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Might as well get this out of the way now so as not to sully the New Year cheer.

Here’s a pessimistic (for some) but plausible (I think) way things will develop in the next couple of years.

1. Trump cedes key positions to globalists and neocons. This has already happened; for all intents and purposes the US is now ruled by a junta of generals and oligarchs.

2. Democrats win the House and Senate in 2018. Prediction markets now giving a ~60% chance of a Democratic House (PredictIt, PredictWise) and a ~45% chance of a Democratic Senate (PredictIt, PredictWise). The political capital accruing from an improving economy is more than mitigated by the Republicans’ naked cronyism and pro-oligarchic policies, which Trump has chosen to unambiguously associate himself with. Gerrymandering is good in normal times, but in a “blue wave” year, all those 55%-45% “safe” districts flip.

3. Having outlived his usefulness to the GOP, Trump is himself impeached, 25th’ed, or at least made a lame duck by 2019. PredictWise actually gives Trump about 10% points less chance of finishing his first term today than they did at the beginning of 2017. These numbers are not just /r/politics and Blue Checkmark fantasies, they are the results of people putting their money where their mouths are.

predictwise-trump-finishes-1st-term

4. Rampant domestic SJWism in 2019 as the Democrats unleash two years’ worth of pent up hatred and frustration. M uch of this is going to be less believable than satire, so I leave the details here to your imagination. The only thing I will note is that it is increasingly evident that SJWism is getting effectively weaponized by the elites against its enemies.

5. Purges of remaining populists on both the Right and the Left through #Russiagate. N one of this needs #Russiagate to be true to any significant degree. This has long ceased to be a legal matter, if it ever was in the first place; it is now just power politics. Note also the increasingly Red Scare-like attacks on the dissident Left for being Kremlin dupes. The populist Right has already been betrayed and defanged. This serves the interests of both the Clintonistas and the old GOP – that is, of the Establishment.

6. The ascendancy of neocon foreign policy. Though the Clintonista Dems and the old GOP won’t fully see eye to eye on domestic matters, one point of agreement will be on foreign policy – that is, on the twin pillars of Israel First and Russia containment.

An image of Russia as the archenemy of democratic civilization has been successfully built up in the past year, so we can expect everything from weapons deliveries to the Ukraine up to Iran-level sanctions as payback for their “attack on American democracy.”

Meanwhile, pressure on Iran and China will be let up, leaving Russia more isolated; and relations with Europe will improve after the neutralization of the hated Drumpf and the end of American obstructionism on issues like climate change.

Russia and Assad have yet to “win” in Syria. Yes, the Islamic State has been defeated and Aleppo liberated, but there are still large rebel concentrations – including one directly supported by Turkey – which can be reactivated after the next false flag and consequent American-led “humanitarian intervention” campaign. Turkey might be schmoozing up to Russia right now, since an Assad-ruled unitary Syria is better for it than an independent Kurdistan, but why wouldn’t it try again for an Islamist Syria should the opportunity present itself again?

7. Russia will come under incredible strain. If my read on Russian politics is correct, Putin’s next term will focus on the search for a successor and a transition from personalistic to institutional power. This is an issue that can only be given full attention in the absence of significant world tension. Consequently, I think it is likely that Putin will seek to make up with the West during this period, offering modest concessions in return for another reset.

However, in this scenario, the West will hardly be interested in dialogue, which will leave Putin a smaller subset of choices.

a) Total Surrender: Withdraw from the Donbass and leave it to Kiev’s tender mercies; evacuate Khmeimim/Tartus as the US, Saudis, Israel, and possibly turncoat Turks move in to bomb it into democracy; pass on power to a systemic liberal, who might adopt Navalny’s suggestion to rerun the Crimean referendum under international auspices. Ironically, this will require a major step-up in repression to accomplish, since nationalists will be mad about this and liberals will sense blood in the water.

b) Hunker Down: This will invite harder and harder sanctions from the West, up to and including being cut off from SWIFT, and possibly outright military clashes should Russia put up resistance in Syria, or retaliate elsewhere. In this scenario, repression will also have to be increased against non-systemic liberals as the regime is forced to lean more on nationalist support domestically, and China internationally.

Well, that’s it for my gloomy presentiments. Now you tell me why they’re wrong.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Geopolitics, Prediction, United States 
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  1. Randal says:

    Meanwhile, pressure on Iran and China will be let up, leaving Russia more isolated;

    The North Korean issue cannot be ignored here, either.

    As I’ve noted for several decades now, those countries that refuse to kowtow to the US need to hang together or they will be hanged separately.

    If the leaderships in countries like Iran and China are really stupid enough to fall for letting Russia down merely because the US regime is temporarily pretending not to be their enemy, then more fool them. The US aggression machine will be turned back upon them in due course. US “liberal” universalism allows for no exceptions. After all, Americans and the US elites are the good guys, so anyone who disagrees with them is automatically evil. And who compromises with evil?

    But Russia has been guilty of this itself in the past, as witnessed by its stupid collaborations with US manipulation of the UN against Iran.

    By the way, the US does appear to be temporarily letting up on China, probably in the hope of getting away with an attack on North Korea, but there’s no sign of the US letting up on Iran any time soon. The lobbies viscerally opposed to that are far too powerful in US politics and media, and far too closely embedded around Trump personally, for that to happen. The issue is unlikely to be Iran letting Russia down because the US temporarily lightens up on it, but the reverse. Russia sitting by while the US destroys Iran as it did Iraq is far more likely. I’m not saying it will necessarily happen, but how far will Russia actually go to oppose a US attack on Iran, especially if the US regime makes noises about throwing a bone or two Russia’s way?

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Yes, it’s more likely to go that way, Russia abandoning Iran to its fate, than Iran abandoning Russia, if for no other reason, then because Russia is way less likely to be attacked militarily by the US than Iran.
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  2. Russia and Assad have yet to “win” in Syria. Yes, the Islamic State has been defeated and Aleppo liberated, but there are still large rebel concentrations – including one directly supported by Turkey – which can be reactivated after the next false flag and consequent American-led “humanitarian intervention” campaign

    I can’t imagine another serious Syrian conflict that doesn’t involve the rebels getting outright wiped out. At this point, the pro-Russian coalition have a lot of experience doing this and they seem pretty good at it.

    I don’t see Russia getting more isolated, either. Is Iran going to join the US coalition now, for example? It boggles the mind.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    At this point, the pro-Russian coalition have a lot of experience doing this and they seem pretty good at it.
     
    Idlib is by some margin the most oppositionist province to Assad. It will be a hard nut to crack - especially if the announcement that Russia is drawing down its military involvement in Syria is true. I don't know to what extent the SAA can now stand for itself, Russians in Syria are not of a high opinion about it.

    Is Iran going to join the US coalition now, for example?
     
    Of course not. But the average vector of US hatred has been shifting from China and Iran at the start of Trump's term (Flynn, Bannon) to Russia (Mattis, McMaster, maybe soon Cotton), and this trend may intensify further if the political developments describe here come to pass.

    Iran will presumably not be too happy to see its main (though unreliable) friend being so pressured - though perhaps not, Iran hardly has much loyalty to Russia either, and has competing interests wrt gas pipelines - but what exactly is it going to do about it? Demand that the West sanction it again too, for company? Directly fight the US/Saudi/Israeli coalition in Syria?
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  3. I think it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.

    Read More
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    Good point, Yogi.

    About a popular restaurant:
    "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded."

    To the NY Mets baseball team in practice...
    "Okay, all youse guys, line up alphabetically by height."
    , @Hail
    Imagine predictions about "U.S. politics over the next few years" made on June 15, 2015.

    (Donald Trump announced his candidacy on June 16th, 2015).
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  4. @Randal

    Meanwhile, pressure on Iran and China will be let up, leaving Russia more isolated;
     
    The North Korean issue cannot be ignored here, either.

    As I've noted for several decades now, those countries that refuse to kowtow to the US need to hang together or they will be hanged separately.

    If the leaderships in countries like Iran and China are really stupid enough to fall for letting Russia down merely because the US regime is temporarily pretending not to be their enemy, then more fool them. The US aggression machine will be turned back upon them in due course. US "liberal" universalism allows for no exceptions. After all, Americans and the US elites are the good guys, so anyone who disagrees with them is automatically evil. And who compromises with evil?

    But Russia has been guilty of this itself in the past, as witnessed by its stupid collaborations with US manipulation of the UN against Iran.

    By the way, the US does appear to be temporarily letting up on China, probably in the hope of getting away with an attack on North Korea, but there's no sign of the US letting up on Iran any time soon. The lobbies viscerally opposed to that are far too powerful in US politics and media, and far too closely embedded around Trump personally, for that to happen. The issue is unlikely to be Iran letting Russia down because the US temporarily lightens up on it, but the reverse. Russia sitting by while the US destroys Iran as it did Iraq is far more likely. I'm not saying it will necessarily happen, but how far will Russia actually go to oppose a US attack on Iran, especially if the US regime makes noises about throwing a bone or two Russia's way?

    Yes, it’s more likely to go that way, Russia abandoning Iran to its fate, than Iran abandoning Russia, if for no other reason, then because Russia is way less likely to be attacked militarily by the US than Iran.

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  5. @Daniel Chieh

    Russia and Assad have yet to “win” in Syria. Yes, the Islamic State has been defeated and Aleppo liberated, but there are still large rebel concentrations – including one directly supported by Turkey – which can be reactivated after the next false flag and consequent American-led “humanitarian intervention” campaign
     
    I can't imagine another serious Syrian conflict that doesn't involve the rebels getting outright wiped out. At this point, the pro-Russian coalition have a lot of experience doing this and they seem pretty good at it.

    I don't see Russia getting more isolated, either. Is Iran going to join the US coalition now, for example? It boggles the mind.

    At this point, the pro-Russian coalition have a lot of experience doing this and they seem pretty good at it.

    Idlib is by some margin the most oppositionist province to Assad. It will be a hard nut to crack – especially if the announcement that Russia is drawing down its military involvement in Syria is true. I don’t know to what extent the SAA can now stand for itself, Russians in Syria are not of a high opinion about it.

    Is Iran going to join the US coalition now, for example?

    Of course not. But the average vector of US hatred has been shifting from China and Iran at the start of Trump’s term (Flynn, Bannon) to Russia (Mattis, McMaster, maybe soon Cotton), and this trend may intensify further if the political developments describe here come to pass.

    Iran will presumably not be too happy to see its main (though unreliable) friend being so pressured – though perhaps not, Iran hardly has much loyalty to Russia either, and has competing interests wrt gas pipelines – but what exactly is it going to do about it? Demand that the West sanction it again too, for company? Directly fight the US/Saudi/Israeli coalition in Syria?

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Directly fight the US/Saudi/Israeli coalition in Syria?
     
    I suspect they will fight these forces attacking their important allies (SAA and Hezbollah), if they get attacked by them. Iran actually has more to lose from such an attack, than Russia: its ground forces and Hezbollah getting trapped in Syria, Hezbollah getting destroyed, and of course they have reasons to think that after Syria they will be next. For Russia Syria is probably of less importance.
    , @Randal

    the average vector of US hatred has been shifting from China and Iran at the start of Trump’s term (Flynn, Bannon) to Russia (Mattis, McMaster, maybe soon Cotton),
     
    Mattis is famously fully part of the neurotic US irrationality towards Iran:

    James Mattis’ 33-Year Grudge Against Iran

    McMaster has been a bit more nuanced recently, but has endorsed some of the US elite's nutty obsessions about the Iran agreement and Iranian "destabilising activity" (ie resisting US destabilising actions around the ME) and is by no means not phobicly anti-Iranian.

    Admittedly McMaster has gone full General Jack D. Ripper on Russia in the past few days (HR McMaster: Russian meddling 'sophisticated subversion'), but I've assumed that's part of an administration strategy for dealing with the Russiagate circus. He's also gone all out "precious bodily fluids" on North Korea, as well: HR McMaster weighs in on North Korea nuclear threat.

    Iran will presumably not be too happy to see its main (though unreliable) friend being so pressured – though perhaps not, Iran hardly has much loyalty to Russia either, and has competing interests wrt gas pipelines – but what exactly is it going to do about it? Demand that the West sanction it again too, for company? Directly fight the US/Saudi/Israeli coalition in Syria?
     
    Iran will fight in Syria if it has to, but it's true that it is obviously far less powerful than Russia ad can do little to help if Russia is directly targeted by the US sphere in, say, Ukraine.
    , @Daniel Chieh

    Directly fight the US/Saudi/Israeli coalition in Syria?
     
    Sure, why not? So as long as the countries need to operate under deniability, they can't actually acknowledge any losses and have to limit their ability to retaliate. Its not realistic for any of them to actually strike at Iran itself either - that can credibly trigger a world war as both China and Russia have interests in keeping the current government intact.
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  6. OT

    Russia sold some metro train cars to Budapest recently. They are not working satisfactorily, the deal involved corruption, they sold obsolete technology for somewhat cheaper (but as a result the EU also paid somewhat less, so many in Hungary, including Fidesz loyalists, are questioning the deal). In any event it did serious damage to the image of Russia and her technology in Hungary. It also got added to the list of reasons for people to hate Fidesz in the future, should a half credible opposition arise.

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    • Replies: @Polish Perspective
    Fidesz is a good reminder of why it's so crucial to have social dominance for important ideas. I again return to the Czech Republic as an example. Even the communists(!) are against the forced quotas. This is important, because a lot of people vote for Fidesz while holding their nose, because the alternative is catastrophic (esp demographically). Fidesz knows this, hence why they take these liberties.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but as I understand it, the Hungarian opposition is a lot like the Polish one rather than the Czech one. Namely, they are very weak on these issues. IIRC, they even called for the taking-down of the Hungarian border wall, erected in the aftermath of the 2015 rush.

    The same problem is a long-term threat in Poland, too, because while PiS is new to power and since they face a lot of media hostility and EU pressure, they are (sort-of) kept in their place and only do the minimal that nationalists want. This can in a sense be good in the short term, because it forces them to economise with their political capital. There have been notably less corruption with PiS than with PO(the preceding neoliberal party which dominates for several terms up until our last election).

    Nevertheless, if they retain power for the next 5-6 years, I'm guessing we'll start seeing the same thing you guys are with Fidesz. And then we get to the rub: because we don't want to vote for corrupt people but we also don't want to vote for people who will voluntarily flood our nations with third worlders, so you get a sub-optimal choice palette.

    Meanwhile, in the CR, you can easily vote out Babis in the next election. The previous Social Democrats were driving to oppose the quotas while in government and even the ultra-liberal Pirate party are also against quotas. That gives better governance in the long run, because neither party can be sure of dominance because a key issue - immigration - is already under consensus (in the right manner) in the country. And as such, corruption and the like will be harder to develop in such an environment. That's why I tell right-wingers not to be arrogant even when the left is temporarily trounced. Victory doesn't look like eternal right-wing rule. Victory is when our ideas are universal, just as "diversity is our strength" is shared even among GOP elites and an alarming part of their (boomer) electorate. That's what I want, except "homogeneity is our strength" all across the political spectrum. CZ has that. Arguably SK as well. Poland and Hungary, while having a strong right-wing, have far worse left-wing parties than either of those two.

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  7. @Anatoly Karlin

    At this point, the pro-Russian coalition have a lot of experience doing this and they seem pretty good at it.
     
    Idlib is by some margin the most oppositionist province to Assad. It will be a hard nut to crack - especially if the announcement that Russia is drawing down its military involvement in Syria is true. I don't know to what extent the SAA can now stand for itself, Russians in Syria are not of a high opinion about it.

    Is Iran going to join the US coalition now, for example?
     
    Of course not. But the average vector of US hatred has been shifting from China and Iran at the start of Trump's term (Flynn, Bannon) to Russia (Mattis, McMaster, maybe soon Cotton), and this trend may intensify further if the political developments describe here come to pass.

    Iran will presumably not be too happy to see its main (though unreliable) friend being so pressured - though perhaps not, Iran hardly has much loyalty to Russia either, and has competing interests wrt gas pipelines - but what exactly is it going to do about it? Demand that the West sanction it again too, for company? Directly fight the US/Saudi/Israeli coalition in Syria?

    Directly fight the US/Saudi/Israeli coalition in Syria?

    I suspect they will fight these forces attacking their important allies (SAA and Hezbollah), if they get attacked by them. Iran actually has more to lose from such an attack, than Russia: its ground forces and Hezbollah getting trapped in Syria, Hezbollah getting destroyed, and of course they have reasons to think that after Syria they will be next. For Russia Syria is probably of less importance.

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    • Agree: Randal
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  8. Talha says:

    still large rebel concentrations – including one directly supported by Turkey –

    If I remember correctly, this is the adjacent border area that is populated mostly by ethnic Turkmen. If this is the case, do not expect this to be resolved for a long, long time. I’m not saying it’s right because Turkey should be playing by international rules, I’m just being realistic. See Turkey and Cyprus to get an idea of what I’m talking about.

    Peace.

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  9. Randal says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    At this point, the pro-Russian coalition have a lot of experience doing this and they seem pretty good at it.
     
    Idlib is by some margin the most oppositionist province to Assad. It will be a hard nut to crack - especially if the announcement that Russia is drawing down its military involvement in Syria is true. I don't know to what extent the SAA can now stand for itself, Russians in Syria are not of a high opinion about it.

    Is Iran going to join the US coalition now, for example?
     
    Of course not. But the average vector of US hatred has been shifting from China and Iran at the start of Trump's term (Flynn, Bannon) to Russia (Mattis, McMaster, maybe soon Cotton), and this trend may intensify further if the political developments describe here come to pass.

    Iran will presumably not be too happy to see its main (though unreliable) friend being so pressured - though perhaps not, Iran hardly has much loyalty to Russia either, and has competing interests wrt gas pipelines - but what exactly is it going to do about it? Demand that the West sanction it again too, for company? Directly fight the US/Saudi/Israeli coalition in Syria?

    the average vector of US hatred has been shifting from China and Iran at the start of Trump’s term (Flynn, Bannon) to Russia (Mattis, McMaster, maybe soon Cotton),

    Mattis is famously fully part of the neurotic US irrationality towards Iran:

    James Mattis’ 33-Year Grudge Against Iran

    McMaster has been a bit more nuanced recently, but has endorsed some of the US elite’s nutty obsessions about the Iran agreement and Iranian “destabilising activity” (ie resisting US destabilising actions around the ME) and is by no means not phobicly anti-Iranian.

    Admittedly McMaster has gone full General Jack D. Ripper on Russia in the past few days (HR McMaster: Russian meddling ‘sophisticated subversion’), but I’ve assumed that’s part of an administration strategy for dealing with the Russiagate circus. He’s also gone all out “precious bodily fluids” on North Korea, as well: HR McMaster weighs in on North Korea nuclear threat.

    Iran will presumably not be too happy to see its main (though unreliable) friend being so pressured – though perhaps not, Iran hardly has much loyalty to Russia either, and has competing interests wrt gas pipelines – but what exactly is it going to do about it? Demand that the West sanction it again too, for company? Directly fight the US/Saudi/Israeli coalition in Syria?

    Iran will fight in Syria if it has to, but it’s true that it is obviously far less powerful than Russia ad can do little to help if Russia is directly targeted by the US sphere in, say, Ukraine.

    Read More
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  10. I think you’re being too pessimistic regarding Russia isolation. The US isn’t ever going to let up pressure on China. The first containment plan, pivot to Asia, was a Hillary/State Department affair. The current containment plan is a neocon affair. No matter who’s in office the attempt at China containment will continue. Bannon appears to truly believe that China is Germany during WWI. So literally the only thing the neocons, neolibs, and Trump/Bannon populists appear to agree on is to contain China. If Russia hysteria doesn’t end, then the US’s strategic master plan would essential be to take on Russia and China at the same time. Which is obviously a terrible plan.

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    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh

    So literally the only thing the neocons, neolibs, and Trump/Bannon populists appear to agree on is to contain China. If Russia hysteria doesn’t end, then the US’s strategic master plan would essential be to take on Russia and China at the same time. Which is obviously a terrible plan.
     
    Indeed, its so transparently ridiculous that its hard to imagine that there's anyone who actually is trying to pursue it. It might be one thing to try to pursue it economically but to actually try to materialize it into political or military confrontation with both at the same time seems unimaginably foolish to me.

    This isn't the 1950s anymore. I don't see how China could be isolated from Russia - there are few points of contention, a common rival and multiple points of cooperation.

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  11. bob sykes says:

    No prediction re China? I know Mr. Karlin is some sort of Russian, and his focus is naturally on Russia, but China is America’s main adversary, and they are gaining power relative to the US. Russia is a side show. Worry about four to six Chinese carrier battle groups in the China Sea and Chinese economic dominance of the world.

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    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    Fair point, though the childish snark "some kind of Russian" doesn't advance it. He's that kind of Russian known as ... a Russian.

    China is well nigh unstoppable already. Especially if we continue to waste trillions of dollars - some of it borrowed from China - on unproductive or counterproductive wars and occupations in the Mid East, while China uses ITS money to build up (not stretch thin) its military, sign long-term oil and gas and mineral contracts and ag land leases, build its domestic infrastructure and mass transit, and curry favor and influence in Africa and other resource-rich regions.
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  12. @reiner Tor
    I think it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.

    Good point, Yogi.

    About a popular restaurant:
    “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”

    To the NY Mets baseball team in practice…
    “Okay, all youse guys, line up alphabetically by height.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    He didn’t say all the things he said!
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  13. Dante says:

    I know I am I’m the wrong section here but I have just read the myth of Moskvabad article but couldn’t ask a question as they are closed so came here to ask, But I wonder if Anatoly would be able to tell me what percentage do Europeans make up of whole of Russia ( Russian Federation ) ? Reason I ask is since the 2010 census birth rates increased along with life expectancy and we saw the return of Crimea. Many thanks

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  14. @RadicalCenter
    Good point, Yogi.

    About a popular restaurant:
    "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded."

    To the NY Mets baseball team in practice...
    "Okay, all youse guys, line up alphabetically by height."

    He didn’t say all the things he said!

    Read More
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  15. @bob sykes
    No prediction re China? I know Mr. Karlin is some sort of Russian, and his focus is naturally on Russia, but China is America's main adversary, and they are gaining power relative to the US. Russia is a side show. Worry about four to six Chinese carrier battle groups in the China Sea and Chinese economic dominance of the world.

    Fair point, though the childish snark “some kind of Russian” doesn’t advance it. He’s that kind of Russian known as … a Russian.

    China is well nigh unstoppable already. Especially if we continue to waste trillions of dollars – some of it borrowed from China – on unproductive or counterproductive wars and occupations in the Mid East, while China uses ITS money to build up (not stretch thin) its military, sign long-term oil and gas and mineral contracts and ag land leases, build its domestic infrastructure and mass transit, and curry favor and influence in Africa and other resource-rich regions.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    China is well nigh unstoppable already. Especially if we continue to waste trillions of dollars – some of it borrowed from China – on unproductive or counterproductive wars and occupations in the Mid East,

    The ratio of military spending to domestic product is close to the post-1939 nadir as we speak. (BTW, the period running from 1949 to 1973 was as economically dynamic as any in American history, in spite of high military spending).
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  16. Mitleser says:

    Now you tell me why they’re wrong.

    Though the Clintonista Dems and the old GOP won’t fully see eye to eye on domestic matters, one point of agreement will be on foreign policy – that is, on the twin pillars of Israel First and Russia containment.

    Meanwhile, pressure on Iran and China will be let up, leaving Russia more isolated;

    Can’t reduce pressure on Iran without dropping Israel First and China has grown too big to be ignored.
    In fact, the same tools that were used against Russia can and will be used against China.

    Just look at what happened in Australia recently where anti-China media tools are being tested and how Chinese are increasingly irritated by this.

    I have not experienced such hostility toward Australia from Chinese elites, not even during the 2009 ‘annus horribilis’. To be clear, much of this communication occurred during what are ‘track two’ dialogues. At these kinds of events in the People’s Republic of China, academic cadres need to show they are on message and in Xi Jinping’s time this is especially so. Even though the official line on Australia is, publicly at any rate, relatively muted, the line from the cadres is not. But concerns went beyond what one would normally expect from the performative dimensions of such dialogues. At dinners and in private the language was slightly different, but the tone and tenor remained the same: a mixture of dismay, incredulity and even at times a little anger. It was almost as if we had let them down somehow.

    There is a growing perception gap opening up between Australian and Chinese scholars and commentators. It has opened up swiftly and could become a significant problem for people-to-people ties between the two countries. It could also leach into the government-to-government relationship and foster further mistrust between Beijing and Canberra.

    https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/mistrust-australia-growing-china

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Can’t reduce pressure on Iran without dropping Israel First
     
    This is the major reason why Iran will be attacked before Russia. I’m not sure about North Korea, though.
    , @DFH

    In fact, the same tools that were used against Russia can and will be used against China.
     
    Not really comparable, since the Chinese actually do meddle in other country's politics through their diaspora.
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  17. Wait until the DOJ IG reports and see how things look then.

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    • Replies: @The Kulak
    For a highly based individual and writer that has my respect, I think AK tends to overrate the Demopublican (or as Michael D. Weiss likes to call it 'Team WahhabiZiocon') U.S. Establishment's fading power. Especially when viewed from China which even Russians agree is vastly more economically dynamic than Russia, the MuhRussia hysteria cannot but be seen as weakness. Isn't the American elite essentially appealing to openness in contrast with Russian auspiciousness and dastardliness as an excuse for how the US IC basically did next to nothing as, if you believe the laughable Comey/Clapper/Brennan line, the Russians 'attacked our democracy'? If Russia can nudge Trump into the White House while the Americans can't get Navalny above 5% despite lavishly supportive coverage, which side is more powerful than the other, at least in the dark arts of manipulation that wonderful democracies supposedly suck at despite decades of coups and other first Cold War evidence to the contrary?

    This is not to say, that The Saker is right about the unchecked rot of Banderastan eventually leading to a breakup of Ukraine while Putin remains in office (I see it more as something that will happen by the late 2020s when Poland and Hungary feel Visegrad strong and the dollar and non-German euro have collapsed Washington/Brussels support for whatever crew of flunkies will be left in Kiev to nothing by then), or that the Galicia centric Lviv as the European city of the future crowd are right either.

    And yes Mr. Armstrong is right that more is coming from Sessions elves and Roger Stone's GOP Congressmen buddies on the Hill regarding the Democrat derp state's get Drumpf promotion of the Dirty Dossier and other soft coup antics. People used to the press always being on their side and covering their arses tend to get more arrogant and lazy as they rise through the ranks (just reading an interview with that bald bastard James Clapper sniveling about how lying to Congress will be on his grave stone made me want to puke). The shreiks about dedicated civil servants being smeared by this President are quite satisfying and the real purge hasn't even begun.

    None of this is to say, though hot proxy war with NATO 'vacationers' (whom the occasional Russia bashers deny exist despite their Slovak or Polish 'volunteers' with the UAF bragging about fighting Donbass 'bandits' to SOFREP.com) fighting their counterparts from the GRU in the ruins of Donbass remains possible, that I think the current weakening US elites are ready for true great power war. Hell I doubt they could stomach the number of body bags/flag draped coffins from Korean War 2 or what Iran could do against the US Navy in the Arabian Sea combined with Hezbollah fully unleashed on US forces in Syraq.

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  18. @Mitleser

    Now you tell me why they’re wrong.
     

    Though the Clintonista Dems and the old GOP won’t fully see eye to eye on domestic matters, one point of agreement will be on foreign policy – that is, on the twin pillars of Israel First and Russia containment.
     

    Meanwhile, pressure on Iran and China will be let up, leaving Russia more isolated;
     
    Can't reduce pressure on Iran without dropping Israel First and China has grown too big to be ignored.
    In fact, the same tools that were used against Russia can and will be used against China.

    Just look at what happened in Australia recently where anti-China media tools are being tested and how Chinese are increasingly irritated by this.

    I have not experienced such hostility toward Australia from Chinese elites, not even during the 2009 ‘annus horribilis’. To be clear, much of this communication occurred during what are 'track two' dialogues. At these kinds of events in the People’s Republic of China, academic cadres need to show they are on message and in Xi Jinping’s time this is especially so. Even though the official line on Australia is, publicly at any rate, relatively muted, the line from the cadres is not. But concerns went beyond what one would normally expect from the performative dimensions of such dialogues. At dinners and in private the language was slightly different, but the tone and tenor remained the same: a mixture of dismay, incredulity and even at times a little anger. It was almost as if we had let them down somehow.

    There is a growing perception gap opening up between Australian and Chinese scholars and commentators. It has opened up swiftly and could become a significant problem for people-to-people ties between the two countries. It could also leach into the government-to-government relationship and foster further mistrust between Beijing and Canberra.
     
    https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/mistrust-australia-growing-china

    Can’t reduce pressure on Iran without dropping Israel First

    This is the major reason why Iran will be attacked before Russia. I’m not sure about North Korea, though.

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    • Replies: @Mitleser
    I don't think there will be a large-scale attack on the DPRK.
    It is too useful for America to be destroyed by them.
    It provides more excuses to sanction China and Russia, to militarize Japan and to maintain American influence in the RoK and constantly distracts and annoys the PRC.
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  19. Sounds like a very US-centric analysis. I understand that you probably don’t think European countries amount to much, certainly not as independent actors, and there certainly is a lot of Atlanticist Russophobia in Europe as well; but given other developments in Europe (primarily the ongoing invasion) a lot of people might eventually regard other issues as rather more important than confronting Russia (and the issues are linked to some degree…in Western Europe at least the most hysterically anti-Russian people seem to be people strongly in favour of open borders, multiculturalism etc., just like the liberal scum in the US). And if the US does something extreme like tearing up the nuclear deal with Iran, there might even be a serious rift between EU elites and the US.
    But yes, many of your predictions unfortunately seem not unlikely.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II

    very US-centric analysis
     
    very, very US sided :) contrary to what happened up to now.
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  20. @Anatoly Karlin

    At this point, the pro-Russian coalition have a lot of experience doing this and they seem pretty good at it.
     
    Idlib is by some margin the most oppositionist province to Assad. It will be a hard nut to crack - especially if the announcement that Russia is drawing down its military involvement in Syria is true. I don't know to what extent the SAA can now stand for itself, Russians in Syria are not of a high opinion about it.

    Is Iran going to join the US coalition now, for example?
     
    Of course not. But the average vector of US hatred has been shifting from China and Iran at the start of Trump's term (Flynn, Bannon) to Russia (Mattis, McMaster, maybe soon Cotton), and this trend may intensify further if the political developments describe here come to pass.

    Iran will presumably not be too happy to see its main (though unreliable) friend being so pressured - though perhaps not, Iran hardly has much loyalty to Russia either, and has competing interests wrt gas pipelines - but what exactly is it going to do about it? Demand that the West sanction it again too, for company? Directly fight the US/Saudi/Israeli coalition in Syria?

    Directly fight the US/Saudi/Israeli coalition in Syria?

    Sure, why not? So as long as the countries need to operate under deniability, they can’t actually acknowledge any losses and have to limit their ability to retaliate. Its not realistic for any of them to actually strike at Iran itself either – that can credibly trigger a world war as both China and Russia have interests in keeping the current government intact.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Its not realistic for any of them to actually strike at Iran itself either – that can credibly trigger a world war as both China and Russia have interests in keeping the current government intact.
     
    I don’t think there’s a risk of a war with China over Iran. It’s far away from any Chinese range of action, and they won’t fire the few ICBMs they have due to this. Regarding Russia, what’s plausible is that they might supply a lot of weapons systems along with some personnel to operate them. I don’t expect the Russians to go to war over Iran.
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  21. Mitleser says:
    @reiner Tor

    Can’t reduce pressure on Iran without dropping Israel First
     
    This is the major reason why Iran will be attacked before Russia. I’m not sure about North Korea, though.

    I don’t think there will be a large-scale attack on the DPRK.
    It is too useful for America to be destroyed by them.
    It provides more excuses to sanction China and Russia, to militarize Japan and to maintain American influence in the RoK and constantly distracts and annoys the PRC.

    Read More
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  22. @Daniel Chieh

    Directly fight the US/Saudi/Israeli coalition in Syria?
     
    Sure, why not? So as long as the countries need to operate under deniability, they can't actually acknowledge any losses and have to limit their ability to retaliate. Its not realistic for any of them to actually strike at Iran itself either - that can credibly trigger a world war as both China and Russia have interests in keeping the current government intact.

    Its not realistic for any of them to actually strike at Iran itself either – that can credibly trigger a world war as both China and Russia have interests in keeping the current government intact.

    I don’t think there’s a risk of a war with China over Iran. It’s far away from any Chinese range of action, and they won’t fire the few ICBMs they have due to this. Regarding Russia, what’s plausible is that they might supply a lot of weapons systems along with some personnel to operate them. I don’t expect the Russians to go to war over Iran.

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    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    China's been pretty intent on keeping OBOR functional, and its impossible to do that if entire countries that it has to go through keep getting wiped out. Even how essential OBOR has become to the platform and credibility of the cadres, this leans it toward a do or die moment. Sure, she'll probably aim for some form of plausible deniability as well, but such an effort would seem like it could easily spiral out of control.

    It just is hard to envision any war with Iran that couldn't pose an unacceptably large risk.
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  23. @reiner Tor

    Its not realistic for any of them to actually strike at Iran itself either – that can credibly trigger a world war as both China and Russia have interests in keeping the current government intact.
     
    I don’t think there’s a risk of a war with China over Iran. It’s far away from any Chinese range of action, and they won’t fire the few ICBMs they have due to this. Regarding Russia, what’s plausible is that they might supply a lot of weapons systems along with some personnel to operate them. I don’t expect the Russians to go to war over Iran.

    China’s been pretty intent on keeping OBOR functional, and its impossible to do that if entire countries that it has to go through keep getting wiped out. Even how essential OBOR has become to the platform and credibility of the cadres, this leans it toward a do or die moment. Sure, she’ll probably aim for some form of plausible deniability as well, but such an effort would seem like it could easily spiral out of control.

    It just is hard to envision any war with Iran that couldn’t pose an unacceptably large risk.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I agree that they’d be angry. But would they actually start a war?
    , @Randal

    China’s been pretty intent on keeping OBOR functional, and its impossible to do that if entire countries that it has to go through keep getting wiped out. Even how essential OBOR has become to the platform and credibility of the cadres, this leans it toward a do or die moment.
     
    I agree with reiner that it's very difficult to see either Russia or China actually going to war with the US over Iran. They both have too much to lose, and have shown no particular sign of regarding the issue as do or die for themselves. And China lacks the infrastructure for effective intervention. It could go to war with the US in the Pacific, of course, but I don't think they're ready for that yet. Do the current Chinese leadership really look to you as though they are ready to go toe to toe with the US over a distant inconvenience to their long term economic strategy?

    So lots of diplomatic support and active military and economic assistance, probably, but most likely not a world war.

    It just is hard to envision any war with Iran that couldn’t pose an unacceptably large risk.
     
    I suspect we all agree on that (you, me and reiner, I mean), at least if by risk one means costs that would make it a disaster outweighing by some distance the Iraq mess. The problem is that it isn't us that needs to be convinced of that, but rather irrational obsessives like Mattis, corrupt lobby advocates with ulterior motives like Kushner, and the badly advised, inexperienced and evidently quite unrealistic (in international affairs) Trump himself.

    And of course, they might all be bluffing and have no intention of starting a war, but still cause one to be started by virtue of the postures and locations they put US forces in and their belligerent stances.
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  24. @random rand
    I think you're being too pessimistic regarding Russia isolation. The US isn't ever going to let up pressure on China. The first containment plan, pivot to Asia, was a Hillary/State Department affair. The current containment plan is a neocon affair. No matter who's in office the attempt at China containment will continue. Bannon appears to truly believe that China is Germany during WWI. So literally the only thing the neocons, neolibs, and Trump/Bannon populists appear to agree on is to contain China. If Russia hysteria doesn't end, then the US's strategic master plan would essential be to take on Russia and China at the same time. Which is obviously a terrible plan.

    So literally the only thing the neocons, neolibs, and Trump/Bannon populists appear to agree on is to contain China. If Russia hysteria doesn’t end, then the US’s strategic master plan would essential be to take on Russia and China at the same time. Which is obviously a terrible plan.

    Indeed, its so transparently ridiculous that its hard to imagine that there’s anyone who actually is trying to pursue it. It might be one thing to try to pursue it economically but to actually try to materialize it into political or military confrontation with both at the same time seems unimaginably foolish to me.

    This isn’t the 1950s anymore. I don’t see how China could be isolated from Russia – there are few points of contention, a common rival and multiple points of cooperation.

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  25. @Daniel Chieh
    China's been pretty intent on keeping OBOR functional, and its impossible to do that if entire countries that it has to go through keep getting wiped out. Even how essential OBOR has become to the platform and credibility of the cadres, this leans it toward a do or die moment. Sure, she'll probably aim for some form of plausible deniability as well, but such an effort would seem like it could easily spiral out of control.

    It just is hard to envision any war with Iran that couldn't pose an unacceptably large risk.

    I agree that they’d be angry. But would they actually start a war?

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    • Replies: @Mitleser
    They could take advantage of the fact that America is once again busy in the Middle East and solve the Taiwan problem once and for all, while supplying the Iranians via Central Asia and Pakistan.
    , @Daniel Chieh
    The US would at that point ceased to be a rational actor insofar as the cadres see them, so I would say, yes. A proxy war in Iran at the least, which obviously has a high risk of becoming more as Chinese and Russian assets and soldiers get destroyed or die. One would imagine the threat of such escalation would discourage the USG from even attempting to get to that point.
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  26. Mitleser says:
    @reiner Tor
    I agree that they’d be angry. But would they actually start a war?

    They could take advantage of the fact that America is once again busy in the Middle East and solve the Taiwan problem once and for all, while supplying the Iranians via Central Asia and Pakistan.

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    • Replies: @Randal
    They can and probably will (if they've got any sense) supply Iran as much as they can, but I don't see any great advantage for them in attacking Taiwan. I think it's pretty clear China well understands that it is infinitely preferable for them to wait for Taiwan to drop into their hands naturally rather than conquer it. Having to occupy Taiwan would I suspect be seen as one of the disadvantages of going to war with the US over Iran, rather than any kind of opportunity.
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  27. DFH says:
    @Mitleser

    Now you tell me why they’re wrong.
     

    Though the Clintonista Dems and the old GOP won’t fully see eye to eye on domestic matters, one point of agreement will be on foreign policy – that is, on the twin pillars of Israel First and Russia containment.
     

    Meanwhile, pressure on Iran and China will be let up, leaving Russia more isolated;
     
    Can't reduce pressure on Iran without dropping Israel First and China has grown too big to be ignored.
    In fact, the same tools that were used against Russia can and will be used against China.

    Just look at what happened in Australia recently where anti-China media tools are being tested and how Chinese are increasingly irritated by this.

    I have not experienced such hostility toward Australia from Chinese elites, not even during the 2009 ‘annus horribilis’. To be clear, much of this communication occurred during what are 'track two' dialogues. At these kinds of events in the People’s Republic of China, academic cadres need to show they are on message and in Xi Jinping’s time this is especially so. Even though the official line on Australia is, publicly at any rate, relatively muted, the line from the cadres is not. But concerns went beyond what one would normally expect from the performative dimensions of such dialogues. At dinners and in private the language was slightly different, but the tone and tenor remained the same: a mixture of dismay, incredulity and even at times a little anger. It was almost as if we had let them down somehow.

    There is a growing perception gap opening up between Australian and Chinese scholars and commentators. It has opened up swiftly and could become a significant problem for people-to-people ties between the two countries. It could also leach into the government-to-government relationship and foster further mistrust between Beijing and Canberra.
     
    https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/mistrust-australia-growing-china

    In fact, the same tools that were used against Russia can and will be used against China.

    Not really comparable, since the Chinese actually do meddle in other country’s politics through their diaspora.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Unlike the US, which only sends its people to spread Democracy and Human Rights.
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  28. @reiner Tor
    OT

    Russia sold some metro train cars to Budapest recently. They are not working satisfactorily, the deal involved corruption, they sold obsolete technology for somewhat cheaper (but as a result the EU also paid somewhat less, so many in Hungary, including Fidesz loyalists, are questioning the deal). In any event it did serious damage to the image of Russia and her technology in Hungary. It also got added to the list of reasons for people to hate Fidesz in the future, should a half credible opposition arise.

    Fidesz is a good reminder of why it’s so crucial to have social dominance for important ideas. I again return to the Czech Republic as an example. Even the communists(!) are against the forced quotas. This is important, because a lot of people vote for Fidesz while holding their nose, because the alternative is catastrophic (esp demographically). Fidesz knows this, hence why they take these liberties.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but as I understand it, the Hungarian opposition is a lot like the Polish one rather than the Czech one. Namely, they are very weak on these issues. IIRC, they even called for the taking-down of the Hungarian border wall, erected in the aftermath of the 2015 rush.

    The same problem is a long-term threat in Poland, too, because while PiS is new to power and since they face a lot of media hostility and EU pressure, they are (sort-of) kept in their place and only do the minimal that nationalists want. This can in a sense be good in the short term, because it forces them to economise with their political capital. There have been notably less corruption with PiS than with PO(the preceding neoliberal party which dominates for several terms up until our last election).

    Nevertheless, if they retain power for the next 5-6 years, I’m guessing we’ll start seeing the same thing you guys are with Fidesz. And then we get to the rub: because we don’t want to vote for corrupt people but we also don’t want to vote for people who will voluntarily flood our nations with third worlders, so you get a sub-optimal choice palette.

    Meanwhile, in the CR, you can easily vote out Babis in the next election. The previous Social Democrats were driving to oppose the quotas while in government and even the ultra-liberal Pirate party are also against quotas. That gives better governance in the long run, because neither party can be sure of dominance because a key issue – immigration – is already under consensus (in the right manner) in the country. And as such, corruption and the like will be harder to develop in such an environment. That’s why I tell right-wingers not to be arrogant even when the left is temporarily trounced. Victory doesn’t look like eternal right-wing rule. Victory is when our ideas are universal, just as “diversity is our strength” is shared even among GOP elites and an alarming part of their (boomer) electorate. That’s what I want, except “homogeneity is our strength” all across the political spectrum. CZ has that. Arguably SK as well. Poland and Hungary, while having a strong right-wing, have far worse left-wing parties than either of those two.

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    • Replies: @Swedish Family

    That gives better governance in the long run, because neither party can be sure of dominance because a key issue – immigration – is already under consensus (in the right manner) in the country. And as such, corruption and the like will be harder to develop in such an environment. That’s why I tell right-wingers not to be arrogant even when the left is temporarily trounced. Victory doesn’t look like eternal right-wing rule. Victory is when our ideas are universal, just as “diversity is our strength” is shared even among GOP elites and an alarming part of their (boomer) electorate. That’s what I want, except “homogeneity is our strength” all across the political spectrum. CZ has that. Arguably SK as well. Poland and Hungary, while having a strong right-wing, have far worse left-wing parties than either of those two.
     
    Terrific point. Couldn't agree more.
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  29. Some grounds for optimism:

    1. Tillerson is still around, and articles such as the one below from Politico suggest that current policies are still more realpolitik than Obama’s militaristic humanism. My take on the article is that Trump will look the other way when his allies go medieval on their subjects but will go after his enemies for doing likewise. Can’t say I’m in love with the general idea of this, but it might be good for Russia if Trump decides that Russia is a friendly.

    The May 17 memo reads like a crash course for a businessman-turned-diplomat, and its conclusion offers a starkly realist vision: that the U.S. should use human rights as a club against its adversaries, like Iran, China and North Korea, while giving a pass to repressive allies like the Philippines, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

    During his May visit to Saudi Arabia, and while hosting the leaders of Egypt and Turkey at the White House, Trump did not publicly press the leaders of those countries on their authoritarian policies. But during an address to South Korea’s Parliament in November, Trump spoke at striking length about the brutality of North Korea’s regime. Trump and Tillerson have also repeatedly assailed Iran’s human rights record.

    I love it how plainly these policy wonks spell out their strategies among themselves:

    “For this reason,” Hook continues, “we should consider human rights as an important issue in regard to U.S. relations with China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. And this is not only because of moral concern for practices inside those countries. It is also because pressing those regimes on human rights is one way to impose costs, apply counter-pressure, and regain the initiative from them strategically.”

    https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/19/tillerson-state-human-rights-304118

    2. Moore was a uniquely bad candidate, so I’m not convinced that his defeat has much predictive value. It might, however, mean fewer MAGA candidates in November, which would be less than ideal.

    3. As German Reader points out, there is a very real rift between Washington and Brussels over the Iran Deal, so war with Iran is not on the horizon unless the US is ready to go it alone. (Leaving aside military considerations, which I’m in no position to comment on.)

    4. Commentators from all over the political spectrum agree that China is done with if they hang Russia out to dry, so you would think that the Chinese are quite aware of this too.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Commentators from all over the political spectrum agree that China is done with if they hang Russia out to dry
     
    Why would that be the case? The Chinese economy is still growing at over 6% a year, so time is on their side. They might ramp up their military spending and strengthen their nuclear forces. They’ll get somewhat weaker, but it’ll only be a bump on their road to overtake the US anyway.
    , @Mitleser

    Tillerson is still around, and articles such as the one below from Politico suggest that current policies are still more realpolitik than Obama’s militaristic humanism. My take on the article is that Trump will look the other way when his allies go medieval on their subjects but will go after his enemies for doing likewise.
     
    Obama's policy was no different, see support of Saudi-Arabia and friends in Bahrain and Yemen and acceptance of the coup in Egypt and hostility and war against the rulers of Libya and Syria for their attempts to defeat the insurgents.
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  30. @reiner Tor
    I agree that they’d be angry. But would they actually start a war?

    The US would at that point ceased to be a rational actor insofar as the cadres see them, so I would say, yes. A proxy war in Iran at the least, which obviously has a high risk of becoming more as Chinese and Russian assets and soldiers get destroyed or die. One would imagine the threat of such escalation would discourage the USG from even attempting to get to that point.

    Read More
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  31. @Polish Perspective
    Fidesz is a good reminder of why it's so crucial to have social dominance for important ideas. I again return to the Czech Republic as an example. Even the communists(!) are against the forced quotas. This is important, because a lot of people vote for Fidesz while holding their nose, because the alternative is catastrophic (esp demographically). Fidesz knows this, hence why they take these liberties.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but as I understand it, the Hungarian opposition is a lot like the Polish one rather than the Czech one. Namely, they are very weak on these issues. IIRC, they even called for the taking-down of the Hungarian border wall, erected in the aftermath of the 2015 rush.

    The same problem is a long-term threat in Poland, too, because while PiS is new to power and since they face a lot of media hostility and EU pressure, they are (sort-of) kept in their place and only do the minimal that nationalists want. This can in a sense be good in the short term, because it forces them to economise with their political capital. There have been notably less corruption with PiS than with PO(the preceding neoliberal party which dominates for several terms up until our last election).

    Nevertheless, if they retain power for the next 5-6 years, I'm guessing we'll start seeing the same thing you guys are with Fidesz. And then we get to the rub: because we don't want to vote for corrupt people but we also don't want to vote for people who will voluntarily flood our nations with third worlders, so you get a sub-optimal choice palette.

    Meanwhile, in the CR, you can easily vote out Babis in the next election. The previous Social Democrats were driving to oppose the quotas while in government and even the ultra-liberal Pirate party are also against quotas. That gives better governance in the long run, because neither party can be sure of dominance because a key issue - immigration - is already under consensus (in the right manner) in the country. And as such, corruption and the like will be harder to develop in such an environment. That's why I tell right-wingers not to be arrogant even when the left is temporarily trounced. Victory doesn't look like eternal right-wing rule. Victory is when our ideas are universal, just as "diversity is our strength" is shared even among GOP elites and an alarming part of their (boomer) electorate. That's what I want, except "homogeneity is our strength" all across the political spectrum. CZ has that. Arguably SK as well. Poland and Hungary, while having a strong right-wing, have far worse left-wing parties than either of those two.

    That gives better governance in the long run, because neither party can be sure of dominance because a key issue – immigration – is already under consensus (in the right manner) in the country. And as such, corruption and the like will be harder to develop in such an environment. That’s why I tell right-wingers not to be arrogant even when the left is temporarily trounced. Victory doesn’t look like eternal right-wing rule. Victory is when our ideas are universal, just as “diversity is our strength” is shared even among GOP elites and an alarming part of their (boomer) electorate. That’s what I want, except “homogeneity is our strength” all across the political spectrum. CZ has that. Arguably SK as well. Poland and Hungary, while having a strong right-wing, have far worse left-wing parties than either of those two.

    Terrific point. Couldn’t agree more.

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    • Replies: @Polish Perspective
    If you don't mind me asking, can you update me a little on the Swedish situation? Many of us were heartened to see Sweden Democrats rise in the polls these past few years but now my Swedish friends tell me they have begun to veer further and further to the left. Apparently there was some schism with their (more radical) youth wing, and they purged the leadership there. Then they were caught leaking info to Expo(apparently your $PLC). Then I'm told that they have just updated their immigration plank this autumn to something much liberal and even fought to increase the amount of quota refugees (allotted via the UN, not the EU version). This sounds pretty bad. Is it that bad or is SD's apparent liberalism an overblown story?

    I really like Sweden. I have friends who have worked and eventually settled down there. I dislike the "Sweden Yes!" memes and the general hatred you guys get to endure from other Europeans. Therefore I hope you guys pull yourselves out of the mess you're getting yourself into.
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  32. @Swedish Family
    Some grounds for optimism:

    1. Tillerson is still around, and articles such as the one below from Politico suggest that current policies are still more realpolitik than Obama's militaristic humanism. My take on the article is that Trump will look the other way when his allies go medieval on their subjects but will go after his enemies for doing likewise. Can't say I'm in love with the general idea of this, but it might be good for Russia if Trump decides that Russia is a friendly.

    The May 17 memo reads like a crash course for a businessman-turned-diplomat, and its conclusion offers a starkly realist vision: that the U.S. should use human rights as a club against its adversaries, like Iran, China and North Korea, while giving a pass to repressive allies like the Philippines, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
     

    During his May visit to Saudi Arabia, and while hosting the leaders of Egypt and Turkey at the White House, Trump did not publicly press the leaders of those countries on their authoritarian policies. But during an address to South Korea’s Parliament in November, Trump spoke at striking length about the brutality of North Korea’s regime. Trump and Tillerson have also repeatedly assailed Iran’s human rights record.
     
    I love it how plainly these policy wonks spell out their strategies among themselves:


    "For this reason," Hook continues, "we should consider human rights as an important issue in regard to U.S. relations with China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. And this is not only because of moral concern for practices inside those countries. It is also because pressing those regimes on human rights is one way to impose costs, apply counter-pressure, and regain the initiative from them strategically."
     
    https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/19/tillerson-state-human-rights-304118

    2. Moore was a uniquely bad candidate, so I'm not convinced that his defeat has much predictive value. It might, however, mean fewer MAGA candidates in November, which would be less than ideal.

    3. As German Reader points out, there is a very real rift between Washington and Brussels over the Iran Deal, so war with Iran is not on the horizon unless the US is ready to go it alone. (Leaving aside military considerations, which I'm in no position to comment on.)

    4. Commentators from all over the political spectrum agree that China is done with if they hang Russia out to dry, so you would think that the Chinese are quite aware of this too.

    Commentators from all over the political spectrum agree that China is done with if they hang Russia out to dry

    Why would that be the case? The Chinese economy is still growing at over 6% a year, so time is on their side. They might ramp up their military spending and strengthen their nuclear forces. They’ll get somewhat weaker, but it’ll only be a bump on their road to overtake the US anyway.

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  33. @Swedish Family

    That gives better governance in the long run, because neither party can be sure of dominance because a key issue – immigration – is already under consensus (in the right manner) in the country. And as such, corruption and the like will be harder to develop in such an environment. That’s why I tell right-wingers not to be arrogant even when the left is temporarily trounced. Victory doesn’t look like eternal right-wing rule. Victory is when our ideas are universal, just as “diversity is our strength” is shared even among GOP elites and an alarming part of their (boomer) electorate. That’s what I want, except “homogeneity is our strength” all across the political spectrum. CZ has that. Arguably SK as well. Poland and Hungary, while having a strong right-wing, have far worse left-wing parties than either of those two.
     
    Terrific point. Couldn't agree more.

    If you don’t mind me asking, can you update me a little on the Swedish situation? Many of us were heartened to see Sweden Democrats rise in the polls these past few years but now my Swedish friends tell me they have begun to veer further and further to the left. Apparently there was some schism with their (more radical) youth wing, and they purged the leadership there. Then they were caught leaking info to Expo(apparently your $PLC). Then I’m told that they have just updated their immigration plank this autumn to something much liberal and even fought to increase the amount of quota refugees (allotted via the UN, not the EU version). This sounds pretty bad. Is it that bad or is SD’s apparent liberalism an overblown story?

    I really like Sweden. I have friends who have worked and eventually settled down there. I dislike the “Sweden Yes!” memes and the general hatred you guys get to endure from other Europeans. Therefore I hope you guys pull yourselves out of the mess you’re getting yourself into.

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    • Replies: @Swedish Family

    If you don’t mind me asking, can you update me a little on the Swedish situation?
     
    No trouble at all. I don't follow Swedish politics all that closely myself, but I used to, and my friends and family still do, so I have a fair idea of the situation.

    The first thing to know about Sweden is how deep socialist and egalitarian ideas run here. Ever since the introduction of universal suffrage, in 1921, all Swedish expressions of conservatism have more or less amounted to cuckservatism -- to use the modern phrase. This carries over into the two nationalist movements the country has seen in modern times, the first of which, New Democracy, was in essence a populist social democratic party, and the second of which, the Sweden Democrats, is a nationalist social democratic party.

    An important consequence of this is that any representative of the Sweden Democrats must always coach criticism of immigration in terms that don't stray too far off the socialist and egalitarian dogmas that all Swedes get with their mother's milk. On the face of it, this might sound a lot like the situation mainstream Republicans face in the US, but there is a crucial difference: where many Republican politicians don't really wish to see immigration curtailed and a return to civic nationalism, nearly all Sweden Democrat politicians do, and this is their core belief.

    But they can't say so openly, so what we have witnessed since their entry, in 2010, into the Swedish parliament is a great purge of indiscreet party members and major attempts to soften the party's image. This is where the leaks to the press come in. They were, I am told, meant to show the press that they mean business about purging their ranks of extremists. The story with the youth league was similar. Its former leader once famously quipped that he had rather Putin come visit Stockholm than Obama, something which didn't go down well with the party's rank-and-file, which is solidly anti-Kremlin. I find this aspect of the Sweden Democrats an interesting study since their policies seemingly go against the received wisdom on the alt-right ("no enemies to the right") while proving quite successful electorally.

    They now poll at around 17%, and I expect them to receive above 20% of the vote in next year's election (they always underperform in polls due to the Bradley effect). Their more lasting contribution to Swedish politics, however, is that their presence, this last year, has made the party members of Sweden's largest conservative party revolt and demand a change in their party's immigration policies. Next year's election will be a tight race, but there is a possibility the Sweden Democrats might have some real influence, possibly as coalition partners, on Sweden's policies from 2019 onward.

    As for Sweden's immigration numbers. Recent estimates are that we will take in about 40,000 immigrants in 2017, which is way down from the 150,000 or so we took in at the peak of the crisis in 2015-2016, so even immigration sceptics agree that the present numbers are probably sustainable in an economic sense. Taxes will probably have to be raised, however, and we recently raised the retirement age. Social costs might also be very high -- some say they already are -- and many people believe that we have probably created for ourselves a permanent, non-working underclass.
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  34. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @DFH

    In fact, the same tools that were used against Russia can and will be used against China.
     
    Not really comparable, since the Chinese actually do meddle in other country's politics through their diaspora.

    Unlike the US, which only sends its people to spread Democracy and Human Rights.

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  35. Mitleser says:
    @Swedish Family
    Some grounds for optimism:

    1. Tillerson is still around, and articles such as the one below from Politico suggest that current policies are still more realpolitik than Obama's militaristic humanism. My take on the article is that Trump will look the other way when his allies go medieval on their subjects but will go after his enemies for doing likewise. Can't say I'm in love with the general idea of this, but it might be good for Russia if Trump decides that Russia is a friendly.

    The May 17 memo reads like a crash course for a businessman-turned-diplomat, and its conclusion offers a starkly realist vision: that the U.S. should use human rights as a club against its adversaries, like Iran, China and North Korea, while giving a pass to repressive allies like the Philippines, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
     

    During his May visit to Saudi Arabia, and while hosting the leaders of Egypt and Turkey at the White House, Trump did not publicly press the leaders of those countries on their authoritarian policies. But during an address to South Korea’s Parliament in November, Trump spoke at striking length about the brutality of North Korea’s regime. Trump and Tillerson have also repeatedly assailed Iran’s human rights record.
     
    I love it how plainly these policy wonks spell out their strategies among themselves:


    "For this reason," Hook continues, "we should consider human rights as an important issue in regard to U.S. relations with China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. And this is not only because of moral concern for practices inside those countries. It is also because pressing those regimes on human rights is one way to impose costs, apply counter-pressure, and regain the initiative from them strategically."
     
    https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/19/tillerson-state-human-rights-304118

    2. Moore was a uniquely bad candidate, so I'm not convinced that his defeat has much predictive value. It might, however, mean fewer MAGA candidates in November, which would be less than ideal.

    3. As German Reader points out, there is a very real rift between Washington and Brussels over the Iran Deal, so war with Iran is not on the horizon unless the US is ready to go it alone. (Leaving aside military considerations, which I'm in no position to comment on.)

    4. Commentators from all over the political spectrum agree that China is done with if they hang Russia out to dry, so you would think that the Chinese are quite aware of this too.

    Tillerson is still around, and articles such as the one below from Politico suggest that current policies are still more realpolitik than Obama’s militaristic humanism. My take on the article is that Trump will look the other way when his allies go medieval on their subjects but will go after his enemies for doing likewise.

    Obama’s policy was no different, see support of Saudi-Arabia and friends in Bahrain and Yemen and acceptance of the coup in Egypt and hostility and war against the rulers of Libya and Syria for their attempts to defeat the insurgents.

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    • Agree: Randal
    • Replies: @Swedish Family

    Obama’s policy was no different, see support of Saudi-Arabia and friends in Bahrain and Yemen and acceptance of the coup in Egypt and hostility and war against the rulers of Libya and Syria for their attempts to defeat the insurgents.
     
    True, but it's still comforting to have it stated so plainly that these "color revolutions" are power plays rather than the result of ideological evangelism.
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  36. Art Deco says:
    @RadicalCenter
    Fair point, though the childish snark "some kind of Russian" doesn't advance it. He's that kind of Russian known as ... a Russian.

    China is well nigh unstoppable already. Especially if we continue to waste trillions of dollars - some of it borrowed from China - on unproductive or counterproductive wars and occupations in the Mid East, while China uses ITS money to build up (not stretch thin) its military, sign long-term oil and gas and mineral contracts and ag land leases, build its domestic infrastructure and mass transit, and curry favor and influence in Africa and other resource-rich regions.

    China is well nigh unstoppable already. Especially if we continue to waste trillions of dollars – some of it borrowed from China – on unproductive or counterproductive wars and occupations in the Mid East,

    The ratio of military spending to domestic product is close to the post-1939 nadir as we speak. (BTW, the period running from 1949 to 1973 was as economically dynamic as any in American history, in spite of high military spending).

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  37. Randal says:
    @Daniel Chieh
    China's been pretty intent on keeping OBOR functional, and its impossible to do that if entire countries that it has to go through keep getting wiped out. Even how essential OBOR has become to the platform and credibility of the cadres, this leans it toward a do or die moment. Sure, she'll probably aim for some form of plausible deniability as well, but such an effort would seem like it could easily spiral out of control.

    It just is hard to envision any war with Iran that couldn't pose an unacceptably large risk.

    China’s been pretty intent on keeping OBOR functional, and its impossible to do that if entire countries that it has to go through keep getting wiped out. Even how essential OBOR has become to the platform and credibility of the cadres, this leans it toward a do or die moment.

    I agree with reiner that it’s very difficult to see either Russia or China actually going to war with the US over Iran. They both have too much to lose, and have shown no particular sign of regarding the issue as do or die for themselves. And China lacks the infrastructure for effective intervention. It could go to war with the US in the Pacific, of course, but I don’t think they’re ready for that yet. Do the current Chinese leadership really look to you as though they are ready to go toe to toe with the US over a distant inconvenience to their long term economic strategy?

    So lots of diplomatic support and active military and economic assistance, probably, but most likely not a world war.

    It just is hard to envision any war with Iran that couldn’t pose an unacceptably large risk.

    I suspect we all agree on that (you, me and reiner, I mean), at least if by risk one means costs that would make it a disaster outweighing by some distance the Iraq mess. The problem is that it isn’t us that needs to be convinced of that, but rather irrational obsessives like Mattis, corrupt lobby advocates with ulterior motives like Kushner, and the badly advised, inexperienced and evidently quite unrealistic (in international affairs) Trump himself.

    And of course, they might all be bluffing and have no intention of starting a war, but still cause one to be started by virtue of the postures and locations they put US forces in and their belligerent stances.

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    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh

    Do the current Chinese leadership really look to you as though they are ready to go toe to toe with the US over a distant inconvenience to their long term economic strategy?
     
    For a world war? No. For a proxy war? Yes, I think that maintaining OBOR at this point has become a point of legitimacy for the Party internally and they would participate in an effort to at least discourage any more efforts to destroy nodes on OBOR. I could see something like a repeat of MiG Alley during the Korean War. The sudden appearance of an effective Iranian air force is not completely impossible, after all - deniability is still there.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MiG_Alley
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  38. Randal says:
    @Mitleser
    They could take advantage of the fact that America is once again busy in the Middle East and solve the Taiwan problem once and for all, while supplying the Iranians via Central Asia and Pakistan.

    They can and probably will (if they’ve got any sense) supply Iran as much as they can, but I don’t see any great advantage for them in attacking Taiwan. I think it’s pretty clear China well understands that it is infinitely preferable for them to wait for Taiwan to drop into their hands naturally rather than conquer it. Having to occupy Taiwan would I suspect be seen as one of the disadvantages of going to war with the US over Iran, rather than any kind of opportunity.

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  39. DNC says:

    4. Rampant domestic SJWism in 2019 as the Democrats unleash two years’ worth of pent up hatred and frustration.

    That will lead to drastic acceleration of America’s alt-right/pro-white movements and would be quite destabilizing. It’s, perhaps, the only redeeming factor of the neocon-liberal alliance – their foreign policy is joined at the hip to promoting domestic degeneracy.

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  40. @Randal

    China’s been pretty intent on keeping OBOR functional, and its impossible to do that if entire countries that it has to go through keep getting wiped out. Even how essential OBOR has become to the platform and credibility of the cadres, this leans it toward a do or die moment.
     
    I agree with reiner that it's very difficult to see either Russia or China actually going to war with the US over Iran. They both have too much to lose, and have shown no particular sign of regarding the issue as do or die for themselves. And China lacks the infrastructure for effective intervention. It could go to war with the US in the Pacific, of course, but I don't think they're ready for that yet. Do the current Chinese leadership really look to you as though they are ready to go toe to toe with the US over a distant inconvenience to their long term economic strategy?

    So lots of diplomatic support and active military and economic assistance, probably, but most likely not a world war.

    It just is hard to envision any war with Iran that couldn’t pose an unacceptably large risk.
     
    I suspect we all agree on that (you, me and reiner, I mean), at least if by risk one means costs that would make it a disaster outweighing by some distance the Iraq mess. The problem is that it isn't us that needs to be convinced of that, but rather irrational obsessives like Mattis, corrupt lobby advocates with ulterior motives like Kushner, and the badly advised, inexperienced and evidently quite unrealistic (in international affairs) Trump himself.

    And of course, they might all be bluffing and have no intention of starting a war, but still cause one to be started by virtue of the postures and locations they put US forces in and their belligerent stances.

    Do the current Chinese leadership really look to you as though they are ready to go toe to toe with the US over a distant inconvenience to their long term economic strategy?

    For a world war? No. For a proxy war? Yes, I think that maintaining OBOR at this point has become a point of legitimacy for the Party internally and they would participate in an effort to at least discourage any more efforts to destroy nodes on OBOR. I could see something like a repeat of MiG Alley during the Korean War. The sudden appearance of an effective Iranian air force is not completely impossible, after all – deniability is still there.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MiG_Alley

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    The sudden appearance of an effective Iranian air force is not completely impossible, after all – deniability is still there.
     
    That would mean massive supplies of new aircraft to Iran since Iran's existing air force consists mostly of what remains from the shah's pre-1979 air force; I suppose it would also have to include sending personnel for training, maintenance etc. Don't see how that could still be deniable with any plausibility.
    , @Randal
    Yes, I agree a proxy war is what might be the result, with both Russia and China more or less openly backing Iran without actually officially fighting themselves.

    The sudden appearance of an effective Iranian air force is not completely impossible, after all – deniability is still there.
     
    Deniability is not required for a proxy war, as long as there is no UN authorisation for the US's war (which relies on the Russians not being as naive as they were over Libya, of course), nor would it be practicable in the case of the significant support Iran would need. All that is required is that the US would not fancy taking on China or Russia directly in response.

    An air force seems unlikely, though - that would just be feeding lambs to the slaughter. The sudden appearance of lots of well operated HQ-9s and S300s to replace the ones US SEAD will have destroyed on the first day or two, together with surprising levels of Iranian high tech weaponry of other kinds and expertise at using it, seems more likely.
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  41. neutral says:

    You may call these gloomy predictions, but I see such things occurring to be pro Russian, pro Chinese and even pro Iranian.

    With regards to Russia, the more it detaches itself from the crumbling Western Europe and US regimes, the better. That these states are facing decline with their ever growing non white populations is not in doubt to those that frequent sites like Unz.com. The absolute worst thing that could happen to Russia now is to accept the anti white ideologies that are destroying these countries, this will happen if it welcomes things like Silicon Valley, Hollywood and the US media to Russia.The absolute best thing that could happen is to cut off from things like SWIFT, the less it is entangled with all these toxic anti white levers of power, the better.

    The same to a degree applies to China. They are also safer because they are a non white country, the best thing the regime can ask for is for them to point out how the foreigners (USA and their European puppets) are trying to do what happened to China in the past.

    Finally Iran, this is obviously the most at risk country because of Israel. However if rampant SJWism consumes the USA, then it is Israel that will be in trouble more than Iran. The anti whites will want to take down Russia more than Iran, and in this case Israel is not going to be able override the new political realities in America. If Trump is the anti Christ for SJW they might even undo the Jerusalem embassy move. And while I don’t see jews as white, the SJW crowd does see jews as white, despite the recent flight from white narratives being pushed from a growing number of jewish intellectuals.

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  42. @Daniel Chieh

    Do the current Chinese leadership really look to you as though they are ready to go toe to toe with the US over a distant inconvenience to their long term economic strategy?
     
    For a world war? No. For a proxy war? Yes, I think that maintaining OBOR at this point has become a point of legitimacy for the Party internally and they would participate in an effort to at least discourage any more efforts to destroy nodes on OBOR. I could see something like a repeat of MiG Alley during the Korean War. The sudden appearance of an effective Iranian air force is not completely impossible, after all - deniability is still there.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MiG_Alley

    The sudden appearance of an effective Iranian air force is not completely impossible, after all – deniability is still there.

    That would mean massive supplies of new aircraft to Iran since Iran’s existing air force consists mostly of what remains from the shah’s pre-1979 air force; I suppose it would also have to include sending personnel for training, maintenance etc. Don’t see how that could still be deniable with any plausibility.

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    • Replies: @Talha
    I think the Iranians are smart enough to know that their air force is likely toast within the first 24 hours. They will have planned on that assumption. The cruise missiles used to destroy those aircraft are likely worth more than them. If I was them, I'd not want to lose them even though they won't be of much use - I'd have a contingency agreement with Pakistan (possibly Azebaijan and Turkey) to allow Iranian pilots to land there until the fight is done.

    They are not going to hit hard where they are relatively weak. Expect them to make asymmetrical attacks - those are the ones normal nation-state armies are weakest at determining. Iran's strategy will not be to win - they can't - it'll be to rip out the other team's jaw and at least one eye.

    Peace.

    , @Daniel Chieh
    It wasn't very plausible for either North Korea or China to begin to field advanced jet fighters manned by ace pilots either, yet it officially that's what happened. To some extent, deniability is an agreed lie so escalation doesn't go further. That's also the risk involved, of course.

    Part of the idea is that Iran has purchased Russian AA equipment and Chinese military drones(and used them) since at least 2015, so there is that slight veneer of plausibility.

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  43. Brabantian says: • Website

    The 2018 event that will change everything is the explosion of the global debt bomb, most likely originating in China’s tottering 40 trillion or so in shadow banking liabilities … after which the political landscape will be different everywhere

    Trump will be seen as ahead of his time, and indeed Trump has captured a key part of the US Deep State via his compromises with them … key elements there see Trump as the best front-man to help ride out the storm when it hits … Putin visibly knows this, as M K Bhadrakumar has been sharply observing in Asia Times

    Europe also will turn quickly, once it is clear there is much less of a pie to re-distribute to the migrants … the euro currency area will shrink dramatically as Europe’s banks fail

    The Russian issues will quickly fade for everyone else when crisis hits, Russia and Europe will have a new understanding, Russia’s energy and Europe’s food and industry are perfect partners

    Brexit will also be seen as something ahead of its time, it is the London City’s desire to be independent of the European banks blowing up and the euro currency problems, that has been behind Brexit all along

    China will hit a very hard patch before its rise to global pre-eminence a decade or two later … quite parallel to the 1930s depression more severe in the USA than elsewhere

    Things will be roughest in the Arab, mid-East and South Asian Muslim world and Africa, and they will be ring-fenced aggressively … there may be a mid-East war but it will not go global, Putin and Trump will have an ‘understanding’

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  44. Talha says:
    @German_reader

    The sudden appearance of an effective Iranian air force is not completely impossible, after all – deniability is still there.
     
    That would mean massive supplies of new aircraft to Iran since Iran's existing air force consists mostly of what remains from the shah's pre-1979 air force; I suppose it would also have to include sending personnel for training, maintenance etc. Don't see how that could still be deniable with any plausibility.

    I think the Iranians are smart enough to know that their air force is likely toast within the first 24 hours. They will have planned on that assumption. The cruise missiles used to destroy those aircraft are likely worth more than them. If I was them, I’d not want to lose them even though they won’t be of much use – I’d have a contingency agreement with Pakistan (possibly Azebaijan and Turkey) to allow Iranian pilots to land there until the fight is done.

    They are not going to hit hard where they are relatively weak. Expect them to make asymmetrical attacks – those are the ones normal nation-state armies are weakest at determining. Iran’s strategy will not be to win – they can’t – it’ll be to rip out the other team’s jaw and at least one eye.

    Peace.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    Expect them to make asymmetrical attacks
     
    Of course, it wouldn't surprise me if they had made preparations for that, including abroad, in Europe and the US. They would be foolish not to since their regular forces don't have much of a chance.
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  45. @German_reader

    The sudden appearance of an effective Iranian air force is not completely impossible, after all – deniability is still there.
     
    That would mean massive supplies of new aircraft to Iran since Iran's existing air force consists mostly of what remains from the shah's pre-1979 air force; I suppose it would also have to include sending personnel for training, maintenance etc. Don't see how that could still be deniable with any plausibility.

    It wasn’t very plausible for either North Korea or China to begin to field advanced jet fighters manned by ace pilots either, yet it officially that’s what happened. To some extent, deniability is an agreed lie so escalation doesn’t go further. That’s also the risk involved, of course.

    Part of the idea is that Iran has purchased Russian AA equipment and Chinese military drones(and used them) since at least 2015, so there is that slight veneer of plausibility.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    But the only thing that was officially denied during the Korean war was the presence of Soviet pilots (which the Americans knew about from radio transmissions, but didn't make public to prevent further escalation)...it was pretty much obvious that the Migs were Soviet-built.
    And in the case of a US-Iran war, it's not clear to me the US would be willing to deny any direct Russian involvement...given how unhinged some of the accusations against Russia are ("stealing" the US election), the opposite could happen just as well imo.
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  46. @Daniel Chieh
    It wasn't very plausible for either North Korea or China to begin to field advanced jet fighters manned by ace pilots either, yet it officially that's what happened. To some extent, deniability is an agreed lie so escalation doesn't go further. That's also the risk involved, of course.

    Part of the idea is that Iran has purchased Russian AA equipment and Chinese military drones(and used them) since at least 2015, so there is that slight veneer of plausibility.

    But the only thing that was officially denied during the Korean war was the presence of Soviet pilots (which the Americans knew about from radio transmissions, but didn’t make public to prevent further escalation)…it was pretty much obvious that the Migs were Soviet-built.
    And in the case of a US-Iran war, it’s not clear to me the US would be willing to deny any direct Russian involvement…given how unhinged some of the accusations against Russia are (“stealing” the US election), the opposite could happen just as well imo.

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  47. @Talha
    I think the Iranians are smart enough to know that their air force is likely toast within the first 24 hours. They will have planned on that assumption. The cruise missiles used to destroy those aircraft are likely worth more than them. If I was them, I'd not want to lose them even though they won't be of much use - I'd have a contingency agreement with Pakistan (possibly Azebaijan and Turkey) to allow Iranian pilots to land there until the fight is done.

    They are not going to hit hard where they are relatively weak. Expect them to make asymmetrical attacks - those are the ones normal nation-state armies are weakest at determining. Iran's strategy will not be to win - they can't - it'll be to rip out the other team's jaw and at least one eye.

    Peace.

    Expect them to make asymmetrical attacks

    Of course, it wouldn’t surprise me if they had made preparations for that, including abroad, in Europe and the US. They would be foolish not to since their regular forces don’t have much of a chance.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    Of course, it wouldn’t surprise me if they had made preparations for that, including abroad, in Europe and the US. They would be foolish not to since their regular forces don’t have much of a chance.
     
    That needs to be handled very carefully indeed by the Iranians, though, as a key need will be keeping the European states out of the war, and avoiding any whiff of "terrorism" that could be exploited diplomatically against their allies.
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  48. Randal says:
    @Daniel Chieh

    Do the current Chinese leadership really look to you as though they are ready to go toe to toe with the US over a distant inconvenience to their long term economic strategy?
     
    For a world war? No. For a proxy war? Yes, I think that maintaining OBOR at this point has become a point of legitimacy for the Party internally and they would participate in an effort to at least discourage any more efforts to destroy nodes on OBOR. I could see something like a repeat of MiG Alley during the Korean War. The sudden appearance of an effective Iranian air force is not completely impossible, after all - deniability is still there.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MiG_Alley

    Yes, I agree a proxy war is what might be the result, with both Russia and China more or less openly backing Iran without actually officially fighting themselves.

    The sudden appearance of an effective Iranian air force is not completely impossible, after all – deniability is still there.

    Deniability is not required for a proxy war, as long as there is no UN authorisation for the US’s war (which relies on the Russians not being as naive as they were over Libya, of course), nor would it be practicable in the case of the significant support Iran would need. All that is required is that the US would not fancy taking on China or Russia directly in response.

    An air force seems unlikely, though – that would just be feeding lambs to the slaughter. The sudden appearance of lots of well operated HQ-9s and S300s to replace the ones US SEAD will have destroyed on the first day or two, together with surprising levels of Iranian high tech weaponry of other kinds and expertise at using it, seems more likely.

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  49. Randal says:
    @German_reader

    Expect them to make asymmetrical attacks
     
    Of course, it wouldn't surprise me if they had made preparations for that, including abroad, in Europe and the US. They would be foolish not to since their regular forces don't have much of a chance.

    Of course, it wouldn’t surprise me if they had made preparations for that, including abroad, in Europe and the US. They would be foolish not to since their regular forces don’t have much of a chance.

    That needs to be handled very carefully indeed by the Iranians, though, as a key need will be keeping the European states out of the war, and avoiding any whiff of “terrorism” that could be exploited diplomatically against their allies.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Talha

    That needs to be handled very carefully indeed by the Iranians
     
    And they may be smart enough to pull it off. We might be going after their heads of state and leadership and they might be going after the leadership that prosecutes or voted for the war. It will be an interesting turn of events if politicians and generals realize that they will feel the repercussions immediately for voting to destroy another nation. Thus far only proles like us pay the price.

    It would be interesting to see how the public reacts to something like that; would they rally around the politicians or be saying "good riddance"?

    Peace.
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  50. @Polish Perspective
    If you don't mind me asking, can you update me a little on the Swedish situation? Many of us were heartened to see Sweden Democrats rise in the polls these past few years but now my Swedish friends tell me they have begun to veer further and further to the left. Apparently there was some schism with their (more radical) youth wing, and they purged the leadership there. Then they were caught leaking info to Expo(apparently your $PLC). Then I'm told that they have just updated their immigration plank this autumn to something much liberal and even fought to increase the amount of quota refugees (allotted via the UN, not the EU version). This sounds pretty bad. Is it that bad or is SD's apparent liberalism an overblown story?

    I really like Sweden. I have friends who have worked and eventually settled down there. I dislike the "Sweden Yes!" memes and the general hatred you guys get to endure from other Europeans. Therefore I hope you guys pull yourselves out of the mess you're getting yourself into.

    If you don’t mind me asking, can you update me a little on the Swedish situation?

    No trouble at all. I don’t follow Swedish politics all that closely myself, but I used to, and my friends and family still do, so I have a fair idea of the situation.

    The first thing to know about Sweden is how deep socialist and egalitarian ideas run here. Ever since the introduction of universal suffrage, in 1921, all Swedish expressions of conservatism have more or less amounted to cuckservatism — to use the modern phrase. This carries over into the two nationalist movements the country has seen in modern times, the first of which, New Democracy, was in essence a populist social democratic party, and the second of which, the Sweden Democrats, is a nationalist social democratic party.

    An important consequence of this is that any representative of the Sweden Democrats must always coach criticism of immigration in terms that don’t stray too far off the socialist and egalitarian dogmas that all Swedes get with their mother’s milk. On the face of it, this might sound a lot like the situation mainstream Republicans face in the US, but there is a crucial difference: where many Republican politicians don’t really wish to see immigration curtailed and a return to civic nationalism, nearly all Sweden Democrat politicians do, and this is their core belief.

    But they can’t say so openly, so what we have witnessed since their entry, in 2010, into the Swedish parliament is a great purge of indiscreet party members and major attempts to soften the party’s image. This is where the leaks to the press come in. They were, I am told, meant to show the press that they mean business about purging their ranks of extremists. The story with the youth league was similar. Its former leader once famously quipped that he had rather Putin come visit Stockholm than Obama, something which didn’t go down well with the party’s rank-and-file, which is solidly anti-Kremlin. I find this aspect of the Sweden Democrats an interesting study since their policies seemingly go against the received wisdom on the alt-right (“no enemies to the right”) while proving quite successful electorally.

    They now poll at around 17%, and I expect them to receive above 20% of the vote in next year’s election (they always underperform in polls due to the Bradley effect). Their more lasting contribution to Swedish politics, however, is that their presence, this last year, has made the party members of Sweden’s largest conservative party revolt and demand a change in their party’s immigration policies. Next year’s election will be a tight race, but there is a possibility the Sweden Democrats might have some real influence, possibly as coalition partners, on Sweden’s policies from 2019 onward.

    As for Sweden’s immigration numbers. Recent estimates are that we will take in about 40,000 immigrants in 2017, which is way down from the 150,000 or so we took in at the peak of the crisis in 2015-2016, so even immigration sceptics agree that the present numbers are probably sustainable in an economic sense. Taxes will probably have to be raised, however, and we recently raised the retirement age. Social costs might also be very high — some say they already are — and many people believe that we have probably created for ourselves a permanent, non-working underclass.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    This is where the leaks to the press come in. They were, I am told, meant to show the press that they mean business about purging their ranks of extremists.
     
    Sounds horrible tbh, what use is a "nationalist" party that sells out its members to antifa? I can understand not wanting to be dragged down by nutty Nazi types, but if you accept the framing set down by your enemies and want to be "respectable" at any price, you've already lost.
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  51. @Swedish Family

    If you don’t mind me asking, can you update me a little on the Swedish situation?
     
    No trouble at all. I don't follow Swedish politics all that closely myself, but I used to, and my friends and family still do, so I have a fair idea of the situation.

    The first thing to know about Sweden is how deep socialist and egalitarian ideas run here. Ever since the introduction of universal suffrage, in 1921, all Swedish expressions of conservatism have more or less amounted to cuckservatism -- to use the modern phrase. This carries over into the two nationalist movements the country has seen in modern times, the first of which, New Democracy, was in essence a populist social democratic party, and the second of which, the Sweden Democrats, is a nationalist social democratic party.

    An important consequence of this is that any representative of the Sweden Democrats must always coach criticism of immigration in terms that don't stray too far off the socialist and egalitarian dogmas that all Swedes get with their mother's milk. On the face of it, this might sound a lot like the situation mainstream Republicans face in the US, but there is a crucial difference: where many Republican politicians don't really wish to see immigration curtailed and a return to civic nationalism, nearly all Sweden Democrat politicians do, and this is their core belief.

    But they can't say so openly, so what we have witnessed since their entry, in 2010, into the Swedish parliament is a great purge of indiscreet party members and major attempts to soften the party's image. This is where the leaks to the press come in. They were, I am told, meant to show the press that they mean business about purging their ranks of extremists. The story with the youth league was similar. Its former leader once famously quipped that he had rather Putin come visit Stockholm than Obama, something which didn't go down well with the party's rank-and-file, which is solidly anti-Kremlin. I find this aspect of the Sweden Democrats an interesting study since their policies seemingly go against the received wisdom on the alt-right ("no enemies to the right") while proving quite successful electorally.

    They now poll at around 17%, and I expect them to receive above 20% of the vote in next year's election (they always underperform in polls due to the Bradley effect). Their more lasting contribution to Swedish politics, however, is that their presence, this last year, has made the party members of Sweden's largest conservative party revolt and demand a change in their party's immigration policies. Next year's election will be a tight race, but there is a possibility the Sweden Democrats might have some real influence, possibly as coalition partners, on Sweden's policies from 2019 onward.

    As for Sweden's immigration numbers. Recent estimates are that we will take in about 40,000 immigrants in 2017, which is way down from the 150,000 or so we took in at the peak of the crisis in 2015-2016, so even immigration sceptics agree that the present numbers are probably sustainable in an economic sense. Taxes will probably have to be raised, however, and we recently raised the retirement age. Social costs might also be very high -- some say they already are -- and many people believe that we have probably created for ourselves a permanent, non-working underclass.

    This is where the leaks to the press come in. They were, I am told, meant to show the press that they mean business about purging their ranks of extremists.

    Sounds horrible tbh, what use is a “nationalist” party that sells out its members to antifa? I can understand not wanting to be dragged down by nutty Nazi types, but if you accept the framing set down by your enemies and want to be “respectable” at any price, you’ve already lost.

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    • Agree: reiner Tor
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  52. Talha says:
    @Randal

    Of course, it wouldn’t surprise me if they had made preparations for that, including abroad, in Europe and the US. They would be foolish not to since their regular forces don’t have much of a chance.
     
    That needs to be handled very carefully indeed by the Iranians, though, as a key need will be keeping the European states out of the war, and avoiding any whiff of "terrorism" that could be exploited diplomatically against their allies.

    That needs to be handled very carefully indeed by the Iranians

    And they may be smart enough to pull it off. We might be going after their heads of state and leadership and they might be going after the leadership that prosecutes or voted for the war. It will be an interesting turn of events if politicians and generals realize that they will feel the repercussions immediately for voting to destroy another nation. Thus far only proles like us pay the price.

    It would be interesting to see how the public reacts to something like that; would they rally around the politicians or be saying “good riddance”?

    Peace.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    Interesting you should mention that; I used to imagine something like that (to which I'd add drone operators) would be a more effective strategy than what terrorists recently have actually done.
    , @Randal

    And they may be smart enough to pull it off.
     
    They might - the Iranians, unlike the Gulf arabs, are no mugs.

    But I'm not sure assassinating leaders would work. The hypocrisy and dishonesty of the western mainstream media, and the gullibility of their peoples in response to it, seemingly knows no depths in relation to the enemies of establishment connected lobbies such as those gunning for Iran. And it's something of an inherent cultural fixture for Americans to delude themselves that any return strike at them or their leaders, however objectively justified it might be, is a monstrous act of aggression coming out of a clear blue sky and motivated by sheer evilness.

    Imagine the response if, say, Blair or Bush had been offed by an Iraqi hit squad in 2003 after the attack on Iraq had begun. The rational response would be to call it an act of war and move on, but it would certainly have been labelled terrorism and that angle would have been supported by absolutely every mainstream media outlet and political figure, pretty much without exception. Even if Trump were got, his worst enemies in the lefty and "Republican" establishment would mostly be queuing up to demand retribution against the enemies of Israel. Note how suddenly quiet all the criticism of Trump went when he murdered some Syrian conscripts with an unprovoked missile strike.

    Probably the same would apply to any such Iranian attack in response to a US war of aggression against Iran, most especially if it took place in a European country.

    In practice, such attacks would be used effectively as war propaganda against Iran, even if some people would be laughing grimly in private.
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  53. Talha says:

    Came across something interesting in the Polish Constitution when I was researching something else:

    “Article 13

    Political parties and other organizations whose programmes are based upon totalitarian methods and the modes of activity of nazism, fascism and communism, as well as those whose programmes or activities sanction racial or national hatred, the application of violence for the purpose of obtaining power or to influence the State policy, or provide for the secrecy of their own structure or membership, shall be prohibited.”

    http://www.sejm.gov.pl/prawo/konst/angielski/kon1.htm

    That is in the primary state document – thoughts?

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    • Replies: @Art Deco
    The purpose of a charter is to delineate architectural features and rules within which political competition and decision-making take place. Another purpose is to define certain limits in the realm of state power. IMO, it's not prudent to have provisions which would place restrictions on the freedom to speak, publish, petition, or associate on grounds of semantic content (anti-obsenity law the exception). Too much discretion to lawyers if you do that. Prosecutions for sedition are properly undertaken only for having generated riots and pogroms (or having attempted to do so).
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  54. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Talha

    That needs to be handled very carefully indeed by the Iranians
     
    And they may be smart enough to pull it off. We might be going after their heads of state and leadership and they might be going after the leadership that prosecutes or voted for the war. It will be an interesting turn of events if politicians and generals realize that they will feel the repercussions immediately for voting to destroy another nation. Thus far only proles like us pay the price.

    It would be interesting to see how the public reacts to something like that; would they rally around the politicians or be saying "good riddance"?

    Peace.

    Interesting you should mention that; I used to imagine something like that (to which I’d add drone operators) would be a more effective strategy than what terrorists recently have actually done.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Talha

    what terrorists recently have actually done
     
    That's because they are stupid as well as blood thirsty. I think they attract the stupid as well; yeah buddy, stabbing random women in a subway station is really going to change the world in your favor ...numbskulls. I remember reading about the Khawarij; one laughs at how unsophisticated they were in their arguments - that's why they simply killed anyone who disagreed with them.

    The Iranians are neither.

    Peace.
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  55. Talha says:
    @Anon
    Interesting you should mention that; I used to imagine something like that (to which I'd add drone operators) would be a more effective strategy than what terrorists recently have actually done.

    what terrorists recently have actually done

    That’s because they are stupid as well as blood thirsty. I think they attract the stupid as well; yeah buddy, stabbing random women in a subway station is really going to change the world in your favor …numbskulls. I remember reading about the Khawarij; one laughs at how unsophisticated they were in their arguments – that’s why they simply killed anyone who disagreed with them.

    The Iranians are neither.

    Peace.

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  56. Randal says:
    @Talha

    That needs to be handled very carefully indeed by the Iranians
     
    And they may be smart enough to pull it off. We might be going after their heads of state and leadership and they might be going after the leadership that prosecutes or voted for the war. It will be an interesting turn of events if politicians and generals realize that they will feel the repercussions immediately for voting to destroy another nation. Thus far only proles like us pay the price.

    It would be interesting to see how the public reacts to something like that; would they rally around the politicians or be saying "good riddance"?

    Peace.

    And they may be smart enough to pull it off.

    They might – the Iranians, unlike the Gulf arabs, are no mugs.

    But I’m not sure assassinating leaders would work. The hypocrisy and dishonesty of the western mainstream media, and the gullibility of their peoples in response to it, seemingly knows no depths in relation to the enemies of establishment connected lobbies such as those gunning for Iran. And it’s something of an inherent cultural fixture for Americans to delude themselves that any return strike at them or their leaders, however objectively justified it might be, is a monstrous act of aggression coming out of a clear blue sky and motivated by sheer evilness.

    Imagine the response if, say, Blair or Bush had been offed by an Iraqi hit squad in 2003 after the attack on Iraq had begun. The rational response would be to call it an act of war and move on, but it would certainly have been labelled terrorism and that angle would have been supported by absolutely every mainstream media outlet and political figure, pretty much without exception. Even if Trump were got, his worst enemies in the lefty and “Republican” establishment would mostly be queuing up to demand retribution against the enemies of Israel. Note how suddenly quiet all the criticism of Trump went when he murdered some Syrian conscripts with an unprovoked missile strike.

    Probably the same would apply to any such Iranian attack in response to a US war of aggression against Iran, most especially if it took place in a European country.

    In practice, such attacks would be used effectively as war propaganda against Iran, even if some people would be laughing grimly in private.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Talha
    Hey Randal,

    They might – the Iranians, unlike the Gulf arabs, are no mugs.
     
    It ain't called the Persian Gulf for nothing!

    In practice, such attacks would be used effectively as war propaganda against Iran
     
    Probably - but if the war is already being prosecuted against them (and their leadership is definitely going to be targeted) what do they have to lose? Basically, they would be putting the hurt on the specific people who are prosecuting the war and making it obvious to them that the longer this goes on, the longer you have to look over your shoulder - and that they can end it any time. They would be bypassing public opinion altogether.

    Now this may not be possible against the US to a large degree, but I can almost guarantee you that any country's leadership who plans on turning itself into a platform for the US expeditionary force (looking at you Kuwait) or provide airfields (you too Jordan) will be in a very real world of hurt very quickly. That is quite doable for them.

    Peace.
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  57. I, too, think Russia & China’s alternative to SWIFT will come into play. They’d be insane not to push it forward because the whole world can see how flagrantly America abuses it. The US can’t push China too hard because it would cause our fragile economy to collapse.
    I may be biased about the SJW issue being that I consider myself alt-right and I’m seeing the movement pick up a lot of steam. Moore for example may have gone down but he didn’t do so willingly and he nearly won despite the false accusations against him. (I agree that his politics were too extreme for my taste.) Others may start to follow his example. We know that SJW’s always double down, so why apologize and voluntarily resign, ever, when they are only out to ruin us?

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Moore was not too extreme in general, he just lacked focus and was extreme on the wrong issues, while he seemed to consider immigration secondary.
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  58. @Fidelios Automata
    I, too, think Russia & China's alternative to SWIFT will come into play. They'd be insane not to push it forward because the whole world can see how flagrantly America abuses it. The US can't push China too hard because it would cause our fragile economy to collapse.
    I may be biased about the SJW issue being that I consider myself alt-right and I'm seeing the movement pick up a lot of steam. Moore for example may have gone down but he didn't do so willingly and he nearly won despite the false accusations against him. (I agree that his politics were too extreme for my taste.) Others may start to follow his example. We know that SJW's always double down, so why apologize and voluntarily resign, ever, when they are only out to ruin us?

    Moore was not too extreme in general, he just lacked focus and was extreme on the wrong issues, while he seemed to consider immigration secondary.

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  59. Talha says:
    @Randal

    And they may be smart enough to pull it off.
     
    They might - the Iranians, unlike the Gulf arabs, are no mugs.

    But I'm not sure assassinating leaders would work. The hypocrisy and dishonesty of the western mainstream media, and the gullibility of their peoples in response to it, seemingly knows no depths in relation to the enemies of establishment connected lobbies such as those gunning for Iran. And it's something of an inherent cultural fixture for Americans to delude themselves that any return strike at them or their leaders, however objectively justified it might be, is a monstrous act of aggression coming out of a clear blue sky and motivated by sheer evilness.

    Imagine the response if, say, Blair or Bush had been offed by an Iraqi hit squad in 2003 after the attack on Iraq had begun. The rational response would be to call it an act of war and move on, but it would certainly have been labelled terrorism and that angle would have been supported by absolutely every mainstream media outlet and political figure, pretty much without exception. Even if Trump were got, his worst enemies in the lefty and "Republican" establishment would mostly be queuing up to demand retribution against the enemies of Israel. Note how suddenly quiet all the criticism of Trump went when he murdered some Syrian conscripts with an unprovoked missile strike.

    Probably the same would apply to any such Iranian attack in response to a US war of aggression against Iran, most especially if it took place in a European country.

    In practice, such attacks would be used effectively as war propaganda against Iran, even if some people would be laughing grimly in private.

    Hey Randal,

    They might – the Iranians, unlike the Gulf arabs, are no mugs.

    It ain’t called the Persian Gulf for nothing!

    In practice, such attacks would be used effectively as war propaganda against Iran

    Probably – but if the war is already being prosecuted against them (and their leadership is definitely going to be targeted) what do they have to lose? Basically, they would be putting the hurt on the specific people who are prosecuting the war and making it obvious to them that the longer this goes on, the longer you have to look over your shoulder – and that they can end it any time. They would be bypassing public opinion altogether.

    Now this may not be possible against the US to a large degree, but I can almost guarantee you that any country’s leadership who plans on turning itself into a platform for the US expeditionary force (looking at you Kuwait) or provide airfields (you too Jordan) will be in a very real world of hurt very quickly. That is quite doable for them.

    Peace.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    Now this may not be possible against the US to a large degree, but I can almost guarantee you that any country’s leadership who plans on turning itself into a platform for the US expeditionary force (looking at you Kuwait) or provide airfields (you too Jordan) will be in a very real world of hurt very quickly. That is quite doable for them.
     
    Yes, I agree this would be an effective way to respond. European and US audiences are far less bothered about brown foreign co-conspirators getting their comeuppance, and brown "Europeans" are far more likely to blame the US aggressor for deaths of their own resulting from retaliatory attacks.

    Loyalties are going to be strained on the sunni Arab side as well, if there is (as presently seems quite likely) too obvious collaboration between the Saudis and Israel in getting up the attack on Iran.
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  60. Randal says:
    @Talha
    Hey Randal,

    They might – the Iranians, unlike the Gulf arabs, are no mugs.
     
    It ain't called the Persian Gulf for nothing!

    In practice, such attacks would be used effectively as war propaganda against Iran
     
    Probably - but if the war is already being prosecuted against them (and their leadership is definitely going to be targeted) what do they have to lose? Basically, they would be putting the hurt on the specific people who are prosecuting the war and making it obvious to them that the longer this goes on, the longer you have to look over your shoulder - and that they can end it any time. They would be bypassing public opinion altogether.

    Now this may not be possible against the US to a large degree, but I can almost guarantee you that any country's leadership who plans on turning itself into a platform for the US expeditionary force (looking at you Kuwait) or provide airfields (you too Jordan) will be in a very real world of hurt very quickly. That is quite doable for them.

    Peace.

    Now this may not be possible against the US to a large degree, but I can almost guarantee you that any country’s leadership who plans on turning itself into a platform for the US expeditionary force (looking at you Kuwait) or provide airfields (you too Jordan) will be in a very real world of hurt very quickly. That is quite doable for them.

    Yes, I agree this would be an effective way to respond. European and US audiences are far less bothered about brown foreign co-conspirators getting their comeuppance, and brown “Europeans” are far more likely to blame the US aggressor for deaths of their own resulting from retaliatory attacks.

    Loyalties are going to be strained on the sunni Arab side as well, if there is (as presently seems quite likely) too obvious collaboration between the Saudis and Israel in getting up the attack on Iran.

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  61. Mr. Hack says:

    An image of Russia as the archenemy of democratic civilization has been successfully built up in the past year, so we can expect everything from weapons deliveries to the Ukraine up to Iran-level sanctions as payback for their “attack on American democracy.”

    Nobody, as far as I know, has stated that Russia’s aggressive and indefensible attacks upon Ukraine in 2014 were an ‘attack on American democracy’. Although the initial incursions into Ukraine caught the US unprepared, since then it has steadily shown more resolve in honoring its commitments stated within the Budapest Memorandum. Russia, also a signatory to this document, has incurred a serious black eye from the International community for abrogating (and in fact transgressing) its own assurances made within this document. By showing Ukraine support, the US is demonstrating to the world that its commitments are real and to be respected. What about Russia? What exact treaties or
    documents did it honor by attacking Ukraine, ripping off the Crimea and helping the phantom governments of the fictitious DNR and LNR? You don’t need a degree in International Relations from Harvard to see that Russia was behind these illegal and unsanctioned incursions into Ukraine.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    Nobody, as far as I know, has stated that Russia’s aggressive and indefensible attacks upon Ukraine in 2014 were an ‘attack on American democracy’.
     
    It's obviously a reference to the "Putin stole the election" hysteria among US liberals.
    , @Gerard2

    Budapest Memorandum
     
    that is an irrelevant document that was never ratifed by Duma you cretin (which unlike Rada-actually works coherently and professionally),and makes no sense because no formal agreement has ever been made on the official border between Russia and Ukraine. Not only that but this was made in the context of Russia kindly GIVING Ukraine this territory, not Russia losing this in a war, as is the precedent for most of these types of Agreements.... as happened in Africa and in Europe after both World Wars. Not only did Russia give this territory away ( against the votes of people in Ukraine) ...but support for reuniting with Russia hugely increased in the decade that followed (?" as the Americans fully understood). Kiev did not have the codes to launch those nuclear weapons, nor suitable delivery method for most of them, so this "gave up their nuclear weapons" is further American nonsense.



    Let's get this straight you POS ,Ukraine is a failed, african-style-state in Europe that can't govern itself, hence why there was a collapse of government and American funded and instigated "revolutions" in 2004 & 2014, the numerous political/constituional crises and protests in between then ...and the farcical situation now. Among the immoral warcrimes and bad negotiations, crisis economy, moronic business decisions on trade, political assassinations, catastrophic healthcare, leakage of it's population...other bad decisions include giving Ukrainian citizenship to an ex-President of Georgia, who is wanted in that country to stand trial....even though Georgia's pursuit of European integration is pretty much a joint project with Ukraine and Moldova!

    In this context, when a fucked in the head, country fails again, democratically, constitutionally and collapses, then it is fully correct for Russia to decide to intervene over that territory you cretin.

    By showing Ukraine support, the US is demonstrating to the world that its commitments are real and to be respected.
     
    Yes, ,making it lose millions of it's own people, allow it to commit crimes against humanity, lose 16% of it's GDP ( which will take it 20 years to recover) , collapse the military-industrial complex of Ukraine ( which with Russia had a large amount of work , even under the Yushchenko period)and make the country fail in every way ( just like it did after the Orange revolution, where the US intervened to stop what was then the most resurgent economy in Europe with double digit growth., going in a Russia-friendly direction)....that is "real commitment" you absurd cretin
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  62. You describe the US as having a lot of options and ‘revisionist’ countries being on the defensive, awaiting what lies in store for them. Especially Russia that could face isolation in your scenario.

    The opposite is true, every month we see revisionist powers getting more insolent towards the US as it falls short of solutions to regional challenges. Syria, Iran, North Korea have demonstrated a pattern of US impotence, each encouraging the other to become bolder. Astana totally shuns the US in favor of Syria’s regional neighbors. Most Middle Eastern powers are now seeking the favors of Russia. It does appear that countries such as the Philippines are carried by this general trend of doubting US might, in this case it centers on Duterte’s fiery personality, but he could incite others to follow.

    As for the US attempting to to ‘flip’ some of its enemies selectively, instead of taking on everyone at the same time, that would be sensible of them. But not even a minor player like Cuba really flipped, instead it seeks diversified relations with the various poles, being content with a reduction of US pressure. No reason to believe more important countries would act with less wisdom. So at worse China would just slightly rebalance for a while with nothing remotely resembling a split (but anyway, as someone observed, hard to imagine the US let up on China given its momentum and Iran because of the hysteria of Israel’s lobby)

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  63. @Mr. Hack

    An image of Russia as the archenemy of democratic civilization has been successfully built up in the past year, so we can expect everything from weapons deliveries to the Ukraine up to Iran-level sanctions as payback for their “attack on American democracy.”
     
    Nobody, as far as I know, has stated that Russia's aggressive and indefensible attacks upon Ukraine in 2014 were an 'attack on American democracy'. Although the initial incursions into Ukraine caught the US unprepared, since then it has steadily shown more resolve in honoring its commitments stated within the Budapest Memorandum. Russia, also a signatory to this document, has incurred a serious black eye from the International community for abrogating (and in fact transgressing) its own assurances made within this document. By showing Ukraine support, the US is demonstrating to the world that its commitments are real and to be respected. What about Russia? What exact treaties or
    documents did it honor by attacking Ukraine, ripping off the Crimea and helping the phantom governments of the fictitious DNR and LNR? You don't need a degree in International Relations from Harvard to see that Russia was behind these illegal and unsanctioned incursions into Ukraine.

    Nobody, as far as I know, has stated that Russia’s aggressive and indefensible attacks upon Ukraine in 2014 were an ‘attack on American democracy’.

    It’s obviously a reference to the “Putin stole the election” hysteria among US liberals.

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  64. I think these predictions for the next few years are altogether too pessimistic. If there is one constant it is that the situation is never either as dark or as bright as we think.

    A few general observations

    (1) Though I think it is highly likely that the Democrats will win majorities in both the House and the Senate next year, I still think impeachment is most unlikely. It would need the support of at some Republicans in the Senate and my impression is that Republican support for Trump is hardening as it becomes increasingly clear that the Russiagate collusions allegations are unsustainable and partisan.

    (2) Whilst it is certainly true that US foreign policy remains very much under the control of the neocons, the one thing that the period 2013 to 2016 made absolutely clear is that there are limits to how far the US can pursue confrontation. The sort of confrontation that is being predicted here would increase international tension to such an extreme degree that it would be almost bound to provoke a backlash. As for the war in Syria, yes it is not over but an armed confrontation with Russia in Syria and a further attempt to impose regime change there would be an exceptional difficult sell. After all it wasn’t done previously; why think it will happen now?

    (3) On economic issues, Russia has already prepared an alternative to SWIFT, the blockade on capital flows to Russia which was imposed in 2014 proved unsuccessful in significantly hurting the Russian economy and it is very difficult to see what more harm to the Russian economy more sanctions would do.

    I doubt they will happen actually. What grounds would there be for them? Last year there was an attempt to impose further sanctions on Russia during the fighting in Aleppo. Despite the call having the support of Merkel, Hollande and Theresa May and despite the intense media campaign underway against Russia at the time the European Council categorically refused to impose them.

    (4) China is proving very resistant to US pressure to impose an oil embargo on North Korea. Why would it agree to isolate Russia when cooperation with Russia is the key to its whole One Belt, One Road foreign policy upon which the whole economic and security future of China increasingly rests? If pressure on Russia increases China will not back off its support for Russia. It will exploit the pressure on Russia to increase its influence there, just as it did after 2014.

    Overall my own conclusion is that the worst part of the crisis in relations between Russia and the West is now past. Such a crisis was inevitable when the US suddenly realised that Russia was literally back from the dead and that the US would have to start thinking and worrying about Russia again. That was a most unpleasant shock and it is completely unsurprising that the US reacted extremely negatively.
    However that shock is now passed and though we are still caught in the back-spill the worst is behind us.

    That does not mean that international relations are going to become less strained. Whilst the US continues to pursue such a forward foreign policy international tension will remain. However the focus will now shift to North Korea and the Middle East, with the tensions with China on a slow burn and steadily increasing over time.

    (5) Lastly, though I think Putin was right to stand for a further term, I earnestly hope he does follow the advice here and start grooming a successor. I disagree by the way that this needs a lowering of tensions to happen. After all power transfers have happened in Russia during other tense times in international relations. Why would it be impossible to manage them again?

    The problem is not that the transition of power from Putin to someone else is inherently difficult. Rather it is that this someone else is very hard to identify and is for the moment not visible.

    I happen to think that the Russian power structure is already highly institutionalised, much more so than is widely understood and much more so than is now the case in the US and Britain where the institutions which make up the power structure are no longer working properly. However it is vitally necessary that Putin trains someone to take over from him who can instil confidence and who has the authority to take the country forward. That is the priority now.

    Every leader eventually faces the moment when he is coming to the end of his time. Putin is coming close to that point now. He needs to prepare himself and the country for it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    Speaking about the Russian private sector, I see in day to day business that there is a substantial shortage of capital that even Chinese culture funds cannot alleviate. The Americans in particular are policing their sanctions very strictly. All dollar payments to through a correspondent bank in the US. These banks interpret the sanctions list very widely. The Russian government has had to respond by giving up transparency measures designed to reduce corruption such as publishing list of subcontractors in successful government tenders. (The US banks use these to identify potential sanctions breakers). This works to the favour of doing business in Russia in Pounds and Euro but nevertheless induces friction, particularly with large capital transfers. It means the Chinese can't do as much with their dollars as they would like.

    Aleppo was not Crimea or Donbass. Russia had a case in Aleppo. Proposed sanctions were US inspired politking. In Crimea and Donbass Russia was clearly a transgressor.

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  65. Hail says: • Website
    @reiner Tor
    I think it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.

    Imagine predictions about “U.S. politics over the next few years” made on June 15, 2015.

    (Donald Trump announced his candidacy on June 16th, 2015).

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I’m not sure it’s so radically different from what it’d be without Trump. A Republican won, somewhat toughened immigration enforcement, enabled tax cuts, and sounds extremely belligerent towards Iran and North Korea, all the while keeping the confrontational approach of the Obama administration to Russia. Trump is way more entertaining than a conventional Republican, but his policies aren’t all that different.
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  66. Not Raul says:

    AK,

    I think that you’re right; except that I don’t see pressure being let up on Iran. The Trump administration and the neocons seem to be putting on a show to manufacture consent for a war against Iran.

    Here’s a few questions for anyone reading: Would having SWIFT cut off Russia really be such a major blow? Aren’t there alternatives? Couldn’t an alternative be created without too much difficulty? Could Monero be used as an alternative? Is it a good time to buy Monero?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    Would having SWIFT cut off Russia really be such a major blow?
     
    In 2014, yes, and there would have been a severe recession as opposed to a small one, though it would have been survivable (Iran survived; and Russia is far bigger, with more diversified industries).

    This is the fault of the Kremlin, which failed to build up an alternative to SWIFT -
    unlike China and even Japan - even though it had been clear for years that relations with the West were on a steep downwards trend. (One commenter her argued that there was an alternative, but no evidence of it was presented).

    Couldn’t an alternative be created without too much difficulty?
     
    It already has been.

    Could Monero be used as an alternative? Is it a good time to buy Monero?
     
    Conventional cryptocurrencies like Monero are useless for this (not controlled by the Central Bank). However, national cryptocurrencies, e.g. a crypto-ruble exchangeable for ordinary rules, are being considered by a range of countries including Russia as well as China, Venezuela, and Estonia.
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  67. 5371 says:

    You are wrong on almost everything, but the biggest omission is any scenario for next year concerning the DPRK. We have to get through 2018 to get to 2019.

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  68. @Hail
    Imagine predictions about "U.S. politics over the next few years" made on June 15, 2015.

    (Donald Trump announced his candidacy on June 16th, 2015).

    I’m not sure it’s so radically different from what it’d be without Trump. A Republican won, somewhat toughened immigration enforcement, enabled tax cuts, and sounds extremely belligerent towards Iran and North Korea, all the while keeping the confrontational approach of the Obama administration to Russia. Trump is way more entertaining than a conventional Republican, but his policies aren’t all that different.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hail
    So far, no crazy interventions: There is reason to believe that President JEB (boringly) or President Hillary (self-righteously) would have found some intervention they couldn't pass up, done some major humanitarian bombing, maybe a cool-looking invasion with a nice slogan (Shock and Awe), and set up a nice little foreign dependency project to play with a while.

    So far, no amnesty.

    But these are debatable (some say a Trump DACA amnesty is inevitable); what is not debatable is Trump-as-a-Symbol: of something that hasn't been given a voice in the USA in a very long time, except by deep-proxy. Trump the Nationalist, the image, the symbol, is more important on one level than the fine print of what actually gets done. It is something none of could predict as of June 15, 2015, IMO.
    , @dfordoom

    I’m not sure it’s so radically different from what it’d be without Trump.
     
    It's strengthened the determination of the globalists/SJWs to ensure that dissent gets crushed thoroughly and completely. Of course they intended to do this anyway but it's encouraged them to accelerate the timetable. And they're no longer bothering to hide their totalitarian agenda because they no longer believe they have to.

    The 2020 presidential campaign won't be like 2016. All the stops will be pulled out to make sure that there's no chance for a Trump or a Sanders.
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  69. Hail says: • Website
    @reiner Tor
    I’m not sure it’s so radically different from what it’d be without Trump. A Republican won, somewhat toughened immigration enforcement, enabled tax cuts, and sounds extremely belligerent towards Iran and North Korea, all the while keeping the confrontational approach of the Obama administration to Russia. Trump is way more entertaining than a conventional Republican, but his policies aren’t all that different.

    So far, no crazy interventions: There is reason to believe that President JEB (boringly) or President Hillary (self-righteously) would have found some intervention they couldn’t pass up, done some major humanitarian bombing, maybe a cool-looking invasion with a nice slogan (Shock and Awe), and set up a nice little foreign dependency project to play with a while.

    So far, no amnesty.

    But these are debatable (some say a Trump DACA amnesty is inevitable); what is not debatable is Trump-as-a-Symbol: of something that hasn’t been given a voice in the USA in a very long time, except by deep-proxy. Trump the Nationalist, the image, the symbol, is more important on one level than the fine print of what actually gets done. It is something none of could predict as of June 15, 2015, IMO.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Matra
    So far, no crazy interventions: There is reason to believe that President JEB (boringly) or President Hillary (self-righteously) would have found some intervention they couldn’t pass up, done some major humanitarian bombing, maybe a cool-looking invasion with a nice slogan (Shock and Awe), and set up a nice little foreign dependency project to play with a while.

    In the last couple of months before the election Hillary announced her first foreign policy task would be a full review of Syrian policy. Given that her statement on this review emphasised the "murderous" nature of Assad's "regime" and given the foreign policy experts surrounding her (likely members of a Clinton Administration), along with her track record as Secretary of State, I don't think there's much doubt that a US regime change escalation in Syria was prevented with Trump's election.

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  70. Parsifal says:

    Why are your predictions wrong? For the same reason that predictions, or rather, fantasies of a Romanov or Hohenzollern restorations in 1926 were wrong(and there have been quite a few of those). (The Bourbons were restored thanks to foreign powers and only after Napoleon but ultimately they too had to leave for good.) They are just not happening because they are symbols of a discredited and/or obsolete eras. Humpy Dumpty fell of the wall and all the King’s horses and all the King’s men won’t put it back again. If you insist that I elaborate…

    1) The only chance Democrats have of taking Congress is if they split Trump voters from the GOP. If they campaign on impeachment they loose. Trump voters will hold their nose and vote GOP, at least in the House elections where frequent elections make C0ngressmen more susceptible to pressure. Pelosi and Schumer know this and that’s why they are trying to clamp down on impeachment talks. Their problem is the frenzied base which DEMANDS they campaign on it and will settle for no less. How they solve it, if at all, is yet to be seen because the risk is that they might ultimately get the worst of both worlds for them: their base partially depressed, GOP/Trump base motivated.

    2) With the passing of Trump tax cuts the story of ineffective Trump/GOP is out of the window. In fact, many are waking up to Trump’s actual achievements. Should the tax cuts have the desired effect and the far famed wall starts going up the Democrats will be in an extremely unenviable position of being officially the party of the ancien regime. They are already promising tax cut repeals and they will likely be promising to tear down the wall also, not to mention rolling back other Trump immigration measures. Neither “muh limited government, muh taxes” garden variety GOP voters or immigration restrictionist will risk their pet causes in such a way no matter what other beef they might have with Trump.

    3) Again, it all boils down to the fact that this is an entirely new era and that litigating elections from 2006 is the equivalent of fighting the previous war. National Review turning on neocons was unthinkable even in 2016, even less thinkable was the fact that their feud would for all effects and purposes be just a side-show that it is now. And changes are happening as we speak. In 6 months, I dare say, US will be an entirely different country than it is today, not to mention 2006, 2010 or 2014.

    4) In international relations point 3) also stands. The engineered migrant crisis changed everything. With the possible exception of Poland(and if you ask me, even they will ultimately will not do it), no Eastern European country will commit national suicide whatever the beef with Russia is. China will have zero motives to help the US, unlike in the 1980s.

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    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
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  71. Art Deco says:
    @Talha
    Came across something interesting in the Polish Constitution when I was researching something else:

    "Article 13

    Political parties and other organizations whose programmes are based upon totalitarian methods and the modes of activity of nazism, fascism and communism, as well as those whose programmes or activities sanction racial or national hatred, the application of violence for the purpose of obtaining power or to influence the State policy, or provide for the secrecy of their own structure or membership, shall be prohibited."
    http://www.sejm.gov.pl/prawo/konst/angielski/kon1.htm

    That is in the primary state document - thoughts?

    The purpose of a charter is to delineate architectural features and rules within which political competition and decision-making take place. Another purpose is to define certain limits in the realm of state power. IMO, it’s not prudent to have provisions which would place restrictions on the freedom to speak, publish, petition, or associate on grounds of semantic content (anti-obsenity law the exception). Too much discretion to lawyers if you do that. Prosecutions for sedition are properly undertaken only for having generated riots and pogroms (or having attempted to do so).

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  72. @Not Raul
    AK,

    I think that you're right; except that I don't see pressure being let up on Iran. The Trump administration and the neocons seem to be putting on a show to manufacture consent for a war against Iran.

    Here's a few questions for anyone reading: Would having SWIFT cut off Russia really be such a major blow? Aren't there alternatives? Couldn't an alternative be created without too much difficulty? Could Monero be used as an alternative? Is it a good time to buy Monero?

    Would having SWIFT cut off Russia really be such a major blow?

    In 2014, yes, and there would have been a severe recession as opposed to a small one, though it would have been survivable (Iran survived; and Russia is far bigger, with more diversified industries).

    This is the fault of the Kremlin, which failed to build up an alternative to SWIFT -
    unlike China and even Japan – even though it had been clear for years that relations with the West were on a steep downwards trend. (One commenter her argued that there was an alternative, but no evidence of it was presented).

    Couldn’t an alternative be created without too much difficulty?

    It already has been.

    Could Monero be used as an alternative? Is it a good time to buy Monero?

    Conventional cryptocurrencies like Monero are useless for this (not controlled by the Central Bank). However, national cryptocurrencies, e.g. a crypto-ruble exchangeable for ordinary rules, are being considered by a range of countries including Russia as well as China, Venezuela, and Estonia.

    Read More
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  73. Anatoly,

    I noticed lately that you seem to have a lot of fears in your head: fear of Ukraine, fear of US neocons, SJWs, Twitter moderators, Russian liberals…I mean no offence, but your fears are pushing you towards some irrational thinking. Pleading with your readers to tell you that you’re wrong is a tell IMO.

    How do you imagine Europe surviving without Russian energy? The way I see it, they really have no practical means to replace Russian oil and gas in the near future. Iran-style sanctions against Russia will create an energy crisis in Europe, that will upend governments, so you can calm down, as it will never happen.

    So long as Europe continues to be dependent on Russian energy we can laugh in the face of their sanctions. Excluding Russia from SWIFT for example won’t accomplish anything other than making international banking transactions take a couple of days longer – doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.

    But the average vector of US hatred has been shifting from China and Iran at the start of Trump’s term (Flynn, Bannon) to Russia (Mattis, McMaster, maybe soon Cotton), and this trend may intensify further if the political developments describe here come to pass.

    If you’re worried that US regime will temporarily suspend its efforts to demonize Iran and focus solely on demonizing Russia, I can assure you this won’t happen, because the Zionist Jews, who dominate US foreign policy circles hate Iran A LOT more, than they hate Russia.

    If you’re worried that Iranians will abandon Russians to fight in Syria alone to pursue some sort of accomodation with the US, I can assure you this won’t happen, as Iranians have a lot of riding on the outcome of Syrian war, and right now they can feel victory in their hands, and they won’t let it slip away from their hands.

    So, all in all, your fears seem irrational to me. You are wrong. Here, I told you that. Feeling better now? :)

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    • Replies: @Talha
    Solid points! There is a lot of talk, but - as you say - the facts on the ground seem to point to things being not so dire.

    Peace.
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  74. @Alexander Mercouris
    I think these predictions for the next few years are altogether too pessimistic. If there is one constant it is that the situation is never either as dark or as bright as we think.

    A few general observations

    (1) Though I think it is highly likely that the Democrats will win majorities in both the House and the Senate next year, I still think impeachment is most unlikely. It would need the support of at some Republicans in the Senate and my impression is that Republican support for Trump is hardening as it becomes increasingly clear that the Russiagate collusions allegations are unsustainable and partisan.

    (2) Whilst it is certainly true that US foreign policy remains very much under the control of the neocons, the one thing that the period 2013 to 2016 made absolutely clear is that there are limits to how far the US can pursue confrontation. The sort of confrontation that is being predicted here would increase international tension to such an extreme degree that it would be almost bound to provoke a backlash. As for the war in Syria, yes it is not over but an armed confrontation with Russia in Syria and a further attempt to impose regime change there would be an exceptional difficult sell. After all it wasn't done previously; why think it will happen now?

    (3) On economic issues, Russia has already prepared an alternative to SWIFT, the blockade on capital flows to Russia which was imposed in 2014 proved unsuccessful in significantly hurting the Russian economy and it is very difficult to see what more harm to the Russian economy more sanctions would do.

    I doubt they will happen actually. What grounds would there be for them? Last year there was an attempt to impose further sanctions on Russia during the fighting in Aleppo. Despite the call having the support of Merkel, Hollande and Theresa May and despite the intense media campaign underway against Russia at the time the European Council categorically refused to impose them.

    (4) China is proving very resistant to US pressure to impose an oil embargo on North Korea. Why would it agree to isolate Russia when cooperation with Russia is the key to its whole One Belt, One Road foreign policy upon which the whole economic and security future of China increasingly rests? If pressure on Russia increases China will not back off its support for Russia. It will exploit the pressure on Russia to increase its influence there, just as it did after 2014.

    Overall my own conclusion is that the worst part of the crisis in relations between Russia and the West is now past. Such a crisis was inevitable when the US suddenly realised that Russia was literally back from the dead and that the US would have to start thinking and worrying about Russia again. That was a most unpleasant shock and it is completely unsurprising that the US reacted extremely negatively.
    However that shock is now passed and though we are still caught in the back-spill the worst is behind us.

    That does not mean that international relations are going to become less strained. Whilst the US continues to pursue such a forward foreign policy international tension will remain. However the focus will now shift to North Korea and the Middle East, with the tensions with China on a slow burn and steadily increasing over time.

    (5) Lastly, though I think Putin was right to stand for a further term, I earnestly hope he does follow the advice here and start grooming a successor. I disagree by the way that this needs a lowering of tensions to happen. After all power transfers have happened in Russia during other tense times in international relations. Why would it be impossible to manage them again?

    The problem is not that the transition of power from Putin to someone else is inherently difficult. Rather it is that this someone else is very hard to identify and is for the moment not visible.

    I happen to think that the Russian power structure is already highly institutionalised, much more so than is widely understood and much more so than is now the case in the US and Britain where the institutions which make up the power structure are no longer working properly. However it is vitally necessary that Putin trains someone to take over from him who can instil confidence and who has the authority to take the country forward. That is the priority now.

    Every leader eventually faces the moment when he is coming to the end of his time. Putin is coming close to that point now. He needs to prepare himself and the country for it.

    Speaking about the Russian private sector, I see in day to day business that there is a substantial shortage of capital that even Chinese culture funds cannot alleviate. The Americans in particular are policing their sanctions very strictly. All dollar payments to through a correspondent bank in the US. These banks interpret the sanctions list very widely. The Russian government has had to respond by giving up transparency measures designed to reduce corruption such as publishing list of subcontractors in successful government tenders. (The US banks use these to identify potential sanctions breakers). This works to the favour of doing business in Russia in Pounds and Euro but nevertheless induces friction, particularly with large capital transfers. It means the Chinese can’t do as much with their dollars as they would like.

    Aleppo was not Crimea or Donbass. Russia had a case in Aleppo. Proposed sanctions were US inspired politking. In Crimea and Donbass Russia was clearly a transgressor.

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    • Replies: @Gerard2

    The Americans in particular are policing their sanctions very strictly. All dollar payments to through a correspondent bank in the US. These banks interpret the sanctions list very widely
     
    So what?. Sanctions on Russian businesses, if we take your assumption that they are being policed to the letter of the law.....will hurt Ukrainian businesses and banks 3 times as much. Do you know anything about the Ukrainian banking sector?
    , @Pericles

    Russia had a case in Aleppo. Proposed sanctions were US inspired politking. In Crimea and Donbass Russia was clearly a transgressor.

     

    Don't forget Victoria Nuland and the engineered color coup before that. It would be naive to expect Russia to hand over Crimea or Donbass to an unfriendly government, much less a US puppet regime.
    , @The Kulak
    I don't understand one of your points Phillip: "It means the Chinese can’t do as much with their dollars as they would like." Why can't they convert to yuan and process the transactions through Chinese banks, basically bypassing the sanctions on dollar activities via or with any entity in Russia (and now apparently doing Putin's 'deoffshoring' work for him by harassing the Russian oligarchs corporate banking colony on Cyprus)?

    Or perhaps this is why as AK mentioned we're seeing push for national cryptocurrencies, so those transactions previously requiring dollar to yuan then ruble conversions can be sped up via cryptoruble and crypto(petro)yuan.
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  75. The UK has two giant but barely used LNG trains at Milford Haven. They were built to import gas from Qatar and Malaysia. They are barely used because, once they were built Russia offered the UK extremely low gas prices and the Earthquake/Tsunami in Japan drove world gas prices sky high following Fukushima. The UK imports 20Bn cu M of gas through pipelines once built for export. It would take a couple of days to reverse the flow. IT would take a couple of weeks for the LNG tankers to start arriving from Qatar and four weeks for the Malaysian tankers to arrive. Meanwhile, the UK’s remaining underground reserves could cover the gap. That’s why they are in reserve. So instead of importing at the rate of 20bn cu M a year, in less than month the UK could be exporting at the same rate – a change in supply of +40Bn cu M a year. The capacity of North Stream. Costs would rise but availability would not be greatly compromised. Other countries have storage and reserves too e.g. The Netherlands. So effectively, Russia could threaten a price rise (and lose the market permanently). Putin turning off the gas is US far right fearmongering; there’s a lot of it about.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    It would make it more expensive, and of course Putin could always get the market back by cutting his prices. If Russia was punished by Iran-style sanctions, it could retaliate that way by inflicting at least a little pain on Europe.
    , @Gerard2

    Meanwhile, the UK’s remaining underground reserves could cover the gap. That’s why they are in reserve
     
    .......meanwhile, countries of high population density in areas over underground reserves of gas...remain countries of high population density in areas over underground reserves of gas. Poland and the UK have this problem..so nonsense about..


    So instead of importing at the rate of 20bn cu M a year, in less than month the UK could be exporting at the same rate – a change in supply of +40Bn cu M a year.
     
    ...is just that. This isn't planning permission in the 1600's

    . Other countries have storage and reserves too e.g. The Netherlands. So effectively, Russia could threaten a price rise (and lose the market permanently). Putin turning off the gas is US far right fearmongering; there’s a lot of it about.
     
    ...then there's the issue of these eurodipshits , when not inventing spurious rules to prevent Russian gas pipelines.....pretend to be heavily invested in the environment. Transit through Russian pipelines , even allowing for work along the seabed, is significantly more carbon-friendly than shipping LNG
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  76. @Philip Owen
    The UK has two giant but barely used LNG trains at Milford Haven. They were built to import gas from Qatar and Malaysia. They are barely used because, once they were built Russia offered the UK extremely low gas prices and the Earthquake/Tsunami in Japan drove world gas prices sky high following Fukushima. The UK imports 20Bn cu M of gas through pipelines once built for export. It would take a couple of days to reverse the flow. IT would take a couple of weeks for the LNG tankers to start arriving from Qatar and four weeks for the Malaysian tankers to arrive. Meanwhile, the UK's remaining underground reserves could cover the gap. That's why they are in reserve. So instead of importing at the rate of 20bn cu M a year, in less than month the UK could be exporting at the same rate - a change in supply of +40Bn cu M a year. The capacity of North Stream. Costs would rise but availability would not be greatly compromised. Other countries have storage and reserves too e.g. The Netherlands. So effectively, Russia could threaten a price rise (and lose the market permanently). Putin turning off the gas is US far right fearmongering; there's a lot of it about.

    It would make it more expensive, and of course Putin could always get the market back by cutting his prices. If Russia was punished by Iran-style sanctions, it could retaliate that way by inflicting at least a little pain on Europe.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    The market wouldn't come back without a large reduction in prices. At least enough for large scale gas storage projects to be put into place.. (refilling old gas fields). Reliability matters.
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  77. Talha says:
    @Felix Keverich
    Anatoly,

    I noticed lately that you seem to have a lot of fears in your head: fear of Ukraine, fear of US neocons, SJWs, Twitter moderators, Russian liberals...I mean no offence, but your fears are pushing you towards some irrational thinking. Pleading with your readers to tell you that you're wrong is a tell IMO.

    How do you imagine Europe surviving without Russian energy? The way I see it, they really have no practical means to replace Russian oil and gas in the near future. Iran-style sanctions against Russia will create an energy crisis in Europe, that will upend governments, so you can calm down, as it will never happen.

    So long as Europe continues to be dependent on Russian energy we can laugh in the face of their sanctions. Excluding Russia from SWIFT for example won't accomplish anything other than making international banking transactions take a couple of days longer - doesn't seem like a big deal to me.


    But the average vector of US hatred has been shifting from China and Iran at the start of Trump’s term (Flynn, Bannon) to Russia (Mattis, McMaster, maybe soon Cotton), and this trend may intensify further if the political developments describe here come to pass.
     
    If you're worried that US regime will temporarily suspend its efforts to demonize Iran and focus solely on demonizing Russia, I can assure you this won't happen, because the Zionist Jews, who dominate US foreign policy circles hate Iran A LOT more, than they hate Russia.

    If you're worried that Iranians will abandon Russians to fight in Syria alone to pursue some sort of accomodation with the US, I can assure you this won't happen, as Iranians have a lot of riding on the outcome of Syrian war, and right now they can feel victory in their hands, and they won't let it slip away from their hands.

    So, all in all, your fears seem irrational to me. You are wrong. Here, I told you that. Feeling better now? :)

    Solid points! There is a lot of talk, but – as you say – the facts on the ground seem to point to things being not so dire.

    Peace.

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  78. Matra says:
    @Hail
    So far, no crazy interventions: There is reason to believe that President JEB (boringly) or President Hillary (self-righteously) would have found some intervention they couldn't pass up, done some major humanitarian bombing, maybe a cool-looking invasion with a nice slogan (Shock and Awe), and set up a nice little foreign dependency project to play with a while.

    So far, no amnesty.

    But these are debatable (some say a Trump DACA amnesty is inevitable); what is not debatable is Trump-as-a-Symbol: of something that hasn't been given a voice in the USA in a very long time, except by deep-proxy. Trump the Nationalist, the image, the symbol, is more important on one level than the fine print of what actually gets done. It is something none of could predict as of June 15, 2015, IMO.

    So far, no crazy interventions: There is reason to believe that President JEB (boringly) or President Hillary (self-righteously) would have found some intervention they couldn’t pass up, done some major humanitarian bombing, maybe a cool-looking invasion with a nice slogan (Shock and Awe), and set up a nice little foreign dependency project to play with a while.

    In the last couple of months before the election Hillary announced her first foreign policy task would be a full review of Syrian policy. Given that her statement on this review emphasised the “murderous” nature of Assad’s “regime” and given the foreign policy experts surrounding her (likely members of a Clinton Administration), along with her track record as Secretary of State, I don’t think there’s much doubt that a US regime change escalation in Syria was prevented with Trump’s election.

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  79. Gerard2 says:
    @Mr. Hack

    An image of Russia as the archenemy of democratic civilization has been successfully built up in the past year, so we can expect everything from weapons deliveries to the Ukraine up to Iran-level sanctions as payback for their “attack on American democracy.”
     
    Nobody, as far as I know, has stated that Russia's aggressive and indefensible attacks upon Ukraine in 2014 were an 'attack on American democracy'. Although the initial incursions into Ukraine caught the US unprepared, since then it has steadily shown more resolve in honoring its commitments stated within the Budapest Memorandum. Russia, also a signatory to this document, has incurred a serious black eye from the International community for abrogating (and in fact transgressing) its own assurances made within this document. By showing Ukraine support, the US is demonstrating to the world that its commitments are real and to be respected. What about Russia? What exact treaties or
    documents did it honor by attacking Ukraine, ripping off the Crimea and helping the phantom governments of the fictitious DNR and LNR? You don't need a degree in International Relations from Harvard to see that Russia was behind these illegal and unsanctioned incursions into Ukraine.

    Budapest Memorandum

    that is an irrelevant document that was never ratifed by Duma you cretin (which unlike Rada-actually works coherently and professionally),and makes no sense because no formal agreement has ever been made on the official border between Russia and Ukraine. Not only that but this was made in the context of Russia kindly GIVING Ukraine this territory, not Russia losing this in a war, as is the precedent for most of these types of Agreements…. as happened in Africa and in Europe after both World Wars. Not only did Russia give this territory away ( against the votes of people in Ukraine) …but support for reuniting with Russia hugely increased in the decade that followed (?” as the Americans fully understood). Kiev did not have the codes to launch those nuclear weapons, nor suitable delivery method for most of them, so this “gave up their nuclear weapons” is further American nonsense.

    [MORE]

    Let’s get this straight you POS ,Ukraine is a failed, african-style-state in Europe that can’t govern itself, hence why there was a collapse of government and American funded and instigated “revolutions” in 2004 & 2014, the numerous political/constituional crises and protests in between then …and the farcical situation now. Among the immoral warcrimes and bad negotiations, crisis economy, moronic business decisions on trade, political assassinations, catastrophic healthcare, leakage of it’s population…other bad decisions include giving Ukrainian citizenship to an ex-President of Georgia, who is wanted in that country to stand trial….even though Georgia’s pursuit of European integration is pretty much a joint project with Ukraine and Moldova!

    In this context, when a fucked in the head, country fails again, democratically, constitutionally and collapses, then it is fully correct for Russia to decide to intervene over that territory you cretin.

    By showing Ukraine support, the US is demonstrating to the world that its commitments are real and to be respected.

    Yes, ,making it lose millions of it’s own people, allow it to commit crimes against humanity, lose 16% of it’s GDP ( which will take it 20 years to recover) , collapse the military-industrial complex of Ukraine ( which with Russia had a large amount of work , even under the Yushchenko period)and make the country fail in every way ( just like it did after the Orange revolution, where the US intervened to stop what was then the most resurgent economy in Europe with double digit growth., going in a Russia-friendly direction)….that is “real commitment” you absurd cretin

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I don’t think the opinion that Russia broke no international treaties by occupying Crimea is tenable. I probably would’ve done the same thing, and of course they did it in the context of the US and NATO previously having broken international treaties and starting illegal wars in Europe and elsewhere, while pushing for further enlargement of NATO. But for what it’s worth, they still broke international law.

    Here’s what I wrote in a recent comment in another thread:

    The Russians broke

    - the UN Charter
    - the Helsinki Accords
    - the Belavezha Accords and the following Alma-Ata Protocols, which I think all affirmed the then extant last Soviet borders of the republics as the new international borders
    - the Partition Treaty on the Status and Condition of the Black Sea Fleet which I think re-affirmed the same
    - (I think even the Kharkiv Pact contained language repeating the terms of the Partition Treaty, i.e. affirming Ukraine’s borders and sovereignty etc.)
    - and of course the Budapest Memorandum, which was basically the weakest element of the whole, with no legal force (unlike the previous ones), but for what it was worth, it was still broken
    , @Mr. Hack
    So, is Mr. Lavrov in the habit of signing documents that are meaningless:

    In February 2016 Sergey Lavrov claimed that "Russia never violated Budapest memorandum. It contained only one obligation, not to attack Ukraine with nukes".[27] However, Canadian journalist Michael Colborne pointed out "there are actually six obligations in the Budapest Memorandum, and the first of them is “to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine." Colborne also pointed out that a broadcast of Lavrov’s claim on the Twitter account of Russia's embassy in the United Kingdom actually "provided a link to the text of the Budapest Memorandum itself with all six obligations, including the ones Russia has clearly violated — right there for everyone to see." Steven Pifer, an American diplomat who was involved in drafting the Budapest Memorandum, later commented that "what does it say about the mendacity of Russian diplomacy and its contempt for international opinion when the foreign minister says something that can be proven wrong with less than 30 seconds of Google fact-checking?"[28]
     
    The trouble in dealing with the Russians is that they cannot be trusted. Clearly, the spirit of this document was transgressed by Russia, and no amount of posturing and backpedaling will ever rectify this injustice.
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  80. @German_reader
    Sounds like a very US-centric analysis. I understand that you probably don't think European countries amount to much, certainly not as independent actors, and there certainly is a lot of Atlanticist Russophobia in Europe as well; but given other developments in Europe (primarily the ongoing invasion) a lot of people might eventually regard other issues as rather more important than confronting Russia (and the issues are linked to some degree...in Western Europe at least the most hysterically anti-Russian people seem to be people strongly in favour of open borders, multiculturalism etc., just like the liberal scum in the US). And if the US does something extreme like tearing up the nuclear deal with Iran, there might even be a serious rift between EU elites and the US.
    But yes, many of your predictions unfortunately seem not unlikely.

    very US-centric analysis

    very, very US sided :) contrary to what happened up to now.

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  81. Gerard2 says:
    @Philip Owen
    The UK has two giant but barely used LNG trains at Milford Haven. They were built to import gas from Qatar and Malaysia. They are barely used because, once they were built Russia offered the UK extremely low gas prices and the Earthquake/Tsunami in Japan drove world gas prices sky high following Fukushima. The UK imports 20Bn cu M of gas through pipelines once built for export. It would take a couple of days to reverse the flow. IT would take a couple of weeks for the LNG tankers to start arriving from Qatar and four weeks for the Malaysian tankers to arrive. Meanwhile, the UK's remaining underground reserves could cover the gap. That's why they are in reserve. So instead of importing at the rate of 20bn cu M a year, in less than month the UK could be exporting at the same rate - a change in supply of +40Bn cu M a year. The capacity of North Stream. Costs would rise but availability would not be greatly compromised. Other countries have storage and reserves too e.g. The Netherlands. So effectively, Russia could threaten a price rise (and lose the market permanently). Putin turning off the gas is US far right fearmongering; there's a lot of it about.

    Meanwhile, the UK’s remaining underground reserves could cover the gap. That’s why they are in reserve

    …….meanwhile, countries of high population density in areas over underground reserves of gas…remain countries of high population density in areas over underground reserves of gas. Poland and the UK have this problem..so nonsense about..

    So instead of importing at the rate of 20bn cu M a year, in less than month the UK could be exporting at the same rate – a change in supply of +40Bn cu M a year.

    …is just that. This isn’t planning permission in the 1600′s

    . Other countries have storage and reserves too e.g. The Netherlands. So effectively, Russia could threaten a price rise (and lose the market permanently). Putin turning off the gas is US far right fearmongering; there’s a lot of it about.

    …then there’s the issue of these eurodipshits , when not inventing spurious rules to prevent Russian gas pipelines…..pretend to be heavily invested in the environment. Transit through Russian pipelines , even allowing for work along the seabed, is significantly more carbon-friendly than shipping LNG

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  82. @Gerard2

    Budapest Memorandum
     
    that is an irrelevant document that was never ratifed by Duma you cretin (which unlike Rada-actually works coherently and professionally),and makes no sense because no formal agreement has ever been made on the official border between Russia and Ukraine. Not only that but this was made in the context of Russia kindly GIVING Ukraine this territory, not Russia losing this in a war, as is the precedent for most of these types of Agreements.... as happened in Africa and in Europe after both World Wars. Not only did Russia give this territory away ( against the votes of people in Ukraine) ...but support for reuniting with Russia hugely increased in the decade that followed (?" as the Americans fully understood). Kiev did not have the codes to launch those nuclear weapons, nor suitable delivery method for most of them, so this "gave up their nuclear weapons" is further American nonsense.



    Let's get this straight you POS ,Ukraine is a failed, african-style-state in Europe that can't govern itself, hence why there was a collapse of government and American funded and instigated "revolutions" in 2004 & 2014, the numerous political/constituional crises and protests in between then ...and the farcical situation now. Among the immoral warcrimes and bad negotiations, crisis economy, moronic business decisions on trade, political assassinations, catastrophic healthcare, leakage of it's population...other bad decisions include giving Ukrainian citizenship to an ex-President of Georgia, who is wanted in that country to stand trial....even though Georgia's pursuit of European integration is pretty much a joint project with Ukraine and Moldova!

    In this context, when a fucked in the head, country fails again, democratically, constitutionally and collapses, then it is fully correct for Russia to decide to intervene over that territory you cretin.

    By showing Ukraine support, the US is demonstrating to the world that its commitments are real and to be respected.
     
    Yes, ,making it lose millions of it's own people, allow it to commit crimes against humanity, lose 16% of it's GDP ( which will take it 20 years to recover) , collapse the military-industrial complex of Ukraine ( which with Russia had a large amount of work , even under the Yushchenko period)and make the country fail in every way ( just like it did after the Orange revolution, where the US intervened to stop what was then the most resurgent economy in Europe with double digit growth., going in a Russia-friendly direction)....that is "real commitment" you absurd cretin

    I don’t think the opinion that Russia broke no international treaties by occupying Crimea is tenable. I probably would’ve done the same thing, and of course they did it in the context of the US and NATO previously having broken international treaties and starting illegal wars in Europe and elsewhere, while pushing for further enlargement of NATO. But for what it’s worth, they still broke international law.

    Here’s what I wrote in a recent comment in another thread:

    The Russians broke

    - the UN Charter
    - the Helsinki Accords
    - the Belavezha Accords and the following Alma-Ata Protocols, which I think all affirmed the then extant last Soviet borders of the republics as the new international borders
    - the Partition Treaty on the Status and Condition of the Black Sea Fleet which I think re-affirmed the same
    - (I think even the Kharkiv Pact contained language repeating the terms of the Partition Treaty, i.e. affirming Ukraine’s borders and sovereignty etc.)
    - and of course the Budapest Memorandum, which was basically the weakest element of the whole, with no legal force (unlike the previous ones), but for what it was worth, it was still broken

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    So would you prefer that Hungary, Poland, Czechia, East Germany had not acceded to NATO? Would you be ok with Hungary and Poland leaving NATO now?
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  83. Gerard2 says:
    @Philip Owen
    Speaking about the Russian private sector, I see in day to day business that there is a substantial shortage of capital that even Chinese culture funds cannot alleviate. The Americans in particular are policing their sanctions very strictly. All dollar payments to through a correspondent bank in the US. These banks interpret the sanctions list very widely. The Russian government has had to respond by giving up transparency measures designed to reduce corruption such as publishing list of subcontractors in successful government tenders. (The US banks use these to identify potential sanctions breakers). This works to the favour of doing business in Russia in Pounds and Euro but nevertheless induces friction, particularly with large capital transfers. It means the Chinese can't do as much with their dollars as they would like.

    Aleppo was not Crimea or Donbass. Russia had a case in Aleppo. Proposed sanctions were US inspired politking. In Crimea and Donbass Russia was clearly a transgressor.

    The Americans in particular are policing their sanctions very strictly. All dollar payments to through a correspondent bank in the US. These banks interpret the sanctions list very widely

    So what?. Sanctions on Russian businesses, if we take your assumption that they are being policed to the letter of the law…..will hurt Ukrainian businesses and banks 3 times as much. Do you know anything about the Ukrainian banking sector?

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  84. Mr. Hack says:
    @Gerard2

    Budapest Memorandum
     
    that is an irrelevant document that was never ratifed by Duma you cretin (which unlike Rada-actually works coherently and professionally),and makes no sense because no formal agreement has ever been made on the official border between Russia and Ukraine. Not only that but this was made in the context of Russia kindly GIVING Ukraine this territory, not Russia losing this in a war, as is the precedent for most of these types of Agreements.... as happened in Africa and in Europe after both World Wars. Not only did Russia give this territory away ( against the votes of people in Ukraine) ...but support for reuniting with Russia hugely increased in the decade that followed (?" as the Americans fully understood). Kiev did not have the codes to launch those nuclear weapons, nor suitable delivery method for most of them, so this "gave up their nuclear weapons" is further American nonsense.



    Let's get this straight you POS ,Ukraine is a failed, african-style-state in Europe that can't govern itself, hence why there was a collapse of government and American funded and instigated "revolutions" in 2004 & 2014, the numerous political/constituional crises and protests in between then ...and the farcical situation now. Among the immoral warcrimes and bad negotiations, crisis economy, moronic business decisions on trade, political assassinations, catastrophic healthcare, leakage of it's population...other bad decisions include giving Ukrainian citizenship to an ex-President of Georgia, who is wanted in that country to stand trial....even though Georgia's pursuit of European integration is pretty much a joint project with Ukraine and Moldova!

    In this context, when a fucked in the head, country fails again, democratically, constitutionally and collapses, then it is fully correct for Russia to decide to intervene over that territory you cretin.

    By showing Ukraine support, the US is demonstrating to the world that its commitments are real and to be respected.
     
    Yes, ,making it lose millions of it's own people, allow it to commit crimes against humanity, lose 16% of it's GDP ( which will take it 20 years to recover) , collapse the military-industrial complex of Ukraine ( which with Russia had a large amount of work , even under the Yushchenko period)and make the country fail in every way ( just like it did after the Orange revolution, where the US intervened to stop what was then the most resurgent economy in Europe with double digit growth., going in a Russia-friendly direction)....that is "real commitment" you absurd cretin

    So, is Mr. Lavrov in the habit of signing documents that are meaningless:

    In February 2016 Sergey Lavrov claimed that “Russia never violated Budapest memorandum. It contained only one obligation, not to attack Ukraine with nukes”.[27] However, Canadian journalist Michael Colborne pointed out “there are actually six obligations in the Budapest Memorandum, and the first of them is “to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.” Colborne also pointed out that a broadcast of Lavrov’s claim on the Twitter account of Russia’s embassy in the United Kingdom actually “provided a link to the text of the Budapest Memorandum itself with all six obligations, including the ones Russia has clearly violated — right there for everyone to see.” Steven Pifer, an American diplomat who was involved in drafting the Budapest Memorandum, later commented that “what does it say about the mendacity of Russian diplomacy and its contempt for international opinion when the foreign minister says something that can be proven wrong with less than 30 seconds of Google fact-checking?”[28]

    The trouble in dealing with the Russians is that they cannot be trusted. Clearly, the spirit of this document was transgressed by Russia, and no amount of posturing and backpedaling will ever rectify this injustice.

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  85. pyrrhus says:

    You are wrong because the Chinese leadership is far too intelligent to allow a split in its de facto alliance with Russia. Russia, after all, has more nukes than anyone, and better conventional forces as well….Furthermore, the Chinese Army has much more influence on policy than you seem to think, with a leadership that is not under the direct control of the Party.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    The more "silovik" elements of the Chinese power structure are indeed more pro-Russian, but no, the Chinese Army is under the direct control of the Party - more so than in the USSR. (The Party, Richard McGregor).

    My analysis concurs with Mercouris - obviously the Chinese will not ditch Russia in almost any imaginable scenario, but they very much will exploit their position should Russia's relations with the West fracture further.
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  86. Pericles says:
    @Philip Owen
    Speaking about the Russian private sector, I see in day to day business that there is a substantial shortage of capital that even Chinese culture funds cannot alleviate. The Americans in particular are policing their sanctions very strictly. All dollar payments to through a correspondent bank in the US. These banks interpret the sanctions list very widely. The Russian government has had to respond by giving up transparency measures designed to reduce corruption such as publishing list of subcontractors in successful government tenders. (The US banks use these to identify potential sanctions breakers). This works to the favour of doing business in Russia in Pounds and Euro but nevertheless induces friction, particularly with large capital transfers. It means the Chinese can't do as much with their dollars as they would like.

    Aleppo was not Crimea or Donbass. Russia had a case in Aleppo. Proposed sanctions were US inspired politking. In Crimea and Donbass Russia was clearly a transgressor.

    Russia had a case in Aleppo. Proposed sanctions were US inspired politking. In Crimea and Donbass Russia was clearly a transgressor.

    Don’t forget Victoria Nuland and the engineered color coup before that. It would be naive to expect Russia to hand over Crimea or Donbass to an unfriendly government, much less a US puppet regime.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    You are naive. Read the Cablegate leaks on Wikipedia from the US Embassy in Kiev in 2004 before you swallow Russian nationalist propaganda uncontested. Also listen to the whole of Nuland's telephone call.
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  87. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @reiner Tor
    I don’t think the opinion that Russia broke no international treaties by occupying Crimea is tenable. I probably would’ve done the same thing, and of course they did it in the context of the US and NATO previously having broken international treaties and starting illegal wars in Europe and elsewhere, while pushing for further enlargement of NATO. But for what it’s worth, they still broke international law.

    Here’s what I wrote in a recent comment in another thread:

    The Russians broke

    - the UN Charter
    - the Helsinki Accords
    - the Belavezha Accords and the following Alma-Ata Protocols, which I think all affirmed the then extant last Soviet borders of the republics as the new international borders
    - the Partition Treaty on the Status and Condition of the Black Sea Fleet which I think re-affirmed the same
    - (I think even the Kharkiv Pact contained language repeating the terms of the Partition Treaty, i.e. affirming Ukraine’s borders and sovereignty etc.)
    - and of course the Budapest Memorandum, which was basically the weakest element of the whole, with no legal force (unlike the previous ones), but for what it was worth, it was still broken

    So would you prefer that Hungary, Poland, Czechia, East Germany had not acceded to NATO? Would you be ok with Hungary and Poland leaving NATO now?

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    In retrospect, yes, it’d probably be better if we didn’t join NATO. But obviously leaving it is not an option - I don’t want to be the only country in the neighborhood which is not in NATO.
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  88. Aly says:

    I think this will be the most wrong article Mr. Karlin wrote that i read, and i’m following his work for about a decade. I’m very surprised. My predictions are this will be shockingly wrong. But ok, everyone is wrong from time to time.
    1. Well, im not that pessimistic here, maybe because i’m not fully anti globalist, so i don’t see that much problems here. Also i think people are unrealistic here, or better they had unrealistic expectations.
    2. Maybe but even today i’ll bet on Republicans keeping both, and expanding in the Senate. There is a full year before elections so numbers now are meaningless. Also looking poll numbers at national level doesn’t make sense in USA, not even for House. Also there is a difference between registered and likely voters, and a lots of polls are making mistakes here. So all this prediction market, all that looks ridiculous to me. It’s possible but unlikely, also tax cuts will be hugly popular.
    3. Ridiculous. Victory leads to victory, and tax cuts and Obamacare mandate repeal will move Republicans closer to Trump. Also some anti Trump senators will be, or out of Senat in a year, or will be closer to primary in 2020 so will have to think about that.
    5. Russiagate crap colapses in a couple of months, maybe even earlier, backfires on Democrats.
    6. Probably no, also in some cases (like North Korea, or even Iran) that would not be wrong policy from USA, Western and i would say civilizational interests.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Thanks.

    These are not so much predictions as a worst case ("blackpill") scenario. My main point is that I think it is plausible, not that it will happen.

    That said:

    Russiagate crap colapses in a couple of months, maybe even earlier, backfires on Democrats.
     
    I have been following many people who keep saying that, including those I respect such as Patrick Armstrong and Mercouris, and this has yet to happen. Much like the Europeans are supposed to easen sanctions against Russia every other half year. Again: Zip, zilch, nada.

    Frankly I think dynamics other than "reality" are at play here.
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  89. @reiner Tor
    It would make it more expensive, and of course Putin could always get the market back by cutting his prices. If Russia was punished by Iran-style sanctions, it could retaliate that way by inflicting at least a little pain on Europe.

    The market wouldn’t come back without a large reduction in prices. At least enough for large scale gas storage projects to be put into place.. (refilling old gas fields). Reliability matters.

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  90. @Pericles

    Russia had a case in Aleppo. Proposed sanctions were US inspired politking. In Crimea and Donbass Russia was clearly a transgressor.

     

    Don't forget Victoria Nuland and the engineered color coup before that. It would be naive to expect Russia to hand over Crimea or Donbass to an unfriendly government, much less a US puppet regime.

    You are naive. Read the Cablegate leaks on Wikipedia from the US Embassy in Kiev in 2004 before you swallow Russian nationalist propaganda uncontested. Also listen to the whole of Nuland’s telephone call.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Also listen to the whole of Nuland’s telephone call.
     
    And what is so important or revealing in this call?
    , @Swedish Family

    You are naive. Read the Cablegate leaks on Wikipedia from the US Embassy in Kiev in 2004 before you swallow Russian nationalist propaganda uncontested.
     
    Would you mind giving us a short summary of them?
    , @Mikel

    listen to the whole of Nuland’s telephone call.
     
    OK. Let's go here: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26079957

    and extract a few excerpts:

    Pyatt: ...I'm glad you sort of put him on the spot on where he fits in this scenario. And I'm very glad that he said what he said in response.
    Nuland: Good. I don't think Klitsch should go into the government. I don't think it's necessary, I don't think it's a good idea.
    Pyatt: Yeah. I guess... in terms of him not going into the government, just let him stay out and do his political homework and stuff.
    ...
    Nuland: [Breaks in] I think Yats is the guy who's got the economic experience, the governing experience.
    ...
    Pyatt: Yeah, no, I think that's right. OK. Good. Do you want us to set up a call with him as the next step?


    I'm not sure what point exactly you're trying to make. But surely you're not denying that the US considered it its duty to interfere in Ukrainian politics and try to design a replacement to its government, are you?

    BTW, not long after this conversation "Yats" became indeed Prime Minister, the recently elected President (under OSCE-sanctioned democratic elections) lost power and a new pro-West Government succeeded it.

    I'm not saying that Yanukovich was not a crook and all that. But I've never understood what national US national interest was served by supporting the Maidan uprising in far away Ukraine and what knowledge of the Ukrainian society the US officials who tried to engineer this regime change thought that they had.
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  91. @Anon
    So would you prefer that Hungary, Poland, Czechia, East Germany had not acceded to NATO? Would you be ok with Hungary and Poland leaving NATO now?

    In retrospect, yes, it’d probably be better if we didn’t join NATO. But obviously leaving it is not an option – I don’t want to be the only country in the neighborhood which is not in NATO.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser
    Serbia is not in your neighborhood?
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  92. @Philip Owen
    You are naive. Read the Cablegate leaks on Wikipedia from the US Embassy in Kiev in 2004 before you swallow Russian nationalist propaganda uncontested. Also listen to the whole of Nuland's telephone call.

    Also listen to the whole of Nuland’s telephone call.

    And what is so important or revealing in this call?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    You make my point.
    , @Philip Owen
    Her proposed intervention was a speech by Kerry. That was everything.
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  93. @Mitleser

    Tillerson is still around, and articles such as the one below from Politico suggest that current policies are still more realpolitik than Obama’s militaristic humanism. My take on the article is that Trump will look the other way when his allies go medieval on their subjects but will go after his enemies for doing likewise.
     
    Obama's policy was no different, see support of Saudi-Arabia and friends in Bahrain and Yemen and acceptance of the coup in Egypt and hostility and war against the rulers of Libya and Syria for their attempts to defeat the insurgents.

    Obama’s policy was no different, see support of Saudi-Arabia and friends in Bahrain and Yemen and acceptance of the coup in Egypt and hostility and war against the rulers of Libya and Syria for their attempts to defeat the insurgents.

    True, but it’s still comforting to have it stated so plainly that these “color revolutions” are power plays rather than the result of ideological evangelism.

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  94. By the way the Trump administration just approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    By the way the Trump administration just approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine.
     
    Mostly sniper rifles--no biggy. Any serious so called lethal weaponry such as Javelins makes to Ukraine, LDNR suddenly will obtain a viable Air Force. That is how it works. Small arms were floating to Ukraine anyway.
    , @Swedish Family

    By the way the Trump administration just approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine.
     
    I don't believe this makes much of a difference. The fundamental error with the argument that Kiev will attempt a third attack is that it assumes that the people in power are ready to accept a foregone defeat and tens of thousands of losses merely to force Russia to intervene overtly. This sounds deeply irrational to me, and that's no good assumption to begin an argument with.
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  95. @Philip Owen
    You are naive. Read the Cablegate leaks on Wikipedia from the US Embassy in Kiev in 2004 before you swallow Russian nationalist propaganda uncontested. Also listen to the whole of Nuland's telephone call.

    You are naive. Read the Cablegate leaks on Wikipedia from the US Embassy in Kiev in 2004 before you swallow Russian nationalist propaganda uncontested.

    Would you mind giving us a short summary of them?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    The US reluctantly paid slightly less than $100,000 to fund an exit poll. That was the full extent of political interference. It occured after the campaign and vote.
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  96. @reiner Tor
    By the way the Trump administration just approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine.

    By the way the Trump administration just approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine.

    Mostly sniper rifles–no biggy. Any serious so called lethal weaponry such as Javelins makes to Ukraine, LDNR suddenly will obtain a viable Air Force. That is how it works. Small arms were floating to Ukraine anyway.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Looks like we'll soon see a test of this prediction.
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  97. @reiner Tor
    By the way the Trump administration just approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine.

    By the way the Trump administration just approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine.

    I don’t believe this makes much of a difference. The fundamental error with the argument that Kiev will attempt a third attack is that it assumes that the people in power are ready to accept a foregone defeat and tens of thousands of losses merely to force Russia to intervene overtly. This sounds deeply irrational to me, and that’s no good assumption to begin an argument with.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    You're probably right. I think that the Ukrainians are just steadily improving their defensive posture, and will be content with the current status quo. The Donbas will remain a quagmire that nobody wants to acquire, for the costs to rebuild and defend the area are not worth the expense. Sooner or later, those in the Donbas that thought that 'Mother Russia'was going to subsidize them, like in the Crimea, are going to wake up to the reality that they've been abandoned. Ukraine will eventually resume control of the area, as it's still the one paying government pension payouts. I think that this will ultimately seal the area's fate:

    He who pays the piper calls the tune.
     
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  98. Mitleser says:
    @reiner Tor
    In retrospect, yes, it’d probably be better if we didn’t join NATO. But obviously leaving it is not an option - I don’t want to be the only country in the neighborhood which is not in NATO.

    Serbia is not in your neighborhood?

    Read More
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  99. Mr. Hack says:
    @Swedish Family

    By the way the Trump administration just approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine.
     
    I don't believe this makes much of a difference. The fundamental error with the argument that Kiev will attempt a third attack is that it assumes that the people in power are ready to accept a foregone defeat and tens of thousands of losses merely to force Russia to intervene overtly. This sounds deeply irrational to me, and that's no good assumption to begin an argument with.

    You’re probably right. I think that the Ukrainians are just steadily improving their defensive posture, and will be content with the current status quo. The Donbas will remain a quagmire that nobody wants to acquire, for the costs to rebuild and defend the area are not worth the expense. Sooner or later, those in the Donbas that thought that ‘Mother Russia’was going to subsidize them, like in the Crimea, are going to wake up to the reality that they’ve been abandoned. Ukraine will eventually resume control of the area, as it’s still the one paying government pension payouts. I think that this will ultimately seal the area’s fate:

    He who pays the piper calls the tune.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Gerard2

    Ukraine will eventually resume control of the area, as it’s still the one paying government pension payouts
     
    ....but they only pay after they have forced them to travel out of the area to collect the pension you brainless dickhead. This is opposite to the Chechen war where Russia paid all social payments inside the area, not force them to make dangerous and time-consuming journeys out of where they live, you idiot

    As for them "resume control of the area" this is just brainless fantasy and idiocy.


    will remain a quagmire that nobody wants to acquire
     
    Projection...you must surely be talking about Ukraine you brainless imbecile. A minimal amount of money flowing into ukropia from the west you idiot, an American vassal-state that routinely humiliates itself. A temporary-visa allowing travel to Europe that doesn't include the UK, and is a waste of time because so few Ukrainians can afford to travel to most of the EU countries in this period without bakrupting themselves. A catastrophic 16% collapse in GDP, when you consider that less than 4% of the Ukrainian territory is under war( yes Donbass is a great and important area, but that still doesn't explain this level of economic collapse), Libya and Syria have performed significantly better when you consider nearly all of its major cities were under war (supported by the financial and military clout of the west ,Turkey,Qatar and Saudi Arabia)...and chaos for 5-6 years, yes they have had economic collapse, but less than net 60% GDP collapse, still compares favourably to Ukraine you dipshit.

    Family in Russia, remittances, trade from Donbass to Russia and so on.....these are other things a cretin like you also misses
    , @Anatoly Karlin

    Ukraine will eventually resume control of the area, as it’s still the one paying government pension payouts.
     
    No, it's not. Well, it is, sort of, but collecting those pensions involves traveling to Ukraine-occupied territories, which is a huge hassle.

    That said, I am less optimistic on the Kremlin's degree of long-term commitment to Donbass than many Russophiles.
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  100. Gerard2 says:
    @Mr. Hack
    You're probably right. I think that the Ukrainians are just steadily improving their defensive posture, and will be content with the current status quo. The Donbas will remain a quagmire that nobody wants to acquire, for the costs to rebuild and defend the area are not worth the expense. Sooner or later, those in the Donbas that thought that 'Mother Russia'was going to subsidize them, like in the Crimea, are going to wake up to the reality that they've been abandoned. Ukraine will eventually resume control of the area, as it's still the one paying government pension payouts. I think that this will ultimately seal the area's fate:

    He who pays the piper calls the tune.
     

    Ukraine will eventually resume control of the area, as it’s still the one paying government pension payouts

    ….but they only pay after they have forced them to travel out of the area to collect the pension you brainless dickhead. This is opposite to the Chechen war where Russia paid all social payments inside the area, not force them to make dangerous and time-consuming journeys out of where they live, you idiot

    As for them “resume control of the area” this is just brainless fantasy and idiocy.

    [MORE]

    will remain a quagmire that nobody wants to acquire

    Projection…you must surely be talking about Ukraine you brainless imbecile. A minimal amount of money flowing into ukropia from the west you idiot, an American vassal-state that routinely humiliates itself. A temporary-visa allowing travel to Europe that doesn’t include the UK, and is a waste of time because so few Ukrainians can afford to travel to most of the EU countries in this period without bakrupting themselves. A catastrophic 16% collapse in GDP, when you consider that less than 4% of the Ukrainian territory is under war( yes Donbass is a great and important area, but that still doesn’t explain this level of economic collapse), Libya and Syria have performed significantly better when you consider nearly all of its major cities were under war (supported by the financial and military clout of the west ,Turkey,Qatar and Saudi Arabia)…and chaos for 5-6 years, yes they have had economic collapse, but less than net 60% GDP collapse, still compares favourably to Ukraine you dipshit.

    Family in Russia, remittances, trade from Donbass to Russia and so on…..these are other things a cretin like you also misses

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack

    braineless dickhead...idiot...brainles imbecile...dipshit...cretin
     
    Hey Anatoly, I thought that you were trying to curtail this sort of 'srach' type banter. Didn't you just warn this overly enthusiastic expert in international affairs to cut the 'srach' just yesterday? And how many times previously?

    AK: I do not live on this blog 24/7.
    , @AP

    A catastrophic 16% collapse in GDP
     
    For Russian nationalists, it's always 2015 in Ukraine.

    In 2016 it was 14% lower than 2013. In 2017 its projected to be about 12% lower.

    These figures are total, not per capita. Keep in mind that Ukraine lost about 10% of its population due to losing Crimea and urban Donbas. So a loss of 10% of population but only 12% of GDP by 2017 means that per capita Ukraine is close to where it was in 2013 in 2017.

    Here's Ukraine GDP PPP per capita; it includes 2017:

    https://knoema.com/atlas/Ukraine/GDP-per-capita-based-on-PPP

    Almost caught up in 2017. Will do so in 2018.

    you consider that less than 4% of the Ukrainian territory is under war
     
    And Moscow City is .0001% of Russian territory, so must hardly matters for the country.

    Libya and Syria have performed significantly better when you consider nearly all of its major cities were under war (supported by the financial and military clout of the west ,Turkey,Qatar and Saudi Arabia)…and chaos for 5-6 years, yes they have had economic collapse, but less than net 60% GDP collapse
     
    1. Ukraine's nominal GDP collapsed 50%, not 60% by 2015 (it's always 2015 in Ukraine for Russian nationalists):

    https://tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/gdp

    Meanwhile Russia's nominal GDP collapsed 42% since 2013. Not much better.

    Libya had a 65% drop.

    2. Ukraine's decline in nominal GDP is an artifact of the currency collapse. Russia's currency also collapsed. If you think that net GDP is important, you must be horrified that Russia's per capita nominal GDP is currently lower than Romania's.
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  101. Mr. Hack says:
    @Gerard2

    Ukraine will eventually resume control of the area, as it’s still the one paying government pension payouts
     
    ....but they only pay after they have forced them to travel out of the area to collect the pension you brainless dickhead. This is opposite to the Chechen war where Russia paid all social payments inside the area, not force them to make dangerous and time-consuming journeys out of where they live, you idiot

    As for them "resume control of the area" this is just brainless fantasy and idiocy.


    will remain a quagmire that nobody wants to acquire
     
    Projection...you must surely be talking about Ukraine you brainless imbecile. A minimal amount of money flowing into ukropia from the west you idiot, an American vassal-state that routinely humiliates itself. A temporary-visa allowing travel to Europe that doesn't include the UK, and is a waste of time because so few Ukrainians can afford to travel to most of the EU countries in this period without bakrupting themselves. A catastrophic 16% collapse in GDP, when you consider that less than 4% of the Ukrainian territory is under war( yes Donbass is a great and important area, but that still doesn't explain this level of economic collapse), Libya and Syria have performed significantly better when you consider nearly all of its major cities were under war (supported by the financial and military clout of the west ,Turkey,Qatar and Saudi Arabia)...and chaos for 5-6 years, yes they have had economic collapse, but less than net 60% GDP collapse, still compares favourably to Ukraine you dipshit.

    Family in Russia, remittances, trade from Donbass to Russia and so on.....these are other things a cretin like you also misses

    braineless dickhead…idiot…brainles imbecile…dipshit…cretin

    Hey Anatoly, I thought that you were trying to curtail this sort of ‘srach’ type banter. Didn’t you just warn this overly enthusiastic expert in international affairs to cut the ‘srach’ just yesterday? And how many times previously?

    AK: I do not live on this blog 24/7.

    Read More
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  102. @Andrei Martyanov

    Also listen to the whole of Nuland’s telephone call.
     
    And what is so important or revealing in this call?

    You make my point.

    Read More
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  103. @Swedish Family

    You are naive. Read the Cablegate leaks on Wikipedia from the US Embassy in Kiev in 2004 before you swallow Russian nationalist propaganda uncontested.
     
    Would you mind giving us a short summary of them?

    The US reluctantly paid slightly less than $100,000 to fund an exit poll. That was the full extent of political interference. It occured after the campaign and vote.

    Read More
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  104. @Andrei Martyanov

    Also listen to the whole of Nuland’s telephone call.
     
    And what is so important or revealing in this call?

    Her proposed intervention was a speech by Kerry. That was everything.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Her proposed intervention was a speech by Kerry. That was everything.
     
    LOL. For starters, US Ukrainian so called "policy" had a lot more than some Kerry's speech and was based on a number of very serious:

    a) military-political considerations;
    b) endemic hatred of everything Russian in the Americana foreign policy establishment, especially its neocon part.

    The fact, that all those "plans" turned to crap is another issue altogether and has a lot to do with pathetic level of both global and Russia-related awareness in the US establishment, nowhere more so than in the issue of war.
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  105. @Philip Owen
    Her proposed intervention was a speech by Kerry. That was everything.

    Her proposed intervention was a speech by Kerry. That was everything.

    LOL. For starters, US Ukrainian so called “policy” had a lot more than some Kerry’s speech and was based on a number of very serious:

    a) military-political considerations;
    b) endemic hatred of everything Russian in the Americana foreign policy establishment, especially its neocon part.

    The fact, that all those “plans” turned to crap is another issue altogether and has a lot to do with pathetic level of both global and Russia-related awareness in the US establishment, nowhere more so than in the issue of war.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    Facts don't matter to fanatics.
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  106. AP says:
    @Gerard2

    Ukraine will eventually resume control of the area, as it’s still the one paying government pension payouts
     
    ....but they only pay after they have forced them to travel out of the area to collect the pension you brainless dickhead. This is opposite to the Chechen war where Russia paid all social payments inside the area, not force them to make dangerous and time-consuming journeys out of where they live, you idiot

    As for them "resume control of the area" this is just brainless fantasy and idiocy.


    will remain a quagmire that nobody wants to acquire
     
    Projection...you must surely be talking about Ukraine you brainless imbecile. A minimal amount of money flowing into ukropia from the west you idiot, an American vassal-state that routinely humiliates itself. A temporary-visa allowing travel to Europe that doesn't include the UK, and is a waste of time because so few Ukrainians can afford to travel to most of the EU countries in this period without bakrupting themselves. A catastrophic 16% collapse in GDP, when you consider that less than 4% of the Ukrainian territory is under war( yes Donbass is a great and important area, but that still doesn't explain this level of economic collapse), Libya and Syria have performed significantly better when you consider nearly all of its major cities were under war (supported by the financial and military clout of the west ,Turkey,Qatar and Saudi Arabia)...and chaos for 5-6 years, yes they have had economic collapse, but less than net 60% GDP collapse, still compares favourably to Ukraine you dipshit.

    Family in Russia, remittances, trade from Donbass to Russia and so on.....these are other things a cretin like you also misses

    A catastrophic 16% collapse in GDP

    For Russian nationalists, it’s always 2015 in Ukraine.

    In 2016 it was 14% lower than 2013. In 2017 its projected to be about 12% lower.

    These figures are total, not per capita. Keep in mind that Ukraine lost about 10% of its population due to losing Crimea and urban Donbas. So a loss of 10% of population but only 12% of GDP by 2017 means that per capita Ukraine is close to where it was in 2013 in 2017.

    Here’s Ukraine GDP PPP per capita; it includes 2017:

    https://knoema.com/atlas/Ukraine/GDP-per-capita-based-on-PPP

    Almost caught up in 2017. Will do so in 2018.

    you consider that less than 4% of the Ukrainian territory is under war

    And Moscow City is .0001% of Russian territory, so must hardly matters for the country.

    Libya and Syria have performed significantly better when you consider nearly all of its major cities were under war (supported by the financial and military clout of the west ,Turkey,Qatar and Saudi Arabia)…and chaos for 5-6 years, yes they have had economic collapse, but less than net 60% GDP collapse

    1. Ukraine’s nominal GDP collapsed 50%, not 60% by 2015 (it’s always 2015 in Ukraine for Russian nationalists):

    https://tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/gdp

    Meanwhile Russia’s nominal GDP collapsed 42% since 2013. Not much better.

    Libya had a 65% drop.

    2. Ukraine’s decline in nominal GDP is an artifact of the currency collapse. Russia’s currency also collapsed. If you think that net GDP is important, you must be horrified that Russia’s per capita nominal GDP is currently lower than Romania’s.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jon0815

    Ukraine’s nominal GDP collapsed 50%, not 60% by 2015 (it’s always 2015 in Ukraine for Russian nationalists):

    Meanwhile Russia’s nominal GDP collapsed 42% since 2013. Not much better.
     

    Except that Russia's fall in nominal GDP was an inevitable correction after a 1000% increase from 2000-2013 ( a bigger % increase than China over the same period), which was driven largely by the bursting of the oil price bubble. Whereas Ukraine's nominal GDP collapse was self-inflicted.

    Even post-correction, Russian per capita GDP is still 600% larger than it was when Putin took office. And it's likely that Russia will return to its nominal 2014 level before Ukraine does.

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  107. @Andrei Martyanov

    Her proposed intervention was a speech by Kerry. That was everything.
     
    LOL. For starters, US Ukrainian so called "policy" had a lot more than some Kerry's speech and was based on a number of very serious:

    a) military-political considerations;
    b) endemic hatred of everything Russian in the Americana foreign policy establishment, especially its neocon part.

    The fact, that all those "plans" turned to crap is another issue altogether and has a lot to do with pathetic level of both global and Russia-related awareness in the US establishment, nowhere more so than in the issue of war.

    Facts don’t matter to fanatics.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Facts don’t matter to fanatics.
     
    Is that the best you can do? Dude, you are reportedly living in Russia, you have once in a while some sensible ideas on it, but your awareness of Russia, in a sense, what and how it works is surprisingly limited. If this nonsensical response of yours about "fanatics" is the best you can do, man, talk about the Decline of Western Civilization (figuratively and literally), when one responds with equivalent of famous Russian "Sam Durak". Moreover, you ideas about the West itself are so perverted and delusional that one has to ask a question: Dude, how do you even operate in this world without going completely mental or is delusions is great and serves as a defensive mechanism? Yes, American neocons are nice people who want the spread of democracy all over the world, LOL.
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  108. @Philip Owen
    Facts don't matter to fanatics.

    Facts don’t matter to fanatics.

    Is that the best you can do? Dude, you are reportedly living in Russia, you have once in a while some sensible ideas on it, but your awareness of Russia, in a sense, what and how it works is surprisingly limited. If this nonsensical response of yours about “fanatics” is the best you can do, man, talk about the Decline of Western Civilization (figuratively and literally), when one responds with equivalent of famous Russian “Sam Durak”. Moreover, you ideas about the West itself are so perverted and delusional that one has to ask a question: Dude, how do you even operate in this world without going completely mental or is delusions is great and serves as a defensive mechanism? Yes, American neocons are nice people who want the spread of democracy all over the world, LOL.

    Read More
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  109. Randal says:

    Meanwhile, pressure on Iran and China will be let up, leaving Russia more isolated;

    Putin in September:

    Mr Putin said: “Sanctions of any kind would now be useless and ineffective.

    “They’d rather eat grass than abandon their [nuclear weapons] programme unless they feel secure. And what can establish security? The restoration of international law. We should promote dialogue among all interested parties.”

    Citing a “humanitarian aspect”, Mr Putin said millions of people would suffer under tougher measures, adding: “Sanctions have been exhausted.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-41158281

    Putin was absolutely correct about that. The direction of any pressure ought to have been upon the US to get it to drop its menacing posture and aggressive interference. But today:

    UN slaps fresh sanctions on North Korea

    Putin has just reinforced Russia’s reputation for unreliability in resisting US aggression, and effectively conceded the US regime’s dishonest claim that NK is to blame for the confrontation.

    There can be only two outcomes from the path he has just set the world upon by failing to veto this resolution (and the Chinese share the blame for it) – a NK surrender to US pressure, which he has previously said would not happen, rewarding US aggression, or continued NK resistance inflicting huge suffering upon the NK population and ending in either a war of aggression by the US or a collapse of NK into some kind of bloody anarchy.

    Remember, the basic truth underlying this whole situation is that NK is a sovereign state that is inherently entitled to pursue weapons effective for its own defence, and the only reason it is pursuing nuclear weapons that can hit the US is because of persistent and credible US threats to attack NK. The precedent being set here is that the US for some reason has the right top deny its enemies that basic freedom that is inherent to any state.

    That precedent might well come back to bite Russia and China.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The North Koreans are as much the enemies of China as they are enemies of the US. I personally agree with you and would let bygones be bygones, if I were the Chinese leadership, but the Chinese think differently. The Russians in this case have little incentive to oppose the Chinese. If they are willing to sacrifice North Korea (as Mitleser wrote, they might hope to replace Kim and let the US start the war for them), Russia has no reason to alone veto that and then face the wrath of the US along. Especially since they are already under a sanctions regime, unlike the Chinese.
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  110. @pyrrhus
    You are wrong because the Chinese leadership is far too intelligent to allow a split in its de facto alliance with Russia. Russia, after all, has more nukes than anyone, and better conventional forces as well....Furthermore, the Chinese Army has much more influence on policy than you seem to think, with a leadership that is not under the direct control of the Party.

    The more “silovik” elements of the Chinese power structure are indeed more pro-Russian, but no, the Chinese Army is under the direct control of the Party – more so than in the USSR. (The Party, Richard McGregor).

    My analysis concurs with Mercouris – obviously the Chinese will not ditch Russia in almost any imaginable scenario, but they very much will exploit their position should Russia’s relations with the West fracture further.

    Read More
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  111. @Aly
    I think this will be the most wrong article Mr. Karlin wrote that i read, and i'm following his work for about a decade. I'm very surprised. My predictions are this will be shockingly wrong. But ok, everyone is wrong from time to time.
    1. Well, im not that pessimistic here, maybe because i'm not fully anti globalist, so i don't see that much problems here. Also i think people are unrealistic here, or better they had unrealistic expectations.
    2. Maybe but even today i'll bet on Republicans keeping both, and expanding in the Senate. There is a full year before elections so numbers now are meaningless. Also looking poll numbers at national level doesn't make sense in USA, not even for House. Also there is a difference between registered and likely voters, and a lots of polls are making mistakes here. So all this prediction market, all that looks ridiculous to me. It's possible but unlikely, also tax cuts will be hugly popular.
    3. Ridiculous. Victory leads to victory, and tax cuts and Obamacare mandate repeal will move Republicans closer to Trump. Also some anti Trump senators will be, or out of Senat in a year, or will be closer to primary in 2020 so will have to think about that.
    5. Russiagate crap colapses in a couple of months, maybe even earlier, backfires on Democrats.
    6. Probably no, also in some cases (like North Korea, or even Iran) that would not be wrong policy from USA, Western and i would say civilizational interests.

    Thanks.

    These are not so much predictions as a worst case (“blackpill”) scenario. My main point is that I think it is plausible, not that it will happen.

    That said:

    Russiagate crap colapses in a couple of months, maybe even earlier, backfires on Democrats.

    I have been following many people who keep saying that, including those I respect such as Patrick Armstrong and Mercouris, and this has yet to happen. Much like the Europeans are supposed to easen sanctions against Russia every other half year. Again: Zip, zilch, nada.

    Frankly I think dynamics other than “reality” are at play here.

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  112. @Mr. Hack
    You're probably right. I think that the Ukrainians are just steadily improving their defensive posture, and will be content with the current status quo. The Donbas will remain a quagmire that nobody wants to acquire, for the costs to rebuild and defend the area are not worth the expense. Sooner or later, those in the Donbas that thought that 'Mother Russia'was going to subsidize them, like in the Crimea, are going to wake up to the reality that they've been abandoned. Ukraine will eventually resume control of the area, as it's still the one paying government pension payouts. I think that this will ultimately seal the area's fate:

    He who pays the piper calls the tune.
     

    Ukraine will eventually resume control of the area, as it’s still the one paying government pension payouts.

    No, it’s not. Well, it is, sort of, but collecting those pensions involves traveling to Ukraine-occupied territories, which is a huge hassle.

    That said, I am less optimistic on the Kremlin’s degree of long-term commitment to Donbass than many Russophiles.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack

    Well, it is, sort of, but collecting those pensions involves traveling to Ukraine-occupied territories, which is a huge hassle.
     
    Looks like the seed of resolving the dilemma is within your response?...If you were one of the 'lucky' recipients of a Ukrainian pension check, would you be interested in seeing your monthly trip over the arbitrary war zone border end? Follow the money trail and you'll see how it all will eventually end. The Crimeans are ostensibly satisfied with their new improved pension payouts...I think that you get it.
    , @AP

    That said, I am less optimistic on the Kremlin’s degree of long-term commitment to Donbass than many Russophiles.
     
    Integrating Donbas will make it much easier for the Ukrainian government to continue shirking the necessity to do something about corruption. Yet another reason to hope that Donbas is not reintegrated.
    , @Jon0815

    No, it’s not. Well, it is, sort of, but collecting those pensions involves traveling to Ukraine-occupied territories, which is a huge hassle.
     
    The DNR also has its own pension fund, which is probably at least partially subsidized by Russia, although Russia denies it. According to the DNR news agency, that fund has paid more than 80 billion rubles since April 2015, and the average DNR monthly pension payment currently stands at 4,400 rubles, a 10% increase since Nov 2016 (the average monthly wage in the DNR has reportedly also risen 22% since August 2016, to 10,130 rubles).
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  113. Mitleser says:

    Remember, the basic truth underlying this whole situation is that NK is a sovereign state that is inherently entitled to pursue weapons effective for its own defence, and the only reason it is pursuing nuclear weapons that can hit the US is because of persistent and credible US threats to attack NK. The precedent being set here is that the US for some reason has the right top deny its enemies that basic freedom that is inherent to any state.

    That precedent might well come back to bite Russia and China.

    RF and PRC are also sovereign states.
    They have no reason not to punish the DPRK for being very uncooperative with everyone and testing Nork nukes near their borders and during their summits.
    Also, take into account that the nuclear Nork program is a great excuse for deploying THAAD in Korea, the re-militarization of Japan, the preservation of American military dominance in the RoK… which is against the interests of PRC and RF.
    KJU’s DPRK is a problem for both sides.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal
    Putin's position (jointly with China) back in September was absolutely correct, and nothing has changed to make it incorrect now.

    In the long run the Russian and Chinese objective over NK should be to change the narrative to reflect the reality that the whole problem is caused by US aggression and menace towards NK, and that is how they should be approaching it with Japan and SK in particular.

    That seemed to be the approach they were taking a few months ago. Now they have stepped back from that. The result of this latest resolution is that the process is back on a track that can only end with a NK surrender to US pressure, NK collapse, or a US war which Russia and China have again helped to justify with the position they have adopted.

    Now it's possible China or Russia have concluded that they can benefit from another US war of aggression because the costs will be high and the US will get the blame while they can perhaps reap some positional advantages. If so, that's a dangerous game they are playing because they are also helping to create the justification the US will use for that war and it might well be that the US can obfuscate sufficiently to get enough blame for the war attributed to the NKs to come out ahead in the region, at least with the Japanese government (SK will likely be under direct US military "influence" in the immediate aftermath of a war). It would be a high stakes gamble, involving huge destruction and loss of life, and the risk of truly catastrophic losses.

    Myself I doubt the scenario painted that has China hoping for war, because contrary to the suggestion the NKs are not seen by China as "enemies" but rather as awkward neighbours, despite NK refusal to let the Chinese infiltrate their elite too far. China certainly would rather not have a nuclear armed Korea, but I think they can live with it and they'd prefer that to a war now, even one that left them in direct control of a rump NK.

    Admittedly the story about Chinese refugee camps being set up tends to suggest they expect trouble, but that could equally just be a wise precaution given US bellicosity.

    Bottom line, to me it looks like it's just another case of Russia and China failing to maintain the aim of controlling US aggression.
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  114. Mitleser says:

    Re:DPRK

    Given the commentary by retired PLA officials, it’s more likely that the PLA would move to snatch and grab Pyongyang and everything north of it as a buffer state. This poses rather significant problems for South Korea and the US. Namely that although 80% of the Best Korean military is parked on the DMZ, 80% of their economy and 80% of their nuke/poison gas factories either are in Pyongyang or North of it.

    A likely end game for an allied attack on Best Korea is the US and South Korea bogged down fighting like 80% of the North Korean army while China runs off with 80% of the loot and then probably expels all the refugees to South Korea or the US anyways.

    For reference of how obnoxious that would be in dollar terms, the reunification of East and West Germany cost around $1.5 trillion and the Iraq war cost $1.2 trillion. Going off those two figures and how Best Korea probably isn’t as shitty at fighting as Iraq considering they trained Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and is way poorer relative to South Korea than East Germany was to West Germany, you’re probably looking at like a $5 trillion price tag for Korean War II.

    And that’s generously assuming no one tries to pull MacArthur Marches to the Yalu: Electric Boogaloo and brings China and the two army groups they have parked across the border into the war.

    https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/unconfirmed-china-building-network-of-refugee-camps-along-border-with-north-korea.595798/page-2

    That is why supporting the DPRK is not essential for China/Russia.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Another point is that the North Korean nukes threaten China just as much as South Korea or Japan, and if the US started such a war, they might actually hope that the North Koreans will nuke Japan and perhaps even the USA. They might actually use up all the nukes they have. That way the enemies of the Chinese will be greatly weakened, the Chinese will get some first hand knowledge of American capabilities, while China will still be left with most of present North Korea as a client state (which it is currently not).
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  115. Mikel says:
    @Philip Owen
    You are naive. Read the Cablegate leaks on Wikipedia from the US Embassy in Kiev in 2004 before you swallow Russian nationalist propaganda uncontested. Also listen to the whole of Nuland's telephone call.

    listen to the whole of Nuland’s telephone call.

    OK. Let’s go here: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26079957

    and extract a few excerpts:

    Pyatt: …I’m glad you sort of put him on the spot on where he fits in this scenario. And I’m very glad that he said what he said in response.
    Nuland: Good. I don’t think Klitsch should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea.
    Pyatt: Yeah. I guess… in terms of him not going into the government, just let him stay out and do his political homework and stuff.

    Nuland: [Breaks in] I think Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience.

    Pyatt: Yeah, no, I think that’s right. OK. Good. Do you want us to set up a call with him as the next step?

    I’m not sure what point exactly you’re trying to make. But surely you’re not denying that the US considered it its duty to interfere in Ukrainian politics and try to design a replacement to its government, are you?

    BTW, not long after this conversation “Yats” became indeed Prime Minister, the recently elected President (under OSCE-sanctioned democratic elections) lost power and a new pro-West Government succeeded it.

    I’m not saying that Yanukovich was not a crook and all that. But I’ve never understood what national US national interest was served by supporting the Maidan uprising in far away Ukraine and what knowledge of the Ukrainian society the US officials who tried to engineer this regime change thought that they had.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    The whole phone call. Are you missing the point deliberately or because you accept one side unquestioningly?
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  116. @Andrei Martyanov

    By the way the Trump administration just approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine.
     
    Mostly sniper rifles--no biggy. Any serious so called lethal weaponry such as Javelins makes to Ukraine, LDNR suddenly will obtain a viable Air Force. That is how it works. Small arms were floating to Ukraine anyway.

    Looks like we’ll soon see a test of this prediction.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    Do you understand the difference between sales and aid?
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  117. Mr. Hack says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Ukraine will eventually resume control of the area, as it’s still the one paying government pension payouts.
     
    No, it's not. Well, it is, sort of, but collecting those pensions involves traveling to Ukraine-occupied territories, which is a huge hassle.

    That said, I am less optimistic on the Kremlin's degree of long-term commitment to Donbass than many Russophiles.

    Well, it is, sort of, but collecting those pensions involves traveling to Ukraine-occupied territories, which is a huge hassle.

    Looks like the seed of resolving the dilemma is within your response?…If you were one of the ‘lucky’ recipients of a Ukrainian pension check, would you be interested in seeing your monthly trip over the arbitrary war zone border end? Follow the money trail and you’ll see how it all will eventually end. The Crimeans are ostensibly satisfied with their new improved pension payouts…I think that you get it.

    Read More
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  118. @Mikel

    listen to the whole of Nuland’s telephone call.
     
    OK. Let's go here: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26079957

    and extract a few excerpts:

    Pyatt: ...I'm glad you sort of put him on the spot on where he fits in this scenario. And I'm very glad that he said what he said in response.
    Nuland: Good. I don't think Klitsch should go into the government. I don't think it's necessary, I don't think it's a good idea.
    Pyatt: Yeah. I guess... in terms of him not going into the government, just let him stay out and do his political homework and stuff.
    ...
    Nuland: [Breaks in] I think Yats is the guy who's got the economic experience, the governing experience.
    ...
    Pyatt: Yeah, no, I think that's right. OK. Good. Do you want us to set up a call with him as the next step?


    I'm not sure what point exactly you're trying to make. But surely you're not denying that the US considered it its duty to interfere in Ukrainian politics and try to design a replacement to its government, are you?

    BTW, not long after this conversation "Yats" became indeed Prime Minister, the recently elected President (under OSCE-sanctioned democratic elections) lost power and a new pro-West Government succeeded it.

    I'm not saying that Yanukovich was not a crook and all that. But I've never understood what national US national interest was served by supporting the Maidan uprising in far away Ukraine and what knowledge of the Ukrainian society the US officials who tried to engineer this regime change thought that they had.

    The whole phone call. Are you missing the point deliberately or because you accept one side unquestioningly?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mikel
    No, I am really and honestly missing your point. Would you be so kind and clarify it for me?

    I don't doubt your point is somewhere there, in the whole phone call you enigmatically keep mentioning but nobody in the thread has so far been able to decipher it. Why do you insist in not making it explicit?

    BTW, the fact that I took the trouble to google that phone call and choose the BBC account of it (hopefully good enough for you) should prove that I am willing to entertain your point of view.
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  119. Mikel says:
    @Philip Owen
    The whole phone call. Are you missing the point deliberately or because you accept one side unquestioningly?

    No, I am really and honestly missing your point. Would you be so kind and clarify it for me?

    I don’t doubt your point is somewhere there, in the whole phone call you enigmatically keep mentioning but nobody in the thread has so far been able to decipher it. Why do you insist in not making it explicit?

    BTW, the fact that I took the trouble to google that phone call and choose the BBC account of it (hopefully good enough for you) should prove that I am willing to entertain your point of view.

    Read More
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  120. @Anatoly Karlin
    Looks like we'll soon see a test of this prediction.

    Do you understand the difference between sales and aid?

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Why does it matter? You wrote that

    “Mostly sniper rifles–no biggy. Any serious so called lethal weaponry such as Javelins makes to Ukraine, LDNR suddenly will obtain a viable Air Force. That is how it works. Small arms were floating to Ukraine anyway.”

    Now that it turns out that Javelins are indeed going to flow to Ukraine, your prediction will be tested. Unless you’re moving the goalposts.
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  121. AP says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Ukraine will eventually resume control of the area, as it’s still the one paying government pension payouts.
     
    No, it's not. Well, it is, sort of, but collecting those pensions involves traveling to Ukraine-occupied territories, which is a huge hassle.

    That said, I am less optimistic on the Kremlin's degree of long-term commitment to Donbass than many Russophiles.

    That said, I am less optimistic on the Kremlin’s degree of long-term commitment to Donbass than many Russophiles.

    Integrating Donbas will make it much easier for the Ukrainian government to continue shirking the necessity to do something about corruption. Yet another reason to hope that Donbas is not reintegrated.

    Read More
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  122. @Andrei Martyanov
    Do you understand the difference between sales and aid?

    Why does it matter? You wrote that

    “Mostly sniper rifles–no biggy. Any serious so called lethal weaponry such as Javelins makes to Ukraine, LDNR suddenly will obtain a viable Air Force. That is how it works. Small arms were floating to Ukraine anyway.”

    Now that it turns out that Javelins are indeed going to flow to Ukraine, your prediction will be tested. Unless you’re moving the goalposts.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    Now that it turns out that Javelins are indeed going to flow to Ukraine
     
    Will they? Source is another anonymous source.

    President Donald Trump is expected to announce his approval of a plan to sell anti-tank missiles to the Ukrainian government
     

    If the president formally signs off, the plan will be presented to Congress for a 30 day review period where it would need to be approved before the State Department can implement it.
     

    “We have nothing to announce at this time,” National Security Council spokesperson Marc Raimondi told ABC News.
     
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    your prediction will be tested.
     
    Prediction of WHAT?

    Now to a substance, I don't know what is the deal with reading comprehension here but I do not "predict" things, I gladly leave this activity to people such as Karlin and others, who think (wrongly) that they have a clue. I deal in contingencies (a range of outcomes)--this is has nothing to do with "prediction". You want a "prediction"? OK, here it is--Javelins or whatever else floats into Ukraine (which is yet to be seen):

    a) It will not have major impact on the situation on the front;
    b) Life of US troops may get more complicated, say in Afghanistan, among may other possibilities.

    If you have any doubts about "predictions"--here are some of my opinions forwarded 4 months ago precisely on the issue.

    http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2017/08/so-will-donbass-forces-get-iskanders.html

    I hope you understand that reference to LDNR Air Force was written with sarcasm?
    , @The Kulak
    Kornet ATGMs, which proved deadly and demoralizing against Israel's vaunted Merkavas and will simply fry older T64s and UAF blockposts, will be the LDPR 'air force'. I doubt they get kamikaze drones of the type the Azeris tried to use without much success against the Armenian/Ngorno Karabkh forces as those aren't in the UAF arsenal. Neither are Kornets but after Javelins Putin isn't going to fail to follow through on his threat that LDPR could supply arms to other parts of Ukraine. Which is bad news if you're a Right Sector Nazi in TransCarpathia or one of the known perps of the Odessa Massacre who got off not wanting to be car bombed or machine gunned outside your apartment building.

    For the Russia will abandon Donbass any day now/victory is inevitable for the glorious greater Galicia flag wavers here, I noticed the hits on Givi and Motorola type leaders stopped after Plotnitsky was checked and a UAF general had a 'heart attack' in his Kiev office and an SBU commander died in a Mariupol car bombing. Tit for tat discourages being cannon fodder for Uncle Sam when it's not just some poor dumb bastard from Vinnitsya but a general or SBU in regular contact with Pentagon leaders or CIA getting killed by the LDPR partisans.

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  123. @Randal

    Meanwhile, pressure on Iran and China will be let up, leaving Russia more isolated;
     
    Putin in September:

    Mr Putin said: "Sanctions of any kind would now be useless and ineffective.

    "They'd rather eat grass than abandon their [nuclear weapons] programme unless they feel secure. And what can establish security? The restoration of international law. We should promote dialogue among all interested parties."

    Citing a "humanitarian aspect", Mr Putin said millions of people would suffer under tougher measures, adding: "Sanctions have been exhausted."
     

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-41158281

    Putin was absolutely correct about that. The direction of any pressure ought to have been upon the US to get it to drop its menacing posture and aggressive interference. But today:

    UN slaps fresh sanctions on North Korea

    Putin has just reinforced Russia's reputation for unreliability in resisting US aggression, and effectively conceded the US regime's dishonest claim that NK is to blame for the confrontation.

    There can be only two outcomes from the path he has just set the world upon by failing to veto this resolution (and the Chinese share the blame for it) - a NK surrender to US pressure, which he has previously said would not happen, rewarding US aggression, or continued NK resistance inflicting huge suffering upon the NK population and ending in either a war of aggression by the US or a collapse of NK into some kind of bloody anarchy.

    Remember, the basic truth underlying this whole situation is that NK is a sovereign state that is inherently entitled to pursue weapons effective for its own defence, and the only reason it is pursuing nuclear weapons that can hit the US is because of persistent and credible US threats to attack NK. The precedent being set here is that the US for some reason has the right top deny its enemies that basic freedom that is inherent to any state.

    That precedent might well come back to bite Russia and China.

    The North Koreans are as much the enemies of China as they are enemies of the US. I personally agree with you and would let bygones be bygones, if I were the Chinese leadership, but the Chinese think differently. The Russians in this case have little incentive to oppose the Chinese. If they are willing to sacrifice North Korea (as Mitleser wrote, they might hope to replace Kim and let the US start the war for them), Russia has no reason to alone veto that and then face the wrath of the US along. Especially since they are already under a sanctions regime, unlike the Chinese.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    Russia has no reason to alone veto that and then face the wrath of the US along. Especially since they are already under a sanctions regime, unlike the Chinese.
     
    It is not the "wrath of the US" that is the issue, but the wish not to alienate Japan and the RoK.

    https://twitter.com/JamesDJBrown/status/941933862103416832
    , @Randal
    See reply to Mitleser above.

    I don't think it's correct to characterise the Chinese and NK as enemies, even if there is currently a lot of friction. Nor do I get the impression China wants any wars at the moment.

    I think this represents short-sighted horse-trading by the Russians and Chinese (Johnson was in Russia just the other day, where they were "agreeing" on the need to cooperate on UN action over NK), and as I wrote above, I think it's a failure to maintain the aim. They were right a few months ago and the view they expressed then is still right, but now they are doing what Putin said would be "useless".

    The ideal response imo would have been a joint Chinese and Russian veto combined with another high profile statement that it is US menaces which are pushing NK towards nuclear deterrence. It's an opportunity missed and a reward for US aggression. Appeasing the US will not end well. In addition, these new sanctions will be use as a rod against any future Chinese and Russian involvement in NK.

    Seems the Russians learned nothing from the Libya UNSC resolution affair.
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  124. @Mitleser
    Re:DPRK

    Given the commentary by retired PLA officials, it's more likely that the PLA would move to snatch and grab Pyongyang and everything north of it as a buffer state. This poses rather significant problems for South Korea and the US. Namely that although 80% of the Best Korean military is parked on the DMZ, 80% of their economy and 80% of their nuke/poison gas factories either are in Pyongyang or North of it.

    A likely end game for an allied attack on Best Korea is the US and South Korea bogged down fighting like 80% of the North Korean army while China runs off with 80% of the loot and then probably expels all the refugees to South Korea or the US anyways.

    For reference of how obnoxious that would be in dollar terms, the reunification of East and West Germany cost around $1.5 trillion and the Iraq war cost $1.2 trillion. Going off those two figures and how Best Korea probably isn't as shitty at fighting as Iraq considering they trained Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and is way poorer relative to South Korea than East Germany was to West Germany, you're probably looking at like a $5 trillion price tag for Korean War II.

    And that's generously assuming no one tries to pull MacArthur Marches to the Yalu: Electric Boogaloo and brings China and the two army groups they have parked across the border into the war.
     
    https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/unconfirmed-china-building-network-of-refugee-camps-along-border-with-north-korea.595798/page-2

    That is why supporting the DPRK is not essential for China/Russia.

    Another point is that the North Korean nukes threaten China just as much as South Korea or Japan, and if the US started such a war, they might actually hope that the North Koreans will nuke Japan and perhaps even the USA. They might actually use up all the nukes they have. That way the enemies of the Chinese will be greatly weakened, the Chinese will get some first hand knowledge of American capabilities, while China will still be left with most of present North Korea as a client state (which it is currently not).

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Of course, that’s a very high risk policy for the Chinese to pursue. Kim might save up a few nukes for Beijing, and even nuke Beijing as a desperate revenge for what he perceives as Chinese treason. He might also hope that in the confusion this might cause WW3 (how will the Chinese be able to quickly tell that it was not the Americans who nuked them?) and somehow save himself in the general conflagration.
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  125. @reiner Tor
    Another point is that the North Korean nukes threaten China just as much as South Korea or Japan, and if the US started such a war, they might actually hope that the North Koreans will nuke Japan and perhaps even the USA. They might actually use up all the nukes they have. That way the enemies of the Chinese will be greatly weakened, the Chinese will get some first hand knowledge of American capabilities, while China will still be left with most of present North Korea as a client state (which it is currently not).

    Of course, that’s a very high risk policy for the Chinese to pursue. Kim might save up a few nukes for Beijing, and even nuke Beijing as a desperate revenge for what he perceives as Chinese treason. He might also hope that in the confusion this might cause WW3 (how will the Chinese be able to quickly tell that it was not the Americans who nuked them?) and somehow save himself in the general conflagration.

    Read More
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  126. Mitleser says:
    @reiner Tor
    Why does it matter? You wrote that

    “Mostly sniper rifles–no biggy. Any serious so called lethal weaponry such as Javelins makes to Ukraine, LDNR suddenly will obtain a viable Air Force. That is how it works. Small arms were floating to Ukraine anyway.”

    Now that it turns out that Javelins are indeed going to flow to Ukraine, your prediction will be tested. Unless you’re moving the goalposts.

    Now that it turns out that Javelins are indeed going to flow to Ukraine

    Will they? Source is another anonymous source.

    President Donald Trump is expected to announce his approval of a plan to sell anti-tank missiles to the Ukrainian government

    If the president formally signs off, the plan will be presented to Congress for a 30 day review period where it would need to be approved before the State Department can implement it.

    “We have nothing to announce at this time,” National Security Council spokesperson Marc Raimondi told ABC News.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The psychological barrier was that no lethal weapons would be sold. It’s now been officially broken. I can see a relatively high chance of Javelins flowing.

    In any event, the difference between aid and sales is immaterial here.
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  127. @Mitleser

    Now that it turns out that Javelins are indeed going to flow to Ukraine
     
    Will they? Source is another anonymous source.

    President Donald Trump is expected to announce his approval of a plan to sell anti-tank missiles to the Ukrainian government
     

    If the president formally signs off, the plan will be presented to Congress for a 30 day review period where it would need to be approved before the State Department can implement it.
     

    “We have nothing to announce at this time,” National Security Council spokesperson Marc Raimondi told ABC News.
     

    The psychological barrier was that no lethal weapons would be sold. It’s now been officially broken. I can see a relatively high chance of Javelins flowing.

    In any event, the difference between aid and sales is immaterial here.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    In any event, the difference between aid and sales is immaterial here.
     
    That also applies to the question whether the Ukraine should be supplied with weapons or not.
    It dis already happening despite the Ukraine not lacking weapons.

    Note that Lithuania is donating a lot of stuff to the Ukraine.
    https://www.delfi.lt/news/daily/lithuania/lietuva-perduos-ukrainai-ginkluotes-uz-beveik-2-mln-euru.d?id=76466403
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  128. Mitleser says:
    @reiner Tor
    The psychological barrier was that no lethal weapons would be sold. It’s now been officially broken. I can see a relatively high chance of Javelins flowing.

    In any event, the difference between aid and sales is immaterial here.

    In any event, the difference between aid and sales is immaterial here.

    That also applies to the question whether the Ukraine should be supplied with weapons or not.
    It dis already happening despite the Ukraine not lacking weapons.

    Note that Lithuania is donating a lot of stuff to the Ukraine.

    https://www.delfi.lt/news/daily/lithuania/lietuva-perduos-ukrainai-ginkluotes-uz-beveik-2-mln-euru.d?id=76466403

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Ukraine lacks some specific types of weapons, these gaps could be filled in by NATO aid. They could probably also use some weapons more advanced than their own.
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  129. @Mitleser

    In any event, the difference between aid and sales is immaterial here.
     
    That also applies to the question whether the Ukraine should be supplied with weapons or not.
    It dis already happening despite the Ukraine not lacking weapons.

    Note that Lithuania is donating a lot of stuff to the Ukraine.
    https://www.delfi.lt/news/daily/lithuania/lietuva-perduos-ukrainai-ginkluotes-uz-beveik-2-mln-euru.d?id=76466403

    Ukraine lacks some specific types of weapons, these gaps could be filled in by NATO aid. They could probably also use some weapons more advanced than their own.

    Read More
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  130. Mitleser says:
    @reiner Tor
    The North Koreans are as much the enemies of China as they are enemies of the US. I personally agree with you and would let bygones be bygones, if I were the Chinese leadership, but the Chinese think differently. The Russians in this case have little incentive to oppose the Chinese. If they are willing to sacrifice North Korea (as Mitleser wrote, they might hope to replace Kim and let the US start the war for them), Russia has no reason to alone veto that and then face the wrath of the US along. Especially since they are already under a sanctions regime, unlike the Chinese.

    Russia has no reason to alone veto that and then face the wrath of the US along. Especially since they are already under a sanctions regime, unlike the Chinese.

    It is not the “wrath of the US” that is the issue, but the wish not to alienate Japan and the RoK.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I stand corrected, I didn’t even think about that.
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  131. @Mitleser

    Russia has no reason to alone veto that and then face the wrath of the US along. Especially since they are already under a sanctions regime, unlike the Chinese.
     
    It is not the "wrath of the US" that is the issue, but the wish not to alienate Japan and the RoK.

    https://twitter.com/JamesDJBrown/status/941933862103416832

    I stand corrected, I didn’t even think about that.

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  132. Jon0815 says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Ukraine will eventually resume control of the area, as it’s still the one paying government pension payouts.
     
    No, it's not. Well, it is, sort of, but collecting those pensions involves traveling to Ukraine-occupied territories, which is a huge hassle.

    That said, I am less optimistic on the Kremlin's degree of long-term commitment to Donbass than many Russophiles.

    No, it’s not. Well, it is, sort of, but collecting those pensions involves traveling to Ukraine-occupied territories, which is a huge hassle.

    The DNR also has its own pension fund, which is probably at least partially subsidized by Russia, although Russia denies it. According to the DNR news agency, that fund has paid more than 80 billion rubles since April 2015, and the average DNR monthly pension payment currently stands at 4,400 rubles, a 10% increase since Nov 2016 (the average monthly wage in the DNR has reportedly also risen 22% since August 2016, to 10,130 rubles).

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  133. Randal says:
    @Mitleser

    Remember, the basic truth underlying this whole situation is that NK is a sovereign state that is inherently entitled to pursue weapons effective for its own defence, and the only reason it is pursuing nuclear weapons that can hit the US is because of persistent and credible US threats to attack NK. The precedent being set here is that the US for some reason has the right top deny its enemies that basic freedom that is inherent to any state.

    That precedent might well come back to bite Russia and China.
     
    RF and PRC are also sovereign states.
    They have no reason not to punish the DPRK for being very uncooperative with everyone and testing Nork nukes near their borders and during their summits.
    Also, take into account that the nuclear Nork program is a great excuse for deploying THAAD in Korea, the re-militarization of Japan, the preservation of American military dominance in the RoK... which is against the interests of PRC and RF.
    KJU's DPRK is a problem for both sides.

    Putin’s position (jointly with China) back in September was absolutely correct, and nothing has changed to make it incorrect now.

    In the long run the Russian and Chinese objective over NK should be to change the narrative to reflect the reality that the whole problem is caused by US aggression and menace towards NK, and that is how they should be approaching it with Japan and SK in particular.

    That seemed to be the approach they were taking a few months ago. Now they have stepped back from that. The result of this latest resolution is that the process is back on a track that can only end with a NK surrender to US pressure, NK collapse, or a US war which Russia and China have again helped to justify with the position they have adopted.

    Now it’s possible China or Russia have concluded that they can benefit from another US war of aggression because the costs will be high and the US will get the blame while they can perhaps reap some positional advantages. If so, that’s a dangerous game they are playing because they are also helping to create the justification the US will use for that war and it might well be that the US can obfuscate sufficiently to get enough blame for the war attributed to the NKs to come out ahead in the region, at least with the Japanese government (SK will likely be under direct US military “influence” in the immediate aftermath of a war). It would be a high stakes gamble, involving huge destruction and loss of life, and the risk of truly catastrophic losses.

    Myself I doubt the scenario painted that has China hoping for war, because contrary to the suggestion the NKs are not seen by China as “enemies” but rather as awkward neighbours, despite NK refusal to let the Chinese infiltrate their elite too far. China certainly would rather not have a nuclear armed Korea, but I think they can live with it and they’d prefer that to a war now, even one that left them in direct control of a rump NK.

    Admittedly the story about Chinese refugee camps being set up tends to suggest they expect trouble, but that could equally just be a wise precaution given US bellicosity.

    Bottom line, to me it looks like it’s just another case of Russia and China failing to maintain the aim of controlling US aggression.

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  134. Randal says:
    @reiner Tor
    The North Koreans are as much the enemies of China as they are enemies of the US. I personally agree with you and would let bygones be bygones, if I were the Chinese leadership, but the Chinese think differently. The Russians in this case have little incentive to oppose the Chinese. If they are willing to sacrifice North Korea (as Mitleser wrote, they might hope to replace Kim and let the US start the war for them), Russia has no reason to alone veto that and then face the wrath of the US along. Especially since they are already under a sanctions regime, unlike the Chinese.

    See reply to Mitleser above.

    I don’t think it’s correct to characterise the Chinese and NK as enemies, even if there is currently a lot of friction. Nor do I get the impression China wants any wars at the moment.

    I think this represents short-sighted horse-trading by the Russians and Chinese (Johnson was in Russia just the other day, where they were “agreeing” on the need to cooperate on UN action over NK), and as I wrote above, I think it’s a failure to maintain the aim. They were right a few months ago and the view they expressed then is still right, but now they are doing what Putin said would be “useless”.

    The ideal response imo would have been a joint Chinese and Russian veto combined with another high profile statement that it is US menaces which are pushing NK towards nuclear deterrence. It’s an opportunity missed and a reward for US aggression. Appeasing the US will not end well. In addition, these new sanctions will be use as a rod against any future Chinese and Russian involvement in NK.

    Seems the Russians learned nothing from the Libya UNSC resolution affair.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    This is my assessment as well - the Chinese have a formal defense treaty with NK, which they have openly confirmed they'll honor.

    Though they certainly don't like KJU and would prefer a more compliant junta to be ruling instead.
    , @utu
    short-sighted horse-trading by the Russians and Chinese

    It is possible that Russia wants NK conflict staying unresolved to keep pressure off the ME where now when Netanyahu has his man in the White House Israel will be much less agreeable to Russia's engagements in the ME. However China has no interest in keeping NK conflict going because it may lead to militarization (including development of nuclear weapons) of Japan which secretly the US (including the Bannon's faction) wants to happen.
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  135. Jon0815 says:
    @AP

    A catastrophic 16% collapse in GDP
     
    For Russian nationalists, it's always 2015 in Ukraine.

    In 2016 it was 14% lower than 2013. In 2017 its projected to be about 12% lower.

    These figures are total, not per capita. Keep in mind that Ukraine lost about 10% of its population due to losing Crimea and urban Donbas. So a loss of 10% of population but only 12% of GDP by 2017 means that per capita Ukraine is close to where it was in 2013 in 2017.

    Here's Ukraine GDP PPP per capita; it includes 2017:

    https://knoema.com/atlas/Ukraine/GDP-per-capita-based-on-PPP

    Almost caught up in 2017. Will do so in 2018.

    you consider that less than 4% of the Ukrainian territory is under war
     
    And Moscow City is .0001% of Russian territory, so must hardly matters for the country.

    Libya and Syria have performed significantly better when you consider nearly all of its major cities were under war (supported by the financial and military clout of the west ,Turkey,Qatar and Saudi Arabia)…and chaos for 5-6 years, yes they have had economic collapse, but less than net 60% GDP collapse
     
    1. Ukraine's nominal GDP collapsed 50%, not 60% by 2015 (it's always 2015 in Ukraine for Russian nationalists):

    https://tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/gdp

    Meanwhile Russia's nominal GDP collapsed 42% since 2013. Not much better.

    Libya had a 65% drop.

    2. Ukraine's decline in nominal GDP is an artifact of the currency collapse. Russia's currency also collapsed. If you think that net GDP is important, you must be horrified that Russia's per capita nominal GDP is currently lower than Romania's.

    Ukraine’s nominal GDP collapsed 50%, not 60% by 2015 (it’s always 2015 in Ukraine for Russian nationalists):

    Meanwhile Russia’s nominal GDP collapsed 42% since 2013. Not much better.

    Except that Russia’s fall in nominal GDP was an inevitable correction after a 1000% increase from 2000-2013 ( a bigger % increase than China over the same period), which was driven largely by the bursting of the oil price bubble. Whereas Ukraine’s nominal GDP collapse was self-inflicted.

    Even post-correction, Russian per capita GDP is still 600% larger than it was when Putin took office. And it’s likely that Russia will return to its nominal 2014 level before Ukraine does.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    Except that Russia’s fall in nominal GDP was an inevitable correction after a 1000% increase from 2000-2013 ( a bigger % increase than China over the same period), which was driven largely by the bursting of the oil price bubble
     
    After the "correction" Russia's nominal per capita GDP has become lower than Romania's. Is that a natural level for Russia or accurate reflection of the country's true economy? I don't think so. PPP for Russia, as for Ukraine, is more realistic.

    Even post-correction, Russian per capita GDP is still 600% larger than it was when Putin took office.
     
    And Ukraine's nominal per capita GDP in 2016 was still about 350% larger than it was when Putin took office ($665 for 1999, $2,194 in 2016 accordng to IMF).
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  136. @Randal
    See reply to Mitleser above.

    I don't think it's correct to characterise the Chinese and NK as enemies, even if there is currently a lot of friction. Nor do I get the impression China wants any wars at the moment.

    I think this represents short-sighted horse-trading by the Russians and Chinese (Johnson was in Russia just the other day, where they were "agreeing" on the need to cooperate on UN action over NK), and as I wrote above, I think it's a failure to maintain the aim. They were right a few months ago and the view they expressed then is still right, but now they are doing what Putin said would be "useless".

    The ideal response imo would have been a joint Chinese and Russian veto combined with another high profile statement that it is US menaces which are pushing NK towards nuclear deterrence. It's an opportunity missed and a reward for US aggression. Appeasing the US will not end well. In addition, these new sanctions will be use as a rod against any future Chinese and Russian involvement in NK.

    Seems the Russians learned nothing from the Libya UNSC resolution affair.

    This is my assessment as well – the Chinese have a formal defense treaty with NK, which they have openly confirmed they’ll honor.

    Though they certainly don’t like KJU and would prefer a more compliant junta to be ruling instead.

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    • Replies: @Mitleser

    the Chinese have a formal defense treaty with NK, which they have openly confirmed they’ll honor.
     
    In case of an attack on the DPRK and the treaty is only valid till 2021.
    , @Randal
    Agreed.

    If the Chinese were to regard the NKs as enemies, they have an easy option available to them of dropping their commitment to defend it and signalling that they would support a Chapter 7 resolution in the UNSC legalising a US attack on NK, as well as a subsequent Chinese intervention to pick up the bits they want.

    That would put Russia in the difficult position of vetoing it alone, which I'm pretty sure Putin wouldn't do. They'd probably abstain.
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  137. Mitleser says:

    In the long run the Russian and Chinese objective over NK should be to change the narrative to reflect the reality that the whole problem is caused by US aggression and menace towards NK, and that is how they should be approaching it with Japan and SK in particular.

    That seemed to be the approach they were taking a few months ago.

    They did not, otherwise why did they support the previous UN sanctions against the DPRK too?

    The thing is that they want the DPRK to back down and show more respect towards them and the UN.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    They did not, otherwise why did they support the previous UN sanctions against the DPRK too?
     
    They compromised, but with clear signals that they would not support regime-breaking sanctions.

    China and Russia Warn the U.S. Not to Seek North Korean Regime Change
    Bloomberg, 12th September

    In supporting a watered-down version of North Korea sanctions, China and Russia had a stern warning for the U.S.: Don’t try to overthrow Kim Jong Un’s regime.
    .....
    The comments in the wake of the sanctions signaled that both China and Russia are only willing to go so far in pressuring Kim to abandon his attempts to secure the ability to strike the U.S. with a nuclear weapon.
    .....
    "Sanctions of any kind are useless and ineffective," Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters earlier this month at a summit in Xiamen, China. "They’ll eat grass, but they won’t abandon their program unless they feel secure."
    ....
    More worrisome for China and Russia was Haley’s remark that the U.S. would act alone if Kim’s regime didn’t stop testing missiles and bombs. The UN representatives of both countries on Monday reiterated what they called “the four nos": No regime change, regime collapse, accelerated reunification or military deployment north of the 38th parallel dividing the Korean Peninsula.

    “The Chinese side will never allow conflict or war on the peninsula,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement on Tuesday.
     
    [Emphasis added]

    The thing is that they want the DPRK to back down and show more respect towards them and the UN.
     
    Yes, they do, but they know that's probably unachievable so long as the US threat remains as imminent as it has been of late, as Putin has explicitly stated:

    Imposing tougher sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear missile programme would be counterproductive, and threats of military action could trigger "a global catastrophe", Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

    Putin, speaking on Tuesday after a BRICS summit in Xiamen, China, also criticised US diplomacy in the crisis and renewed his call for talks, saying North Korea would not halt its missile testing programme until it felt secure.

     

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/09/putin-warns-global-catastrophe-170905080616197.html

    There's a historic opportunity over NK to take the truth on US behaviour to a whole new level, explicitly and officially identifying the US's militarily aggressive policy over the past few decades (which Russia and China have opposed in every case) as creating the situation in which a country like NK has a legitimate need for a nuclear deterrent. They seemed to be going that way, but have now seemingly chosen instead to waste that opportunity and gamble on being able to coerce the NK government to back down to the US after all. Yes, if it works they will pretend it was the UN process that achieved it, but the world will know it was US bullying and Russian/Chinese acquiescence in that bullying that actually did it.
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  138. Mitleser says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    This is my assessment as well - the Chinese have a formal defense treaty with NK, which they have openly confirmed they'll honor.

    Though they certainly don't like KJU and would prefer a more compliant junta to be ruling instead.

    the Chinese have a formal defense treaty with NK, which they have openly confirmed they’ll honor.

    In case of an attack on the DPRK and the treaty is only valid till 2021.

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  139. Randal says:
    @Mitleser

    In the long run the Russian and Chinese objective over NK should be to change the narrative to reflect the reality that the whole problem is caused by US aggression and menace towards NK, and that is how they should be approaching it with Japan and SK in particular.

    That seemed to be the approach they were taking a few months ago.
     
    They did not, otherwise why did they support the previous UN sanctions against the DPRK too?

    The thing is that they want the DPRK to back down and show more respect towards them and the UN.

    They did not, otherwise why did they support the previous UN sanctions against the DPRK too?

    They compromised, but with clear signals that they would not support regime-breaking sanctions.

    China and Russia Warn the U.S. Not to Seek North Korean Regime Change
    Bloomberg, 12th September

    In supporting a watered-down version of North Korea sanctions, China and Russia had a stern warning for the U.S.: Don’t try to overthrow Kim Jong Un’s regime.
    …..
    The comments in the wake of the sanctions signaled that both China and Russia are only willing to go so far in pressuring Kim to abandon his attempts to secure the ability to strike the U.S. with a nuclear weapon.
    …..
    “Sanctions of any kind are useless and ineffective,” Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters earlier this month at a summit in Xiamen, China. “They’ll eat grass, but they won’t abandon their program unless they feel secure.”
    ….
    More worrisome for China and Russia was Haley’s remark that the U.S. would act alone if Kim’s regime didn’t stop testing missiles and bombs. The UN representatives of both countries on Monday reiterated what they called “the four nos”: No regime change, regime collapse, accelerated reunification or military deployment north of the 38th parallel dividing the Korean Peninsula.

    “The Chinese side will never allow conflict or war on the peninsula,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement on Tuesday.

    [Emphasis added]

    The thing is that they want the DPRK to back down and show more respect towards them and the UN.

    Yes, they do, but they know that’s probably unachievable so long as the US threat remains as imminent as it has been of late, as Putin has explicitly stated:

    Imposing tougher sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear missile programme would be counterproductive, and threats of military action could trigger “a global catastrophe”, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

    Putin, speaking on Tuesday after a BRICS summit in Xiamen, China, also criticised US diplomacy in the crisis and renewed his call for talks, saying North Korea would not halt its missile testing programme until it felt secure.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/09/putin-warns-global-catastrophe-170905080616197.html

    There’s a historic opportunity over NK to take the truth on US behaviour to a whole new level, explicitly and officially identifying the US’s militarily aggressive policy over the past few decades (which Russia and China have opposed in every case) as creating the situation in which a country like NK has a legitimate need for a nuclear deterrent. They seemed to be going that way, but have now seemingly chosen instead to waste that opportunity and gamble on being able to coerce the NK government to back down to the US after all. Yes, if it works they will pretend it was the UN process that achieved it, but the world will know it was US bullying and Russian/Chinese acquiescence in that bullying that actually did it.

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  140. Randal says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    This is my assessment as well - the Chinese have a formal defense treaty with NK, which they have openly confirmed they'll honor.

    Though they certainly don't like KJU and would prefer a more compliant junta to be ruling instead.

    Agreed.

    If the Chinese were to regard the NKs as enemies, they have an easy option available to them of dropping their commitment to defend it and signalling that they would support a Chapter 7 resolution in the UNSC legalising a US attack on NK, as well as a subsequent Chinese intervention to pick up the bits they want.

    That would put Russia in the difficult position of vetoing it alone, which I’m pretty sure Putin wouldn’t do. They’d probably abstain.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    That would put Russia in the difficult position of vetoing it alone
     
    It would be the same anyway. The Chinese decided to let the sanctions pass in the UNSC, so what could Putin have done? It’s China, not Russia, that sets policy for these two countries, the Russians won’t veto alone, and they won’t vote for sanctions unless the Chinese do so, too.

    So it’s the Chinese who are at fault here, and probably for the reason I gave: that they now regard Kim as an enemy just slightly better than the Americans.


    If the Chinese were to regard the NKs as enemies, they have an easy option available to them of dropping their commitment to defend it and signalling that they would support a Chapter 7 resolution in the UNSC legalising a US attack on NK, as well as a subsequent Chinese intervention to pick up the bits they want.
     
    But that would also be risky in that - depending on the speed of North Korea’s collapse - it might enable the Americans to get closer to the Chinese border, or even outright reaching it. The Chinese still consider Kim as the lesser evil here, but no longer by a large margin. Hence their support for the resolution.
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  141. @Randal
    Agreed.

    If the Chinese were to regard the NKs as enemies, they have an easy option available to them of dropping their commitment to defend it and signalling that they would support a Chapter 7 resolution in the UNSC legalising a US attack on NK, as well as a subsequent Chinese intervention to pick up the bits they want.

    That would put Russia in the difficult position of vetoing it alone, which I'm pretty sure Putin wouldn't do. They'd probably abstain.

    That would put Russia in the difficult position of vetoing it alone

    It would be the same anyway. The Chinese decided to let the sanctions pass in the UNSC, so what could Putin have done? It’s China, not Russia, that sets policy for these two countries, the Russians won’t veto alone, and they won’t vote for sanctions unless the Chinese do so, too.

    So it’s the Chinese who are at fault here, and probably for the reason I gave: that they now regard Kim as an enemy just slightly better than the Americans.

    If the Chinese were to regard the NKs as enemies, they have an easy option available to them of dropping their commitment to defend it and signalling that they would support a Chapter 7 resolution in the UNSC legalising a US attack on NK, as well as a subsequent Chinese intervention to pick up the bits they want.

    But that would also be risky in that – depending on the speed of North Korea’s collapse – it might enable the Americans to get closer to the Chinese border, or even outright reaching it. The Chinese still consider Kim as the lesser evil here, but no longer by a large margin. Hence their support for the resolution.

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    • Replies: @Randal
    Yes I agree that the Chinese are probably the drivers here, which doesn't change anything in my argument that it's a mistake and a missed opportunity of historic proportions that will likely come back to bite both China and Russia.

    It's not that they regard NK as enemies though, more that they are irritated by NK's behaviour and genuinely don't want to see nuclear weapons spreading on their borders. It's entirely understandable. Just short-sighted imo.


    But that would also be risky in that – depending on the speed of North Korea’s collapse – it might enable the Americans to get closer to the Chinese border, or even outright reaching it
     
    I don't think the Chinese worry much about their ability to outmatch the Americans on the home turf of NK, nor to make the position untenable (even whilst being nominally "on the same side") for any US forces that do get inserted too far into NK.
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  142. Randal says:
    @reiner Tor

    That would put Russia in the difficult position of vetoing it alone
     
    It would be the same anyway. The Chinese decided to let the sanctions pass in the UNSC, so what could Putin have done? It’s China, not Russia, that sets policy for these two countries, the Russians won’t veto alone, and they won’t vote for sanctions unless the Chinese do so, too.

    So it’s the Chinese who are at fault here, and probably for the reason I gave: that they now regard Kim as an enemy just slightly better than the Americans.


    If the Chinese were to regard the NKs as enemies, they have an easy option available to them of dropping their commitment to defend it and signalling that they would support a Chapter 7 resolution in the UNSC legalising a US attack on NK, as well as a subsequent Chinese intervention to pick up the bits they want.
     
    But that would also be risky in that - depending on the speed of North Korea’s collapse - it might enable the Americans to get closer to the Chinese border, or even outright reaching it. The Chinese still consider Kim as the lesser evil here, but no longer by a large margin. Hence their support for the resolution.

    Yes I agree that the Chinese are probably the drivers here, which doesn’t change anything in my argument that it’s a mistake and a missed opportunity of historic proportions that will likely come back to bite both China and Russia.

    It’s not that they regard NK as enemies though, more that they are irritated by NK’s behaviour and genuinely don’t want to see nuclear weapons spreading on their borders. It’s entirely understandable. Just short-sighted imo.

    But that would also be risky in that – depending on the speed of North Korea’s collapse – it might enable the Americans to get closer to the Chinese border, or even outright reaching it

    I don’t think the Chinese worry much about their ability to outmatch the Americans on the home turf of NK, nor to make the position untenable (even whilst being nominally “on the same side”) for any US forces that do get inserted too far into NK.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    It’s not that they regard NK as enemies though, more that they are irritated by NK’s behaviour and genuinely don’t want to see nuclear weapons spreading on their borders.
     
    They’d also prefer them to be actual vassals instead of totally independent. I call two countries enemies if one wants to take away the independence of the other, while the other is developing nuclear weapons in part to avoid such an outcome, and actually executed a representative of the wannabe suzerain. You might not call them enemies, but it’s just a question of terminology. They are certainly not the greatest of friends.

    I don’t think the Chinese worry much about their ability to outmatch the Americans on the home turf of NK, nor to make the position untenable (even whilst being nominally “on the same side”) for any US forces that do get inserted too far into NK.
     
    I don’t think we can know what the Chinese worry about, but if I were them, I’d pretty much worry about any military engagement. From a purely military viewpoint, the Chinese haven’t fought a war for several decades, and the last time was when - several decades ago - they tried to get into the territory of a renitent neighbor, but with abysmal results.
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  143. @reiner Tor
    Why does it matter? You wrote that

    “Mostly sniper rifles–no biggy. Any serious so called lethal weaponry such as Javelins makes to Ukraine, LDNR suddenly will obtain a viable Air Force. That is how it works. Small arms were floating to Ukraine anyway.”

    Now that it turns out that Javelins are indeed going to flow to Ukraine, your prediction will be tested. Unless you’re moving the goalposts.

    your prediction will be tested.

    Prediction of WHAT?

    Now to a substance, I don’t know what is the deal with reading comprehension here but I do not “predict” things, I gladly leave this activity to people such as Karlin and others, who think (wrongly) that they have a clue. I deal in contingencies (a range of outcomes)–this is has nothing to do with “prediction”. You want a “prediction”? OK, here it is–Javelins or whatever else floats into Ukraine (which is yet to be seen):

    a) It will not have major impact on the situation on the front;
    b) Life of US troops may get more complicated, say in Afghanistan, among may other possibilities.

    If you have any doubts about “predictions”–here are some of my opinions forwarded 4 months ago precisely on the issue.

    http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2017/08/so-will-donbass-forces-get-iskanders.html

    I hope you understand that reference to LDNR Air Force was written with sarcasm?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    I hope you understand that reference to LDNR Air Force was written with sarcasm?
     
    I didn’t understand that.
    , @The Kulak
    DoD or more likely DIA who want to be the anti-Flynn buddies with CIA paranoia about Russian retaliation via the Taliban for the USA arming the UAF already made it into Newsweek:

    http://www.newsweek.com/taliban-using-russian-made-night-vision-goggles-kill-709422

    Given the potential blowback in the Stans I think the story is almost certainly BS. Training Hezbollah or special SAA infiltrator units that would carry out IED attacks on US forces in the Kurdish part of Syria seems a much more likely and more plausibly deniable move, as Iran could take the blame.

    This is of course the same Newsweek that was a rag sold for a $1 and which routinely publishes propaganda from the Atlantic Council not even marked as adverts to stay afloat. They also declared Putin was preparing for WW3 and promoted the Bild (#JihadJulian Roepcke's employer) fantasy of a Russian massive assault on Scandinavia, Poland and Germany all at once, so take it for what it's worth (not much).

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  144. utu says:
    @Randal
    See reply to Mitleser above.

    I don't think it's correct to characterise the Chinese and NK as enemies, even if there is currently a lot of friction. Nor do I get the impression China wants any wars at the moment.

    I think this represents short-sighted horse-trading by the Russians and Chinese (Johnson was in Russia just the other day, where they were "agreeing" on the need to cooperate on UN action over NK), and as I wrote above, I think it's a failure to maintain the aim. They were right a few months ago and the view they expressed then is still right, but now they are doing what Putin said would be "useless".

    The ideal response imo would have been a joint Chinese and Russian veto combined with another high profile statement that it is US menaces which are pushing NK towards nuclear deterrence. It's an opportunity missed and a reward for US aggression. Appeasing the US will not end well. In addition, these new sanctions will be use as a rod against any future Chinese and Russian involvement in NK.

    Seems the Russians learned nothing from the Libya UNSC resolution affair.

    short-sighted horse-trading by the Russians and Chinese

    It is possible that Russia wants NK conflict staying unresolved to keep pressure off the ME where now when Netanyahu has his man in the White House Israel will be much less agreeable to Russia’s engagements in the ME. However China has no interest in keeping NK conflict going because it may lead to militarization (including development of nuclear weapons) of Japan which secretly the US (including the Bannon’s faction) wants to happen.

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    • Replies: @Randal
    I don't think these sanctions will necessarily lead to any resolution of the conflict on terms the Chinese will like. They might, if Putin's past comments prove to have been embarrassingly wrong, but it's gambling on the NKs knuckling under, which is not something they've shown signs so far of doing.

    Putin's going to look like a bit of a fool if it does, though. Suddenly people will say: so you said sanctions were useless against NK and against Russia, but look, they worked on NK and they can work on Russia, too.

    As for militarisation of Japan, that's been ongoing for a while and will be continuing for the foreseeable future regardless what NK does, though NK does provided a useful pretext for pushing it slightly faster.
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  145. Randal says:
    @utu
    short-sighted horse-trading by the Russians and Chinese

    It is possible that Russia wants NK conflict staying unresolved to keep pressure off the ME where now when Netanyahu has his man in the White House Israel will be much less agreeable to Russia's engagements in the ME. However China has no interest in keeping NK conflict going because it may lead to militarization (including development of nuclear weapons) of Japan which secretly the US (including the Bannon's faction) wants to happen.

    I don’t think these sanctions will necessarily lead to any resolution of the conflict on terms the Chinese will like. They might, if Putin’s past comments prove to have been embarrassingly wrong, but it’s gambling on the NKs knuckling under, which is not something they’ve shown signs so far of doing.

    Putin’s going to look like a bit of a fool if it does, though. Suddenly people will say: so you said sanctions were useless against NK and against Russia, but look, they worked on NK and they can work on Russia, too.

    As for militarisation of Japan, that’s been ongoing for a while and will be continuing for the foreseeable future regardless what NK does, though NK does provided a useful pretext for pushing it slightly faster.

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  146. AP says:
    @Jon0815

    Ukraine’s nominal GDP collapsed 50%, not 60% by 2015 (it’s always 2015 in Ukraine for Russian nationalists):

    Meanwhile Russia’s nominal GDP collapsed 42% since 2013. Not much better.
     

    Except that Russia's fall in nominal GDP was an inevitable correction after a 1000% increase from 2000-2013 ( a bigger % increase than China over the same period), which was driven largely by the bursting of the oil price bubble. Whereas Ukraine's nominal GDP collapse was self-inflicted.

    Even post-correction, Russian per capita GDP is still 600% larger than it was when Putin took office. And it's likely that Russia will return to its nominal 2014 level before Ukraine does.

    Except that Russia’s fall in nominal GDP was an inevitable correction after a 1000% increase from 2000-2013 ( a bigger % increase than China over the same period), which was driven largely by the bursting of the oil price bubble

    After the “correction” Russia’s nominal per capita GDP has become lower than Romania’s. Is that a natural level for Russia or accurate reflection of the country’s true economy? I don’t think so. PPP for Russia, as for Ukraine, is more realistic.

    Even post-correction, Russian per capita GDP is still 600% larger than it was when Putin took office.

    And Ukraine’s nominal per capita GDP in 2016 was still about 350% larger than it was when Putin took office ($665 for 1999, $2,194 in 2016 accordng to IMF).

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    • Replies: @Jon0815

    After the “correction” Russia’s nominal per capita GDP has become lower than Romania’s.
     
    .
    Russia's GDP per capita has probably moved back ahead of Romania's now: The World Bank has the latter ahead in 2016, at $9519 vs. $8748, but that is based on a ruble value of 67 to the dollar, and the ruble is currently at 58 to the dollar.


    Is that a natural level for Russia or accurate reflection of the country’s true economy? I don’t think so. PPP for Russia, as for Ukraine, is more realistic.
     
    PPP is a more realistic measure of living standards within a country, as well as a country's manufacturing potential. But nominal is a better measure of true "wealth" (buying power in international markets), relative to the rest of the world. And by the latter measure, post-Maidan Ukraine is now a serious threat to Moldova's title as Europe's poorest country.


    And Ukraine’s nominal per capita GDP in 2016 was still about 350% larger than it was when Putin took office ($665 for 1999, $2,194 in 2016 accordng to IMF).
     
    Starting from a significantly lower base though (less than half of Russia's in 1999).
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  147. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    Ukrainians already have their own analogue of the Javelin, Stugna-P, much cheaper than the US version as the end product, the problem is it needs to be restored:

    http://euromaidanpress.com/2015/03/11/stugna-p-the-ukrainian-javelin/

    Does it make sense to purchase from the US if you can make your own? Unless they need it right away.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    But is it even working? Is it merely a prototype? Is it ready for mass production? Are they even capable of finishing it any longer? I think the Russians tried to lure away engineers from the Ukrainian defense industry by offering them higher wages.
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  148. Jon0815 says:
    @AP

    Except that Russia’s fall in nominal GDP was an inevitable correction after a 1000% increase from 2000-2013 ( a bigger % increase than China over the same period), which was driven largely by the bursting of the oil price bubble
     
    After the "correction" Russia's nominal per capita GDP has become lower than Romania's. Is that a natural level for Russia or accurate reflection of the country's true economy? I don't think so. PPP for Russia, as for Ukraine, is more realistic.

    Even post-correction, Russian per capita GDP is still 600% larger than it was when Putin took office.
     
    And Ukraine's nominal per capita GDP in 2016 was still about 350% larger than it was when Putin took office ($665 for 1999, $2,194 in 2016 accordng to IMF).

    After the “correction” Russia’s nominal per capita GDP has become lower than Romania’s.

    .
    Russia’s GDP per capita has probably moved back ahead of Romania’s now: The World Bank has the latter ahead in 2016, at $9519 vs. $8748, but that is based on a ruble value of 67 to the dollar, and the ruble is currently at 58 to the dollar.

    Is that a natural level for Russia or accurate reflection of the country’s true economy? I don’t think so. PPP for Russia, as for Ukraine, is more realistic.

    PPP is a more realistic measure of living standards within a country, as well as a country’s manufacturing potential. But nominal is a better measure of true “wealth” (buying power in international markets), relative to the rest of the world. And by the latter measure, post-Maidan Ukraine is now a serious threat to Moldova’s title as Europe’s poorest country.

    And Ukraine’s nominal per capita GDP in 2016 was still about 350% larger than it was when Putin took office ($665 for 1999, $2,194 in 2016 accordng to IMF).

    Starting from a significantly lower base though (less than half of Russia’s in 1999).

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  149. @Andrei Martyanov

    your prediction will be tested.
     
    Prediction of WHAT?

    Now to a substance, I don't know what is the deal with reading comprehension here but I do not "predict" things, I gladly leave this activity to people such as Karlin and others, who think (wrongly) that they have a clue. I deal in contingencies (a range of outcomes)--this is has nothing to do with "prediction". You want a "prediction"? OK, here it is--Javelins or whatever else floats into Ukraine (which is yet to be seen):

    a) It will not have major impact on the situation on the front;
    b) Life of US troops may get more complicated, say in Afghanistan, among may other possibilities.

    If you have any doubts about "predictions"--here are some of my opinions forwarded 4 months ago precisely on the issue.

    http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2017/08/so-will-donbass-forces-get-iskanders.html

    I hope you understand that reference to LDNR Air Force was written with sarcasm?

    I hope you understand that reference to LDNR Air Force was written with sarcasm?

    I didn’t understand that.

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  150. @Anon
    Ukrainians already have their own analogue of the Javelin, Stugna-P, much cheaper than the US version as the end product, the problem is it needs to be restored:

    http://euromaidanpress.com/2015/03/11/stugna-p-the-ukrainian-javelin/

    Does it make sense to purchase from the US if you can make your own? Unless they need it right away.

    But is it even working? Is it merely a prototype? Is it ready for mass production? Are they even capable of finishing it any longer? I think the Russians tried to lure away engineers from the Ukrainian defense industry by offering them higher wages.

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  151. @Randal
    Yes I agree that the Chinese are probably the drivers here, which doesn't change anything in my argument that it's a mistake and a missed opportunity of historic proportions that will likely come back to bite both China and Russia.

    It's not that they regard NK as enemies though, more that they are irritated by NK's behaviour and genuinely don't want to see nuclear weapons spreading on their borders. It's entirely understandable. Just short-sighted imo.


    But that would also be risky in that – depending on the speed of North Korea’s collapse – it might enable the Americans to get closer to the Chinese border, or even outright reaching it
     
    I don't think the Chinese worry much about their ability to outmatch the Americans on the home turf of NK, nor to make the position untenable (even whilst being nominally "on the same side") for any US forces that do get inserted too far into NK.

    It’s not that they regard NK as enemies though, more that they are irritated by NK’s behaviour and genuinely don’t want to see nuclear weapons spreading on their borders.

    They’d also prefer them to be actual vassals instead of totally independent. I call two countries enemies if one wants to take away the independence of the other, while the other is developing nuclear weapons in part to avoid such an outcome, and actually executed a representative of the wannabe suzerain. You might not call them enemies, but it’s just a question of terminology. They are certainly not the greatest of friends.

    I don’t think the Chinese worry much about their ability to outmatch the Americans on the home turf of NK, nor to make the position untenable (even whilst being nominally “on the same side”) for any US forces that do get inserted too far into NK.

    I don’t think we can know what the Chinese worry about, but if I were them, I’d pretty much worry about any military engagement. From a purely military viewpoint, the Chinese haven’t fought a war for several decades, and the last time was when – several decades ago – they tried to get into the territory of a renitent neighbor, but with abysmal results.

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  152. The Kulak says:
    @Patrick Armstrong
    Wait until the DOJ IG reports and see how things look then.

    For a highly based individual and writer that has my respect, I think AK tends to overrate the Demopublican (or as Michael D. Weiss likes to call it ‘Team WahhabiZiocon’) U.S. Establishment’s fading power. Especially when viewed from China which even Russians agree is vastly more economically dynamic than Russia, the MuhRussia hysteria cannot but be seen as weakness. Isn’t the American elite essentially appealing to openness in contrast with Russian auspiciousness and dastardliness as an excuse for how the US IC basically did next to nothing as, if you believe the laughable Comey/Clapper/Brennan line, the Russians ‘attacked our democracy’? If Russia can nudge Trump into the White House while the Americans can’t get Navalny above 5% despite lavishly supportive coverage, which side is more powerful than the other, at least in the dark arts of manipulation that wonderful democracies supposedly suck at despite decades of coups and other first Cold War evidence to the contrary?

    This is not to say, that The Saker is right about the unchecked rot of Banderastan eventually leading to a breakup of Ukraine while Putin remains in office (I see it more as something that will happen by the late 2020s when Poland and Hungary feel Visegrad strong and the dollar and non-German euro have collapsed Washington/Brussels support for whatever crew of flunkies will be left in Kiev to nothing by then), or that the Galicia centric Lviv as the European city of the future crowd are right either.

    And yes Mr. Armstrong is right that more is coming from Sessions elves and Roger Stone’s GOP Congressmen buddies on the Hill regarding the Democrat derp state’s get Drumpf promotion of the Dirty Dossier and other soft coup antics. People used to the press always being on their side and covering their arses tend to get more arrogant and lazy as they rise through the ranks (just reading an interview with that bald bastard James Clapper sniveling about how lying to Congress will be on his grave stone made me want to puke). The shreiks about dedicated civil servants being smeared by this President are quite satisfying and the real purge hasn’t even begun.

    None of this is to say, though hot proxy war with NATO ‘vacationers’ (whom the occasional Russia bashers deny exist despite their Slovak or Polish ‘volunteers’ with the UAF bragging about fighting Donbass ‘bandits’ to SOFREP.com) fighting their counterparts from the GRU in the ruins of Donbass remains possible, that I think the current weakening US elites are ready for true great power war. Hell I doubt they could stomach the number of body bags/flag draped coffins from Korean War 2 or what Iran could do against the US Navy in the Arabian Sea combined with Hezbollah fully unleashed on US forces in Syraq.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Kulak
    Bottom line: I think Anatoly is correct Russia remains much weaker than the U.S. in terms of soft power and cannot afford a new arms race, but Putin's remarks indicate his grim awareness of such and recollection of the ruinous costs of waging the last Cold War on the USSR. Where Anatoly gets things wrong from his Silicon Valley/Muscovite perch is how rapidly the USA is hollowing out in the between the coasts and even Midwest (OH) to Northeast Rust Belt (PA) hinterlands.
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  153. The Kulak says:
    @The Kulak
    For a highly based individual and writer that has my respect, I think AK tends to overrate the Demopublican (or as Michael D. Weiss likes to call it 'Team WahhabiZiocon') U.S. Establishment's fading power. Especially when viewed from China which even Russians agree is vastly more economically dynamic than Russia, the MuhRussia hysteria cannot but be seen as weakness. Isn't the American elite essentially appealing to openness in contrast with Russian auspiciousness and dastardliness as an excuse for how the US IC basically did next to nothing as, if you believe the laughable Comey/Clapper/Brennan line, the Russians 'attacked our democracy'? If Russia can nudge Trump into the White House while the Americans can't get Navalny above 5% despite lavishly supportive coverage, which side is more powerful than the other, at least in the dark arts of manipulation that wonderful democracies supposedly suck at despite decades of coups and other first Cold War evidence to the contrary?

    This is not to say, that The Saker is right about the unchecked rot of Banderastan eventually leading to a breakup of Ukraine while Putin remains in office (I see it more as something that will happen by the late 2020s when Poland and Hungary feel Visegrad strong and the dollar and non-German euro have collapsed Washington/Brussels support for whatever crew of flunkies will be left in Kiev to nothing by then), or that the Galicia centric Lviv as the European city of the future crowd are right either.

    And yes Mr. Armstrong is right that more is coming from Sessions elves and Roger Stone's GOP Congressmen buddies on the Hill regarding the Democrat derp state's get Drumpf promotion of the Dirty Dossier and other soft coup antics. People used to the press always being on their side and covering their arses tend to get more arrogant and lazy as they rise through the ranks (just reading an interview with that bald bastard James Clapper sniveling about how lying to Congress will be on his grave stone made me want to puke). The shreiks about dedicated civil servants being smeared by this President are quite satisfying and the real purge hasn't even begun.

    None of this is to say, though hot proxy war with NATO 'vacationers' (whom the occasional Russia bashers deny exist despite their Slovak or Polish 'volunteers' with the UAF bragging about fighting Donbass 'bandits' to SOFREP.com) fighting their counterparts from the GRU in the ruins of Donbass remains possible, that I think the current weakening US elites are ready for true great power war. Hell I doubt they could stomach the number of body bags/flag draped coffins from Korean War 2 or what Iran could do against the US Navy in the Arabian Sea combined with Hezbollah fully unleashed on US forces in Syraq.

    Bottom line: I think Anatoly is correct Russia remains much weaker than the U.S. in terms of soft power and cannot afford a new arms race, but Putin’s remarks indicate his grim awareness of such and recollection of the ruinous costs of waging the last Cold War on the USSR. Where Anatoly gets things wrong from his Silicon Valley/Muscovite perch is how rapidly the USA is hollowing out in the between the coasts and even Midwest (OH) to Northeast Rust Belt (PA) hinterlands.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ron Unz

    Where Anatoly gets things wrong from his Silicon Valley/Muscovite perch is how rapidly the USA is hollowing out in the between the coasts and even Midwest (OH) to Northeast Rust Belt (PA) hinterlands.
     
    I very much agree with this, and believe that the current American Regime is really quite fragile in a variety of different ways. The astonishing political victory of an ignorant loudmouth such as Trump against the total opposition of 99% of the MSM demonstrates this. One sharp crack, such as an unexpected military defeat, and the regime might collapse.

    Pat Moynihan was a sharp guy, and I remember reading a book by him in which he pointed out that the real incomes of ordinary Americans had been stagnant for over two decades, something unprecedented since Europeans first landed on these shores. That book appeared 25 years ago, and the economic stagnation has now lasted almost half a century, hence "the masses are restive" leading to Trump's victory.

    Here's a somewhat related point I made a couple of months ago regarding the military angle:

    On the other hand, if America did not follow that trajectory and instead effectively accepted such a severe military blow, I’d think there’s a pretty good chance the result would be the total collapse of our utterly corrupt and long-despised American Regime in some sort of popular revolution, much like the Russian Imperial government collapsed after the unexpected defeat by Japan in 1905. Under such a tempestuous situation, I could easily envision a widespread populist massacre of a good fraction of our ruling political, financial, intellectual, and journalistic elites, a fate they have certainly richly earned for themselves many, many times over.
     
    http://www.unz.com/tsaker/russian-special-forces-repel-a-us-planned-attack-in-syria-denounce-the-usa-and-issue-a-stark-warning/#comment-2019735
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  154. The Kulak says:
    @Philip Owen
    Speaking about the Russian private sector, I see in day to day business that there is a substantial shortage of capital that even Chinese culture funds cannot alleviate. The Americans in particular are policing their sanctions very strictly. All dollar payments to through a correspondent bank in the US. These banks interpret the sanctions list very widely. The Russian government has had to respond by giving up transparency measures designed to reduce corruption such as publishing list of subcontractors in successful government tenders. (The US banks use these to identify potential sanctions breakers). This works to the favour of doing business in Russia in Pounds and Euro but nevertheless induces friction, particularly with large capital transfers. It means the Chinese can't do as much with their dollars as they would like.

    Aleppo was not Crimea or Donbass. Russia had a case in Aleppo. Proposed sanctions were US inspired politking. In Crimea and Donbass Russia was clearly a transgressor.

    I don’t understand one of your points Phillip: “It means the Chinese can’t do as much with their dollars as they would like.” Why can’t they convert to yuan and process the transactions through Chinese banks, basically bypassing the sanctions on dollar activities via or with any entity in Russia (and now apparently doing Putin’s ‘deoffshoring’ work for him by harassing the Russian oligarchs corporate banking colony on Cyprus)?

    Or perhaps this is why as AK mentioned we’re seeing push for national cryptocurrencies, so those transactions previously requiring dollar to yuan then ruble conversions can be sped up via cryptoruble and crypto(petro)yuan.

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  155. The Kulak says:
    @reiner Tor
    Why does it matter? You wrote that

    “Mostly sniper rifles–no biggy. Any serious so called lethal weaponry such as Javelins makes to Ukraine, LDNR suddenly will obtain a viable Air Force. That is how it works. Small arms were floating to Ukraine anyway.”

    Now that it turns out that Javelins are indeed going to flow to Ukraine, your prediction will be tested. Unless you’re moving the goalposts.

    Kornet ATGMs, which proved deadly and demoralizing against Israel’s vaunted Merkavas and will simply fry older T64s and UAF blockposts, will be the LDPR ‘air force’. I doubt they get kamikaze drones of the type the Azeris tried to use without much success against the Armenian/Ngorno Karabkh forces as those aren’t in the UAF arsenal. Neither are Kornets but after Javelins Putin isn’t going to fail to follow through on his threat that LDPR could supply arms to other parts of Ukraine. Which is bad news if you’re a Right Sector Nazi in TransCarpathia or one of the known perps of the Odessa Massacre who got off not wanting to be car bombed or machine gunned outside your apartment building.

    For the Russia will abandon Donbass any day now/victory is inevitable for the glorious greater Galicia flag wavers here, I noticed the hits on Givi and Motorola type leaders stopped after Plotnitsky was checked and a UAF general had a ‘heart attack’ in his Kiev office and an SBU commander died in a Mariupol car bombing. Tit for tat discourages being cannon fodder for Uncle Sam when it’s not just some poor dumb bastard from Vinnitsya but a general or SBU in regular contact with Pentagon leaders or CIA getting killed by the LDPR partisans.

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  156. The Kulak says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    your prediction will be tested.
     
    Prediction of WHAT?

    Now to a substance, I don't know what is the deal with reading comprehension here but I do not "predict" things, I gladly leave this activity to people such as Karlin and others, who think (wrongly) that they have a clue. I deal in contingencies (a range of outcomes)--this is has nothing to do with "prediction". You want a "prediction"? OK, here it is--Javelins or whatever else floats into Ukraine (which is yet to be seen):

    a) It will not have major impact on the situation on the front;
    b) Life of US troops may get more complicated, say in Afghanistan, among may other possibilities.

    If you have any doubts about "predictions"--here are some of my opinions forwarded 4 months ago precisely on the issue.

    http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2017/08/so-will-donbass-forces-get-iskanders.html

    I hope you understand that reference to LDNR Air Force was written with sarcasm?

    DoD or more likely DIA who want to be the anti-Flynn buddies with CIA paranoia about Russian retaliation via the Taliban for the USA arming the UAF already made it into Newsweek:

    http://www.newsweek.com/taliban-using-russian-made-night-vision-goggles-kill-709422

    Given the potential blowback in the Stans I think the story is almost certainly BS. Training Hezbollah or special SAA infiltrator units that would carry out IED attacks on US forces in the Kurdish part of Syria seems a much more likely and more plausibly deniable move, as Iran could take the blame.

    This is of course the same Newsweek that was a rag sold for a $1 and which routinely publishes propaganda from the Atlantic Council not even marked as adverts to stay afloat. They also declared Putin was preparing for WW3 and promoted the Bild (#JihadJulian Roepcke’s employer) fantasy of a Russian massive assault on Scandinavia, Poland and Germany all at once, so take it for what it’s worth (not much).

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  157. @Anatoly:
    That’s some fine domino-theory thinking.
    Likely wrong on
    a) Trump doing anything militarily other than possibly in NK,
    b) the EU being mindful of the energy situation and being more balanced on Near-East issues than the scenario allows,
    c) any domestic “Coalition of the Fringes” in the US getting on a course to implosion from Day One.

    Of a) and b) I am certain, while c) would seem to be the most logical assumption.

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  158. dfordoom says: • Website
    @reiner Tor
    I’m not sure it’s so radically different from what it’d be without Trump. A Republican won, somewhat toughened immigration enforcement, enabled tax cuts, and sounds extremely belligerent towards Iran and North Korea, all the while keeping the confrontational approach of the Obama administration to Russia. Trump is way more entertaining than a conventional Republican, but his policies aren’t all that different.

    I’m not sure it’s so radically different from what it’d be without Trump.

    It’s strengthened the determination of the globalists/SJWs to ensure that dissent gets crushed thoroughly and completely. Of course they intended to do this anyway but it’s encouraged them to accelerate the timetable. And they’re no longer bothering to hide their totalitarian agenda because they no longer believe they have to.

    The 2020 presidential campaign won’t be like 2016. All the stops will be pulled out to make sure that there’s no chance for a Trump or a Sanders.

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  159. Ron Unz says:
    @The Kulak
    Bottom line: I think Anatoly is correct Russia remains much weaker than the U.S. in terms of soft power and cannot afford a new arms race, but Putin's remarks indicate his grim awareness of such and recollection of the ruinous costs of waging the last Cold War on the USSR. Where Anatoly gets things wrong from his Silicon Valley/Muscovite perch is how rapidly the USA is hollowing out in the between the coasts and even Midwest (OH) to Northeast Rust Belt (PA) hinterlands.

    Where Anatoly gets things wrong from his Silicon Valley/Muscovite perch is how rapidly the USA is hollowing out in the between the coasts and even Midwest (OH) to Northeast Rust Belt (PA) hinterlands.

    I very much agree with this, and believe that the current American Regime is really quite fragile in a variety of different ways. The astonishing political victory of an ignorant loudmouth such as Trump against the total opposition of 99% of the MSM demonstrates this. One sharp crack, such as an unexpected military defeat, and the regime might collapse.

    Pat Moynihan was a sharp guy, and I remember reading a book by him in which he pointed out that the real incomes of ordinary Americans had been stagnant for over two decades, something unprecedented since Europeans first landed on these shores. That book appeared 25 years ago, and the economic stagnation has now lasted almost half a century, hence “the masses are restive” leading to Trump’s victory.

    Here’s a somewhat related point I made a couple of months ago regarding the military angle:

    On the other hand, if America did not follow that trajectory and instead effectively accepted such a severe military blow, I’d think there’s a pretty good chance the result would be the total collapse of our utterly corrupt and long-despised American Regime in some sort of popular revolution, much like the Russian Imperial government collapsed after the unexpected defeat by Japan in 1905. Under such a tempestuous situation, I could easily envision a widespread populist massacre of a good fraction of our ruling political, financial, intellectual, and journalistic elites, a fate they have certainly richly earned for themselves many, many times over.

    http://www.unz.com/tsaker/russian-special-forces-repel-a-us-planned-attack-in-syria-denounce-the-usa-and-issue-a-stark-warning/#comment-2019735

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    • Replies: @dfordoom

    One sharp crack, such as an unexpected military defeat, and the regime might collapse.
     
    If you look at the collapse of various regimes over the course of history it seems to be more often than not military defeat that provides the trigger. It's not necessary for the regime to be overthrown militarily and it's not necessary for the defeat to be serious enough in itself to be fatal. It just has to be humiliating enough to cause a collapse of confidence.

    Getting bogged down in another Vietnam-style war of attrition might do it. Americans don't like those sorts of wars (I guess to be honest nobody does). They didn't like the Korean War and they didn't like Vietnam. They'll also find it difficult to find allies willing to participate in that kind of war. Even Australia probably wouldn't be dumb enough to join them in another war like that.
    , @Dave Pinsen

    One sharp crack, such as an unexpected military defeat, and the regime might collapse.
     
    At this point, it would be tough for an American military defeat to be considered unexpected, but a few counter examples to this come to mind. The first is Hitler's view, quoted by Antony Beevor in his Stalingrad book, that Russia was a rotting structure which would collapse if you kicked in the door.

    The second is Al Qaeda's view that 9/11 would have caused an American collapse (this is a via a friend of a friend, who had been analyzing Al Qaeda since the late '90s).

    The third is the Afghanistan War that followed 9/11, which is now on its 17th year. 9 years of war in Afghanistan may have helped topple the Soviet Union, but 17 years so far hasn't had anything close to the same effect in the U.S.

    Had Hillary won, America would likely have been more fragile, particularly if she blundered into war with Russia in Syria.
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  160. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Ron Unz

    Where Anatoly gets things wrong from his Silicon Valley/Muscovite perch is how rapidly the USA is hollowing out in the between the coasts and even Midwest (OH) to Northeast Rust Belt (PA) hinterlands.
     
    I very much agree with this, and believe that the current American Regime is really quite fragile in a variety of different ways. The astonishing political victory of an ignorant loudmouth such as Trump against the total opposition of 99% of the MSM demonstrates this. One sharp crack, such as an unexpected military defeat, and the regime might collapse.

    Pat Moynihan was a sharp guy, and I remember reading a book by him in which he pointed out that the real incomes of ordinary Americans had been stagnant for over two decades, something unprecedented since Europeans first landed on these shores. That book appeared 25 years ago, and the economic stagnation has now lasted almost half a century, hence "the masses are restive" leading to Trump's victory.

    Here's a somewhat related point I made a couple of months ago regarding the military angle:

    On the other hand, if America did not follow that trajectory and instead effectively accepted such a severe military blow, I’d think there’s a pretty good chance the result would be the total collapse of our utterly corrupt and long-despised American Regime in some sort of popular revolution, much like the Russian Imperial government collapsed after the unexpected defeat by Japan in 1905. Under such a tempestuous situation, I could easily envision a widespread populist massacre of a good fraction of our ruling political, financial, intellectual, and journalistic elites, a fate they have certainly richly earned for themselves many, many times over.
     
    http://www.unz.com/tsaker/russian-special-forces-repel-a-us-planned-attack-in-syria-denounce-the-usa-and-issue-a-stark-warning/#comment-2019735

    One sharp crack, such as an unexpected military defeat, and the regime might collapse.

    If you look at the collapse of various regimes over the course of history it seems to be more often than not military defeat that provides the trigger. It’s not necessary for the regime to be overthrown militarily and it’s not necessary for the defeat to be serious enough in itself to be fatal. It just has to be humiliating enough to cause a collapse of confidence.

    Getting bogged down in another Vietnam-style war of attrition might do it. Americans don’t like those sorts of wars (I guess to be honest nobody does). They didn’t like the Korean War and they didn’t like Vietnam. They’ll also find it difficult to find allies willing to participate in that kind of war. Even Australia probably wouldn’t be dumb enough to join them in another war like that.

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  161. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Ron Unz

    Where Anatoly gets things wrong from his Silicon Valley/Muscovite perch is how rapidly the USA is hollowing out in the between the coasts and even Midwest (OH) to Northeast Rust Belt (PA) hinterlands.
     
    I very much agree with this, and believe that the current American Regime is really quite fragile in a variety of different ways. The astonishing political victory of an ignorant loudmouth such as Trump against the total opposition of 99% of the MSM demonstrates this. One sharp crack, such as an unexpected military defeat, and the regime might collapse.

    Pat Moynihan was a sharp guy, and I remember reading a book by him in which he pointed out that the real incomes of ordinary Americans had been stagnant for over two decades, something unprecedented since Europeans first landed on these shores. That book appeared 25 years ago, and the economic stagnation has now lasted almost half a century, hence "the masses are restive" leading to Trump's victory.

    Here's a somewhat related point I made a couple of months ago regarding the military angle:

    On the other hand, if America did not follow that trajectory and instead effectively accepted such a severe military blow, I’d think there’s a pretty good chance the result would be the total collapse of our utterly corrupt and long-despised American Regime in some sort of popular revolution, much like the Russian Imperial government collapsed after the unexpected defeat by Japan in 1905. Under such a tempestuous situation, I could easily envision a widespread populist massacre of a good fraction of our ruling political, financial, intellectual, and journalistic elites, a fate they have certainly richly earned for themselves many, many times over.
     
    http://www.unz.com/tsaker/russian-special-forces-repel-a-us-planned-attack-in-syria-denounce-the-usa-and-issue-a-stark-warning/#comment-2019735

    One sharp crack, such as an unexpected military defeat, and the regime might collapse.

    At this point, it would be tough for an American military defeat to be considered unexpected, but a few counter examples to this come to mind. The first is Hitler’s view, quoted by Antony Beevor in his Stalingrad book, that Russia was a rotting structure which would collapse if you kicked in the door.

    The second is Al Qaeda’s view that 9/11 would have caused an American collapse (this is a via a friend of a friend, who had been analyzing Al Qaeda since the late ’90s).

    The third is the Afghanistan War that followed 9/11, which is now on its 17th year. 9 years of war in Afghanistan may have helped topple the Soviet Union, but 17 years so far hasn’t had anything close to the same effect in the U.S.

    Had Hillary won, America would likely have been more fragile, particularly if she blundered into war with Russia in Syria.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    At this point, it would be tough for an American military defeat to be considered unexpected,
     
    Why? General perception still is that the US has the most powerful military by far on the planet, the only one with truly global reach. There are concerns that some key elements of American military power like aircraft carriers might become vulnerable because of new technological developments like hypersonic missiles, but so far that's just speculation. A major military defeat for the US would widely be regarded as shocking.

    The second is Al Qaeda’s view that 9/11 would have caused an American collapse
     
    Why would they have believed that? It seems much more likely that Bin Laden wanted to lure the US into Mideast wars which were bound to radicalize many Muslims, create a new generation of jihadis and lead to breakdown of existing states, providing ample opportunities for the spread of Islamist militancy (and of course he was largely successful with that).

    9 years of war in Afghanistan may have helped topple the Soviet Union,
     
    Judging from my very limited reading (primarily Roderic Braithwaite's Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan) it seems unlikely that the Afghan war was that important for the collapse of the Soviet system. It may have contributed somewhat to the Soviet system losing legitimacy, but it's not like the Soviets suffered a really crippling defeat there. Arguably they were smarter than post-9/11 Western forces, since they realized quite early they needed to get out of that horrible country.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  162. @Dave Pinsen

    One sharp crack, such as an unexpected military defeat, and the regime might collapse.
     
    At this point, it would be tough for an American military defeat to be considered unexpected, but a few counter examples to this come to mind. The first is Hitler's view, quoted by Antony Beevor in his Stalingrad book, that Russia was a rotting structure which would collapse if you kicked in the door.

    The second is Al Qaeda's view that 9/11 would have caused an American collapse (this is a via a friend of a friend, who had been analyzing Al Qaeda since the late '90s).

    The third is the Afghanistan War that followed 9/11, which is now on its 17th year. 9 years of war in Afghanistan may have helped topple the Soviet Union, but 17 years so far hasn't had anything close to the same effect in the U.S.

    Had Hillary won, America would likely have been more fragile, particularly if she blundered into war with Russia in Syria.

    At this point, it would be tough for an American military defeat to be considered unexpected,

    Why? General perception still is that the US has the most powerful military by far on the planet, the only one with truly global reach. There are concerns that some key elements of American military power like aircraft carriers might become vulnerable because of new technological developments like hypersonic missiles, but so far that’s just speculation. A major military defeat for the US would widely be regarded as shocking.

    The second is Al Qaeda’s view that 9/11 would have caused an American collapse

    Why would they have believed that? It seems much more likely that Bin Laden wanted to lure the US into Mideast wars which were bound to radicalize many Muslims, create a new generation of jihadis and lead to breakdown of existing states, providing ample opportunities for the spread of Islamist militancy (and of course he was largely successful with that).

    9 years of war in Afghanistan may have helped topple the Soviet Union,

    Judging from my very limited reading (primarily Roderic Braithwaite’s Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan) it seems unlikely that the Afghan war was that important for the collapse of the Soviet system. It may have contributed somewhat to the Soviet system losing legitimacy, but it’s not like the Soviets suffered a really crippling defeat there. Arguably they were smarter than post-9/11 Western forces, since they realized quite early they needed to get out of that horrible country.

    Read More
    • Agree: reiner Tor
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
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