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This week’s Open Thread.

Main

* Russian sanctions

“Trump doesn’t want to be friends with China, the elites won’t let him be friends with Russia, and the EU doesn’t want to be friends with Trump.” – Egor Kholmogorov.

As pithy a summary of this last week’s clusterfuck as any.

Germany (!) considers the US sanctions to be in violation of international law, and has told the European Commission to look at countermeasures.

Russia expelling 755 US diplomats and seizure of US diplomatic compounds is a delayed reaction to Obama’s analogous step at the tail end of his Presidency. The response had been suspended to give Trump time to normalize relations, but with the prospect of that going out of the window with the Senate’s 98-2 vote in favor of widening Russian sanctions, there was no longer any point to holding it off.

Russia’s response to the actual US sanctions are a different matter and will be formulated as the situation develops.

Russia

* Alexander Mercouris reviews How I Lost by Hillary Clinton, by Joe Lauria.

* Alexey Kovalev seems to confirm that the guy who runs the legendary @RussianEmbassy Twitter account is Alexander Kramarenko, vice ambassador in London.

This is a guy in his 60s who posts pepe memes. Based boomer?

* Mikheil Saakashvili has been deprived of his Ukrainian citizenship, formally on the basis of him having neglecting to inform the authorities he was wanted in Georgia. Since the Georgians had stripped him of his Georgian citizenship in 2015 by dint of him having received Ukrainian citizenship, this effectively makes him a stateless person.

His mistake was to take Maidanist rhetoric about reform and the war against corruption at face value. As Ukraine’s most popular (least unpopular) major political figure, his increasing oppositionalism to the Poroshenko clan must have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Latest word is he is now living with his relatives in the Bronx (as an undocumented alien?). How the mighty are fallen.

* Eighty years ago Stalin launched the Great Terror.

World

* North Korea

The past few weeks have seen a spate of North Korean missile testing successes, so much so that there I have been saying many comments to the effect that China or Russia must be helping them out (even though its evident that neither supports the nuclearization of the Korean peninsula).

For HBD-aware people, there’s a much more succinct explanation: The average IQ of North Korea must be close to 100. And of course a huge percentage of North Korea’s brighest are engaged in military R&D. This is why Israel, South Africa(n whites), and now North Korea have been successful at developing a nuclear deterrent – while the likes of Iraq, Syria, Libya, and even Iran, who are a standard deviation lower – have failed at it.

* Who funds the Press Freedom Index? The usual suspects.

* Sperm counts fall by 50% in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand between 1973 and 2011 – but not in Asia, Africa, or South America. The hypotheses put forth there don’t seem all that likely.

Misc

* So it seems that Game of Thrones has basically stopped paying any heed to logistics or manpower realities.

* Hilarious Wheel of Time review.

* Best defense of corruption ever?

pigdog-corruption-is-good

* PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS gets the record for the highest peak player count of any non-Valve game.

 

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Open Thread 
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  1. iffen says:

    If Merkeleuropa is the same as Mitteleuropa, and there are no Jews in modern German, can we say that Germany won WWI and WWII?

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  2. anon says: • Disclaimer

    Can you write a post about your projections for China well into the future? You say it will be a hyperpower but what does that mean?

    I tend to think it will follow the South Korean path over the next 15 years and relatively easily have an economy (nominal GDP) that is twice as large as the US economy.

    However, after the easy catch up is done (getting to 40% of US GDP per capita) what is going to happen? Is China ever going to grow to 3x US GDP per capita? Will the fast shrinking number of working age people by then catch up to China? Will its lack of social capital (and therefore social mobility) compared to the US, UK, Germany, etc. mean it will be stuck at 2x of US GDP?

    Read More
    • Replies: @notanon

    Is China ever going to grow to 3x US GDP per capita?
     
    The US is being deliberately destroyed by the banking mafia as part of their move to China so if they succeed then yes, easily - however it will be 3x what US GDP per capita is after it has been turned into Brazil (at best) or South Africa (at worst).

    The question is where will China get relative to the USA at its peak i.e. will it be an actual hyperpower or only a relative one.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  3. it will be a hyperpower but what does that mean?

    Absolutely nothing–it is a neocon-invented term (a simulacra) which was born out of neocons’ illiteracy on pretty much anything related to actual human activity, from politics to military affairs, and it was invented to imply that USA could, as this imbecile Carl Rove stated, “create own reality”. I agree with him with one caveat–a “parallel reality”. China is already huge economically and, to a certain degree, militarily but it will continue to be a very large but what is traditionally called a superpower among number of other superpower states, the US included. So the term “hyperpower” means absolutely nothing other than desire to measure penises without considering consequences.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hyperborean
    I think there has been a sort of inflation in terms of power rankings, because the USA was considered a superpower/hyperpower and now other nations are catching up to the USA therefore, or so I assume the reasoning goes, the other nations must also be superpowers rather than the USA being downgraded to "merely" a great power. Personally I would welcome the term "great power" being brought out of retirement and the, IMO, somewhat excessive use of superpower/hyperpower being phased out.
    , @Greasy William
    You do realize that the US is on the road to breaking up, right? Can't be a superpower if you don't actually exist.

    Traditionally, being a superpower meant that you needed both land and population. With the coming collapse of the US, the so called BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) would be leading candidates to become superpowers in their own right.

    I wonder, however, if technological advancement has lessened the support of sheer size. If that's the case, we wouldn't necessarily expect the BRICs to dominate the globe.
    , @notanon

    China is already huge economically and, to a certain degree, militarily but it will continue to be a very large but what is traditionally called a superpower among number of other superpower states, the US included.
     
    The banking mafia are 1) parasitic and where possible 2) like to be the power behind the throne of a single dominant power.

    If they decide they want to finish off the US before a move to China the best way to achieve their preference is to start a war between US and Russia leaving China as the last man standing.
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  4. The past few weeks have seen a spate of North Korean missile testing successes, so much so that there I have been seeing many comments to the effect that China or Russia must be helping them out (even though its evident that neither supports the nuclearization of the Korean peninsula).

    Fixed it.

    That aside, it is funny how blind HBD-denialism/lack of awareness can make otherwise reasonably sensible people and commentators (and even more so the insensible ones).

    Read More
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  5. Karlin,

    now that Russia has dropped the hammer on the US embassy staffing in Russia, will that reduce their ability to foment opposition to Putler?

    Read More
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  6. @Andrei Martyanov

    it will be a hyperpower but what does that mean?
     
    Absolutely nothing--it is a neocon-invented term (a simulacra) which was born out of neocons' illiteracy on pretty much anything related to actual human activity, from politics to military affairs, and it was invented to imply that USA could, as this imbecile Carl Rove stated, "create own reality". I agree with him with one caveat--a "parallel reality". China is already huge economically and, to a certain degree, militarily but it will continue to be a very large but what is traditionally called a superpower among number of other superpower states, the US included. So the term "hyperpower" means absolutely nothing other than desire to measure penises without considering consequences.

    I think there has been a sort of inflation in terms of power rankings, because the USA was considered a superpower/hyperpower and now other nations are catching up to the USA therefore, or so I assume the reasoning goes, the other nations must also be superpowers rather than the USA being downgraded to “merely” a great power. Personally I would welcome the term “great power” being brought out of retirement and the, IMO, somewhat excessive use of superpower/hyperpower being phased out.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal
    When the term was first used for the US, it merely reflected the fact that the world had changed from one dominated for so long by two superpowers (US and USSR) into one dominated by one - the US. So the term reflected the fact that US predominance in the world had increased significantly above its former level of superpower.

    I use the term reasonably systematically to mean the power that dominates in a unipolar world. In other words, you have a world dominated by one hyperpower, or one dominated by two superpowers, or one shared amongst more than two Great Powers.

    Works for me.

    Applying that to the China situation, on present trends we are moving towards a world of two superpowers - China and the US. China is a nascent superpower - it has superpower clout economically but not in other vital areas such as military capability and technological dominance, but on present trends it will achieve those in the next few decades. Only if the US suffers a collapse comparable to that of the USSR in 1990, and probably a split of some kind, will we probably see a Chinese hyperpower in the near future.
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  7. A few other news stories:

    - it’s once more proposed by the Pentagon to arm Ukraine
    - Trump stops arming Syrian rebels (or was it last week? I think it was this week)
    - Hafez Assad (son of Bashar) on the Mathematics Olympiad (OK, this is over a week old now, I just read about it yesterday)
    - Vietnam bent the knees to the Chinese regarding the South China Sea, which means China will soon be the hegemon there

    In any event, our betters seem to be pushing us towards WW3:

    - they are pushing Russia into a corner (sanctions)
    - they are trying to provoke an escalation of the war in Ukraine
    - they are displeased with Trump’s unwillingness to fight a war (preferably with Russia) over Syria
    - they are threatening North Korea with ever increasing intensity

    Why is that?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    - they are pushing Russia into a corner (sanctions)
     
    I would say that Washington's and Moscow's definitions of "corner" differ drastically and it is Washington, not Moscow who is being cornered. Per arming Ukraine--it is a very long story and it will end really-really bad for Kiev.
    , @notanon

    Why is that?
     
    1) the banking mafia want a single hegemon they control behind the scenes and so they intend to get the US and Russia to destroy each other

    2) north Korea threatens all the factories they moved out of the US to their new host, China, so they want the US to fix that for them
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  8. Matra says:

    Latest word is he is now living with his relatives in the Bronx (as an undocumented alien?). How the mighty are fallen.

    Especially as he was a Williamsburg, Brooklyn hipster just three years ago.

    Absolutely nothing–it is a neocon-invented term (a simulacra) which was born out of neocons’ illiteracy on pretty much anything related to actual human activity

    The term “hyperpower” was invented by former French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine in the 1990s:

    You coined the term “hyperpower” for the United States in the 1990s. Do think it is still valid?

    It is. But you should remember that it wasn’t meant in a negative way. In French, the word “hyper” is not associated with some kind of pathological excess the way it is in English. Once I used the word, it caught on in ways that go far beyond what I was saying. I simply meant that the U.S. was by far the biggest world power anyone had ever seen. The Roman Empire and the Chinese Empire were territorially limited so they didn’t really mind what happened in the rest of the world. In contrast, the United States is literally a “global” power – a first. That means it has strong influence in every sphere of international life. I like to compare it to a bicycle wheel with the U.S. as the hub with “spokes” into every country and sector of activity in the world. For every capital, the first preoccupation is that country’s relationship with Washington. So the word “hyper-power” is not outdated.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    The term “hyperpower” was invented by former French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine in the 1990s:
     
    France (and her "left-wing" politics) is a hot bed for neocons, enough to recall Bernhard Henri Levy--neocon psychopath and faux-"scholar" par excellence. Vedrine's definition is a simulacra (it is expected from a man who considers Fareed Zakaria a thinker) and it is neocon to its very core, as quote by Vedrine you presented confirms completely. Delusion is a defining characteristic of neocons.
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  9. melanf says:

    with the Senate’s 98-2 vote in favor of widening Russian sanctions…..Germany (!) considers the US sanctions to be in violation of international law, and has told the European Commission to look at countermeasures.

    Maybe McCain and Co. in fact, the agents of the Kremlin, whose aim is to embroil America with the rest of the world?
    If I were American Russophobe i would have assumed that the real McCain hasdisappeared in Vietnam. Instead of McCain in America returned to the Colonel of the KGB (which has made plastic surgery to look like the real McCain). Since then this agent destroys America from the inside

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  10. @Matra
    Latest word is he is now living with his relatives in the Bronx (as an undocumented alien?). How the mighty are fallen.

    Especially as he was a Williamsburg, Brooklyn hipster just three years ago.

    Absolutely nothing–it is a neocon-invented term (a simulacra) which was born out of neocons’ illiteracy on pretty much anything related to actual human activity

    The term "hyperpower" was invented by former French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine in the 1990s:

    You coined the term “hyperpower” for the United States in the 1990s. Do think it is still valid?

    It is. But you should remember that it wasn’t meant in a negative way. In French, the word “hyper” is not associated with some kind of pathological excess the way it is in English. Once I used the word, it caught on in ways that go far beyond what I was saying. I simply meant that the U.S. was by far the biggest world power anyone had ever seen. The Roman Empire and the Chinese Empire were territorially limited so they didn’t really mind what happened in the rest of the world. In contrast, the United States is literally a “global” power – a first. That means it has strong influence in every sphere of international life. I like to compare it to a bicycle wheel with the U.S. as the hub with “spokes” into every country and sector of activity in the world. For every capital, the first preoccupation is that country’s relationship with Washington. So the word “hyper-power” is not outdated.

    The term “hyperpower” was invented by former French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine in the 1990s:

    France (and her “left-wing” politics) is a hot bed for neocons, enough to recall Bernhard Henri Levy–neocon psychopath and faux-”scholar” par excellence. Vedrine’s definition is a simulacra (it is expected from a man who considers Fareed Zakaria a thinker) and it is neocon to its very core, as quote by Vedrine you presented confirms completely. Delusion is a defining characteristic of neocons.

    Read More
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  11. @reiner Tor
    A few other news stories:

    - it's once more proposed by the Pentagon to arm Ukraine
    - Trump stops arming Syrian rebels (or was it last week? I think it was this week)
    - Hafez Assad (son of Bashar) on the Mathematics Olympiad (OK, this is over a week old now, I just read about it yesterday)
    - Vietnam bent the knees to the Chinese regarding the South China Sea, which means China will soon be the hegemon there

    In any event, our betters seem to be pushing us towards WW3:

    - they are pushing Russia into a corner (sanctions)
    - they are trying to provoke an escalation of the war in Ukraine
    - they are displeased with Trump's unwillingness to fight a war (preferably with Russia) over Syria
    - they are threatening North Korea with ever increasing intensity

    Why is that?

    - they are pushing Russia into a corner (sanctions)

    I would say that Washington’s and Moscow’s definitions of “corner” differ drastically and it is Washington, not Moscow who is being cornered. Per arming Ukraine–it is a very long story and it will end really-really bad for Kiev.

    Read More
    • Replies: @A22
    How will Moscow deal with these sanctions in order to not get cornered? If hypothetically the EU complied with the sanctions? that is a real corner for Russia tbh.
    Russia would not have been in such a situation had they invest in more diversified exports.
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  12. Randal says:
    @Hyperborean
    I think there has been a sort of inflation in terms of power rankings, because the USA was considered a superpower/hyperpower and now other nations are catching up to the USA therefore, or so I assume the reasoning goes, the other nations must also be superpowers rather than the USA being downgraded to "merely" a great power. Personally I would welcome the term "great power" being brought out of retirement and the, IMO, somewhat excessive use of superpower/hyperpower being phased out.

    When the term was first used for the US, it merely reflected the fact that the world had changed from one dominated for so long by two superpowers (US and USSR) into one dominated by one – the US. So the term reflected the fact that US predominance in the world had increased significantly above its former level of superpower.

    I use the term reasonably systematically to mean the power that dominates in a unipolar world. In other words, you have a world dominated by one hyperpower, or one dominated by two superpowers, or one shared amongst more than two Great Powers.

    Works for me.

    Applying that to the China situation, on present trends we are moving towards a world of two superpowers – China and the US. China is a nascent superpower – it has superpower clout economically but not in other vital areas such as military capability and technological dominance, but on present trends it will achieve those in the next few decades. Only if the US suffers a collapse comparable to that of the USSR in 1990, and probably a split of some kind, will we probably see a Chinese hyperpower in the near future.

    Read More
    • Agree: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    the power that dominates in a unipolar world.
     
    It is sort of like buttery butter or wet water, or hairless baldness. Truth is, even this brief "uni-polar" moment was mostly of US media and punditry creation--it was "soft power" pumped on steroids. The United States couldn't do anything to stagnating Russia in 1990s the same as she can not do it today. Same goes for China. Russia's weakness in 1990s was largely due to political adventurists who left after themselves only wholesale hatred for them. What is most fundamental--during this "uni-polar" moment the US managed to demonstrate to the world the worst intelligence services failure in history with 9/11 terrorist acts and managed to lose every single war it was involved in. Mind you, these were not wars against peers, to put it mildly, but the whole "uni-polar" moment was based upon beating up a third rate Arab (Saddam) military, period. There was nothing behind it. I also mind you, these are not just my opinions--there are very many US military professionals (including well-published ones) who think exactly like me. After revelations by General Ivashov and former Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin publicly about Yugoslavia's bombing one will understand that signals were there all along.
    , @Greasy William

    it has superpower clout economically but not in other vital areas such as military capability and technological dominance, but on present trends it will achieve those in the next few decades
     
    Hell. No. It will not.

    Anti Americans are always putting their eggs in the China basket, and if it makes you feel any better, America is doomed and probably will collapse within your lifetime. But you China Bulls are just delusional.

    I doubt anybody here* will ever live to see China fully catch up with the West in technology. They are about a century away.


    *Well since cyborg Anatoly will presumably live to be 500, he probably will get to see China as the most dominant power on earth. The rest of us will have to be satisfied with watching from the clouds.
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  13. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    The past few weeks have seen a spate of North Korean missile testing successes, so much so that there I have been saying many comments to the effect that China or Russia must be helping them out (even though its evident that neither supports the nuclearization of the Korean peninsula).

    You don’t think they got Ukrainian help? A certain part of the Ukraine needs money and has the necessary missile tech.

    This is why Israel, South Africa(n whites), and now North Korea have been successful at developing a nuclear deterrent – while the likes of Iraq, Syria, Libya, and even Iran, who are a standard deviation lower – have failed at it.

    Other aspects are more important. Iran’s program was too controversial in Iran and Iraq’s and Syria’s programs were bombed by the Israelis.

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  14. @Randal
    When the term was first used for the US, it merely reflected the fact that the world had changed from one dominated for so long by two superpowers (US and USSR) into one dominated by one - the US. So the term reflected the fact that US predominance in the world had increased significantly above its former level of superpower.

    I use the term reasonably systematically to mean the power that dominates in a unipolar world. In other words, you have a world dominated by one hyperpower, or one dominated by two superpowers, or one shared amongst more than two Great Powers.

    Works for me.

    Applying that to the China situation, on present trends we are moving towards a world of two superpowers - China and the US. China is a nascent superpower - it has superpower clout economically but not in other vital areas such as military capability and technological dominance, but on present trends it will achieve those in the next few decades. Only if the US suffers a collapse comparable to that of the USSR in 1990, and probably a split of some kind, will we probably see a Chinese hyperpower in the near future.

    the power that dominates in a unipolar world.

    It is sort of like buttery butter or wet water, or hairless baldness. Truth is, even this brief “uni-polar” moment was mostly of US media and punditry creation–it was “soft power” pumped on steroids. The United States couldn’t do anything to stagnating Russia in 1990s the same as she can not do it today. Same goes for China. Russia’s weakness in 1990s was largely due to political adventurists who left after themselves only wholesale hatred for them. What is most fundamental–during this “uni-polar” moment the US managed to demonstrate to the world the worst intelligence services failure in history with 9/11 terrorist acts and managed to lose every single war it was involved in. Mind you, these were not wars against peers, to put it mildly, but the whole “uni-polar” moment was based upon beating up a third rate Arab (Saddam) military, period. There was nothing behind it. I also mind you, these are not just my opinions–there are very many US military professionals (including well-published ones) who think exactly like me. After revelations by General Ivashov and former Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin publicly about Yugoslavia’s bombing one will understand that signals were there all along.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    After revelations by General Ivashov and former Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin publicly about Yugoslavia’s bombing one will understand that signals were there all along

    More please, and don't leave out the part explaining why it would have been in the interests of the US to help in the creation of a Greater Serbia.

    , @Thorfinnsson
    There is another interesting fact about the "unipolar moment".

    The West was considerably less unified for most of the period than it is today (or was prior to the election of Donald Trump).

    The most obvious example was the very strong push-back the USA received from France and Germany on the Iraq War. There was also quite a lot of talk about building the European Union into a counterweight to American hegemony during the 2000s.

    All of this evaporated with the coronation of Barack Hussein Obama, as Western Europe has been thoroughly pozzed by the negrophilia, homomania, etc. of American "intellectuals". Indeed American voters are far more immunized to these social pathogens than are Western Europeans. Israel Shamir's slogan "masters of the discourse" comes to mind.

    There was some sort of generational shift in Western Europe as well. During the Cold War, when one could speak of a real Russian (Soviet) threat to Western Europe, Western European leaders were far more skeptical of American Presidents and diplomats than they are now. Perhaps this is because European leaders of the 1980s and earlier remembered a time when European countries were independent of American influence.
    , @Randal
    You certainly won't get any disagreement from me about the sheer depths of incompetence with which the US regime handled its "unipolar moment". Usually I'd say it takes a generation or two for a dominant power to acquire such incompetent leadership. There's probably some truth in the idea that it was the sheer suddenness of the USSR's collapse and disappearance as a rival that left the US more vulnerable to the worst elements within its elite. The US had structured its foreign policy during the 1980s on opposition to the USSR and communism (real or supposed), and when that disappeared the neocons and their carpetbagger hangers on were there to claim that the job wasn't just to oppose communism but to actually remake the world in the US's image. Sadly, there was nobody to oppose them with an effective alternative explanation of the US's role in the new world.

    Truth is, even this brief “uni-polar” moment was mostly of US media and punditry creation–it was “soft power” pumped on steroids. The United States couldn’t do anything to stagnating Russia in 1990s the same as she can not do it today.
     
    No, here you overstate the case. In the 1990s Russia was economically and militarily a basket case, as you'd expect given the circumstances of long term decline followed by catastrophic breakup. As you presumably know full well, an awful lot changed in the late 1990s and early C21st, that laid the groundwork for the effective actions since 2008. With Russia out of the way and China barely off the starting blocks, there was nobody to contest global military supremacy with the US at that time,

    The US is still the only country that could plausibly claim superpower status today (genuine global military reach, economic size, soft power, technological primacy), but on most of those counts it's clearly falling back relative to rivals and it's debatable whether it has enough of a lead to still be called a superpower at all, but there are no other real candidates. We are certainly in a transitional period, but it's mostly the breath-taking dysfunctionality of the ruling US elite in relation to foreign policy in particular that handicaps the US. If it hadn't been running its foreign policy for the last three decades mostly for the benefit of foreigners (Israelis and Saudis, primarily) it would be in a much more solid position.

    And still the US, in pursuing that dysfunctional foreign policy, has the power to inflict tremendous damage. No other power in the world could have essentially unilaterally (albeit via diplomatic coordination of devastating sanctions and sustained isolation, followed by a full blown invasion on the other side of the world) destroyed Iraq in 1990-2003 and handed it over to Iranian-backed shias and sunni jihadists in the way the US did.
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  15. Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia are coming?

    Anyway, would also like to see what is the testosterone drop in the west.

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  16. iffen says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    the power that dominates in a unipolar world.
     
    It is sort of like buttery butter or wet water, or hairless baldness. Truth is, even this brief "uni-polar" moment was mostly of US media and punditry creation--it was "soft power" pumped on steroids. The United States couldn't do anything to stagnating Russia in 1990s the same as she can not do it today. Same goes for China. Russia's weakness in 1990s was largely due to political adventurists who left after themselves only wholesale hatred for them. What is most fundamental--during this "uni-polar" moment the US managed to demonstrate to the world the worst intelligence services failure in history with 9/11 terrorist acts and managed to lose every single war it was involved in. Mind you, these were not wars against peers, to put it mildly, but the whole "uni-polar" moment was based upon beating up a third rate Arab (Saddam) military, period. There was nothing behind it. I also mind you, these are not just my opinions--there are very many US military professionals (including well-published ones) who think exactly like me. After revelations by General Ivashov and former Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin publicly about Yugoslavia's bombing one will understand that signals were there all along.

    After revelations by General Ivashov and former Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin publicly about Yugoslavia’s bombing one will understand that signals were there all along

    More please, and don’t leave out the part explaining why it would have been in the interests of the US to help in the creation of a Greater Serbia.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader

    and don’t leave out the part explaining why it would have been in the interests of the US to help in the creation of a Greater Serbia.
     
    Kosovo war wasn't about "Greater Serbia", since Kosovo was an internationally recognized part of Yugoslavia (then consisting of only Serbia and Montenegro). The US and its NATO allies attacked a sovereign state on mostly trumped-up charges...nothing to do with your strawman of "creation of Greater Serbia not in US interests".
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    More please
     
    On Sunday Evening With Vladimir Solovyov talk show (by far the most watched Russia's show with colossal audience US pundits can only dream about) IIRC in early 2016 (I am sure you can find it), both Kokoshin and Ivashov publicly spoke from their podiums to each-other and after reaching consensus between two of them on disclosing what used to be extremely classified information in 2000s stated (it was Kokoshin) that during NATO's aggression against Serbia the dawning realization of coming of the ground phase made US to first push... Hungarians as an invading force (they just got their NATO membership) and then, when Hungarians refused, US tried to push for... Germans. At that time diplomats from Hungary and Germany were literally spending their workdays at the doors of Russia's Foreign Ministry. Main point? All of them sang in unison about US getting everything to the point of hot war and then offering others to die in the field. For Germans, of course, there was another huge factor--a historic memory. Well, Yeltsin and his gang intervened on US behalf and for all intents and purposes sold Serbia. What happen afterwards you should remember--Putin appearance on Russia's political Olympus was a direct result of weak and cowardly policies of "reformers". Here we are today.
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  17. @iffen
    After revelations by General Ivashov and former Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin publicly about Yugoslavia’s bombing one will understand that signals were there all along

    More please, and don't leave out the part explaining why it would have been in the interests of the US to help in the creation of a Greater Serbia.

    and don’t leave out the part explaining why it would have been in the interests of the US to help in the creation of a Greater Serbia.

    Kosovo war wasn’t about “Greater Serbia”, since Kosovo was an internationally recognized part of Yugoslavia (then consisting of only Serbia and Montenegro). The US and its NATO allies attacked a sovereign state on mostly trumped-up charges…nothing to do with your strawman of “creation of Greater Serbia not in US interests”.

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    • Agree: Andrei Martyanov, Randal
    • Replies: @iffen
    The US and its NATO allies attacked a sovereign state

    You seem to take a very narrow and extremely legalistic view of borders.

    That's within your rights, but I suspect that you only do so when it suits your opinions and purposes.
    If I am wrong in my assessment then you have my apology. But I would like to see a copy of your “Free Crimea” membership card, or if you have misplaced it, perhaps a picture of you in your “Germans for the Re-Unification of Ukraine” T-shirt.

    That said, we all know what political power grows out of.

    If a German dominated European Union is not a Mitteleuropa, what would one look like?

    , @Randal
    The attack on Yugoslavia was certainly based upon trumped up charges (and straightforwardly illegal), since what Yugoslavia was doing in Kosovo was not much different to what Britain had been doing in Northern Ireland, albeit in a much more violent and chaotic context.

    The only sense in which Iffen's "official truth" version of events approaches reality is that the reason why Yugoslavia had to be made an example of was the same as the reason why countries like Hungary and Poland are being threatened with being made examples of today. They were resisting the globalist , internationalist dogmas of the US sphere business establishment and the establishment left, as represented by the likes of Schroder (and today Merkel) in Germany, and the likes of Blair in Britain, and Clinton and Albright in the US.

    They had to be destroyed, and to be seen to be destroyed.
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  18. @iffen
    After revelations by General Ivashov and former Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin publicly about Yugoslavia’s bombing one will understand that signals were there all along

    More please, and don't leave out the part explaining why it would have been in the interests of the US to help in the creation of a Greater Serbia.

    More please

    On Sunday Evening With Vladimir Solovyov talk show (by far the most watched Russia’s show with colossal audience US pundits can only dream about) IIRC in early 2016 (I am sure you can find it), both Kokoshin and Ivashov publicly spoke from their podiums to each-other and after reaching consensus between two of them on disclosing what used to be extremely classified information in 2000s stated (it was Kokoshin) that during NATO’s aggression against Serbia the dawning realization of coming of the ground phase made US to first push… Hungarians as an invading force (they just got their NATO membership) and then, when Hungarians refused, US tried to push for… Germans. At that time diplomats from Hungary and Germany were literally spending their workdays at the doors of Russia’s Foreign Ministry. Main point? All of them sang in unison about US getting everything to the point of hot war and then offering others to die in the field. For Germans, of course, there was another huge factor–a historic memory. Well, Yeltsin and his gang intervened on US behalf and for all intents and purposes sold Serbia. What happen afterwards you should remember–Putin appearance on Russia’s political Olympus was a direct result of weak and cowardly policies of “reformers”. Here we are today.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    US getting everything to the point of hot war and then offering others to die in the field

    Perhaps in an unexpected and unexplained flash of brilliance someone thought of the idea of letting Europeans fight and die in one of their wars instead of having the US do it for them.
    , @anon
    Since you started mentioning Russian television shows, do you think it is possible to learn Russian without the help of a tutor? And if so, how would one do it?
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  19. @Andrei Martyanov

    the power that dominates in a unipolar world.
     
    It is sort of like buttery butter or wet water, or hairless baldness. Truth is, even this brief "uni-polar" moment was mostly of US media and punditry creation--it was "soft power" pumped on steroids. The United States couldn't do anything to stagnating Russia in 1990s the same as she can not do it today. Same goes for China. Russia's weakness in 1990s was largely due to political adventurists who left after themselves only wholesale hatred for them. What is most fundamental--during this "uni-polar" moment the US managed to demonstrate to the world the worst intelligence services failure in history with 9/11 terrorist acts and managed to lose every single war it was involved in. Mind you, these were not wars against peers, to put it mildly, but the whole "uni-polar" moment was based upon beating up a third rate Arab (Saddam) military, period. There was nothing behind it. I also mind you, these are not just my opinions--there are very many US military professionals (including well-published ones) who think exactly like me. After revelations by General Ivashov and former Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin publicly about Yugoslavia's bombing one will understand that signals were there all along.

    There is another interesting fact about the “unipolar moment”.

    The West was considerably less unified for most of the period than it is today (or was prior to the election of Donald Trump).

    The most obvious example was the very strong push-back the USA received from France and Germany on the Iraq War. There was also quite a lot of talk about building the European Union into a counterweight to American hegemony during the 2000s.

    All of this evaporated with the coronation of Barack Hussein Obama, as Western Europe has been thoroughly pozzed by the negrophilia, homomania, etc. of American “intellectuals”. Indeed American voters are far more immunized to these social pathogens than are Western Europeans. Israel Shamir’s slogan “masters of the discourse” comes to mind.

    There was some sort of generational shift in Western Europe as well. During the Cold War, when one could speak of a real Russian (Soviet) threat to Western Europe, Western European leaders were far more skeptical of American Presidents and diplomats than they are now. Perhaps this is because European leaders of the 1980s and earlier remembered a time when European countries were independent of American influence.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Perhaps this is because European leaders of the 1980s and earlier remembered a time when European countries were independent of American influence.
     
    Undeniably so. But then again, Europe had real statesmen then. Today it has gay-pride parades and multiculturalism and no real statesmen (or stateswomen). Merkel doesn't qualify.
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    All of this evaporated with the coronation of Barack Hussein Obama, as Western Europe has been thoroughly pozzed by the negrophilia, homomania, etc. of American “intellectuals”.
     
    I remember France's National Team (especially from 1978 through 1986 World Cups) which had only two black players (and very good ones at that)--Tigana and Tresor. The rest? From Platini to Rochetau and Giress--several casts of Les Trois Mousquetaires movie could have been drawn from those teams. I am not taking about blonde Dutch. Look at them now.
    , @Randal

    The most obvious example was the very strong push-back the USA received from France and Germany on the Iraq War. There was also quite a lot of talk about building the European Union into a counterweight to American hegemony during the 2000s.
     
    This wasn't because the US wasn't dominant - it was. It was because the EU elites could see that the invasion of Iraq was literally stupid, with potential downsides massively exceeding any potential gains. That didn't apply as far as the US political and media elites were concerned, because for them, primarily dominated by what was in the interests of Israel's regime and sympathisers, the primary objective was that Iraq should be destroyed in order to remove one of Israel's regional rivals. If a precedent and staging ground could be set for further attacks on Iran and Syria, so much the better.

    Euro elites weren't as thoroughly indoctrinated in the idea that Israel's interests are their interests as the US elites were, and they saw no problem with a contained and hastened Iraq being rehabilitated as a trading partner.

    But none of that brings into question the US's global predominance during the period in question. Nobody's saying the US actually ran a global empire in that period that could coerce obedience in every little detail, just that they were by far the most powerful state and the only one with the capability and the will for real global power projection, militarily, diplomatically and economically.

    As noted above, what's remarkable about the period US's unipolar moment is the sheer incompetence with which it was handled by the US bipartisan elites, to the extent that even their own poodles in western Europe were occasionally moved to object.

    All of this evaporated with the coronation of Barack Hussein Obama
     
    Obviously, because the election of Obama brought the US regime into close ideological alignment with the leftist internationalist European/UK elites.

    There was some sort of generational shift in Western Europe as well.
     
    Yes, between the 1980s and the late 1990s/2000s, but not between the time of the opposition to the Iraq war and the meek compliance with Obama. In 2003 the leaders in the UK, France and Germany were Blair, Chirac and Schroder, all of whom had meekly, even enthusiastically, complied with the exercise of US military hegemony in Kosovo and in Afghanistan. They were US poodles, but Iraq was too obviously stupid even for them.
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  20. @Andrei Martyanov

    it will be a hyperpower but what does that mean?
     
    Absolutely nothing--it is a neocon-invented term (a simulacra) which was born out of neocons' illiteracy on pretty much anything related to actual human activity, from politics to military affairs, and it was invented to imply that USA could, as this imbecile Carl Rove stated, "create own reality". I agree with him with one caveat--a "parallel reality". China is already huge economically and, to a certain degree, militarily but it will continue to be a very large but what is traditionally called a superpower among number of other superpower states, the US included. So the term "hyperpower" means absolutely nothing other than desire to measure penises without considering consequences.

    You do realize that the US is on the road to breaking up, right? Can’t be a superpower if you don’t actually exist.

    Traditionally, being a superpower meant that you needed both land and population. With the coming collapse of the US, the so called BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) would be leading candidates to become superpowers in their own right.

    I wonder, however, if technological advancement has lessened the support of sheer size. If that’s the case, we wouldn’t necessarily expect the BRICs to dominate the globe.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    You do realize that the US is on the road to breaking up, right?
     
    It is still to be decided. But yes, it is a divided nation.
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  21. @Randal
    When the term was first used for the US, it merely reflected the fact that the world had changed from one dominated for so long by two superpowers (US and USSR) into one dominated by one - the US. So the term reflected the fact that US predominance in the world had increased significantly above its former level of superpower.

    I use the term reasonably systematically to mean the power that dominates in a unipolar world. In other words, you have a world dominated by one hyperpower, or one dominated by two superpowers, or one shared amongst more than two Great Powers.

    Works for me.

    Applying that to the China situation, on present trends we are moving towards a world of two superpowers - China and the US. China is a nascent superpower - it has superpower clout economically but not in other vital areas such as military capability and technological dominance, but on present trends it will achieve those in the next few decades. Only if the US suffers a collapse comparable to that of the USSR in 1990, and probably a split of some kind, will we probably see a Chinese hyperpower in the near future.

    it has superpower clout economically but not in other vital areas such as military capability and technological dominance, but on present trends it will achieve those in the next few decades

    Hell. No. It will not.

    Anti Americans are always putting their eggs in the China basket, and if it makes you feel any better, America is doomed and probably will collapse within your lifetime. But you China Bulls are just delusional.

    I doubt anybody here* will ever live to see China fully catch up with the West in technology. They are about a century away.

    *Well since cyborg Anatoly will presumably live to be 500, he probably will get to see China as the most dominant power on earth. The rest of us will have to be satisfied with watching from the clouds.

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    • Replies: @ussr andy

    I doubt anybody here* will ever live to see China fully catch up with the West in technology. They are about a century away.
     
    what haven't they got?
    , @Randal

    Hell. No. It will not.
     
    Whistling in the dark, mate.

    It's perfectly possible, of course, that there might be some reason why China's much faster advance over the past few decades will come to a halt. There could be a political crisis, maybe the Chinese really are less capable of innovative thinking, etc. But there's no really persuasive justification for believing in any of those predictions over the simple continuation of the existing trends, albeit allowing for some ongoing slowdown in growth rates as the Chinese economy matures.

    And present trends put the overtaking points in all the various areas at various points between now or the recent past (GDP measured on a ppp basis) and a few decades hence (military power projection).

    But it's at least as likely that the US will collapse as it is that Chinese advancement will be halted.
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  22. @Greasy William
    You do realize that the US is on the road to breaking up, right? Can't be a superpower if you don't actually exist.

    Traditionally, being a superpower meant that you needed both land and population. With the coming collapse of the US, the so called BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) would be leading candidates to become superpowers in their own right.

    I wonder, however, if technological advancement has lessened the support of sheer size. If that's the case, we wouldn't necessarily expect the BRICs to dominate the globe.

    You do realize that the US is on the road to breaking up, right?

    It is still to be decided. But yes, it is a divided nation.

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  23. @Thorfinnsson
    There is another interesting fact about the "unipolar moment".

    The West was considerably less unified for most of the period than it is today (or was prior to the election of Donald Trump).

    The most obvious example was the very strong push-back the USA received from France and Germany on the Iraq War. There was also quite a lot of talk about building the European Union into a counterweight to American hegemony during the 2000s.

    All of this evaporated with the coronation of Barack Hussein Obama, as Western Europe has been thoroughly pozzed by the negrophilia, homomania, etc. of American "intellectuals". Indeed American voters are far more immunized to these social pathogens than are Western Europeans. Israel Shamir's slogan "masters of the discourse" comes to mind.

    There was some sort of generational shift in Western Europe as well. During the Cold War, when one could speak of a real Russian (Soviet) threat to Western Europe, Western European leaders were far more skeptical of American Presidents and diplomats than they are now. Perhaps this is because European leaders of the 1980s and earlier remembered a time when European countries were independent of American influence.

    Perhaps this is because European leaders of the 1980s and earlier remembered a time when European countries were independent of American influence.

    Undeniably so. But then again, Europe had real statesmen then. Today it has gay-pride parades and multiculturalism and no real statesmen (or stateswomen). Merkel doesn’t qualify.

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  24. Mr. XYZ says:

    In regards to your point about North Korean IQ and nukes, I would like to point out that low (on average) IQ India and Pakistan successfully managed to build nuclear weapons. Also, I have previously read that Iraq was one or two years away from successfully building a nuclear weapon when the Gulf War broke out in 1990. As for Iran, it could probably build a nuclear weapon if it will break its 2015 nuclear deal with the West and avoid Israeli and/or U.S. bombardment afterwards.

    Yes, I get that IQ is important in regards to certain things (such as wealth); however, I think that you are giving too much priority to IQ in regards to nuclear weapons development.

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  25. @Thorfinnsson
    There is another interesting fact about the "unipolar moment".

    The West was considerably less unified for most of the period than it is today (or was prior to the election of Donald Trump).

    The most obvious example was the very strong push-back the USA received from France and Germany on the Iraq War. There was also quite a lot of talk about building the European Union into a counterweight to American hegemony during the 2000s.

    All of this evaporated with the coronation of Barack Hussein Obama, as Western Europe has been thoroughly pozzed by the negrophilia, homomania, etc. of American "intellectuals". Indeed American voters are far more immunized to these social pathogens than are Western Europeans. Israel Shamir's slogan "masters of the discourse" comes to mind.

    There was some sort of generational shift in Western Europe as well. During the Cold War, when one could speak of a real Russian (Soviet) threat to Western Europe, Western European leaders were far more skeptical of American Presidents and diplomats than they are now. Perhaps this is because European leaders of the 1980s and earlier remembered a time when European countries were independent of American influence.

    All of this evaporated with the coronation of Barack Hussein Obama, as Western Europe has been thoroughly pozzed by the negrophilia, homomania, etc. of American “intellectuals”.

    I remember France’s National Team (especially from 1978 through 1986 World Cups) which had only two black players (and very good ones at that)–Tigana and Tresor. The rest? From Platini to Rochetau and Giress–several casts of Les Trois Mousquetaires movie could have been drawn from those teams. I am not taking about blonde Dutch. Look at them now.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    Look at them now.

    tsk tsk
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  26. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    “Trump doesn’t want to be friends with China, the elites won’t let him be friends with Russia, and the EU doesn’t want to be friends with Trump.” – Egor Kholmogorov.

    Why doesn’t Trump want to be friends with China?
    China is the best friend Trump and America can have.
    Sad!

    Read More
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  27. ussr andy says:
    @Greasy William

    it has superpower clout economically but not in other vital areas such as military capability and technological dominance, but on present trends it will achieve those in the next few decades
     
    Hell. No. It will not.

    Anti Americans are always putting their eggs in the China basket, and if it makes you feel any better, America is doomed and probably will collapse within your lifetime. But you China Bulls are just delusional.

    I doubt anybody here* will ever live to see China fully catch up with the West in technology. They are about a century away.


    *Well since cyborg Anatoly will presumably live to be 500, he probably will get to see China as the most dominant power on earth. The rest of us will have to be satisfied with watching from the clouds.

    I doubt anybody here* will ever live to see China fully catch up with the West in technology. They are about a century away.

    what haven’t they got?

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    • Replies: @ussr andy
    they got all the consumer stuff. is it cardinally different from military stuff? they even make their own chips, which to mine everyday person's understanding is about the top of industrial sophistication (Russia has designs but they don't make the chips themselves, AFAIK)
    , @German_reader
    Supposedly they still have a lot of trouble with aircraft engines:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-military-engines-idUSKCN0V7083
    (can't judge how accurate that is).
    But "a century behind the west" seems very exaggerated imo.
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  28. ussr andy says:
    @ussr andy

    I doubt anybody here* will ever live to see China fully catch up with the West in technology. They are about a century away.
     
    what haven't they got?

    they got all the consumer stuff. is it cardinally different from military stuff? they even make their own chips, which to mine everyday person’s understanding is about the top of industrial sophistication (Russia has designs but they don’t make the chips themselves, AFAIK)

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Russia has designs but they don’t make the chips themselves, AFAIK
     
    Russia produces computer chips also domestically.
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  29. @ussr andy

    I doubt anybody here* will ever live to see China fully catch up with the West in technology. They are about a century away.
     
    what haven't they got?

    Supposedly they still have a lot of trouble with aircraft engines:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-military-engines-idUSKCN0V7083

    (can’t judge how accurate that is).
    But “a century behind the west” seems very exaggerated imo.

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    • Replies: @Greasy William
    Fighter jet engines would have been my top example, yes. Even India has done a better job. China, in 2017, with tons of stolen technology is unable to even replicate late 80's soviet tech in terms of fighter jet engines. That is pathetic.

    When I said a century behind, I meant looking at overall historic processes. If China was to replace the Communist Party morons with real leaders I think that they could catch up to Japan and SK in about 50 years. But considering the Communists will probably hold on for at another 20 years or so then you are already at 70 years plus an extra 30 years of lost time thanks to what is sure to be a chaotic transition.

    I am a China bull myself, but only over the long term. In the short term China is headed for outright catastrophe and in the medium term is probably going to be an ugly climb back.

    In terms of culture and DNA, China is probably only slightly inferior to Japan and equal to SK and Taiwan. But all of those other countries built themselves up the right way, whereas China since Mao has done everything the wrong way and it will probably take them a full century to recover from the damage that they have inflicted on themselves.
    , @ussr andy
    I figured it might be something like this. Is making an engine very involved? Is the hard part the physics itself or obtaining steels that are good enough ("stregth of materials"-wise)?
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  30. Randal says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    the power that dominates in a unipolar world.
     
    It is sort of like buttery butter or wet water, or hairless baldness. Truth is, even this brief "uni-polar" moment was mostly of US media and punditry creation--it was "soft power" pumped on steroids. The United States couldn't do anything to stagnating Russia in 1990s the same as she can not do it today. Same goes for China. Russia's weakness in 1990s was largely due to political adventurists who left after themselves only wholesale hatred for them. What is most fundamental--during this "uni-polar" moment the US managed to demonstrate to the world the worst intelligence services failure in history with 9/11 terrorist acts and managed to lose every single war it was involved in. Mind you, these were not wars against peers, to put it mildly, but the whole "uni-polar" moment was based upon beating up a third rate Arab (Saddam) military, period. There was nothing behind it. I also mind you, these are not just my opinions--there are very many US military professionals (including well-published ones) who think exactly like me. After revelations by General Ivashov and former Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin publicly about Yugoslavia's bombing one will understand that signals were there all along.

    You certainly won’t get any disagreement from me about the sheer depths of incompetence with which the US regime handled its “unipolar moment”. Usually I’d say it takes a generation or two for a dominant power to acquire such incompetent leadership. There’s probably some truth in the idea that it was the sheer suddenness of the USSR’s collapse and disappearance as a rival that left the US more vulnerable to the worst elements within its elite. The US had structured its foreign policy during the 1980s on opposition to the USSR and communism (real or supposed), and when that disappeared the neocons and their carpetbagger hangers on were there to claim that the job wasn’t just to oppose communism but to actually remake the world in the US’s image. Sadly, there was nobody to oppose them with an effective alternative explanation of the US’s role in the new world.

    Truth is, even this brief “uni-polar” moment was mostly of US media and punditry creation–it was “soft power” pumped on steroids. The United States couldn’t do anything to stagnating Russia in 1990s the same as she can not do it today.

    No, here you overstate the case. In the 1990s Russia was economically and militarily a basket case, as you’d expect given the circumstances of long term decline followed by catastrophic breakup. As you presumably know full well, an awful lot changed in the late 1990s and early C21st, that laid the groundwork for the effective actions since 2008. With Russia out of the way and China barely off the starting blocks, there was nobody to contest global military supremacy with the US at that time,

    The US is still the only country that could plausibly claim superpower status today (genuine global military reach, economic size, soft power, technological primacy), but on most of those counts it’s clearly falling back relative to rivals and it’s debatable whether it has enough of a lead to still be called a superpower at all, but there are no other real candidates. We are certainly in a transitional period, but it’s mostly the breath-taking dysfunctionality of the ruling US elite in relation to foreign policy in particular that handicaps the US. If it hadn’t been running its foreign policy for the last three decades mostly for the benefit of foreigners (Israelis and Saudis, primarily) it would be in a much more solid position.

    And still the US, in pursuing that dysfunctional foreign policy, has the power to inflict tremendous damage. No other power in the world could have essentially unilaterally (albeit via diplomatic coordination of devastating sanctions and sustained isolation, followed by a full blown invasion on the other side of the world) destroyed Iraq in 1990-2003 and handed it over to Iranian-backed shias and sunni jihadists in the way the US did.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    No, here you overstate the case. In the 1990s Russia was economically and militarily a basket case
     
    Russia could wipe the US off the map in 1990s with a certainty which while smaller than it is today but still was high enough to provide for reliable application of MAD.

    The US is still the only country that could plausibly claim superpower status today (genuine global military reach,
     
    Again, same point--ability to project the power against some third world shithole is not the same as it is against peer (or near peer). Even in 1990s US wouldn't be able to "project power" against Russia even in a "conventional" way as it was claimed. Today it absolutely cannot conventionally project power against Russia, China and even Iran conventionally. Among those three--two can rearrange stones in US proper nuclear-wise, Russia also has a reach conventionally to pretty much any US point. I have a very good idea where was Soviet/Russian military of first line when USSR collapsed and how Russian MIC was being deliberately decimated, including foreign capital getting into serious MIC companies and then bankrupting them. This was done, when technology transfer was impossible, for a reason. Just to give you an example--US was always aware that Russian lead in cruise missile technology over US was not just substantial, but it was growing. Same goes for Air Defense complexes, same goes for a huge number of cutting edge technologies of which, prior to advent of the internet it was really not fashionable to speak of.

    Where do you think all those shiny Russian military toys the whole world talks about today came from? From 1980s and 1990s. I will reiterate the point--the REAL history of the cold War and its technological race is not written yet. Yes, there are fields in which the US is traditionally very strong--mostly of naval nature but when one is told that early 1980s Soviet Union was using Precision Guided munitions (from laser to TV and IR guided) in Afghanistan many wouldn't believe it. But it is history. Same as the fact that barely 10% of munitions used on Saddam in 1991 were precision guided--the rest, 90%, was free-falling dumb munitions used to carpet-bomb demoralized Iraq Army. Those 10%, however, was enough to create "a picture" and sell it to public. What many, however, do not understand is that the US never realized itself as a continental military power--it can not. Read this, as an example:

    http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-skeptics/the-sobering-truth-about-the-pentagons-acquisition-failures-15138

    US doesn't have Military-Industrial Complex, it has Military-Industrial-Media Complex. Now that Russia started to demonstrate her toys it creates hysteria , with such heralds of American military being "the greatest ever" as Ralph Peters literally going apoplectic. There are still many things which are not known to an average Joe. In the end, you may visit my opinion(s) on that issue and I am sure I know a teeny-weeny more on that issue than most US "scholars".

    https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2016/02/run-to-hills-us-military-is-doomed-no.html
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  31. iffen says:
    @German_reader

    and don’t leave out the part explaining why it would have been in the interests of the US to help in the creation of a Greater Serbia.
     
    Kosovo war wasn't about "Greater Serbia", since Kosovo was an internationally recognized part of Yugoslavia (then consisting of only Serbia and Montenegro). The US and its NATO allies attacked a sovereign state on mostly trumped-up charges...nothing to do with your strawman of "creation of Greater Serbia not in US interests".

    The US and its NATO allies attacked a sovereign state

    You seem to take a very narrow and extremely legalistic view of borders.

    That’s within your rights, but I suspect that you only do so when it suits your opinions and purposes.
    If I am wrong in my assessment then you have my apology. But I would like to see a copy of your “Free Crimea” membership card, or if you have misplaced it, perhaps a picture of you in your “Germans for the Re-Unification of Ukraine” T-shirt.

    That said, we all know what political power grows out of.

    If a German dominated European Union is not a Mitteleuropa, what would one look like?

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    I don't think I've ever written I approve of Russian actions in Ukraine...I don't, at least not entirely (even though I don't expect Russia to ever give up Crimea again...and the annexation of Crimea at least was relatively bloodless; what's going on in Eastern Ukraine is more troubling). However imo there's a good chance none of this would have happened if the US (at times with the connivance of its European satellites) hadn't over the last 25 years again and again trashed international law by attacking other states on absurd pretexts, and also made it more than clear that it would never accept Russia as a sovereign great power and would like to see regime change there as well if possible. I don't like Putin much and certainly don't agree with the more extreme positions of some Russian nationalists, but I can't ignore that background.
    As for your "Merkeleuropa" nonsense, that's just the usual anti-German crap ("4th Reich", haha) that always comes up among people from the Anglosphere who know nothing about Germany. In fact Merkel has managed to pretty much isolate Germany...relations with the Eastern Europeans are strained because of the refugee mess, Britain's leaving the EU, and the rest just want our money (and if that runs out - and eventually it will, I expect German economic and fiscal power to erode drastically over the next 10-20 years - well...)...no true allies or "friends". And given how Germany is changing (went to the city centre today...a sea of headscarf-wearing Muslim women, also lots of Africans), I very much doubt this is what Germans in 14/18 (let alone the Nazis) fought for.
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  32. A22 says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    - they are pushing Russia into a corner (sanctions)
     
    I would say that Washington's and Moscow's definitions of "corner" differ drastically and it is Washington, not Moscow who is being cornered. Per arming Ukraine--it is a very long story and it will end really-really bad for Kiev.

    How will Moscow deal with these sanctions in order to not get cornered? If hypothetically the EU complied with the sanctions? that is a real corner for Russia tbh.
    Russia would not have been in such a situation had they invest in more diversified exports.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    How will Moscow deal with these sanctions in order to not get cornered? If hypothetically the EU complied with the sanctions?
     
    You asked a very multi-layered question--I am not going to go into its bottom line now.

    1. It is EU's responsibility to deal with this issue, not Russia's--Russia has WHERE to go--into Asia. Europe has not.

    2. Per pure economics, the real share of gas and oil in Russia's export is not as large as many tend to believe (due mostly to propaganda). Plus, Russia is selling today one very high tech, highly prized product which no one on Earth (I am not having a pathos feat) have--it is political stability. There is a huge demand for it. Just to give you one example--where do you think many SSJ-100s and MC-21s will be exported? Right--to Iran (Iran doesn't want to be bombed and will not be unless Russia says so, but even if bombed--this is not going to be a repeat of Iraq). I hope I express myself clearly here. Remember General Haftar on board of Admiral Kuznetsov or Iraq now demanding of having Russian military bases on its territory.

    https://ameforum.org/2017/07/25/11-52/

    3. Plus, of course, China may need a lot of technological expertise she doesn't posses and which Russia has--and I am not talking about some BS iPhones, I am talking about cutting edge military and civilian ones. After all, China pays Russia (yeah, yeah I know--it is a JV) to get China's civil aviation into the skies.

    So, what corner? US as Russia's trade partner is almost non-existent, in the end those backward Russkies can always stop hauling US astronauts to ISS. As overwhelming majority of Russians say (I am not exaggerating or being facetious)--Welcome, sanctions. Maybe they also will help to finally bury still stinking and still poisoning the air "liberal" Parnassus.
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  33. Randal says:
    @German_reader

    and don’t leave out the part explaining why it would have been in the interests of the US to help in the creation of a Greater Serbia.
     
    Kosovo war wasn't about "Greater Serbia", since Kosovo was an internationally recognized part of Yugoslavia (then consisting of only Serbia and Montenegro). The US and its NATO allies attacked a sovereign state on mostly trumped-up charges...nothing to do with your strawman of "creation of Greater Serbia not in US interests".

    The attack on Yugoslavia was certainly based upon trumped up charges (and straightforwardly illegal), since what Yugoslavia was doing in Kosovo was not much different to what Britain had been doing in Northern Ireland, albeit in a much more violent and chaotic context.

    The only sense in which Iffen’s “official truth” version of events approaches reality is that the reason why Yugoslavia had to be made an example of was the same as the reason why countries like Hungary and Poland are being threatened with being made examples of today. They were resisting the globalist , internationalist dogmas of the US sphere business establishment and the establishment left, as represented by the likes of Schroder (and today Merkel) in Germany, and the likes of Blair in Britain, and Clinton and Albright in the US.

    They had to be destroyed, and to be seen to be destroyed.

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    • Agree: German_reader
    • Replies: @German_reader
    NATO (especially the US under the Clintons) pretty much wanted that war, to make an example as you wrote...iirc Kissinger called the demands they made on the Serbs a "pretext to start bombing"...it was clear the Serbs couldn't accept them without becoming a NATO protectorate.
    I was a teenager at the time and dumb enough to believe the official propaganda...in retrospect it was a dramatic sign how fanatic Western leadership had become...also very irresponsible (who knows what would have happened if it had come to an actual ground invasion, as seemed quite likely due to NATO's miscalculation).
    , @utu
    The breakup of Yugoslavia began with German decision to recognize independence of Slovenia. It was the first important decision Germany made after the reunification. German morality. A country that just get unified advocated breakup of another country. After that Yugoslavia was on the downward spiral and the breakup was unavoidable. Subsequent down the road NATO intervention was just to seal the deal.
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  34. iffen says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    More please
     
    On Sunday Evening With Vladimir Solovyov talk show (by far the most watched Russia's show with colossal audience US pundits can only dream about) IIRC in early 2016 (I am sure you can find it), both Kokoshin and Ivashov publicly spoke from their podiums to each-other and after reaching consensus between two of them on disclosing what used to be extremely classified information in 2000s stated (it was Kokoshin) that during NATO's aggression against Serbia the dawning realization of coming of the ground phase made US to first push... Hungarians as an invading force (they just got their NATO membership) and then, when Hungarians refused, US tried to push for... Germans. At that time diplomats from Hungary and Germany were literally spending their workdays at the doors of Russia's Foreign Ministry. Main point? All of them sang in unison about US getting everything to the point of hot war and then offering others to die in the field. For Germans, of course, there was another huge factor--a historic memory. Well, Yeltsin and his gang intervened on US behalf and for all intents and purposes sold Serbia. What happen afterwards you should remember--Putin appearance on Russia's political Olympus was a direct result of weak and cowardly policies of "reformers". Here we are today.

    US getting everything to the point of hot war and then offering others to die in the field

    Perhaps in an unexpected and unexplained flash of brilliance someone thought of the idea of letting Europeans fight and die in one of their wars instead of having the US do it for them.

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    • Replies: @Hyperborean
    It was never "our war", the whole "destroy Yugoslavia-Serbia" was cooked up by Americans and their subservient European vassals.

    America should just have left Yugoslavia alone, they had no ethnic, cultural or strategic reasons to intervene.

    Why is it such a persistent idea among American hawks to have other people die for their wars?

    Even Trump, even in his more edge-y candidate stage, subscribed to the idea that Europeans should pay tribute to the USA in return for "defense" in the form of increased defense spending (some of which will inevitably be used to buy American weapons).

    Quite frankly, I would prefer being a Russian protectorate over living in an American "protected" multicultural and socially degenerate Europe.
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  35. @German_reader
    Supposedly they still have a lot of trouble with aircraft engines:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-military-engines-idUSKCN0V7083
    (can't judge how accurate that is).
    But "a century behind the west" seems very exaggerated imo.

    Fighter jet engines would have been my top example, yes. Even India has done a better job. China, in 2017, with tons of stolen technology is unable to even replicate late 80′s soviet tech in terms of fighter jet engines. That is pathetic.

    When I said a century behind, I meant looking at overall historic processes. If China was to replace the Communist Party morons with real leaders I think that they could catch up to Japan and SK in about 50 years. But considering the Communists will probably hold on for at another 20 years or so then you are already at 70 years plus an extra 30 years of lost time thanks to what is sure to be a chaotic transition.

    I am a China bull myself, but only over the long term. In the short term China is headed for outright catastrophe and in the medium term is probably going to be an ugly climb back.

    In terms of culture and DNA, China is probably only slightly inferior to Japan and equal to SK and Taiwan. But all of those other countries built themselves up the right way, whereas China since Mao has done everything the wrong way and it will probably take them a full century to recover from the damage that they have inflicted on themselves.

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    • Replies: @ussr andy
    they didn't have what Russia had in the 90's. so they are doing something right.

    I don't know by how much the 90's set Russia back (and by how many years all the loot delayed the West's own collapse), but that number gotta be huge.

    , @German_reader
    It would probably have been better for China if the Kuomintang had won the civil war, but China's present leaders don't seem that incompetent to me, certainly much more capable than any Western ones.
    , @Daniel Chieh
    I wonder if SmoothieX12 feels just as annoyed when people who've never been to Russia make all sorts of remarkable comments about Russia in the same way.
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  36. ussr andy says:
    @German_reader
    Supposedly they still have a lot of trouble with aircraft engines:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-military-engines-idUSKCN0V7083
    (can't judge how accurate that is).
    But "a century behind the west" seems very exaggerated imo.

    I figured it might be something like this. Is making an engine very involved? Is the hard part the physics itself or obtaining steels that are good enough (“stregth of materials”-wise)?

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    No idea, sorry; but maybe someone who knows about those issues can answer.
    , @Greasy William
    It's the materials, right. The physics I think is like almost 100 years old.

    The only countries capable of manufacturing modern fighter jet engines are the US, Britain, France and Russia. And Russian engines are vastly inferior to western engines.

    That being said, I suspect Germany, Japan, South Korea Switzerland, Sweden, Italy and several others could easily produce a high quality fighter jet engine within 10 years were they so inclined to make the investment to do so.

    In contrast, India and China have in fact made the necessary investments, they just can't do it.
    , @Duke of Qin
    Greasy William really doesn't know what he is talking about. Like many, he is supremely confident in his ignorance and impresses on his audience that he is correct by virtue of this confidence, but he is wrong because he knows next to nothing about the topic of which he speaks.

    When your only sources of information are the Fareed Zakarias of defense reporting, it's easy to appear to be an expert to people who have less or even no knowledge about the subject matter. Always go primary source, relying on unnamed "experts" of conventional wisdom leads you down the path of importing Afghans in an attempt to pay future welfare rolls.

    Chinese defense technology is caching up to the West, at a rate faster than the Pentagon estimated, but unevenly with some sectors approaching parity much faster than others. Over-all military technology though is advancing slower than the civilian sector. This is primary because defense spending in China only amounts to 2% of Gdp. The US was around 10% for most of the cold war and God knows how much of the Soviet economy was dedicated toward military production and R&D. American and Russian present advantages which were built on the decades of monster defense budgets are in more mature fields less subject to disruption and more dependent on long term iterative development.
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  37. Randal says:
    @Greasy William

    it has superpower clout economically but not in other vital areas such as military capability and technological dominance, but on present trends it will achieve those in the next few decades
     
    Hell. No. It will not.

    Anti Americans are always putting their eggs in the China basket, and if it makes you feel any better, America is doomed and probably will collapse within your lifetime. But you China Bulls are just delusional.

    I doubt anybody here* will ever live to see China fully catch up with the West in technology. They are about a century away.


    *Well since cyborg Anatoly will presumably live to be 500, he probably will get to see China as the most dominant power on earth. The rest of us will have to be satisfied with watching from the clouds.

    Hell. No. It will not.

    Whistling in the dark, mate.

    It’s perfectly possible, of course, that there might be some reason why China’s much faster advance over the past few decades will come to a halt. There could be a political crisis, maybe the Chinese really are less capable of innovative thinking, etc. But there’s no really persuasive justification for believing in any of those predictions over the simple continuation of the existing trends, albeit allowing for some ongoing slowdown in growth rates as the Chinese economy matures.

    And present trends put the overtaking points in all the various areas at various points between now or the recent past (GDP measured on a ppp basis) and a few decades hence (military power projection).

    But it’s at least as likely that the US will collapse as it is that Chinese advancement will be halted.

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  38. ussr andy says:
    @Greasy William
    Fighter jet engines would have been my top example, yes. Even India has done a better job. China, in 2017, with tons of stolen technology is unable to even replicate late 80's soviet tech in terms of fighter jet engines. That is pathetic.

    When I said a century behind, I meant looking at overall historic processes. If China was to replace the Communist Party morons with real leaders I think that they could catch up to Japan and SK in about 50 years. But considering the Communists will probably hold on for at another 20 years or so then you are already at 70 years plus an extra 30 years of lost time thanks to what is sure to be a chaotic transition.

    I am a China bull myself, but only over the long term. In the short term China is headed for outright catastrophe and in the medium term is probably going to be an ugly climb back.

    In terms of culture and DNA, China is probably only slightly inferior to Japan and equal to SK and Taiwan. But all of those other countries built themselves up the right way, whereas China since Mao has done everything the wrong way and it will probably take them a full century to recover from the damage that they have inflicted on themselves.

    they didn’t have what Russia had in the 90′s. so they are doing something right.

    I don’t know by how much the 90′s set Russia back (and by how many years all the loot delayed the West’s own collapse), but that number gotta be huge.

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  39. iffen says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    All of this evaporated with the coronation of Barack Hussein Obama, as Western Europe has been thoroughly pozzed by the negrophilia, homomania, etc. of American “intellectuals”.
     
    I remember France's National Team (especially from 1978 through 1986 World Cups) which had only two black players (and very good ones at that)--Tigana and Tresor. The rest? From Platini to Rochetau and Giress--several casts of Les Trois Mousquetaires movie could have been drawn from those teams. I am not taking about blonde Dutch. Look at them now.

    Look at them now.

    tsk tsk

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  40. @Randal
    You certainly won't get any disagreement from me about the sheer depths of incompetence with which the US regime handled its "unipolar moment". Usually I'd say it takes a generation or two for a dominant power to acquire such incompetent leadership. There's probably some truth in the idea that it was the sheer suddenness of the USSR's collapse and disappearance as a rival that left the US more vulnerable to the worst elements within its elite. The US had structured its foreign policy during the 1980s on opposition to the USSR and communism (real or supposed), and when that disappeared the neocons and their carpetbagger hangers on were there to claim that the job wasn't just to oppose communism but to actually remake the world in the US's image. Sadly, there was nobody to oppose them with an effective alternative explanation of the US's role in the new world.

    Truth is, even this brief “uni-polar” moment was mostly of US media and punditry creation–it was “soft power” pumped on steroids. The United States couldn’t do anything to stagnating Russia in 1990s the same as she can not do it today.
     
    No, here you overstate the case. In the 1990s Russia was economically and militarily a basket case, as you'd expect given the circumstances of long term decline followed by catastrophic breakup. As you presumably know full well, an awful lot changed in the late 1990s and early C21st, that laid the groundwork for the effective actions since 2008. With Russia out of the way and China barely off the starting blocks, there was nobody to contest global military supremacy with the US at that time,

    The US is still the only country that could plausibly claim superpower status today (genuine global military reach, economic size, soft power, technological primacy), but on most of those counts it's clearly falling back relative to rivals and it's debatable whether it has enough of a lead to still be called a superpower at all, but there are no other real candidates. We are certainly in a transitional period, but it's mostly the breath-taking dysfunctionality of the ruling US elite in relation to foreign policy in particular that handicaps the US. If it hadn't been running its foreign policy for the last three decades mostly for the benefit of foreigners (Israelis and Saudis, primarily) it would be in a much more solid position.

    And still the US, in pursuing that dysfunctional foreign policy, has the power to inflict tremendous damage. No other power in the world could have essentially unilaterally (albeit via diplomatic coordination of devastating sanctions and sustained isolation, followed by a full blown invasion on the other side of the world) destroyed Iraq in 1990-2003 and handed it over to Iranian-backed shias and sunni jihadists in the way the US did.

    No, here you overstate the case. In the 1990s Russia was economically and militarily a basket case

    Russia could wipe the US off the map in 1990s with a certainty which while smaller than it is today but still was high enough to provide for reliable application of MAD.

    The US is still the only country that could plausibly claim superpower status today (genuine global military reach,

    Again, same point–ability to project the power against some third world shithole is not the same as it is against peer (or near peer). Even in 1990s US wouldn’t be able to “project power” against Russia even in a “conventional” way as it was claimed. Today it absolutely cannot conventionally project power against Russia, China and even Iran conventionally. Among those three–two can rearrange stones in US proper nuclear-wise, Russia also has a reach conventionally to pretty much any US point. I have a very good idea where was Soviet/Russian military of first line when USSR collapsed and how Russian MIC was being deliberately decimated, including foreign capital getting into serious MIC companies and then bankrupting them. This was done, when technology transfer was impossible, for a reason. Just to give you an example–US was always aware that Russian lead in cruise missile technology over US was not just substantial, but it was growing. Same goes for Air Defense complexes, same goes for a huge number of cutting edge technologies of which, prior to advent of the internet it was really not fashionable to speak of.

    Where do you think all those shiny Russian military toys the whole world talks about today came from? From 1980s and 1990s. I will reiterate the point–the REAL history of the cold War and its technological race is not written yet. Yes, there are fields in which the US is traditionally very strong–mostly of naval nature but when one is told that early 1980s Soviet Union was using Precision Guided munitions (from laser to TV and IR guided) in Afghanistan many wouldn’t believe it. But it is history. Same as the fact that barely 10% of munitions used on Saddam in 1991 were precision guided–the rest, 90%, was free-falling dumb munitions used to carpet-bomb demoralized Iraq Army. Those 10%, however, was enough to create “a picture” and sell it to public. What many, however, do not understand is that the US never realized itself as a continental military power–it can not. Read this, as an example:

    http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-skeptics/the-sobering-truth-about-the-pentagons-acquisition-failures-15138

    US doesn’t have Military-Industrial Complex, it has Military-Industrial-Media Complex. Now that Russia started to demonstrate her toys it creates hysteria , with such heralds of American military being “the greatest ever” as Ralph Peters literally going apoplectic. There are still many things which are not known to an average Joe. In the end, you may visit my opinion(s) on that issue and I am sure I know a teeny-weeny more on that issue than most US “scholars”.

    https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2016/02/run-to-hills-us-military-is-doomed-no.html

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    • Replies: @Randal
    As always, I don't disagree with much of what you write, and clearly your expertise is far greater on many aspects. But it isn't about nukes (which change everything and nothing in these matters) and it isn't really about the toys either. It's more about the political will, about diplomatic clout, and about the large scale military capabilities that allow a major expeditionary force to be sent around the world to do a big job. It's easy (and justified) to mock Arab armies, but what the US did in 2003 was still something imo beyond the practical capabilities of any other power in the world at the time, including Russia, especially if you take into account that a large part of the reason that Iraq was a relatively easier target than it would have been was the degree to which the US had successfully kept it isolated for a decade and more (though many of the US's allies clearly chafed at the restrictions and were prepared to undermine them when they could get away with it - but not openly enough to make much difference).

    Could Russia even today put six reinforced divisions into Venezuela, and proceed to occupy Caracas and all the major cities, if Russia fell out with the Venezuelan regime as the US did with that of Iraq? Let's pretend Venezuela's terrain was replaced by deserts and flat river valleys.
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  41. @iffen
    The US and its NATO allies attacked a sovereign state

    You seem to take a very narrow and extremely legalistic view of borders.

    That's within your rights, but I suspect that you only do so when it suits your opinions and purposes.
    If I am wrong in my assessment then you have my apology. But I would like to see a copy of your “Free Crimea” membership card, or if you have misplaced it, perhaps a picture of you in your “Germans for the Re-Unification of Ukraine” T-shirt.

    That said, we all know what political power grows out of.

    If a German dominated European Union is not a Mitteleuropa, what would one look like?

    I don’t think I’ve ever written I approve of Russian actions in Ukraine…I don’t, at least not entirely (even though I don’t expect Russia to ever give up Crimea again…and the annexation of Crimea at least was relatively bloodless; what’s going on in Eastern Ukraine is more troubling). However imo there’s a good chance none of this would have happened if the US (at times with the connivance of its European satellites) hadn’t over the last 25 years again and again trashed international law by attacking other states on absurd pretexts, and also made it more than clear that it would never accept Russia as a sovereign great power and would like to see regime change there as well if possible. I don’t like Putin much and certainly don’t agree with the more extreme positions of some Russian nationalists, but I can’t ignore that background.
    As for your “Merkeleuropa” nonsense, that’s just the usual anti-German crap (“4th Reich”, haha) that always comes up among people from the Anglosphere who know nothing about Germany. In fact Merkel has managed to pretty much isolate Germany…relations with the Eastern Europeans are strained because of the refugee mess, Britain’s leaving the EU, and the rest just want our money (and if that runs out – and eventually it will, I expect German economic and fiscal power to erode drastically over the next 10-20 years – well…)…no true allies or “friends”. And given how Germany is changing (went to the city centre today…a sea of headscarf-wearing Muslim women, also lots of Africans), I very much doubt this is what Germans in 14/18 (let alone the Nazis) fought for.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    However imo there’s a good chance none of this would have happened if the US (at times with the connivance of its European satellites) hadn’t over the last 25 years again and again trashed international law by attacking other states

    We made Russia annex Crimea?

    (If I was a Russian, I would never consider giving up Crimea.)

    Look at the 50 years before the last 25 and count Soviet (Russian) interventions.

    You make intelligent and informed comments that I always read. You just seem to have a hard-on for the US. I can't say that I blame you all that much, I am very disappointed in us as well.
    , @for-the-record
    and the annexation of Crimea at least was relatively bloodless;

    Virtually bloodless would be more like it -- the maximum number of fatalities I have seen is 6, and that includes several pro-Russian protesters. As far as I know, there wasn't a single shot fired in anger between Russian and Ukrainian forces, and one should keep in mind that the elite of the Ukrainian military forces were stationed in Crimea. The large majority of these went over to the Russian side in the end (higher salaries no doubt a drawing card), while the rest were repatriated to Ukraine.

    There is a fascinating Russian documentary, now available with English subtitles, that gives the whole story of how the Ukrainian "surrender" was obtained without bloodshed. Obviously it is propaganda to a certain extent, but it is fascinating nonetheless, and provides an altogether more realistic portrayal of what happened than is reported in the Western media (no surprise there).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeWXs8fLC1I
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  42. Randal says:
    @Thorfinnsson
    There is another interesting fact about the "unipolar moment".

    The West was considerably less unified for most of the period than it is today (or was prior to the election of Donald Trump).

    The most obvious example was the very strong push-back the USA received from France and Germany on the Iraq War. There was also quite a lot of talk about building the European Union into a counterweight to American hegemony during the 2000s.

    All of this evaporated with the coronation of Barack Hussein Obama, as Western Europe has been thoroughly pozzed by the negrophilia, homomania, etc. of American "intellectuals". Indeed American voters are far more immunized to these social pathogens than are Western Europeans. Israel Shamir's slogan "masters of the discourse" comes to mind.

    There was some sort of generational shift in Western Europe as well. During the Cold War, when one could speak of a real Russian (Soviet) threat to Western Europe, Western European leaders were far more skeptical of American Presidents and diplomats than they are now. Perhaps this is because European leaders of the 1980s and earlier remembered a time when European countries were independent of American influence.

    The most obvious example was the very strong push-back the USA received from France and Germany on the Iraq War. There was also quite a lot of talk about building the European Union into a counterweight to American hegemony during the 2000s.

    This wasn’t because the US wasn’t dominant – it was. It was because the EU elites could see that the invasion of Iraq was literally stupid, with potential downsides massively exceeding any potential gains. That didn’t apply as far as the US political and media elites were concerned, because for them, primarily dominated by what was in the interests of Israel’s regime and sympathisers, the primary objective was that Iraq should be destroyed in order to remove one of Israel’s regional rivals. If a precedent and staging ground could be set for further attacks on Iran and Syria, so much the better.

    Euro elites weren’t as thoroughly indoctrinated in the idea that Israel’s interests are their interests as the US elites were, and they saw no problem with a contained and hastened Iraq being rehabilitated as a trading partner.

    But none of that brings into question the US’s global predominance during the period in question. Nobody’s saying the US actually ran a global empire in that period that could coerce obedience in every little detail, just that they were by far the most powerful state and the only one with the capability and the will for real global power projection, militarily, diplomatically and economically.

    As noted above, what’s remarkable about the period US’s unipolar moment is the sheer incompetence with which it was handled by the US bipartisan elites, to the extent that even their own poodles in western Europe were occasionally moved to object.

    All of this evaporated with the coronation of Barack Hussein Obama

    Obviously, because the election of Obama brought the US regime into close ideological alignment with the leftist internationalist European/UK elites.

    There was some sort of generational shift in Western Europe as well.

    Yes, between the 1980s and the late 1990s/2000s, but not between the time of the opposition to the Iraq war and the meek compliance with Obama. In 2003 the leaders in the UK, France and Germany were Blair, Chirac and Schroder, all of whom had meekly, even enthusiastically, complied with the exercise of US military hegemony in Kosovo and in Afghanistan. They were US poodles, but Iraq was too obviously stupid even for them.

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    • Replies: @Anon

    In 2003 the leaders in the UK, France and Germany were Blair, Chirac and Schroder, all of whom had meekly, even enthusiastically, complied with the exercise of US military hegemony in Kosovo and in Afghanistan. They were US poodles, but Iraq was too obviously stupid even for them.
     
    Can't speak about Chirac, but Blair supported the Iraq invasion and Schröder opposed it only diplomatically and politically for the sake of his electorate who was very opposed (there was even a demonstration in my small city). Militarily, he supported it as well.
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  43. @Randal
    The attack on Yugoslavia was certainly based upon trumped up charges (and straightforwardly illegal), since what Yugoslavia was doing in Kosovo was not much different to what Britain had been doing in Northern Ireland, albeit in a much more violent and chaotic context.

    The only sense in which Iffen's "official truth" version of events approaches reality is that the reason why Yugoslavia had to be made an example of was the same as the reason why countries like Hungary and Poland are being threatened with being made examples of today. They were resisting the globalist , internationalist dogmas of the US sphere business establishment and the establishment left, as represented by the likes of Schroder (and today Merkel) in Germany, and the likes of Blair in Britain, and Clinton and Albright in the US.

    They had to be destroyed, and to be seen to be destroyed.

    NATO (especially the US under the Clintons) pretty much wanted that war, to make an example as you wrote…iirc Kissinger called the demands they made on the Serbs a “pretext to start bombing”…it was clear the Serbs couldn’t accept them without becoming a NATO protectorate.
    I was a teenager at the time and dumb enough to believe the official propaganda…in retrospect it was a dramatic sign how fanatic Western leadership had become…also very irresponsible (who knows what would have happened if it had come to an actual ground invasion, as seemed quite likely due to NATO’s miscalculation).

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  44. @Greasy William
    Fighter jet engines would have been my top example, yes. Even India has done a better job. China, in 2017, with tons of stolen technology is unable to even replicate late 80's soviet tech in terms of fighter jet engines. That is pathetic.

    When I said a century behind, I meant looking at overall historic processes. If China was to replace the Communist Party morons with real leaders I think that they could catch up to Japan and SK in about 50 years. But considering the Communists will probably hold on for at another 20 years or so then you are already at 70 years plus an extra 30 years of lost time thanks to what is sure to be a chaotic transition.

    I am a China bull myself, but only over the long term. In the short term China is headed for outright catastrophe and in the medium term is probably going to be an ugly climb back.

    In terms of culture and DNA, China is probably only slightly inferior to Japan and equal to SK and Taiwan. But all of those other countries built themselves up the right way, whereas China since Mao has done everything the wrong way and it will probably take them a full century to recover from the damage that they have inflicted on themselves.

    It would probably have been better for China if the Kuomintang had won the civil war, but China’s present leaders don’t seem that incompetent to me, certainly much more capable than any Western ones.

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  45. @Greasy William
    Fighter jet engines would have been my top example, yes. Even India has done a better job. China, in 2017, with tons of stolen technology is unable to even replicate late 80's soviet tech in terms of fighter jet engines. That is pathetic.

    When I said a century behind, I meant looking at overall historic processes. If China was to replace the Communist Party morons with real leaders I think that they could catch up to Japan and SK in about 50 years. But considering the Communists will probably hold on for at another 20 years or so then you are already at 70 years plus an extra 30 years of lost time thanks to what is sure to be a chaotic transition.

    I am a China bull myself, but only over the long term. In the short term China is headed for outright catastrophe and in the medium term is probably going to be an ugly climb back.

    In terms of culture and DNA, China is probably only slightly inferior to Japan and equal to SK and Taiwan. But all of those other countries built themselves up the right way, whereas China since Mao has done everything the wrong way and it will probably take them a full century to recover from the damage that they have inflicted on themselves.

    I wonder if SmoothieX12 feels just as annoyed when people who’ve never been to Russia make all sorts of remarkable comments about Russia in the same way.

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    • Replies: @Greasy William
    I don't need to visit China to read a chart. Look at China's GDP per capita. Look at the military tech that China produces. Look at China's yoy growth in private debt. Look at China's private debt to GDP.
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  46. @A22
    How will Moscow deal with these sanctions in order to not get cornered? If hypothetically the EU complied with the sanctions? that is a real corner for Russia tbh.
    Russia would not have been in such a situation had they invest in more diversified exports.

    How will Moscow deal with these sanctions in order to not get cornered? If hypothetically the EU complied with the sanctions?

    You asked a very multi-layered question–I am not going to go into its bottom line now.

    1. It is EU’s responsibility to deal with this issue, not Russia’s–Russia has WHERE to go–into Asia. Europe has not.

    2. Per pure economics, the real share of gas and oil in Russia’s export is not as large as many tend to believe (due mostly to propaganda). Plus, Russia is selling today one very high tech, highly prized product which no one on Earth (I am not having a pathos feat) have–it is political stability. There is a huge demand for it. Just to give you one example–where do you think many SSJ-100s and MC-21s will be exported? Right–to Iran (Iran doesn’t want to be bombed and will not be unless Russia says so, but even if bombed–this is not going to be a repeat of Iraq). I hope I express myself clearly here. Remember General Haftar on board of Admiral Kuznetsov or Iraq now demanding of having Russian military bases on its territory.

    https://ameforum.org/2017/07/25/11-52/

    3. Plus, of course, China may need a lot of technological expertise she doesn’t posses and which Russia has–and I am not talking about some BS iPhones, I am talking about cutting edge military and civilian ones. After all, China pays Russia (yeah, yeah I know–it is a JV) to get China’s civil aviation into the skies.

    So, what corner? US as Russia’s trade partner is almost non-existent, in the end those backward Russkies can always stop hauling US astronauts to ISS. As overwhelming majority of Russians say (I am not exaggerating or being facetious)–Welcome, sanctions. Maybe they also will help to finally bury still stinking and still poisoning the air “liberal” Parnassus.

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    • Replies: @melanf

    Per pure economics, the real share of gas and oil in Russia’s export is not as large as many tend to believe (due mostly to propaganda).
     
    http://imgur.com/a/YpAXr

    The fall in oil prices by 70%, sharp fall in the prices of all other Russian export commodities (grain, metals, fertilizers), the Ukrainian crisis and sanctions - all of this together led to a decrease in meat consumption from 76 to 73 kilograms (in 2017 the consumption of meat should again reach the maximum). We're sorry McCain, but we are not 'gas station masquerading as a country'

    , @A22

    It is EU’s responsibility to deal with this issue, not Russia’s–Russia has WHERE to go–into Asia. Europe has not.
     
    I agree, especially in the light of the 400b deal with China ,the recent NPP deal with India and the warming of relations with Japan (long long overdue).
    However still Europe makes up a lot of the foreign investment into Russia.

    Honestly what bothers me a lot is how open the Russian market to European goods. What does Russia get out of opening her market to Europe? As far as I am concerned not nearly as much does Russia export to Europe. And the only gratitude the EU seems to offer is ever increasing hostilities. Russia should have protected its internal market to promote domestic producers just as Asian countries do ( Russia can probably do without importing most of what it is importing now, limiting imports to very high tech products.)

    Russia is selling today one very high tech, highly prized product which no one on Earth

     

    This means that Russia will have to engage more abroad, I think this is unduly expensive. Russia should probably go with more strategic isolationism until the economy is more rigid.
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  47. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Randal

    The most obvious example was the very strong push-back the USA received from France and Germany on the Iraq War. There was also quite a lot of talk about building the European Union into a counterweight to American hegemony during the 2000s.
     
    This wasn't because the US wasn't dominant - it was. It was because the EU elites could see that the invasion of Iraq was literally stupid, with potential downsides massively exceeding any potential gains. That didn't apply as far as the US political and media elites were concerned, because for them, primarily dominated by what was in the interests of Israel's regime and sympathisers, the primary objective was that Iraq should be destroyed in order to remove one of Israel's regional rivals. If a precedent and staging ground could be set for further attacks on Iran and Syria, so much the better.

    Euro elites weren't as thoroughly indoctrinated in the idea that Israel's interests are their interests as the US elites were, and they saw no problem with a contained and hastened Iraq being rehabilitated as a trading partner.

    But none of that brings into question the US's global predominance during the period in question. Nobody's saying the US actually ran a global empire in that period that could coerce obedience in every little detail, just that they were by far the most powerful state and the only one with the capability and the will for real global power projection, militarily, diplomatically and economically.

    As noted above, what's remarkable about the period US's unipolar moment is the sheer incompetence with which it was handled by the US bipartisan elites, to the extent that even their own poodles in western Europe were occasionally moved to object.

    All of this evaporated with the coronation of Barack Hussein Obama
     
    Obviously, because the election of Obama brought the US regime into close ideological alignment with the leftist internationalist European/UK elites.

    There was some sort of generational shift in Western Europe as well.
     
    Yes, between the 1980s and the late 1990s/2000s, but not between the time of the opposition to the Iraq war and the meek compliance with Obama. In 2003 the leaders in the UK, France and Germany were Blair, Chirac and Schroder, all of whom had meekly, even enthusiastically, complied with the exercise of US military hegemony in Kosovo and in Afghanistan. They were US poodles, but Iraq was too obviously stupid even for them.

    In 2003 the leaders in the UK, France and Germany were Blair, Chirac and Schroder, all of whom had meekly, even enthusiastically, complied with the exercise of US military hegemony in Kosovo and in Afghanistan. They were US poodles, but Iraq was too obviously stupid even for them.

    Can’t speak about Chirac, but Blair supported the Iraq invasion and Schröder opposed it only diplomatically and politically for the sake of his electorate who was very opposed (there was even a demonstration in my small city). Militarily, he supported it as well.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    Militarily, he supported it as well.
     
    That's a bit of an exaggeration imo, but yes, he did allow the US to use Germany as a giant logistics base for the Iraq war. There was also some support on the intelligence level iirc.
    Could well be that he would have acted differently if there hadn't been an election in 2002...the looming Iraq war certainly was a very significant factor in his reelection...otherwise Stoiber might have won. In a way, the Iraq war paved the way for Merkel's disastrous rise to power (kind of perverse, since she certainly would have gone along with it and even wrote a grovelling letter of support to Bush).
    , @Randal
    Like I said, they were US poodles.

    Clearly when I wrote "too obviously stupid even for them", I didn't mean to include Blair.
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  48. Randal says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    No, here you overstate the case. In the 1990s Russia was economically and militarily a basket case
     
    Russia could wipe the US off the map in 1990s with a certainty which while smaller than it is today but still was high enough to provide for reliable application of MAD.

    The US is still the only country that could plausibly claim superpower status today (genuine global military reach,
     
    Again, same point--ability to project the power against some third world shithole is not the same as it is against peer (or near peer). Even in 1990s US wouldn't be able to "project power" against Russia even in a "conventional" way as it was claimed. Today it absolutely cannot conventionally project power against Russia, China and even Iran conventionally. Among those three--two can rearrange stones in US proper nuclear-wise, Russia also has a reach conventionally to pretty much any US point. I have a very good idea where was Soviet/Russian military of first line when USSR collapsed and how Russian MIC was being deliberately decimated, including foreign capital getting into serious MIC companies and then bankrupting them. This was done, when technology transfer was impossible, for a reason. Just to give you an example--US was always aware that Russian lead in cruise missile technology over US was not just substantial, but it was growing. Same goes for Air Defense complexes, same goes for a huge number of cutting edge technologies of which, prior to advent of the internet it was really not fashionable to speak of.

    Where do you think all those shiny Russian military toys the whole world talks about today came from? From 1980s and 1990s. I will reiterate the point--the REAL history of the cold War and its technological race is not written yet. Yes, there are fields in which the US is traditionally very strong--mostly of naval nature but when one is told that early 1980s Soviet Union was using Precision Guided munitions (from laser to TV and IR guided) in Afghanistan many wouldn't believe it. But it is history. Same as the fact that barely 10% of munitions used on Saddam in 1991 were precision guided--the rest, 90%, was free-falling dumb munitions used to carpet-bomb demoralized Iraq Army. Those 10%, however, was enough to create "a picture" and sell it to public. What many, however, do not understand is that the US never realized itself as a continental military power--it can not. Read this, as an example:

    http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-skeptics/the-sobering-truth-about-the-pentagons-acquisition-failures-15138

    US doesn't have Military-Industrial Complex, it has Military-Industrial-Media Complex. Now that Russia started to demonstrate her toys it creates hysteria , with such heralds of American military being "the greatest ever" as Ralph Peters literally going apoplectic. There are still many things which are not known to an average Joe. In the end, you may visit my opinion(s) on that issue and I am sure I know a teeny-weeny more on that issue than most US "scholars".

    https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2016/02/run-to-hills-us-military-is-doomed-no.html

    As always, I don’t disagree with much of what you write, and clearly your expertise is far greater on many aspects. But it isn’t about nukes (which change everything and nothing in these matters) and it isn’t really about the toys either. It’s more about the political will, about diplomatic clout, and about the large scale military capabilities that allow a major expeditionary force to be sent around the world to do a big job. It’s easy (and justified) to mock Arab armies, but what the US did in 2003 was still something imo beyond the practical capabilities of any other power in the world at the time, including Russia, especially if you take into account that a large part of the reason that Iraq was a relatively easier target than it would have been was the degree to which the US had successfully kept it isolated for a decade and more (though many of the US’s allies clearly chafed at the restrictions and were prepared to undermine them when they could get away with it – but not openly enough to make much difference).

    Could Russia even today put six reinforced divisions into Venezuela, and proceed to occupy Caracas and all the major cities, if Russia fell out with the Venezuelan regime as the US did with that of Iraq? Let’s pretend Venezuela’s terrain was replaced by deserts and flat river valleys.

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  49. iffen says:
    @German_reader
    I don't think I've ever written I approve of Russian actions in Ukraine...I don't, at least not entirely (even though I don't expect Russia to ever give up Crimea again...and the annexation of Crimea at least was relatively bloodless; what's going on in Eastern Ukraine is more troubling). However imo there's a good chance none of this would have happened if the US (at times with the connivance of its European satellites) hadn't over the last 25 years again and again trashed international law by attacking other states on absurd pretexts, and also made it more than clear that it would never accept Russia as a sovereign great power and would like to see regime change there as well if possible. I don't like Putin much and certainly don't agree with the more extreme positions of some Russian nationalists, but I can't ignore that background.
    As for your "Merkeleuropa" nonsense, that's just the usual anti-German crap ("4th Reich", haha) that always comes up among people from the Anglosphere who know nothing about Germany. In fact Merkel has managed to pretty much isolate Germany...relations with the Eastern Europeans are strained because of the refugee mess, Britain's leaving the EU, and the rest just want our money (and if that runs out - and eventually it will, I expect German economic and fiscal power to erode drastically over the next 10-20 years - well...)...no true allies or "friends". And given how Germany is changing (went to the city centre today...a sea of headscarf-wearing Muslim women, also lots of Africans), I very much doubt this is what Germans in 14/18 (let alone the Nazis) fought for.

    However imo there’s a good chance none of this would have happened if the US (at times with the connivance of its European satellites) hadn’t over the last 25 years again and again trashed international law by attacking other states

    We made Russia annex Crimea?

    (If I was a Russian, I would never consider giving up Crimea.)

    Look at the 50 years before the last 25 and count Soviet (Russian) interventions.

    You make intelligent and informed comments that I always read. You just seem to have a hard-on for the US. I can’t say that I blame you all that much, I am very disappointed in us as well.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    Look at the 50 years before the last 25 and count Soviet (Russian) interventions.
     
    I don't have an exact list at hand, but somehow I suspect they were fewer in number than American ones. Now I'm no friend of the Soviet Union (I'm glad its occupation of Eastern Europe ended), but did the Soviets even fight a major war between 1945 and the Afghanistan intervention from 1979 onwards? I can't think of any (border clashes with China etc. don't count).
    Anyway, it's not my intention to make excuses for every Russian action...and my point wasn't that "the US made Russia annex Crimea". But has the grossly irresponsible behaviour of US elites over the last 25 years been the main factor in creating the international instability that we see today? I certainly think so. Basically the US leadership became intoxicated by its "victory" in the Cold war and went psycho in the 1990s with its pursuit of global hegemony.
    , @Randal

    We made Russia annex Crimea?
     
    By supporting the overthrow of the Ukrainian government by nationalist extremists, who had repeatedly over the preceding decades made it clear that their intention was to evict Russia from the Sevastopol base, yes. Russia was faced with the prospect of a Ukraine under a regime that would move it into the EU and ultimately into NATO (as previously pushed for by Bush and Cameron), at which time preventing the Sevastopol base falling into US hands would have required a far more dangerous confrontation. And it was obvious that the Ukraine would then be used for further attempts at a "colour revolution" in Belarus, or even Russia itself (as had previously been attempted in 2006 and in 2011 respectively).

    Their actions were justified by necessity imo, in stark contrast to all the mendacious claims of supposed defensive necessity by the infinitely more secure US. It's a not insignificant bonus that the population seems overwhelmingly enthusiastic about it as well. Given the Kosovo precedent, the latter alone could clearly justify the Russian actions in the face of hypocritical US sphere protests.
    , @for-the-record
    Look at the 50 years before the last 25 and count Soviet (Russian) interventions.

    So you think in the post-War period (until 1990) the USSR made more foreign interventions than the US? Are you serious?

    By the way, when you say that "you [G_R] seem to have a hard-on for the US" I don't believe you are using this term in the correct sense, unless your meaning is that G_R is passionately in love with the US (or perhaps you are simply being ironic?).
    , @notanon

    We made Russia annex Crimea?
     
    How it looked to me...

    state department mounted a coup in Ukraine to use the Crimean naval base a bargaining chip to make Russia give up Assad

    Putin annexed Crimea instead

    so in a way yes (if "we" = neocons in the state dept.)
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  50. @Anon

    In 2003 the leaders in the UK, France and Germany were Blair, Chirac and Schroder, all of whom had meekly, even enthusiastically, complied with the exercise of US military hegemony in Kosovo and in Afghanistan. They were US poodles, but Iraq was too obviously stupid even for them.
     
    Can't speak about Chirac, but Blair supported the Iraq invasion and Schröder opposed it only diplomatically and politically for the sake of his electorate who was very opposed (there was even a demonstration in my small city). Militarily, he supported it as well.

    Militarily, he supported it as well.

    That’s a bit of an exaggeration imo, but yes, he did allow the US to use Germany as a giant logistics base for the Iraq war. There was also some support on the intelligence level iirc.
    Could well be that he would have acted differently if there hadn’t been an election in 2002…the looming Iraq war certainly was a very significant factor in his reelection…otherwise Stoiber might have won. In a way, the Iraq war paved the way for Merkel’s disastrous rise to power (kind of perverse, since she certainly would have gone along with it and even wrote a grovelling letter of support to Bush).

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    • Replies: @Anon

    That’s a bit of an exaggeration imo, but yes, he did allow the US to use Germany as a giant logistics base for the Iraq war.
     
    Not only that. Thousands of German soldiers were ordered to guard American bases in Germany so that the American military could focus more on the Iraq. Also, the German contribution to the AWACS crews who operated in the northern part of the conflict zone which was later declared unconstitutional by the highest court.
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  51. @Daniel Chieh
    I wonder if SmoothieX12 feels just as annoyed when people who've never been to Russia make all sorts of remarkable comments about Russia in the same way.

    I don’t need to visit China to read a chart. Look at China’s GDP per capita. Look at the military tech that China produces. Look at China’s yoy growth in private debt. Look at China’s private debt to GDP.

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    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    While its a waste of time to reply to you in general as you're very driven by confirmation bias, the usual notes apply:

    1) GDP per capita doesn't account for the large urban versus rural divide. The inequality is indeed a problem, but it still means that China has a gigantic middle class.

    2) Until relatively recently, China didn't really invest into military technology. Most of the more interesting technology has been manufacturing and consumer based, because that's where the money and the focus has been in. This has only changed since Xi Jinping.

    I largely agree with SmoothieX12 that the Chinese military is far behind, but the idea that this is somehow due to the Communist party is hilariously dumb. And hilariously misses the point.I'll say that Chinese material science is terrible, and I suspect that has been a huge weakness for everything else.

    3) The shadow bank issue, while extant, has been largely exaggerated.

    https://www.unz.com/article/chinas-financial-debt-everything-you-know-is-wrong/

    By all means, though, believe as you wish. Its been almost as funny as your last ramble about how the quality of the Chinese air force was of impeccable importance against Taiwan, especially when all of the airfields are within missile range. And you hardly need the Six Day War to show the results of initiative.

    You really, really, don't seem to think things through and you have a lot of opinions about things which you have clearly zero idea about. Its just bewildering, man.

    , @A22
    since the Chines Gov. basically control the banks, I don't see big debt ratios of a big problem as they seem to imply. When things start going down, The gov. can activate circuit breakers to stop the panic.
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  52. Randal says:
    @Anon

    In 2003 the leaders in the UK, France and Germany were Blair, Chirac and Schroder, all of whom had meekly, even enthusiastically, complied with the exercise of US military hegemony in Kosovo and in Afghanistan. They were US poodles, but Iraq was too obviously stupid even for them.
     
    Can't speak about Chirac, but Blair supported the Iraq invasion and Schröder opposed it only diplomatically and politically for the sake of his electorate who was very opposed (there was even a demonstration in my small city). Militarily, he supported it as well.

    Like I said, they were US poodles.

    Clearly when I wrote “too obviously stupid even for them”, I didn’t mean to include Blair.

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  53. @iffen
    However imo there’s a good chance none of this would have happened if the US (at times with the connivance of its European satellites) hadn’t over the last 25 years again and again trashed international law by attacking other states

    We made Russia annex Crimea?

    (If I was a Russian, I would never consider giving up Crimea.)

    Look at the 50 years before the last 25 and count Soviet (Russian) interventions.

    You make intelligent and informed comments that I always read. You just seem to have a hard-on for the US. I can't say that I blame you all that much, I am very disappointed in us as well.

    Look at the 50 years before the last 25 and count Soviet (Russian) interventions.

    I don’t have an exact list at hand, but somehow I suspect they were fewer in number than American ones. Now I’m no friend of the Soviet Union (I’m glad its occupation of Eastern Europe ended), but did the Soviets even fight a major war between 1945 and the Afghanistan intervention from 1979 onwards? I can’t think of any (border clashes with China etc. don’t count).
    Anyway, it’s not my intention to make excuses for every Russian action…and my point wasn’t that “the US made Russia annex Crimea”. But has the grossly irresponsible behaviour of US elites over the last 25 years been the main factor in creating the international instability that we see today? I certainly think so. Basically the US leadership became intoxicated by its “victory” in the Cold war and went psycho in the 1990s with its pursuit of global hegemony.

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    • Agree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @iffen
    But has the grossly irresponsible behaviour of US elites over the last 25 years been the main factor in creating the international instability that we see today?

    Instability. What instability?

    I accept that we meddle where no meddling is required (Ukraine), but we are not responsible for world instability.

    We have removed autocratic leaders in the ME and elsewhere and the after-effects have not always been pleasing, but we are not the worst world hegemon to come along.

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  54. Could Russia even today put six reinforced divisions into Venezuela, and proceed to occupy Caracas and all the major cities, if Russia fell out with the Venezuelan regime as the US did with that of Iraq? Let’s pretend Venezuela’s terrain was replaced by deserts and flat river valleys.

    The statement of the problem is entirely wrong or misplaced. The problem should be stated like this:

    Could the United States even in 2003 put very many reinforced divisions into Russia, and proceed to occupy Moscow and all the major cities.

    That is how the issue MUST be stated.

    1. The whole premise of US “hyper-mega-godzila powerdom” was based (from the word base–foundation) on US selling the idea that it could defeat anyone anywhere conventionally, period. It was false.

    2. Realization of a nation as a serious continental power is based NOT on putting 6 reinforced divisions against some shitty outlet, but being able to mobilize and put a major army against peer (that is fight against the best) and defeat this opponent conventionally. I guess we know the answer to that.

    3. Russia can put a number of paratroop divisions into Venezuela if it comes down to it but the main question is WHY? This is beyond the point of existence of Russian Armed Forces who have a much more important theaters than Venezuela to attend. I can tell you that US and NATO armies will be defeated conventionally if they try to attack Russia but that is the whole point, isn’t it?

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    • Replies: @Randal
    Clearly we disagree about the key question. Nuclear weapons make the question of defeating peer rivals on their own turf essentially irrelevant.

    I'm sure Russia could land a few paratroop divisions in Venezuela, but it couldn't back them up or keep them supplied in the face of serious resistance.

    In the end I suppose it's just a semantic dispute between us about the usage of the term "hyperpower", so if we are adopting different criteria for the term then that accounts for the disagreement.
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  55. Randal says:
    @iffen
    However imo there’s a good chance none of this would have happened if the US (at times with the connivance of its European satellites) hadn’t over the last 25 years again and again trashed international law by attacking other states

    We made Russia annex Crimea?

    (If I was a Russian, I would never consider giving up Crimea.)

    Look at the 50 years before the last 25 and count Soviet (Russian) interventions.

    You make intelligent and informed comments that I always read. You just seem to have a hard-on for the US. I can't say that I blame you all that much, I am very disappointed in us as well.

    We made Russia annex Crimea?

    By supporting the overthrow of the Ukrainian government by nationalist extremists, who had repeatedly over the preceding decades made it clear that their intention was to evict Russia from the Sevastopol base, yes. Russia was faced with the prospect of a Ukraine under a regime that would move it into the EU and ultimately into NATO (as previously pushed for by Bush and Cameron), at which time preventing the Sevastopol base falling into US hands would have required a far more dangerous confrontation. And it was obvious that the Ukraine would then be used for further attempts at a “colour revolution” in Belarus, or even Russia itself (as had previously been attempted in 2006 and in 2011 respectively).

    Their actions were justified by necessity imo, in stark contrast to all the mendacious claims of supposed defensive necessity by the infinitely more secure US. It’s a not insignificant bonus that the population seems overwhelmingly enthusiastic about it as well. Given the Kosovo precedent, the latter alone could clearly justify the Russian actions in the face of hypocritical US sphere protests.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    Okay, but the mendacious part is a little harsh.
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  56. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @German_reader

    Militarily, he supported it as well.
     
    That's a bit of an exaggeration imo, but yes, he did allow the US to use Germany as a giant logistics base for the Iraq war. There was also some support on the intelligence level iirc.
    Could well be that he would have acted differently if there hadn't been an election in 2002...the looming Iraq war certainly was a very significant factor in his reelection...otherwise Stoiber might have won. In a way, the Iraq war paved the way for Merkel's disastrous rise to power (kind of perverse, since she certainly would have gone along with it and even wrote a grovelling letter of support to Bush).

    That’s a bit of an exaggeration imo, but yes, he did allow the US to use Germany as a giant logistics base for the Iraq war.

    Not only that. Thousands of German soldiers were ordered to guard American bases in Germany so that the American military could focus more on the Iraq. Also, the German contribution to the AWACS crews who operated in the northern part of the conflict zone which was later declared unconstitutional by the highest court.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader

    Also, the German contribution to the AWACS crews who operated in the northern part of the conflict zone which was later declared unconstitutional by the highest court.
     
    Seems like I didn't notice that or had forgotten it. I remember there was something about BND agents who were in Bagdad during the 2003 war and supposedly supplied the Americans with information about targets.
    I still give some Schröder some credit for his public stance though, even though I couldn't stand the guy.
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  57. @ussr andy
    I figured it might be something like this. Is making an engine very involved? Is the hard part the physics itself or obtaining steels that are good enough ("stregth of materials"-wise)?

    No idea, sorry; but maybe someone who knows about those issues can answer.

    Read More
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  58. iffen says:
    @German_reader

    Look at the 50 years before the last 25 and count Soviet (Russian) interventions.
     
    I don't have an exact list at hand, but somehow I suspect they were fewer in number than American ones. Now I'm no friend of the Soviet Union (I'm glad its occupation of Eastern Europe ended), but did the Soviets even fight a major war between 1945 and the Afghanistan intervention from 1979 onwards? I can't think of any (border clashes with China etc. don't count).
    Anyway, it's not my intention to make excuses for every Russian action...and my point wasn't that "the US made Russia annex Crimea". But has the grossly irresponsible behaviour of US elites over the last 25 years been the main factor in creating the international instability that we see today? I certainly think so. Basically the US leadership became intoxicated by its "victory" in the Cold war and went psycho in the 1990s with its pursuit of global hegemony.

    But has the grossly irresponsible behaviour of US elites over the last 25 years been the main factor in creating the international instability that we see today?

    Instability. What instability?

    I accept that we meddle where no meddling is required (Ukraine), but we are not responsible for world instability.

    We have removed autocratic leaders in the ME and elsewhere and the after-effects have not always been pleasing, but we are not the worst world hegemon to come along.

    Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record
    we [USA] are not the worst world hegemon to come along.

    Then who is, pray tell.
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  59. @Anon

    That’s a bit of an exaggeration imo, but yes, he did allow the US to use Germany as a giant logistics base for the Iraq war.
     
    Not only that. Thousands of German soldiers were ordered to guard American bases in Germany so that the American military could focus more on the Iraq. Also, the German contribution to the AWACS crews who operated in the northern part of the conflict zone which was later declared unconstitutional by the highest court.

    Also, the German contribution to the AWACS crews who operated in the northern part of the conflict zone which was later declared unconstitutional by the highest court.

    Seems like I didn’t notice that or had forgotten it. I remember there was something about BND agents who were in Bagdad during the 2003 war and supposedly supplied the Americans with information about targets.
    I still give some Schröder some credit for his public stance though, even though I couldn’t stand the guy.

    Read More
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  60. Randal says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Could Russia even today put six reinforced divisions into Venezuela, and proceed to occupy Caracas and all the major cities, if Russia fell out with the Venezuelan regime as the US did with that of Iraq? Let’s pretend Venezuela’s terrain was replaced by deserts and flat river valleys.
     
    The statement of the problem is entirely wrong or misplaced. The problem should be stated like this:

    Could the United States even in 2003 put very many reinforced divisions into Russia, and proceed to occupy Moscow and all the major cities.

    That is how the issue MUST be stated.

    1. The whole premise of US "hyper-mega-godzila powerdom" was based (from the word base--foundation) on US selling the idea that it could defeat anyone anywhere conventionally, period. It was false.

    2. Realization of a nation as a serious continental power is based NOT on putting 6 reinforced divisions against some shitty outlet, but being able to mobilize and put a major army against peer (that is fight against the best) and defeat this opponent conventionally. I guess we know the answer to that.

    3. Russia can put a number of paratroop divisions into Venezuela if it comes down to it but the main question is WHY? This is beyond the point of existence of Russian Armed Forces who have a much more important theaters than Venezuela to attend. I can tell you that US and NATO armies will be defeated conventionally if they try to attack Russia but that is the whole point, isn't it?

    Clearly we disagree about the key question. Nuclear weapons make the question of defeating peer rivals on their own turf essentially irrelevant.

    I’m sure Russia could land a few paratroop divisions in Venezuela, but it couldn’t back them up or keep them supplied in the face of serious resistance.

    In the end I suppose it’s just a semantic dispute between us about the usage of the term “hyperpower”, so if we are adopting different criteria for the term then that accounts for the disagreement.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Clearly we disagree about the key question. Nuclear weapons make the question of defeating peer rivals on their own turf essentially irrelevant.
     
    Yuri Solomonov, a chief designer to a number of Soviet/Russian ICBMs, including SLBM Bulava, in one of his interview in 2008 to a major news-outlet expressed very clearly the pattern of denucleariztion of the warfare which was emanating from the US. It was due to a wrong assessment of Russia's economic and military potential--a pattern which characterizes most Western "analytical" organizations. The gap was not as large nor was it an insurmountable obstacle as was perceived. I stress it here--the question is namely about conventional power.

    I’m sure Russia could land a few paratroop divisions in Venezuela, but it couldn’t back them up or keep them supplied in the face of serious resistance.
     
    The question is not if Russia will be or will not be (she will not be, most likely) WHY should Russia do it? There is nothing of vital Russian national interest there to do so. That is the key difference--open any doctrinal American document: a rhetoric which would make Ideological Department of Central Committee to knee in humility. Despite the fact that under the press of circumstances it went from capability to fight two medium-intensity wars, to one and a half, now it is down to one:

    Let us first begin with the fundamental underpinnings of this delusion: our measures of performance and effectiveness in recent wars. It is time that we, as professional military officers, accept the fact that we lost the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Objective analysis of the U.S. military’s effectiveness in these wars can only conclude that we were unable to translate tactical victory into operational and strategic success
     
    https://www.mca-marines.org/gazette/2017/02/innovation

    And when one looks at Mosul (what's left of it anyway after 7 months) one has to ask the question was Revolution In Military Affairs just a propaganda cliche? It certainly looks as such today. Here is an excellent summary of HOW one must formulate military problems, last two paragraphs are a MUST read, by an excellent professional (yes, he also ran CIA) Admiral Stanfield Turner in 1976 to CSM. I hope it will help to clarify things:

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-D17tZTlExkY/VltFjMm58qI/AAAAAAAAAQg/4iRLTvgXbHQ/s1600/Turner.jpg

    P.S. US suddenly is back into the nukes business, big time--I wonder why?
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  61. iffen says:
    @Randal

    We made Russia annex Crimea?
     
    By supporting the overthrow of the Ukrainian government by nationalist extremists, who had repeatedly over the preceding decades made it clear that their intention was to evict Russia from the Sevastopol base, yes. Russia was faced with the prospect of a Ukraine under a regime that would move it into the EU and ultimately into NATO (as previously pushed for by Bush and Cameron), at which time preventing the Sevastopol base falling into US hands would have required a far more dangerous confrontation. And it was obvious that the Ukraine would then be used for further attempts at a "colour revolution" in Belarus, or even Russia itself (as had previously been attempted in 2006 and in 2011 respectively).

    Their actions were justified by necessity imo, in stark contrast to all the mendacious claims of supposed defensive necessity by the infinitely more secure US. It's a not insignificant bonus that the population seems overwhelmingly enthusiastic about it as well. Given the Kosovo precedent, the latter alone could clearly justify the Russian actions in the face of hypocritical US sphere protests.

    Okay, but the mendacious part is a little harsh.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal
    Fair enough, in some cases I suppose. But certainly not in all cases.

    Attributing outright dishonesty to people is almost always inherently speculative, of course.
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  62. @Greasy William
    I don't need to visit China to read a chart. Look at China's GDP per capita. Look at the military tech that China produces. Look at China's yoy growth in private debt. Look at China's private debt to GDP.

    While its a waste of time to reply to you in general as you’re very driven by confirmation bias, the usual notes apply:

    1) GDP per capita doesn’t account for the large urban versus rural divide. The inequality is indeed a problem, but it still means that China has a gigantic middle class.

    2) Until relatively recently, China didn’t really invest into military technology. Most of the more interesting technology has been manufacturing and consumer based, because that’s where the money and the focus has been in. This has only changed since Xi Jinping.

    I largely agree with SmoothieX12 that the Chinese military is far behind, but the idea that this is somehow due to the Communist party is hilariously dumb. And hilariously misses the point.I’ll say that Chinese material science is terrible, and I suspect that has been a huge weakness for everything else.

    3) The shadow bank issue, while extant, has been largely exaggerated.

    https://www.unz.com/article/chinas-financial-debt-everything-you-know-is-wrong/

    By all means, though, believe as you wish. Its been almost as funny as your last ramble about how the quality of the Chinese air force was of impeccable importance against Taiwan, especially when all of the airfields are within missile range. And you hardly need the Six Day War to show the results of initiative.

    You really, really, don’t seem to think things through and you have a lot of opinions about things which you have clearly zero idea about. Its just bewildering, man.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Greasy William
    I'm not talking about the shadow banking or any of that other anti China stuff that gets reported in the Western media. Although since you have brought it up, I suspect it is 90+% true. I am talking about very simple math here:

    The US is coming out of a financial crisis as the result of a private sector debt of 180% GDP. Japan has never fully recovered from their debt bubble which at its peak reached reached around 225% GDP. China is currently at 210% GDP and is increasing at an staggering 35% a year.

    This isn't an ideological thing, it is simple math. Just tell me exactly how long China's economy can increase private debt at 35% of GDP per year? And please explain to me why China's economy is immune to a debt crisis when literally ever other country in history that has hit such high level of debt has had one?

    Finally, answer me this: if the Nationalists had won the civil war, what would China's GDP per capita be today?
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  63. @ussr andy
    I figured it might be something like this. Is making an engine very involved? Is the hard part the physics itself or obtaining steels that are good enough ("stregth of materials"-wise)?

    It’s the materials, right. The physics I think is like almost 100 years old.

    The only countries capable of manufacturing modern fighter jet engines are the US, Britain, France and Russia. And Russian engines are vastly inferior to western engines.

    That being said, I suspect Germany, Japan, South Korea Switzerland, Sweden, Italy and several others could easily produce a high quality fighter jet engine within 10 years were they so inclined to make the investment to do so.

    In contrast, India and China have in fact made the necessary investments, they just can’t do it.

    Read More
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  64. @iffen
    US getting everything to the point of hot war and then offering others to die in the field

    Perhaps in an unexpected and unexplained flash of brilliance someone thought of the idea of letting Europeans fight and die in one of their wars instead of having the US do it for them.

    It was never “our war”, the whole “destroy Yugoslavia-Serbia” was cooked up by Americans and their subservient European vassals.

    America should just have left Yugoslavia alone, they had no ethnic, cultural or strategic reasons to intervene.

    Why is it such a persistent idea among American hawks to have other people die for their wars?

    Even Trump, even in his more edge-y candidate stage, subscribed to the idea that Europeans should pay tribute to the USA in return for “defense” in the form of increased defense spending (some of which will inevitably be used to buy American weapons).

    Quite frankly, I would prefer being a Russian protectorate over living in an American “protected” multicultural and socially degenerate Europe.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader

    Quite frankly, I would prefer being a Russian protectorate over living in an American “protected” multicultural and socially degenerate Europe.
     
    I want neither.
    But have to say, the idea that often comes up among American commenters how generous they are for "protecting" Europe is really irritating me. During the Cold war, when there was a genuine threat, the Europeans did maintain very significant armed forces, and actually had conscription in the continental states. Now European defense spending nowadays certainly is too low...but the sense of generosity many Americans seem to feel today is bizarre. American policy hasn't been about genuine European security for almost 30 years, and has arguably harmed European security interests in many ways.
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  65. songbird says:

    In 1900, there were a total of 1228 US diplomats overseas. That is very roughly about 18 more than the pre-cut Russian total.

    Putin did the US a favor, as far as I am concerned, It is only a shame he can’t fire them too.

    Read More
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  66. @Daniel Chieh
    While its a waste of time to reply to you in general as you're very driven by confirmation bias, the usual notes apply:

    1) GDP per capita doesn't account for the large urban versus rural divide. The inequality is indeed a problem, but it still means that China has a gigantic middle class.

    2) Until relatively recently, China didn't really invest into military technology. Most of the more interesting technology has been manufacturing and consumer based, because that's where the money and the focus has been in. This has only changed since Xi Jinping.

    I largely agree with SmoothieX12 that the Chinese military is far behind, but the idea that this is somehow due to the Communist party is hilariously dumb. And hilariously misses the point.I'll say that Chinese material science is terrible, and I suspect that has been a huge weakness for everything else.

    3) The shadow bank issue, while extant, has been largely exaggerated.

    https://www.unz.com/article/chinas-financial-debt-everything-you-know-is-wrong/

    By all means, though, believe as you wish. Its been almost as funny as your last ramble about how the quality of the Chinese air force was of impeccable importance against Taiwan, especially when all of the airfields are within missile range. And you hardly need the Six Day War to show the results of initiative.

    You really, really, don't seem to think things through and you have a lot of opinions about things which you have clearly zero idea about. Its just bewildering, man.

    I’m not talking about the shadow banking or any of that other anti China stuff that gets reported in the Western media. Although since you have brought it up, I suspect it is 90+% true. I am talking about very simple math here:

    The US is coming out of a financial crisis as the result of a private sector debt of 180% GDP. Japan has never fully recovered from their debt bubble which at its peak reached reached around 225% GDP. China is currently at 210% GDP and is increasing at an staggering 35% a year.

    This isn’t an ideological thing, it is simple math. Just tell me exactly how long China’s economy can increase private debt at 35% of GDP per year? And please explain to me why China’s economy is immune to a debt crisis when literally ever other country in history that has hit such high level of debt has had one?

    Finally, answer me this: if the Nationalists had won the civil war, what would China’s GDP per capita be today?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    You should read the article listed, which pretty much addresses it, though in an overtly positive way. But it is true that the debt is heavily covered by assets and I doubt that'll change anytime soon. By all means, I hope that you're putting money into your appraisal and begin to short Chinese companies.

    And as for the latter, heck if I know, but I can assure you that a version of TaiDu running China would assure that the country would have a lot more gay parades and a lot fewer high speed trains, let alone the existence of Shenzhen.

    My family were Nationalists but frankly, the KMT was pretty doomed and at many times, corrupt in ways that would make Mao Zedong seem worth it, even in spite of a Great Leap Forward. That's some impressive corruption, alas.

    I'm not exactly a fan of the CCP. But all in all, I think they've been competent. And perhaps more relevantly, I try to deal with the reality where I live in, rather than fantasies of "what if."

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  67. Randal says:
    @iffen
    Okay, but the mendacious part is a little harsh.

    Fair enough, in some cases I suppose. But certainly not in all cases.

    Attributing outright dishonesty to people is almost always inherently speculative, of course.

    Read More
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  68. @Randal
    Clearly we disagree about the key question. Nuclear weapons make the question of defeating peer rivals on their own turf essentially irrelevant.

    I'm sure Russia could land a few paratroop divisions in Venezuela, but it couldn't back them up or keep them supplied in the face of serious resistance.

    In the end I suppose it's just a semantic dispute between us about the usage of the term "hyperpower", so if we are adopting different criteria for the term then that accounts for the disagreement.

    Clearly we disagree about the key question. Nuclear weapons make the question of defeating peer rivals on their own turf essentially irrelevant.

    Yuri Solomonov, a chief designer to a number of Soviet/Russian ICBMs, including SLBM Bulava, in one of his interview in 2008 to a major news-outlet expressed very clearly the pattern of denucleariztion of the warfare which was emanating from the US. It was due to a wrong assessment of Russia’s economic and military potential–a pattern which characterizes most Western “analytical” organizations. The gap was not as large nor was it an insurmountable obstacle as was perceived. I stress it here–the question is namely about conventional power.

    I’m sure Russia could land a few paratroop divisions in Venezuela, but it couldn’t back them up or keep them supplied in the face of serious resistance.

    The question is not if Russia will be or will not be (she will not be, most likely) WHY should Russia do it? There is nothing of vital Russian national interest there to do so. That is the key difference–open any doctrinal American document: a rhetoric which would make Ideological Department of Central Committee to knee in humility. Despite the fact that under the press of circumstances it went from capability to fight two medium-intensity wars, to one and a half, now it is down to one:

    Let us first begin with the fundamental underpinnings of this delusion: our measures of performance and effectiveness in recent wars. It is time that we, as professional military officers, accept the fact that we lost the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Objective analysis of the U.S. military’s effectiveness in these wars can only conclude that we were unable to translate tactical victory into operational and strategic success

    https://www.mca-marines.org/gazette/2017/02/innovation

    And when one looks at Mosul (what’s left of it anyway after 7 months) one has to ask the question was Revolution In Military Affairs just a propaganda cliche? It certainly looks as such today. Here is an excellent summary of HOW one must formulate military problems, last two paragraphs are a MUST read, by an excellent professional (yes, he also ran CIA) Admiral Stanfield Turner in 1976 to CSM. I hope it will help to clarify things:

    P.S. US suddenly is back into the nukes business, big time–I wonder why?

    Read More
    • Agree: Daniel Chieh
    • Replies: @Greasy William
    what do you mean the US is back in the nuke business?
    , @Randal
    I'm quite prepared to accept that the US and many analysts overestimated the US's capabilities and underestimated those of Russia in the immediate post-Soviet time, to some degree (and in some cases, dramatically. But I remain of the view that it's reasonable to refer to the US as "the hyperpower" in that brief period, for the reasons I've set out.

    It's absolutely correct that the right way to analyse military capabilities (and the effectiveness of power in general) is to examine whether it provides the capacity to do what needs to be done in some particular situation - that's what I was getting at with the Venezuela example. It's correct that Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union has had no real interest in influencing events militarily in most of the world, but that merely reflects and confirms its reduction from superpower status to that broadly of regional power plus nukes in the immediate post-Soviet period. (Equally clearly, there has been some reversal of that post-1999 with the realisation that the US was not going to behave reasonably towards Russia merely because Russia minds its own business.)

    I think the Russian elites have been slow to understand the extent to which the US sphere elites are in the grip of a destabilising universalist ideology every bit as dangerous as the world communism of the early USSR.
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  69. @Hyperborean
    It was never "our war", the whole "destroy Yugoslavia-Serbia" was cooked up by Americans and their subservient European vassals.

    America should just have left Yugoslavia alone, they had no ethnic, cultural or strategic reasons to intervene.

    Why is it such a persistent idea among American hawks to have other people die for their wars?

    Even Trump, even in his more edge-y candidate stage, subscribed to the idea that Europeans should pay tribute to the USA in return for "defense" in the form of increased defense spending (some of which will inevitably be used to buy American weapons).

    Quite frankly, I would prefer being a Russian protectorate over living in an American "protected" multicultural and socially degenerate Europe.

    Quite frankly, I would prefer being a Russian protectorate over living in an American “protected” multicultural and socially degenerate Europe.

    I want neither.
    But have to say, the idea that often comes up among American commenters how generous they are for “protecting” Europe is really irritating me. During the Cold war, when there was a genuine threat, the Europeans did maintain very significant armed forces, and actually had conscription in the continental states. Now European defense spending nowadays certainly is too low…but the sense of generosity many Americans seem to feel today is bizarre. American policy hasn’t been about genuine European security for almost 30 years, and has arguably harmed European security interests in many ways.

    Read More
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  70. @Greasy William
    I'm not talking about the shadow banking or any of that other anti China stuff that gets reported in the Western media. Although since you have brought it up, I suspect it is 90+% true. I am talking about very simple math here:

    The US is coming out of a financial crisis as the result of a private sector debt of 180% GDP. Japan has never fully recovered from their debt bubble which at its peak reached reached around 225% GDP. China is currently at 210% GDP and is increasing at an staggering 35% a year.

    This isn't an ideological thing, it is simple math. Just tell me exactly how long China's economy can increase private debt at 35% of GDP per year? And please explain to me why China's economy is immune to a debt crisis when literally ever other country in history that has hit such high level of debt has had one?

    Finally, answer me this: if the Nationalists had won the civil war, what would China's GDP per capita be today?

    You should read the article listed, which pretty much addresses it, though in an overtly positive way. But it is true that the debt is heavily covered by assets and I doubt that’ll change anytime soon. By all means, I hope that you’re putting money into your appraisal and begin to short Chinese companies.

    And as for the latter, heck if I know, but I can assure you that a version of TaiDu running China would assure that the country would have a lot more gay parades and a lot fewer high speed trains, let alone the existence of Shenzhen.

    My family were Nationalists but frankly, the KMT was pretty doomed and at many times, corrupt in ways that would make Mao Zedong seem worth it, even in spite of a Great Leap Forward. That’s some impressive corruption, alas.

    I’m not exactly a fan of the CCP. But all in all, I think they’ve been competent. And perhaps more relevantly, I try to deal with the reality where I live in, rather than fantasies of “what if.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Greasy William
    Why would there be gay pride parades in KMT run China if there aren't any in Japan?

    it has superpower clout economically but not in other vital areas such as military capability and technological dominance, but on present trends it will achieve those in the next few decades
     
    Are you familiar with the work of Australian economist Steve Keen? I have been a religious follower of his since 2009 and his thesis is that it does not matter if the debt is covered or not, large private debt everywhere and always leads to crisis because it is not a matter of whether the debt is good or bad, rather high levels of debt themselves are inherently destabilizing and unsustainable. China has basically followed the same economic path that Japan did in the 80s and that the West did in the 90s and we saw how both of those ended. The Japanese economy has been essentially stagnant for 3 decades now and the West has been reliant on massive immigration to achieve even modest growth since the 08 bust.

    If the CCP is able to break this pattern of debt deflationary collapse/stagnation then they aren't just not incompetent, they are geniuses and China's method of government really is the wave of the future.
    , @Greasy William
    The article you referenced seems to deal more with government debt as well as debt in the banking sector. I agree that Chinese government debt is a total non issue but the apologetics for the Chinese banking system sound a lot like what was said about Japan Inc. in the late 80's.
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  71. @Andrei Martyanov

    Clearly we disagree about the key question. Nuclear weapons make the question of defeating peer rivals on their own turf essentially irrelevant.
     
    Yuri Solomonov, a chief designer to a number of Soviet/Russian ICBMs, including SLBM Bulava, in one of his interview in 2008 to a major news-outlet expressed very clearly the pattern of denucleariztion of the warfare which was emanating from the US. It was due to a wrong assessment of Russia's economic and military potential--a pattern which characterizes most Western "analytical" organizations. The gap was not as large nor was it an insurmountable obstacle as was perceived. I stress it here--the question is namely about conventional power.

    I’m sure Russia could land a few paratroop divisions in Venezuela, but it couldn’t back them up or keep them supplied in the face of serious resistance.
     
    The question is not if Russia will be or will not be (she will not be, most likely) WHY should Russia do it? There is nothing of vital Russian national interest there to do so. That is the key difference--open any doctrinal American document: a rhetoric which would make Ideological Department of Central Committee to knee in humility. Despite the fact that under the press of circumstances it went from capability to fight two medium-intensity wars, to one and a half, now it is down to one:

    Let us first begin with the fundamental underpinnings of this delusion: our measures of performance and effectiveness in recent wars. It is time that we, as professional military officers, accept the fact that we lost the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Objective analysis of the U.S. military’s effectiveness in these wars can only conclude that we were unable to translate tactical victory into operational and strategic success
     
    https://www.mca-marines.org/gazette/2017/02/innovation

    And when one looks at Mosul (what's left of it anyway after 7 months) one has to ask the question was Revolution In Military Affairs just a propaganda cliche? It certainly looks as such today. Here is an excellent summary of HOW one must formulate military problems, last two paragraphs are a MUST read, by an excellent professional (yes, he also ran CIA) Admiral Stanfield Turner in 1976 to CSM. I hope it will help to clarify things:

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-D17tZTlExkY/VltFjMm58qI/AAAAAAAAAQg/4iRLTvgXbHQ/s1600/Turner.jpg

    P.S. US suddenly is back into the nukes business, big time--I wonder why?

    what do you mean the US is back in the nuke business?

    Read More
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  72. utu says:
    @Randal
    The attack on Yugoslavia was certainly based upon trumped up charges (and straightforwardly illegal), since what Yugoslavia was doing in Kosovo was not much different to what Britain had been doing in Northern Ireland, albeit in a much more violent and chaotic context.

    The only sense in which Iffen's "official truth" version of events approaches reality is that the reason why Yugoslavia had to be made an example of was the same as the reason why countries like Hungary and Poland are being threatened with being made examples of today. They were resisting the globalist , internationalist dogmas of the US sphere business establishment and the establishment left, as represented by the likes of Schroder (and today Merkel) in Germany, and the likes of Blair in Britain, and Clinton and Albright in the US.

    They had to be destroyed, and to be seen to be destroyed.

    The breakup of Yugoslavia began with German decision to recognize independence of Slovenia. It was the first important decision Germany made after the reunification. German morality. A country that just get unified advocated breakup of another country. After that Yugoslavia was on the downward spiral and the breakup was unavoidable. Subsequent down the road NATO intervention was just to seal the deal.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Matra
    The breakup of Yugoslavia began with German decision to recognize independence of Slovenia.

    Not quite. No one cared much about Slovenia leaving, even Milosevic's government only put up a token response aimed mostly at Croatia. It was the German recognition - unilateral - of Croatia that led to things quickly spiralling out of control in Bosnia - though it might've happened anyway. Most European countries were against such a recognition, especially before an adequate settlement of the Krajina Serb issue had been reached, but EU solidarity following Germany's recognition came first! I noticed this topic didn't come up during the recent remembrances for Helmut Kohl.
    , @Randal
    I don't dispute Germany's dirty fingers in the whole Yugoslavia business, but it's important to distinguish here between the breakup of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo war. The latter took place in the context and shadow of the former, for sure, but it had a dynamic and motivations of its own.
    , @reiner Tor

    The breakup of Yugoslavia began with German decision to recognize independence of Slovenia.
     
    No, it began with the declaration of independence by Slovenia and Croatia (I think on the same day), after which a civil war was all but inevitable. It was obvious that the constituent republics couldn't reach an agreement about the level of centralization and none of them were too keen on staying together, so it all came down to the question of the borders. The Croats and the Bosniaks were happy with their borders, and were willing to use force to protect them (in spite of the numerous minorities living inside them, especially in the case of Bosnia), whereas the Serbs were quite willing to use force to change them. The best outcome for the Serbs would've been a frozen conflict in both Croatia and Bosnia while keeping Kosovo and dominance over Montenegro. I fail to see how what we got is necessarily worse then that from a disinterested point of view. The war itself was inevitable.

    The NATO bombings, especially in 1999, were not inevitable. NATO managed to break a system of international treaties which was beneficial to them. The West broke the international order for nothing. It didn't result in less bloodshed or a more just world, it just resulted in instability.
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  73. @Daniel Chieh
    You should read the article listed, which pretty much addresses it, though in an overtly positive way. But it is true that the debt is heavily covered by assets and I doubt that'll change anytime soon. By all means, I hope that you're putting money into your appraisal and begin to short Chinese companies.

    And as for the latter, heck if I know, but I can assure you that a version of TaiDu running China would assure that the country would have a lot more gay parades and a lot fewer high speed trains, let alone the existence of Shenzhen.

    My family were Nationalists but frankly, the KMT was pretty doomed and at many times, corrupt in ways that would make Mao Zedong seem worth it, even in spite of a Great Leap Forward. That's some impressive corruption, alas.

    I'm not exactly a fan of the CCP. But all in all, I think they've been competent. And perhaps more relevantly, I try to deal with the reality where I live in, rather than fantasies of "what if."

    Why would there be gay pride parades in KMT run China if there aren’t any in Japan?

    it has superpower clout economically but not in other vital areas such as military capability and technological dominance, but on present trends it will achieve those in the next few decades

    Are you familiar with the work of Australian economist Steve Keen? I have been a religious follower of his since 2009 and his thesis is that it does not matter if the debt is covered or not, large private debt everywhere and always leads to crisis because it is not a matter of whether the debt is good or bad, rather high levels of debt themselves are inherently destabilizing and unsustainable. China has basically followed the same economic path that Japan did in the 80s and that the West did in the 90s and we saw how both of those ended. The Japanese economy has been essentially stagnant for 3 decades now and the West has been reliant on massive immigration to achieve even modest growth since the 08 bust.

    If the CCP is able to break this pattern of debt deflationary collapse/stagnation then they aren’t just not incompetent, they are geniuses and China’s method of government really is the wave of the future.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Kimppis
    Your comments on China are utter nonsense. I have no idea how you are coming up with your arguments... But they make very little sense to me.

    1. China's problems with engines are quite massively exaggerated. It's really the same shit as the "gas station" argument for the Russian economy.

    For one thing, India is not even close to China in engine technology, on the contrary, they are probably 20 years behind. Hundreds of modern Chinese fighters use Chinese engines, most importantly the Chinese Flankers (J-11, J-15, J-16). Ever heard of WS-10!? IMO, they'll fully catch-up by 2025. WS-15 (their 5th-gen engine) will probably come online a few years after Russia, that's about it.

    So yeah, sure, 100 years behind, more like 5. And how is it actually surprising that China has some problems with engines? How is that somehow unique to that country? How many countries are ahead of China in military/fighter engines? USA, Russia, France... and...? Certainly not India, LOL.

    2. As one poster already pointed out, per capita GDP is irrelevant when you have a huge middle-class. The scale is massive already, including in high-technology.

    Not to mention that the Chinese per capita GDP isn't even that low anymore. It's slightly above the world average, even nominally. And to me to the real size of the Chinese economy is quite obviously underestimated, and it's probably 20-30% larger in reality.

    They just haven't updated their metholodogy yet, it's from 2008 IIRC.

    3. Chinese military technology is underestimated even among many posters here, IMO. They are describing it like it was 5-10 years ago.

    My view is that they'll completely converge within the next 10 years, probably sooner. (Yeah, that's a conservative estimate, they have mostly caught-up already, and certainly within the next 5 years. Seriously.) J-20, Type 055, Type-99A2... Yeah, "muh Chinese can't into military"... Totally outdated views.

    4. How do you even measure the level of overall technology anyway? How is China somehow massively behind?

    If anything they seem to be a positive outlier in many ways. Supercomputers, the number of succesful brands is increasing rapidly, R&D spending, infrastructure, consumption patters...

    As an example, the number of internet and smartphone users is higher, ot atleast was higher than it was "supposed to be", when comparing it to most, if not all countries, at the same lvl of GDP per capita. And just the overall level of infrastructure. No wonder, because the real Chinese GDP is moderately higher than the official figures would suggest. So the per capita GDP (PPP) is probably close to $20,000 (vs. the official $15,000) and nominal closer to $12,000 (vs. the current... I don't even know due to earlier devaluations... $9000?).

    , @notanon

    large private debt everywhere and always leads to crisis because it is not a matter of whether the debt is good or bad, rather high levels of debt themselves are inherently destabilizing and unsustainable
     
    as debt increases the repayments eat into disposable income thus reducing demand

    so debt increases demand at first but decreases it over the course of the loan

    making boom and bust inevitable
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  74. Matra says:
    @utu
    The breakup of Yugoslavia began with German decision to recognize independence of Slovenia. It was the first important decision Germany made after the reunification. German morality. A country that just get unified advocated breakup of another country. After that Yugoslavia was on the downward spiral and the breakup was unavoidable. Subsequent down the road NATO intervention was just to seal the deal.

    The breakup of Yugoslavia began with German decision to recognize independence of Slovenia.

    Not quite. No one cared much about Slovenia leaving, even Milosevic’s government only put up a token response aimed mostly at Croatia. It was the German recognition – unilateral – of Croatia that led to things quickly spiralling out of control in Bosnia – though it might’ve happened anyway. Most European countries were against such a recognition, especially before an adequate settlement of the Krajina Serb issue had been reached, but EU solidarity following Germany’s recognition came first! I noticed this topic didn’t come up during the recent remembrances for Helmut Kohl.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    Not quite. No one cared much about Slovenia leaving

    If nobody cared why did Germany recognize it and by doing so encouraged Croatia? If Slovenia was stopped then Croatia would not follow.

    Germany touched the first piece of domino. The real intention was to break up Yugoslavia in order to stop the Quadragonale (Central European Initiative) initiative which if successful would greatly delay EU and NATO expansions and give Easter/Central European countries including Yugoslavia much more bargaining power vis-a-vis Germany and France. For this reason Germany was the instigator of Yugoslavia breakup. Yugoslavia was selected as the most vulnerable piece to kill the initiative. The US came on the scene in the last phase. It was a very successful operation from the point of view of Germany as all the dirty work was done by Americans and Germany's crucial role remake hidden in the shadow. Most comments here will keep blaming the US while being oblivious to the role of Germany.
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  75. @Daniel Chieh
    You should read the article listed, which pretty much addresses it, though in an overtly positive way. But it is true that the debt is heavily covered by assets and I doubt that'll change anytime soon. By all means, I hope that you're putting money into your appraisal and begin to short Chinese companies.

    And as for the latter, heck if I know, but I can assure you that a version of TaiDu running China would assure that the country would have a lot more gay parades and a lot fewer high speed trains, let alone the existence of Shenzhen.

    My family were Nationalists but frankly, the KMT was pretty doomed and at many times, corrupt in ways that would make Mao Zedong seem worth it, even in spite of a Great Leap Forward. That's some impressive corruption, alas.

    I'm not exactly a fan of the CCP. But all in all, I think they've been competent. And perhaps more relevantly, I try to deal with the reality where I live in, rather than fantasies of "what if."

    The article you referenced seems to deal more with government debt as well as debt in the banking sector. I agree that Chinese government debt is a total non issue but the apologetics for the Chinese banking system sound a lot like what was said about Japan Inc. in the late 80′s.

    Read More
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  76. utu says:
    @Matra
    The breakup of Yugoslavia began with German decision to recognize independence of Slovenia.

    Not quite. No one cared much about Slovenia leaving, even Milosevic's government only put up a token response aimed mostly at Croatia. It was the German recognition - unilateral - of Croatia that led to things quickly spiralling out of control in Bosnia - though it might've happened anyway. Most European countries were against such a recognition, especially before an adequate settlement of the Krajina Serb issue had been reached, but EU solidarity following Germany's recognition came first! I noticed this topic didn't come up during the recent remembrances for Helmut Kohl.

    Not quite. No one cared much about Slovenia leaving

    If nobody cared why did Germany recognize it and by doing so encouraged Croatia? If Slovenia was stopped then Croatia would not follow.

    Germany touched the first piece of domino. The real intention was to break up Yugoslavia in order to stop the Quadragonale (Central European Initiative) initiative which if successful would greatly delay EU and NATO expansions and give Easter/Central European countries including Yugoslavia much more bargaining power vis-a-vis Germany and France. For this reason Germany was the instigator of Yugoslavia breakup. Yugoslavia was selected as the most vulnerable piece to kill the initiative. The US came on the scene in the last phase. It was a very successful operation from the point of view of Germany as all the dirty work was done by Americans and Germany’s crucial role remake hidden in the shadow. Most comments here will keep blaming the US while being oblivious to the role of Germany.

    Read More
    • Agree: Dan Hayes
    • Replies: @Ivan K.
    "The breakup of Yugoslavia began with German decision to recognize independence of Slovenia."

    "Not quite. No one cared much about Slovenia leaving, even Milosevic’s government only put up a token response aimed mostly at Croatia."

    "If nobody cared why did Germany recognize it and by doing so encouraged Croatia? If Slovenia was stopped then Croatia would not follow."

    Germany cared for the breakup to happen. The Yugoslav political establishments cared surprisingly little about preventing it. That, regarding the time after Slovenia declared independence unilaterally, and the time after paramilitaries attacked the federal armed forces and after the federal army reestablished control of all Slovenian borders. Then, the Yugoslav collective presidency ordered the army to leave the territory of Slovenia completely.
    Germany's role in that is reminiscent of nasty, power-hungry characters from Wagner's operas. The Yugoslav state's role was that of a sick entity with deficient 'will to live.' Its disintegration process, that finished in 1992 (an older one finished in 1941) started in the 1960s, with excessive federalization. There is book that is good about the disintegrating process itself, and less good about the reasons for it (Dejan Jovic, 2008).

    , @JL
    Are you still taking bets that Putin will be out of power by the end of this summer (http://www.unz.com/article/assessing-russias-military-strength/#comment-1840688)? August is upon us and his 2018 re-election campaign is up and running, so you must be feeling supremely confident.
    , @Matra
    If nobody cared why did Germany recognize it and by doing so encouraged Croatia? If Slovenia was stopped then Croatia would not follow.

    Germany recognised Slovenian and Croatian independence on the same day so I'm guessing Croatia was already rather encouraged.

    Though Slovenia was the most economically developed Republic it was small and quite homogenous with the small Serb minority having moved there within living memory. Croatia was always different because of the substantial long established Serb minority.

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  77. melanf says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    How will Moscow deal with these sanctions in order to not get cornered? If hypothetically the EU complied with the sanctions?
     
    You asked a very multi-layered question--I am not going to go into its bottom line now.

    1. It is EU's responsibility to deal with this issue, not Russia's--Russia has WHERE to go--into Asia. Europe has not.

    2. Per pure economics, the real share of gas and oil in Russia's export is not as large as many tend to believe (due mostly to propaganda). Plus, Russia is selling today one very high tech, highly prized product which no one on Earth (I am not having a pathos feat) have--it is political stability. There is a huge demand for it. Just to give you one example--where do you think many SSJ-100s and MC-21s will be exported? Right--to Iran (Iran doesn't want to be bombed and will not be unless Russia says so, but even if bombed--this is not going to be a repeat of Iraq). I hope I express myself clearly here. Remember General Haftar on board of Admiral Kuznetsov or Iraq now demanding of having Russian military bases on its territory.

    https://ameforum.org/2017/07/25/11-52/

    3. Plus, of course, China may need a lot of technological expertise she doesn't posses and which Russia has--and I am not talking about some BS iPhones, I am talking about cutting edge military and civilian ones. After all, China pays Russia (yeah, yeah I know--it is a JV) to get China's civil aviation into the skies.

    So, what corner? US as Russia's trade partner is almost non-existent, in the end those backward Russkies can always stop hauling US astronauts to ISS. As overwhelming majority of Russians say (I am not exaggerating or being facetious)--Welcome, sanctions. Maybe they also will help to finally bury still stinking and still poisoning the air "liberal" Parnassus.

    Per pure economics, the real share of gas and oil in Russia’s export is not as large as many tend to believe (due mostly to propaganda).

    Annual Meat Consumption per capita in Russia (kg)

    The fall in oil prices by 70%, sharp fall in the prices of all other Russian export commodities (grain, metals, fertilizers), the Ukrainian crisis and sanctions – all of this together led to a decrease in meat consumption from 76 to 73 kilograms (in 2017 the consumption of meat should again reach the maximum). We’re sorry McCain, but we are not ‘gas station masquerading as a country’

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
    melanf:

    The graph says it all.

    And definitely not a gas station masquerading as a country!
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  78. Dan Hayes says:
    @melanf

    Per pure economics, the real share of gas and oil in Russia’s export is not as large as many tend to believe (due mostly to propaganda).
     
    http://imgur.com/a/YpAXr

    The fall in oil prices by 70%, sharp fall in the prices of all other Russian export commodities (grain, metals, fertilizers), the Ukrainian crisis and sanctions - all of this together led to a decrease in meat consumption from 76 to 73 kilograms (in 2017 the consumption of meat should again reach the maximum). We're sorry McCain, but we are not 'gas station masquerading as a country'

    melanf:

    The graph says it all.

    And definitely not a gas station masquerading as a country!

    Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record
    And definitely not a gas station masquerading as a country!

    When I was growing up I remember all the controversy about US wheat exports to the Soviet Union, and how they were unable to feed themselves despite having the "breadbasket of Europe" (Ukraine). And now, without Ukraine, Russia has become the world's largest exporter of wheat!
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  79. Ivan K. says:
    @utu
    Not quite. No one cared much about Slovenia leaving

    If nobody cared why did Germany recognize it and by doing so encouraged Croatia? If Slovenia was stopped then Croatia would not follow.

    Germany touched the first piece of domino. The real intention was to break up Yugoslavia in order to stop the Quadragonale (Central European Initiative) initiative which if successful would greatly delay EU and NATO expansions and give Easter/Central European countries including Yugoslavia much more bargaining power vis-a-vis Germany and France. For this reason Germany was the instigator of Yugoslavia breakup. Yugoslavia was selected as the most vulnerable piece to kill the initiative. The US came on the scene in the last phase. It was a very successful operation from the point of view of Germany as all the dirty work was done by Americans and Germany's crucial role remake hidden in the shadow. Most comments here will keep blaming the US while being oblivious to the role of Germany.

    “The breakup of Yugoslavia began with German decision to recognize independence of Slovenia.”

    “Not quite. No one cared much about Slovenia leaving, even Milosevic’s government only put up a token response aimed mostly at Croatia.”

    “If nobody cared why did Germany recognize it and by doing so encouraged Croatia? If Slovenia was stopped then Croatia would not follow.”

    Germany cared for the breakup to happen. The Yugoslav political establishments cared surprisingly little about preventing it. That, regarding the time after Slovenia declared independence unilaterally, and the time after paramilitaries attacked the federal armed forces and after the federal army reestablished control of all Slovenian borders. Then, the Yugoslav collective presidency ordered the army to leave the territory of Slovenia completely.
    Germany’s role in that is reminiscent of nasty, power-hungry characters from Wagner’s operas. The Yugoslav state’s role was that of a sick entity with deficient ‘will to live.’ Its disintegration process, that finished in 1992 (an older one finished in 1941) started in the 1960s, with excessive federalization. There is book that is good about the disintegrating process itself, and less good about the reasons for it (Dejan Jovic, 2008).

    Read More
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  80. 5371 says:

    [The past few weeks have seen a spate of North Korean missile testing successes, so much so that there I have been saying many comments to the effect that China or Russia must be helping them out]

    Especially hilarious since these are the same commenters who claimed earlier launches had failed due to brilliant cyber-sabotage by the CIA.

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    • LOL: reiner Tor
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  81. A22 says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    How will Moscow deal with these sanctions in order to not get cornered? If hypothetically the EU complied with the sanctions?
     
    You asked a very multi-layered question--I am not going to go into its bottom line now.

    1. It is EU's responsibility to deal with this issue, not Russia's--Russia has WHERE to go--into Asia. Europe has not.

    2. Per pure economics, the real share of gas and oil in Russia's export is not as large as many tend to believe (due mostly to propaganda). Plus, Russia is selling today one very high tech, highly prized product which no one on Earth (I am not having a pathos feat) have--it is political stability. There is a huge demand for it. Just to give you one example--where do you think many SSJ-100s and MC-21s will be exported? Right--to Iran (Iran doesn't want to be bombed and will not be unless Russia says so, but even if bombed--this is not going to be a repeat of Iraq). I hope I express myself clearly here. Remember General Haftar on board of Admiral Kuznetsov or Iraq now demanding of having Russian military bases on its territory.

    https://ameforum.org/2017/07/25/11-52/

    3. Plus, of course, China may need a lot of technological expertise she doesn't posses and which Russia has--and I am not talking about some BS iPhones, I am talking about cutting edge military and civilian ones. After all, China pays Russia (yeah, yeah I know--it is a JV) to get China's civil aviation into the skies.

    So, what corner? US as Russia's trade partner is almost non-existent, in the end those backward Russkies can always stop hauling US astronauts to ISS. As overwhelming majority of Russians say (I am not exaggerating or being facetious)--Welcome, sanctions. Maybe they also will help to finally bury still stinking and still poisoning the air "liberal" Parnassus.

    It is EU’s responsibility to deal with this issue, not Russia’s–Russia has WHERE to go–into Asia. Europe has not.

    I agree, especially in the light of the 400b deal with China ,the recent NPP deal with India and the warming of relations with Japan (long long overdue).
    However still Europe makes up a lot of the foreign investment into Russia.

    Honestly what bothers me a lot is how open the Russian market to European goods. What does Russia get out of opening her market to Europe? As far as I am concerned not nearly as much does Russia export to Europe. And the only gratitude the EU seems to offer is ever increasing hostilities. Russia should have protected its internal market to promote domestic producers just as Asian countries do ( Russia can probably do without importing most of what it is importing now, limiting imports to very high tech products.)

    Russia is selling today one very high tech, highly prized product which no one on Earth

    This means that Russia will have to engage more abroad, I think this is unduly expensive. Russia should probably go with more strategic isolationism until the economy is more rigid.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon

    Honestly what bothers me a lot is how open the Russian market to European goods. What does Russia get out of opening her market to Europe? As far as I am concerned not nearly as much does Russia export to Europe. And the only gratitude the EU seems to offer is ever increasing hostilities. Russia should have protected its internal market to promote domestic producers just as Asian countries do ( Russia can probably do without importing most of what it is importing now, limiting imports to very high tech products.)
     
    Russian elite wanted until the 2010s integration into West and Free Trade Zone with Europe, see http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/from-lisbon-to-vladivostok-putin-envisions-a-russia-eu-free-trade-zone-a-731109.html as a good example of this attitude.
    It is going to take some time shift their economy.
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    What does Russia get out of opening her market to Europe?
     
    Keeps in place an economic power cabal of "liberal reformers" most of whom never worked a day in manufacturing. But all this is merely a long-lasting issue of Russia's economic strategy which can not be settled completely until this cabal is removed.

    This means that Russia will have to engage more abroad, I think this is unduly expensive. Russia should probably go with more strategic isolationism until the economy is more rigid.
     
    Several weeks ago, when Saudis and their minions started squeezing Qatar--guess what Qatar did immediately? Right, called Moscow, within hours. Again, while speaking of "engagement abroad", as my exchange with Randal showed--we constantly are forced to operate within American framework of force employment and diplomacy. This is not going to help, since this framework, as overwhelming empirical evidence demonstrates is bunk. Nothing works in it. Export of political stability doesn't have to be a direct force deployment (it is needed sometimes, as is the case of Syria)--it is a whole spectrum of measures including but not limited to diplomatic, economic, technical support etc. These measures cost a lot and involve apart from direct payment things of such nature as opening own markets, investing in Russia etc. It is an excellent business with a very good profit margin. Just look what Syria's campaign did--just yesterday Indonesia confirmed purchase of 11 SU-35, the portfolio (and actual contracts) for T-90 is measured in hundreds of tanks, Rosatom's portfolio for building of nuclear power station stands today at between 200 to 300 billion dollars. If Turkey gets S-400s (remains to be seen)--all this is huge. Iran will be "forced" to buy SSJ-100s and, with completion of tests, MC-21s. That is how real power translates into wealth. These are just some examples.
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    This means that Russia will have to engage more abroad
     
    Speak of the devil. This morning news:

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/wadeshepard/2017/08/01/russia-and-iran-partner-up-as-the-us-turns-its-back/#d57e2225f630
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  82. A22 says:
    @Greasy William
    I don't need to visit China to read a chart. Look at China's GDP per capita. Look at the military tech that China produces. Look at China's yoy growth in private debt. Look at China's private debt to GDP.

    since the Chines Gov. basically control the banks, I don’t see big debt ratios of a big problem as they seem to imply. When things start going down, The gov. can activate circuit breakers to stop the panic.

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  83. JL says:
    @utu
    Not quite. No one cared much about Slovenia leaving

    If nobody cared why did Germany recognize it and by doing so encouraged Croatia? If Slovenia was stopped then Croatia would not follow.

    Germany touched the first piece of domino. The real intention was to break up Yugoslavia in order to stop the Quadragonale (Central European Initiative) initiative which if successful would greatly delay EU and NATO expansions and give Easter/Central European countries including Yugoslavia much more bargaining power vis-a-vis Germany and France. For this reason Germany was the instigator of Yugoslavia breakup. Yugoslavia was selected as the most vulnerable piece to kill the initiative. The US came on the scene in the last phase. It was a very successful operation from the point of view of Germany as all the dirty work was done by Americans and Germany's crucial role remake hidden in the shadow. Most comments here will keep blaming the US while being oblivious to the role of Germany.

    Are you still taking bets that Putin will be out of power by the end of this summer (http://www.unz.com/article/assessing-russias-military-strength/#comment-1840688)? August is upon us and his 2018 re-election campaign is up and running, so you must be feeling supremely confident.

    Read More
    • LOL: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @utu
    We still have 6 weeks of summer left.
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  84. @ussr andy
    I figured it might be something like this. Is making an engine very involved? Is the hard part the physics itself or obtaining steels that are good enough ("stregth of materials"-wise)?

    Greasy William really doesn’t know what he is talking about. Like many, he is supremely confident in his ignorance and impresses on his audience that he is correct by virtue of this confidence, but he is wrong because he knows next to nothing about the topic of which he speaks.

    When your only sources of information are the Fareed Zakarias of defense reporting, it’s easy to appear to be an expert to people who have less or even no knowledge about the subject matter. Always go primary source, relying on unnamed “experts” of conventional wisdom leads you down the path of importing Afghans in an attempt to pay future welfare rolls.

    Chinese defense technology is caching up to the West, at a rate faster than the Pentagon estimated, but unevenly with some sectors approaching parity much faster than others. Over-all military technology though is advancing slower than the civilian sector. This is primary because defense spending in China only amounts to 2% of Gdp. The US was around 10% for most of the cold war and God knows how much of the Soviet economy was dedicated toward military production and R&D. American and Russian present advantages which were built on the decades of monster defense budgets are in more mature fields less subject to disruption and more dependent on long term iterative development.

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  85. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @A22

    It is EU’s responsibility to deal with this issue, not Russia’s–Russia has WHERE to go–into Asia. Europe has not.
     
    I agree, especially in the light of the 400b deal with China ,the recent NPP deal with India and the warming of relations with Japan (long long overdue).
    However still Europe makes up a lot of the foreign investment into Russia.

    Honestly what bothers me a lot is how open the Russian market to European goods. What does Russia get out of opening her market to Europe? As far as I am concerned not nearly as much does Russia export to Europe. And the only gratitude the EU seems to offer is ever increasing hostilities. Russia should have protected its internal market to promote domestic producers just as Asian countries do ( Russia can probably do without importing most of what it is importing now, limiting imports to very high tech products.)

    Russia is selling today one very high tech, highly prized product which no one on Earth

     

    This means that Russia will have to engage more abroad, I think this is unduly expensive. Russia should probably go with more strategic isolationism until the economy is more rigid.

    Honestly what bothers me a lot is how open the Russian market to European goods. What does Russia get out of opening her market to Europe? As far as I am concerned not nearly as much does Russia export to Europe. And the only gratitude the EU seems to offer is ever increasing hostilities. Russia should have protected its internal market to promote domestic producers just as Asian countries do ( Russia can probably do without importing most of what it is importing now, limiting imports to very high tech products.)

    Russian elite wanted until the 2010s integration into West and Free Trade Zone with Europe, see http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/from-lisbon-to-vladivostok-putin-envisions-a-russia-eu-free-trade-zone-a-731109.html as a good example of this attitude.
    It is going to take some time shift their economy.

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    • Agree: Andrei Martyanov
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  86. utu says:
    @JL
    Are you still taking bets that Putin will be out of power by the end of this summer (http://www.unz.com/article/assessing-russias-military-strength/#comment-1840688)? August is upon us and his 2018 re-election campaign is up and running, so you must be feeling supremely confident.

    We still have 6 weeks of summer left.

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  87. @A22

    It is EU’s responsibility to deal with this issue, not Russia’s–Russia has WHERE to go–into Asia. Europe has not.
     
    I agree, especially in the light of the 400b deal with China ,the recent NPP deal with India and the warming of relations with Japan (long long overdue).
    However still Europe makes up a lot of the foreign investment into Russia.

    Honestly what bothers me a lot is how open the Russian market to European goods. What does Russia get out of opening her market to Europe? As far as I am concerned not nearly as much does Russia export to Europe. And the only gratitude the EU seems to offer is ever increasing hostilities. Russia should have protected its internal market to promote domestic producers just as Asian countries do ( Russia can probably do without importing most of what it is importing now, limiting imports to very high tech products.)

    Russia is selling today one very high tech, highly prized product which no one on Earth

     

    This means that Russia will have to engage more abroad, I think this is unduly expensive. Russia should probably go with more strategic isolationism until the economy is more rigid.

    What does Russia get out of opening her market to Europe?

    Keeps in place an economic power cabal of “liberal reformers” most of whom never worked a day in manufacturing. But all this is merely a long-lasting issue of Russia’s economic strategy which can not be settled completely until this cabal is removed.

    This means that Russia will have to engage more abroad, I think this is unduly expensive. Russia should probably go with more strategic isolationism until the economy is more rigid.

    Several weeks ago, when Saudis and their minions started squeezing Qatar–guess what Qatar did immediately? Right, called Moscow, within hours. Again, while speaking of “engagement abroad”, as my exchange with Randal showed–we constantly are forced to operate within American framework of force employment and diplomacy. This is not going to help, since this framework, as overwhelming empirical evidence demonstrates is bunk. Nothing works in it. Export of political stability doesn’t have to be a direct force deployment (it is needed sometimes, as is the case of Syria)–it is a whole spectrum of measures including but not limited to diplomatic, economic, technical support etc. These measures cost a lot and involve apart from direct payment things of such nature as opening own markets, investing in Russia etc. It is an excellent business with a very good profit margin. Just look what Syria’s campaign did–just yesterday Indonesia confirmed purchase of 11 SU-35, the portfolio (and actual contracts) for T-90 is measured in hundreds of tanks, Rosatom’s portfolio for building of nuclear power station stands today at between 200 to 300 billion dollars. If Turkey gets S-400s (remains to be seen)–all this is huge. Iran will be “forced” to buy SSJ-100s and, with completion of tests, MC-21s. That is how real power translates into wealth. These are just some examples.

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  88. @A22

    It is EU’s responsibility to deal with this issue, not Russia’s–Russia has WHERE to go–into Asia. Europe has not.
     
    I agree, especially in the light of the 400b deal with China ,the recent NPP deal with India and the warming of relations with Japan (long long overdue).
    However still Europe makes up a lot of the foreign investment into Russia.

    Honestly what bothers me a lot is how open the Russian market to European goods. What does Russia get out of opening her market to Europe? As far as I am concerned not nearly as much does Russia export to Europe. And the only gratitude the EU seems to offer is ever increasing hostilities. Russia should have protected its internal market to promote domestic producers just as Asian countries do ( Russia can probably do without importing most of what it is importing now, limiting imports to very high tech products.)

    Russia is selling today one very high tech, highly prized product which no one on Earth

     

    This means that Russia will have to engage more abroad, I think this is unduly expensive. Russia should probably go with more strategic isolationism until the economy is more rigid.

    This means that Russia will have to engage more abroad

    Speak of the devil. This morning news:

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/wadeshepard/2017/08/01/russia-and-iran-partner-up-as-the-us-turns-its-back/#d57e2225f630

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  89. @ussr andy
    they got all the consumer stuff. is it cardinally different from military stuff? they even make their own chips, which to mine everyday person's understanding is about the top of industrial sophistication (Russia has designs but they don't make the chips themselves, AFAIK)

    Russia has designs but they don’t make the chips themselves, AFAIK

    Russia produces computer chips also domestically.

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  90. anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Andrei Martyanov

    More please
     
    On Sunday Evening With Vladimir Solovyov talk show (by far the most watched Russia's show with colossal audience US pundits can only dream about) IIRC in early 2016 (I am sure you can find it), both Kokoshin and Ivashov publicly spoke from their podiums to each-other and after reaching consensus between two of them on disclosing what used to be extremely classified information in 2000s stated (it was Kokoshin) that during NATO's aggression against Serbia the dawning realization of coming of the ground phase made US to first push... Hungarians as an invading force (they just got their NATO membership) and then, when Hungarians refused, US tried to push for... Germans. At that time diplomats from Hungary and Germany were literally spending their workdays at the doors of Russia's Foreign Ministry. Main point? All of them sang in unison about US getting everything to the point of hot war and then offering others to die in the field. For Germans, of course, there was another huge factor--a historic memory. Well, Yeltsin and his gang intervened on US behalf and for all intents and purposes sold Serbia. What happen afterwards you should remember--Putin appearance on Russia's political Olympus was a direct result of weak and cowardly policies of "reformers". Here we are today.

    Since you started mentioning Russian television shows, do you think it is possible to learn Russian without the help of a tutor? And if so, how would one do it?

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    do you think it is possible to learn Russian without the help of a tutor?
     
    It is possible (without deep knowledge of grammar--in Russian it is a nightmare), especially since Russian reading is very simple--Russian language is very phonetic.

    And if so, how would one do it?
     
    Any Russian movies-cartoons-shows with Closed Caption. Plus there are many tutor-less programs out there, including but not limited to Rosetta Stone.

    http://www.rosettastone.com/learn-russian/
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  91. @anon
    Since you started mentioning Russian television shows, do you think it is possible to learn Russian without the help of a tutor? And if so, how would one do it?

    do you think it is possible to learn Russian without the help of a tutor?

    It is possible (without deep knowledge of grammar–in Russian it is a nightmare), especially since Russian reading is very simple–Russian language is very phonetic.

    And if so, how would one do it?

    Any Russian movies-cartoons-shows with Closed Caption. Plus there are many tutor-less programs out there, including but not limited to Rosetta Stone.

    http://www.rosettastone.com/learn-russian/

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  92. Randal says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Clearly we disagree about the key question. Nuclear weapons make the question of defeating peer rivals on their own turf essentially irrelevant.
     
    Yuri Solomonov, a chief designer to a number of Soviet/Russian ICBMs, including SLBM Bulava, in one of his interview in 2008 to a major news-outlet expressed very clearly the pattern of denucleariztion of the warfare which was emanating from the US. It was due to a wrong assessment of Russia's economic and military potential--a pattern which characterizes most Western "analytical" organizations. The gap was not as large nor was it an insurmountable obstacle as was perceived. I stress it here--the question is namely about conventional power.

    I’m sure Russia could land a few paratroop divisions in Venezuela, but it couldn’t back them up or keep them supplied in the face of serious resistance.
     
    The question is not if Russia will be or will not be (she will not be, most likely) WHY should Russia do it? There is nothing of vital Russian national interest there to do so. That is the key difference--open any doctrinal American document: a rhetoric which would make Ideological Department of Central Committee to knee in humility. Despite the fact that under the press of circumstances it went from capability to fight two medium-intensity wars, to one and a half, now it is down to one:

    Let us first begin with the fundamental underpinnings of this delusion: our measures of performance and effectiveness in recent wars. It is time that we, as professional military officers, accept the fact that we lost the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Objective analysis of the U.S. military’s effectiveness in these wars can only conclude that we were unable to translate tactical victory into operational and strategic success
     
    https://www.mca-marines.org/gazette/2017/02/innovation

    And when one looks at Mosul (what's left of it anyway after 7 months) one has to ask the question was Revolution In Military Affairs just a propaganda cliche? It certainly looks as such today. Here is an excellent summary of HOW one must formulate military problems, last two paragraphs are a MUST read, by an excellent professional (yes, he also ran CIA) Admiral Stanfield Turner in 1976 to CSM. I hope it will help to clarify things:

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-D17tZTlExkY/VltFjMm58qI/AAAAAAAAAQg/4iRLTvgXbHQ/s1600/Turner.jpg

    P.S. US suddenly is back into the nukes business, big time--I wonder why?

    I’m quite prepared to accept that the US and many analysts overestimated the US’s capabilities and underestimated those of Russia in the immediate post-Soviet time, to some degree (and in some cases, dramatically. But I remain of the view that it’s reasonable to refer to the US as “the hyperpower” in that brief period, for the reasons I’ve set out.

    It’s absolutely correct that the right way to analyse military capabilities (and the effectiveness of power in general) is to examine whether it provides the capacity to do what needs to be done in some particular situation – that’s what I was getting at with the Venezuela example. It’s correct that Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union has had no real interest in influencing events militarily in most of the world, but that merely reflects and confirms its reduction from superpower status to that broadly of regional power plus nukes in the immediate post-Soviet period. (Equally clearly, there has been some reversal of that post-1999 with the realisation that the US was not going to behave reasonably towards Russia merely because Russia minds its own business.)

    I think the Russian elites have been slow to understand the extent to which the US sphere elites are in the grip of a destabilising universalist ideology every bit as dangerous as the world communism of the early USSR.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Equally clearly, there has been some reversal of that post-1999 with the realisation that the US was not going to behave reasonably towards Russia merely because Russia minds its own business. I think the Russian elites have been slow to understand the extent to which the US sphere elites are in the grip of a destabilising universalist ideology every bit as dangerous as the world communism of the early USSR.
     
    All good points. But unlike say Iran or even China (at least for now) Russia can make Eurasia unassailable, including from the sea. Obviously China's PLAN plays its role in that, but Russia de facto established, as an example, Black Sea as her own internal lake--any NATO naval force there, should this, God forbids, get to the "hot" phase will be annihilated within hours. Once full blown naval base in Tartus becomes functional--this will spread to the Eastern Med as well. But here is the point--Russia has no need for some global hegemony or countering US in some remote areas of Indian Ocean, as an example. Nor is Russia intent on fighting the third Battle For Atlantic. This is not only absolutely not necessary but is detrimental to Russia. This understanding is present in Kremlin and that is what makes real power efficient.

    Will Russian multi-purpose subs still go out to hunt US boomers in the areas of their combat patrol? If US Navy will try to do this to Russian boomers, sure as hell they will. Will Russia deploy her SSGNs in launch ranges from US shores? If need be--absolutely. What I just described is a global reach (consider X-101 and X-102 being capable to reach lower 48 with TU-160s and TU-95 launching from Russia's airspace or near)--these are all properties of what we usually call a superpower. I will omit economic aspect here since third and second world economies do not produce space ships, SU-35 and S-500. But Russia doesn't want to be a global power--her military doctrine is explicitly defensive and very Eurasia oriented. As you correctly noted--Russia wants to be left alone but since it is impossible considering West's policies towards her, Russia had to show some (by far not all) teeth--when it happened, West panicked, genuinely. One, indeed, has to ask the question: and what did they expect? Obviously, they never read War and Peace, especially when one considers recent BBC's rape of a great novel.

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  93. Randal says:
    @utu
    The breakup of Yugoslavia began with German decision to recognize independence of Slovenia. It was the first important decision Germany made after the reunification. German morality. A country that just get unified advocated breakup of another country. After that Yugoslavia was on the downward spiral and the breakup was unavoidable. Subsequent down the road NATO intervention was just to seal the deal.

    I don’t dispute Germany’s dirty fingers in the whole Yugoslavia business, but it’s important to distinguish here between the breakup of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo war. The latter took place in the context and shadow of the former, for sure, but it had a dynamic and motivations of its own.

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    • Agree: German_reader
    • Replies: @iffen
    The latter took place in the context and shadow of the former, for sure, but it had a dynamic and motivations of its own.

    I still haven't seen anyone explain why the US (and NATO) should have chosen to support the Serbs in their killing of the Kosovo Albanians rather than trying to stop the killing on both sides.
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  94. Kimppis says:
    @Greasy William
    Why would there be gay pride parades in KMT run China if there aren't any in Japan?

    it has superpower clout economically but not in other vital areas such as military capability and technological dominance, but on present trends it will achieve those in the next few decades
     
    Are you familiar with the work of Australian economist Steve Keen? I have been a religious follower of his since 2009 and his thesis is that it does not matter if the debt is covered or not, large private debt everywhere and always leads to crisis because it is not a matter of whether the debt is good or bad, rather high levels of debt themselves are inherently destabilizing and unsustainable. China has basically followed the same economic path that Japan did in the 80s and that the West did in the 90s and we saw how both of those ended. The Japanese economy has been essentially stagnant for 3 decades now and the West has been reliant on massive immigration to achieve even modest growth since the 08 bust.

    If the CCP is able to break this pattern of debt deflationary collapse/stagnation then they aren't just not incompetent, they are geniuses and China's method of government really is the wave of the future.

    Your comments on China are utter nonsense. I have no idea how you are coming up with your arguments… But they make very little sense to me.

    1. China’s problems with engines are quite massively exaggerated. It’s really the same shit as the “gas station” argument for the Russian economy.

    For one thing, India is not even close to China in engine technology, on the contrary, they are probably 20 years behind. Hundreds of modern Chinese fighters use Chinese engines, most importantly the Chinese Flankers (J-11, J-15, J-16). Ever heard of WS-10!? IMO, they’ll fully catch-up by 2025. WS-15 (their 5th-gen engine) will probably come online a few years after Russia, that’s about it.

    So yeah, sure, 100 years behind, more like 5. And how is it actually surprising that China has some problems with engines? How is that somehow unique to that country? How many countries are ahead of China in military/fighter engines? USA, Russia, France… and…? Certainly not India, LOL.

    2. As one poster already pointed out, per capita GDP is irrelevant when you have a huge middle-class. The scale is massive already, including in high-technology.

    Not to mention that the Chinese per capita GDP isn’t even that low anymore. It’s slightly above the world average, even nominally. And to me to the real size of the Chinese economy is quite obviously underestimated, and it’s probably 20-30% larger in reality.

    They just haven’t updated their metholodogy yet, it’s from 2008 IIRC.

    3. Chinese military technology is underestimated even among many posters here, IMO. They are describing it like it was 5-10 years ago.

    My view is that they’ll completely converge within the next 10 years, probably sooner. (Yeah, that’s a conservative estimate, they have mostly caught-up already, and certainly within the next 5 years. Seriously.) J-20, Type 055, Type-99A2… Yeah, “muh Chinese can’t into military”… Totally outdated views.

    4. How do you even measure the level of overall technology anyway? How is China somehow massively behind?

    If anything they seem to be a positive outlier in many ways. Supercomputers, the number of succesful brands is increasing rapidly, R&D spending, infrastructure, consumption patters…

    As an example, the number of internet and smartphone users is higher, ot atleast was higher than it was “supposed to be”, when comparing it to most, if not all countries, at the same lvl of GDP per capita. And just the overall level of infrastructure. No wonder, because the real Chinese GDP is moderately higher than the official figures would suggest. So the per capita GDP (PPP) is probably close to $20,000 (vs. the official $15,000) and nominal closer to $12,000 (vs. the current… I don’t even know due to earlier devaluations… $9000?).

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  95. iffen says:
    @Randal
    I don't dispute Germany's dirty fingers in the whole Yugoslavia business, but it's important to distinguish here between the breakup of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo war. The latter took place in the context and shadow of the former, for sure, but it had a dynamic and motivations of its own.

    The latter took place in the context and shadow of the former, for sure, but it had a dynamic and motivations of its own.

    I still haven’t seen anyone explain why the US (and NATO) should have chosen to support the Serbs in their killing of the Kosovo Albanians rather than trying to stop the killing on both sides.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    I still haven’t seen anyone explain why the US (and NATO) should have chosen to support the Serbs in their killing of the Kosovo Albanians rather than trying to stop the killing on both sides.
     
    Who wrote that the US should have supported the Serbs? That's purely in your own imagination.
    And claiming that the US tried "to stop the killing on both sides" is bizarre. No, the US and its NATO allies empowered extremely dubious insurgent groups with ties to organized crime, which then proceeded to make life for Serbs and other minorities intolerable in Kosovo.
    Helping foreigners to kill other foreigners just because "We have to do something!" is pretty stupid and not even very moral imo.
    , @Randal
    German_reader's replies covered that fine, for me.
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  96. @Randal
    I'm quite prepared to accept that the US and many analysts overestimated the US's capabilities and underestimated those of Russia in the immediate post-Soviet time, to some degree (and in some cases, dramatically. But I remain of the view that it's reasonable to refer to the US as "the hyperpower" in that brief period, for the reasons I've set out.

    It's absolutely correct that the right way to analyse military capabilities (and the effectiveness of power in general) is to examine whether it provides the capacity to do what needs to be done in some particular situation - that's what I was getting at with the Venezuela example. It's correct that Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union has had no real interest in influencing events militarily in most of the world, but that merely reflects and confirms its reduction from superpower status to that broadly of regional power plus nukes in the immediate post-Soviet period. (Equally clearly, there has been some reversal of that post-1999 with the realisation that the US was not going to behave reasonably towards Russia merely because Russia minds its own business.)

    I think the Russian elites have been slow to understand the extent to which the US sphere elites are in the grip of a destabilising universalist ideology every bit as dangerous as the world communism of the early USSR.

    Equally clearly, there has been some reversal of that post-1999 with the realisation that the US was not going to behave reasonably towards Russia merely because Russia minds its own business. I think the Russian elites have been slow to understand the extent to which the US sphere elites are in the grip of a destabilising universalist ideology every bit as dangerous as the world communism of the early USSR.

    All good points. But unlike say Iran or even China (at least for now) Russia can make Eurasia unassailable, including from the sea. Obviously China’s PLAN plays its role in that, but Russia de facto established, as an example, Black Sea as her own internal lake–any NATO naval force there, should this, God forbids, get to the “hot” phase will be annihilated within hours. Once full blown naval base in Tartus becomes functional–this will spread to the Eastern Med as well. But here is the point–Russia has no need for some global hegemony or countering US in some remote areas of Indian Ocean, as an example. Nor is Russia intent on fighting the third Battle For Atlantic. This is not only absolutely not necessary but is detrimental to Russia. This understanding is present in Kremlin and that is what makes real power efficient.

    Will Russian multi-purpose subs still go out to hunt US boomers in the areas of their combat patrol? If US Navy will try to do this to Russian boomers, sure as hell they will. Will Russia deploy her SSGNs in launch ranges from US shores? If need be–absolutely. What I just described is a global reach (consider X-101 and X-102 being capable to reach lower 48 with TU-160s and TU-95 launching from Russia’s airspace or near)–these are all properties of what we usually call a superpower. I will omit economic aspect here since third and second world economies do not produce space ships, SU-35 and S-500. But Russia doesn’t want to be a global power–her military doctrine is explicitly defensive and very Eurasia oriented. As you correctly noted–Russia wants to be left alone but since it is impossible considering West’s policies towards her, Russia had to show some (by far not all) teeth–when it happened, West panicked, genuinely. One, indeed, has to ask the question: and what did they expect? Obviously, they never read War and Peace, especially when one considers recent BBC’s rape of a great novel.

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    • Replies: @Randal

    But here is the point–Russia has no need for some global hegemony or countering US in some remote areas of Indian Ocean, as an example. Nor is Russia intent on fighting the third Battle For Atlantic. This is not only absolutely not necessary but is detrimental to Russia. This understanding is present in Kremlin and that is what makes real power efficient.
     
    In this, Russia's elites (or some of them at any rate) are way ahead of those in my own country.

    The British elites are still almost wholly in the grip of a post-Imperial delusion that claims Britain must "punch above its weight" and be involved in stuff all over the world that really is of no consequence to us. In some cases this is clearly motivated by a kind of corrupt self-interest or loyalty to foreign or particularist interests, in others it appears to be an evolution of the old pining for empire into the US-style universalist democratism and "humanitarian" interventionist hypocrisy.

    A great example was recently given by the buffoon currently acting as our Foreign Secretary, who went out of his way to irritate the Chinese in order to posture and virtue signal about our new (currently dysfunctional) aircraft carriers being sent on a "freedom of navigation" jaunt into waters claimed by China. I described it more fully and referenced the news report of his comments in the following comment on Disqus if you are interested (I won't reproduce it all here):

    Donald Trump versus the Russians
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  97. @iffen
    The latter took place in the context and shadow of the former, for sure, but it had a dynamic and motivations of its own.

    I still haven't seen anyone explain why the US (and NATO) should have chosen to support the Serbs in their killing of the Kosovo Albanians rather than trying to stop the killing on both sides.

    I still haven’t seen anyone explain why the US (and NATO) should have chosen to support the Serbs in their killing of the Kosovo Albanians rather than trying to stop the killing on both sides.

    Who wrote that the US should have supported the Serbs? That’s purely in your own imagination.
    And claiming that the US tried “to stop the killing on both sides” is bizarre. No, the US and its NATO allies empowered extremely dubious insurgent groups with ties to organized crime, which then proceeded to make life for Serbs and other minorities intolerable in Kosovo.
    Helping foreigners to kill other foreigners just because “We have to do something!” is pretty stupid and not even very moral imo.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    Helping foreigners to kill other foreigners just because “We have to do something!” is pretty stupid ...

    I can agree with this, but we (the US) have been doing it for a while. I don’t know exactly how the decision is made to intervene (Balkans-yes, Rwanda-no). Given that the decision to intervene was made, I think that we did a reasonably good job of stopping the killing.

    , @Andrei Martyanov
    Evidently even a hindsight becomes too of a complex tool to use for some people here. But then again, as long as Kosovo remains a hub for redistribution of Afghan opium and European center for organized crime (such as human organs' trade), slavery etc. Oh, wait...I am re-narrating the first Taken movie. Of course Kosovo (and Albania) are totally committed to European "values" and "democracy", wink, wink.

    I remember on the grim morning of 911, while surfing through channels someone on one of the major networks of "liberal" kind (CNN or NBC, IIRC) proposed initially that these were Russians who blew the Twin Towers up, shortly afterwards they moved to Serbs as main perpetrators. After that I did what I never thought I would do. Also, prior to 911 (several weeks or days even, don't remember now, before it) I was asked by one Pastor (I taught his home schooled kids, wonderful people) to speak to congregation on Afghanistan situation. The auditorium (I assume for Sunday School) was packed, with people standing in the isles etc. I told them that huge events are coming out Afghanistan, told them about Ahmad Shah Massoud and how he was instrumental in fighting all kinds of evil, Taliban included and why Russia was supporting him. I told them if he is gone--expect a mayhem internationally. Massoud was assassinated 2 days prior to 911. I was called upon to talk to people again after 911--some people literally cried in my shoulder and I mean grown up men. Yet I remember a look at my wife's face when they stated on TV that maybe these are Russians who did it. Surreal. We knew immediately who did it.
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  98. iffen says:
    @German_reader

    I still haven’t seen anyone explain why the US (and NATO) should have chosen to support the Serbs in their killing of the Kosovo Albanians rather than trying to stop the killing on both sides.
     
    Who wrote that the US should have supported the Serbs? That's purely in your own imagination.
    And claiming that the US tried "to stop the killing on both sides" is bizarre. No, the US and its NATO allies empowered extremely dubious insurgent groups with ties to organized crime, which then proceeded to make life for Serbs and other minorities intolerable in Kosovo.
    Helping foreigners to kill other foreigners just because "We have to do something!" is pretty stupid and not even very moral imo.

    Helping foreigners to kill other foreigners just because “We have to do something!” is pretty stupid …

    I can agree with this, but we (the US) have been doing it for a while. I don’t know exactly how the decision is made to intervene (Balkans-yes, Rwanda-no). Given that the decision to intervene was made, I think that we did a reasonably good job of stopping the killing.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    Given that the decision to intervene was made, I think that we did a reasonable good job of stopping the killing.
     
    Well, at the cost of killing quite a few Serbian civilians, trashing international law, enraging the Russians (with negative consequences resonating even today, since this was an important milestone in alienating Russia from the West) and the Chinese, and during the war itself even increased suffering for the Kosovo Albanian population. And the result after the war wasn't great either (even if the more extreme allegations - like the Kosovarian insurgents killing Serb prisoners for trading their organs - may not be proven beyond doubt, there certainly were atrocities committed by the insurgents; Kosovo's status as a haven for organized crime is also beyond doubt).
    I'm highly skeptical of "humanitarian interventions", "R2P" etc. in general. Maybe there are a few situations in which intervention could be justified on such grounds (the Rwandan genocide might be such an example)...but what happened in Kosovo before NATO started bombing (no "genocide", no organized mass expulsions either) was in any case well below any acceptable threshold for such intervention imo.
    And sorry, but "We've been doing this for some time" is a pretty strange argument. Well yes, if one keeps doing something and the results again and again turn out to be disastrous, maybe one should just stop?
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  99. 1. The US should have either stayed neutral or supported the Serbs. Fuck the Albanians.

    2. This article sums up my feelings about the Chinese economy: https://www.ft.com/content/a3564812-363c-11e7-99bd-13beb0903fa3.

    I’ll leave it at that because debating with delusional Chinese nationalists and China bulls who think that skyscrapers, smartphones and the WS-10 mean that the laws of economics simply don’t apply to China is a fruitless exercise.

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  100. @German_reader

    I still haven’t seen anyone explain why the US (and NATO) should have chosen to support the Serbs in their killing of the Kosovo Albanians rather than trying to stop the killing on both sides.
     
    Who wrote that the US should have supported the Serbs? That's purely in your own imagination.
    And claiming that the US tried "to stop the killing on both sides" is bizarre. No, the US and its NATO allies empowered extremely dubious insurgent groups with ties to organized crime, which then proceeded to make life for Serbs and other minorities intolerable in Kosovo.
    Helping foreigners to kill other foreigners just because "We have to do something!" is pretty stupid and not even very moral imo.

    Evidently even a hindsight becomes too of a complex tool to use for some people here. But then again, as long as Kosovo remains a hub for redistribution of Afghan opium and European center for organized crime (such as human organs’ trade), slavery etc. Oh, wait…I am re-narrating the first Taken movie. Of course Kosovo (and Albania) are totally committed to European “values” and “democracy”, wink, wink.

    I remember on the grim morning of 911, while surfing through channels someone on one of the major networks of “liberal” kind (CNN or NBC, IIRC) proposed initially that these were Russians who blew the Twin Towers up, shortly afterwards they moved to Serbs as main perpetrators. After that I did what I never thought I would do. Also, prior to 911 (several weeks or days even, don’t remember now, before it) I was asked by one Pastor (I taught his home schooled kids, wonderful people) to speak to congregation on Afghanistan situation. The auditorium (I assume for Sunday School) was packed, with people standing in the isles etc. I told them that huge events are coming out Afghanistan, told them about Ahmad Shah Massoud and how he was instrumental in fighting all kinds of evil, Taliban included and why Russia was supporting him. I told them if he is gone–expect a mayhem internationally. Massoud was assassinated 2 days prior to 911. I was called upon to talk to people again after 911–some people literally cried in my shoulder and I mean grown up men. Yet I remember a look at my wife’s face when they stated on TV that maybe these are Russians who did it. Surreal. We knew immediately who did it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    That Russians side with Serbs against Albanians does not explain why I should choose one over the other.

    The callous soul inside me says that we should build a wall around the Balkans and throw small arms and ammunition over the wall until the shooting stops, but I resist that evil thought.

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  101. @iffen
    Helping foreigners to kill other foreigners just because “We have to do something!” is pretty stupid ...

    I can agree with this, but we (the US) have been doing it for a while. I don’t know exactly how the decision is made to intervene (Balkans-yes, Rwanda-no). Given that the decision to intervene was made, I think that we did a reasonably good job of stopping the killing.

    Given that the decision to intervene was made, I think that we did a reasonable good job of stopping the killing.

    Well, at the cost of killing quite a few Serbian civilians, trashing international law, enraging the Russians (with negative consequences resonating even today, since this was an important milestone in alienating Russia from the West) and the Chinese, and during the war itself even increased suffering for the Kosovo Albanian population. And the result after the war wasn’t great either (even if the more extreme allegations – like the Kosovarian insurgents killing Serb prisoners for trading their organs – may not be proven beyond doubt, there certainly were atrocities committed by the insurgents; Kosovo’s status as a haven for organized crime is also beyond doubt).
    I’m highly skeptical of “humanitarian interventions”, “R2P” etc. in general. Maybe there are a few situations in which intervention could be justified on such grounds (the Rwandan genocide might be such an example)…but what happened in Kosovo before NATO started bombing (no “genocide”, no organized mass expulsions either) was in any case well below any acceptable threshold for such intervention imo.
    And sorry, but “We’ve been doing this for some time” is a pretty strange argument. Well yes, if one keeps doing something and the results again and again turn out to be disastrous, maybe one should just stop?

    Read More
    • Agree: AP
    • Replies: @iffen
    And sorry, but “We’ve been doing this for some time” is a pretty strange argument.

    It wasn't an argument for intervention, also note the given.


    I can agree with this
     
    I am not arguing that we should have intervened, I am saying that given that we did, I don't think we made the situation worse than it was.

    I edited reasonable to reasonably but your blockquote doesn't show the correction but the comment does, strange.

    The 4 of you can have G. William on your side; I don't want him on mine.

    , @Randal

    but what happened in Kosovo before NATO started bombing (no “genocide”, no organized mass expulsions either) was in any case well below any acceptable threshold for such intervention imo.
     
    It's very obvious that the "humanitarian" argument for intervention in Kosovo was a pretext and not really a motivating factor for most of those with real power to influence the decision. When it suits them ideologically and in terms of their self interest and the interests of their particular causes and loyalties (Kosovo, regional rivals of Israel, Russia and its allies) they allow it to be promoted as morally compelling, and when it doesn't (uninteresting remote regions such as Rwanda, US allies such as Saudi Arabia behaving disgracefully both internally and in neighbouring countries such as Syria and Yemen, etc) they quietly ignore or downplay it.

    Imo a good principle should be that if any "emergency ethics" situation ever does arise that really justifies non-defensive war, the first requirement for a just war would be that the UN veto powers or the UN General Assembly would be persuadable to act. The UN treaty makes the UN the necessary "right authority" for waging war justly. And that requires no naivety about the inadequacies of the UN. When it comes to posturing, hypocrisy and cynical self interest, the evidence of the past few decades is that the UN as a collective of national governments is no worse in that regard than, for instance, the US regime.

    Of course, that would be a lot easier if the US had respected international law during its unipolar moment, and if the US elites were not constantly threatening rivals and other targets with military and economic aggression.
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  102. iffen says:
    @Andrei Martyanov
    Evidently even a hindsight becomes too of a complex tool to use for some people here. But then again, as long as Kosovo remains a hub for redistribution of Afghan opium and European center for organized crime (such as human organs' trade), slavery etc. Oh, wait...I am re-narrating the first Taken movie. Of course Kosovo (and Albania) are totally committed to European "values" and "democracy", wink, wink.

    I remember on the grim morning of 911, while surfing through channels someone on one of the major networks of "liberal" kind (CNN or NBC, IIRC) proposed initially that these were Russians who blew the Twin Towers up, shortly afterwards they moved to Serbs as main perpetrators. After that I did what I never thought I would do. Also, prior to 911 (several weeks or days even, don't remember now, before it) I was asked by one Pastor (I taught his home schooled kids, wonderful people) to speak to congregation on Afghanistan situation. The auditorium (I assume for Sunday School) was packed, with people standing in the isles etc. I told them that huge events are coming out Afghanistan, told them about Ahmad Shah Massoud and how he was instrumental in fighting all kinds of evil, Taliban included and why Russia was supporting him. I told them if he is gone--expect a mayhem internationally. Massoud was assassinated 2 days prior to 911. I was called upon to talk to people again after 911--some people literally cried in my shoulder and I mean grown up men. Yet I remember a look at my wife's face when they stated on TV that maybe these are Russians who did it. Surreal. We knew immediately who did it.

    That Russians side with Serbs against Albanians does not explain why I should choose one over the other.

    The callous soul inside me says that we should build a wall around the Balkans and throw small arms and ammunition over the wall until the shooting stops, but I resist that evil thought.

    Read More
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  103. iffen says:
    @German_reader

    Given that the decision to intervene was made, I think that we did a reasonable good job of stopping the killing.
     
    Well, at the cost of killing quite a few Serbian civilians, trashing international law, enraging the Russians (with negative consequences resonating even today, since this was an important milestone in alienating Russia from the West) and the Chinese, and during the war itself even increased suffering for the Kosovo Albanian population. And the result after the war wasn't great either (even if the more extreme allegations - like the Kosovarian insurgents killing Serb prisoners for trading their organs - may not be proven beyond doubt, there certainly were atrocities committed by the insurgents; Kosovo's status as a haven for organized crime is also beyond doubt).
    I'm highly skeptical of "humanitarian interventions", "R2P" etc. in general. Maybe there are a few situations in which intervention could be justified on such grounds (the Rwandan genocide might be such an example)...but what happened in Kosovo before NATO started bombing (no "genocide", no organized mass expulsions either) was in any case well below any acceptable threshold for such intervention imo.
    And sorry, but "We've been doing this for some time" is a pretty strange argument. Well yes, if one keeps doing something and the results again and again turn out to be disastrous, maybe one should just stop?

    And sorry, but “We’ve been doing this for some time” is a pretty strange argument.

    It wasn’t an argument for intervention, also note the given.

    I can agree with this

    I am not arguing that we should have intervened, I am saying that given that we did, I don’t think we made the situation worse than it was.

    I edited reasonable to reasonably but your blockquote doesn’t show the correction but the comment does, strange.

    The 4 of you can have G. William on your side; I don’t want him on mine.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    I am not arguing that we should have intervened, I am saying that given that we did, I don’t think we made the situation worse than it was.
     
    Counterfactuals are always necessarily speculative, of course, but it seems clear to me that external intervention certainly made things far worse in Kosovo, as it almost always does. During the Yugoslav government's undoubtedly brutal campaign against equally brutal secessionist terrorism prior to the NATO intervention there were (undoubtedly inflated) propaganda claims of 270,000 Kosovans driven from their homes, which as it happens matches the number of Serbs and non-Albanians ethnically cleansed from Albanian Kosovo after the successful conclusion of NATO's war. The NATO intervention escalated the aforementioned internal security campaign against secessionist terrorism into a full blown war, with 1-2 million driven from their homes. Despite all the propaganda claims of ongoing genocide used to justify the war, only a couple of thousand bodies due to supposed war crimes have been located, with a few thousand more supposedly missing.

    And the result has been the creation of an unstable muslim narco-state that can only be sustained by external force and will be violently reincorporated into whatever state is dominant in the region as soon as the US and/or Germany lose interest in subsidising its existence -a future catastrophe just waiting for the inevitable opportunity to descend on the region.

    And then there's the terminal undermining of international law and US moral authority, and the disastrous impact on relations with Russia.

    All in all, it's hard to see how letting the Yugoslav state reimpose its authority on the province by force could possibly have been anywhere near as bad, overall.

    But there's a wider point here about interfering in foreign countries in support of oppositionist and secessionist movements.

    When you subsidise something, you get more of it, and when you hold out the hope of massive external intervention to support secessionist or other revolutionary or even just oppositionist groups, you increase their motivation and their popular support, even without needing to actually send them arms or money. That has played out so often, from Yugoslavia to Ukraine to Iran to Syria, and elsewhere, that I don't think it's remotely open to dispute.

    Hope of victory is usually the overriding limitation on the willingness of disgruntled people to take the risks and dangers of actively resisting their government. When there is little hope of victory only the ideologically committed or those embittered beyond hope by direct injustices will generally take to the streets or take up arms. When there is hope of overwhelming external intervention gifting victory to the cause, suddenly the doubtful, the nervous and the opportunist all jump on the rebellion bandwagon. Thus those who dabble in the internal affairs of foreign countries in this way, such as the execrable Senators McCain and Murphy in Kiev and all the mainstream US sphere media propagandists calling for intervention in Syria, bear a heavy personal responsibility for the death and destruction they promote.
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  104. Randal says:
    @German_reader

    Given that the decision to intervene was made, I think that we did a reasonable good job of stopping the killing.
     
    Well, at the cost of killing quite a few Serbian civilians, trashing international law, enraging the Russians (with negative consequences resonating even today, since this was an important milestone in alienating Russia from the West) and the Chinese, and during the war itself even increased suffering for the Kosovo Albanian population. And the result after the war wasn't great either (even if the more extreme allegations - like the Kosovarian insurgents killing Serb prisoners for trading their organs - may not be proven beyond doubt, there certainly were atrocities committed by the insurgents; Kosovo's status as a haven for organized crime is also beyond doubt).
    I'm highly skeptical of "humanitarian interventions", "R2P" etc. in general. Maybe there are a few situations in which intervention could be justified on such grounds (the Rwandan genocide might be such an example)...but what happened in Kosovo before NATO started bombing (no "genocide", no organized mass expulsions either) was in any case well below any acceptable threshold for such intervention imo.
    And sorry, but "We've been doing this for some time" is a pretty strange argument. Well yes, if one keeps doing something and the results again and again turn out to be disastrous, maybe one should just stop?

    but what happened in Kosovo before NATO started bombing (no “genocide”, no organized mass expulsions either) was in any case well below any acceptable threshold for such intervention imo.

    It’s very obvious that the “humanitarian” argument for intervention in Kosovo was a pretext and not really a motivating factor for most of those with real power to influence the decision. When it suits them ideologically and in terms of their self interest and the interests of their particular causes and loyalties (Kosovo, regional rivals of Israel, Russia and its allies) they allow it to be promoted as morally compelling, and when it doesn’t (uninteresting remote regions such as Rwanda, US allies such as Saudi Arabia behaving disgracefully both internally and in neighbouring countries such as Syria and Yemen, etc) they quietly ignore or downplay it.

    Imo a good principle should be that if any “emergency ethics” situation ever does arise that really justifies non-defensive war, the first requirement for a just war would be that the UN veto powers or the UN General Assembly would be persuadable to act. The UN treaty makes the UN the necessary “right authority” for waging war justly. And that requires no naivety about the inadequacies of the UN. When it comes to posturing, hypocrisy and cynical self interest, the evidence of the past few decades is that the UN as a collective of national governments is no worse in that regard than, for instance, the US regime.

    Of course, that would be a lot easier if the US had respected international law during its unipolar moment, and if the US elites were not constantly threatening rivals and other targets with military and economic aggression.

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    • Agree: German_reader
    • Replies: @German_reader
    I agree completely, even if there might in theory be a case for "humanitarian interventions", in practice the concept has been used rather cynically as moralizing cover for the usual great power politics, and as a means to get around the ban on aggression against other states. But despite the blatant double standards and the mostly negative consequences of such interventions, there's still unfortunately a lot of support for such concepts among the public in Western countries.
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  105. Randal says:
    @iffen
    The latter took place in the context and shadow of the former, for sure, but it had a dynamic and motivations of its own.

    I still haven't seen anyone explain why the US (and NATO) should have chosen to support the Serbs in their killing of the Kosovo Albanians rather than trying to stop the killing on both sides.

    German_reader’s replies covered that fine, for me.

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  106. @Randal

    but what happened in Kosovo before NATO started bombing (no “genocide”, no organized mass expulsions either) was in any case well below any acceptable threshold for such intervention imo.
     
    It's very obvious that the "humanitarian" argument for intervention in Kosovo was a pretext and not really a motivating factor for most of those with real power to influence the decision. When it suits them ideologically and in terms of their self interest and the interests of their particular causes and loyalties (Kosovo, regional rivals of Israel, Russia and its allies) they allow it to be promoted as morally compelling, and when it doesn't (uninteresting remote regions such as Rwanda, US allies such as Saudi Arabia behaving disgracefully both internally and in neighbouring countries such as Syria and Yemen, etc) they quietly ignore or downplay it.

    Imo a good principle should be that if any "emergency ethics" situation ever does arise that really justifies non-defensive war, the first requirement for a just war would be that the UN veto powers or the UN General Assembly would be persuadable to act. The UN treaty makes the UN the necessary "right authority" for waging war justly. And that requires no naivety about the inadequacies of the UN. When it comes to posturing, hypocrisy and cynical self interest, the evidence of the past few decades is that the UN as a collective of national governments is no worse in that regard than, for instance, the US regime.

    Of course, that would be a lot easier if the US had respected international law during its unipolar moment, and if the US elites were not constantly threatening rivals and other targets with military and economic aggression.

    I agree completely, even if there might in theory be a case for “humanitarian interventions”, in practice the concept has been used rather cynically as moralizing cover for the usual great power politics, and as a means to get around the ban on aggression against other states. But despite the blatant double standards and the mostly negative consequences of such interventions, there’s still unfortunately a lot of support for such concepts among the public in Western countries.

    Read More
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  107. Randal says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Equally clearly, there has been some reversal of that post-1999 with the realisation that the US was not going to behave reasonably towards Russia merely because Russia minds its own business. I think the Russian elites have been slow to understand the extent to which the US sphere elites are in the grip of a destabilising universalist ideology every bit as dangerous as the world communism of the early USSR.
     
    All good points. But unlike say Iran or even China (at least for now) Russia can make Eurasia unassailable, including from the sea. Obviously China's PLAN plays its role in that, but Russia de facto established, as an example, Black Sea as her own internal lake--any NATO naval force there, should this, God forbids, get to the "hot" phase will be annihilated within hours. Once full blown naval base in Tartus becomes functional--this will spread to the Eastern Med as well. But here is the point--Russia has no need for some global hegemony or countering US in some remote areas of Indian Ocean, as an example. Nor is Russia intent on fighting the third Battle For Atlantic. This is not only absolutely not necessary but is detrimental to Russia. This understanding is present in Kremlin and that is what makes real power efficient.

    Will Russian multi-purpose subs still go out to hunt US boomers in the areas of their combat patrol? If US Navy will try to do this to Russian boomers, sure as hell they will. Will Russia deploy her SSGNs in launch ranges from US shores? If need be--absolutely. What I just described is a global reach (consider X-101 and X-102 being capable to reach lower 48 with TU-160s and TU-95 launching from Russia's airspace or near)--these are all properties of what we usually call a superpower. I will omit economic aspect here since third and second world economies do not produce space ships, SU-35 and S-500. But Russia doesn't want to be a global power--her military doctrine is explicitly defensive and very Eurasia oriented. As you correctly noted--Russia wants to be left alone but since it is impossible considering West's policies towards her, Russia had to show some (by far not all) teeth--when it happened, West panicked, genuinely. One, indeed, has to ask the question: and what did they expect? Obviously, they never read War and Peace, especially when one considers recent BBC's rape of a great novel.

    But here is the point–Russia has no need for some global hegemony or countering US in some remote areas of Indian Ocean, as an example. Nor is Russia intent on fighting the third Battle For Atlantic. This is not only absolutely not necessary but is detrimental to Russia. This understanding is present in Kremlin and that is what makes real power efficient.

    In this, Russia’s elites (or some of them at any rate) are way ahead of those in my own country.

    The British elites are still almost wholly in the grip of a post-Imperial delusion that claims Britain must “punch above its weight” and be involved in stuff all over the world that really is of no consequence to us. In some cases this is clearly motivated by a kind of corrupt self-interest or loyalty to foreign or particularist interests, in others it appears to be an evolution of the old pining for empire into the US-style universalist democratism and “humanitarian” interventionist hypocrisy.

    A great example was recently given by the buffoon currently acting as our Foreign Secretary, who went out of his way to irritate the Chinese in order to posture and virtue signal about our new (currently dysfunctional) aircraft carriers being sent on a “freedom of navigation” jaunt into waters claimed by China. I described it more fully and referenced the news report of his comments in the following comment on Disqus if you are interested (I won’t reproduce it all here):

    Donald Trump versus the Russians

    Read More
    • Replies: @notanon

    The British elites are still almost wholly in the grip of a post-Imperial delusion that claims Britain must “punch above its weight” and be involved in stuff all over the world
     
    I don't think that is true at all. The British elites are split between Europhile traitors on the one hand and Neocon traitors on the other and neither care anything for Britain as a country.

    However there is an element among the upper middle class who feel that way and both the above type of politicians *play* to that gallery: the Europhiles promoting the soft power version while the Atlanticists promote the aircraft carrier version - but I don't think they personally believe it at all.

    It's like saying neocons in the US are in the grip of spreading unicorns and rainbows around the world - they're not; it's just different kinds of manipulation work on different kinds of people.
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  108. In some cases this is clearly motivated by a kind of corrupt self-interest or loyalty to foreign or particularist interests, in others it appears to be an evolution of the old pining for empire into the US-style universalist democratism and “humanitarian” interventionist hypocrisy.

    Your comments are good (I read them). What is remarkable, however, how Soviet Union (of course using Marxist “method”) was remarkably close to (my favorite historian) Corelli Barnett’s view on how the United States (not without help from Sir. Winston, who was half-American himself) helped Great Britain lose her both imperial possessions and even industries. Barnett also blames, justly so, liberalism as a system which helped precipitate British decline.

    P.S. Per QE-class carriers. Will see how the whole STOVL concept will be implemented by RN. In the end, Royal Navy is the only navy in history whose STOVL carriers fought and helped to win a war against relatively competent adversary. I just sent a piece ( a large one) to US Naval Institute, they wanted to put it on their Blog immediately but I said that I’ll wait if they will decide to publish in paper-version–once in a while even I like to be compensated;-) I wouldn’t count RN’s carriers out yet, even with all problems with F-35B.

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    • Replies: @notanon

    how Soviet Union (of course using Marxist “method”) was remarkably close to (my favorite historian) Corelli Barnett’s view on how the United States (not without help from Sir. Winston, who was half-American himself) helped Great Britain lose her both imperial possessions and even industries.
     
    when the banking mafia shift their host e.g. from Britain to the US, they drain the old host - same thing they're doing to the US prior to moving to China
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  109. Randal says:
    @iffen
    And sorry, but “We’ve been doing this for some time” is a pretty strange argument.

    It wasn't an argument for intervention, also note the given.


    I can agree with this
     
    I am not arguing that we should have intervened, I am saying that given that we did, I don't think we made the situation worse than it was.

    I edited reasonable to reasonably but your blockquote doesn't show the correction but the comment does, strange.

    The 4 of you can have G. William on your side; I don't want him on mine.

    I am not arguing that we should have intervened, I am saying that given that we did, I don’t think we made the situation worse than it was.

    Counterfactuals are always necessarily speculative, of course, but it seems clear to me that external intervention certainly made things far worse in Kosovo, as it almost always does. During the Yugoslav government’s undoubtedly brutal campaign against equally brutal secessionist terrorism prior to the NATO intervention there were (undoubtedly inflated) propaganda claims of 270,000 Kosovans driven from their homes, which as it happens matches the number of Serbs and non-Albanians ethnically cleansed from Albanian Kosovo after the successful conclusion of NATO’s war. The NATO intervention escalated the aforementioned internal security campaign against secessionist terrorism into a full blown war, with 1-2 million driven from their homes. Despite all the propaganda claims of ongoing genocide used to justify the war, only a couple of thousand bodies due to supposed war crimes have been located, with a few thousand more supposedly missing.

    And the result has been the creation of an unstable muslim narco-state that can only be sustained by external force and will be violently reincorporated into whatever state is dominant in the region as soon as the US and/or Germany lose interest in subsidising its existence -a future catastrophe just waiting for the inevitable opportunity to descend on the region.

    And then there’s the terminal undermining of international law and US moral authority, and the disastrous impact on relations with Russia.

    All in all, it’s hard to see how letting the Yugoslav state reimpose its authority on the province by force could possibly have been anywhere near as bad, overall.

    But there’s a wider point here about interfering in foreign countries in support of oppositionist and secessionist movements.

    When you subsidise something, you get more of it, and when you hold out the hope of massive external intervention to support secessionist or other revolutionary or even just oppositionist groups, you increase their motivation and their popular support, even without needing to actually send them arms or money. That has played out so often, from Yugoslavia to Ukraine to Iran to Syria, and elsewhere, that I don’t think it’s remotely open to dispute.

    Hope of victory is usually the overriding limitation on the willingness of disgruntled people to take the risks and dangers of actively resisting their government. When there is little hope of victory only the ideologically committed or those embittered beyond hope by direct injustices will generally take to the streets or take up arms. When there is hope of overwhelming external intervention gifting victory to the cause, suddenly the doubtful, the nervous and the opportunist all jump on the rebellion bandwagon. Thus those who dabble in the internal affairs of foreign countries in this way, such as the execrable Senators McCain and Murphy in Kiev and all the mainstream US sphere media propagandists calling for intervention in Syria, bear a heavy personal responsibility for the death and destruction they promote.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    All in all, it’s hard to see how letting the Yugoslav state reimpose its authority on the province by force could possibly have been anywhere near as bad, overall.

    Really? Given all that we know about ethnic conflict and civil wars in general, not to mention the past history of the Balkans in particular, do you really want me to think that is what you believe?
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  110. @German_reader
    I don't think I've ever written I approve of Russian actions in Ukraine...I don't, at least not entirely (even though I don't expect Russia to ever give up Crimea again...and the annexation of Crimea at least was relatively bloodless; what's going on in Eastern Ukraine is more troubling). However imo there's a good chance none of this would have happened if the US (at times with the connivance of its European satellites) hadn't over the last 25 years again and again trashed international law by attacking other states on absurd pretexts, and also made it more than clear that it would never accept Russia as a sovereign great power and would like to see regime change there as well if possible. I don't like Putin much and certainly don't agree with the more extreme positions of some Russian nationalists, but I can't ignore that background.
    As for your "Merkeleuropa" nonsense, that's just the usual anti-German crap ("4th Reich", haha) that always comes up among people from the Anglosphere who know nothing about Germany. In fact Merkel has managed to pretty much isolate Germany...relations with the Eastern Europeans are strained because of the refugee mess, Britain's leaving the EU, and the rest just want our money (and if that runs out - and eventually it will, I expect German economic and fiscal power to erode drastically over the next 10-20 years - well...)...no true allies or "friends". And given how Germany is changing (went to the city centre today...a sea of headscarf-wearing Muslim women, also lots of Africans), I very much doubt this is what Germans in 14/18 (let alone the Nazis) fought for.

    and the annexation of Crimea at least was relatively bloodless;

    Virtually bloodless would be more like it — the maximum number of fatalities I have seen is 6, and that includes several pro-Russian protesters. As far as I know, there wasn’t a single shot fired in anger between Russian and Ukrainian forces, and one should keep in mind that the elite of the Ukrainian military forces were stationed in Crimea. The large majority of these went over to the Russian side in the end (higher salaries no doubt a drawing card), while the rest were repatriated to Ukraine.

    There is a fascinating Russian documentary, now available with English subtitles, that gives the whole story of how the Ukrainian “surrender” was obtained without bloodshed. Obviously it is propaganda to a certain extent, but it is fascinating nonetheless, and provides an altogether more realistic portrayal of what happened than is reported in the Western media (no surprise there).

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  111. @iffen
    However imo there’s a good chance none of this would have happened if the US (at times with the connivance of its European satellites) hadn’t over the last 25 years again and again trashed international law by attacking other states

    We made Russia annex Crimea?

    (If I was a Russian, I would never consider giving up Crimea.)

    Look at the 50 years before the last 25 and count Soviet (Russian) interventions.

    You make intelligent and informed comments that I always read. You just seem to have a hard-on for the US. I can't say that I blame you all that much, I am very disappointed in us as well.

    Look at the 50 years before the last 25 and count Soviet (Russian) interventions.

    So you think in the post-War period (until 1990) the USSR made more foreign interventions than the US? Are you serious?

    By the way, when you say that “you [G_R] seem to have a hard-on for the US” I don’t believe you are using this term in the correct sense, unless your meaning is that G_R is passionately in love with the US (or perhaps you are simply being ironic?).

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    From urban dictionary:

    Top definition

    hard-on for

    To have an out-of-proportion vindictiveness toward someone or out-of-proportion desire to crush someone (metaphorically or literally). The person with the out-of-proportion feeling or the person on the receiving end of the feeling is usually male, but not necessarily so. Generally used with the preposition for.
     
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  112. @iffen
    But has the grossly irresponsible behaviour of US elites over the last 25 years been the main factor in creating the international instability that we see today?

    Instability. What instability?

    I accept that we meddle where no meddling is required (Ukraine), but we are not responsible for world instability.

    We have removed autocratic leaders in the ME and elsewhere and the after-effects have not always been pleasing, but we are not the worst world hegemon to come along.

    we [USA] are not the worst world hegemon to come along.

    Then who is, pray tell.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    Well, compared to Nazi Germany, imperial Japan, Stalin's Soviet Union or some hypothetical IS caliphate the present-day US certainly can be seen as still quite benevolent.
    I don't think that's much of an argument though for why the US should be beyond criticism.
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  113. @Dan Hayes
    melanf:

    The graph says it all.

    And definitely not a gas station masquerading as a country!

    And definitely not a gas station masquerading as a country!

    When I was growing up I remember all the controversy about US wheat exports to the Soviet Union, and how they were unable to feed themselves despite having the “breadbasket of Europe” (Ukraine). And now, without Ukraine, Russia has become the world’s largest exporter of wheat!

    Read More
    • Agree: Dan Hayes, reiner Tor
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  114. @for-the-record
    we [USA] are not the worst world hegemon to come along.

    Then who is, pray tell.

    Well, compared to Nazi Germany, imperial Japan, Stalin’s Soviet Union or some hypothetical IS caliphate the present-day US certainly can be seen as still quite benevolent.
    I don’t think that’s much of an argument though for why the US should be beyond criticism.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    Well, compared to Nazi Germany, imperial Japan, Stalin’s Soviet Union or some hypothetical IS caliphate the present-day US certainly can be seen as still quite benevolent.

    Thanks, that's mighty white of you.

    I don’t think that’s much of an argument though for why the US should be beyond criticism.

    Never, criticize away. I just don't agree that we are the root of all evil and that everything that we do is wicked.

    FWIW I read the Wiki on the Yugoslav Wars and it seems to me that the people making the decisions for the US do not care for or trust the Serbs.

    I wasn't impressed by any of the arguments here. It is mostly Serbs- good, others and the US- bad. No Serbs are criminals or drug dealers?

    But, we seem to have peace in the Balkans for our time, so there's that.

    , @utu
    Well, compared to Nazi Germany, imperial Japan, Stalin’s Soviet Union or some hypothetical IS caliphate the present-day US certainly can be seen as still quite benevolent.

    I would like to agree but look at various bits and pieces of information like for example this one: In 1939 incarceration rate in Germany was lower than the 21st century rate in the US. Till 1939 before the WWII began life in Germany was not that bad. Yes, Jews were discriminated but not persecuted yet. I would judge countries by what they do to their own societies in peace times and not at their behavior during a war because then anything goes. On the other hand when you look at USSR before 1941 and after the end of their civil war you have a true horror that only rarely has been matched by anything in the history of human kind. If stupid Nazis went into USSR in 1941 with an intent of liberating people from their insane ideology and criminal regime they would be welcomed like Vietnamese troops in Kampuchea in 1978. Still the allies would object but the US and China objected to the Vietnam's action as well. But the action was righteous. And in fact Germans were welcomed and Red Army was surrendering en masse and many were ready to switch sides but the Nazis managed to squander this opportunity and trust very quickly.
    , @for-the-record
    Well, compared to Nazi Germany, imperial Japan, Stalin’s Soviet Union or some hypothetical IS caliphate the present-day US certainly can be seen as still quite benevolent.

    The point at issue was "world hegemon", not "benevolency". In terms of universality of its hegemony, none of your examples compares to the US.

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  115. iffen says:
    @for-the-record
    Look at the 50 years before the last 25 and count Soviet (Russian) interventions.

    So you think in the post-War period (until 1990) the USSR made more foreign interventions than the US? Are you serious?

    By the way, when you say that "you [G_R] seem to have a hard-on for the US" I don't believe you are using this term in the correct sense, unless your meaning is that G_R is passionately in love with the US (or perhaps you are simply being ironic?).

    From urban dictionary:

    Top definition

    hard-on for

    To have an out-of-proportion vindictiveness toward someone or out-of-proportion desire to crush someone (metaphorically or literally). The person with the out-of-proportion feeling or the person on the receiving end of the feeling is usually male, but not necessarily so. Generally used with the preposition for.

    Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record
    Well, you got me there, all I can say is that the meaning has changed since my day ... guess it shows how out of touch I am with reality.
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  116. iffen says:
    @German_reader
    Well, compared to Nazi Germany, imperial Japan, Stalin's Soviet Union or some hypothetical IS caliphate the present-day US certainly can be seen as still quite benevolent.
    I don't think that's much of an argument though for why the US should be beyond criticism.

    Well, compared to Nazi Germany, imperial Japan, Stalin’s Soviet Union or some hypothetical IS caliphate the present-day US certainly can be seen as still quite benevolent.

    Thanks, that’s mighty white of you.

    I don’t think that’s much of an argument though for why the US should be beyond criticism.

    Never, criticize away. I just don’t agree that we are the root of all evil and that everything that we do is wicked.

    FWIW I read the Wiki on the Yugoslav Wars and it seems to me that the people making the decisions for the US do not care for or trust the Serbs.

    I wasn’t impressed by any of the arguments here. It is mostly Serbs- good, others and the US- bad. No Serbs are criminals or drug dealers?

    But, we seem to have peace in the Balkans for our time, so there’s that.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader

    Thanks, that’s mighty white of you
     
    I hope that's not a racist expression.
    Anyway, I don't know why you continue to misrepresent my arguments in this thread...maybe I may overstate sometimes US responsibility for negative trends, but I don't think I've written something that could be interpreted as "the US is the root of all evil". Nor did I state that Serbs as a nation are somehow totally virtuous and innocent. That's a caricature of my views, I don't see how anybody could interpret my comments in this thread that way.
    , @Matra
    I wasn’t impressed by any of the arguments here. It is mostly Serbs- good, others and the US- bad. No Serbs are criminals or drug dealers?

    NATO was not formed for the purpose of fighting criminals and drug dealers, Serbs or otherwise. Albanians in 1999 were the ones who lobbied and engaged in emotional blackmail to bring about NATO intervention. It's therefore unsurprising that those who opposed such intervention in someone else's civil war should respond by highlighting the bad characteristics of the Kosovo Albanians.
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  117. Matra says:
    @utu
    Not quite. No one cared much about Slovenia leaving

    If nobody cared why did Germany recognize it and by doing so encouraged Croatia? If Slovenia was stopped then Croatia would not follow.

    Germany touched the first piece of domino. The real intention was to break up Yugoslavia in order to stop the Quadragonale (Central European Initiative) initiative which if successful would greatly delay EU and NATO expansions and give Easter/Central European countries including Yugoslavia much more bargaining power vis-a-vis Germany and France. For this reason Germany was the instigator of Yugoslavia breakup. Yugoslavia was selected as the most vulnerable piece to kill the initiative. The US came on the scene in the last phase. It was a very successful operation from the point of view of Germany as all the dirty work was done by Americans and Germany's crucial role remake hidden in the shadow. Most comments here will keep blaming the US while being oblivious to the role of Germany.

    If nobody cared why did Germany recognize it and by doing so encouraged Croatia? If Slovenia was stopped then Croatia would not follow.

    Germany recognised Slovenian and Croatian independence on the same day so I’m guessing Croatia was already rather encouraged.

    Though Slovenia was the most economically developed Republic it was small and quite homogenous with the small Serb minority having moved there within living memory. Croatia was always different because of the substantial long established Serb minority.

    Read More
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  118. utu says:
    @German_reader
    Well, compared to Nazi Germany, imperial Japan, Stalin's Soviet Union or some hypothetical IS caliphate the present-day US certainly can be seen as still quite benevolent.
    I don't think that's much of an argument though for why the US should be beyond criticism.

    Well, compared to Nazi Germany, imperial Japan, Stalin’s Soviet Union or some hypothetical IS caliphate the present-day US certainly can be seen as still quite benevolent.

    I would like to agree but look at various bits and pieces of information like for example this one: In 1939 incarceration rate in Germany was lower than the 21st century rate in the US. Till 1939 before the WWII began life in Germany was not that bad. Yes, Jews were discriminated but not persecuted yet. I would judge countries by what they do to their own societies in peace times and not at their behavior during a war because then anything goes. On the other hand when you look at USSR before 1941 and after the end of their civil war you have a true horror that only rarely has been matched by anything in the history of human kind. If stupid Nazis went into USSR in 1941 with an intent of liberating people from their insane ideology and criminal regime they would be welcomed like Vietnamese troops in Kampuchea in 1978. Still the allies would object but the US and China objected to the Vietnam’s action as well. But the action was righteous. And in fact Germans were welcomed and Red Army was surrendering en masse and many were ready to switch sides but the Nazis managed to squander this opportunity and trust very quickly.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader

    Yes, Jews were discriminated but not persecuted yet.
     
    That's not totally true, there was significant violence against Jews from 1933 onwards, and during the November pogroms in 1938 dozens or possibly even hundreds were killed. But you're right insofar as the Nazis killed "only" a few thousand people before the start of WW2.
    But I'm really not inclined for another WW2 discussion, there are more than enough of those on Unz review.
    , @iffen
    If stupid Nazis went into USSR in 1941 with an intent of liberating people

    But they didn't, they went in to kill as many as possible and did kill quite a few. As soon as they had cleaned the Jewish remains out of the ovens they would have started loading in the Slavs.
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  119. @iffen
    Well, compared to Nazi Germany, imperial Japan, Stalin’s Soviet Union or some hypothetical IS caliphate the present-day US certainly can be seen as still quite benevolent.

    Thanks, that's mighty white of you.

    I don’t think that’s much of an argument though for why the US should be beyond criticism.

    Never, criticize away. I just don't agree that we are the root of all evil and that everything that we do is wicked.

    FWIW I read the Wiki on the Yugoslav Wars and it seems to me that the people making the decisions for the US do not care for or trust the Serbs.

    I wasn't impressed by any of the arguments here. It is mostly Serbs- good, others and the US- bad. No Serbs are criminals or drug dealers?

    But, we seem to have peace in the Balkans for our time, so there's that.

    Thanks, that’s mighty white of you

    I hope that’s not a racist expression.
    Anyway, I don’t know why you continue to misrepresent my arguments in this thread…maybe I may overstate sometimes US responsibility for negative trends, but I don’t think I’ve written something that could be interpreted as “the US is the root of all evil”. Nor did I state that Serbs as a nation are somehow totally virtuous and innocent. That’s a caricature of my views, I don’t see how anybody could interpret my comments in this thread that way.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    Anyway, I don’t know why you continue to misrepresent my arguments in this thread…

    I could say ditto.

    It is not my intention to misrepresent anyone's comment. I don't believe that I do that and I am not sure what I would get out of it.

    I'll keep my eye out for a favorable comment from you with regard to the US.
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  120. @utu
    Well, compared to Nazi Germany, imperial Japan, Stalin’s Soviet Union or some hypothetical IS caliphate the present-day US certainly can be seen as still quite benevolent.

    I would like to agree but look at various bits and pieces of information like for example this one: In 1939 incarceration rate in Germany was lower than the 21st century rate in the US. Till 1939 before the WWII began life in Germany was not that bad. Yes, Jews were discriminated but not persecuted yet. I would judge countries by what they do to their own societies in peace times and not at their behavior during a war because then anything goes. On the other hand when you look at USSR before 1941 and after the end of their civil war you have a true horror that only rarely has been matched by anything in the history of human kind. If stupid Nazis went into USSR in 1941 with an intent of liberating people from their insane ideology and criminal regime they would be welcomed like Vietnamese troops in Kampuchea in 1978. Still the allies would object but the US and China objected to the Vietnam's action as well. But the action was righteous. And in fact Germans were welcomed and Red Army was surrendering en masse and many were ready to switch sides but the Nazis managed to squander this opportunity and trust very quickly.

    Yes, Jews were discriminated but not persecuted yet.

    That’s not totally true, there was significant violence against Jews from 1933 onwards, and during the November pogroms in 1938 dozens or possibly even hundreds were killed. But you’re right insofar as the Nazis killed “only” a few thousand people before the start of WW2.
    But I’m really not inclined for another WW2 discussion, there are more than enough of those on Unz review.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    I’m really not inclined for another WW2 - me neither

    1938 dozens or possibly even hundreds were killed - you need to see it the context of killings that were happening in Europe and American in 1930s usually resulting from labor union unrests and engagement of police, paramilitary and military. But there were also racial or ethnically based killings and pogroms. Mostly in the US. Many people died. We scrutinize Germany with magnifying glass but overlook what was happening in the world during those times. Germany then was a country of laws to no lesser extend than other countries in the West. It's good to read Klemperer's diaries or even to watch Rosenstrasse film to get an idea that obscene violations of laws were not occurring in Germany. I had an uncle who was facing a trial and death penalty in Berlin for sabotage and spying in 1940s. He was not a German citizen. His sister made several trips to a lawyer, Gestapo headquarters and Moabit prison in Berlin in which she was helped by various so-called good Germans she accidentally met on her trips and my uncle's life was sparred. The trial was more than fair. He went to a concentration labor camp that he survived.
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  121. Matra says:
    @iffen
    Well, compared to Nazi Germany, imperial Japan, Stalin’s Soviet Union or some hypothetical IS caliphate the present-day US certainly can be seen as still quite benevolent.

    Thanks, that's mighty white of you.

    I don’t think that’s much of an argument though for why the US should be beyond criticism.

    Never, criticize away. I just don't agree that we are the root of all evil and that everything that we do is wicked.

    FWIW I read the Wiki on the Yugoslav Wars and it seems to me that the people making the decisions for the US do not care for or trust the Serbs.

    I wasn't impressed by any of the arguments here. It is mostly Serbs- good, others and the US- bad. No Serbs are criminals or drug dealers?

    But, we seem to have peace in the Balkans for our time, so there's that.

    I wasn’t impressed by any of the arguments here. It is mostly Serbs- good, others and the US- bad. No Serbs are criminals or drug dealers?

    NATO was not formed for the purpose of fighting criminals and drug dealers, Serbs or otherwise. Albanians in 1999 were the ones who lobbied and engaged in emotional blackmail to bring about NATO intervention. It’s therefore unsurprising that those who opposed such intervention in someone else’s civil war should respond by highlighting the bad characteristics of the Kosovo Albanians.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    Albanians in 1999 were the ones who lobbied and engaged in emotional blackmail to bring about NATO intervention.

    Okay, but why did it work for Kosovo and not Krajina?
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  122. iffen says:
    @German_reader

    Thanks, that’s mighty white of you
     
    I hope that's not a racist expression.
    Anyway, I don't know why you continue to misrepresent my arguments in this thread...maybe I may overstate sometimes US responsibility for negative trends, but I don't think I've written something that could be interpreted as "the US is the root of all evil". Nor did I state that Serbs as a nation are somehow totally virtuous and innocent. That's a caricature of my views, I don't see how anybody could interpret my comments in this thread that way.

    Anyway, I don’t know why you continue to misrepresent my arguments in this thread…

    I could say ditto.

    It is not my intention to misrepresent anyone’s comment. I don’t believe that I do that and I am not sure what I would get out of it.

    I’ll keep my eye out for a favorable comment from you with regard to the US.

    Read More
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  123. utu says:
    @German_reader

    Yes, Jews were discriminated but not persecuted yet.
     
    That's not totally true, there was significant violence against Jews from 1933 onwards, and during the November pogroms in 1938 dozens or possibly even hundreds were killed. But you're right insofar as the Nazis killed "only" a few thousand people before the start of WW2.
    But I'm really not inclined for another WW2 discussion, there are more than enough of those on Unz review.

    I’m really not inclined for another WW2 – me neither

    1938 dozens or possibly even hundreds were killed – you need to see it the context of killings that were happening in Europe and American in 1930s usually resulting from labor union unrests and engagement of police, paramilitary and military. But there were also racial or ethnically based killings and pogroms. Mostly in the US. Many people died. We scrutinize Germany with magnifying glass but overlook what was happening in the world during those times. Germany then was a country of laws to no lesser extend than other countries in the West. It’s good to read Klemperer’s diaries or even to watch Rosenstrasse film to get an idea that obscene violations of laws were not occurring in Germany. I had an uncle who was facing a trial and death penalty in Berlin for sabotage and spying in 1940s. He was not a German citizen. His sister made several trips to a lawyer, Gestapo headquarters and Moabit prison in Berlin in which she was helped by various so-called good Germans she accidentally met on her trips and my uncle’s life was sparred. The trial was more than fair. He went to a concentration labor camp that he survived.

    Read More
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  124. iffen says:
    @utu
    Well, compared to Nazi Germany, imperial Japan, Stalin’s Soviet Union or some hypothetical IS caliphate the present-day US certainly can be seen as still quite benevolent.

    I would like to agree but look at various bits and pieces of information like for example this one: In 1939 incarceration rate in Germany was lower than the 21st century rate in the US. Till 1939 before the WWII began life in Germany was not that bad. Yes, Jews were discriminated but not persecuted yet. I would judge countries by what they do to their own societies in peace times and not at their behavior during a war because then anything goes. On the other hand when you look at USSR before 1941 and after the end of their civil war you have a true horror that only rarely has been matched by anything in the history of human kind. If stupid Nazis went into USSR in 1941 with an intent of liberating people from their insane ideology and criminal regime they would be welcomed like Vietnamese troops in Kampuchea in 1978. Still the allies would object but the US and China objected to the Vietnam's action as well. But the action was righteous. And in fact Germans were welcomed and Red Army was surrendering en masse and many were ready to switch sides but the Nazis managed to squander this opportunity and trust very quickly.

    If stupid Nazis went into USSR in 1941 with an intent of liberating people

    But they didn’t, they went in to kill as many as possible and did kill quite a few. As soon as they had cleaned the Jewish remains out of the ovens they would have started loading in the Slavs.

    Read More
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  125. iffen says:
    @Matra
    I wasn’t impressed by any of the arguments here. It is mostly Serbs- good, others and the US- bad. No Serbs are criminals or drug dealers?

    NATO was not formed for the purpose of fighting criminals and drug dealers, Serbs or otherwise. Albanians in 1999 were the ones who lobbied and engaged in emotional blackmail to bring about NATO intervention. It's therefore unsurprising that those who opposed such intervention in someone else's civil war should respond by highlighting the bad characteristics of the Kosovo Albanians.

    Albanians in 1999 were the ones who lobbied and engaged in emotional blackmail to bring about NATO intervention.

    Okay, but why did it work for Kosovo and not Krajina?

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader

    Okay, but why did it work for Kosovo and not Krajina?
     
    ?? iirc the US did substantially support the Croatians with military training, intelligence, advisors etc. before and during their reconquest of Krajina in 1995 (not making a judgment about this, just stating it).
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  126. @iffen
    Albanians in 1999 were the ones who lobbied and engaged in emotional blackmail to bring about NATO intervention.

    Okay, but why did it work for Kosovo and not Krajina?

    Okay, but why did it work for Kosovo and not Krajina?

    ?? iirc the US did substantially support the Croatians with military training, intelligence, advisors etc. before and during their reconquest of Krajina in 1995 (not making a judgment about this, just stating it).

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    This is what is called a failure to communicate.

    Kososvo got to be a country, Krajina didn't, and we (the US and NATO) determined who got a country and who didn't. How was that decided?

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  127. iffen says:
    @German_reader

    Okay, but why did it work for Kosovo and not Krajina?
     
    ?? iirc the US did substantially support the Croatians with military training, intelligence, advisors etc. before and during their reconquest of Krajina in 1995 (not making a judgment about this, just stating it).

    This is what is called a failure to communicate.

    Kososvo got to be a country, Krajina didn’t, and we (the US and NATO) determined who got a country and who didn’t. How was that decided?

    Read More
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  128. @German_reader
    Well, compared to Nazi Germany, imperial Japan, Stalin's Soviet Union or some hypothetical IS caliphate the present-day US certainly can be seen as still quite benevolent.
    I don't think that's much of an argument though for why the US should be beyond criticism.

    Well, compared to Nazi Germany, imperial Japan, Stalin’s Soviet Union or some hypothetical IS caliphate the present-day US certainly can be seen as still quite benevolent.

    The point at issue was “world hegemon”, not “benevolency”. In terms of universality of its hegemony, none of your examples compares to the US.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    Yes, but the totalitarian, expansionist powers of the 20th century are always present in the background as a justification of US hegemony ("look what happens when America doesn't uphold the liberal order", "Someone's gotta be top dog, and it's better if it's a liberal democracy like the US than Russia, China or other undemocratic powers"). In my view it's hardly a sufficient argument for the way the US conducts foreign affairs, but I suppose that's what iffen was hinting at.
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  129. @iffen
    From urban dictionary:

    Top definition

    hard-on for

    To have an out-of-proportion vindictiveness toward someone or out-of-proportion desire to crush someone (metaphorically or literally). The person with the out-of-proportion feeling or the person on the receiving end of the feeling is usually male, but not necessarily so. Generally used with the preposition for.
     

    Well, you got me there, all I can say is that the meaning has changed since my day … guess it shows how out of touch I am with reality.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    guess it shows how out of touch I am with reality.

    So you hold a high-level position in the government?
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  130. OT.

    Kiev fuming over simplified Russian citizenship for Ukrainians working in Russia calling it ‘discriminatory’:

    The law signed by Vladimir Putin, which simplifies the process of acquiring citizenship including (and above all) for Ukrainians, caused a real flurry of emotions in Kiev, among which emotions: panic.

    https://www.sott.net/article/358168-Kiev-fuming-over-simplified-Russian-citizenship-for-Ukrainians-working-in-Russia-calling-it-discriminatory

    I thought Putin was kicking out all the Ukrainians who had fled to Russia?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    Putler wants to give them false hope so that he can take it back later.
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  131. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Seamus Padraig
    OT.

    Kiev fuming over simplified Russian citizenship for Ukrainians working in Russia calling it 'discriminatory':

    The law signed by Vladimir Putin, which simplifies the process of acquiring citizenship including (and above all) for Ukrainians, caused a real flurry of emotions in Kiev, among which emotions: panic.
     
    https://www.sott.net/article/358168-Kiev-fuming-over-simplified-Russian-citizenship-for-Ukrainians-working-in-Russia-calling-it-discriminatory

    I thought Putin was kicking out all the Ukrainians who had fled to Russia?

    Putler wants to give them false hope so that he can take it back later.

    Read More
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  132. @for-the-record
    Well, compared to Nazi Germany, imperial Japan, Stalin’s Soviet Union or some hypothetical IS caliphate the present-day US certainly can be seen as still quite benevolent.

    The point at issue was "world hegemon", not "benevolency". In terms of universality of its hegemony, none of your examples compares to the US.

    Yes, but the totalitarian, expansionist powers of the 20th century are always present in the background as a justification of US hegemony (“look what happens when America doesn’t uphold the liberal order”, “Someone’s gotta be top dog, and it’s better if it’s a liberal democracy like the US than Russia, China or other undemocratic powers”). In my view it’s hardly a sufficient argument for the way the US conducts foreign affairs, but I suppose that’s what iffen was hinting at.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    but I suppose that’s what iffen was hinting at.

    I was hinting at the idea that if there is a hegemon, I prefer the US. It is speculative, but I don’t know of any other country that would have been “better” since WWII.

    I also try to understand and make distinctions among our foreign interventions. For example, it appears to me that we were instrumental in kicking off the civil strife in the Ukraine so I think we bear a lot of responsibility for the human suffering there. OTOH, I am unaware of any role that we may have played in kicking off the Yugoslav Wars, so the fact that we intervened, perhaps clumsily or inappropriately, is a different issue.

    BTW. I am reading a bit on WWI and have learned that people and countries in Europe have been trying to get rid of the Kingdom of Serbia for a while now.

    And to get to an end of this thread, I am usually not persuaded by irredentist claims no matter how cleverly they are packaged or disguised. I also reject the idea that just because a country is majority Muslim it loses any claim to nation-state status.

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  133. iffen says:
    @for-the-record
    Well, you got me there, all I can say is that the meaning has changed since my day ... guess it shows how out of touch I am with reality.

    guess it shows how out of touch I am with reality.

    So you hold a high-level position in the government?

    Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record
    So you hold a high-level position in the government?

    Not exactly, I live on an island in the middle (more or less) of the ocean tending my bananas, far removed (both geographically and mentally) from the trials and tribulations of what unfortunately seems to have become "normal" life in the "real" world.
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  134. iffen says:
    @German_reader
    Yes, but the totalitarian, expansionist powers of the 20th century are always present in the background as a justification of US hegemony ("look what happens when America doesn't uphold the liberal order", "Someone's gotta be top dog, and it's better if it's a liberal democracy like the US than Russia, China or other undemocratic powers"). In my view it's hardly a sufficient argument for the way the US conducts foreign affairs, but I suppose that's what iffen was hinting at.

    but I suppose that’s what iffen was hinting at.

    I was hinting at the idea that if there is a hegemon, I prefer the US. It is speculative, but I don’t know of any other country that would have been “better” since WWII.

    I also try to understand and make distinctions among our foreign interventions. For example, it appears to me that we were instrumental in kicking off the civil strife in the Ukraine so I think we bear a lot of responsibility for the human suffering there. OTOH, I am unaware of any role that we may have played in kicking off the Yugoslav Wars, so the fact that we intervened, perhaps clumsily or inappropriately, is a different issue.

    BTW. I am reading a bit on WWI and have learned that people and countries in Europe have been trying to get rid of the Kingdom of Serbia for a while now.

    And to get to an end of this thread, I am usually not persuaded by irredentist claims no matter how cleverly they are packaged or disguised. I also reject the idea that just because a country is majority Muslim it loses any claim to nation-state status.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    I also reject the idea that just because a country is majority Muslim it loses any claim to nation-state status.

     

    Ok, I expect you'll write to your senator or congressman then in support of Palestinian statehood. Maybe the US can issue an ultimatum to Israel and bomb Tel Aviv if the Israelis don't submit to it.
    , @MarkinPNW
    My understanding of the Yugoslav situation actually comes from research and postings at an old website: polyconomics.com run be the late political economist Jude Wanniski, and also from Antiwar.com in the 1990's.

    Basically Wanniski showed that the bankers, through the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and World Bank did a deliberate Perkins type of economic hit on the Yugoslav economy because they apparently did not like Yugoslavia's "Market Socialism" - not capitalist enough. All the various nationalities and ethnicities were apparently willing to co-operate when times were good, but when their economies were deliberately destroyed all their resentments over past conflicts and genocides came to the fore in violent conflict.

    Later events seem to show that one thing the international bankers were after was Kosovo's mineral wealth, especially gold, that they could not exploit as long as the Market Socialism policy insisted on mineral wealth of the country being for Yugoslavia's people and government and not for the foreign international bankers. Thus the need to destroy the prosperity and peace of Yugoslavia to get control of Kosovo's minerals..

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  135. @iffen
    guess it shows how out of touch I am with reality.

    So you hold a high-level position in the government?

    So you hold a high-level position in the government?

    Not exactly, I live on an island in the middle (more or less) of the ocean tending my bananas, far removed (both geographically and mentally) from the trials and tribulations of what unfortunately seems to have become “normal” life in the “real” world.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    Atlantic Ocean?
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  136. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @for-the-record
    So you hold a high-level position in the government?

    Not exactly, I live on an island in the middle (more or less) of the ocean tending my bananas, far removed (both geographically and mentally) from the trials and tribulations of what unfortunately seems to have become "normal" life in the "real" world.

    Atlantic Ocean?

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    • Replies: @for-the-record
    Atlantic Ocean?

    Sim, o Oceano Atlântico.
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  137. notanon says:

    sanctions and sperm count

    Russia can use the sanctions for import substitution and as the Western world is clearly being poisoned by something and some of the possibilities could be related to diet then preventing the US diet spreading to Russia would be a blessing in disguise.

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  138. iffen says:
    @Randal

    I am not arguing that we should have intervened, I am saying that given that we did, I don’t think we made the situation worse than it was.
     
    Counterfactuals are always necessarily speculative, of course, but it seems clear to me that external intervention certainly made things far worse in Kosovo, as it almost always does. During the Yugoslav government's undoubtedly brutal campaign against equally brutal secessionist terrorism prior to the NATO intervention there were (undoubtedly inflated) propaganda claims of 270,000 Kosovans driven from their homes, which as it happens matches the number of Serbs and non-Albanians ethnically cleansed from Albanian Kosovo after the successful conclusion of NATO's war. The NATO intervention escalated the aforementioned internal security campaign against secessionist terrorism into a full blown war, with 1-2 million driven from their homes. Despite all the propaganda claims of ongoing genocide used to justify the war, only a couple of thousand bodies due to supposed war crimes have been located, with a few thousand more supposedly missing.

    And the result has been the creation of an unstable muslim narco-state that can only be sustained by external force and will be violently reincorporated into whatever state is dominant in the region as soon as the US and/or Germany lose interest in subsidising its existence -a future catastrophe just waiting for the inevitable opportunity to descend on the region.

    And then there's the terminal undermining of international law and US moral authority, and the disastrous impact on relations with Russia.

    All in all, it's hard to see how letting the Yugoslav state reimpose its authority on the province by force could possibly have been anywhere near as bad, overall.

    But there's a wider point here about interfering in foreign countries in support of oppositionist and secessionist movements.

    When you subsidise something, you get more of it, and when you hold out the hope of massive external intervention to support secessionist or other revolutionary or even just oppositionist groups, you increase their motivation and their popular support, even without needing to actually send them arms or money. That has played out so often, from Yugoslavia to Ukraine to Iran to Syria, and elsewhere, that I don't think it's remotely open to dispute.

    Hope of victory is usually the overriding limitation on the willingness of disgruntled people to take the risks and dangers of actively resisting their government. When there is little hope of victory only the ideologically committed or those embittered beyond hope by direct injustices will generally take to the streets or take up arms. When there is hope of overwhelming external intervention gifting victory to the cause, suddenly the doubtful, the nervous and the opportunist all jump on the rebellion bandwagon. Thus those who dabble in the internal affairs of foreign countries in this way, such as the execrable Senators McCain and Murphy in Kiev and all the mainstream US sphere media propagandists calling for intervention in Syria, bear a heavy personal responsibility for the death and destruction they promote.

    All in all, it’s hard to see how letting the Yugoslav state reimpose its authority on the province by force could possibly have been anywhere near as bad, overall.

    Really? Given all that we know about ethnic conflict and civil wars in general, not to mention the past history of the Balkans in particular, do you really want me to think that is what you believe?

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    • Replies: @Ivan K.

    All in all, it’s hard to see how letting the Yugoslav state reimpose its authority on the province by force could possibly have been anywhere near as bad, overall.

    - Really?....
     

    The state in question did -did - reimpose its authority on the province by force in the winter of 1998-1999. * During that time the groups attacking the government forces were some eliminated, and the rest forced to move to Albania.

    In the the winter of 1998-1999 the number of violent incidents in Kosovo was brought to zero or nearly zero.

    That was done in anticipation of the NATO intervention that started in March 1999 (of which the Serbian government was informed via a French intelligence officer. We can consider that for a fact because he was convicted and spent years in prison for that.)

    We can claim for a fact that the groups attacking the government forces were some eliminated, and the rest forced to move to Albania, because the number of violent incidents due to ground forces also remained low during the bombing campaign March-June.

    And we talk of that as a fact because
    A) the world is without evidence of such violence. Insofar I know, the horror stories of secret grave sites with thousands of victims of government brutality buried/hidden somewhere, failed to materialize. The evidence for them is completely absent to this day.
    B) It's hard for me to imagine the government of a very impoverished country (under economic sanctions, "socialism",) to keep the territory under control both under the bombardment of NATO, and intense guerilla hostility, for 90 days. Even more so if we take the Serbian side to be motivated by desires of conquest, supremacy and rule over others in an essentially un-Serbian territory of Kosovo, rather than by - self-defense.

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  139. notanon says:
    @anon
    Can you write a post about your projections for China well into the future? You say it will be a hyperpower but what does that mean?

    I tend to think it will follow the South Korean path over the next 15 years and relatively easily have an economy (nominal GDP) that is twice as large as the US economy.

    However, after the easy catch up is done (getting to 40% of US GDP per capita) what is going to happen? Is China ever going to grow to 3x US GDP per capita? Will the fast shrinking number of working age people by then catch up to China? Will its lack of social capital (and therefore social mobility) compared to the US, UK, Germany, etc. mean it will be stuck at 2x of US GDP?

    Is China ever going to grow to 3x US GDP per capita?

    The US is being deliberately destroyed by the banking mafia as part of their move to China so if they succeed then yes, easily – however it will be 3x what US GDP per capita is after it has been turned into Brazil (at best) or South Africa (at worst).

    The question is where will China get relative to the USA at its peak i.e. will it be an actual hyperpower or only a relative one.

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  140. notanon says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    it will be a hyperpower but what does that mean?
     
    Absolutely nothing--it is a neocon-invented term (a simulacra) which was born out of neocons' illiteracy on pretty much anything related to actual human activity, from politics to military affairs, and it was invented to imply that USA could, as this imbecile Carl Rove stated, "create own reality". I agree with him with one caveat--a "parallel reality". China is already huge economically and, to a certain degree, militarily but it will continue to be a very large but what is traditionally called a superpower among number of other superpower states, the US included. So the term "hyperpower" means absolutely nothing other than desire to measure penises without considering consequences.

    China is already huge economically and, to a certain degree, militarily but it will continue to be a very large but what is traditionally called a superpower among number of other superpower states, the US included.

    The banking mafia are 1) parasitic and where possible 2) like to be the power behind the throne of a single dominant power.

    If they decide they want to finish off the US before a move to China the best way to achieve their preference is to start a war between US and Russia leaving China as the last man standing.

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  141. notanon says:
    @reiner Tor
    A few other news stories:

    - it's once more proposed by the Pentagon to arm Ukraine
    - Trump stops arming Syrian rebels (or was it last week? I think it was this week)
    - Hafez Assad (son of Bashar) on the Mathematics Olympiad (OK, this is over a week old now, I just read about it yesterday)
    - Vietnam bent the knees to the Chinese regarding the South China Sea, which means China will soon be the hegemon there

    In any event, our betters seem to be pushing us towards WW3:

    - they are pushing Russia into a corner (sanctions)
    - they are trying to provoke an escalation of the war in Ukraine
    - they are displeased with Trump's unwillingness to fight a war (preferably with Russia) over Syria
    - they are threatening North Korea with ever increasing intensity

    Why is that?

    Why is that?

    1) the banking mafia want a single hegemon they control behind the scenes and so they intend to get the US and Russia to destroy each other

    2) north Korea threatens all the factories they moved out of the US to their new host, China, so they want the US to fix that for them

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  142. @iffen
    but I suppose that’s what iffen was hinting at.

    I was hinting at the idea that if there is a hegemon, I prefer the US. It is speculative, but I don’t know of any other country that would have been “better” since WWII.

    I also try to understand and make distinctions among our foreign interventions. For example, it appears to me that we were instrumental in kicking off the civil strife in the Ukraine so I think we bear a lot of responsibility for the human suffering there. OTOH, I am unaware of any role that we may have played in kicking off the Yugoslav Wars, so the fact that we intervened, perhaps clumsily or inappropriately, is a different issue.

    BTW. I am reading a bit on WWI and have learned that people and countries in Europe have been trying to get rid of the Kingdom of Serbia for a while now.

    And to get to an end of this thread, I am usually not persuaded by irredentist claims no matter how cleverly they are packaged or disguised. I also reject the idea that just because a country is majority Muslim it loses any claim to nation-state status.

    I also reject the idea that just because a country is majority Muslim it loses any claim to nation-state status.

    Ok, I expect you’ll write to your senator or congressman then in support of Palestinian statehood. Maybe the US can issue an ultimatum to Israel and bomb Tel Aviv if the Israelis don’t submit to it.

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    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @iffen
    Ok, I expect you’ll write to your senator or congressman then in support of Palestinian statehood. Maybe the US can issue an ultimatum to Israel and bomb Tel Aviv if the Israelis don’t submit to it.

    This is a total fail analogy.

    Serbia was a recently established ethnic state that was using lethal force to intimidate and suppress the independence and identity aspirations of a well-defined political unit populated by a people separated from them by ethnicity, religion and culture. The only connection between Serbia and Kosovo was that they both were in recent history amalgamated into a political unit by a greater political and military power.
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  143. notanon says:
    @iffen
    However imo there’s a good chance none of this would have happened if the US (at times with the connivance of its European satellites) hadn’t over the last 25 years again and again trashed international law by attacking other states

    We made Russia annex Crimea?

    (If I was a Russian, I would never consider giving up Crimea.)

    Look at the 50 years before the last 25 and count Soviet (Russian) interventions.

    You make intelligent and informed comments that I always read. You just seem to have a hard-on for the US. I can't say that I blame you all that much, I am very disappointed in us as well.

    We made Russia annex Crimea?

    How it looked to me…

    state department mounted a coup in Ukraine to use the Crimean naval base a bargaining chip to make Russia give up Assad

    Putin annexed Crimea instead

    so in a way yes (if “we” = neocons in the state dept.)

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    • Replies: @iffen
    I already confessed to my error at #61. How about reading all of the comments.
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  144. notanon says:
    @Greasy William
    Why would there be gay pride parades in KMT run China if there aren't any in Japan?

    it has superpower clout economically but not in other vital areas such as military capability and technological dominance, but on present trends it will achieve those in the next few decades
     
    Are you familiar with the work of Australian economist Steve Keen? I have been a religious follower of his since 2009 and his thesis is that it does not matter if the debt is covered or not, large private debt everywhere and always leads to crisis because it is not a matter of whether the debt is good or bad, rather high levels of debt themselves are inherently destabilizing and unsustainable. China has basically followed the same economic path that Japan did in the 80s and that the West did in the 90s and we saw how both of those ended. The Japanese economy has been essentially stagnant for 3 decades now and the West has been reliant on massive immigration to achieve even modest growth since the 08 bust.

    If the CCP is able to break this pattern of debt deflationary collapse/stagnation then they aren't just not incompetent, they are geniuses and China's method of government really is the wave of the future.

    large private debt everywhere and always leads to crisis because it is not a matter of whether the debt is good or bad, rather high levels of debt themselves are inherently destabilizing and unsustainable

    as debt increases the repayments eat into disposable income thus reducing demand

    so debt increases demand at first but decreases it over the course of the loan

    making boom and bust inevitable

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  145. iffen says:
    @notanon

    We made Russia annex Crimea?
     
    How it looked to me...

    state department mounted a coup in Ukraine to use the Crimean naval base a bargaining chip to make Russia give up Assad

    Putin annexed Crimea instead

    so in a way yes (if "we" = neocons in the state dept.)

    I already confessed to my error at #61. How about reading all of the comments.

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  146. iffen says:
    @German_reader

    I also reject the idea that just because a country is majority Muslim it loses any claim to nation-state status.

     

    Ok, I expect you'll write to your senator or congressman then in support of Palestinian statehood. Maybe the US can issue an ultimatum to Israel and bomb Tel Aviv if the Israelis don't submit to it.

    Ok, I expect you’ll write to your senator or congressman then in support of Palestinian statehood. Maybe the US can issue an ultimatum to Israel and bomb Tel Aviv if the Israelis don’t submit to it.

    This is a total fail analogy.

    Serbia was a recently established ethnic state that was using lethal force to intimidate and suppress the independence and identity aspirations of a well-defined political unit populated by a people separated from them by ethnicity, religion and culture. The only connection between Serbia and Kosovo was that they both were in recent history amalgamated into a political unit by a greater political and military power.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    The only connection between Serbia and Kosovo was that they both were in recent history amalgamated into a political unit by a greater political and military power.
     
    Serbia conquered Kosovo during the Balkan wars just before WW1, it was an internationally recognized part of Serbia/Yugoslavia for more than 80 years...that's not exactly "recent history". Now Serbian rule over Kosovo's majority Albanian population was certainly questionable in many ways, I don't dispute that. But my analogy isn't a "total fail". Everything you write about Serbia and Kosovo could just as well be applied to Israel and the occupied territories...plus, Israel's position in regard to those territories and its actions there (basically a colonization program on ethnonationalist considerations) are dubious at best in international law.
    The problem with you like with all too many Americans is you think the US just has some sort of God-given right to intervene anywhere, not because of some clearly defined national interest, no, just because you can, because in every conflict there just have to be some "good guys", some proto-Americans deserving of your support, and because America is always and forever essentially good...Americans may make mistakes (sometimes catastrophic ones that kill hundreds of thousands), but in no way does that ever detract from American goodness. And if your allies or "friends" like the Israelis or Saudis do the kind of things you bomb or sanction other countries for...well, that's just totally different.
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  147. notanon says:
    @Randal

    But here is the point–Russia has no need for some global hegemony or countering US in some remote areas of Indian Ocean, as an example. Nor is Russia intent on fighting the third Battle For Atlantic. This is not only absolutely not necessary but is detrimental to Russia. This understanding is present in Kremlin and that is what makes real power efficient.
     
    In this, Russia's elites (or some of them at any rate) are way ahead of those in my own country.

    The British elites are still almost wholly in the grip of a post-Imperial delusion that claims Britain must "punch above its weight" and be involved in stuff all over the world that really is of no consequence to us. In some cases this is clearly motivated by a kind of corrupt self-interest or loyalty to foreign or particularist interests, in others it appears to be an evolution of the old pining for empire into the US-style universalist democratism and "humanitarian" interventionist hypocrisy.

    A great example was recently given by the buffoon currently acting as our Foreign Secretary, who went out of his way to irritate the Chinese in order to posture and virtue signal about our new (currently dysfunctional) aircraft carriers being sent on a "freedom of navigation" jaunt into waters claimed by China. I described it more fully and referenced the news report of his comments in the following comment on Disqus if you are interested (I won't reproduce it all here):

    Donald Trump versus the Russians

    The British elites are still almost wholly in the grip of a post-Imperial delusion that claims Britain must “punch above its weight” and be involved in stuff all over the world

    I don’t think that is true at all. The British elites are split between Europhile traitors on the one hand and Neocon traitors on the other and neither care anything for Britain as a country.

    However there is an element among the upper middle class who feel that way and both the above type of politicians *play* to that gallery: the Europhiles promoting the soft power version while the Atlanticists promote the aircraft carrier version – but I don’t think they personally believe it at all.

    It’s like saying neocons in the US are in the grip of spreading unicorns and rainbows around the world – they’re not; it’s just different kinds of manipulation work on different kinds of people.

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  148. notanon says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    In some cases this is clearly motivated by a kind of corrupt self-interest or loyalty to foreign or particularist interests, in others it appears to be an evolution of the old pining for empire into the US-style universalist democratism and “humanitarian” interventionist hypocrisy.
     
    Your comments are good (I read them). What is remarkable, however, how Soviet Union (of course using Marxist "method") was remarkably close to (my favorite historian) Corelli Barnett's view on how the United States (not without help from Sir. Winston, who was half-American himself) helped Great Britain lose her both imperial possessions and even industries. Barnett also blames, justly so, liberalism as a system which helped precipitate British decline.

    P.S. Per QE-class carriers. Will see how the whole STOVL concept will be implemented by RN. In the end, Royal Navy is the only navy in history whose STOVL carriers fought and helped to win a war against relatively competent adversary. I just sent a piece ( a large one) to US Naval Institute, they wanted to put it on their Blog immediately but I said that I'll wait if they will decide to publish in paper-version--once in a while even I like to be compensated;-) I wouldn't count RN's carriers out yet, even with all problems with F-35B.

    how Soviet Union (of course using Marxist “method”) was remarkably close to (my favorite historian) Corelli Barnett’s view on how the United States (not without help from Sir. Winston, who was half-American himself) helped Great Britain lose her both imperial possessions and even industries.

    when the banking mafia shift their host e.g. from Britain to the US, they drain the old host – same thing they’re doing to the US prior to moving to China

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    • Replies: @notanon

    when the banking mafia shift their host e.g. from Britain to the US, they drain the old host – same thing they’re doing to the US prior to moving to China
     
    and to an extent when they moved from Holland to Britain
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  149. @iffen
    Ok, I expect you’ll write to your senator or congressman then in support of Palestinian statehood. Maybe the US can issue an ultimatum to Israel and bomb Tel Aviv if the Israelis don’t submit to it.

    This is a total fail analogy.

    Serbia was a recently established ethnic state that was using lethal force to intimidate and suppress the independence and identity aspirations of a well-defined political unit populated by a people separated from them by ethnicity, religion and culture. The only connection between Serbia and Kosovo was that they both were in recent history amalgamated into a political unit by a greater political and military power.

    The only connection between Serbia and Kosovo was that they both were in recent history amalgamated into a political unit by a greater political and military power.

    Serbia conquered Kosovo during the Balkan wars just before WW1, it was an internationally recognized part of Serbia/Yugoslavia for more than 80 years…that’s not exactly “recent history”. Now Serbian rule over Kosovo’s majority Albanian population was certainly questionable in many ways, I don’t dispute that. But my analogy isn’t a “total fail”. Everything you write about Serbia and Kosovo could just as well be applied to Israel and the occupied territories…plus, Israel’s position in regard to those territories and its actions there (basically a colonization program on ethnonationalist considerations) are dubious at best in international law.
    The problem with you like with all too many Americans is you think the US just has some sort of God-given right to intervene anywhere, not because of some clearly defined national interest, no, just because you can, because in every conflict there just have to be some “good guys”, some proto-Americans deserving of your support, and because America is always and forever essentially good…Americans may make mistakes (sometimes catastrophic ones that kill hundreds of thousands), but in no way does that ever detract from American goodness. And if your allies or “friends” like the Israelis or Saudis do the kind of things you bomb or sanction other countries for…well, that’s just totally different.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    Everything you write about Serbia and Kosovo could just as well be applied to Israel and the occupied territories

    This :) was left off the end of my comment #146.

    You make some good points, and I agree with you that we should stop the continuous interventions.
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  150. notanon says:
    @notanon

    how Soviet Union (of course using Marxist “method”) was remarkably close to (my favorite historian) Corelli Barnett’s view on how the United States (not without help from Sir. Winston, who was half-American himself) helped Great Britain lose her both imperial possessions and even industries.
     
    when the banking mafia shift their host e.g. from Britain to the US, they drain the old host - same thing they're doing to the US prior to moving to China

    when the banking mafia shift their host e.g. from Britain to the US, they drain the old host – same thing they’re doing to the US prior to moving to China

    and to an extent when they moved from Holland to Britain

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  151. iffen says:
    @German_reader

    The only connection between Serbia and Kosovo was that they both were in recent history amalgamated into a political unit by a greater political and military power.
     
    Serbia conquered Kosovo during the Balkan wars just before WW1, it was an internationally recognized part of Serbia/Yugoslavia for more than 80 years...that's not exactly "recent history". Now Serbian rule over Kosovo's majority Albanian population was certainly questionable in many ways, I don't dispute that. But my analogy isn't a "total fail". Everything you write about Serbia and Kosovo could just as well be applied to Israel and the occupied territories...plus, Israel's position in regard to those territories and its actions there (basically a colonization program on ethnonationalist considerations) are dubious at best in international law.
    The problem with you like with all too many Americans is you think the US just has some sort of God-given right to intervene anywhere, not because of some clearly defined national interest, no, just because you can, because in every conflict there just have to be some "good guys", some proto-Americans deserving of your support, and because America is always and forever essentially good...Americans may make mistakes (sometimes catastrophic ones that kill hundreds of thousands), but in no way does that ever detract from American goodness. And if your allies or "friends" like the Israelis or Saudis do the kind of things you bomb or sanction other countries for...well, that's just totally different.

    Everything you write about Serbia and Kosovo could just as well be applied to Israel and the occupied territories

    This :) was left off the end of my comment #146.

    You make some good points, and I agree with you that we should stop the continuous interventions.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    Good to hear that, after all they probably aren't even in your own best interest.
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  152. @iffen
    Everything you write about Serbia and Kosovo could just as well be applied to Israel and the occupied territories

    This :) was left off the end of my comment #146.

    You make some good points, and I agree with you that we should stop the continuous interventions.

    Good to hear that, after all they probably aren’t even in your own best interest.

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  153. @Anon
    Atlantic Ocean?

    Atlantic Ocean?

    Sim, o Oceano Atlântico.

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  154. I have another Russia question:

    Is “Sovok” nationalism the Russian equivalent of American “alt lite” nationalism?

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  155. Ivan K. says:
    @iffen
    All in all, it’s hard to see how letting the Yugoslav state reimpose its authority on the province by force could possibly have been anywhere near as bad, overall.

    Really? Given all that we know about ethnic conflict and civil wars in general, not to mention the past history of the Balkans in particular, do you really want me to think that is what you believe?

    All in all, it’s hard to see how letting the Yugoslav state reimpose its authority on the province by force could possibly have been anywhere near as bad, overall.

    - Really?….

    The state in question did -did – reimpose its authority on the province by force in the winter of 1998-1999. * During that time the groups attacking the government forces were some eliminated, and the rest forced to move to Albania.

    In the the winter of 1998-1999 the number of violent incidents in Kosovo was brought to zero or nearly zero.

    That was done in anticipation of the NATO intervention that started in March 1999 (of which the Serbian government was informed via a French intelligence officer. We can consider that for a fact because he was convicted and spent years in prison for that.)

    We can claim for a fact that the groups attacking the government forces were some eliminated, and the rest forced to move to Albania, because the number of violent incidents due to ground forces also remained low during the bombing campaign March-June.

    And we talk of that as a fact because
    A) the world is without evidence of such violence. Insofar I know, the horror stories of secret grave sites with thousands of victims of government brutality buried/hidden somewhere, failed to materialize. The evidence for them is completely absent to this day.
    B) It’s hard for me to imagine the government of a very impoverished country (under economic sanctions, “socialism”,) to keep the territory under control both under the bombardment of NATO, and intense guerilla hostility, for 90 days. Even more so if we take the Serbian side to be motivated by desires of conquest, supremacy and rule over others in an essentially un-Serbian territory of Kosovo, rather than by – self-defense.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    Not taking any side (other than muh USA) or advocating for any particular borders. I just thought that this was one case where we didn't make the situation worse by getting involved. (Less killing going on right now.)
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  156. The American hegemony is probably better (or at least, more comfortable) than a totalitarian hegemony (though with the exception of the the Baltic states and a few similar areas like Kazakhstan Soviet hegemony didn’t involve ethnic replacement), and it might have great advantages over any authoritarian hegemony as well, but I’m not totally sure about that.

    First, the US is in the grip of a universalistic ideology which is essentially totalitarian in its outlook: it’s bound to force its allies to accept “democracy”, “human rights”, multiculturalism, etc., which will in the long run inevitably lead to the destruction of these countries. Second, this ideology posits that the US has a right to depose any government it deems insufficiently democratic anywhere in the world. It also has the right to redraw borders, while at the same time claiming to believe in the sanctity of borders. How much could any government trust the US, even allied governments? I think not even Israel trusts the US. If all this was not bad enough, the US government is also beholden to ethnic and other lobbies, which are pushing it to policies which are objectively not even in its own best interests.

    All this means that it’s very difficult to accommodate the US regime, probably harder than for example accommodating a hypothetical Chinese hegemon. To be sure, the Chinese are of course assholes (like any other dominant power), who waste no time in asserting their interests against weaker neighbors, as shown by the example of the South China Sea. But it’s easy enough to know what China wants and understand why they want it. Whereas with the US, you never know what they really want (they are always talking about human rights, democracy, and prosperity, even when quite obviously they want something else), much less why they want it (an ethnic lobby? pure self-interest? perhaps they believe their own rhetoric? or are they simply crazy?), and so you cannot reason with them.

    Putin tried to sit down and talk to them about drawing a border between zones of Russian and US influence, but the Americans outright denied such zones should exist at all, or that the US had any zones of influence at all. It is – according to them – merely a conglomerate of peaceful and democratic states who just happen to mutually like each other and create multilateral organizations to support each other, but with no aggressive intent or harm to anyone’s interests anywhere else.

    You could reason with the Soviets or Mao Zedong better than that.

    Read More
    • Agree: German_reader
    • Replies: @iffen
    Tag-team.
    , @iffen
    the US is in the grip of a universalistic ideology which is essentially totalitarian

    I am baffled by the fact that they are winning by default; there is very little organized opposition. Even the Marxists had to contend with organized opposition such as democratic socialists, not to mention every other group to the right.
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  157. @utu
    The breakup of Yugoslavia began with German decision to recognize independence of Slovenia. It was the first important decision Germany made after the reunification. German morality. A country that just get unified advocated breakup of another country. After that Yugoslavia was on the downward spiral and the breakup was unavoidable. Subsequent down the road NATO intervention was just to seal the deal.

    The breakup of Yugoslavia began with German decision to recognize independence of Slovenia.

    No, it began with the declaration of independence by Slovenia and Croatia (I think on the same day), after which a civil war was all but inevitable. It was obvious that the constituent republics couldn’t reach an agreement about the level of centralization and none of them were too keen on staying together, so it all came down to the question of the borders. The Croats and the Bosniaks were happy with their borders, and were willing to use force to protect them (in spite of the numerous minorities living inside them, especially in the case of Bosnia), whereas the Serbs were quite willing to use force to change them. The best outcome for the Serbs would’ve been a frozen conflict in both Croatia and Bosnia while keeping Kosovo and dominance over Montenegro. I fail to see how what we got is necessarily worse then that from a disinterested point of view. The war itself was inevitable.

    The NATO bombings, especially in 1999, were not inevitable. NATO managed to break a system of international treaties which was beneficial to them. The West broke the international order for nothing. It didn’t result in less bloodshed or a more just world, it just resulted in instability.

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  158. Ivan K. says:

    The breakup of Yugoslavia began with German decision to recognize independence of Slovenia.
    No, it began with the declaration of independence by Slovenia and Croatia

    Those two things are interrelated, because of behind-the-scene dialogues between the Croatian and Slovenian politicians, and the German government. Such negotiations and resulting guarantees have to be assumed even if the explicit admissions of their existence are to be ignored as informal and hence unreliable. You have to understand that the Slovenian leadership were mostly Communist Party members their whole lives until just some months before this declaration of independence, which is to say personalities highly averse to self-initiative without backing by any kind of agreement, and an unilateral declaration of independence at that time was truly radical, apparently or arguably in conflict with the international law and what not.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I don't know much about the then Slovenian leadership, but that's definitely untrue of the Croatian leader Tudjman. He joined the communist partisans during WW2 (probably because his parents were communists themselves), which is not a risk-averse behavior. Then he turned against the system on a nationalist platform in the 1960s, which is not quite risk-averse behavior either. He was sentenced to prison.

    Now you might ask why the nationalist Tudjman got elected the first time Croatians had a free election. Well, because Croats hated the Serbs. My father was in Dubrovnik in the 1970s, and the Croats there were talking quite openly about their hatred of the Serbs. (Well, they made sure nobody else heard it, only the foreigner.) Shall I say the feelings were mutual.

    What is the purpose of keeping a country together whose population consists of ethnic groups which mutually hate each other?

    Yes, Germany advocated for the international recognition (quite openly, it was not a secret; btw Hungary also supported Croatian independence), but why would it be the duty of the rest of the world to keep together a federation against the will of the overwhelming majority of its population? (Yes, this includes the Serbs, who only wanted to keep the areas with significant Serb population. Which included several areas with only a minority of Serbs. I'm not saying the Croatians were angels, but of course the Serbs proceeded to ethnically cleanse those areas. Later on they were cleansed themselves.)
    , @hoops
    in a country where there only was a communist party. Must have been true believers.
    What's with appending self meaninglessly to initiative.
    , @Ivan K.
    I’ll elaborate on what I said in the previous post:

    I said the Slovenian political leadership in 1991 were "party members all their lives." which is a weak claim. The point I was making would be clearer by stating that they were party apparatchiks that were on TV screens through the 1980s rather than marginal dissident Communists waiting in the wings.

    Then, I said how what they did was "truly radical." The breakup of the USSR was finalized in December 1991, so it didn't precede the Yugoslav. The USSR’s breakup was also based on a political consensus, and it involved the Soviet supreme institution voting for its own dissolution. In the latter (YU) case, such things were absent completely.

    Now to the question of causes and roles of foreign entities.

    It occurs to me that this Yugoslav dissolution was phenomenal. But in a world of over 150 states, I can't be sure. The desire to be independent is everywhere around the world. As a fact, it's indisputable. Now, only in some places in the world, it’s made into projects of unilateral creation of new international borders, when that breaks international law about territorial integrity, etc.

    Q: How can such a project look viable to its intelligent promoters?
    A: It can look viable if it has covert support of one or more legal entities of the international order.

    Germany was already mentioned above in that respect, so I'll leave it aside.
    About the rest of the world,... I’ll quote Jeffrey Sachs: “[While] Poland received a cancellation of 50% of its debt …… the first Bush administration, the EU, and the IMF refused even the modest request to reschedule Yugoslavia’s debts.”

    Without watching the film "Weight of Chains," that's the best I can come up with ...

    ... and it's small fries!

    It looks that the largest chunk of factors in the dissolution of Yugoslavia were internal.

    A quick comparison:
    One would be hard pressed to explain the parallel between Yugoslavia which collapsed like a house of cards at the slightest pressure, and, say, Syria, which valiantly fought for years with minimal Russian support, with purely international circumstances.

    That knocks out the whole Michael Parenti line of thought of international imperialist conspiracies as the key driver of the events in Yugoslavia.

    Once we have the said project for independence, what the planners, including the presidents of Croatia and Slovenia by their own admission, found “necessary,” was to create war conflicts with the other parts of the old country. By admission of themselves, after the events. The Croatian president had been open in his inner circle, he feared that Croatians could otherwise spontaneously, over the course of years (maybe after his death) again gravitate toward the rest of the former country and eventually form a union with it.

    That pretty much knocks out the interpretation how there was so much hatred between Croatians and Serbs that the prospect of communion became unthinkable. Thinkable it was ... exactly by the 'greatest' Croats of all the Croats! The most intensely nationalist ones.

    Hmm... Maybe Tudjman & co were just too paranoid, or misrepresented the events?
    Take Belgium and the Austro-Hungarian Empire: each contains/contained a lot of deep-seated resentment, for more than a few decades. Still, people tend to see both of them as superior and more viable than Yugoslavia.

    It follows that the chief reasons for the Yugoslav dissolution, are internal, but more than simply hatred, and disharmony.

    'What are the real, deep reasons' is a question probably yet to be answered.

    Given the YU-EU similarities, it looks relevant.

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  159. @Ivan K.

    The breakup of Yugoslavia began with German decision to recognize independence of Slovenia.
    No, it began with the declaration of independence by Slovenia and Croatia
     
    Those two things are interrelated, because of behind-the-scene dialogues between the Croatian and Slovenian politicians, and the German government. Such negotiations and resulting guarantees have to be assumed even if the explicit admissions of their existence are to be ignored as informal and hence unreliable. You have to understand that the Slovenian leadership were mostly Communist Party members their whole lives until just some months before this declaration of independence, which is to say personalities highly averse to self-initiative without backing by any kind of agreement, and an unilateral declaration of independence at that time was truly radical, apparently or arguably in conflict with the international law and what not.

    I don’t know much about the then Slovenian leadership, but that’s definitely untrue of the Croatian leader Tudjman. He joined the communist partisans during WW2 (probably because his parents were communists themselves), which is not a risk-averse behavior. Then he turned against the system on a nationalist platform in the 1960s, which is not quite risk-averse behavior either. He was sentenced to prison.

    Now you might ask why the nationalist Tudjman got elected the first time Croatians had a free election. Well, because Croats hated the Serbs. My father was in Dubrovnik in the 1970s, and the Croats there were talking quite openly about their hatred of the Serbs. (Well, they made sure nobody else heard it, only the foreigner.) Shall I say the feelings were mutual.

    What is the purpose of keeping a country together whose population consists of ethnic groups which mutually hate each other?

    Yes, Germany advocated for the international recognition (quite openly, it was not a secret; btw Hungary also supported Croatian independence), but why would it be the duty of the rest of the world to keep together a federation against the will of the overwhelming majority of its population? (Yes, this includes the Serbs, who only wanted to keep the areas with significant Serb population. Which included several areas with only a minority of Serbs. I’m not saying the Croatians were angels, but of course the Serbs proceeded to ethnically cleanse those areas. Later on they were cleansed themselves.)

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    • Agree: AP
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  160. iffen says:
    @Ivan K.

    All in all, it’s hard to see how letting the Yugoslav state reimpose its authority on the province by force could possibly have been anywhere near as bad, overall.

    - Really?....
     

    The state in question did -did - reimpose its authority on the province by force in the winter of 1998-1999. * During that time the groups attacking the government forces were some eliminated, and the rest forced to move to Albania.

    In the the winter of 1998-1999 the number of violent incidents in Kosovo was brought to zero or nearly zero.

    That was done in anticipation of the NATO intervention that started in March 1999 (of which the Serbian government was informed via a French intelligence officer. We can consider that for a fact because he was convicted and spent years in prison for that.)

    We can claim for a fact that the groups attacking the government forces were some eliminated, and the rest forced to move to Albania, because the number of violent incidents due to ground forces also remained low during the bombing campaign March-June.

    And we talk of that as a fact because
    A) the world is without evidence of such violence. Insofar I know, the horror stories of secret grave sites with thousands of victims of government brutality buried/hidden somewhere, failed to materialize. The evidence for them is completely absent to this day.
    B) It's hard for me to imagine the government of a very impoverished country (under economic sanctions, "socialism",) to keep the territory under control both under the bombardment of NATO, and intense guerilla hostility, for 90 days. Even more so if we take the Serbian side to be motivated by desires of conquest, supremacy and rule over others in an essentially un-Serbian territory of Kosovo, rather than by - self-defense.

    Not taking any side (other than muh USA) or advocating for any particular borders. I just thought that this was one case where we didn’t make the situation worse by getting involved. (Less killing going on right now.)

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  161. iffen says:
    @reiner Tor
    The American hegemony is probably better (or at least, more comfortable) than a totalitarian hegemony (though with the exception of the the Baltic states and a few similar areas like Kazakhstan Soviet hegemony didn't involve ethnic replacement), and it might have great advantages over any authoritarian hegemony as well, but I'm not totally sure about that.

    First, the US is in the grip of a universalistic ideology which is essentially totalitarian in its outlook: it's bound to force its allies to accept "democracy", "human rights", multiculturalism, etc., which will in the long run inevitably lead to the destruction of these countries. Second, this ideology posits that the US has a right to depose any government it deems insufficiently democratic anywhere in the world. It also has the right to redraw borders, while at the same time claiming to believe in the sanctity of borders. How much could any government trust the US, even allied governments? I think not even Israel trusts the US. If all this was not bad enough, the US government is also beholden to ethnic and other lobbies, which are pushing it to policies which are objectively not even in its own best interests.

    All this means that it's very difficult to accommodate the US regime, probably harder than for example accommodating a hypothetical Chinese hegemon. To be sure, the Chinese are of course assholes (like any other dominant power), who waste no time in asserting their interests against weaker neighbors, as shown by the example of the South China Sea. But it's easy enough to know what China wants and understand why they want it. Whereas with the US, you never know what they really want (they are always talking about human rights, democracy, and prosperity, even when quite obviously they want something else), much less why they want it (an ethnic lobby? pure self-interest? perhaps they believe their own rhetoric? or are they simply crazy?), and so you cannot reason with them.

    Putin tried to sit down and talk to them about drawing a border between zones of Russian and US influence, but the Americans outright denied such zones should exist at all, or that the US had any zones of influence at all. It is - according to them - merely a conglomerate of peaceful and democratic states who just happen to mutually like each other and create multilateral organizations to support each other, but with no aggressive intent or harm to anyone's interests anywhere else.

    You could reason with the Soviets or Mao Zedong better than that.

    Tag-team.

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  162. hoops says:

    Just say Jews or Zionists or whomever you scapegoat. Elites? Pfffff. If you’re going to align against professionals, don’t talk like one.

    All Russia seems to do is bomb innocents – yes, innocent people, regardless of what their race is they are innocent- and waste money that should be going to impoverished minorities without your input on how they spend it. Instead they buy gaudy mansionettes from the glory days of gay Paris, 1780.

    Unseemly for a civilization with traditional/emotional attachments to comedic faux-masculinity that’s as outdated and goofy as pantaloons to emulate the opposite extreme in architecture.

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    • Troll: Daniel Chieh
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  163. hoops says:
    @Ivan K.

    The breakup of Yugoslavia began with German decision to recognize independence of Slovenia.
    No, it began with the declaration of independence by Slovenia and Croatia
     
    Those two things are interrelated, because of behind-the-scene dialogues between the Croatian and Slovenian politicians, and the German government. Such negotiations and resulting guarantees have to be assumed even if the explicit admissions of their existence are to be ignored as informal and hence unreliable. You have to understand that the Slovenian leadership were mostly Communist Party members their whole lives until just some months before this declaration of independence, which is to say personalities highly averse to self-initiative without backing by any kind of agreement, and an unilateral declaration of independence at that time was truly radical, apparently or arguably in conflict with the international law and what not.

    in a country where there only was a communist party. Must have been true believers.
    What’s with appending self meaninglessly to initiative.

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  164. Ivan K. says:
    @Ivan K.

    The breakup of Yugoslavia began with German decision to recognize independence of Slovenia.
    No, it began with the declaration of independence by Slovenia and Croatia
     
    Those two things are interrelated, because of behind-the-scene dialogues between the Croatian and Slovenian politicians, and the German government. Such negotiations and resulting guarantees have to be assumed even if the explicit admissions of their existence are to be ignored as informal and hence unreliable. You have to understand that the Slovenian leadership were mostly Communist Party members their whole lives until just some months before this declaration of independence, which is to say personalities highly averse to self-initiative without backing by any kind of agreement, and an unilateral declaration of independence at that time was truly radical, apparently or arguably in conflict with the international law and what not.

    I’ll elaborate on what I said in the previous post:

    I said the Slovenian political leadership in 1991 were “party members all their lives.” which is a weak claim. The point I was making would be clearer by stating that they were party apparatchiks that were on TV screens through the 1980s rather than marginal dissident Communists waiting in the wings.

    Then, I said how what they did was “truly radical.” The breakup of the USSR was finalized in December 1991, so it didn’t precede the Yugoslav. The USSR’s breakup was also based on a political consensus, and it involved the Soviet supreme institution voting for its own dissolution. In the latter (YU) case, such things were absent completely.

    Now to the question of causes and roles of foreign entities.

    It occurs to me that this Yugoslav dissolution was phenomenal. But in a world of over 150 states, I can’t be sure. The desire to be independent is everywhere around the world. As a fact, it’s indisputable. Now, only in some places in the world, it’s made into projects of unilateral creation of new international borders, when that breaks international law about territorial integrity, etc.

    Q: How can such a project look viable to its intelligent promoters?
    A: It can look viable if it has covert support of one or more legal entities of the international order.

    Germany was already mentioned above in that respect, so I’ll leave it aside.
    About the rest of the world,… I’ll quote Jeffrey Sachs: “[While] Poland received a cancellation of 50% of its debt …… the first Bush administration, the EU, and the IMF refused even the modest request to reschedule Yugoslavia’s debts.”

    Without watching the film “Weight of Chains,” that’s the best I can come up with …

    … and it’s small fries!

    It looks that the largest chunk of factors in the dissolution of Yugoslavia were internal.

    A quick comparison:
    One would be hard pressed to explain the parallel between Yugoslavia which collapsed like a house of cards at the slightest pressure, and, say, Syria, which valiantly fought for years with minimal Russian support, with purely international circumstances.

    That knocks out the whole Michael Parenti line of thought of international imperialist conspiracies as the key driver of the events in Yugoslavia.

    Once we have the said project for independence, what the planners, including the presidents of Croatia and Slovenia by their own admission, found “necessary,” was to create war conflicts with the other parts of the old country. By admission of themselves, after the events. The Croatian president had been open in his inner circle, he feared that Croatians could otherwise spontaneously, over the course of years (maybe after his death) again gravitate toward the rest of the former country and eventually form a union with it.

    That pretty much knocks out the interpretation how there was so much hatred between Croatians and Serbs that the prospect of communion became unthinkable. Thinkable it was … exactly by the ‘greatest’ Croats of all the Croats! The most intensely nationalist ones.

    Hmm… Maybe Tudjman & co were just too paranoid, or misrepresented the events?
    Take Belgium and the Austro-Hungarian Empire: each contains/contained a lot of deep-seated resentment, for more than a few decades. Still, people tend to see both of them as superior and more viable than Yugoslavia.

    It follows that the chief reasons for the Yugoslav dissolution, are internal, but more than simply hatred, and disharmony.

    ‘What are the real, deep reasons’ is a question probably yet to be answered.

    Given the YU-EU similarities, it looks relevant.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    You raise a number of good points, I'll reply later, hopefully.
    , @iffen
    Excellent comment!

    I remember reading that there were in fact some "honest" Yugoslavians. I can't remember where I read it but it seemed reliable at the time.

    A personal anecdote: I remember an exceptional history teacher in the early 60's telling me that when Tito was gone, Yugoslavia was toast.
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  165. @Ivan K.
    I’ll elaborate on what I said in the previous post:

    I said the Slovenian political leadership in 1991 were "party members all their lives." which is a weak claim. The point I was making would be clearer by stating that they were party apparatchiks that were on TV screens through the 1980s rather than marginal dissident Communists waiting in the wings.

    Then, I said how what they did was "truly radical." The breakup of the USSR was finalized in December 1991, so it didn't precede the Yugoslav. The USSR’s breakup was also based on a political consensus, and it involved the Soviet supreme institution voting for its own dissolution. In the latter (YU) case, such things were absent completely.

    Now to the question of causes and roles of foreign entities.

    It occurs to me that this Yugoslav dissolution was phenomenal. But in a world of over 150 states, I can't be sure. The desire to be independent is everywhere around the world. As a fact, it's indisputable. Now, only in some places in the world, it’s made into projects of unilateral creation of new international borders, when that breaks international law about territorial integrity, etc.

    Q: How can such a project look viable to its intelligent promoters?
    A: It can look viable if it has covert support of one or more legal entities of the international order.

    Germany was already mentioned above in that respect, so I'll leave it aside.
    About the rest of the world,... I’ll quote Jeffrey Sachs: “[While] Poland received a cancellation of 50% of its debt …… the first Bush administration, the EU, and the IMF refused even the modest request to reschedule Yugoslavia’s debts.”

    Without watching the film "Weight of Chains," that's the best I can come up with ...

    ... and it's small fries!

    It looks that the largest chunk of factors in the dissolution of Yugoslavia were internal.

    A quick comparison:
    One would be hard pressed to explain the parallel between Yugoslavia which collapsed like a house of cards at the slightest pressure, and, say, Syria, which valiantly fought for years with minimal Russian support, with purely international circumstances.

    That knocks out the whole Michael Parenti line of thought of international imperialist conspiracies as the key driver of the events in Yugoslavia.

    Once we have the said project for independence, what the planners, including the presidents of Croatia and Slovenia by their own admission, found “necessary,” was to create war conflicts with the other parts of the old country. By admission of themselves, after the events. The Croatian president had been open in his inner circle, he feared that Croatians could otherwise spontaneously, over the course of years (maybe after his death) again gravitate toward the rest of the former country and eventually form a union with it.

    That pretty much knocks out the interpretation how there was so much hatred between Croatians and Serbs that the prospect of communion became unthinkable. Thinkable it was ... exactly by the 'greatest' Croats of all the Croats! The most intensely nationalist ones.

    Hmm... Maybe Tudjman & co were just too paranoid, or misrepresented the events?
    Take Belgium and the Austro-Hungarian Empire: each contains/contained a lot of deep-seated resentment, for more than a few decades. Still, people tend to see both of them as superior and more viable than Yugoslavia.

    It follows that the chief reasons for the Yugoslav dissolution, are internal, but more than simply hatred, and disharmony.

    'What are the real, deep reasons' is a question probably yet to be answered.

    Given the YU-EU similarities, it looks relevant.

    You raise a number of good points, I’ll reply later, hopefully.

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  166. iffen says:
    @Ivan K.
    I’ll elaborate on what I said in the previous post:

    I said the Slovenian political leadership in 1991 were "party members all their lives." which is a weak claim. The point I was making would be clearer by stating that they were party apparatchiks that were on TV screens through the 1980s rather than marginal dissident Communists waiting in the wings.

    Then, I said how what they did was "truly radical." The breakup of the USSR was finalized in December 1991, so it didn't precede the Yugoslav. The USSR’s breakup was also based on a political consensus, and it involved the Soviet supreme institution voting for its own dissolution. In the latter (YU) case, such things were absent completely.

    Now to the question of causes and roles of foreign entities.

    It occurs to me that this Yugoslav dissolution was phenomenal. But in a world of over 150 states, I can't be sure. The desire to be independent is everywhere around the world. As a fact, it's indisputable. Now, only in some places in the world, it’s made into projects of unilateral creation of new international borders, when that breaks international law about territorial integrity, etc.

    Q: How can such a project look viable to its intelligent promoters?
    A: It can look viable if it has covert support of one or more legal entities of the international order.

    Germany was already mentioned above in that respect, so I'll leave it aside.
    About the rest of the world,... I’ll quote Jeffrey Sachs: “[While] Poland received a cancellation of 50% of its debt …… the first Bush administration, the EU, and the IMF refused even the modest request to reschedule Yugoslavia’s debts.”

    Without watching the film "Weight of Chains," that's the best I can come up with ...

    ... and it's small fries!

    It looks that the largest chunk of factors in the dissolution of Yugoslavia were internal.

    A quick comparison:
    One would be hard pressed to explain the parallel between Yugoslavia which collapsed like a house of cards at the slightest pressure, and, say, Syria, which valiantly fought for years with minimal Russian support, with purely international circumstances.

    That knocks out the whole Michael Parenti line of thought of international imperialist conspiracies as the key driver of the events in Yugoslavia.

    Once we have the said project for independence, what the planners, including the presidents of Croatia and Slovenia by their own admission, found “necessary,” was to create war conflicts with the other parts of the old country. By admission of themselves, after the events. The Croatian president had been open in his inner circle, he feared that Croatians could otherwise spontaneously, over the course of years (maybe after his death) again gravitate toward the rest of the former country and eventually form a union with it.

    That pretty much knocks out the interpretation how there was so much hatred between Croatians and Serbs that the prospect of communion became unthinkable. Thinkable it was ... exactly by the 'greatest' Croats of all the Croats! The most intensely nationalist ones.

    Hmm... Maybe Tudjman & co were just too paranoid, or misrepresented the events?
    Take Belgium and the Austro-Hungarian Empire: each contains/contained a lot of deep-seated resentment, for more than a few decades. Still, people tend to see both of them as superior and more viable than Yugoslavia.

    It follows that the chief reasons for the Yugoslav dissolution, are internal, but more than simply hatred, and disharmony.

    'What are the real, deep reasons' is a question probably yet to be answered.

    Given the YU-EU similarities, it looks relevant.

    Excellent comment!

    I remember reading that there were in fact some “honest” Yugoslavians. I can’t remember where I read it but it seemed reliable at the time.

    A personal anecdote: I remember an exceptional history teacher in the early 60′s telling me that when Tito was gone, Yugoslavia was toast.

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  167. iffen says:
    @reiner Tor
    The American hegemony is probably better (or at least, more comfortable) than a totalitarian hegemony (though with the exception of the the Baltic states and a few similar areas like Kazakhstan Soviet hegemony didn't involve ethnic replacement), and it might have great advantages over any authoritarian hegemony as well, but I'm not totally sure about that.

    First, the US is in the grip of a universalistic ideology which is essentially totalitarian in its outlook: it's bound to force its allies to accept "democracy", "human rights", multiculturalism, etc., which will in the long run inevitably lead to the destruction of these countries. Second, this ideology posits that the US has a right to depose any government it deems insufficiently democratic anywhere in the world. It also has the right to redraw borders, while at the same time claiming to believe in the sanctity of borders. How much could any government trust the US, even allied governments? I think not even Israel trusts the US. If all this was not bad enough, the US government is also beholden to ethnic and other lobbies, which are pushing it to policies which are objectively not even in its own best interests.

    All this means that it's very difficult to accommodate the US regime, probably harder than for example accommodating a hypothetical Chinese hegemon. To be sure, the Chinese are of course assholes (like any other dominant power), who waste no time in asserting their interests against weaker neighbors, as shown by the example of the South China Sea. But it's easy enough to know what China wants and understand why they want it. Whereas with the US, you never know what they really want (they are always talking about human rights, democracy, and prosperity, even when quite obviously they want something else), much less why they want it (an ethnic lobby? pure self-interest? perhaps they believe their own rhetoric? or are they simply crazy?), and so you cannot reason with them.

    Putin tried to sit down and talk to them about drawing a border between zones of Russian and US influence, but the Americans outright denied such zones should exist at all, or that the US had any zones of influence at all. It is - according to them - merely a conglomerate of peaceful and democratic states who just happen to mutually like each other and create multilateral organizations to support each other, but with no aggressive intent or harm to anyone's interests anywhere else.

    You could reason with the Soviets or Mao Zedong better than that.

    the US is in the grip of a universalistic ideology which is essentially totalitarian

    I am baffled by the fact that they are winning by default; there is very little organized opposition. Even the Marxists had to contend with organized opposition such as democratic socialists, not to mention every other group to the right.

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    • Replies: @JL
    Why are you baffled? There simply are no competing ideologies. Fascism and socialism were killed off in the twentieth century. Nothing has sprung up in their place. It looks like whatever comes next will be as a result of circumstances, not design.
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  168. JL says:
    @iffen
    the US is in the grip of a universalistic ideology which is essentially totalitarian

    I am baffled by the fact that they are winning by default; there is very little organized opposition. Even the Marxists had to contend with organized opposition such as democratic socialists, not to mention every other group to the right.

    Why are you baffled? There simply are no competing ideologies. Fascism and socialism were killed off in the twentieth century. Nothing has sprung up in their place. It looks like whatever comes next will be as a result of circumstances, not design.

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    • Replies: @Anon

    There simply are no competing ideologies.
     
    That is not quite true. Islamism and nationalism do push back.
    , @iffen
    Why are you baffled?

    Because there is usually a faction that thinks along the lines of keeping the best of what actually works from the current system and making modest "improvements." Also there is usually recognition by a few leaders that getting hung separately is not a winning strategy and I don't see either of these currently.

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  169. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @JL
    Why are you baffled? There simply are no competing ideologies. Fascism and socialism were killed off in the twentieth century. Nothing has sprung up in their place. It looks like whatever comes next will be as a result of circumstances, not design.

    There simply are no competing ideologies.

    That is not quite true. Islamism and nationalism do push back.

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  170. iffen says:
    @JL
    Why are you baffled? There simply are no competing ideologies. Fascism and socialism were killed off in the twentieth century. Nothing has sprung up in their place. It looks like whatever comes next will be as a result of circumstances, not design.

    Why are you baffled?

    Because there is usually a faction that thinks along the lines of keeping the best of what actually works from the current system and making modest “improvements.” Also there is usually recognition by a few leaders that getting hung separately is not a winning strategy and I don’t see either of these currently.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    Opposition has been shattered and has not yet had time to regroup. You mentioned organized resistance to bolshevism in the 1910s. How much was there in the 1930s or the 1950s?
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  171. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @iffen
    Why are you baffled?

    Because there is usually a faction that thinks along the lines of keeping the best of what actually works from the current system and making modest "improvements." Also there is usually recognition by a few leaders that getting hung separately is not a winning strategy and I don't see either of these currently.

    Opposition has been shattered and has not yet had time to regroup. You mentioned organized resistance to bolshevism in the 1910s. How much was there in the 1930s or the 1950s?

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    • Replies: @iffen
    Islamism and nationalism do push back.

    A revival of nationalism might work in some of the European countries; I am not well enough informed to make an informed guess. American nationalism is so intertwined and dependent upon our founding political ideas that the continuing implosion of liberal democracy will leave us with no catalyst. Ethnicity (or race), religion or culture will not work for us.

    Opposition has been shattered

    There has been no organized opposition to speak of; what little there has been has more or less dissolved of its own accord. Those little Burkean platoons withered on the vine of their own accord.
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  172. iffen says:
    @Anon
    Opposition has been shattered and has not yet had time to regroup. You mentioned organized resistance to bolshevism in the 1910s. How much was there in the 1930s or the 1950s?

    Islamism and nationalism do push back.

    A revival of nationalism might work in some of the European countries; I am not well enough informed to make an informed guess. American nationalism is so intertwined and dependent upon our founding political ideas that the continuing implosion of liberal democracy will leave us with no catalyst. Ethnicity (or race), religion or culture will not work for us.

    Opposition has been shattered

    There has been no organized opposition to speak of; what little there has been has more or less dissolved of its own accord. Those little Burkean platoons withered on the vine of their own accord.

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  173. notanon says:

    I don’t think Western universalism is an ideology in the regular sense. I think it’s the bell curved end result of a particular evolutionary path – it’s “natural” at least for a plurality of people within certain populations.

    The poisoning of the West has been achieved by manipulating that universalist engine through feeding it false data e.g. Boassian blank slate vs genetics.

    It can be fixed with true data imo (but only after trust in the previous moral authority is broken).

    Fascism is not a static ideology imo; it’s simply a reaction to an existential *internal* threat and the form it takes will vary with time and location.

    The Fascist reaction of a universalist minded population will likely take a universalist form e.g. nature reserve fascism – every genetic nation gets their genetic reserve to do with as they wish and anyone who doesn’t agree gets deported to Somalia.

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  174. MarkinPNW says:
    @iffen
    but I suppose that’s what iffen was hinting at.

    I was hinting at the idea that if there is a hegemon, I prefer the US. It is speculative, but I don’t know of any other country that would have been “better” since WWII.

    I also try to understand and make distinctions among our foreign interventions. For example, it appears to me that we were instrumental in kicking off the civil strife in the Ukraine so I think we bear a lot of responsibility for the human suffering there. OTOH, I am unaware of any role that we may have played in kicking off the Yugoslav Wars, so the fact that we intervened, perhaps clumsily or inappropriately, is a different issue.

    BTW. I am reading a bit on WWI and have learned that people and countries in Europe have been trying to get rid of the Kingdom of Serbia for a while now.

    And to get to an end of this thread, I am usually not persuaded by irredentist claims no matter how cleverly they are packaged or disguised. I also reject the idea that just because a country is majority Muslim it loses any claim to nation-state status.

    My understanding of the Yugoslav situation actually comes from research and postings at an old website: polyconomics.com run be the late political economist Jude Wanniski, and also from Antiwar.com in the 1990′s.

    Basically Wanniski showed that the bankers, through the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and World Bank did a deliberate Perkins type of economic hit on the Yugoslav economy because they apparently did not like Yugoslavia’s “Market Socialism” – not capitalist enough. All the various nationalities and ethnicities were apparently willing to co-operate when times were good, but when their economies were deliberately destroyed all their resentments over past conflicts and genocides came to the fore in violent conflict.

    Later events seem to show that one thing the international bankers were after was Kosovo’s mineral wealth, especially gold, that they could not exploit as long as the Market Socialism policy insisted on mineral wealth of the country being for Yugoslavia’s people and government and not for the foreign international bankers. Thus the need to destroy the prosperity and peace of Yugoslavia to get control of Kosovo’s minerals..

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