Friday, July 24, 2020

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: 
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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