Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Takedown At Larry's Blog.

Ah, yes! Peter Zeihan--a shyster from geopolitics. Excellent dissection of Zeihan's "analysis" by Jack McCord at Larry's blog. 

Zeihan got his start at George Friedman’s firm Stratfor, where he rose to vice-president. Stratfor enjoyed some cachet early this century, until people realized you got basically the same product from The Economist, a week earlier and much cheaper. Aside from a diplomatic internship in Australia and a short DC think-tank stint, Stratfor seems to have been Zeihan’s only grown-up job before striking off on his own in 2012. He has a huge YouTube following. You can subscribe to his geopolitics newsletter. He appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast in March 2023. In June 2022, he published his 4th best-seller, The End of the World is Just the Beginning. An eventful year and a half after its release, now seems a perfect time to review The End, along with Zeihan’s forecasting abilities. It’s generally quite readable. Zeihan at times makes it less so by trying too hard to be funny and irreverent. He came of age in the 1990s, which probably explains why he writes kind of like Buffy the Vampire Slayer talked. At one point he actually uses ‘judgy’ as a synonym for judgmental.

Generally speaking, STRATFOR is a red flag, because reading their "analysis" is as excruciating as doing root canal on three teeth simultaneously without any anesthesia. Zeihan continues on this "proud" tradition of spreading nonsense on his own now. It goes without saying that nowadays you cannot do serious applied geopolitics or, rather, what is titled as such--a complex interdisciplinary study of which geography is only one of many parts--unless you have serious military-intel background (and even this is no guarantee) and know... Russia. Zeihan has nothing which satisfies requirements for geopolitical analysis.  

As McCord notes brilliantly:

History and geography aren’t a crystal ball. They are necessary, but far from sufficient to foretell the future, which is always hard. Like neoconservative US officials, whose propaganda he often echoes, Zeihan appears clueless about recent sociopolitical, economic and military developments that have falsified many of his key premises.

Bingo! Moreover, Applied History, as in drawing lessons for current military affairs from battles past, is a science onto itself and requires, and you may have guessed it, what amounts to serious military-engineering background and understanding of the interplay of strategy and operations. Zeihan has none. That is why I couldn't watch his videos, giving up after a few minutes due to serious cases of extreme cringe. For Zeihan it is too late to start studying what matters--all of it is very complex and requires long years of study and service and, even more importantly--the ability to study. So, read the whole thing at Larry's blog--it is excellent.

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