actual profession. Yet, most of pampered self-proclaimed "intellectuals" and words handlers, most of who would shit their pants when faced with real anger, real weapons and real danger, use the militant vernacular whenever they can and as a result, already disturbed and uneased American mind faces those facts that someone "blasted" someone, of someone "torched" somebody, or that someone "destroyed" someone else on a daily bases.
Remarkably, all those terms are used by people who never served a day even as a cook in any armed forces, by people who would contemplate suicide if denied dining in upscale restaurants and shopping for designer brands. Yet, they have no problem using aggressive battle-like rhetoric and descriptions disregarding the fact that most of them are cowards. One has to wonder what such mama boys as Don Lemon or Chris Cuomo experience when they "fire back" at someone. What can possibly this Cuomo dude, an offspring of rich New York political family, experience in reality when not "embedded" with US troops and faces something he and his kind want all of us to face completely on their own? What can possibly they "analyze" with any degree of competence and courage? US media-political elite is pathetic, specimens of corrupt political animals from Jerry Nadlers and Liz Warrens on one side to a hypocritical Jim Jordans and Lindsey Grahams on the other, who are in it not for America and her people, but to satisfy their urges to realize their mediocre selves through power, is terrifying as is a media class which serves them. The US is burning and disintegrating in a front of our very own eyes but nothing is being done about it, nothing. Even when one makes an allowance for presidential election year politics.
Thus we are all subjected to an incessant daily assault of all kinds of "blasting", "torching", "destroying", "firing back" and other battle terms making up an opaque massive stream of utter BS pouring out of every type of media on people. All that designed to cover up a complete paralysis, corruption and incompetence of US "elites". But the real downside of all this media battle of evermore is devaluation of meanings of all those terms. This devaluation, in the country which is ready to explode, can have a dire consequences for these very same "elites" when real blasting, torching, destroying and firing back starts. We'll see then how well people who are in the business of pep-talking the country into the real civil war will deal with real, not devalued meanings. It could be very scary and deadly, I know--been there, done that. We'll see how degree in journalism, political science or law will help to survive a real deal, which now seems almost assured.
Thursday, July 30, 2020
A Superb Piece From Pepe.
Pepe Escobar wrote a superb, insightful, piece on China and South China Sea for the Saker's Blog and I post link here. The article is very much worth reading.
The heart of the matter in the South China Sea
About Dollar, Sort Of.
I am by far not the only one who saw this fate for US Dollar and, frankly, it wasn't that difficult to predict. Now there are some tangibles on this matter.
After years of talking about abandoning the US dollar, Russia and China are doing it for real. In the first quarter of 2020, the share of the dollar in trade between the countries fell below 50 percent for the first time.To give an indication of the scale of the adjustment, just four years ago the greenback accounted for over 90 percent of their currency settlements.According to Moscow daily Izvestia, the share has dropped to 46 percent, tumbling from 75 percent in 2018. The 54 percent of non-dollar trade is made up of Chinese yuan (17 percent), the euro (30 percent), and the Russian ruble (7 percent).
Pretty much self-explanatory. Russia can afford to sell whatever she wants for whatever currency she wants. She can pump oil to China and get payments in Yans or Euros if she decides to do so. The answer is simple--Russia is a superpower and she behaves as such.
Movement away from the dollar can also be seen in Russia's trade with other parts of the world, such as the European Union. Since 2016, trade between Moscow and the bloc has been mainly in Euros, with its current share sitting at 46 percent.
That brings us to this point Michael Hudson made recently when speaking on Western economic "science". Remember?
Indeed, they don't. It is nearly impossible to explain to Wall Street banker what military-economic power balance is and how it influences prices and currencies. For some dude with degree in "economics" from Western university, who is getting ready to plunge into the world of financial speculation, trading in figments of imagination and intangible myths that is, and who is brought up, in the words of General Latiff, on a steady diet of Hollywood portrayal of a war, connection between hyper-sonic missile technology and economic implosion of the United States is beyond his (her) sensory grasp. But the connection is there and it is very direct. The US can bomb Iraq into the stone age for Iraq's desire, same as Libya's Qaddafi, to sell their oil for currencies other than US Dollar, but Russia cannot be bombed. Well, she can be bombed, but the United States will also cease to exist--so here is a direct connection. Russia unloaded all of her US Treasuries and trades with anybody she wants in whatever currency she desires.
Many people from "elites" still cannot recognize a simple fact that the MAIN pillar of US Dollar system, apart from "trust", is not even US manufacturing capacity, which is largely gone, but US military power on which US Dollar's primacy was based. Not anymore. US military is turning into a hollow force with an astonishing speed. It is somewhat reminiscent of the process of a decline of the former Soviet Armed Forces in 1990s Russia. While not at that level of decay yet, there is nothing realistically which can prevent US Armed Forces from hitting such a level. This is yet to be seen if it goes there but the United States is in no position anymore to enforce anything militarily even against regional power such as Iran without sustaining huge losses, both material and reputational. Against China? Hm. Not within First Island Chain. Now consider the fact that Europe has Euro, Russia has Ruble, China has Yan and China and Russia begin to trade in mutual currencies, while US-China trade war accelerates and there you go--the "after-dollar" global picture emerges and... well, just look at this picture:
Isn't that cute how gold "suddenly" (within a year) decided to grow, despite all attempts to suppress its "price". And I am not even talking about the oil price. Somebody is laughing all the way to the bank. In related news, one of the reasons for the US to feel somewhat uneasy--here is a video of Russian Navy's incessant combat drills, this time with Frigate Admiral Essen facing off with two supersonic P-35 anti-shipping missiles fired from famous "sotka" (100), aka Utes, site at the Crimean shore.
I have to admit--I love this new ship uniform. Seems elegant and easy on your skin. But the thing which conveyed profoundly what Russians think about current historic moment was this simple comment by some Russian person under this video by Russia's Defense Ministry:
Раньше, при советском союзе, я не смотрела программу время, потому как, всё было хорошо ... урожай хлеба высокий, строительство жилья идёт полным ходом, атомные и водородные бомбы есть, армия сильная ... а вот после распада СССР, до прихода Путина, в России был кошмар.Когда к власти пришёл Путин, жизнь в России стала налаживаться ... и вот сейчас, ко мне пришло спокойствие, как при советском союзе ... урожай хлеба высокий, строительство жилья ведётся, вооружение нашей армии идёт по всем направлениям ... это просто кайф👍Главное, больше никому НЕ позволить грабить нашу Россию, как было в проклятые 90-е ... и никаких майданов в России.Сейчас очень спокойно жить в России ... это кайф👍
Translation: It used to be that in Soviet times I didn't watch program "Vremya" (Time, main Soviet and Russian official news broadcast), because everything was good... the harvest was great, housing construction proceeded apace, we had atomic and hydrogen bombs, the army was strong... but after the collapse of the USSR, before Putin, it became a nightmare. Then Putin came, the life started to return to normalcy... and now my calmness returned to me as if back in the USSR... the harvest is great, the construction of housing goes ahead, the rearmament of our armed forces proceeds in all directions... this is bliss. Most important, not to allow anyone to rob our Russia as was happening in condemned 1990s... no any maidans in Russia. It is so peaceful to live now... it is a bliss.
This is a profoundly Russian observation. It is shared by majority of Russians and that is what, in the end, decides the issue. Russia can exist only as superpower or none at all. This lesson was learned well.
Monday, July 27, 2020
Most German Politicians.
Are not very bright people. It is expected of them--very many of them went through the same degree mills in the US or in the US sponsored institutions which dumb people down to the point of no return and provide "skills" otherwise inapplicable in the real world. A case in point is Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. As you may have guessed it by now, he has a law degree, granted obtained in Germany, but still, one has to wonder what it takes to transition from the post of Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection to the position of Germany's Foreign Minister, but nothing should surprise us about modern German politics or economy, for that matter.
I don't know what or who prompted Maas to express his opinion on this:
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany has rejected a proposal by U.S. President Donald Trump to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin back into the Group of Seven (G7) most advanced economies, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a newspaper interview published on Monday. Trump raised the prospect last month of expanding the G7 to again include Russia, which had been expelled in 2014 following Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region. But Maas told Rheinische Post that he did not see any chance for allowing Russia back into the G7 as long as there was no meaningful progress in solving the conflict in Crimea as well as in eastern Ukraine.
But, speaking in plain language each German politician from top (post of Chancellor) down to a local level should memorize these simple truisms:
1. Germany is a geopolitical midget in a transition to an economic midgetship and nobody in Russia gives a shit about what Maas or, for that matter, Merkel think;
2. Russia doesn't want and is absolutely not interested in G-7 because it is between Russia and the US and European midgets are in the G-7 merely for entourage, Germany included.
Why this dead horse of useless G-7 is being brought back into conversation by Germany remains a complete mystery to me, as well as to many other people who do actual count of capabilities. Europe as a whole is a pathetic exhibit A of incompetence, phantom pains of lost greatness, military midgetry and of cultural suicide. One has to ask a question, why exactly should Russia want to join this cabal of perverts? Russia is an antithesis to European "values" and new Russian Constitution established this fact on a fundamental level. Russia is ready to do business with those who want to do business with Russia, but Russians remember very clearly a role Germany played in unleashing hell in Ukraine and, in general, Germany's attempt to take a "high ground" vis-a-vis Russia are dismissed by Russians outright, as they should be. Swinging from one extreme of Nazism to another, of a complete moral debauchery and cultural suicide, does not provide Germany with any right, let alone capability, to offer any advise to Russia.
In the end, Russia joining anything is not up to Trump either, let alone to some colorless lawyer from Germany who has zero real expertise in foreign relations and foreign policy on the level which is way out of Germany's league and is nothing more than a typical German lefty political bureaucrat who cannot possibly generate any ideas on serious geopolitical matters. Nobody in Europe can--today it is a cultural and intellectual wasteland which still tries to live off the material heritage of once proud Western Civilization. And even that Europe cannot do well. It is a world of great powers' global rivalry today we live in, Germany is not one of them in this game and, as an object of history should avoid trying to play one. Great power she is not and Heiko Maas better learn this fast to avoid future embarrassments.
One Trick Ponies. Or On Cold War With China.
You all are aware of my attitude towards US "elites". I have no respect to their abilities and I have some serious reasons for that. Just take Barbara Boland's piece on Susan Rice in TAC:
“Susan Rice is right in the middle of the road, when you think about foreign policy hands in DC,” said John Glaser, director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, in an interview with The American Conservative. “She has a lot of high level experience in foreign policy, but I’ve never been able to detect a way she stands out as a unique thinker, in that she had something to say about the way she’d prefer the U.S. to go. She says things that are plastic, packaged to be right in the center of the foreign policy consensus in D.C. That’s how I see her: run of the mill, not an extraordinary pick … If she were VP, our foreign policy would not be different than what we’ve seen the past 30 years.”
My issue here is with highlighted in yellow. I don't know what Mr. Glazer means when speaking about "run of the mill, not an extraordinary pick" Susan Rice, but what was observed in the last 30 years in the US is a simple pattern that "not an extraordinary pick" may be the highest grade one can get for a product of the US foreign policy cadre machine. US diplomacy has a stellar record of ultimate and even catastrophic failures and, as a huge body of an empirical evidence shows, is run by people who are "run of the mill". The mill which produces a wholesale incompetence. In the end, we have to go with the facts on the ground and I, personally, do not know nor do I want to know all intricacies of the US foreign policy and national "security" bureaucracy, but their record is dismal. It is dismal because they are incompetent, which is a reflection of a systemic rot in the US, ranging from economy, to military to foreign policy.
Now, this cadre machine which gave us all such "stellar" performers as Vikki Nuland, Mike Pompeo or, for that matter, John Bolton, among very many similar hacks, wants to do something about China. Well, the intellectual capabilities of this bureaucracy are extremely limited, which is expected from people intellectually malnourished through the narrative of American exceptionalism. One cannot expect emergence of any creative and competent approach to a diplomacy with China from this group. Not at all, primarily because those people, being badly educated, are one trick ponies and they know only one big thing (the fox and the hedgehog dichotomy comes to mind immediately)--that Cold War is good and because they convinced themselves that they "won" the first Cold War against the USSR, they may try the same recipe with China.
Never mind that such an approach is a dead-end for the United States. In the world where the United States is finest everything there ever was, sticking to cliches and fallacies is a natural modus operandi. And again, they are one trick ponies there, because they don't know anything else. Oh, I am sure many of them may drop couple of names of some obscure philosophers or artists at some important soiree in D.C. They may even learn couple-three foreign languages, but they still remain one trick ponies, because no matter how they could be identified, as foxes or hedgehogs, they still think that the US can "win" in the Cold War with China. I am positive (not really) that broadcasting pictures from Portland riots, or of homeless in the American cities, or statistics about US economy must convince Chinese that they should discard thousands of years of their culture and start a pursuit of happiness in a very American manner. But, of course, this is not how China wants to "fight" the Cold War with the US. Just one small illustration.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia exported 396,000 tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to China in June, while US exports amounted to 340,000 tonnes during the same period, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing data from China’s General Administration of Customs.According to the customs data released on Sunday, Russia’s LNG exports to China increased by 20.7 percent compared to May figures, while US exports were 2.4 percent higher than in May.So, one trick ponies now must rush before China reaches a level of prowess which may challenge the United States, not just economically--the United States already lost that war--but militarily. And the United States doesn't have much time, nor, for that matter, viable military tools to prevent this. The predictors are not there for the US, nor will be the Chinese market if push comes to shove. Such as market for Boeing. This is the video of Russian PD-14 engines being installed at the MC-21 aircraft.
Any conflict against China over Taiwan would result in American service men and women being killed, likely in large numbers. China’s military has been built over the past two decades specifically to deter the U.S. from attacking them–via anti-access, area denial (A2/AD)–but if deterrence fails, to build a defense force that would be able to sink our ships, knock out our satellites, and shoot down our fighters from great distances; if it ever came to a ground war, they have more than 375 million military-aged males from which to draw for their Army.
I am not sure those one trick ponies can grasp the scale of even "limited" conflict over Taiwan, forget about if they try to "engage" Russia in addition, but reality of the US, unlike it was in the Cold War 1.0, being already bankrupt, economically and militarily, should be conveyed to those one trick ponies in the, most likely futile, attempt to explain to them that hospital patient on crutches and bandages is in no position to threaten a healthy martial artist, especially one carrying a gun. But there is no hope, this generation of American "elites" is one trick pony which is incapable to learn and one can only hope that this cabal of incompetents will fade away and, maybe, some new cadres will emerge, the ones willing to learn and able to take into account the state of the United States which is so bad that it is a step away from becoming, as James Kunstler put it, a smoldering cinder.
Sunday, July 26, 2020
A Profound Duh.
You all know by now that I do not trust practically any think-tank, be it a public one with a rather open (or semi-open) agenda or even more "mysterious" (and "secret") think-tanks that are closer to governments, especially if they are US think-tanks operating within American cultural milieu, which has a tendency to dumb things down until they turn into a grotesque. One of the reasons, apart from incompetence of a majority of cadres in those "think-tanks", is the fact that in such fields as history, public or even military policy, any person with IQ slightly higher than the room temperature, given appropriate time and resources, can arrive to two mutually exclusive conclusions based on absolutely same set of data, which, in the end underscores the fraudulent and pseudo-academic nature of the field of a political "science." Take me personally, for example, albeit this applies equally to many people with a professional background. I can, with numbers and models, prove simultaneously that, say, Tomahawk missile is both an awesome weapon, while being simultaneously an obsolete and highly ineffective.
I can make many of such mutually exclusive claims but I personally don't do that because of a simple golden rule--I am a public person and there are people out there who will, unlike it will be the case with most civilian people who wouldn't know the difference, call my BS and will ruin my reputation, which is dear to me, because it allows me to periodically publish books and buy good sour mash and good cigars on royalties from sales. This, plus, I, frankly, respect myself and people who read me too much to feed them an absolute BS and pretend that this is the way it is supposed to be. It is not. There are two ways of going about it--you either produce what can convincingly be proven to be the truth or very close to it, or you come up with a very convincing and professionally tailored BS, which will pass for the truth. Examples of former are numerous: I (not me only, this is just for illustration) state that hypersonic weapons are revolutionary and changed warfare. US pundits initially state that it is all just smoke and mirrors, two years later the US is trying desperately to develop own ones. You see how it works? Life itself puts everything in its place. But the latter one is a complex issue, when we talk about US vast think-tankdom and all those cadres abusing their sinecures in them only because they are ideologically pure not because they are competent. Listen to this:
Brookings Institution, the cabal of double-speaking neocons and liberal interventionists all of whom are rooted ideologically in DNC's insane irrational world of Comeys, Strzoks, Clappers and other creeps such as Brennan, all of who wouldn't qualify for a lawn mower position in apartment complex in any normal country, yet, here is this one of the America's "preeminent" think-tanks which is an originator of a "dossier", which, shouldn't it has been a reason for and foundation of America's national insanity and hysteria, would have been laughed out of the office of a low level operative or analyst in Zimbabwean or Papua New Guinea intelligence services. Not in America where "intelligence professionals" and "sources" create an alternative reality which, finally, did an irreversible damage to a country which becomes more and more incompetent across the board exponentially.
No, of course, there was a laughter and an amusement, slowly turning into a worry, that nuclear superpower was turning itself into a global Jerry Springer Show. I can only imagine people in FSB, SVR or GRU having their eyes popping out while observing how a bunch of losers, including ones with Pulitzers, as Maria astutely observed in a video, assembled a pile of a steaming shit, such as Russia Collusion, aka Russiagate, so unbelievable in sheer cretinism of its assumptions and fantasies that one has to pinch oneself to make sure that one is awake and is not having some kind of Kafkaesque nightmare. Russians and Chinese didn't have to do anything but to sit back and observe how a bunch of creeps, from, now a global laughing stock, aka US "intelligence community", to a cesspool of US main-stream media were dragging the whole country into the tar pit. They DID succeed. The US today is damaged goods, ungovernable and spiraling down into economic oblivion. Nor do I have anymore any faith in AG Barr or Durham's investigation--it was ongoing now for far too long and, most likely, will end up not with a bang but with a whimper.
But there is more even to Nunes's hints that Brookings is a beneficiary of Chinese "grants." Possible? Yes, undeniably possible, but how probable--that is yet to be determined. I have my ideas but I will not disclose them. Plus, even if it was true, China is steadily removing the United States as main market for her goods and, frankly, I am getting tired pointing out that Chinese economy dwarfs that of the United States and China has a shitload of US dollars and other "instruments" to simply buy the US, or destroy it. US convulsions in trying to stop the Nord Stream-2 or decouple from China (something tells me that China does the same), or trying to unleash new Cold War--are all signs of the situation which now is a meme and is usually accompanied by this caption: "seriously?"
I guess the United States needs to really try to actually uphold its own Constitution and law and order. The more talking, as opposed to putting perpetrators behind bars, is done on American TV, while the country burns, the clearer it becomes that nothing can be discussed with these people. Plus, American "think-tanks"? They are tanks, all right, with no think involved. What did you expect from people with Ph.Ds in political "science"?
In related news, Russian Ministry of Defense announced yesterday that trials of 3M22 Zircon are winding down and tests are successful.
The recent dry runs, which were performed from aboard the Admiral Gorshkov frigate, have “confirmed the unique tactical and technical characteristics of this missile, as well as its ability to travel at hypersonic speeds,” the MoD said in a statement. The Zircon will be able to reach speeds of up to Mach 9, nine times faster than the speed of sound. It will have an operational range of 1,000km, capable of hitting both water and land-based targets. The Defense Ministry said the Zircon is going to be placed on nuclear submarines and surface ships, but there are also plans to develop a ground-based version of the weapon. Tests of the Zircon kicked off late last year, with Deputy Defense Minister Aleksey Krivoruchko saying that the missile is expected to come into service sometime in 2021 or 2022.
There was a lot of festivities on Russia's four Fleets and one Flotilla yesterday due to Navy's Day celebration and Sevastopol was deliriously happy from seeing Fleet growing and doing its thing, as I remember it from 50 and 40 years ago.
The only thing different today is that the explosion from torpedo was done then way outside of the Northern Bay and that one usually was gigantic and loud as hell. Well. If you are a kid--this is precisely the moment you decide to get into naval academy.
Friday, July 24, 2020
Is the latest of the planned project 22160 multipurpose ships which, at some point of time, I characterized as a shitstorm corvette. You can see Pavel Derzhavin getting ready to trials in Novorossiisk.
And this class of ships would have probably remained as a class of shitstorm corvettes, but something happened, which have put many rumors to rest, together with reputations of many self-proclaimed "experts", who for years were declaring that no work was done on combat modules for these ships. They were wrong. As Izvestiya reported two days ago (in Russian) the trials for combat modules for these corvettes and other ships of this size will commence this summer. That, as you may have already guessed, changes the dynamics completely for such ships and gives them a serious ASW and strike capability, among other combat missions. That also may provide impetus for further development of the class of the two already being built corvettes of project 20386 which created a controversy of sorts due to their sensor and weapons' suites.
But the idea was always sound when looked at its realization creatively.
Having eight 3M54 or P-800s would make ships like project 22160 a rather deadly proposition under any circumstances, plus, 20 and 40-feet standard shipping containers fit very well on a variety of platforms, especially when distributed properly and Russians love distributed lethality, and, unlike the US Navy, who only recently started to wake up to this concept, pioneered it. Containers (combat modules) for pr. 22160 (and 20386) will most likely be "plug and play" and should integrate nicely with existing reserved ships' systems. It is my speculation but something tells me that I am not off by much in this particular case. Considering the size of this class (pr. 22160) of 6 ships this can roughly provide the salvo of additional 24 to 48 anti-shipping missiles of different classes, including 3M22 Zircon. As Alice used to say: "It is getting curiouser and curiouser."
Roman Empire? Again?
I disagree with Pat Buchanan on his "history". It is not really a history but a rather tedious narrative of the American exceptionalist who knows many facts and still cannot properly juxtaposition them to establish this crucial casualty which is, allegedly, the focus of a serious historical study. Even when Buchanan makes sound observations, he often, as do most American pundits, ends up with this:
How great a burden can even an unrivaled superpower carry before it buckles and breaks? We may be about to find out. Rome was the superpower of its time, ruling for centuries almost the entirety of what was then called the civilized world. Great Britain was a superpower of its day, but she bled, bankrupted and broke herself in the Thirty Years War of the West from 1914-1945.
I totally understand natural human desire to draw parallels with history's important events and subjects but this becomes, by now, simply nauseating. Roman Empire and the United States have zero commonalities in their histories and modus operandi. Bar some superficial political symmetries such as being a "Republic" and, in the end, being run and populated by humans, any appeals to the fate of the Roman Empire in relation to the fate of the United States is not only a-historical, it is down right risible.
I already addressed this point before. While one may continue drawing wrong parallels and, as a consequence, conclusions on the fate of empires, I can only paraphrase Valery Gerasimov's dictum on war:
“Each war represents an isolated case, requiring an understanding of its own particular logic, its own unique character.”
Same applies to empires--all different, all unique and all go through rise and fall. So does sun and waves at sea. In fact, the difference between Roman Empire and the US couldn't be starker in the most profound way for a simple reason that, unlike Roman Empire, the United States can consistently be obliterated by "rivals" and, frankly, has a dismal record of military interventions and conquests. What could hit closer to home is, of course, relation of the United States to British Empire on which sun never sets, but did anyway. But explanation to the the collapse of British Power, which is much-much closer to us in historic terms than Roman Empire was given already and this one DOES apply. And I repeated this Barnett's brilliant insight in this blog and elsewhere numerous times, because it is spot on:
"… swift decline in British vigor at home and the failure to exploit the empire were not owing to some inevitable senescent process of history....That cause was a political doctrine....The doctrine was liberalism, which criticized and finally demolished the traditional conception of the nation-state as a collective organism, a community, and asserted instead the primacy of individual. According to liberal thinking a nation was no more than so many human atoms who happened to live under the same set of laws....It was Adam Smith who formulated the doctrine of Free Trade, the keystone of liberalism, which was to exercise a long-live and baneful effect on British power....Adam Smith attacked the traditional "mercantilist” belief that a nation should be generally self-supporting…"
This has to be internalized by any political and intellectual elite of any great nation in the world, if one wants to continue to live as a legitimate geopolitical entity. The United States cannot continue to live and, in fact, it doesn't want to live as a viable geopolitical entity because they do not teach how to US "elites" and, in fact, feed them a steady diet of self-medicating narratives which are as related to reality as I am being a Chinese.
While Buchanan narrates America's ills and states that:
The Old Republic is facing a stress test unlike any it has known since the Union was threatened with dissolution in the Civil War.
He fails to understand that balance sheet is so not in US favor that any comparisons and parallels to Civil War are also a bunk. The US is utterly bankrupt today and she cannot do a thing about it other than continue printing money and exporting hyperinflation outwards. Big geopolitical player who really matter--they know that US IOUs will never be paid, at the agenda today for the United States is the last chance to prove that she is worth something is to unleash a Cold War 2.0 against the enemy whose economy dwarfs that of the United States and it has a preeminent military power of Russia backing China and the US simply has no resources to "buy" Russia out. Nobody needs funny green papers from people who have a reputation for breaking every single promise they give.
As if trying to prove the immense scale of the American imperial farce and demonstrate utter impotence. Pompeo called for alliance against China in his speech:
Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, called China a "Frankenstein" country and appealed to America's allies to join the struggle against a "new tyranny”. In rhetoric that echoed the Cold War, Mr Pompeo compared China to the Soviet Union and declared decades of US engagement with it a dismal failure. He said Nato, the United Nations, the G7, and "freedom-loving nations" must use "more creative and assertive ways” to pressure the Chinese Communist Party to change. It was time for a "a new grouping of like-minded nations - a new alliance of democracies" to oppose China.
For starters one has to define who those "freedom-loving nations" Pompeo calls on are. Secondly, one has to explain to Pompeo, after all he is a graduate of the West-Point and former CIA Director, how power balance is formed globally nowadays. I know, could be futile but still. Sharp-tongue Zaharova already expressed (in Russian) Russia's attitude towards Pompeo's grandiose statement--no cigar, Russia backs China an it is Russia and China who are, in effect, guarantors of the global peace and stability. Come to think about it, yep, very much so. Kremlin also had a similar reaction and underscored that "Russia doesn't develop friendships against someone."
Truth to be told, I can understand US desire to de-couple from China and from the strategic point of view, in the long run, it makes some sense. The problem in this whole process, though, is a grotesque manner in which Washington tries to accomplish it. Trump may talk to Putin whatever he wants, as he did yesterday, but he needs to take into account that Russians, as in overwhelming majority of Russians, do not want to deal with Washington at all. Putin knows that and no, Russia is not going to be discussing arms treaties with the US until the United States shows any signs of being trustworthy. So, this may take generations and a removal of a completely corrupted US elite top-bottom, from Congress to media and having competent people getting to power. US literally has nothing to offer to Russia--zero. It is astonishing that we are witnessing such weakness and impotence of the empire, which still thinks it is so great--delusion is a hard ailment to beat. I would suggest for the US to continue with sanctions on Russia and simply call Moscow when Washington gets its act together, internally, at least.
In related news, USAF "buzzed" Iranian commercial flight from Tehran to Beirut. What's next? Empire getting "victories" by bombing peaceful weddings (oh, wait...), destroying barber shops with stand-off munitions, shooting down commercial aircraft and blowing up nursing homes? As Larison notes:
Centcom confirmed that U.S. jets were involved, and claimed that they were conducting a routine patrol in connection with the al-Tanf base in southeastern Syria. This latest incident is another reminder that the U.S. military presence in Syria is unauthorized and illegal. U.S. jets have no business operating in Syrian airspace, and U.S. troops have no business being on Syrian territory. The jets were operating illegally to safeguard an illegal base, and in the process they nearly caused a terrible accident. U.S. jets shouldn’t be interfering with civilian flights over Syria. They shouldn’t be there at all. Just imagine how the U.S. would respond if the positions were reversed and a U.S. passenger plane were harassed in a similar fashion by fighters from a hostile government in another country’s airspace. This incident is bound to increase tensions between Iran and the U.S., which were already quite high following the acts of war that been carried out inside Iran in recent weeks. Since the jets were there to protect the al-Tanf base, it is worth remembering how useless the al-Tanf base is as a military outpost. It is supposedly there to block the so-called “land bridge,” but Iran can still send men and supplies into Syria by air. Even if the mission served some U.S. interest, this base can’t achieve it. The base serves no purpose except to occupy Syrian territory on a mission that Congress has never authorized. All U.S. forces in Syria should be withdrawn as soon as possible before something worse happens.
So, if anyone thinks that people who matter today want to negotiate anything with the US, they better start thinking hard. The Empire disintegrates in a front of our very own eyes and, unlike in the Civil War, the driver behind a chaos descending all over America has a very different origin than mere fight of US "elites" for the power--this one is of total insanity.
In related news, Russia put afloat (in Russian) yet another Karakurt-class missile corvette (Cyclone) and is getting ready to take in yet another Project 636 SSK for Pacific Fleet. The Navy Day is coming and Russian Navy, certainly, has very many reasons to celebrate.
Ah, yes, Cyclone was built in Kerch in Crimea, same Zaliv Wharf where few days ago two newest Russian LHDs have been laid down. Yes, this image seems to be an official one and these are really handsome ships.
There is a lot to discuss regarding Russia's armament programs and I will try to get to that soon.
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