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london-again

Am in London again (that that I particularly want to be), will probably visit Aarhus, Denmark in mid-May (conference). Thinking of going to Denmark by train through the Netherlands, finances permitting. I have yet to visit the Dutch.

I have finally picked up my copy of Heiner Rindermann’s Cognitive Capital here. Will hopefully soon add to James Thompson’s and Emil Kirkegaard’s reviews.

Assuming there is no international crisis, I’ll get the Portugal post up very soon.

Novak Draskovic has translated my large Ukraine article into Serbian: Украјина још није умрла, а кад ће не знамо

***

Featured

* Cathedral Chronicles:

* SJWs force Ulster University to deprive Richard Lynn of his emeritus status.

* The Bajau people are uniquely adapted for long, deep-sea diving (larger spleens, better eyesight underwater). But we all know human evolution stopped 50,000 years ago!?

* Bryan Caplan: The Wonder of International Adoption: Adult IQ in Sweden

International adoption doesn’t make international IQ gaps vanish, but it plausibly cuts them in half. And remember – unlike classic childhood interventions like Head Start, the gains last into adulthood instead of fading away. What other viable, lasting treatment for low IQ is even remotely as effective?

Seems to confirm intuitive deductions that global B/W gap is 50/50 environment and genetics.

* UK government says Russia spreads fake news via Twitter bots, the only Twitter “bots” it cited were actually two real people, one of them the famous @PartisanGirl.

* Syria Strike 2018 aftermath:

battle-priest

Powerful wh40k vibes.

* Russian military history blogger writes about Russian MoD-sponsored trip to Khmeimim Airbase, Syria. You don’t need Russian to appreciate the photos.

* Emil Kirkegaard: Corvus Intelligence

Within this parvorder, the genus Corvus (ravens and crows) is an outlier at over eight standard deviations above the avian mean, by far the highest of all genera.

* Andres Gomez Emilsson & Mike Johnson: Reflections on The Science of Consciousness 2018

* NBF: Laser are getting ten times more powerful every 3 years, soon Exawatt lasers will unlock fusion and more. Interesting and important trend I was not previously aware of.

***

Russia

* Outline of Russian budgetary policy for next few years: Less military spending; more infrastructure, healthcare, education spending.

* Incompetent Roskomnadzor assault on Telegram continues.

  • Close to 20 million IPs continuously blocked [usher2.club]
  • Affecting cloud services used by enterprises
  • Knowledge of VPN spreading from political freaks who read marginal liberal and nationalist webzines to normies
  • Failure to block Telegram itself
  • Hilariously, many of the aforementioned liberal and nationalist webzines are now no longer blocked [ping-admin]

I suspect if anything does the Putin regime in, it will be this sort of stupidity and institutional degradation. Note that Roskomnadzor’s annual budget is more than 10% of that of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

* Paul Robinson reviews Timothy Snyder’s propaganda book about Russia (Putin, Dugin, Glazyev (!), Prokhanov (!)) as fascist.

* Prime Minister Sargsyan has resigned in Armenia following the protests. Whether this is a routine power shift or a color revolution will be seen soon (my bet is still on the former).

* Russia might open a military base in Somaliland. If true, this will have some fascinating historical precedents.

* Mark Feygin has been disbarred. Since he is a political activist masquerading as a lawyer, moreover one who exploits his clients to advance his political objectives, this comes 5 years too late.

* Large collection of maps and infographics about the Russian 2018 Presidential elections [in Russian].

* Kommersant: Israeli Repats [in Russia], via Dmitry.

* Even relatively good Russia watchers often don’t know the most elementary things:

***

World

* Polish Perspective comment on dwindling EU subsidies to Poland and why it could help Poland play a more independent role.

* Steve Sailer:

* Audacious Epigone: The Rainbow Nation goes dark

jewish-russophobia

* Audacious Epigone: Nobody does Russophobia like Jews do. Some statistical support for Charles Bausman’s controversial thesis.

* Sinotriumph:

* Leonid Bershidsky: Hungary’s Orban Isn’t Another Putin

***

Science & Culture

* Gwern’s March newsletter.

* Richard Lynn, Fuest, & Kirkegaard (2018) – Regional differences in intelligence in 22 countries and their economic, social and demographic correlates: A review. It’s up on Sci-Hub.

* James Thompson to begin doing videos on state of IQ research. First one here.

world-olderst-person

* Age of world’s oldest person steadily creeping up.

* Technology Review: Researchers are keeping pig brains alive outside the body. Dreadnought sarcophagi here we come.

* Picus News here we come:

***

Powerful Takes

married-well

* As Thorfinnson said, this man married well.

peak-politics

* Peak /r/politics?

* Georgian svidomism:

***

 
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  1. I was really lazy to find out the real score behind Orbán’s recent veto of the agreement between the EU and the Africans, does anyone have an idea? The agreement was supposed to reduce migrant flows from Africa.

    Read More
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  2. * As Thorfinnson said, this man married well.

    Which man?

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    Daniel Chieh (not only does his wife allow him to play video games...she apparently plays them herself...nerd dream come true!).
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  3. @reiner Tor

    * As Thorfinnson said, this man married well.
     
    Which man?

    Daniel Chieh (not only does his wife allow him to play video games…she apparently plays them herself…nerd dream come true!).

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Oh, I thought it referred to the following section about strangling Russia...
    , @yevardian
    Too bad Civ IV was the last Firaxis game worth playing.
    , @Daniel Chieh
    She is indeed quite the treasure. I plan on doing a Let's Play of Russia Takes Over the World in Civ 6 soon ish as well.
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  4. @German_reader
    Daniel Chieh (not only does his wife allow him to play video games...she apparently plays them herself...nerd dream come true!).

    Oh, I thought it referred to the following section about strangling Russia…

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    I really wonder if that Reddit comment is genuine...are there really members of the general public who are that anti-Russia?

    NBF: Laser are getting ten times more powerful every 3 years, soon Exawatt lasers will unlock fusion and more
     
    That sounds really interesting, obviously I don't understand the technical details, but anything about nuclear fusion is exciting.
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  5. @reiner Tor
    Oh, I thought it referred to the following section about strangling Russia...

    I really wonder if that Reddit comment is genuine…are there really members of the general public who are that anti-Russia?

    NBF: Laser are getting ten times more powerful every 3 years, soon Exawatt lasers will unlock fusion and more

    That sounds really interesting, obviously I don’t understand the technical details, but anything about nuclear fusion is exciting.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Singh
    Similar thoughts were being paraded around in the ww3 comments.

    Avg American hates any country that doesn't allow blacks to cuck them wholesale.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Yes.

    Here's perhaps the ur-example: https://np.reddit.com/r/Enough_Sanders_Spam/comments/5mttx2/fuck_russia/
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  6. @German_reader
    I really wonder if that Reddit comment is genuine...are there really members of the general public who are that anti-Russia?

    NBF: Laser are getting ten times more powerful every 3 years, soon Exawatt lasers will unlock fusion and more
     
    That sounds really interesting, obviously I don't understand the technical details, but anything about nuclear fusion is exciting.

    Similar thoughts were being paraded around in the ww3 comments.

    Avg American hates any country that doesn’t allow blacks to cuck them wholesale.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  7. I trust Bryan Caplan not at all, but, taking everything for granted, there is a certain point at which the term “environmental” becomes quite absurd. If for instance, you need to utterly surround blacks with whites, even in the home, and it is non-duplicable in any other form (school instruction) – well, then, it may technically be environmental, but that is not very useful for society. In fact, it may be worse than if the gap were 100% genetic, because egalitarians will want to close that gap, by forcing blacks and whites together.

    Read More
    • Agree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @Pericles
    (Bryan Caplan is poison.)

    So, basically, if society is at most 1% black, then the blacks will do comparatively well, unless they congregate. Well, perhaps that could be used as policy guidance.
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  8. The Bajau people are really quite interesting. They were selected by their waters. Can you imagine people around the North Sea developing natural adaptations for skin-diving? No it is too damn cold. How about the Dead Sea? Nothing that qualifies as food is living in it.

    If different waters can change our DNA, it should be quite obvious that different soils can also. And yet so many still think people are interchangeable. And they want to stake civilization on it.

    Read More
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  9. Reading Bershidsky’s article on Orban is a painful reminder of how terrible coverage of CEE is in the general Western press – not because Leonid’s article is bad, but precisely the opposite. Even for someone who disagrees with Orban, he manages to do so intelligently while also acknowledging the real issues underpinning Orban’s success. That feat is almost impossible to find in the mainstream Western press these days.

    I also don’t think the fact that Bershidsky being Eastern European is unrelated to this capability, a capability which so many of his colleagues apparently lack.

    It’s not even just EE. It also dovetails with my previous lament about so much of Western coverage of China being atrocious and shallow. Most reporters on elite newspapers are not even ethnic Chinese, fewer still are fluent in Mandarin. This for the world’s biggest (by PPP) economy. If even a much more important country like China is treated in such a careless and ignorant manner, what hope does Hungary have? Western so-called ‘experts’ of Russia sometimes don’t even feel like they need to know Russian either.

    I am not old enough to know how it was in the earlier days but I find it hard to believe that standards were this sloppy before. It seems your actual domain expertise matters less and less and what truly matters is your ideological conformity and little else. Even as someone who ideologically disagrees with Bershidsky, he is a pleasure to read nonetheless. That’s as high a compliment I can give a journalist, especially in the hysterical climate we live in today.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Duke of Qin
    There are plenty of Chinese that now cover the country for the elite Western press, at least if twitter press feeds is anything to go by. They just all happen to be Chinese women in relationships with Western men or outright homosexuals; also likely in relationships with Western men.

    So what you get is pure traitorous bio-leninist drivel written by foreign trained fifth columnists.

    As Steve Sailer noted, the media, due to it's surfeit of women who gravitate towards the industry is much more prone towards sexual abuse than traditionally male dominated sectors. Counterintuively, the more women there are working there, the more likely men in a position of power are going to take advange of it.

    The English language press in China and really the entire Far East bureaus of Western media depends on a stable of local compradors and fixers due to lack of language facility. These overwhelmingly happen to be pretty ambitious young women who speak English and like the hordes of talented young girls flocking to New York or LA to make it into the big leagues, working for the prestige Western Press is a huge status bump for them. The editors in charge are your average clueless middle aged guys transported to the Far East and their hiring decisions are driven primarily by their penises. Accomodating sexy young things who pander to their ideologies get hired, men don't. This is how the Western media works in Asia.
    , @jeppo
    I though this passage comparing levels of corruption in Hungary and Russia was interesting:

    Even on this, though, there are important differences between Russia and Hungary. Toth estimates that 15 to 24 percent of government procurement is corrupt. In Russia in the first half of 2017, the Finance Ministry found that 42.5 percent of the total amount of government-owned companies' procurement contracts was distributed without a competitive procedure at all -- a clear indication that these are corrupt deals. According to Martin, the overall share of corrupt and cronyist business in the Hungarian economy is between 5 and 10 percent; in Russia, according to a 2015 estimate by Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov, corruption causes an annual loss of 10 to 20 percent of official economic output.

    Russia, in other words, is far more deeply corrupt than Hungary. One reason for this is that, as all the NGO experts I've talked to in Budapest have told me, Hungarian courts are still independent and not afraid to rub the government the wrong way. Another is that low-level corruption visible to citizens is virtually non-existent compared to post-Soviet countries. Finally, politics are still competitive, and that places a natural limit on how bold stealing can be.

    According to Bershidsky, an independent judiciary, competitive politics, and little social tolerance for blatant corrupt practices are why Hungary is so much less corrupt than Russia.

    Both nations are outside the semi-mythical Hajnal line, but if anything this probably plays *against* national stereotypes, with the crafty, conniving Magyar usually deemed less trustworthy than the thick but earnest Slav.

    According to the CPI index, Hungary is the 57th least corrupt country out of 176 measured, while Russia is 131st.

    Hungary clusters with its neighbors Croatia, Romania and Slovakia in the rankings, while Russia clusters with nearby Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Moldova.

    So the post-communist world is basically divided between countries with "Visegrad" or "Three Seas" levels of corruption, and those with "Eurasian" levels.

    It seems obvious that the standards imposed by membership in NATO and the EU have helped clean up Hungary and other similar countries, compared to no such change in Russia et al.

    How can Russia maintain its geopolitical dominance in the region when the inherent corruption of Putinism is compared with the relative transparency of a competing ideology, Orbanism? Who would choose the former over the latter, and why?

    Russia's transnational bloc (the Eurasian Union) will have a hard enough time keeping its few members in the fold, much less attracting new ones, when the relatively law-abiding and prosperous Visegrad/Three Seas bloc beckons.

    The Russian leadership offers no compelling reason why the rest of Eastern Europe shouldn't join NATO and the EU. One day the Russian people might even rise up and demand it, against the wishes of the "Russian" elite.

    Orban will be remembered as a (or *the*) visionary statesman of his age, a prophet of the nationalist-populist revolution sweeping the West. Putin will be remembered for presiding over a fin-de-siècle era of corruption and stagnation, like a latter-day Brezhnev or Louis XVI.
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  10. One of my themes I’ve been running with is Chinese elites vs Indian elites. The former being much more independent-minded. We got another example just this week.

    Alibaba’s Jack Ma says nations need own semiconductor technology to sidestep US control

    Some background: ZTE phones were banned from the US just last week. ZTE’s phones are also-rans. It is their networking equipment which is bringing in the big bucks. They are also tight with the Chinese security establishment – just as Amazon is working for the CIA and other SV firms have enmeshed themselves with various USG entities.

    There’s now rumors of an impending investigation into Huawei, which would accelerate this process even faster.

    But truth to be told, the Chinese push started way before the recent controversy. China has committed $150 billion USD to build up their domestic semi-conductor industry. What Ma is referring to is actually the chips themselves, such as those sold by Qualcomm or ARM technology (technically owned by Japan’s Softbank now, but Japan itself is a Western colony). So we have a multi-layered approach here. On the one hand, the actual industrial capacity to manufacture chips. Today three countries basically dominate. It’s the US(Intel and GloFo), Taiwan(TSMC) and Korea (Samsung). They may have small manufacturing factories scattered across the globe, but the core R&D is done in those three countries. Everyone else is basically unimportant. China will now try to be the fourth major player.

    On top of that, it is also trying to break into the chips business. I’ve noted befor e that they are working to catch-up fast in the CPU sphere, with loose talk about GPUs also being developed. Doing small chips is obviously crucial as we head into the 5G era.

    Now what does India do? Flipkart, one of the few ‘domestic’ e-commerce firms which has the scale to push domestic innovation is now locked in an internal squabble over to which American firm to sell out to. There was talk about doing a protective policy, á la China, but this fell flat. Indian elites are far too Westernised for that to happen.

    Unz published a few articles on Indian-Americans. The common theme was a lamentation over their leftism. I’m not American, so I wouldn’t know. But it is clear that the Indian-American diaspora has a huge impact on the Indian domestic elites. And their integration into the Western echelons, subservient mandarins who work for companies that they do not own (Nadella and Pichai being the two clearest examples) re-inforces this service mindset. Realistically, only very big countries will be able to create a panoply of tech companies that can compete on a global scale. This is also partly why Europe has failed. Intra-European goods trade (German strength) is very liberalised. Intra-European services trade (German weakness) isn’t. As long as European trade remains a patchwork in this manner, and as long as we have a ‘single market’ full of bureaucratic exemptions, this will not change. Therefore, only 3 countries have a realistic chance to create numerous global tech behemoths, and India is the third of them. Hence why I care about this topic.

    Finally, isn’t it ironic – and telling – that the most famous Chinese tech people are owner-entrepreneurs like Jack Ma or Pony Ma(Tencent)? The most famous Indian tech people are CEOs of US firms that they themselves do not own. The biggest domestic Indian tech firm, Flipkart, will now sell out to either Walmart or Amazon. It’s depressing. I’d certainly want even more non-Western rivals, which would mean even more competition and options for those of us who want a pluralistic tech landscape where the whims of the USG and the SJW culture of America is the dominant trendline. I had hoped for India but it seems its elites are far too compliant and oriented to being supplicants. China it is.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    America suddenly moving quite decisively to protect its high technology industry from China makes the overall failure to protect America's industrial base over the past half century very depressing. Within my lifetime the USA was the world's largest producer of machine tools, but now it's only number six. Many other examples. As Admiral Martyanov likes to remind us, there is more to technology than semiconductors and software.

    There's more to technological independence an indigenous semiconductor design and fabrication industry. The capital equipment and materials needed for semiconductor manufacturing all originate in the United States and Japan (sole exception being the Dutch firm ASML). Semiconductor silicon, for instance, is only available from Shin Etsu Chemical (Monsanto and Wacker Chemie exited the market in the 90s).

    India has more of a nationalistic mindset than you think. The Indian government launched the Make in India campaign in 2014 to encourage indigenous manufacturing and innovation after India's electronics imports exceeded its oil imports for the first time.

    http://www.makeinindia.com/home

    India has historically had little success attempt to match foreign technology. In the defense sector where it has tried the hardest there's an unending list of debacles like the Tejas light fighter and the Arjun tank.

    But yes, allowing Flipkart to be sold to Americans and take a perverse pride in acting as indentured coolies for Silizog Valley oligarchs is not helping.

    Prichai and Nadella are also incompetent to boot. Microsoft's revenue is now stagnant, and at Google the lunatics are taking over the asylum while Pichai's bosses fritter away the stockholders' money on an endless series of childish boondoggles. While not Indian, Apple's homo-sexual CEO Tim Cook is another mediocrity who deserves no praise. Apple's revenues are also stagnant, and before long it will be surpassed in annual net earnings by Berkshire Hathaway--a non-tech company which actually pays substantial corporate income taxes whose largest single operating unit is...a railroad.

    Microsoft needs to accept that it is now an enterprise software company whether it likes it or not. Obvious moves would be to look into acquisitions in that space such as Salesforce.com, Intuit, SAP, Oracle, etc. Alternatively it could give up on growth and massively increase its buybacks and dividend while cutting costs. There's nothing wrong with such a business model--3G Capital makes it work quite nicely.

    Google benefits from the fact that digital advertising spending continues to grow faster than the economy as a whole, but this will stop in the next decade. It needs to admit that it's just a fucking advertising platform, get rid of the nerd space camp shit, fire all the SJWs, then start looking at mass layoffs. Its enterprise products like G Suite are good and should not be abandoned, however. Google is also arguably in greater danger than Microsoft in the next decade, as the growing use of personal assistants for search provides no obvious way to sell ads (are they going to hire aging radio DJs to pitch used cars on Alexa?).

    Incidentally, what's the business plan for Waymo? Google isn't a carmaker and is unlikely to enter such a capital-intensive and competitive business. I doubt the fruitcakes, pencil necks, and sensitive souls at Google could handle an industry with competition and demanding customers to begin. Are they planning to lease the technology to traditional carmakers?

    Since I brought them up, Apple has three paths forward:

    1 - Accept that it's a luxury consumer electronics brand and start acquiring assets like Sony's consumer electronics division, Bang & Olufsen, etc. You could argue that acquiring Beats headphones showed they accept this, though the world's richest corporation getting scammed by a rapper who markets headphones to people who rob actual Apple customers is not a good sign.

    2 - Reanimate Steve Jobs so they can create new products again. And please, keep Zombie Steve Jobs away from the fruit!

    3 - The shareholder love model as suggested for Microsoft. Blow up the Hall of Doom vanity headquarters and write it off, then relocate the workers actually needed to run the company to a series of non-descript steel buildings on the outskirts of Reno. Fire Tim Cook and replace him Vince McMahon--a guy who really knows how to put on a good show. Make immediate plans to start returning the $300 billion cash hoard to shareholders.

    Bottom line is that America's largest tech companies are generally not that impressive:

    IBM - A patent troll and consulting agency masquerading as a tech company whose main product is its stock

    HP - A criminal enterprise who hates and fears its customers whose products are afterthroughts

    Amazon - A retailer and web hosting company that dabbles in media which absolutely despises profits

    Facebook - Dislike

    The real tech is at Intel and Qualcomm.
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  11. The future might be pig-brain drones hunting down Islamic terrorists all over the West.

    Read More
    • LOL: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    It’d be truly funny if it weren’t quickly becoming reality.
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  12. @songbird
    The future might be pig-brain drones hunting down Islamic terrorists all over the West.

    It’d be truly funny if it weren’t quickly becoming reality.

    Read More
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  13. I’m just interested in what coverage Hungary gets abroad. My guess is zero.

    The former (1993-2016) president of the Hungarian Swimming Federation, still active vice president of FINA, also an influential leftist media mogul (until 2009, he lost most media influence before Orbán came to power), was last week arrested (he’s been released, but has to wear a GPS device 24/7 and regularly report to police) in connection to the 1998 contract killing of another leftist media mogul. It has long been rumored that he ordered the murder (they were business rivals and personally hated each other, and of the many influential rivals of the victim, he was long rumored to have had underworld connections), so of course I’m sure he did it (the actual murderer has already been convicted a few years ago, but it was yet unknown who was behind it.

    It’s interesting because the case reached the highest political levels (obviously the then liberal minister of the interior and possibly the late socialist prime minister), and shows how shallow accusations of corruption against Orbán sound to many voters. I mean, our previous leftist elites had been literally connected to contract killing gangsters.

    The interesting thing is that due to his position in FINA, this guy, Tamás Gyárfás, is a kinda sorta international personality, but I haven’t seen much reporting on the case in the international media.

    Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record
    but I haven’t seen much reporting on the case in the international media.

    A google news search suggests that "much" could safely be replaced by "virtually any", and the "virtually" could be omitted if restricted to media that one has heard of. Are you sure you haven't misspelled his name?
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  14. @Polish Perspective
    One of my themes I've been running with is Chinese elites vs Indian elites. The former being much more independent-minded. We got another example just this week.

    Alibaba’s Jack Ma says nations need own semiconductor technology to sidestep US control

    Some background: ZTE phones were banned from the US just last week. ZTE's phones are also-rans. It is their networking equipment which is bringing in the big bucks. They are also tight with the Chinese security establishment - just as Amazon is working for the CIA and other SV firms have enmeshed themselves with various USG entities.

    There's now rumors of an impending investigation into Huawei, which would accelerate this process even faster.

    But truth to be told, the Chinese push started way before the recent controversy. China has committed $150 billion USD to build up their domestic semi-conductor industry. What Ma is referring to is actually the chips themselves, such as those sold by Qualcomm or ARM technology (technically owned by Japan's Softbank now, but Japan itself is a Western colony). So we have a multi-layered approach here. On the one hand, the actual industrial capacity to manufacture chips. Today three countries basically dominate. It's the US(Intel and GloFo), Taiwan(TSMC) and Korea (Samsung). They may have small manufacturing factories scattered across the globe, but the core R&D is done in those three countries. Everyone else is basically unimportant. China will now try to be the fourth major player.

    On top of that, it is also trying to break into the chips business. I've noted befor e that they are working to catch-up fast in the CPU sphere, with loose talk about GPUs also being developed. Doing small chips is obviously crucial as we head into the 5G era.

    Now what does India do? Flipkart, one of the few 'domestic' e-commerce firms which has the scale to push domestic innovation is now locked in an internal squabble over to which American firm to sell out to. There was talk about doing a protective policy, á la China, but this fell flat. Indian elites are far too Westernised for that to happen.

    Unz published a few articles on Indian-Americans. The common theme was a lamentation over their leftism. I'm not American, so I wouldn't know. But it is clear that the Indian-American diaspora has a huge impact on the Indian domestic elites. And their integration into the Western echelons, subservient mandarins who work for companies that they do not own (Nadella and Pichai being the two clearest examples) re-inforces this service mindset. Realistically, only very big countries will be able to create a panoply of tech companies that can compete on a global scale. This is also partly why Europe has failed. Intra-European goods trade (German strength) is very liberalised. Intra-European services trade (German weakness) isn't. As long as European trade remains a patchwork in this manner, and as long as we have a 'single market' full of bureaucratic exemptions, this will not change. Therefore, only 3 countries have a realistic chance to create numerous global tech behemoths, and India is the third of them. Hence why I care about this topic.

    Finally, isn't it ironic - and telling - that the most famous Chinese tech people are owner-entrepreneurs like Jack Ma or Pony Ma(Tencent)? The most famous Indian tech people are CEOs of US firms that they themselves do not own. The biggest domestic Indian tech firm, Flipkart, will now sell out to either Walmart or Amazon. It's depressing. I'd certainly want even more non-Western rivals, which would mean even more competition and options for those of us who want a pluralistic tech landscape where the whims of the USG and the SJW culture of America is the dominant trendline. I had hoped for India but it seems its elites are far too compliant and oriented to being supplicants. China it is.

    America suddenly moving quite decisively to protect its high technology industry from China makes the overall failure to protect America’s industrial base over the past half century very depressing. Within my lifetime the USA was the world’s largest producer of machine tools, but now it’s only number six. Many other examples. As Admiral Martyanov likes to remind us, there is more to technology than semiconductors and software.

    There’s more to technological independence an indigenous semiconductor design and fabrication industry. The capital equipment and materials needed for semiconductor manufacturing all originate in the United States and Japan (sole exception being the Dutch firm ASML). Semiconductor silicon, for instance, is only available from Shin Etsu Chemical (Monsanto and Wacker Chemie exited the market in the 90s).

    India has more of a nationalistic mindset than you think. The Indian government launched the Make in India campaign in 2014 to encourage indigenous manufacturing and innovation after India’s electronics imports exceeded its oil imports for the first time.

    http://www.makeinindia.com/home

    India has historically had little success attempt to match foreign technology. In the defense sector where it has tried the hardest there’s an unending list of debacles like the Tejas light fighter and the Arjun tank.

    But yes, allowing Flipkart to be sold to Americans and take a perverse pride in acting as indentured coolies for Silizog Valley oligarchs is not helping.

    Prichai and Nadella are also incompetent to boot. Microsoft’s revenue is now stagnant, and at Google the lunatics are taking over the asylum while Pichai’s bosses fritter away the stockholders’ money on an endless series of childish boondoggles. While not Indian, Apple’s homo-sexual CEO Tim Cook is another mediocrity who deserves no praise. Apple’s revenues are also stagnant, and before long it will be surpassed in annual net earnings by Berkshire Hathaway–a non-tech company which actually pays substantial corporate income taxes whose largest single operating unit is…a railroad.

    Microsoft needs to accept that it is now an enterprise software company whether it likes it or not. Obvious moves would be to look into acquisitions in that space such as Salesforce.com, Intuit, SAP, Oracle, etc. Alternatively it could give up on growth and massively increase its buybacks and dividend while cutting costs. There’s nothing wrong with such a business model–3G Capital makes it work quite nicely.

    Google benefits from the fact that digital advertising spending continues to grow faster than the economy as a whole, but this will stop in the next decade. It needs to admit that it’s just a fucking advertising platform, get rid of the nerd space camp shit, fire all the SJWs, then start looking at mass layoffs. Its enterprise products like G Suite are good and should not be abandoned, however. Google is also arguably in greater danger than Microsoft in the next decade, as the growing use of personal assistants for search provides no obvious way to sell ads (are they going to hire aging radio DJs to pitch used cars on Alexa?).

    Incidentally, what’s the business plan for Waymo? Google isn’t a carmaker and is unlikely to enter such a capital-intensive and competitive business. I doubt the fruitcakes, pencil necks, and sensitive souls at Google could handle an industry with competition and demanding customers to begin. Are they planning to lease the technology to traditional carmakers?

    Since I brought them up, Apple has three paths forward:

    1 – Accept that it’s a luxury consumer electronics brand and start acquiring assets like Sony’s consumer electronics division, Bang & Olufsen, etc. You could argue that acquiring Beats headphones showed they accept this, though the world’s richest corporation getting scammed by a rapper who markets headphones to people who rob actual Apple customers is not a good sign.

    2 – Reanimate Steve Jobs so they can create new products again. And please, keep Zombie Steve Jobs away from the fruit!

    3 – The shareholder love model as suggested for Microsoft. Blow up the Hall of Doom vanity headquarters and write it off, then relocate the workers actually needed to run the company to a series of non-descript steel buildings on the outskirts of Reno. Fire Tim Cook and replace him Vince McMahon–a guy who really knows how to put on a good show. Make immediate plans to start returning the $300 billion cash hoard to shareholders.

    Bottom line is that America’s largest tech companies are generally not that impressive:

    IBM – A patent troll and consulting agency masquerading as a tech company whose main product is its stock

    HP – A criminal enterprise who hates and fears its customers whose products are afterthroughts

    Amazon – A retailer and web hosting company that dabbles in media which absolutely despises profits

    Facebook – Dislike

    The real tech is at Intel and Qualcomm.

    Read More
    • Replies: @songbird
    What exactly do you have against a fruitarian, zombie Steve Jobs?

    Better fruit than people's brains. Besides, they could reunite the two Steves.
    , @neutral

    Within my lifetime the USA was the world’s largest producer of machine tools, but now it’s only number six.
     
    None of that really matters in the end. When you have population replacement (with third worlders like you) you have foreigners producing the goods or services in a foreign land or foreigners producing in what was once your own land, its the same thing.

    Only a cuckservative can be dumb enough to convince himself that an Indian/Chinese person producing machine tools in America is patriotism, and them producing it outside the US is a threat to "national security" (you cannot have national security when you don't have a nation).

    , @anonymous coward

    Are they planning to lease the technology to traditional carmakers?
     
    No, they plan to give it out at a loss and then recoup the costs by spying on your driving patterns. (The same criminal scheme that successfully made Android dominant.)
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  15. The thing about lasers is it opens up the possibility of laser based missile defense.

    But don’t get too excited, the Pentagon is saying not to expect deployed laser defense against mid range rockets/missiles until 2070.

    The greatest thing about bullet proof missile defense is it would neutralize nuclear weapons so for the first time since WWII it would be possible for large states to have conventional conflicts. We have all this cool military tech but we never get to see it used so maybe in the future we finally will.

    edit: SyrianGirl or whatever she calls herself now is quite the piece of ass

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    for the first time since WWII it would be possible for large states to have conventional conflicts
     
    Nothing is stopping us from having conventional conflicts even today, with today's technology. Two points:

    a) Mass wholesale slaughter by nuclear bombs makes no military sense.

    b) Tactical nukes are less powerful than huge conventional bombs.

    The arms race for huge nukes is a historical artifact -- in the 60's and 70's precision-guided missiles didn't exist, so a lack of precision had to be compensated with raw destructive power.

    Today huge nuclear bombs make no sense when you can delver a small tactical nuke directly to the target.

    (Nukes were always a means to destroy the enemy's command centers, not a way to kill huge numbers of civilians.)
    , @RadicalCenter
    You’re hoping for a major conventional war so we can see cool weapons used??
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  16. @Polish Perspective
    Reading Bershidsky's article on Orban is a painful reminder of how terrible coverage of CEE is in the general Western press - not because Leonid's article is bad, but precisely the opposite. Even for someone who disagrees with Orban, he manages to do so intelligently while also acknowledging the real issues underpinning Orban's success. That feat is almost impossible to find in the mainstream Western press these days.

    I also don't think the fact that Bershidsky being Eastern European is unrelated to this capability, a capability which so many of his colleagues apparently lack.

    It's not even just EE. It also dovetails with my previous lament about so much of Western coverage of China being atrocious and shallow. Most reporters on elite newspapers are not even ethnic Chinese, fewer still are fluent in Mandarin. This for the world's biggest (by PPP) economy. If even a much more important country like China is treated in such a careless and ignorant manner, what hope does Hungary have? Western so-called 'experts' of Russia sometimes don't even feel like they need to know Russian either.

    I am not old enough to know how it was in the earlier days but I find it hard to believe that standards were this sloppy before. It seems your actual domain expertise matters less and less and what truly matters is your ideological conformity and little else. Even as someone who ideologically disagrees with Bershidsky, he is a pleasure to read nonetheless. That's as high a compliment I can give a journalist, especially in the hysterical climate we live in today.

    There are plenty of Chinese that now cover the country for the elite Western press, at least if twitter press feeds is anything to go by. They just all happen to be Chinese women in relationships with Western men or outright homosexuals; also likely in relationships with Western men.

    So what you get is pure traitorous bio-leninist drivel written by foreign trained fifth columnists.

    As Steve Sailer noted, the media, due to it’s surfeit of women who gravitate towards the industry is much more prone towards sexual abuse than traditionally male dominated sectors. Counterintuively, the more women there are working there, the more likely men in a position of power are going to take advange of it.

    The English language press in China and really the entire Far East bureaus of Western media depends on a stable of local compradors and fixers due to lack of language facility. These overwhelmingly happen to be pretty ambitious young women who speak English and like the hordes of talented young girls flocking to New York or LA to make it into the big leagues, working for the prestige Western Press is a huge status bump for them. The editors in charge are your average clueless middle aged guys transported to the Far East and their hiring decisions are driven primarily by their penises. Accomodating sexy young things who pander to their ideologies get hired, men don’t. This is how the Western media works in Asia.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Polish Perspective
    Most of the bureau chiefs for Greater China are still white men with minimal to no knowledge of Mandarin, though. I agree with you re: hiring patterns and how we end up with a lot of Chinese women with self-hatred (also reflected in their marriage patterns) as lower-tier reporters to their white male chiefs.

    All of this means that quality of Chinese coverage is horrendous. For the English language, I do prefer reading SCMP now that it is in Chinese hands again. Hilariously enough, the NYT wrote a whining article about this and how reflects in their coverage.

    A Hong Kong Newspaper on a Mission to Promote China's Soft Power

    I think a fair criticism of China since the reform era is that it has been too overly focused on 'hard' convergence (industrial, economic, military) and too negligent of 'soft' convergence, primarily on cultural influence etc. To their credit, the Chinese leadership seem to understand this (hence the promotion of Confucius institutes, among other things). Though they are still somewhat inept at this. Confucius institutes are now being targeted in the Western press for being dens of spies and subversion with very weak pushback. The Chinese also don't seem to understand, or at least up until now, that the media is a far greater vector of influence than formal institutes.

    Nevertheless, they seem to be gradually learning. Buying newspapers would go a long way; let's hope SCMP is not the last one. So far that's a fairly 'defensive' buy since it is located in Greater China and focuses on Chinese affairs. I'm sure there would be huge amount of whining if China made more offensive buys deeper in Western territory, but I would certainly want to see it happening. It would also mean that China would be on the offensive for once with regards to soft influence. Something that is long overdue.

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  17. @Thorfinnsson
    America suddenly moving quite decisively to protect its high technology industry from China makes the overall failure to protect America's industrial base over the past half century very depressing. Within my lifetime the USA was the world's largest producer of machine tools, but now it's only number six. Many other examples. As Admiral Martyanov likes to remind us, there is more to technology than semiconductors and software.

    There's more to technological independence an indigenous semiconductor design and fabrication industry. The capital equipment and materials needed for semiconductor manufacturing all originate in the United States and Japan (sole exception being the Dutch firm ASML). Semiconductor silicon, for instance, is only available from Shin Etsu Chemical (Monsanto and Wacker Chemie exited the market in the 90s).

    India has more of a nationalistic mindset than you think. The Indian government launched the Make in India campaign in 2014 to encourage indigenous manufacturing and innovation after India's electronics imports exceeded its oil imports for the first time.

    http://www.makeinindia.com/home

    India has historically had little success attempt to match foreign technology. In the defense sector where it has tried the hardest there's an unending list of debacles like the Tejas light fighter and the Arjun tank.

    But yes, allowing Flipkart to be sold to Americans and take a perverse pride in acting as indentured coolies for Silizog Valley oligarchs is not helping.

    Prichai and Nadella are also incompetent to boot. Microsoft's revenue is now stagnant, and at Google the lunatics are taking over the asylum while Pichai's bosses fritter away the stockholders' money on an endless series of childish boondoggles. While not Indian, Apple's homo-sexual CEO Tim Cook is another mediocrity who deserves no praise. Apple's revenues are also stagnant, and before long it will be surpassed in annual net earnings by Berkshire Hathaway--a non-tech company which actually pays substantial corporate income taxes whose largest single operating unit is...a railroad.

    Microsoft needs to accept that it is now an enterprise software company whether it likes it or not. Obvious moves would be to look into acquisitions in that space such as Salesforce.com, Intuit, SAP, Oracle, etc. Alternatively it could give up on growth and massively increase its buybacks and dividend while cutting costs. There's nothing wrong with such a business model--3G Capital makes it work quite nicely.

    Google benefits from the fact that digital advertising spending continues to grow faster than the economy as a whole, but this will stop in the next decade. It needs to admit that it's just a fucking advertising platform, get rid of the nerd space camp shit, fire all the SJWs, then start looking at mass layoffs. Its enterprise products like G Suite are good and should not be abandoned, however. Google is also arguably in greater danger than Microsoft in the next decade, as the growing use of personal assistants for search provides no obvious way to sell ads (are they going to hire aging radio DJs to pitch used cars on Alexa?).

    Incidentally, what's the business plan for Waymo? Google isn't a carmaker and is unlikely to enter such a capital-intensive and competitive business. I doubt the fruitcakes, pencil necks, and sensitive souls at Google could handle an industry with competition and demanding customers to begin. Are they planning to lease the technology to traditional carmakers?

    Since I brought them up, Apple has three paths forward:

    1 - Accept that it's a luxury consumer electronics brand and start acquiring assets like Sony's consumer electronics division, Bang & Olufsen, etc. You could argue that acquiring Beats headphones showed they accept this, though the world's richest corporation getting scammed by a rapper who markets headphones to people who rob actual Apple customers is not a good sign.

    2 - Reanimate Steve Jobs so they can create new products again. And please, keep Zombie Steve Jobs away from the fruit!

    3 - The shareholder love model as suggested for Microsoft. Blow up the Hall of Doom vanity headquarters and write it off, then relocate the workers actually needed to run the company to a series of non-descript steel buildings on the outskirts of Reno. Fire Tim Cook and replace him Vince McMahon--a guy who really knows how to put on a good show. Make immediate plans to start returning the $300 billion cash hoard to shareholders.

    Bottom line is that America's largest tech companies are generally not that impressive:

    IBM - A patent troll and consulting agency masquerading as a tech company whose main product is its stock

    HP - A criminal enterprise who hates and fears its customers whose products are afterthroughts

    Amazon - A retailer and web hosting company that dabbles in media which absolutely despises profits

    Facebook - Dislike

    The real tech is at Intel and Qualcomm.

    What exactly do you have against a fruitarian, zombie Steve Jobs?

    Better fruit than people’s brains. Besides, they could reunite the two Steves.

    Read More
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  18. @Thorfinnsson
    America suddenly moving quite decisively to protect its high technology industry from China makes the overall failure to protect America's industrial base over the past half century very depressing. Within my lifetime the USA was the world's largest producer of machine tools, but now it's only number six. Many other examples. As Admiral Martyanov likes to remind us, there is more to technology than semiconductors and software.

    There's more to technological independence an indigenous semiconductor design and fabrication industry. The capital equipment and materials needed for semiconductor manufacturing all originate in the United States and Japan (sole exception being the Dutch firm ASML). Semiconductor silicon, for instance, is only available from Shin Etsu Chemical (Monsanto and Wacker Chemie exited the market in the 90s).

    India has more of a nationalistic mindset than you think. The Indian government launched the Make in India campaign in 2014 to encourage indigenous manufacturing and innovation after India's electronics imports exceeded its oil imports for the first time.

    http://www.makeinindia.com/home

    India has historically had little success attempt to match foreign technology. In the defense sector where it has tried the hardest there's an unending list of debacles like the Tejas light fighter and the Arjun tank.

    But yes, allowing Flipkart to be sold to Americans and take a perverse pride in acting as indentured coolies for Silizog Valley oligarchs is not helping.

    Prichai and Nadella are also incompetent to boot. Microsoft's revenue is now stagnant, and at Google the lunatics are taking over the asylum while Pichai's bosses fritter away the stockholders' money on an endless series of childish boondoggles. While not Indian, Apple's homo-sexual CEO Tim Cook is another mediocrity who deserves no praise. Apple's revenues are also stagnant, and before long it will be surpassed in annual net earnings by Berkshire Hathaway--a non-tech company which actually pays substantial corporate income taxes whose largest single operating unit is...a railroad.

    Microsoft needs to accept that it is now an enterprise software company whether it likes it or not. Obvious moves would be to look into acquisitions in that space such as Salesforce.com, Intuit, SAP, Oracle, etc. Alternatively it could give up on growth and massively increase its buybacks and dividend while cutting costs. There's nothing wrong with such a business model--3G Capital makes it work quite nicely.

    Google benefits from the fact that digital advertising spending continues to grow faster than the economy as a whole, but this will stop in the next decade. It needs to admit that it's just a fucking advertising platform, get rid of the nerd space camp shit, fire all the SJWs, then start looking at mass layoffs. Its enterprise products like G Suite are good and should not be abandoned, however. Google is also arguably in greater danger than Microsoft in the next decade, as the growing use of personal assistants for search provides no obvious way to sell ads (are they going to hire aging radio DJs to pitch used cars on Alexa?).

    Incidentally, what's the business plan for Waymo? Google isn't a carmaker and is unlikely to enter such a capital-intensive and competitive business. I doubt the fruitcakes, pencil necks, and sensitive souls at Google could handle an industry with competition and demanding customers to begin. Are they planning to lease the technology to traditional carmakers?

    Since I brought them up, Apple has three paths forward:

    1 - Accept that it's a luxury consumer electronics brand and start acquiring assets like Sony's consumer electronics division, Bang & Olufsen, etc. You could argue that acquiring Beats headphones showed they accept this, though the world's richest corporation getting scammed by a rapper who markets headphones to people who rob actual Apple customers is not a good sign.

    2 - Reanimate Steve Jobs so they can create new products again. And please, keep Zombie Steve Jobs away from the fruit!

    3 - The shareholder love model as suggested for Microsoft. Blow up the Hall of Doom vanity headquarters and write it off, then relocate the workers actually needed to run the company to a series of non-descript steel buildings on the outskirts of Reno. Fire Tim Cook and replace him Vince McMahon--a guy who really knows how to put on a good show. Make immediate plans to start returning the $300 billion cash hoard to shareholders.

    Bottom line is that America's largest tech companies are generally not that impressive:

    IBM - A patent troll and consulting agency masquerading as a tech company whose main product is its stock

    HP - A criminal enterprise who hates and fears its customers whose products are afterthroughts

    Amazon - A retailer and web hosting company that dabbles in media which absolutely despises profits

    Facebook - Dislike

    The real tech is at Intel and Qualcomm.

    Within my lifetime the USA was the world’s largest producer of machine tools, but now it’s only number six.

    None of that really matters in the end. When you have population replacement (with third worlders like you) you have foreigners producing the goods or services in a foreign land or foreigners producing in what was once your own land, its the same thing.

    Only a cuckservative can be dumb enough to convince himself that an Indian/Chinese person producing machine tools in America is patriotism, and them producing it outside the US is a threat to “national security” (you cannot have national security when you don’t have a nation).

    Read More
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  19. @reiner Tor
    I’m just interested in what coverage Hungary gets abroad. My guess is zero.

    The former (1993-2016) president of the Hungarian Swimming Federation, still active vice president of FINA, also an influential leftist media mogul (until 2009, he lost most media influence before Orbán came to power), was last week arrested (he’s been released, but has to wear a GPS device 24/7 and regularly report to police) in connection to the 1998 contract killing of another leftist media mogul. It has long been rumored that he ordered the murder (they were business rivals and personally hated each other, and of the many influential rivals of the victim, he was long rumored to have had underworld connections), so of course I’m sure he did it (the actual murderer has already been convicted a few years ago, but it was yet unknown who was behind it.

    It’s interesting because the case reached the highest political levels (obviously the then liberal minister of the interior and possibly the late socialist prime minister), and shows how shallow accusations of corruption against Orbán sound to many voters. I mean, our previous leftist elites had been literally connected to contract killing gangsters.

    The interesting thing is that due to his position in FINA, this guy, Tamás Gyárfás, is a kinda sorta international personality, but I haven’t seen much reporting on the case in the international media.

    but I haven’t seen much reporting on the case in the international media.

    A google news search suggests that “much” could safely be replaced by “virtually any”, and the “virtually” could be omitted if restricted to media that one has heard of. Are you sure you haven’t misspelled his name?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Greasy William
    1. What are your thoughts on the age of the earth and the age of the universe?

    2. Do you feel like the level of veneration that Mary gets in the Catholic Church crosses the line into outright worship?

    3. Do you accept Biblical innerancy?
    , @reiner Tor
    No, I didn’t misspell his name. Tamás Gyárfás.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-swimming-hungary-gyarfas/hungarian-swimming-executive-denies-murder-of-business-rival-idUSKBN1HP2Z3

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/ex-head-of-hungary-swim-federation-denies-murder-case-link/2018/04/18/66a32a8e-4310-11e8-b2dc-b0a403e4720a_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.d299b13b56af

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/hungary-ex-chief-of-swim-federation-held-in-1998-slaying/2018/04/17/2f1924de-4283-11e8-b2dc-b0a403e4720a_story.html?utm_term=.62588e67b2b6

    http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-04/21/c_137125959.htm

    https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1064352/fina-executive-member-gyarfas-denies-ordering-murder-of-rival-in-1998

    Okay, that last one is a totally obscure source no one has ever heard of. The guy he had murdered, János Fenyő, was Jewish. I’m unsure about Gyárfás himself.
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  20. @for-the-record
    but I haven’t seen much reporting on the case in the international media.

    A google news search suggests that "much" could safely be replaced by "virtually any", and the "virtually" could be omitted if restricted to media that one has heard of. Are you sure you haven't misspelled his name?

    1. What are your thoughts on the age of the earth and the age of the universe?

    2. Do you feel like the level of veneration that Mary gets in the Catholic Church crosses the line into outright worship?

    3. Do you accept Biblical innerancy?

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    Are you suffering from some crisis of faith (considering conversion to Christianity?) or why are you asking this?
    , @Seamus Day

    1. What are your thoughts on the age of the earth and the age of the universe?

    2. Do you feel like the level of veneration that Mary gets in the Catholic Church crosses the line into outright worship?

    3. Do you accept Biblical innerancy?
     
    3) This is a Protestant idea, and a relatively recent idea at that (19th century). It is certainly not part of historical, liturgical Christianity. The idea of biblical inerrancy rests on the fundamental Protestant principle of sola scriptura, or the idea that the Bible is the pillar and foundation of Christian truth. Which is silly, because the Bible itself says, “the Church is the pillar and bulwark of truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15, RSV). And of course, the Church existed prior to the canon of scripture and it was the Church who determined, infallibly, what books would be included in the biblical canon (Deuterocanonical books, e.g., Sirach, et al.) and which would excluded (Pseudepigraphal works, e.g., Gospel of Peter). All Catholic doctrine is derived from the Bible, to include the Assumption of Mary. And the Catholic Church has no less love for the Bible than Protestants, after all, it is the Catholic Church’s book.

    2) Why does the Catholic Church exalt Mary so? Because God did. Because God’s angel did. And why does she deserve the angel’s title, “full of grace”? Because Mary is as full of grace as a creature can be. She is triply united to the triune God. The Father’s perfect daughter, the Son’s perfect mother, and the Spirit’s perfect spouse. Mary is the most beautiful mere creature that God ever made. To exalt her is to exalt her divine Creator, Whose spiritual daughter she was, and to exalt her divine Son Whose human mother she was and Whose humanity she procreated, and to exalt her divine Spouse the Holy Spirit Who conceived Him in her womb. The Catholic Church looks at her as the supreme merely human handmaid of the Trinitarian God.

    1) I think modern cosmology has the Big Bang occurring 10^9 years ago. And it was a Belgian Catholic priest and theoretical physicist, Fr. Georges Lemaître, who is created as the progenitor of the Big Bang theory. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lemaître

    Here’s a talk that met interest you Greasy:
    https://youtu.be/8F7eIrh80V8
    , @RadicalCenter
    1. Whatever we discover through the application of reason and the scientific method, is whatever we discover, about the age of our planet. Whenever God made it, he made it.

    2. No.

    3. No.

    It’s a book written by fallible men who had their own prejudices, ulterior motives, and flaws. It contains philosophical insights, useful observations about human nature and behavior, and excellent advice about how to treat each other that tends to lead towards a more harmonious, kinder society and world.

    But it also contains, in the Old Testament, some boring and irrelevant ancient genealogies, vicious Jewish-supremacist celebration of cruelty in the course of military victory (joyous to knash the heads of your enemies’ infants against the rocks), and repetitive conclusory flowery language that amounts to little.

    The Bible: some of the most beautiful ideas and workable rules developed, drowning in nonsense and things that don’t matter at all.

    Put some of the OT together with most of the NT, and we have a good starting point for organizing our lives and societies. But there are other sources with useful insights, observations, and advice, and we should consider and debate them as well, using whatever works that is not inconsistent with our moral values.
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  21. @Greasy William
    1. What are your thoughts on the age of the earth and the age of the universe?

    2. Do you feel like the level of veneration that Mary gets in the Catholic Church crosses the line into outright worship?

    3. Do you accept Biblical innerancy?

    Are you suffering from some crisis of faith (considering conversion to Christianity?) or why are you asking this?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Greasy William
    Not a crisis of faith but I was raised Christian so I have always maintained an interest in Christian theology.

    Last week when I became interested in Fatima I started reading more Christian materials so I'd like to hear the opinions of what a believer thinks.
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  22. @German_reader
    Are you suffering from some crisis of faith (considering conversion to Christianity?) or why are you asking this?

    Not a crisis of faith but I was raised Christian so I have always maintained an interest in Christian theology.

    Last week when I became interested in Fatima I started reading more Christian materials so I’d like to hear the opinions of what a believer thinks.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader

    I was raised Christian
     
    That genuinely surprises me.
    Not sure you'll find many believers among AK's commentariat, but maybe someone will answer your questions, could be interesting.
    , @for-the-record
    Last week when I became interested in Fatima I started reading more Christian materials so I’d like to hear the opinions of what a believer thinks.

    Then wherefore asketh thou me?

    When did I ever say I was a "believer", because I'm not, at least in the conventional sense. What I tend to believe is that we're the result of a laboratory experiment carried out in another universe (or dimension), with competing teams trying to influence the outcome.
    , @for-the-record
    Not a crisis of faith but I was raised Christian so I have always maintained an interest in Christian theology.

    So what made you convert to the religion whose adherents willingly, and openly, accepted responsibility for shedding the blood of your former mentor (Matthew 27:24-25)?
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  23. Needless to say, Russia was quite lucky never to have established any African colonies. Meanwhile Germany was lucky to have lost its colonies during WWI, but its ruling class squandered the one outcome of WWI which could be considered positive for Germany.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser
    Adding the settler colony Süd-West-Afrika to Germany would be nice and deserved after German soldiers fought and died where.

    http://abload.de/img/2015-11-0813.45.37lnu58.jpg

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  24. @Greasy William
    Not a crisis of faith but I was raised Christian so I have always maintained an interest in Christian theology.

    Last week when I became interested in Fatima I started reading more Christian materials so I'd like to hear the opinions of what a believer thinks.

    I was raised Christian

    That genuinely surprises me.
    Not sure you’ll find many believers among AK’s commentariat, but maybe someone will answer your questions, could be interesting.

    Read More
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  25. Lasers:
    if the graph in the article is right, they got to 1PW back in approx 1995 and are hoping to get to 10PW in 2018.
    That isn’t a factor of 10 in 3 years, it is a factor of 10 in 23 years (a hoped for factor).
    Yet they talk about a further factor of 100 imminently.

    Pity. 30PW (and much higher frequencies) are what they reckon might achieve fusion – but I see no comment on whether there exists the electricity power generation capacity to start that off.

    graph:

    Read More
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  26. @German_reader
    I really wonder if that Reddit comment is genuine...are there really members of the general public who are that anti-Russia?

    NBF: Laser are getting ten times more powerful every 3 years, soon Exawatt lasers will unlock fusion and more
     
    That sounds really interesting, obviously I don't understand the technical details, but anything about nuclear fusion is exciting.
    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    Wow, disturbingly deranged comments.
    Definitely not rational, hard to understand these people.
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  27. @Anatoly Karlin
    Yes.

    Here's perhaps the ur-example: https://np.reddit.com/r/Enough_Sanders_Spam/comments/5mttx2/fuck_russia/

    Wow, disturbingly deranged comments.
    Definitely not rational, hard to understand these people.

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  28. @Greasy William
    1. What are your thoughts on the age of the earth and the age of the universe?

    2. Do you feel like the level of veneration that Mary gets in the Catholic Church crosses the line into outright worship?

    3. Do you accept Biblical innerancy?

    1. What are your thoughts on the age of the earth and the age of the universe?

    2. Do you feel like the level of veneration that Mary gets in the Catholic Church crosses the line into outright worship?

    3. Do you accept Biblical innerancy?

    3) This is a Protestant idea, and a relatively recent idea at that (19th century). It is certainly not part of historical, liturgical Christianity. The idea of biblical inerrancy rests on the fundamental Protestant principle of sola scriptura, or the idea that the Bible is the pillar and foundation of Christian truth. Which is silly, because the Bible itself says, “the Church is the pillar and bulwark of truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15, RSV). And of course, the Church existed prior to the canon of scripture and it was the Church who determined, infallibly, what books would be included in the biblical canon (Deuterocanonical books, e.g., Sirach, et al.) and which would excluded (Pseudepigraphal works, e.g., Gospel of Peter). All Catholic doctrine is derived from the Bible, to include the Assumption of Mary. And the Catholic Church has no less love for the Bible than Protestants, after all, it is the Catholic Church’s book.

    2) Why does the Catholic Church exalt Mary so? Because God did. Because God’s angel did. And why does she deserve the angel’s title, “full of grace”? Because Mary is as full of grace as a creature can be. She is triply united to the triune God. The Father’s perfect daughter, the Son’s perfect mother, and the Spirit’s perfect spouse. Mary is the most beautiful mere creature that God ever made. To exalt her is to exalt her divine Creator, Whose spiritual daughter she was, and to exalt her divine Son Whose human mother she was and Whose humanity she procreated, and to exalt her divine Spouse the Holy Spirit Who conceived Him in her womb. The Catholic Church looks at her as the supreme merely human handmaid of the Trinitarian God.

    1) I think modern cosmology has the Big Bang occurring 10^9 years ago. And it was a Belgian Catholic priest and theoretical physicist, Fr. Georges Lemaître, who is created as the progenitor of the Big Bang theory. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lemaître

    Here’s a talk that met interest you Greasy:

    Read More
    • Replies: @Greasy William
    thanks.

    I did not realize the Catholic Church rejected Biblical innerancy.
    , @Seamus Day
    No, I didn’t address the Catholic position on inerrancy. Just critiqued the Protestant position on sola scriptura. The Catholic position holds the Bible to be inerrant and it contains truth without error. But inerrancy does not preclude the use of allegory or parable or metaphor or poetry or any number of expressions of thought which are not intended to be understood as literal truth.
    , @Thorfinnsson
    Filthy papist.
    , @RadicalCenter
    The OT is specifically the Catholic church’s book? Dubious.

    What in the OT was even written after jesus’s birth?
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  29. @Seamus Day

    1. What are your thoughts on the age of the earth and the age of the universe?

    2. Do you feel like the level of veneration that Mary gets in the Catholic Church crosses the line into outright worship?

    3. Do you accept Biblical innerancy?
     
    3) This is a Protestant idea, and a relatively recent idea at that (19th century). It is certainly not part of historical, liturgical Christianity. The idea of biblical inerrancy rests on the fundamental Protestant principle of sola scriptura, or the idea that the Bible is the pillar and foundation of Christian truth. Which is silly, because the Bible itself says, “the Church is the pillar and bulwark of truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15, RSV). And of course, the Church existed prior to the canon of scripture and it was the Church who determined, infallibly, what books would be included in the biblical canon (Deuterocanonical books, e.g., Sirach, et al.) and which would excluded (Pseudepigraphal works, e.g., Gospel of Peter). All Catholic doctrine is derived from the Bible, to include the Assumption of Mary. And the Catholic Church has no less love for the Bible than Protestants, after all, it is the Catholic Church’s book.

    2) Why does the Catholic Church exalt Mary so? Because God did. Because God’s angel did. And why does she deserve the angel’s title, “full of grace”? Because Mary is as full of grace as a creature can be. She is triply united to the triune God. The Father’s perfect daughter, the Son’s perfect mother, and the Spirit’s perfect spouse. Mary is the most beautiful mere creature that God ever made. To exalt her is to exalt her divine Creator, Whose spiritual daughter she was, and to exalt her divine Son Whose human mother she was and Whose humanity she procreated, and to exalt her divine Spouse the Holy Spirit Who conceived Him in her womb. The Catholic Church looks at her as the supreme merely human handmaid of the Trinitarian God.

    1) I think modern cosmology has the Big Bang occurring 10^9 years ago. And it was a Belgian Catholic priest and theoretical physicist, Fr. Georges Lemaître, who is created as the progenitor of the Big Bang theory. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lemaître

    Here’s a talk that met interest you Greasy:
    https://youtu.be/8F7eIrh80V8

    thanks.

    I did not realize the Catholic Church rejected Biblical innerancy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Seamus Day
    See reply #30
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  30. @Seamus Day

    1. What are your thoughts on the age of the earth and the age of the universe?

    2. Do you feel like the level of veneration that Mary gets in the Catholic Church crosses the line into outright worship?

    3. Do you accept Biblical innerancy?
     
    3) This is a Protestant idea, and a relatively recent idea at that (19th century). It is certainly not part of historical, liturgical Christianity. The idea of biblical inerrancy rests on the fundamental Protestant principle of sola scriptura, or the idea that the Bible is the pillar and foundation of Christian truth. Which is silly, because the Bible itself says, “the Church is the pillar and bulwark of truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15, RSV). And of course, the Church existed prior to the canon of scripture and it was the Church who determined, infallibly, what books would be included in the biblical canon (Deuterocanonical books, e.g., Sirach, et al.) and which would excluded (Pseudepigraphal works, e.g., Gospel of Peter). All Catholic doctrine is derived from the Bible, to include the Assumption of Mary. And the Catholic Church has no less love for the Bible than Protestants, after all, it is the Catholic Church’s book.

    2) Why does the Catholic Church exalt Mary so? Because God did. Because God’s angel did. And why does she deserve the angel’s title, “full of grace”? Because Mary is as full of grace as a creature can be. She is triply united to the triune God. The Father’s perfect daughter, the Son’s perfect mother, and the Spirit’s perfect spouse. Mary is the most beautiful mere creature that God ever made. To exalt her is to exalt her divine Creator, Whose spiritual daughter she was, and to exalt her divine Son Whose human mother she was and Whose humanity she procreated, and to exalt her divine Spouse the Holy Spirit Who conceived Him in her womb. The Catholic Church looks at her as the supreme merely human handmaid of the Trinitarian God.

    1) I think modern cosmology has the Big Bang occurring 10^9 years ago. And it was a Belgian Catholic priest and theoretical physicist, Fr. Georges Lemaître, who is created as the progenitor of the Big Bang theory. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lemaître

    Here’s a talk that met interest you Greasy:
    https://youtu.be/8F7eIrh80V8

    No, I didn’t address the Catholic position on inerrancy. Just critiqued the Protestant position on sola scriptura. The Catholic position holds the Bible to be inerrant and it contains truth without error. But inerrancy does not preclude the use of allegory or parable or metaphor or poetry or any number of expressions of thought which are not intended to be understood as literal truth.

    Read More
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    Is it inerrant word of God that homosexuals shall be put to death, per Leviticus 20? All translations seem to contain that element clearly. Does that mean that God will put them to death (HIV?) or that other men should kill them?

    Is it the inerrant word of God to smash the heads of enemies’ babies against rocks in revenge, per psalm 137:9?

    Okay.
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  31. @Greasy William
    thanks.

    I did not realize the Catholic Church rejected Biblical innerancy.

    See reply #30

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  32. @Duke of Qin
    There are plenty of Chinese that now cover the country for the elite Western press, at least if twitter press feeds is anything to go by. They just all happen to be Chinese women in relationships with Western men or outright homosexuals; also likely in relationships with Western men.

    So what you get is pure traitorous bio-leninist drivel written by foreign trained fifth columnists.

    As Steve Sailer noted, the media, due to it's surfeit of women who gravitate towards the industry is much more prone towards sexual abuse than traditionally male dominated sectors. Counterintuively, the more women there are working there, the more likely men in a position of power are going to take advange of it.

    The English language press in China and really the entire Far East bureaus of Western media depends on a stable of local compradors and fixers due to lack of language facility. These overwhelmingly happen to be pretty ambitious young women who speak English and like the hordes of talented young girls flocking to New York or LA to make it into the big leagues, working for the prestige Western Press is a huge status bump for them. The editors in charge are your average clueless middle aged guys transported to the Far East and their hiring decisions are driven primarily by their penises. Accomodating sexy young things who pander to their ideologies get hired, men don't. This is how the Western media works in Asia.

    Most of the bureau chiefs for Greater China are still white men with minimal to no knowledge of Mandarin, though. I agree with you re: hiring patterns and how we end up with a lot of Chinese women with self-hatred (also reflected in their marriage patterns) as lower-tier reporters to their white male chiefs.

    All of this means that quality of Chinese coverage is horrendous. For the English language, I do prefer reading SCMP now that it is in Chinese hands again. Hilariously enough, the NYT wrote a whining article about this and how reflects in their coverage.

    A Hong Kong Newspaper on a Mission to Promote China’s Soft Power

    I think a fair criticism of China since the reform era is that it has been too overly focused on ‘hard’ convergence (industrial, economic, military) and too negligent of ‘soft’ convergence, primarily on cultural influence etc. To their credit, the Chinese leadership seem to understand this (hence the promotion of Confucius institutes, among other things). Though they are still somewhat inept at this. Confucius institutes are now being targeted in the Western press for being dens of spies and subversion with very weak pushback. The Chinese also don’t seem to understand, or at least up until now, that the media is a far greater vector of influence than formal institutes.

    Nevertheless, they seem to be gradually learning. Buying newspapers would go a long way; let’s hope SCMP is not the last one. So far that’s a fairly ‘defensive’ buy since it is located in Greater China and focuses on Chinese affairs. I’m sure there would be huge amount of whining if China made more offensive buys deeper in Western territory, but I would certainly want to see it happening. It would also mean that China would be on the offensive for once with regards to soft influence. Something that is long overdue.

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  33. @Seamus Day

    1. What are your thoughts on the age of the earth and the age of the universe?

    2. Do you feel like the level of veneration that Mary gets in the Catholic Church crosses the line into outright worship?

    3. Do you accept Biblical innerancy?
     
    3) This is a Protestant idea, and a relatively recent idea at that (19th century). It is certainly not part of historical, liturgical Christianity. The idea of biblical inerrancy rests on the fundamental Protestant principle of sola scriptura, or the idea that the Bible is the pillar and foundation of Christian truth. Which is silly, because the Bible itself says, “the Church is the pillar and bulwark of truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15, RSV). And of course, the Church existed prior to the canon of scripture and it was the Church who determined, infallibly, what books would be included in the biblical canon (Deuterocanonical books, e.g., Sirach, et al.) and which would excluded (Pseudepigraphal works, e.g., Gospel of Peter). All Catholic doctrine is derived from the Bible, to include the Assumption of Mary. And the Catholic Church has no less love for the Bible than Protestants, after all, it is the Catholic Church’s book.

    2) Why does the Catholic Church exalt Mary so? Because God did. Because God’s angel did. And why does she deserve the angel’s title, “full of grace”? Because Mary is as full of grace as a creature can be. She is triply united to the triune God. The Father’s perfect daughter, the Son’s perfect mother, and the Spirit’s perfect spouse. Mary is the most beautiful mere creature that God ever made. To exalt her is to exalt her divine Creator, Whose spiritual daughter she was, and to exalt her divine Son Whose human mother she was and Whose humanity she procreated, and to exalt her divine Spouse the Holy Spirit Who conceived Him in her womb. The Catholic Church looks at her as the supreme merely human handmaid of the Trinitarian God.

    1) I think modern cosmology has the Big Bang occurring 10^9 years ago. And it was a Belgian Catholic priest and theoretical physicist, Fr. Georges Lemaître, who is created as the progenitor of the Big Bang theory. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lemaître

    Here’s a talk that met interest you Greasy:
    https://youtu.be/8F7eIrh80V8

    Filthy papist.

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    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    Sick of both your shit, irrational rude Catholic zealots and irrational rude antiCatholic zealots. So let me be rude in return. What do normal people not like about both your camps of zealot fools?

    Pretending to be sure of things we can’t be sure of, and questioning the faith or good will or intelligence or “biblical ‘’knowledge’” of people who point out that you don’t and can’t really know much of what you’re claiming to know with certainty.

    Acting like people in other christian denominations en masse aren’t real Christians or even good people.

    The Protestant crap about RCs worshipping Mary. But also the creepy RC rhetoric about Mary as a spouse of the Holy Spirit, clergy being married to the church, etc.

    Arguing about things that don’t practically matter and that the church itself has changed its position on, such as reincarnation.

    Expecting other people to accept whatever you’re arguing —or merely asserting or guessing — because you cite The Holy Bible in capital letters with “chapter and verse.”

    Believing that people who live by the golden rule and live faithfully, honestly, industriously, peacefully, kindly, reasonably will still be damned after death if they didn’t believe that Jesus was god or the son of god, or even if they believed that but belonged to the “wrong” denomination.

    The jargon. The damn jargon. RCs and Baptists, the denominations with which we are both familiar, have so much odd, offputting jargon, that often doesn’t serve to illuminate. It’s probably used to make things sound more dramatic, important, impressive, authoritative, but it just obfuscates and sounds ridiculous. Jargon is also used to make believers feel like they’re part of a special elite club that the non-members can’t understand.

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  34. @for-the-record
    but I haven’t seen much reporting on the case in the international media.

    A google news search suggests that "much" could safely be replaced by "virtually any", and the "virtually" could be omitted if restricted to media that one has heard of. Are you sure you haven't misspelled his name?
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    • Replies: @for-the-record
    No, I didn’t misspell his name. Tamás Gyárfás.

    I know that, it was said in jest to emphasise the scarcity of the results the google search turned up!!! Probably should have used an emoticon, I guess, but I'm too old for that.
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  35. @Thorfinnsson
    America suddenly moving quite decisively to protect its high technology industry from China makes the overall failure to protect America's industrial base over the past half century very depressing. Within my lifetime the USA was the world's largest producer of machine tools, but now it's only number six. Many other examples. As Admiral Martyanov likes to remind us, there is more to technology than semiconductors and software.

    There's more to technological independence an indigenous semiconductor design and fabrication industry. The capital equipment and materials needed for semiconductor manufacturing all originate in the United States and Japan (sole exception being the Dutch firm ASML). Semiconductor silicon, for instance, is only available from Shin Etsu Chemical (Monsanto and Wacker Chemie exited the market in the 90s).

    India has more of a nationalistic mindset than you think. The Indian government launched the Make in India campaign in 2014 to encourage indigenous manufacturing and innovation after India's electronics imports exceeded its oil imports for the first time.

    http://www.makeinindia.com/home

    India has historically had little success attempt to match foreign technology. In the defense sector where it has tried the hardest there's an unending list of debacles like the Tejas light fighter and the Arjun tank.

    But yes, allowing Flipkart to be sold to Americans and take a perverse pride in acting as indentured coolies for Silizog Valley oligarchs is not helping.

    Prichai and Nadella are also incompetent to boot. Microsoft's revenue is now stagnant, and at Google the lunatics are taking over the asylum while Pichai's bosses fritter away the stockholders' money on an endless series of childish boondoggles. While not Indian, Apple's homo-sexual CEO Tim Cook is another mediocrity who deserves no praise. Apple's revenues are also stagnant, and before long it will be surpassed in annual net earnings by Berkshire Hathaway--a non-tech company which actually pays substantial corporate income taxes whose largest single operating unit is...a railroad.

    Microsoft needs to accept that it is now an enterprise software company whether it likes it or not. Obvious moves would be to look into acquisitions in that space such as Salesforce.com, Intuit, SAP, Oracle, etc. Alternatively it could give up on growth and massively increase its buybacks and dividend while cutting costs. There's nothing wrong with such a business model--3G Capital makes it work quite nicely.

    Google benefits from the fact that digital advertising spending continues to grow faster than the economy as a whole, but this will stop in the next decade. It needs to admit that it's just a fucking advertising platform, get rid of the nerd space camp shit, fire all the SJWs, then start looking at mass layoffs. Its enterprise products like G Suite are good and should not be abandoned, however. Google is also arguably in greater danger than Microsoft in the next decade, as the growing use of personal assistants for search provides no obvious way to sell ads (are they going to hire aging radio DJs to pitch used cars on Alexa?).

    Incidentally, what's the business plan for Waymo? Google isn't a carmaker and is unlikely to enter such a capital-intensive and competitive business. I doubt the fruitcakes, pencil necks, and sensitive souls at Google could handle an industry with competition and demanding customers to begin. Are they planning to lease the technology to traditional carmakers?

    Since I brought them up, Apple has three paths forward:

    1 - Accept that it's a luxury consumer electronics brand and start acquiring assets like Sony's consumer electronics division, Bang & Olufsen, etc. You could argue that acquiring Beats headphones showed they accept this, though the world's richest corporation getting scammed by a rapper who markets headphones to people who rob actual Apple customers is not a good sign.

    2 - Reanimate Steve Jobs so they can create new products again. And please, keep Zombie Steve Jobs away from the fruit!

    3 - The shareholder love model as suggested for Microsoft. Blow up the Hall of Doom vanity headquarters and write it off, then relocate the workers actually needed to run the company to a series of non-descript steel buildings on the outskirts of Reno. Fire Tim Cook and replace him Vince McMahon--a guy who really knows how to put on a good show. Make immediate plans to start returning the $300 billion cash hoard to shareholders.

    Bottom line is that America's largest tech companies are generally not that impressive:

    IBM - A patent troll and consulting agency masquerading as a tech company whose main product is its stock

    HP - A criminal enterprise who hates and fears its customers whose products are afterthroughts

    Amazon - A retailer and web hosting company that dabbles in media which absolutely despises profits

    Facebook - Dislike

    The real tech is at Intel and Qualcomm.

    Are they planning to lease the technology to traditional carmakers?

    No, they plan to give it out at a loss and then recoup the costs by spying on your driving patterns. (The same criminal scheme that successfully made Android dominant.)

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  36. @Greasy William
    The thing about lasers is it opens up the possibility of laser based missile defense.

    But don't get too excited, the Pentagon is saying not to expect deployed laser defense against mid range rockets/missiles until 2070.

    The greatest thing about bullet proof missile defense is it would neutralize nuclear weapons so for the first time since WWII it would be possible for large states to have conventional conflicts. We have all this cool military tech but we never get to see it used so maybe in the future we finally will.

    edit: SyrianGirl or whatever she calls herself now is quite the piece of ass

    for the first time since WWII it would be possible for large states to have conventional conflicts

    Nothing is stopping us from having conventional conflicts even today, with today’s technology. Two points:

    a) Mass wholesale slaughter by nuclear bombs makes no military sense.

    b) Tactical nukes are less powerful than huge conventional bombs.

    The arms race for huge nukes is a historical artifact — in the 60′s and 70′s precision-guided missiles didn’t exist, so a lack of precision had to be compensated with raw destructive power.

    Today huge nuclear bombs make no sense when you can delver a small tactical nuke directly to the target.

    (Nukes were always a means to destroy the enemy’s command centers, not a way to kill huge numbers of civilians.)

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Wrong on all counts.

    1. Of course population centers were targeted (countervalue). And yes, depleting enemy populations is certainly a major benefit in a total war, if secondary to attacking enemy nuclear forces (counterforce), conventional military assets, and the industrial base.

    2. Largest non-nuclear bomb is the recent Russian Father Of All Bombs (44 tons of TNT equivalent); second largest is the American Mother Of All Bombs (11 tons of TNT).

    The smallest tactical nuclear weapon system ever built packed 10-20 tons of TNT, the M-388 warhead fired by the Davy Crockett recoilless gun. It was retired in the late 1960s. Modern tactical nukes typically pack 1-100 kilotons, that is, from 1,000-100,000 tons of TNT. Many orders of magnitude more powerful than MOAB/FOAB..
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  37. @Greasy William
    Not a crisis of faith but I was raised Christian so I have always maintained an interest in Christian theology.

    Last week when I became interested in Fatima I started reading more Christian materials so I'd like to hear the opinions of what a believer thinks.

    Last week when I became interested in Fatima I started reading more Christian materials so I’d like to hear the opinions of what a believer thinks.

    Then wherefore asketh thou me?

    When did I ever say I was a “believer”, because I’m not, at least in the conventional sense. What I tend to believe is that we’re the result of a laboratory experiment carried out in another universe (or dimension), with competing teams trying to influence the outcome.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    (Nukes were always a means to destroy the enemy’s command centers, not a way to kill huge numbers of civilians.)
     
    If they didn’t kill large numbers of civilians, then nuclear war wouldn’t be thought any scarier than a regular world war.

    Precision is sometimes difficult, because the target itself is very well protected, but it’s not so easy to protect a circle around the target several kilometers in diameter. I’m unsure how close a nuclear warhead has to hit to destroy an aircraft carrier, but I’m sure it’s at least a few kilometers away.
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  38. @Greasy William
    Not a crisis of faith but I was raised Christian so I have always maintained an interest in Christian theology.

    Last week when I became interested in Fatima I started reading more Christian materials so I'd like to hear the opinions of what a believer thinks.

    Not a crisis of faith but I was raised Christian so I have always maintained an interest in Christian theology.

    So what made you convert to the religion whose adherents willingly, and openly, accepted responsibility for shedding the blood of your former mentor (Matthew 27:24-25)?

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    • Replies: @DFH

    For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Judea that are in Christ Jesus. You suffered from your own countrymen the very things they suffered from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and drove us out as well. They are displeasing to God and hostile to all men, hindering us from telling the Gentiles how they may be saved. As a result, they continue to heap up their sins to full capacity; the utmost wrath has come upon them.
    1 Thessalonians 2:14-16
     

    “Abraham is our father,” they [the Jews] answered.
    “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would[c] do what Abraham did. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father.”
    “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”
    Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!
    John 8:39-45
     
    , @Greasy William

    So what made you convert to the religion whose adherents willingly, and openly, accepted responsibility for shedding the blood of your former mentor (Matthew 27:24-25)?
     
    I didn't convert. I'm an ethnic Jew born to a Jewish mother. It just so happens that my mom hates Judaism with a passion so I was raised in my WASP father's half assed American style Christianity, albeit with some very sporadic celebration of Jewish holidays.

    In high school I came to embrace real Christianity on my own (long story) before losing my faith (long story) and becoming a militant, and then indifferent, atheist (long story).

    Judaism came down the road (long story).
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  39. @reiner Tor
    No, I didn’t misspell his name. Tamás Gyárfás.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-swimming-hungary-gyarfas/hungarian-swimming-executive-denies-murder-of-business-rival-idUSKBN1HP2Z3

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/ex-head-of-hungary-swim-federation-denies-murder-case-link/2018/04/18/66a32a8e-4310-11e8-b2dc-b0a403e4720a_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.d299b13b56af

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/hungary-ex-chief-of-swim-federation-held-in-1998-slaying/2018/04/17/2f1924de-4283-11e8-b2dc-b0a403e4720a_story.html?utm_term=.62588e67b2b6

    http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-04/21/c_137125959.htm

    https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1064352/fina-executive-member-gyarfas-denies-ordering-murder-of-rival-in-1998

    Okay, that last one is a totally obscure source no one has ever heard of. The guy he had murdered, János Fenyő, was Jewish. I’m unsure about Gyárfás himself.

    No, I didn’t misspell his name. Tamás Gyárfás.

    I know that, it was said in jest to emphasise the scarcity of the results the google search turned up!!! Probably should have used an emoticon, I guess, but I’m too old for that.

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    • LOL: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Okay. My daughter is ill and I needed roughly double the sleep I got. As you can see from the very early time of the comment. (Should be converted to CET.)
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  40. that Epigone graph…
    they aren’t wrong if you assume all of the intl stuff is zero sum. maybe instead of the revenge for pale of settlement theory research joos’ agreeableness and propensity for manichaeism.

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  41. @for-the-record
    Last week when I became interested in Fatima I started reading more Christian materials so I’d like to hear the opinions of what a believer thinks.

    Then wherefore asketh thou me?

    When did I ever say I was a "believer", because I'm not, at least in the conventional sense. What I tend to believe is that we're the result of a laboratory experiment carried out in another universe (or dimension), with competing teams trying to influence the outcome.

    (Nukes were always a means to destroy the enemy’s command centers, not a way to kill huge numbers of civilians.)

    If they didn’t kill large numbers of civilians, then nuclear war wouldn’t be thought any scarier than a regular world war.

    Precision is sometimes difficult, because the target itself is very well protected, but it’s not so easy to protect a circle around the target several kilometers in diameter. I’m unsure how close a nuclear warhead has to hit to destroy an aircraft carrier, but I’m sure it’s at least a few kilometers away.

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    • Replies: @for-the-record
    You really do need to get some more sleep, this comment should be addressed to Anonymous Coward, not to me.

    Is your daughter all right?
    , @anonymous coward

    If they didn’t kill large numbers of civilians, then nuclear war wouldn’t be thought any scarier than a regular world war.
     
    It's only thought of as scary due to historical accident and Soviet shills during the Cold War. Nukes are not inherently scarier than what the USA dropped on Vietnam and Iraq.

    Watch this space, I bet we'll eventually see tactical nukes used within the next 25 years and it will be no big deal.
    , @songbird
    Carriers are basically white elephants in any conflict between real powers (US, China, Russia). One big problem is that they can be tracked in real time now. That is not something that was true in WW2.

    The other relevant point is the pricetag. Is it cheaper to sink them than to build them? Yes and double yes. And the US is no longer an unchallenged economic power. I don't know what the price of seasteading an island in the South China sea is, but I bet it is a heck of a lot cheaper than a carrier.
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  42. @songbird
    I trust Bryan Caplan not at all, but, taking everything for granted, there is a certain point at which the term "environmental" becomes quite absurd. If for instance, you need to utterly surround blacks with whites, even in the home, and it is non-duplicable in any other form (school instruction) - well, then, it may technically be environmental, but that is not very useful for society. In fact, it may be worse than if the gap were 100% genetic, because egalitarians will want to close that gap, by forcing blacks and whites together.

    (Bryan Caplan is poison.)

    So, basically, if society is at most 1% black, then the blacks will do comparatively well, unless they congregate. Well, perhaps that could be used as policy guidance.

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    • Replies: @songbird
    If his point is that sub-Saharan blacks have an IQ much closer to American blacks when they move to America, then I don't understand how that is supposed to be a sales pitch. That Caplan seems to think he is making one makes him a very odd man.
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  43. @for-the-record
    No, I didn’t misspell his name. Tamás Gyárfás.

    I know that, it was said in jest to emphasise the scarcity of the results the google search turned up!!! Probably should have used an emoticon, I guess, but I'm too old for that.

    Okay. My daughter is ill and I needed roughly double the sleep I got. As you can see from the very early time of the comment. (Should be converted to CET.)

    Read More
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    Good luck to your daughter. We have little girls ourselves.
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  44. Russian military history blogger writes about Russian MoD-sponsored trip to Khmeimim Airbase, Syria. You don’t need Russian to appreciate the photos.

    Seems like you forgot to include links

    https://ecoross1.livejournal.com/716218.html

    https://ecoross1.livejournal.com/716347.html

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  45. @reiner Tor

    (Nukes were always a means to destroy the enemy’s command centers, not a way to kill huge numbers of civilians.)
     
    If they didn’t kill large numbers of civilians, then nuclear war wouldn’t be thought any scarier than a regular world war.

    Precision is sometimes difficult, because the target itself is very well protected, but it’s not so easy to protect a circle around the target several kilometers in diameter. I’m unsure how close a nuclear warhead has to hit to destroy an aircraft carrier, but I’m sure it’s at least a few kilometers away.

    You really do need to get some more sleep, this comment should be addressed to Anonymous Coward, not to me.

    Is your daughter all right?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    She looks better now.
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  46. @for-the-record
    Not a crisis of faith but I was raised Christian so I have always maintained an interest in Christian theology.

    So what made you convert to the religion whose adherents willingly, and openly, accepted responsibility for shedding the blood of your former mentor (Matthew 27:24-25)?

    For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Judea that are in Christ Jesus. You suffered from your own countrymen the very things they suffered from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and drove us out as well. They are displeasing to God and hostile to all men, hindering us from telling the Gentiles how they may be saved. As a result, they continue to heap up their sins to full capacity; the utmost wrath has come upon them.
    1 Thessalonians 2:14-16

    “Abraham is our father,” they [the Jews] answered.
    “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would[c] do what Abraham did. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father.”
    “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”
    Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!
    John 8:39-45

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  47. @for-the-record
    You really do need to get some more sleep, this comment should be addressed to Anonymous Coward, not to me.

    Is your daughter all right?

    She looks better now.

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  48. Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    Ja ne rozume, proshe Pana? Cso za 'Wololo' i jaki to ksiadz? Dziekuje!
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  49. @reiner Tor

    (Nukes were always a means to destroy the enemy’s command centers, not a way to kill huge numbers of civilians.)
     
    If they didn’t kill large numbers of civilians, then nuclear war wouldn’t be thought any scarier than a regular world war.

    Precision is sometimes difficult, because the target itself is very well protected, but it’s not so easy to protect a circle around the target several kilometers in diameter. I’m unsure how close a nuclear warhead has to hit to destroy an aircraft carrier, but I’m sure it’s at least a few kilometers away.

    If they didn’t kill large numbers of civilians, then nuclear war wouldn’t be thought any scarier than a regular world war.

    It’s only thought of as scary due to historical accident and Soviet shills during the Cold War. Nukes are not inherently scarier than what the USA dropped on Vietnam and Iraq.

    Watch this space, I bet we’ll eventually see tactical nukes used within the next 25 years and it will be no big deal.

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  50. @Polish Perspective
    Meanwhile in Poland


    https://i.imgur.com/MgwfE2W.jpg

    Wololo!

    Ja ne rozume, proshe Pana? Cso za ‘Wololo’ i jaki to ksiadz? Dziekuje!

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  51. @Greasy William
    The thing about lasers is it opens up the possibility of laser based missile defense.

    But don't get too excited, the Pentagon is saying not to expect deployed laser defense against mid range rockets/missiles until 2070.

    The greatest thing about bullet proof missile defense is it would neutralize nuclear weapons so for the first time since WWII it would be possible for large states to have conventional conflicts. We have all this cool military tech but we never get to see it used so maybe in the future we finally will.

    edit: SyrianGirl or whatever she calls herself now is quite the piece of ass

    You’re hoping for a major conventional war so we can see cool weapons used??

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  52. @reiner Tor

    (Nukes were always a means to destroy the enemy’s command centers, not a way to kill huge numbers of civilians.)
     
    If they didn’t kill large numbers of civilians, then nuclear war wouldn’t be thought any scarier than a regular world war.

    Precision is sometimes difficult, because the target itself is very well protected, but it’s not so easy to protect a circle around the target several kilometers in diameter. I’m unsure how close a nuclear warhead has to hit to destroy an aircraft carrier, but I’m sure it’s at least a few kilometers away.

    Carriers are basically white elephants in any conflict between real powers (US, China, Russia). One big problem is that they can be tracked in real time now. That is not something that was true in WW2.

    The other relevant point is the pricetag. Is it cheaper to sink them than to build them? Yes and double yes. And the US is no longer an unchallenged economic power. I don’t know what the price of seasteading an island in the South China sea is, but I bet it is a heck of a lot cheaper than a carrier.

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  53. @Greasy William
    1. What are your thoughts on the age of the earth and the age of the universe?

    2. Do you feel like the level of veneration that Mary gets in the Catholic Church crosses the line into outright worship?

    3. Do you accept Biblical innerancy?

    1. Whatever we discover through the application of reason and the scientific method, is whatever we discover, about the age of our planet. Whenever God made it, he made it.

    2. No.

    3. No.

    It’s a book written by fallible men who had their own prejudices, ulterior motives, and flaws. It contains philosophical insights, useful observations about human nature and behavior, and excellent advice about how to treat each other that tends to lead towards a more harmonious, kinder society and world.

    But it also contains, in the Old Testament, some boring and irrelevant ancient genealogies, vicious Jewish-supremacist celebration of cruelty in the course of military victory (joyous to knash the heads of your enemies’ infants against the rocks), and repetitive conclusory flowery language that amounts to little.

    The Bible: some of the most beautiful ideas and workable rules developed, drowning in nonsense and things that don’t matter at all.

    Put some of the OT together with most of the NT, and we have a good starting point for organizing our lives and societies. But there are other sources with useful insights, observations, and advice, and we should consider and debate them as well, using whatever works that is not inconsistent with our moral values.

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  54. @Seamus Day

    1. What are your thoughts on the age of the earth and the age of the universe?

    2. Do you feel like the level of veneration that Mary gets in the Catholic Church crosses the line into outright worship?

    3. Do you accept Biblical innerancy?
     
    3) This is a Protestant idea, and a relatively recent idea at that (19th century). It is certainly not part of historical, liturgical Christianity. The idea of biblical inerrancy rests on the fundamental Protestant principle of sola scriptura, or the idea that the Bible is the pillar and foundation of Christian truth. Which is silly, because the Bible itself says, “the Church is the pillar and bulwark of truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15, RSV). And of course, the Church existed prior to the canon of scripture and it was the Church who determined, infallibly, what books would be included in the biblical canon (Deuterocanonical books, e.g., Sirach, et al.) and which would excluded (Pseudepigraphal works, e.g., Gospel of Peter). All Catholic doctrine is derived from the Bible, to include the Assumption of Mary. And the Catholic Church has no less love for the Bible than Protestants, after all, it is the Catholic Church’s book.

    2) Why does the Catholic Church exalt Mary so? Because God did. Because God’s angel did. And why does she deserve the angel’s title, “full of grace”? Because Mary is as full of grace as a creature can be. She is triply united to the triune God. The Father’s perfect daughter, the Son’s perfect mother, and the Spirit’s perfect spouse. Mary is the most beautiful mere creature that God ever made. To exalt her is to exalt her divine Creator, Whose spiritual daughter she was, and to exalt her divine Son Whose human mother she was and Whose humanity she procreated, and to exalt her divine Spouse the Holy Spirit Who conceived Him in her womb. The Catholic Church looks at her as the supreme merely human handmaid of the Trinitarian God.

    1) I think modern cosmology has the Big Bang occurring 10^9 years ago. And it was a Belgian Catholic priest and theoretical physicist, Fr. Georges Lemaître, who is created as the progenitor of the Big Bang theory. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lemaître

    Here’s a talk that met interest you Greasy:
    https://youtu.be/8F7eIrh80V8

    The OT is specifically the Catholic church’s book? Dubious.

    What in the OT was even written after jesus’s birth?

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  55. @reiner Tor
    Okay. My daughter is ill and I needed roughly double the sleep I got. As you can see from the very early time of the comment. (Should be converted to CET.)

    Good luck to your daughter. We have little girls ourselves.

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    • Agree: German_reader
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  56. @Seamus Day
    No, I didn’t address the Catholic position on inerrancy. Just critiqued the Protestant position on sola scriptura. The Catholic position holds the Bible to be inerrant and it contains truth without error. But inerrancy does not preclude the use of allegory or parable or metaphor or poetry or any number of expressions of thought which are not intended to be understood as literal truth.

    Is it inerrant word of God that homosexuals shall be put to death, per Leviticus 20? All translations seem to contain that element clearly. Does that mean that God will put them to death (HIV?) or that other men should kill them?

    Is it the inerrant word of God to smash the heads of enemies’ babies against rocks in revenge, per psalm 137:9?

    Okay.

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  57. @Thorfinnsson
    Filthy papist.

    Sick of both your shit, irrational rude Catholic zealots and irrational rude antiCatholic zealots. So let me be rude in return. What do normal people not like about both your camps of zealot fools?

    Pretending to be sure of things we can’t be sure of, and questioning the faith or good will or intelligence or “biblical ‘’knowledge’” of people who point out that you don’t and can’t really know much of what you’re claiming to know with certainty.

    Acting like people in other christian denominations en masse aren’t real Christians or even good people.

    The Protestant crap about RCs worshipping Mary. But also the creepy RC rhetoric about Mary as a spouse of the Holy Spirit, clergy being married to the church, etc.

    Arguing about things that don’t practically matter and that the church itself has changed its position on, such as reincarnation.

    Expecting other people to accept whatever you’re arguing —or merely asserting or guessing — because you cite The Holy Bible in capital letters with “chapter and verse.”

    Believing that people who live by the golden rule and live faithfully, honestly, industriously, peacefully, kindly, reasonably will still be damned after death if they didn’t believe that Jesus was god or the son of god, or even if they believed that but belonged to the “wrong” denomination.

    The jargon. The damn jargon. RCs and Baptists, the denominations with which we are both familiar, have so much odd, offputting jargon, that often doesn’t serve to illuminate. It’s probably used to make things sound more dramatic, important, impressive, authoritative, but it just obfuscates and sounds ridiculous. Jargon is also used to make believers feel like they’re part of a special elite club that the non-members can’t understand.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    I think Thorfinsson was just trolling and pretending to be some latter-day Know-nothing.
    At least I hope so...
    , @German_reader

    Believing that people who live by the golden rule and live faithfully, honestly, industriously, peacefully, kindly, reasonably will still be damned after death if they didn’t believe that Jesus was god or the son of god
     
    That's kind of the point of Christianity though imo.
    I know it sounds harsh to most modern people (because it contradicts basic notions of justice), but for the overwhelmingly dominant tradition of the Western church(es) at least there has never been any question that those who don't believe in Christ indeed won't be saved, regardless of their personal behaviour in other matters.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    You're not used to his shtick yet? ;)
    , @Thorfinnsson
    guess who didn't read your post :)
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  58. @Pericles
    (Bryan Caplan is poison.)

    So, basically, if society is at most 1% black, then the blacks will do comparatively well, unless they congregate. Well, perhaps that could be used as policy guidance.

    If his point is that sub-Saharan blacks have an IQ much closer to American blacks when they move to America, then I don’t understand how that is supposed to be a sales pitch. That Caplan seems to think he is making one makes him a very odd man.

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  59. @RadicalCenter
    Sick of both your shit, irrational rude Catholic zealots and irrational rude antiCatholic zealots. So let me be rude in return. What do normal people not like about both your camps of zealot fools?

    Pretending to be sure of things we can’t be sure of, and questioning the faith or good will or intelligence or “biblical ‘’knowledge’” of people who point out that you don’t and can’t really know much of what you’re claiming to know with certainty.

    Acting like people in other christian denominations en masse aren’t real Christians or even good people.

    The Protestant crap about RCs worshipping Mary. But also the creepy RC rhetoric about Mary as a spouse of the Holy Spirit, clergy being married to the church, etc.

    Arguing about things that don’t practically matter and that the church itself has changed its position on, such as reincarnation.

    Expecting other people to accept whatever you’re arguing —or merely asserting or guessing — because you cite The Holy Bible in capital letters with “chapter and verse.”

    Believing that people who live by the golden rule and live faithfully, honestly, industriously, peacefully, kindly, reasonably will still be damned after death if they didn’t believe that Jesus was god or the son of god, or even if they believed that but belonged to the “wrong” denomination.

    The jargon. The damn jargon. RCs and Baptists, the denominations with which we are both familiar, have so much odd, offputting jargon, that often doesn’t serve to illuminate. It’s probably used to make things sound more dramatic, important, impressive, authoritative, but it just obfuscates and sounds ridiculous. Jargon is also used to make believers feel like they’re part of a special elite club that the non-members can’t understand.

    I think Thorfinsson was just trolling and pretending to be some latter-day Know-nothing.
    At least I hope so…

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    As he wrote, he's exaggerating for effect.
    , @Thorfinnsson
    I am pro whatever my team is. As a result of history than means Protestant. Death to Mackerel Snappers.

    That doesn't mean I'm invested in the theological debates or even know anything at all about them.

    And the whole debate is obviously quaint these days as we have bigger problems to worry about.
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  60. @RadicalCenter
    Sick of both your shit, irrational rude Catholic zealots and irrational rude antiCatholic zealots. So let me be rude in return. What do normal people not like about both your camps of zealot fools?

    Pretending to be sure of things we can’t be sure of, and questioning the faith or good will or intelligence or “biblical ‘’knowledge’” of people who point out that you don’t and can’t really know much of what you’re claiming to know with certainty.

    Acting like people in other christian denominations en masse aren’t real Christians or even good people.

    The Protestant crap about RCs worshipping Mary. But also the creepy RC rhetoric about Mary as a spouse of the Holy Spirit, clergy being married to the church, etc.

    Arguing about things that don’t practically matter and that the church itself has changed its position on, such as reincarnation.

    Expecting other people to accept whatever you’re arguing —or merely asserting or guessing — because you cite The Holy Bible in capital letters with “chapter and verse.”

    Believing that people who live by the golden rule and live faithfully, honestly, industriously, peacefully, kindly, reasonably will still be damned after death if they didn’t believe that Jesus was god or the son of god, or even if they believed that but belonged to the “wrong” denomination.

    The jargon. The damn jargon. RCs and Baptists, the denominations with which we are both familiar, have so much odd, offputting jargon, that often doesn’t serve to illuminate. It’s probably used to make things sound more dramatic, important, impressive, authoritative, but it just obfuscates and sounds ridiculous. Jargon is also used to make believers feel like they’re part of a special elite club that the non-members can’t understand.

    Believing that people who live by the golden rule and live faithfully, honestly, industriously, peacefully, kindly, reasonably will still be damned after death if they didn’t believe that Jesus was god or the son of god

    That’s kind of the point of Christianity though imo.
    I know it sounds harsh to most modern people (because it contradicts basic notions of justice), but for the overwhelmingly dominant tradition of the Western church(es) at least there has never been any question that those who don’t believe in Christ indeed won’t be saved, regardless of their personal behaviour in other matters.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    of the Western church(es)
     
    Were the Eastern churches any different? I highly doubt it.
    , @anonymous coward
    Faith isn't "belief in Christ".

    You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder. (James 2:19)
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  61. @German_reader

    Believing that people who live by the golden rule and live faithfully, honestly, industriously, peacefully, kindly, reasonably will still be damned after death if they didn’t believe that Jesus was god or the son of god
     
    That's kind of the point of Christianity though imo.
    I know it sounds harsh to most modern people (because it contradicts basic notions of justice), but for the overwhelmingly dominant tradition of the Western church(es) at least there has never been any question that those who don't believe in Christ indeed won't be saved, regardless of their personal behaviour in other matters.

    of the Western church(es)

    Were the Eastern churches any different? I highly doubt it.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    I know little of these matters, but if you look here
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_reconciliation

    you'll see at least a few figures from Eastern churches (e.g. Isaac of Nineveh) mentioned who supposedly believed in universal reconciliation.
    But yeah, it probably was a fringe doctrine, always and everywhere. Christianity is a lot harsher and more exclusive than many moderns imagine.
    Anyway, all the best to your daughter, I hope she gets well soon.
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  62. @German_reader
    I think Thorfinsson was just trolling and pretending to be some latter-day Know-nothing.
    At least I hope so...

    As he wrote, he’s exaggerating for effect.

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  63. @reiner Tor

    of the Western church(es)
     
    Were the Eastern churches any different? I highly doubt it.

    I know little of these matters, but if you look here

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

    you’ll see at least a few figures from Eastern churches (e.g. Isaac of Nineveh) mentioned who supposedly believed in universal reconciliation.
    But yeah, it probably was a fringe doctrine, always and everywhere. Christianity is a lot harsher and more exclusive than many moderns imagine.
    Anyway, all the best to your daughter, I hope she gets well soon.

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  64. yeah, get well soon to your daughter, reiner

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Thanks guys. She’s much better. Normally it’s nothing serious, I can sleep back easily even if she wakes me up, but today I couldn’t. It’s nothing serious.
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  65. @Polish Perspective
    Reading Bershidsky's article on Orban is a painful reminder of how terrible coverage of CEE is in the general Western press - not because Leonid's article is bad, but precisely the opposite. Even for someone who disagrees with Orban, he manages to do so intelligently while also acknowledging the real issues underpinning Orban's success. That feat is almost impossible to find in the mainstream Western press these days.

    I also don't think the fact that Bershidsky being Eastern European is unrelated to this capability, a capability which so many of his colleagues apparently lack.

    It's not even just EE. It also dovetails with my previous lament about so much of Western coverage of China being atrocious and shallow. Most reporters on elite newspapers are not even ethnic Chinese, fewer still are fluent in Mandarin. This for the world's biggest (by PPP) economy. If even a much more important country like China is treated in such a careless and ignorant manner, what hope does Hungary have? Western so-called 'experts' of Russia sometimes don't even feel like they need to know Russian either.

    I am not old enough to know how it was in the earlier days but I find it hard to believe that standards were this sloppy before. It seems your actual domain expertise matters less and less and what truly matters is your ideological conformity and little else. Even as someone who ideologically disagrees with Bershidsky, he is a pleasure to read nonetheless. That's as high a compliment I can give a journalist, especially in the hysterical climate we live in today.

    I though this passage comparing levels of corruption in Hungary and Russia was interesting:

    Even on this, though, there are important differences between Russia and Hungary. Toth estimates that 15 to 24 percent of government procurement is corrupt. In Russia in the first half of 2017, the Finance Ministry found that 42.5 percent of the total amount of government-owned companies’ procurement contracts was distributed without a competitive procedure at all — a clear indication that these are corrupt deals. According to Martin, the overall share of corrupt and cronyist business in the Hungarian economy is between 5 and 10 percent; in Russia, according to a 2015 estimate by Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov, corruption causes an annual loss of 10 to 20 percent of official economic output.

    Russia, in other words, is far more deeply corrupt than Hungary. One reason for this is that, as all the NGO experts I’ve talked to in Budapest have told me, Hungarian courts are still independent and not afraid to rub the government the wrong way. Another is that low-level corruption visible to citizens is virtually non-existent compared to post-Soviet countries. Finally, politics are still competitive, and that places a natural limit on how bold stealing can be.

    According to Bershidsky, an independent judiciary, competitive politics, and little social tolerance for blatant corrupt practices are why Hungary is so much less corrupt than Russia.

    Both nations are outside the semi-mythical Hajnal line, but if anything this probably plays *against* national stereotypes, with the crafty, conniving Magyar usually deemed less trustworthy than the thick but earnest Slav.

    According to the CPI index, Hungary is the 57th least corrupt country out of 176 measured, while Russia is 131st.

    Hungary clusters with its neighbors Croatia, Romania and Slovakia in the rankings, while Russia clusters with nearby Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Moldova.

    So the post-communist world is basically divided between countries with “Visegrad” or “Three Seas” levels of corruption, and those with “Eurasian” levels.

    It seems obvious that the standards imposed by membership in NATO and the EU have helped clean up Hungary and other similar countries, compared to no such change in Russia et al.

    How can Russia maintain its geopolitical dominance in the region when the inherent corruption of Putinism is compared with the relative transparency of a competing ideology, Orbanism? Who would choose the former over the latter, and why?

    Russia’s transnational bloc (the Eurasian Union) will have a hard enough time keeping its few members in the fold, much less attracting new ones, when the relatively law-abiding and prosperous Visegrad/Three Seas bloc beckons.

    The Russian leadership offers no compelling reason why the rest of Eastern Europe shouldn’t join NATO and the EU. One day the Russian people might even rise up and demand it, against the wishes of the “Russian” elite.

    Orban will be remembered as a (or *the*) visionary statesman of his age, a prophet of the nationalist-populist revolution sweeping the West. Putin will be remembered for presiding over a fin-de-siècle era of corruption and stagnation, like a latter-day Brezhnev or Louis XVI.

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    • Replies: @Mitleser

    How can Russia maintain its geopolitical dominance in the region when the inherent corruption of Putinism is compared with the relative transparency of a competing ideology, Orbanism? Who would choose the former over the latter, and why?
     
    False questions.
    Neither ideology exist.

    Orbanism is a German award, though.
    https://www.buchreport.de/2017/08/15/orbanism-award-loest-virenschleuderpreis-ab/

    The Russian leadership offers no compelling reason why the rest of Eastern Europe shouldn’t join NATO and the EU.
     
    There is the most compelling reason: neither of them would let them join.
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  66. @songbird
    Needless to say, Russia was quite lucky never to have established any African colonies. Meanwhile Germany was lucky to have lost its colonies during WWI, but its ruling class squandered the one outcome of WWI which could be considered positive for Germany.

    Adding the settler colony Süd-West-Afrika to Germany would be nice and deserved after German soldiers fought and died where.

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    • Replies: @songbird
    Some part of the World Wars may have been due to population pressure. A great pity that instead of so many men dying, they were not simply sent to South Africa with women as settlers. Esp. during WW2, as tractors and mechanized equipment were really taking off.
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  67. @German_reader

    Believing that people who live by the golden rule and live faithfully, honestly, industriously, peacefully, kindly, reasonably will still be damned after death if they didn’t believe that Jesus was god or the son of god
     
    That's kind of the point of Christianity though imo.
    I know it sounds harsh to most modern people (because it contradicts basic notions of justice), but for the overwhelmingly dominant tradition of the Western church(es) at least there has never been any question that those who don't believe in Christ indeed won't be saved, regardless of their personal behaviour in other matters.

    Faith isn’t “belief in Christ”.

    You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder. (James 2:19)

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    Apostles' creed:

    I believe in God the Father Almighty,
    Maker of heaven and earth:

    And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
    Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,[b]
    Born of the Virgin Mary,
    Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    Was crucified, dead, and buried:
    He descended into hell;
    The third day he rose again from the dead;
    He ascended into heaven,
    And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
    From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.


    I believe in the Holy Ghost;
    The holy Catholick Church;
    The Communion of Saints;
    The Forgiveness of sins;
    The Resurrection of the body,
    And the Life everlasting.
    Amen.
     
    Hmm, looks like belief in Christ is kind of an important part of Christianity!
    I left out the other persons of the Trinity, and the part about Christ being the son of God, his resurrection etc...but unless you're into completely pointless nitpicking, it should have been clear what I meant.
    , @for-the-record
    Quoting James is not much "proof", the book is a real outlier and the surprising thing is that it was included in the "corpus" -- presumably this was because the author was thought to be the "brother of the Lord".

    James advocates salvation through works as opposed to faith, which is in total contradiction to the Pauline doctrine that the Church adopted and still maintains:

    James: “You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone..” (James 2:24)

    Paul: “For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law..” (Romans 3:28)
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  68. @jeppo
    I though this passage comparing levels of corruption in Hungary and Russia was interesting:

    Even on this, though, there are important differences between Russia and Hungary. Toth estimates that 15 to 24 percent of government procurement is corrupt. In Russia in the first half of 2017, the Finance Ministry found that 42.5 percent of the total amount of government-owned companies' procurement contracts was distributed without a competitive procedure at all -- a clear indication that these are corrupt deals. According to Martin, the overall share of corrupt and cronyist business in the Hungarian economy is between 5 and 10 percent; in Russia, according to a 2015 estimate by Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov, corruption causes an annual loss of 10 to 20 percent of official economic output.

    Russia, in other words, is far more deeply corrupt than Hungary. One reason for this is that, as all the NGO experts I've talked to in Budapest have told me, Hungarian courts are still independent and not afraid to rub the government the wrong way. Another is that low-level corruption visible to citizens is virtually non-existent compared to post-Soviet countries. Finally, politics are still competitive, and that places a natural limit on how bold stealing can be.

    According to Bershidsky, an independent judiciary, competitive politics, and little social tolerance for blatant corrupt practices are why Hungary is so much less corrupt than Russia.

    Both nations are outside the semi-mythical Hajnal line, but if anything this probably plays *against* national stereotypes, with the crafty, conniving Magyar usually deemed less trustworthy than the thick but earnest Slav.

    According to the CPI index, Hungary is the 57th least corrupt country out of 176 measured, while Russia is 131st.

    Hungary clusters with its neighbors Croatia, Romania and Slovakia in the rankings, while Russia clusters with nearby Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Moldova.

    So the post-communist world is basically divided between countries with "Visegrad" or "Three Seas" levels of corruption, and those with "Eurasian" levels.

    It seems obvious that the standards imposed by membership in NATO and the EU have helped clean up Hungary and other similar countries, compared to no such change in Russia et al.

    How can Russia maintain its geopolitical dominance in the region when the inherent corruption of Putinism is compared with the relative transparency of a competing ideology, Orbanism? Who would choose the former over the latter, and why?

    Russia's transnational bloc (the Eurasian Union) will have a hard enough time keeping its few members in the fold, much less attracting new ones, when the relatively law-abiding and prosperous Visegrad/Three Seas bloc beckons.

    The Russian leadership offers no compelling reason why the rest of Eastern Europe shouldn't join NATO and the EU. One day the Russian people might even rise up and demand it, against the wishes of the "Russian" elite.

    Orban will be remembered as a (or *the*) visionary statesman of his age, a prophet of the nationalist-populist revolution sweeping the West. Putin will be remembered for presiding over a fin-de-siècle era of corruption and stagnation, like a latter-day Brezhnev or Louis XVI.

    How can Russia maintain its geopolitical dominance in the region when the inherent corruption of Putinism is compared with the relative transparency of a competing ideology, Orbanism? Who would choose the former over the latter, and why?

    False questions.
    Neither ideology exist.

    Orbanism is a German award, though.

    https://www.buchreport.de/2017/08/15/orbanism-award-loest-virenschleuderpreis-ab/

    The Russian leadership offers no compelling reason why the rest of Eastern Europe shouldn’t join NATO and the EU.

    There is the most compelling reason: neither of them would let them join.

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    • Replies: @jeppo
    "Neither ideology exist."

    In a way, Putinism and Orbanism are two sides of the same ideological coin. The difference being that Orban has played his nationalist-populist hand much more successfully than Putin.

    "There is the most compelling reason: neither of them would let them join."

    Brexit changes everything.

    Before Brexit, the EU could realistically pose as a major world power. Without Britain, a weakened EU needs Russia to feasibly compete with economic and geostrategic giants like the US and China.

    And without its Slavic/Orthodox cultural hinterland to the west and south, Russia fades into Eurasian mediocrity. Russia and Europe need each other.

    Which is why NATO and the EU will not stop their relentless march eastward until they've reached the Kremlin.
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  69. @anonymous coward
    Faith isn't "belief in Christ".

    You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder. (James 2:19)

    Apostles’ creed:

    I believe in God the Father Almighty,
    Maker of heaven and earth:

    And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
    Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,[b]
    Born of the Virgin Mary,
    Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    Was crucified, dead, and buried:
    He descended into hell;
    The third day he rose again from the dead;
    He ascended into heaven,
    And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
    From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

    I believe in the Holy Ghost;
    The holy Catholick Church;
    The Communion of Saints;
    The Forgiveness of sins;
    The Resurrection of the body,
    And the Life everlasting.
    Amen.

    Hmm, looks like belief in Christ is kind of an important part of Christianity!
    I left out the other persons of the Trinity, and the part about Christ being the son of God, his resurrection etc…but unless you’re into completely pointless nitpicking, it should have been clear what I meant.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I think his point was something like it’s not enough to believe in him as a description of how the world works, but to actually follow him. But maybe I misunderstood him.
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  70. @German_reader
    Apostles' creed:

    I believe in God the Father Almighty,
    Maker of heaven and earth:

    And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
    Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,[b]
    Born of the Virgin Mary,
    Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    Was crucified, dead, and buried:
    He descended into hell;
    The third day he rose again from the dead;
    He ascended into heaven,
    And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
    From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.


    I believe in the Holy Ghost;
    The holy Catholick Church;
    The Communion of Saints;
    The Forgiveness of sins;
    The Resurrection of the body,
    And the Life everlasting.
    Amen.
     
    Hmm, looks like belief in Christ is kind of an important part of Christianity!
    I left out the other persons of the Trinity, and the part about Christ being the son of God, his resurrection etc...but unless you're into completely pointless nitpicking, it should have been clear what I meant.

    I think his point was something like it’s not enough to believe in him as a description of how the world works, but to actually follow him. But maybe I misunderstood him.

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  71. @Mitleser
    Adding the settler colony Süd-West-Afrika to Germany would be nice and deserved after German soldiers fought and died where.

    http://abload.de/img/2015-11-0813.45.37lnu58.jpg

    Some part of the World Wars may have been due to population pressure. A great pity that instead of so many men dying, they were not simply sent to South Africa with women as settlers. Esp. during WW2, as tractors and mechanized equipment were really taking off.

    Read More
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  72. A Russian, a Ukrainian, a Georgian, and a Tatar walk onto a stage:

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  73. @Greasy William
    yeah, get well soon to your daughter, reiner

    Thanks guys. She’s much better. Normally it’s nothing serious, I can sleep back easily even if she wakes me up, but today I couldn’t. It’s nothing serious.

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  74. @RadicalCenter
    Sick of both your shit, irrational rude Catholic zealots and irrational rude antiCatholic zealots. So let me be rude in return. What do normal people not like about both your camps of zealot fools?

    Pretending to be sure of things we can’t be sure of, and questioning the faith or good will or intelligence or “biblical ‘’knowledge’” of people who point out that you don’t and can’t really know much of what you’re claiming to know with certainty.

    Acting like people in other christian denominations en masse aren’t real Christians or even good people.

    The Protestant crap about RCs worshipping Mary. But also the creepy RC rhetoric about Mary as a spouse of the Holy Spirit, clergy being married to the church, etc.

    Arguing about things that don’t practically matter and that the church itself has changed its position on, such as reincarnation.

    Expecting other people to accept whatever you’re arguing —or merely asserting or guessing — because you cite The Holy Bible in capital letters with “chapter and verse.”

    Believing that people who live by the golden rule and live faithfully, honestly, industriously, peacefully, kindly, reasonably will still be damned after death if they didn’t believe that Jesus was god or the son of god, or even if they believed that but belonged to the “wrong” denomination.

    The jargon. The damn jargon. RCs and Baptists, the denominations with which we are both familiar, have so much odd, offputting jargon, that often doesn’t serve to illuminate. It’s probably used to make things sound more dramatic, important, impressive, authoritative, but it just obfuscates and sounds ridiculous. Jargon is also used to make believers feel like they’re part of a special elite club that the non-members can’t understand.

    You’re not used to his shtick yet? ;)

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  75. @anonymous coward

    for the first time since WWII it would be possible for large states to have conventional conflicts
     
    Nothing is stopping us from having conventional conflicts even today, with today's technology. Two points:

    a) Mass wholesale slaughter by nuclear bombs makes no military sense.

    b) Tactical nukes are less powerful than huge conventional bombs.

    The arms race for huge nukes is a historical artifact -- in the 60's and 70's precision-guided missiles didn't exist, so a lack of precision had to be compensated with raw destructive power.

    Today huge nuclear bombs make no sense when you can delver a small tactical nuke directly to the target.

    (Nukes were always a means to destroy the enemy's command centers, not a way to kill huge numbers of civilians.)

    Wrong on all counts.

    1. Of course population centers were targeted (countervalue). And yes, depleting enemy populations is certainly a major benefit in a total war, if secondary to attacking enemy nuclear forces (counterforce), conventional military assets, and the industrial base.

    2. Largest non-nuclear bomb is the recent Russian Father Of All Bombs (44 tons of TNT equivalent); second largest is the American Mother Of All Bombs (11 tons of TNT).

    The smallest tactical nuclear weapon system ever built packed 10-20 tons of TNT, the M-388 warhead fired by the Davy Crockett recoilless gun. It was retired in the late 1960s. Modern tactical nukes typically pack 1-100 kilotons, that is, from 1,000-100,000 tons of TNT. Many orders of magnitude more powerful than MOAB/FOAB..

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  76. @anonymous coward
    Faith isn't "belief in Christ".

    You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder. (James 2:19)

    Quoting James is not much “proof”, the book is a real outlier and the surprising thing is that it was included in the “corpus” — presumably this was because the author was thought to be the “brother of the Lord”.

    James advocates salvation through works as opposed to faith, which is in total contradiction to the Pauline doctrine that the Church adopted and still maintains:

    James: “You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone..” (James 2:24)

    Paul: “For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law..” (Romans 3:28)

    Read More
    • Agree: German_reader
    • Replies: @Greasy William
    Nobody really believes in salvation by faith alone, no matter what they say.

    If somebody is "saved" by accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior, but then proceeds to shoot up a McDonald's before killing themselves, "faith alone" types would just say that that person was never really saved in the first place.
    , @Anon
    Contra Luther, James is not an "epistle of straw" and Church doctrine is not so simple: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10202b.htm
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  77. @Mitleser

    How can Russia maintain its geopolitical dominance in the region when the inherent corruption of Putinism is compared with the relative transparency of a competing ideology, Orbanism? Who would choose the former over the latter, and why?
     
    False questions.
    Neither ideology exist.

    Orbanism is a German award, though.
    https://www.buchreport.de/2017/08/15/orbanism-award-loest-virenschleuderpreis-ab/

    The Russian leadership offers no compelling reason why the rest of Eastern Europe shouldn’t join NATO and the EU.
     
    There is the most compelling reason: neither of them would let them join.

    “Neither ideology exist.”

    In a way, Putinism and Orbanism are two sides of the same ideological coin. The difference being that Orban has played his nationalist-populist hand much more successfully than Putin.

    “There is the most compelling reason: neither of them would let them join.”

    Brexit changes everything.

    Before Brexit, the EU could realistically pose as a major world power. Without Britain, a weakened EU needs Russia to feasibly compete with economic and geostrategic giants like the US and China.

    And without its Slavic/Orthodox cultural hinterland to the west and south, Russia fades into Eurasian mediocrity. Russia and Europe need each other.

    Which is why NATO and the EU will not stop their relentless march eastward until they’ve reached the Kremlin.

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  78. Silently, Putin has decided to protect Deripaska; not to call the US attack on Rusal an act of war; and to test the Americans with an offer of a limited armistice. International bankers close to Russian business believe it is a Russian illusion that an armistice with the US can be anything but temporary; pursuing it is a miscalculation of US intentions, the sources add. They warn that new attacks will come. “The oligarchs,” the sources say, “will be put out of business by the Americans unless they choose – either return to Russia and face a very different future from the one they have enjoyed until now; or leave Russia, join the American side; lose what they own in Russia to the state. There is no middle position. That’s what the US economic strategy means. There’s no modern precedent for an attack like this. Putin isn’t prepared.”

    http://johnhelmer.net/the-samson-haircut-option-one-step-before-russia-opens-fire-on-american-israeli-forces/

    When will Putler surrender?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Putin is obviously weak.

    I think he was weak in the Syrian crisis, though I also think the Americans were weak there, too, so it didn’t matter much.

    But it’s very likely that he’s not up to the task of managing an ever escalating conflict with an increasingly crazy opponent with no rational aims and not bound by any customs or laws or agreements. For example they break into diplomatic compounds.

    It’s unclear how Putin could even capitulate. What would it look like? What would the Americans accept? Would they be willing to commit to accepting legitimate Russian interests anywhere? At least within Russia? Or would they keep pressuring them even within their borders, because gay marriage or human rights in Chechnya? I would guess the latter.
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  79. @Mitleser

    Silently, Putin has decided to protect Deripaska; not to call the US attack on Rusal an act of war; and to test the Americans with an offer of a limited armistice. International bankers close to Russian business believe it is a Russian illusion that an armistice with the US can be anything but temporary; pursuing it is a miscalculation of US intentions, the sources add. They warn that new attacks will come. “The oligarchs,” the sources say, “will be put out of business by the Americans unless they choose – either return to Russia and face a very different future from the one they have enjoyed until now; or leave Russia, join the American side; lose what they own in Russia to the state. There is no middle position. That’s what the US economic strategy means. There’s no modern precedent for an attack like this. Putin isn’t prepared.”
     
    http://johnhelmer.net/the-samson-haircut-option-one-step-before-russia-opens-fire-on-american-israeli-forces/

    When will Putler surrender?

    Putin is obviously weak.

    I think he was weak in the Syrian crisis, though I also think the Americans were weak there, too, so it didn’t matter much.

    But it’s very likely that he’s not up to the task of managing an ever escalating conflict with an increasingly crazy opponent with no rational aims and not bound by any customs or laws or agreements. For example they break into diplomatic compounds.

    It’s unclear how Putin could even capitulate. What would it look like? What would the Americans accept? Would they be willing to commit to accepting legitimate Russian interests anywhere? At least within Russia? Or would they keep pressuring them even within their borders, because gay marriage or human rights in Chechnya? I would guess the latter.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    For example they break into diplomatic compounds.
     
    Must have missed that, what does it refer to?
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    That's overdoing it a bit; breaking into diplomatic compounds relates to the Seattle Consulate, which the Russians had been ordered to vacate anyway (in response to which Russia closed the US Consulate in SPB).
    , @Mitleser

    It’s unclear how Putin could even capitulate.
     
    Accept Kudrin's proposal.

    President Vladimir Putin is considering whether to appoint a vice president for negotiating an end to sanctions with the US and the European Union (EU), and an about-turn in Russia’s foreign and defence policy.

    In the scheme proposed by former finance minister Alexei Kudrin (lead image, centre), the job would hold more power than the prime minister, allowing Dmitry Medvedev to remain in his place, but subordinate him to the new man. Kudrin’s idea is that he would become this de facto vice president; the dominant policymaker of the government after Putin; and his likely successor.

    Vice president is the term being used among Kremlin officials and advisors. Not since the constitutional crisis of 1993, when Vice President Alexander Rutskoi led the Russian parliament in rebellion against President Boris Yelstin, has the position of vice president existed in Russia, with the power to succeed or replace the incumbent president. It is an arrangement for which Kudrin claims to have the backing of the US and the EU. Kudrin would also draw on the support of the Russian oligarchs, inside and outside the country.
     
    http://johnhelmer.net/vice-president-for-capitulation-putin-decides-what-job-to-give-kudrin/
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  80. @reiner Tor
    Putin is obviously weak.

    I think he was weak in the Syrian crisis, though I also think the Americans were weak there, too, so it didn’t matter much.

    But it’s very likely that he’s not up to the task of managing an ever escalating conflict with an increasingly crazy opponent with no rational aims and not bound by any customs or laws or agreements. For example they break into diplomatic compounds.

    It’s unclear how Putin could even capitulate. What would it look like? What would the Americans accept? Would they be willing to commit to accepting legitimate Russian interests anywhere? At least within Russia? Or would they keep pressuring them even within their borders, because gay marriage or human rights in Chechnya? I would guess the latter.

    For example they break into diplomatic compounds.

    Must have missed that, what does it refer to?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    Then on April 25 US forces broke into the Russian consulate at Seattle. This was the second such attack by the US on Russian diplomatic territory in the US; the earlier one was on September 2, 2017, when the Russian consulate in San Francisco and simultaneously, Russian trade mission offices in Washington and New York.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry called the US actions “illegal invasion”, and violations of the Vienna Convention, but not acts of war.
     
    http://johnhelmer.net/the-samson-haircut-option-one-step-before-russia-opens-fire-on-american-israeli-forces/
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  81. @for-the-record
    Quoting James is not much "proof", the book is a real outlier and the surprising thing is that it was included in the "corpus" -- presumably this was because the author was thought to be the "brother of the Lord".

    James advocates salvation through works as opposed to faith, which is in total contradiction to the Pauline doctrine that the Church adopted and still maintains:

    James: “You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone..” (James 2:24)

    Paul: “For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law..” (Romans 3:28)

    Nobody really believes in salvation by faith alone, no matter what they say.

    If somebody is “saved” by accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior, but then proceeds to shoot up a McDonald’s before killing themselves, “faith alone” types would just say that that person was never really saved in the first place.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    If somebody is “saved” by accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior, but then proceeds to shoot up a McDonald’s before killing themselves

     

    But if he'd repent and confess just before his death, the matter might look differently.
    Just look how some Catholics feel about Rudolf Höß:

    https://aleteia.org/2016/03/04/how-the-commandant-of-auschwitz-found-gods-mercy/
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  82. @Greasy William
    Nobody really believes in salvation by faith alone, no matter what they say.

    If somebody is "saved" by accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior, but then proceeds to shoot up a McDonald's before killing themselves, "faith alone" types would just say that that person was never really saved in the first place.

    If somebody is “saved” by accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior, but then proceeds to shoot up a McDonald’s before killing themselves

    But if he’d repent and confess just before his death, the matter might look differently.
    Just look how some Catholics feel about Rudolf Höß:

    https://aleteia.org/2016/03/04/how-the-commandant-of-auschwitz-found-gods-mercy/

    Read More
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  83. @German_reader

    For example they break into diplomatic compounds.
     
    Must have missed that, what does it refer to?

    Then on April 25 US forces broke into the Russian consulate at Seattle. This was the second such attack by the US on Russian diplomatic territory in the US; the earlier one was on September 2, 2017, when the Russian consulate in San Francisco and simultaneously, Russian trade mission offices in Washington and New York.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry called the US actions “illegal invasion”, and violations of the Vienna Convention, but not acts of war.

    http://johnhelmer.net/the-samson-haircut-option-one-step-before-russia-opens-fire-on-american-israeli-forces/

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    Thanks, I'd missed that.
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  84. @reiner Tor
    Putin is obviously weak.

    I think he was weak in the Syrian crisis, though I also think the Americans were weak there, too, so it didn’t matter much.

    But it’s very likely that he’s not up to the task of managing an ever escalating conflict with an increasingly crazy opponent with no rational aims and not bound by any customs or laws or agreements. For example they break into diplomatic compounds.

    It’s unclear how Putin could even capitulate. What would it look like? What would the Americans accept? Would they be willing to commit to accepting legitimate Russian interests anywhere? At least within Russia? Or would they keep pressuring them even within their borders, because gay marriage or human rights in Chechnya? I would guess the latter.

    That’s overdoing it a bit; breaking into diplomatic compounds relates to the Seattle Consulate, which the Russians had been ordered to vacate anyway (in response to which Russia closed the US Consulate in SPB).

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    In the last weeks of the Obama administration they illegally closed down a diplomatic compound. I think they still haven’t given it back despite it being owned by Russia. The Seattle building also continues to be the possession of the Russian government. They cannot just remove the locks and break into it. At the very least they could have asked for cooperation.

    They are obviously much harsher on Russia than they ever were on the USSR. The only comparison with the treatment of a greater power is that of the way they treated Imperial Japan and perhaps Nazi Germany. They are of course still less harsh on Russia than on Iran. But the treatment of Iran is also something of an anomaly. Did they ever unilaterally introduce such harsh sanctions on any country during the Cold War?
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  85. @Mitleser

    Then on April 25 US forces broke into the Russian consulate at Seattle. This was the second such attack by the US on Russian diplomatic territory in the US; the earlier one was on September 2, 2017, when the Russian consulate in San Francisco and simultaneously, Russian trade mission offices in Washington and New York.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry called the US actions “illegal invasion”, and violations of the Vienna Convention, but not acts of war.
     
    http://johnhelmer.net/the-samson-haircut-option-one-step-before-russia-opens-fire-on-american-israeli-forces/

    Thanks, I’d missed that.

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  86. You guys are overestimating Russophobia as part of American Grand Strategy.

    The Pentagon and State Department are concerned with 1 thing: protecting US hegemony. They aren’t interested in destroying Russia, they want to “defend”, for lack of a better word, against Russian encroachment against American uni-polarity.

    This is just how international relations work and it has always been this way. As long as Russia continues to try to compete with the US, the US is gonna push back. This will change when the US can no longer afford to fund it’s imperial ambitions, not before.

    I would also like to point out that it was Russia, not the US, that recently threatened to launch a genocidal nuclear war.

    re Syria: I think that the US and Russia are on the same page in Syria: Assad stays in power and Russia and Iran stay in the country. So Russia got most of what it wants. Direct US involvement is less than direct Russian involvement and if not for the US, ISIS would still be going strong. If the US really wanted to bleed Russia in Syria, they could. But they are treating it like the backwater it is.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    This is just how international relations work and it has always been this way.
     
    I'd say the very concept of permanent US global hegemony, if realized, would do away with the concept of international relations as traditionally understood.
    The ambitions of US elites aren't reasonable or rational, no self-respecting great power could just accept what you term "American uni-polarity".
    , @Mitleser

    I would also like to point out that it was Russia, not the US, that recently threatened to launch a genocidal nuclear war.
     
    Because that was the only way to keep the newest American aggression against Syria in-check.
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  87. Outline of Russian budgetary policy for next few years: Less military spending; more infrastructure, healthcare, education spending.

    A sign of “elections as regime referendums”?

    After all, Grudinin did beat everyone but Putin who did only beat his past performances thanks to Crimea.

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  88. @Greasy William
    You guys are overestimating Russophobia as part of American Grand Strategy.

    The Pentagon and State Department are concerned with 1 thing: protecting US hegemony. They aren't interested in destroying Russia, they want to "defend", for lack of a better word, against Russian encroachment against American uni-polarity.

    This is just how international relations work and it has always been this way. As long as Russia continues to try to compete with the US, the US is gonna push back. This will change when the US can no longer afford to fund it's imperial ambitions, not before.

    I would also like to point out that it was Russia, not the US, that recently threatened to launch a genocidal nuclear war.

    re Syria: I think that the US and Russia are on the same page in Syria: Assad stays in power and Russia and Iran stay in the country. So Russia got most of what it wants. Direct US involvement is less than direct Russian involvement and if not for the US, ISIS would still be going strong. If the US really wanted to bleed Russia in Syria, they could. But they are treating it like the backwater it is.

    This is just how international relations work and it has always been this way.

    I’d say the very concept of permanent US global hegemony, if realized, would do away with the concept of international relations as traditionally understood.
    The ambitions of US elites aren’t reasonable or rational, no self-respecting great power could just accept what you term “American uni-polarity”.

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    • Replies: @Greasy William
    I didn't say they should accept it, I said that it was inevitable that the US would try to preserve it.
    , @Mitleser

    The ambitions of US elites aren’t reasonable or rational, no self-respecting great power could just accept what you term “American uni-polarity”.
     
    They could, but that would require American elites to a) be more inclusive and respect others interests and b) be strong enough to enforce their order.

    China's rise undermines b) and conflict with Russia, post-Soviet NK and others is fueled by insufficient a), limiting the uni-polarity.

    But maybe Washington's Rome needs conflict with "barbarians".
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  89. @Greasy William
    You guys are overestimating Russophobia as part of American Grand Strategy.

    The Pentagon and State Department are concerned with 1 thing: protecting US hegemony. They aren't interested in destroying Russia, they want to "defend", for lack of a better word, against Russian encroachment against American uni-polarity.

    This is just how international relations work and it has always been this way. As long as Russia continues to try to compete with the US, the US is gonna push back. This will change when the US can no longer afford to fund it's imperial ambitions, not before.

    I would also like to point out that it was Russia, not the US, that recently threatened to launch a genocidal nuclear war.

    re Syria: I think that the US and Russia are on the same page in Syria: Assad stays in power and Russia and Iran stay in the country. So Russia got most of what it wants. Direct US involvement is less than direct Russian involvement and if not for the US, ISIS would still be going strong. If the US really wanted to bleed Russia in Syria, they could. But they are treating it like the backwater it is.

    I would also like to point out that it was Russia, not the US, that recently threatened to launch a genocidal nuclear war.

    Because that was the only way to keep the newest American aggression against Syria in-check.

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  90. @German_reader

    This is just how international relations work and it has always been this way.
     
    I'd say the very concept of permanent US global hegemony, if realized, would do away with the concept of international relations as traditionally understood.
    The ambitions of US elites aren't reasonable or rational, no self-respecting great power could just accept what you term "American uni-polarity".

    I didn’t say they should accept it, I said that it was inevitable that the US would try to preserve it.

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    • Replies: @Mitleser
    The only reason the Kremlin is bothered by American uni-polarity so much is because they are excluded from it and instead are antagonized again and again.

    It is only inevitable because Washington wants it to be inevitable.
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  91. @German_reader

    This is just how international relations work and it has always been this way.
     
    I'd say the very concept of permanent US global hegemony, if realized, would do away with the concept of international relations as traditionally understood.
    The ambitions of US elites aren't reasonable or rational, no self-respecting great power could just accept what you term "American uni-polarity".

    The ambitions of US elites aren’t reasonable or rational, no self-respecting great power could just accept what you term “American uni-polarity”.

    They could, but that would require American elites to a) be more inclusive and respect others interests and b) be strong enough to enforce their order.

    China’s rise undermines b) and conflict with Russia, post-Soviet NK and others is fueled by insufficient a), limiting the uni-polarity.

    But maybe Washington’s Rome needs conflict with “barbarians”.

    Read More
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  92. @Greasy William
    I didn't say they should accept it, I said that it was inevitable that the US would try to preserve it.

    The only reason the Kremlin is bothered by American uni-polarity so much is because they are excluded from it and instead are antagonized again and again.

    It is only inevitable because Washington wants it to be inevitable.

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    • Replies: @Greasy William

    It is only inevitable because Washington wants it to be inevitable.
     
    exactly. That's my point.

    As long as the US can keep this going, it will. It will stop when it is no longer able to do so, not before.
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  93. @Mitleser
    The only reason the Kremlin is bothered by American uni-polarity so much is because they are excluded from it and instead are antagonized again and again.

    It is only inevitable because Washington wants it to be inevitable.

    It is only inevitable because Washington wants it to be inevitable.

    exactly. That’s my point.

    As long as the US can keep this going, it will. It will stop when it is no longer able to do so, not before.

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  94. @RadicalCenter
    Sick of both your shit, irrational rude Catholic zealots and irrational rude antiCatholic zealots. So let me be rude in return. What do normal people not like about both your camps of zealot fools?

    Pretending to be sure of things we can’t be sure of, and questioning the faith or good will or intelligence or “biblical ‘’knowledge’” of people who point out that you don’t and can’t really know much of what you’re claiming to know with certainty.

    Acting like people in other christian denominations en masse aren’t real Christians or even good people.

    The Protestant crap about RCs worshipping Mary. But also the creepy RC rhetoric about Mary as a spouse of the Holy Spirit, clergy being married to the church, etc.

    Arguing about things that don’t practically matter and that the church itself has changed its position on, such as reincarnation.

    Expecting other people to accept whatever you’re arguing —or merely asserting or guessing — because you cite The Holy Bible in capital letters with “chapter and verse.”

    Believing that people who live by the golden rule and live faithfully, honestly, industriously, peacefully, kindly, reasonably will still be damned after death if they didn’t believe that Jesus was god or the son of god, or even if they believed that but belonged to the “wrong” denomination.

    The jargon. The damn jargon. RCs and Baptists, the denominations with which we are both familiar, have so much odd, offputting jargon, that often doesn’t serve to illuminate. It’s probably used to make things sound more dramatic, important, impressive, authoritative, but it just obfuscates and sounds ridiculous. Jargon is also used to make believers feel like they’re part of a special elite club that the non-members can’t understand.

    guess who didn’t read your post :)

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  95. @German_reader
    I think Thorfinsson was just trolling and pretending to be some latter-day Know-nothing.
    At least I hope so...

    I am pro whatever my team is. As a result of history than means Protestant. Death to Mackerel Snappers.

    That doesn’t mean I’m invested in the theological debates or even know anything at all about them.

    And the whole debate is obviously quaint these days as we have bigger problems to worry about.

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  96. I think this is only in America – people debating so passionately about religion and knowing about theology in 2018. At least they don’t put this in their GRE exam.

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    • Replies: @Greasy William
    Because America maintained its faith it became the most powerful country in the world. Now that it has lost its faith it is headed for oblivion.

    There is no sustainable prosperity without faith in, and worship of, G-d.

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  97. @Dmitry
    I think this is only in America - people debating so passionately about religion and knowing about theology in 2018. At least they don't put this in their GRE exam.

    Because America maintained its faith it became the most powerful country in the world. Now that it has lost its faith it is headed for oblivion.

    There is no sustainable prosperity without faith in, and worship of, G-d.

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    • Agree: AP
    • Replies: @AaronB
    Partially correct.

    It is increasingly obvious thst healthy flourishing depends on a faith in God. Imperial ambition and obscene wealth, depend on a breach with God, and are always a precursor to collapse.
    , @Thorfinnsson
    Someone named "William" is a fucking kike?!
    , @reiner Tor
    In general, there needs to be some religion and spirituality for a society to be strong. Once it loses it (and goes for the fake spirituality of horoscope and esoterica worship), it gets decadent, and collapse will follow soon.

    Though Rome managed to keep itself going for several centuries after that point.
    , @Dmitry

    There is no sustainable prosperity without faith in, and worship of, G-d.

     

    And where is the correlation between religion and prosperity?

    For certain communities (e.g. Mormons in America), there have been studies.

    But for countries as whole, I would expect no relation, or even - to a small extent - an opposite relation.
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  98. @for-the-record
    Not a crisis of faith but I was raised Christian so I have always maintained an interest in Christian theology.

    So what made you convert to the religion whose adherents willingly, and openly, accepted responsibility for shedding the blood of your former mentor (Matthew 27:24-25)?

    So what made you convert to the religion whose adherents willingly, and openly, accepted responsibility for shedding the blood of your former mentor (Matthew 27:24-25)?

    I didn’t convert. I’m an ethnic Jew born to a Jewish mother. It just so happens that my mom hates Judaism with a passion so I was raised in my WASP father’s half assed American style Christianity, albeit with some very sporadic celebration of Jewish holidays.

    In high school I came to embrace real Christianity on my own (long story) before losing my faith (long story) and becoming a militant, and then indifferent, atheist (long story).

    Judaism came down the road (long story).

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    • Replies: @for-the-record
    Thanks for the short version of the multiple long stories.

    My father was Jewish (his parents were from Ukraine of all places), although he gave it up at a very early age for reasons that I never learned. My mother was brought up Christian Scientist (and never saw a doctor or dentist until she went to university), and we were essentially raised as nonreligious, although we did do dreidels at Hanukkah and of course all the normal Christmas trappings.
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  99. @Greasy William
    Because America maintained its faith it became the most powerful country in the world. Now that it has lost its faith it is headed for oblivion.

    There is no sustainable prosperity without faith in, and worship of, G-d.

    Partially correct.

    It is increasingly obvious thst healthy flourishing depends on a faith in God. Imperial ambition and obscene wealth, depend on a breach with God, and are always a precursor to collapse.

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    • Agree: Greasy William
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  100. healthy flourishing depends on a faith in God

    “faith in God” is the kind of anodyne term only an American could use…as Eisenhower supposedly said “Our government has no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith, and I don’t care what it is”. If you don’t want to talk about specific theology, what’s the point in going on about God?

    Imperial ambition and obscene wealth, depend on a breach with God

    The soldiers of the Caliphate in the early centuries of Islam or those of 16th century Spain had a lot of imperial ambition and undoubtedly many of them believed they were doing God’s will, so this seems like a rather one-sided view.

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    • Replies: @AaronB

    If you don’t want to talk about specific theology, what’s the point in going on about God?
     
    You are correct, we must clearly formulate and choose a religion - even of it is syncretic, or new in important ways. We absolutely cannot remain on the level of generalities, you are quite correct about that.

    I merely mean that it is clear that different communities, adhering to different faiths, can flourish, and have historically. It seems there are many legitimate paths to God. The only sure path to decline, history has shown, is loss of any path to God.

    The soldiers of the Caliphate in the early centuries of Islam or those of 16th century Spain had a lot of imperial ambition and undoubtedly many of them believed they were doing God’s will, so this seems like a rather one-sided view.
     
    I think a closer reading of history will show that each of your examples immediately preceded a period of decline. John Glubb has some highly pertinent and revealing remarks on the social decline of 8th and 9th centry Baghdad that astonishingly mirror our own, down to feminism (!), in the period immediately following the Islamic expansion, and of course it's well known that the Golden Age of Spanish wealth and power declined shortly after the conquest of the Americas.

    Glubb's essay examines all known empires up to the British, and finds a remarkably consistent pattern of decline immediately following a period of exuberant expansion.

    Because, in truth, when imperial ambitions replace legitimate flourishing, you have already turned to excessive materialism and broken faith with God.
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  101. @Greasy William
    Because America maintained its faith it became the most powerful country in the world. Now that it has lost its faith it is headed for oblivion.

    There is no sustainable prosperity without faith in, and worship of, G-d.

    Someone named “William” is a fucking kike?!

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    • Replies: @for-the-record
    Someone named “William” is a fucking kike?!

    William Shatner?
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  102. @German_reader

    healthy flourishing depends on a faith in God
     
    "faith in God" is the kind of anodyne term only an American could use...as Eisenhower supposedly said "Our government has no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith, and I don’t care what it is". If you don't want to talk about specific theology, what's the point in going on about God?

    Imperial ambition and obscene wealth, depend on a breach with God
     
    The soldiers of the Caliphate in the early centuries of Islam or those of 16th century Spain had a lot of imperial ambition and undoubtedly many of them believed they were doing God's will, so this seems like a rather one-sided view.

    If you don’t want to talk about specific theology, what’s the point in going on about God?

    You are correct, we must clearly formulate and choose a religion – even of it is syncretic, or new in important ways. We absolutely cannot remain on the level of generalities, you are quite correct about that.

    I merely mean that it is clear that different communities, adhering to different faiths, can flourish, and have historically. It seems there are many legitimate paths to God. The only sure path to decline, history has shown, is loss of any path to God.

    The soldiers of the Caliphate in the early centuries of Islam or those of 16th century Spain had a lot of imperial ambition and undoubtedly many of them believed they were doing God’s will, so this seems like a rather one-sided view.

    I think a closer reading of history will show that each of your examples immediately preceded a period of decline. John Glubb has some highly pertinent and revealing remarks on the social decline of 8th and 9th centry Baghdad that astonishingly mirror our own, down to feminism (!), in the period immediately following the Islamic expansion, and of course it’s well known that the Golden Age of Spanish wealth and power declined shortly after the conquest of the Americas.

    Glubb’s essay examines all known empires up to the British, and finds a remarkably consistent pattern of decline immediately following a period of exuberant expansion.

    Because, in truth, when imperial ambitions replace legitimate flourishing, you have already turned to excessive materialism and broken faith with God.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Glubb Pasha's essay is very good, but there are simpler and more banal explanations.

    1 - Regression to the mean
    2 - Imperial success causes others to sharpen their game and form coalitions against you

    Look at the Napoleonic Wars or WW2 for instance. Napoleon and the Wehrmacht steadily got worse in their relative performance, and their enemies steadily got better (and amassed superior resources).

    We can see this today with the new Russia-China alliance that America's stupid policy created. And that brings up a third point. As the Greeks said, hubris breeds nemesis.

    Or from our own magnificent King James Bible, Proverbs 16:18:

    Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
     
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  103. @Anatoly Karlin
    That's overdoing it a bit; breaking into diplomatic compounds relates to the Seattle Consulate, which the Russians had been ordered to vacate anyway (in response to which Russia closed the US Consulate in SPB).

    In the last weeks of the Obama administration they illegally closed down a diplomatic compound. I think they still haven’t given it back despite it being owned by Russia. The Seattle building also continues to be the possession of the Russian government. They cannot just remove the locks and break into it. At the very least they could have asked for cooperation.

    They are obviously much harsher on Russia than they ever were on the USSR. The only comparison with the treatment of a greater power is that of the way they treated Imperial Japan and perhaps Nazi Germany. They are of course still less harsh on Russia than on Iran. But the treatment of Iran is also something of an anomaly. Did they ever unilaterally introduce such harsh sanctions on any country during the Cold War?

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    • Replies: @Mitleser
    Cuba?
    , @yevardian
    Iran needs to be made an example of. With the possible exception of North Korea, no other country of its relative size has independently defied the US so successfully and for so long. In contrast to Russia, the Persian elites really do appear implacable, whereas Russia it seems most of them would be quite happy to collaborate under American hegemony if only they were treated with respect. Even now Iran is still rather admirable in maintaining a stubborn independence in international affairs, Persians haven't forgotten that the brief interlude where the USSR occupied the country and set-up puppet states.
    , @JL
    The Russians retaliated by seizing the Americans' dachas at Serebrenyi Bor. Are you unaware of this?
    , @Bukephalos
    oftentimes acting erratically, with excess and hysteria isn't a sign of strength.

    In the Valdai Club article Anatoly linked above, the speaker Chen Dongxiao states "the US itself, where social instability is growing, is becoming the most unstable power in the world. " Is it not a factual statement?
    , @utu

    They are obviously much harsher on Russia than they ever were on the USSR.
     
    They feared USSR and respected it for its monolithic ideology and internal discipline. Russia now is just like any other country of greedy and corruptible politicians that believe in nothing and have nothing to fall back on so they can be bribed and cowed. Yeltsin era clearly demonstrated it.
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  104. @reiner Tor
    In the last weeks of the Obama administration they illegally closed down a diplomatic compound. I think they still haven’t given it back despite it being owned by Russia. The Seattle building also continues to be the possession of the Russian government. They cannot just remove the locks and break into it. At the very least they could have asked for cooperation.

    They are obviously much harsher on Russia than they ever were on the USSR. The only comparison with the treatment of a greater power is that of the way they treated Imperial Japan and perhaps Nazi Germany. They are of course still less harsh on Russia than on Iran. But the treatment of Iran is also something of an anomaly. Did they ever unilaterally introduce such harsh sanctions on any country during the Cold War?

    Cuba?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    It was different. It was America’s backyard, and the Soviets were aggressive in going there at all.

    During the Cuban Crisis the USSR had international law on its side. But they were the aggressors, according to Cold War custom, because they were operating in a country which had been an American semi-colony just a few years before. Imagine if in 1968, right before the invasion of Czechoslovakia, American troops were invited to Czechoslovakia by the government: it might have caused a nuclear war.

    The Americans eventually didn’t start World War Three over Cuba (though it nearly happened), but they had every right to be pissed. If there had been a WW3 in 1962, it most definitely wouldn’t have been a unilateral American aggression.

    And even with Cuba, it was a regular trade embargo. They didn’t sanction those who traded with Cuba, as Canada or Mexico did. The US couldn’t hurt Russia that much by merely introducing a trade embargo against it, since they don’t trade much. It’s sanctions against third parties which come into business contact with Rusal etc. which which hurt.

    Did they ever do that unilateral sanctions against non-compliant third parties business during the Cold War?
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  105. @Mitleser
    Cuba?

    It was different. It was America’s backyard, and the Soviets were aggressive in going there at all.

    During the Cuban Crisis the USSR had international law on its side. But they were the aggressors, according to Cold War custom, because they were operating in a country which had been an American semi-colony just a few years before. Imagine if in 1968, right before the invasion of Czechoslovakia, American troops were invited to Czechoslovakia by the government: it might have caused a nuclear war.

    The Americans eventually didn’t start World War Three over Cuba (though it nearly happened), but they had every right to be pissed. If there had been a WW3 in 1962, it most definitely wouldn’t have been a unilateral American aggression.

    And even with Cuba, it was a regular trade embargo. They didn’t sanction those who traded with Cuba, as Canada or Mexico did. The US couldn’t hurt Russia that much by merely introducing a trade embargo against it, since they don’t trade much. It’s sanctions against third parties which come into business contact with Rusal etc. which which hurt.

    Did they ever do that unilateral sanctions against non-compliant third parties business during the Cold War?

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    • Replies: @Mitleser

    It was America’s backyard
     
    Just like Iran and post-Soviet Russia.

    It’s sanctions against third parties which come into business contact with Rusal etc. which which hurt.

    Did they ever do that unilateral sanctions against non-compliant third parties business during the Cold War?
     
    Times changed.
    Nowadays, the world is more globalized and America more central, hence sanctions against third parties have become an attractive weapon for the ruling power of the world.
    , @for-the-record
    And even with Cuba, it was a regular trade embargo. They didn’t sanction those who traded with Cuba, as Canada or Mexico did.

    Another sleelpless night? Because this is a rather misguided view of the US embargo of Cuba. If all it entailed were that the US didn’t trade with Cuba, you would be right of course. But the US did indeed extend the embargo to prevent other countries trading with Cuba — thus if you are a Swiss pharmaceutical company, you can trade with the US or you can trade with Cuba but not both. So what do you think the Swiss pharmaceutical company will do?

    If you are a European bank and you finance trade to Cuba, you will be fined by the US (the list of violators who paid up is long and includes many major players).

    There are countless other examples that could be cited, and this has continued to be the case:

    Despite new Cuba relationship, U.S. fines persist against firms accused of violating embargo

    As President Barack Obama prepares to visit Cuba next month, the United States has continued to fine companies accused of violating the U.S. embargo against the island . . .

    The latest companies to be fined are a French geoscience company, CGG Services, which provides spare parts, services, and equipment for oil and gas exploration as well as seismic surveys . . .

    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article62050647.html

     

    The extraterritoriality of US sanctions has in fact gone to ridiculous and absurd lengths. Thus, a couple of years ago a charity event was held in London to raise funds in order to send a piano to a music conservatory in Cuba. Unfortunately the organizers of the event did not realize that the company they contracted with to organize ticket sales was a US entity. The result, of course, was that all of the funds were confiscated. People were furious, but there was absolutely nothing they could do.

    https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/U.K.-Effort-to-Donate-Piano-to-Cuba-Blocked-by-U.S.-Embargo-20160822-0008.html
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  106. @reiner Tor
    It was different. It was America’s backyard, and the Soviets were aggressive in going there at all.

    During the Cuban Crisis the USSR had international law on its side. But they were the aggressors, according to Cold War custom, because they were operating in a country which had been an American semi-colony just a few years before. Imagine if in 1968, right before the invasion of Czechoslovakia, American troops were invited to Czechoslovakia by the government: it might have caused a nuclear war.

    The Americans eventually didn’t start World War Three over Cuba (though it nearly happened), but they had every right to be pissed. If there had been a WW3 in 1962, it most definitely wouldn’t have been a unilateral American aggression.

    And even with Cuba, it was a regular trade embargo. They didn’t sanction those who traded with Cuba, as Canada or Mexico did. The US couldn’t hurt Russia that much by merely introducing a trade embargo against it, since they don’t trade much. It’s sanctions against third parties which come into business contact with Rusal etc. which which hurt.

    Did they ever do that unilateral sanctions against non-compliant third parties business during the Cold War?

    It was America’s backyard

    Just like Iran and post-Soviet Russia.

    It’s sanctions against third parties which come into business contact with Rusal etc. which which hurt.

    Did they ever do that unilateral sanctions against non-compliant third parties business during the Cold War?

    Times changed.
    Nowadays, the world is more globalized and America more central, hence sanctions against third parties have become an attractive weapon for the ruling power of the world.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    No, Iran was never Russia's backyard the way Cuba was for the US. Cuba had been under US military occupation for some time, its independence was won in a large part by American blood, it had an American military base on its soil, its governments resigned at the whim of the Americans, etc.

    Iran was always independent of Russia, it's an uneasy loose ally at best, and there's not much love lost between Russia and Iran. The situation is not even comparable.

    Times changed.
     
    That's what I'm saying. Probably, as you write, the world being more globalized is one explanation. But I also think US and Western elites in general are getting crazier. During the Cold War, there would've been a lot of pushback from the European allies against such unilateral actions. Now there's some grumbling, but not much.
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  107. @German_reader
    Daniel Chieh (not only does his wife allow him to play video games...she apparently plays them herself...nerd dream come true!).

    Too bad Civ IV was the last Firaxis game worth playing.

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  108. @Mitleser

    It was America’s backyard
     
    Just like Iran and post-Soviet Russia.

    It’s sanctions against third parties which come into business contact with Rusal etc. which which hurt.

    Did they ever do that unilateral sanctions against non-compliant third parties business during the Cold War?
     
    Times changed.
    Nowadays, the world is more globalized and America more central, hence sanctions against third parties have become an attractive weapon for the ruling power of the world.

    No, Iran was never Russia’s backyard the way Cuba was for the US. Cuba had been under US military occupation for some time, its independence was won in a large part by American blood, it had an American military base on its soil, its governments resigned at the whim of the Americans, etc.

    Iran was always independent of Russia, it’s an uneasy loose ally at best, and there’s not much love lost between Russia and Iran. The situation is not even comparable.

    Times changed.

    That’s what I’m saying. Probably, as you write, the world being more globalized is one explanation. But I also think US and Western elites in general are getting crazier. During the Cold War, there would’ve been a lot of pushback from the European allies against such unilateral actions. Now there’s some grumbling, but not much.

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    • Replies: @Mitleser
    I was not saying that Iran was Russia's backyard*.

    I was saying that Iran and post-Soviet Russia were America's backyard.

    *only (some) northern parts of Iran were

    During the Cold War, there would’ve been a lot of pushback from the European allies against such unilateral actions.
     
    These elites still remembered the times when America was not the dominant power in West Europe.
    In the present day, the ruling elites consist of people who became relevant after the CW and accepted nearly-unchecked American dominance.
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  109. @reiner Tor
    In the last weeks of the Obama administration they illegally closed down a diplomatic compound. I think they still haven’t given it back despite it being owned by Russia. The Seattle building also continues to be the possession of the Russian government. They cannot just remove the locks and break into it. At the very least they could have asked for cooperation.

    They are obviously much harsher on Russia than they ever were on the USSR. The only comparison with the treatment of a greater power is that of the way they treated Imperial Japan and perhaps Nazi Germany. They are of course still less harsh on Russia than on Iran. But the treatment of Iran is also something of an anomaly. Did they ever unilaterally introduce such harsh sanctions on any country during the Cold War?

    Iran needs to be made an example of. With the possible exception of North Korea, no other country of its relative size has independently defied the US so successfully and for so long. In contrast to Russia, the Persian elites really do appear implacable, whereas Russia it seems most of them would be quite happy to collaborate under American hegemony if only they were treated with respect. Even now Iran is still rather admirable in maintaining a stubborn independence in international affairs, Persians haven’t forgotten that the brief interlude where the USSR occupied the country and set-up puppet states.

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    • Replies: @utu

    Iran needs to be made an example of.
     
    Example to whom? Iran is too big for it. Destroying Iran perhaps was supposed to be the lesson for Iran. The greatest crime of Iran is that it is functioning relatively well and despite of the setback of Iranian Revolution in 1979. Consider a possibility that the Iranian Revolution was engineered to stop the development of Iran under the Shah because having a strong Iran was not in the plans. Strong Iran was making Israel nervous despite of Shah's good rapport with both the US and Israel. Having Iran onflicted with the US from the point of view of Israel was the most desirable outcome.

    Obama's deal with Iran was his greatest and most courageous accomplishment and the parting shot of not vetoing the UN resolution against Israel was the cherry on top. Obama really disliked Netanyahu and the lobby and certainly he wanted to do more as his speech in Egypt indicated but he was obstructed. Valerie Jarret, the most important person in the WH, who speaks Parsi as she lived in Iran probably was very instrumental in this deal.

    Destroying this deal is the only task Trump must accomplish. One could say that Iran is the only reason why Trump was elected. To undo the deal with Iran and antagonize Iran to the point that Iran does something stupid.
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  110. @reiner Tor
    No, Iran was never Russia's backyard the way Cuba was for the US. Cuba had been under US military occupation for some time, its independence was won in a large part by American blood, it had an American military base on its soil, its governments resigned at the whim of the Americans, etc.

    Iran was always independent of Russia, it's an uneasy loose ally at best, and there's not much love lost between Russia and Iran. The situation is not even comparable.

    Times changed.
     
    That's what I'm saying. Probably, as you write, the world being more globalized is one explanation. But I also think US and Western elites in general are getting crazier. During the Cold War, there would've been a lot of pushback from the European allies against such unilateral actions. Now there's some grumbling, but not much.

    I was not saying that Iran was Russia’s backyard*.

    I was saying that Iran and post-Soviet Russia were America’s backyard.

    *only (some) northern parts of Iran were

    During the Cold War, there would’ve been a lot of pushback from the European allies against such unilateral actions.

    These elites still remembered the times when America was not the dominant power in West Europe.
    In the present day, the ruling elites consist of people who became relevant after the CW and accepted nearly-unchecked American dominance.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Post-Soviet Russia had never been America's backyard the way Cuba had been. You cannot seriously propose that it ever was.

    Iran itself was once under international (Soviet-American) occupation for a while, and then it became an American ally. Even so, it was never occupied by a third party, and would've remained strictly neutral (unlike Cuba) if the Americans hadn't kept pushing against it.

    Iran's elites would also be happy to work with the Americans, they always keep electing these westernizing reformers for president, only to get disappointed by the continued belligerence of the Americans.
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  111. @Mitleser
    I was not saying that Iran was Russia's backyard*.

    I was saying that Iran and post-Soviet Russia were America's backyard.

    *only (some) northern parts of Iran were

    During the Cold War, there would’ve been a lot of pushback from the European allies against such unilateral actions.
     
    These elites still remembered the times when America was not the dominant power in West Europe.
    In the present day, the ruling elites consist of people who became relevant after the CW and accepted nearly-unchecked American dominance.

    Post-Soviet Russia had never been America’s backyard the way Cuba had been. You cannot seriously propose that it ever was.

    Iran itself was once under international (Soviet-American) occupation for a while, and then it became an American ally. Even so, it was never occupied by a third party, and would’ve remained strictly neutral (unlike Cuba) if the Americans hadn’t kept pushing against it.

    Iran’s elites would also be happy to work with the Americans, they always keep electing these westernizing reformers for president, only to get disappointed by the continued belligerence of the Americans.

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  112. @Greasy William
    Because America maintained its faith it became the most powerful country in the world. Now that it has lost its faith it is headed for oblivion.

    There is no sustainable prosperity without faith in, and worship of, G-d.

    In general, there needs to be some religion and spirituality for a society to be strong. Once it loses it (and goes for the fake spirituality of horoscope and esoterica worship), it gets decadent, and collapse will follow soon.

    Though Rome managed to keep itself going for several centuries after that point.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    Though Rome managed to keep itself going for several centuries after that point.
     
    Rome only collapsed when the empire had become Christian, so I don't think lack of spirituality can be adduced as a reason.
    And while it's true that the old cults seem to have lost much of their appeal by the late 3rd/early 4th century, that wasn't a universal phenomenon either. Diocletian really seems to have believed that he had a personal relationship with Jupiter, and the emperor Julian was of course a devout pagan who spent much time on animal sacrifices.
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  113. @reiner Tor
    In the last weeks of the Obama administration they illegally closed down a diplomatic compound. I think they still haven’t given it back despite it being owned by Russia. The Seattle building also continues to be the possession of the Russian government. They cannot just remove the locks and break into it. At the very least they could have asked for cooperation.

    They are obviously much harsher on Russia than they ever were on the USSR. The only comparison with the treatment of a greater power is that of the way they treated Imperial Japan and perhaps Nazi Germany. They are of course still less harsh on Russia than on Iran. But the treatment of Iran is also something of an anomaly. Did they ever unilaterally introduce such harsh sanctions on any country during the Cold War?

    The Russians retaliated by seizing the Americans’ dachas at Serebrenyi Bor. Are you unaware of this?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Retaliation is not the same thing as initiating such actions. For one thing, retaliation is legal. For another, I’m sure real estate prices are higher in the US, so the retaliation still probably meant the Russians lost more in terms of monetary value.
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  114. @JL
    The Russians retaliated by seizing the Americans' dachas at Serebrenyi Bor. Are you unaware of this?

    Retaliation is not the same thing as initiating such actions. For one thing, retaliation is legal. For another, I’m sure real estate prices are higher in the US, so the retaliation still probably meant the Russians lost more in terms of monetary value.

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    • Replies: @AP
    Real estate prices are probably higher in Moscow region than in Seattle region.
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  115. @yevardian
    Iran needs to be made an example of. With the possible exception of North Korea, no other country of its relative size has independently defied the US so successfully and for so long. In contrast to Russia, the Persian elites really do appear implacable, whereas Russia it seems most of them would be quite happy to collaborate under American hegemony if only they were treated with respect. Even now Iran is still rather admirable in maintaining a stubborn independence in international affairs, Persians haven't forgotten that the brief interlude where the USSR occupied the country and set-up puppet states.

    Iran needs to be made an example of.

    Example to whom? Iran is too big for it. Destroying Iran perhaps was supposed to be the lesson for Iran. The greatest crime of Iran is that it is functioning relatively well and despite of the setback of Iranian Revolution in 1979. Consider a possibility that the Iranian Revolution was engineered to stop the development of Iran under the Shah because having a strong Iran was not in the plans. Strong Iran was making Israel nervous despite of Shah’s good rapport with both the US and Israel. Having Iran onflicted with the US from the point of view of Israel was the most desirable outcome.

    Obama’s deal with Iran was his greatest and most courageous accomplishment and the parting shot of not vetoing the UN resolution against Israel was the cherry on top. Obama really disliked Netanyahu and the lobby and certainly he wanted to do more as his speech in Egypt indicated but he was obstructed. Valerie Jarret, the most important person in the WH, who speaks Parsi as she lived in Iran probably was very instrumental in this deal.

    Destroying this deal is the only task Trump must accomplish. One could say that Iran is the only reason why Trump was elected. To undo the deal with Iran and antagonize Iran to the point that Iran does something stupid.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Consider a possibility that the Iranian Revolution was engineered
     
    An easier way to achieve a weaker Iran would have been simply not supplying Iran with the most advanced weapons and nuclear technology at the time.

    At the time Iran seemed to be pretty far away from Israel, and inherently hostile to the Arab states closer to Israel (especially Iraq) which were implacably hostile. The revolution itself made Iran hostile to Israel.

    So it’s a conspiracy theory without any evidence or even motive.
    , @Mitleser

    Destroying this deal is the only task Trump must accomplish.
     


    https://youtu.be/Hhwms1gbk-Q

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ux22yGki2Lg
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  116. @Greasy William

    So what made you convert to the religion whose adherents willingly, and openly, accepted responsibility for shedding the blood of your former mentor (Matthew 27:24-25)?
     
    I didn't convert. I'm an ethnic Jew born to a Jewish mother. It just so happens that my mom hates Judaism with a passion so I was raised in my WASP father's half assed American style Christianity, albeit with some very sporadic celebration of Jewish holidays.

    In high school I came to embrace real Christianity on my own (long story) before losing my faith (long story) and becoming a militant, and then indifferent, atheist (long story).

    Judaism came down the road (long story).

    Thanks for the short version of the multiple long stories.

    My father was Jewish (his parents were from Ukraine of all places), although he gave it up at a very early age for reasons that I never learned. My mother was brought up Christian Scientist (and never saw a doctor or dentist until she went to university), and we were essentially raised as nonreligious, although we did do dreidels at Hanukkah and of course all the normal Christmas trappings.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I thought you were British. Are there Christian Scientists in the UK? I never knew that.
    , @Dmitry
    It's strange that mainly the Jewish people on here, were accusing me of 'Hasbara user' because of my connection and knowledge to Israel.

    Unless I misremembered who these people are.

    So far we have Ron Unz (an American Jew), for-the-record (an Ukraine Jew), and Greasy (an American Jew?).

    Internet is really an ironic place.

    Postscript - I am also a Jewish roots, but to the third-generation - 1 grandfather through his mother (i.e. Jewish great-grandmother).
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  117. @Thorfinnsson
    Someone named "William" is a fucking kike?!

    Someone named “William” is a fucking kike?!

    William Shatner?

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    • Agree: Thorfinnsson
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  118. @for-the-record
    Thanks for the short version of the multiple long stories.

    My father was Jewish (his parents were from Ukraine of all places), although he gave it up at a very early age for reasons that I never learned. My mother was brought up Christian Scientist (and never saw a doctor or dentist until she went to university), and we were essentially raised as nonreligious, although we did do dreidels at Hanukkah and of course all the normal Christmas trappings.

    I thought you were British. Are there Christian Scientists in the UK? I never knew that.

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    • Replies: @for-the-record
    I thought you were British. Are there Christian Scientists in the UK? I never knew that.

    Don't think I ever said I was British, although I do have 1/4 UK roots.

    I was born and brought up in the US (as were my parents) but have spent all but 6 years of my post-university life outside the US. Along the way I acquired Irish nationality, so that is what I am now.
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  119. @reiner Tor
    In the last weeks of the Obama administration they illegally closed down a diplomatic compound. I think they still haven’t given it back despite it being owned by Russia. The Seattle building also continues to be the possession of the Russian government. They cannot just remove the locks and break into it. At the very least they could have asked for cooperation.

    They are obviously much harsher on Russia than they ever were on the USSR. The only comparison with the treatment of a greater power is that of the way they treated Imperial Japan and perhaps Nazi Germany. They are of course still less harsh on Russia than on Iran. But the treatment of Iran is also something of an anomaly. Did they ever unilaterally introduce such harsh sanctions on any country during the Cold War?

    oftentimes acting erratically, with excess and hysteria isn’t a sign of strength.

    In the Valdai Club article Anatoly linked above, the speaker Chen Dongxiao states “the US itself, where social instability is growing, is becoming the most unstable power in the world. ” Is it not a factual statement?

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    They are acting with impunity. Meanwhile they are imposing enormous economic costs on Russia, with very few ways for Russia to retaliate, and Russia not doing even what little it could do in retaliation for fear of inviting more sanctions.

    You are mistaking craziness for weakness. The US is still strong. Even if it will collapse in a decade (I doubt, but who knows), for the moment it is still extremely strong. Just like the USSR was enormously powerful almost up to the moment it collapsed, and even beyond: it took several years for the US elites to get emboldened enough to start baiting the bear.
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  120. @utu

    Iran needs to be made an example of.
     
    Example to whom? Iran is too big for it. Destroying Iran perhaps was supposed to be the lesson for Iran. The greatest crime of Iran is that it is functioning relatively well and despite of the setback of Iranian Revolution in 1979. Consider a possibility that the Iranian Revolution was engineered to stop the development of Iran under the Shah because having a strong Iran was not in the plans. Strong Iran was making Israel nervous despite of Shah's good rapport with both the US and Israel. Having Iran onflicted with the US from the point of view of Israel was the most desirable outcome.

    Obama's deal with Iran was his greatest and most courageous accomplishment and the parting shot of not vetoing the UN resolution against Israel was the cherry on top. Obama really disliked Netanyahu and the lobby and certainly he wanted to do more as his speech in Egypt indicated but he was obstructed. Valerie Jarret, the most important person in the WH, who speaks Parsi as she lived in Iran probably was very instrumental in this deal.

    Destroying this deal is the only task Trump must accomplish. One could say that Iran is the only reason why Trump was elected. To undo the deal with Iran and antagonize Iran to the point that Iran does something stupid.

    Consider a possibility that the Iranian Revolution was engineered

    An easier way to achieve a weaker Iran would have been simply not supplying Iran with the most advanced weapons and nuclear technology at the time.

    At the time Iran seemed to be pretty far away from Israel, and inherently hostile to the Arab states closer to Israel (especially Iraq) which were implacably hostile. The revolution itself made Iran hostile to Israel.

    So it’s a conspiracy theory without any evidence or even motive.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Israel supported Iran for the first 10 years after its revolution.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel%27s_role_in_the_Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_war

    A conflict which emerged after has a lot to do with theology, it is likely - otherwise quite difficult to explain why Iran cares about Israel, with which it has no borders or direct conflict mechanism.

    Palestinians are the Sunni Arabs - the same demographic as all the countries that are fighting with Iran.

    However Iran also fighted for the Bosnians against Serbia, so they can be involved in very abstract conflict.

    , @Anon

    An easier way to achieve a weaker Iran would have been simply not supplying Iran with the most advanced weapons and nuclear technology at the time.
     
    That would have required cooperation between US and USSR.
    , @utu
    Obviously we do not know and have no proof. This was the period when the secular government of Afghanistan was being destabilized by the support Islamists were getting form CIA to make trouble for USSR and ultimately to draw them in.

    Somebody helped to destabilize Iran. Could it be USSR? I doubt because they ddid not deal with the Isalmists and they had relatively good relations with Shah. However Shah himself believed that Brits were behind Iranian Revolution. And indeed Brits continued to collaborate with Khomeini's regime:


    Islamic Revolution in Iran: Cultivating, then Arming the Ayatollah
    http://markcurtis.info/2017/02/01/islamic-revolution-in-iran-cultivating-then-arming-the-ayatollah/
     
    In a short term Israel was making the best of the fact that Iran was the US ally by wheeling and dealing and squeezing as much a possible in terms of profits from Iran and possibly even helping in nuclear program (this might be a disinformation though for alibi purpose) but most importantly Israel in the process was able to thoroughly penetrate Iran:

    Did Israel, under Shah, help start Iran’s nuclear program?
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/a-generation-ago-israelis-found-paradise-in-iran/

    IRAN WAS THE ALLY ISRAEL WANTED. IT GOT SAUDI ARABIA
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/a-generation-ago-israelis-found-paradise-in-iran/
     
    The Yinon plan was not officially formulated then as far as we know, but perhaps it was already being worked on. All secular ME states were considered a threat. Why not Iran? Would Israel wanted to have a strong Iran in a long term that also was friendly with West at the same time? No, Israel is much more comfortable with the nincompoops from Saudi Arabia that can be rolled up in 24h.

    Iran had to be pried off the US. Which the Iranian Revolution succeed in doing so. Iran became official enemy of the West. Sanctions set back all developments. The next step was Iraq-Iran war in which the US was siding with Iraq while the Yinon plan was envisioning the destruction of Iraq in this war.

    Anyway, my hypothesis is that Iran had to go because it was getting too strong and paradoxically because it was on too good terms with the West. Iranian Revolution accomplished it.
    , @yevardian
    I don't have an opinion one way or the other, but a very large number of Iranians believe this theory, from all sections of society. Curiously, Israel was the only major country in the world supporting them during the Imposed War. The motive is easy: enemies mutually destroying each other. Don't forget Israel nurtured Hamas for decades.

    Iran was becoming increasingly hostile towards Israel and independent of America in the Shah's later years. The notion does have legs.

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  121. @reiner Tor
    It was different. It was America’s backyard, and the Soviets were aggressive in going there at all.

    During the Cuban Crisis the USSR had international law on its side. But they were the aggressors, according to Cold War custom, because they were operating in a country which had been an American semi-colony just a few years before. Imagine if in 1968, right before the invasion of Czechoslovakia, American troops were invited to Czechoslovakia by the government: it might have caused a nuclear war.

    The Americans eventually didn’t start World War Three over Cuba (though it nearly happened), but they had every right to be pissed. If there had been a WW3 in 1962, it most definitely wouldn’t have been a unilateral American aggression.

    And even with Cuba, it was a regular trade embargo. They didn’t sanction those who traded with Cuba, as Canada or Mexico did. The US couldn’t hurt Russia that much by merely introducing a trade embargo against it, since they don’t trade much. It’s sanctions against third parties which come into business contact with Rusal etc. which which hurt.

    Did they ever do that unilateral sanctions against non-compliant third parties business during the Cold War?

    And even with Cuba, it was a regular trade embargo. They didn’t sanction those who traded with Cuba, as Canada or Mexico did.

    Another sleelpless night? Because this is a rather misguided view of the US embargo of Cuba. If all it entailed were that the US didn’t trade with Cuba, you would be right of course. But the US did indeed extend the embargo to prevent other countries trading with Cuba — thus if you are a Swiss pharmaceutical company, you can trade with the US or you can trade with Cuba but not both. So what do you think the Swiss pharmaceutical company will do?

    If you are a European bank and you finance trade to Cuba, you will be fined by the US (the list of violators who paid up is long and includes many major players).

    There are countless other examples that could be cited, and this has continued to be the case:

    Despite new Cuba relationship, U.S. fines persist against firms accused of violating embargo

    As President Barack Obama prepares to visit Cuba next month, the United States has continued to fine companies accused of violating the U.S. embargo against the island . . .

    The latest companies to be fined are a French geoscience company, CGG Services, which provides spare parts, services, and equipment for oil and gas exploration as well as seismic surveys . . .

    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article62050647.html

    The extraterritoriality of US sanctions has in fact gone to ridiculous and absurd lengths. Thus, a couple of years ago a charity event was held in London to raise funds in order to send a piano to a music conservatory in Cuba. Unfortunately the organizers of the event did not realize that the company they contracted with to organize ticket sales was a US entity. The result, of course, was that all of the funds were confiscated. People were furious, but there was absolutely nothing they could do.

    https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/U.K.-Effort-to-Donate-Piano-to-Cuba-Blocked-by-U.S.-Embargo-20160822-0008.html

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I didn’t closely follow the situation in Cuba, so I might be wrong here, but after reading Wikipedia I get the impression I was correct that during the Cold War there was very little extraterritoriality to the sanctions, but they started in the 1990s, after the Cold War had ended:

    The embargo was reinforced in October 1992 by the Cuban Democracy Act (the "Torricelli Law") and in 1996 by the Cuban Liberty and Democracy Solidarity Act (known as the Helms–Burton Act) which penalizes foreign companies that do business in Cuba by preventing them from doing business in the U.S.
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_embargo_against_Cuba?wprov=sfti1

    It’s an interesting reading. Castro apparently didn’t want to nationalize US assets in Cuba, but he was forced to do so after the US introduced an oil embargo and the US oil companies refused to refine the Soviet oil Castro had to import as a response. When the Americans responded by further sanctions, he was basically forced to step up and nationalize all US assets.

    Cuba was basically a US clusterfuck, especially given how they engineered the revolution itself, at a minimum by refusing to support Batista.
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  122. @Bukephalos
    oftentimes acting erratically, with excess and hysteria isn't a sign of strength.

    In the Valdai Club article Anatoly linked above, the speaker Chen Dongxiao states "the US itself, where social instability is growing, is becoming the most unstable power in the world. " Is it not a factual statement?

    They are acting with impunity. Meanwhile they are imposing enormous economic costs on Russia, with very few ways for Russia to retaliate, and Russia not doing even what little it could do in retaliation for fear of inviting more sanctions.

    You are mistaking craziness for weakness. The US is still strong. Even if it will collapse in a decade (I doubt, but who knows), for the moment it is still extremely strong. Just like the USSR was enormously powerful almost up to the moment it collapsed, and even beyond: it took several years for the US elites to get emboldened enough to start baiting the bear.

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    • Replies: @Bukephalos
    seeing salient features of US political life right now such as the Russiagate or the growing trend towards censorship- it could be construed as ideology-driven, i.e. craziness. I believe however that it's fear.

    Why would google de-rank RT articles, or why are you called a Russian agent if you believe their version of one event or the other? Has it to do with the fact that they had to stage three CW theaters as trigger for intervention in Syria, more absurd and unbelievable each time, but they still carried on. Fourth is a charm, maybe? While the Syrian government is still sitting and the regime-change mojo has definitely gone.
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  123. @reiner Tor
    I thought you were British. Are there Christian Scientists in the UK? I never knew that.

    I thought you were British. Are there Christian Scientists in the UK? I never knew that.

    Don’t think I ever said I was British, although I do have 1/4 UK roots.

    I was born and brought up in the US (as were my parents) but have spent all but 6 years of my post-university life outside the US. Along the way I acquired Irish nationality, so that is what I am now.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Okay. Sorry for mixing you up with someone.
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  124. @reiner Tor
    They are acting with impunity. Meanwhile they are imposing enormous economic costs on Russia, with very few ways for Russia to retaliate, and Russia not doing even what little it could do in retaliation for fear of inviting more sanctions.

    You are mistaking craziness for weakness. The US is still strong. Even if it will collapse in a decade (I doubt, but who knows), for the moment it is still extremely strong. Just like the USSR was enormously powerful almost up to the moment it collapsed, and even beyond: it took several years for the US elites to get emboldened enough to start baiting the bear.

    seeing salient features of US political life right now such as the Russiagate or the growing trend towards censorship- it could be construed as ideology-driven, i.e. craziness. I believe however that it’s fear.

    Why would google de-rank RT articles, or why are you called a Russian agent if you believe their version of one event or the other? Has it to do with the fact that they had to stage three CW theaters as trigger for intervention in Syria, more absurd and unbelievable each time, but they still carried on. Fourth is a charm, maybe? While the Syrian government is still sitting and the regime-change mojo has definitely gone.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Syria so far is a loss for the US, but usually in most conflicts the losing side can point to local tactical or operational victories, while losing on the strategic level.

    Currently Russia is bleeding white economically, while the US lost a marginal battle which is only important to it due to an ethnic lobby group.

    It’s impossible for Russia to stay militarily strong and politically stable while being economically weak. The USSR kept winning in the third world until it collapsed, and Germany in WW1 was also winning until it suddenly collapsed after a quick campaign. Similarly they kept winning in WW2 while falling behind in war production, but finally they started losing.

    The economy is the cornerstone of any sustained conflict (cold or hot), and the US is still very strong in that area.
    , @reiner Tor

    I believe however that it’s fear.
     
    So what. Stalin’s terror was also largely driven by fear — fear of both foreign powers and internal opposition. Yet it would be wrong to think he was weak. Hitler thought so, but he was wrong.
    , @Thorfinnsson
    The fear is of the internal opposition, i.e. the deplorables. We're an emerging ruling class which seeks to replace the existing ossified (and deeply corrupt and evil one) one.

    A good way to understand this is by analyzing this in religious terms.

    The Cathedral (Moldbug's term) is the Catholic Church. The deplorables are the Protestant Reformation.

    Increasing censorship, conspiracy theories, etc. are the Counter-Reformation.

    Of course, the Cathedral lacks the self-awareness and intellectual firepower of early modern Catholic intellectuals.

    A more recent and secular example would be the Restoration, Holy Alliance, Carlsbad Decrees, etc.
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  125. @for-the-record
    And even with Cuba, it was a regular trade embargo. They didn’t sanction those who traded with Cuba, as Canada or Mexico did.

    Another sleelpless night? Because this is a rather misguided view of the US embargo of Cuba. If all it entailed were that the US didn’t trade with Cuba, you would be right of course. But the US did indeed extend the embargo to prevent other countries trading with Cuba — thus if you are a Swiss pharmaceutical company, you can trade with the US or you can trade with Cuba but not both. So what do you think the Swiss pharmaceutical company will do?

    If you are a European bank and you finance trade to Cuba, you will be fined by the US (the list of violators who paid up is long and includes many major players).

    There are countless other examples that could be cited, and this has continued to be the case:

    Despite new Cuba relationship, U.S. fines persist against firms accused of violating embargo

    As President Barack Obama prepares to visit Cuba next month, the United States has continued to fine companies accused of violating the U.S. embargo against the island . . .

    The latest companies to be fined are a French geoscience company, CGG Services, which provides spare parts, services, and equipment for oil and gas exploration as well as seismic surveys . . .

    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article62050647.html

     

    The extraterritoriality of US sanctions has in fact gone to ridiculous and absurd lengths. Thus, a couple of years ago a charity event was held in London to raise funds in order to send a piano to a music conservatory in Cuba. Unfortunately the organizers of the event did not realize that the company they contracted with to organize ticket sales was a US entity. The result, of course, was that all of the funds were confiscated. People were furious, but there was absolutely nothing they could do.

    https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/U.K.-Effort-to-Donate-Piano-to-Cuba-Blocked-by-U.S.-Embargo-20160822-0008.html

    I didn’t closely follow the situation in Cuba, so I might be wrong here, but after reading Wikipedia I get the impression I was correct that during the Cold War there was very little extraterritoriality to the sanctions, but they started in the 1990s, after the Cold War had ended:

    The embargo was reinforced in October 1992 by the Cuban Democracy Act (the “Torricelli Law”) and in 1996 by the Cuban Liberty and Democracy Solidarity Act (known as the Helms–Burton Act) which penalizes foreign companies that do business in Cuba by preventing them from doing business in the U.S.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_embargo_against_Cuba?wprov=sfti1

    It’s an interesting reading. Castro apparently didn’t want to nationalize US assets in Cuba, but he was forced to do so after the US introduced an oil embargo and the US oil companies refused to refine the Soviet oil Castro had to import as a response. When the Americans responded by further sanctions, he was basically forced to step up and nationalize all US assets.

    Cuba was basically a US clusterfuck, especially given how they engineered the revolution itself, at a minimum by refusing to support Batista.

    Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record
    Sanctions were certainly strenghtened by the Helms-Burton Act (Jesse Helms was the local television political commentator when I was at university), but they were quite strong even from the beginning. In particular they included:

    -- a prohibition of the importation of any product fabricated completely or in part from Cuban materials, even if manufactured in other countries;

    -- a ban on aid to any country which provides assistance to Cuba

    -- the blacklisting of all ships involved in trading with Cuba, without regard to the country of
    registry, including a prohibition of any such ship from entering United States ports.

    This last was particularly burdensome, I believe.

    https://repository.law.miami.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1169&context=umiclr
    (pp. 2-3)
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  126. @for-the-record
    I thought you were British. Are there Christian Scientists in the UK? I never knew that.

    Don't think I ever said I was British, although I do have 1/4 UK roots.

    I was born and brought up in the US (as were my parents) but have spent all but 6 years of my post-university life outside the US. Along the way I acquired Irish nationality, so that is what I am now.

    Okay. Sorry for mixing you up with someone.

    Read More
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  127. @Bukephalos
    seeing salient features of US political life right now such as the Russiagate or the growing trend towards censorship- it could be construed as ideology-driven, i.e. craziness. I believe however that it's fear.

    Why would google de-rank RT articles, or why are you called a Russian agent if you believe their version of one event or the other? Has it to do with the fact that they had to stage three CW theaters as trigger for intervention in Syria, more absurd and unbelievable each time, but they still carried on. Fourth is a charm, maybe? While the Syrian government is still sitting and the regime-change mojo has definitely gone.

    Syria so far is a loss for the US, but usually in most conflicts the losing side can point to local tactical or operational victories, while losing on the strategic level.

    Currently Russia is bleeding white economically, while the US lost a marginal battle which is only important to it due to an ethnic lobby group.

    It’s impossible for Russia to stay militarily strong and politically stable while being economically weak. The USSR kept winning in the third world until it collapsed, and Germany in WW1 was also winning until it suddenly collapsed after a quick campaign. Similarly they kept winning in WW2 while falling behind in war production, but finally they started losing.

    The economy is the cornerstone of any sustained conflict (cold or hot), and the US is still very strong in that area.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    It’s impossible for Russia to stay militarily strong and politically stable while being economically weak.
     
    In PPP terms, the size of Russia's economy is comparable to Germany's.

    The USSR kept winning in the third world until it collapsed, and Germany in WW1 was also winning until it suddenly collapsed after a quick campaign. Similarly they kept winning in WW2 while falling behind in war production, but finally they started losing.
     
    Germany lost militarily and economically.
    USSR failed primarily because of ideological instead of economical reasons.
    , @Thorfinnsson
    The Germans and Russians, incidentally, were both aware of this and developed appropriate doctrines as a result.

    Prussia was so militaristic (outside of the ambitions of the Great Elector and Frederick the Great) because it had far fewer resources at its disposal than France, Austria, and Russia. The idea was that only through quick, decisive, and victorious campaigns could Prussia sustain its position and ambitions. When drawn into a war of attrition (the Seven Years War) Prussia was set to be snuffed out by Catherine the Great until she died.

    An earlier equivalent to the Kingdom of Prussia was the Kingdom of Sweden. The Swedish Army was largely considered invincible on the battlefield until Poltava.

    The Schlieffen Plan, Fall Gelb, and Operation Barbarossa all recognized this.

    The failure of the Schlieffen Plan was really down to the Reichstag's refusal to match continuous increases in French Army expenditures after the Tangier Crisis until after the Agadir Crisis. A cynic would of course note that Kaiser Wilhelm II was to blame for this owing to his fleet building program (diverting resources from the army) and various gaffes.

    Fall Gelb and Barbarossa were really quite similar--the qualitatively superior German Army swept everything before them. Trouble was in the east they had to continue...sweeping. Until they outran their supply lines and reserves.

    The Soviet Union had more or less the same doctrine during the Cold War. The reason Warsaw Pact forces were continuously larger than the NATO forces opposing them was awareness of the superior resources available to NATO. The longer any hypothetical WW3 persisted, the greater the likelihood of Soviet defeat.

    Hence this plan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Days_to_the_River_Rhine

    Binkov's Battlegrounds on Youtube did a fun three-part series modeling a hypothetical WW3 in 1989:

    This is the third video which covers the ground war: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kONMKmWQyE8

    There are separate videos for the air war and naval war.

    Today Russia is in such a relatively weak position that it threatens nuclear war instead, not even bothering to try to maintain conventional superiority in peacetime.

    Admiral Martyanov is likely correct about Russian missile superiority, but these missiles would be quickly exhausted in a hot conflict against NATO.

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  128. @Bukephalos
    seeing salient features of US political life right now such as the Russiagate or the growing trend towards censorship- it could be construed as ideology-driven, i.e. craziness. I believe however that it's fear.

    Why would google de-rank RT articles, or why are you called a Russian agent if you believe their version of one event or the other? Has it to do with the fact that they had to stage three CW theaters as trigger for intervention in Syria, more absurd and unbelievable each time, but they still carried on. Fourth is a charm, maybe? While the Syrian government is still sitting and the regime-change mojo has definitely gone.

    I believe however that it’s fear.

    So what. Stalin’s terror was also largely driven by fear — fear of both foreign powers and internal opposition. Yet it would be wrong to think he was weak. Hitler thought so, but he was wrong.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Bukephalos
    It’s not an existential fear. Just the fear of a waning dominance, of losing the empire.
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  129. @reiner Tor
    Syria so far is a loss for the US, but usually in most conflicts the losing side can point to local tactical or operational victories, while losing on the strategic level.

    Currently Russia is bleeding white economically, while the US lost a marginal battle which is only important to it due to an ethnic lobby group.

    It’s impossible for Russia to stay militarily strong and politically stable while being economically weak. The USSR kept winning in the third world until it collapsed, and Germany in WW1 was also winning until it suddenly collapsed after a quick campaign. Similarly they kept winning in WW2 while falling behind in war production, but finally they started losing.

    The economy is the cornerstone of any sustained conflict (cold or hot), and the US is still very strong in that area.

    It’s impossible for Russia to stay militarily strong and politically stable while being economically weak.

    In PPP terms, the size of Russia’s economy is comparable to Germany’s.

    The USSR kept winning in the third world until it collapsed, and Germany in WW1 was also winning until it suddenly collapsed after a quick campaign. Similarly they kept winning in WW2 while falling behind in war production, but finally they started losing.

    Germany lost militarily and economically.
    USSR failed primarily because of ideological instead of economical reasons.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    In PPP terms, the size of Russia’s economy is comparable to Germany’s.
     
    Germany is probably too small.

    One problem is that Russian citizens can see that their living standards are lower than in the West, and it’s a question how long they will be willing to put up with it.

    But even if the answer to the former question is “forever,” it’s still a question how long Russia will be able to maintain military near parity with the US.

    Even if the answer to both questions is “forever,” there’s still a strong asymmetry here: the US can single-handedly strangulate a major Russian corporation, while Russia cannot strangulate any American companies. It’s a quite uncomfortable situation even if it won’t result in a loss for Russia. And it very well might.
    , @reiner Tor

    USSR failed primarily because of ideological instead of economical reasons
     
    There would have been no problems at all if the Soviets were confident in the viability of their economic system. Andropov wanted economic reforms, and that’s why he supported Gorbachev as a successor. The whole debacle was a result of the economic weakness.
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  130. @reiner Tor
    I didn’t closely follow the situation in Cuba, so I might be wrong here, but after reading Wikipedia I get the impression I was correct that during the Cold War there was very little extraterritoriality to the sanctions, but they started in the 1990s, after the Cold War had ended:

    The embargo was reinforced in October 1992 by the Cuban Democracy Act (the "Torricelli Law") and in 1996 by the Cuban Liberty and Democracy Solidarity Act (known as the Helms–Burton Act) which penalizes foreign companies that do business in Cuba by preventing them from doing business in the U.S.
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_embargo_against_Cuba?wprov=sfti1

    It’s an interesting reading. Castro apparently didn’t want to nationalize US assets in Cuba, but he was forced to do so after the US introduced an oil embargo and the US oil companies refused to refine the Soviet oil Castro had to import as a response. When the Americans responded by further sanctions, he was basically forced to step up and nationalize all US assets.

    Cuba was basically a US clusterfuck, especially given how they engineered the revolution itself, at a minimum by refusing to support Batista.

    Sanctions were certainly strenghtened by the Helms-Burton Act (Jesse Helms was the local television political commentator when I was at university), but they were quite strong even from the beginning. In particular they included:

    – a prohibition of the importation of any product fabricated completely or in part from Cuban materials, even if manufactured in other countries;

    – a ban on aid to any country which provides assistance to Cuba

    – the blacklisting of all ships involved in trading with Cuba, without regard to the country of
    registry, including a prohibition of any such ship from entering United States ports.

    This last was particularly burdensome, I believe.

    https://repository.law.miami.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1169&context=umiclr

    (pp. 2-3)

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    These are somewhat tougher than what I thought, but it mostly falls short of the outright extraterritoriality which clearly is present in the sanctions since. The only unambiguously extraterritorial measure is the prohibition of ships to enter a US port after entering Cuban ports. Of course it would be easy for Russia to weather sanctions of this type.

    The new generation extraterritorial sanctions are very difficult to survive.
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  131. @Mitleser

    It’s impossible for Russia to stay militarily strong and politically stable while being economically weak.
     
    In PPP terms, the size of Russia's economy is comparable to Germany's.

    The USSR kept winning in the third world until it collapsed, and Germany in WW1 was also winning until it suddenly collapsed after a quick campaign. Similarly they kept winning in WW2 while falling behind in war production, but finally they started losing.
     
    Germany lost militarily and economically.
    USSR failed primarily because of ideological instead of economical reasons.

    In PPP terms, the size of Russia’s economy is comparable to Germany’s.

    Germany is probably too small.

    One problem is that Russian citizens can see that their living standards are lower than in the West, and it’s a question how long they will be willing to put up with it.

    But even if the answer to the former question is “forever,” it’s still a question how long Russia will be able to maintain military near parity with the US.

    Even if the answer to both questions is “forever,” there’s still a strong asymmetry here: the US can single-handedly strangulate a major Russian corporation, while Russia cannot strangulate any American companies. It’s a quite uncomfortable situation even if it won’t result in a loss for Russia. And it very well might.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser
    Biggest European economy is too small?

    One problem is that Russian citizens can see that their living standards are lower than in the West, and it’s a question how long they will be willing to put up with it.
     
    What is the alternative?
    Migrating does not necessarily mean an improvement of living standards.
    And just doing what the West wants is not going to work either.

    But even if the answer to the former question is “forever,” it’s still a question how long Russia will be able to maintain military near parity with the US.
     
    The rise of the PRC means that the USA has to relocate more forces against them which improves Russia's chances to maintain an acceptable balance of power in areas relevant to Russia.

    the US can single-handedly strangulate a major Russian corporation, while Russia cannot strangulate any American companies.
     
    Rusal showed limits of this sanctions policy.

    They agreed, according to leaks to the Moscow press, that the US is unhappy with the sudden rise in aluminium and alumina prices, and that Russia is unhappy at the sanctions imposed on the company.

    Out of their negotiation came Mnuchin’s agreement to distinguish publicly between Deripaska and Rusal; allow a six-month extension for Rusal to trade metal with Americans, plus a promise the Treasury will consider Rusal’s petition to be delisted. This concession has restored the production chain for non-US companies in Europe, Africa and Australia to supply Rusal’s smelters. It has avoided embarrassment for the Ukrainian regime in Kiev which wants to keep Deripaska’s alumina refinery in Nikolaev running at full capacity. It also allowed Americans to continue contracting for Rusal metal shipments.
     
    http://johnhelmer.net/us-reprieve-for-rusal-does-not-relieve-president-putin-of-fatal-choice-for-oleg-deripaska/

    They can straggle a major Russian corporation, but it does not mean it is going to be cheap.
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  132. @Mitleser

    It’s impossible for Russia to stay militarily strong and politically stable while being economically weak.
     
    In PPP terms, the size of Russia's economy is comparable to Germany's.

    The USSR kept winning in the third world until it collapsed, and Germany in WW1 was also winning until it suddenly collapsed after a quick campaign. Similarly they kept winning in WW2 while falling behind in war production, but finally they started losing.
     
    Germany lost militarily and economically.
    USSR failed primarily because of ideological instead of economical reasons.

    USSR failed primarily because of ideological instead of economical reasons

    There would have been no problems at all if the Soviets were confident in the viability of their economic system. Andropov wanted economic reforms, and that’s why he supported Gorbachev as a successor. The whole debacle was a result of the economic weakness.

    Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record
    The whole debacle was a result of the economic weakness.

    Economic weakness certainly was an important factor, but the primordial factor was Gorbachev, I believe. With another leader I think it could have worked out very differently.
    , @Mitleser
    There would be problems even if they were confident in the viability of their economic system.
    A better economic system would not suddenly fix the weakness of the ruling party or prevent rising nationalism.

    Look at China. Chinese economy is doing fine yet they have real problem like corruption within the ruling party which undermines their legitimacy.
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  133. @for-the-record
    Thanks for the short version of the multiple long stories.

    My father was Jewish (his parents were from Ukraine of all places), although he gave it up at a very early age for reasons that I never learned. My mother was brought up Christian Scientist (and never saw a doctor or dentist until she went to university), and we were essentially raised as nonreligious, although we did do dreidels at Hanukkah and of course all the normal Christmas trappings.

    It’s strange that mainly the Jewish people on here, were accusing me of ‘Hasbara user’ because of my connection and knowledge to Israel.

    Unless I misremembered who these people are.

    So far we have Ron Unz (an American Jew), for-the-record (an Ukraine Jew), and Greasy (an American Jew?).

    Internet is really an ironic place.

    Postscript – I am also a Jewish roots, but to the third-generation – 1 grandfather through his mother (i.e. Jewish great-grandmother).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Greasy William


    t’s strange that mainly the Jewish people on here, were accusing me of ‘Hasbara user’ because of my connection and knowledge to Israel.

    So far we have Ron Unz (an American Jew), for-the-record (an Ukraine Jew), and Greasy (an American Jew?).
     
    I didn't accuse you of being a 'Hasbara user'. I thanked you for your support for Israel and the Jewish people.

    I merely pointed out that you were an apologist for G-dless, secular Zionism which is detached from the Torah and is in it's death throes. Your apologia for secular Zionism goes so far that you seem to even buy into the sanitized national myths of the State of Israel that I had previously thought that only dumbass Mizrahim were capable of believing. It doesn't matter how many times you've been to Israel or how many Israeli's you know: the future of Israel lies in the Haredim and Hardelim, not your secular or "traditional" Israel friends.

    for-the-record is not Jewish. Those not born to a Jewish mother are not Jews, as you well know.

    Unz is a self hating Jew and increasingly insane. If he is calling you a Hasbarist, it means you are doing good work.
    , @German_reader
    You misremember, you were accused of being Hasbara by utu and AaronB iirc.
    , @for-the-record
    It’s strange that mainly the Jewish people on here, were accusing me of ‘Hasbara user’ because of my connection and knowledge to Israel.

    Not by me, I have never used the word 'Hasbara' in my life. I did critcize your apparent lack of commiseration with the Arab and Christian inhabitants, so this is perhaps what you were thinking of. And I didn't entirely appreciate your remark that Israel should have denied me entry because I was working for a (religious) NGO that was seeking to enhance the lives of these people.

    Not sure I would describe myself as a Ukraine Jew, since that's only half my ethnicity, and I wasn't brought up Jewish.
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  134. @reiner Tor

    Consider a possibility that the Iranian Revolution was engineered
     
    An easier way to achieve a weaker Iran would have been simply not supplying Iran with the most advanced weapons and nuclear technology at the time.

    At the time Iran seemed to be pretty far away from Israel, and inherently hostile to the Arab states closer to Israel (especially Iraq) which were implacably hostile. The revolution itself made Iran hostile to Israel.

    So it’s a conspiracy theory without any evidence or even motive.

    Israel supported Iran for the first 10 years after its revolution.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel%27s_role_in_the_Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_war

    A conflict which emerged after has a lot to do with theology, it is likely – otherwise quite difficult to explain why Iran cares about Israel, with which it has no borders or direct conflict mechanism.

    Palestinians are the Sunni Arabs – the same demographic as all the countries that are fighting with Iran.

    However Iran also fighted for the Bosnians against Serbia, so they can be involved in very abstract conflict.

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  135. @Dmitry
    It's strange that mainly the Jewish people on here, were accusing me of 'Hasbara user' because of my connection and knowledge to Israel.

    Unless I misremembered who these people are.

    So far we have Ron Unz (an American Jew), for-the-record (an Ukraine Jew), and Greasy (an American Jew?).

    Internet is really an ironic place.

    Postscript - I am also a Jewish roots, but to the third-generation - 1 grandfather through his mother (i.e. Jewish great-grandmother).

    t’s strange that mainly the Jewish people on here, were accusing me of ‘Hasbara user’ because of my connection and knowledge to Israel.

    So far we have Ron Unz (an American Jew), for-the-record (an Ukraine Jew), and Greasy (an American Jew?).

    I didn’t accuse you of being a ‘Hasbara user’. I thanked you for your support for Israel and the Jewish people.

    I merely pointed out that you were an apologist for G-dless, secular Zionism which is detached from the Torah and is in it’s death throes. Your apologia for secular Zionism goes so far that you seem to even buy into the sanitized national myths of the State of Israel that I had previously thought that only dumbass Mizrahim were capable of believing. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been to Israel or how many Israeli’s you know: the future of Israel lies in the Haredim and Hardelim, not your secular or “traditional” Israel friends.

    for-the-record is not Jewish. Those not born to a Jewish mother are not Jews, as you well know.

    Unz is a self hating Jew and increasingly insane. If he is calling you a Hasbarist, it means you are doing good work.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry

    I merely pointed out that you were an apologist for G-dless, secular Zionism which is detached from the Torah and is in it’s death throes. Your apologia for secular Zionism goes so far that you seem to even buy into the sanitized national myths of the State of Israel that I had previously thought that only dumbass Mizrahim were capable of believing. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been to Israel or how many Israeli’s you know: the future of Israel lies in the Haredim and Hardelim, not your secular or “traditional” Israel friends.
     
    Where? The original post - I am explaining that Israel was liberal - with my view that it could be too liberal for his long-term survival.*

    I wrote a accurate description, with some personal knowledge, and I seem to know more about the country than anyone I talked to here (excluding for convenience proposal that half users here are secret agents of the Mossad), which results in 'my authority', even if self-claimed, on the topic.

    I have no view to decide about the initial point, if Arabs or Jews are the morally right or wrong in Israel in the beginning, and neither do I care about these issues. (Sure I will care if innocent people are being killed - but I have less sympathy about other forms of moralizing that does not affect my life or friends).

    *It will be interesting to see what the situation is with the proposals later this week to delimit the power of בג"ץ.
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  136. @for-the-record
    Sanctions were certainly strenghtened by the Helms-Burton Act (Jesse Helms was the local television political commentator when I was at university), but they were quite strong even from the beginning. In particular they included:

    -- a prohibition of the importation of any product fabricated completely or in part from Cuban materials, even if manufactured in other countries;

    -- a ban on aid to any country which provides assistance to Cuba

    -- the blacklisting of all ships involved in trading with Cuba, without regard to the country of
    registry, including a prohibition of any such ship from entering United States ports.

    This last was particularly burdensome, I believe.

    https://repository.law.miami.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1169&context=umiclr
    (pp. 2-3)

    These are somewhat tougher than what I thought, but it mostly falls short of the outright extraterritoriality which clearly is present in the sanctions since. The only unambiguously extraterritorial measure is the prohibition of ships to enter a US port after entering Cuban ports. Of course it would be easy for Russia to weather sanctions of this type.

    The new generation extraterritorial sanctions are very difficult to survive.

    Read More
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  137. @Greasy William
    Because America maintained its faith it became the most powerful country in the world. Now that it has lost its faith it is headed for oblivion.

    There is no sustainable prosperity without faith in, and worship of, G-d.

    There is no sustainable prosperity without faith in, and worship of, G-d.

    And where is the correlation between religion and prosperity?

    For certain communities (e.g. Mormons in America), there have been studies.

    But for countries as whole, I would expect no relation, or even – to a small extent – an opposite relation.

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  138. @Greasy William


    t’s strange that mainly the Jewish people on here, were accusing me of ‘Hasbara user’ because of my connection and knowledge to Israel.

    So far we have Ron Unz (an American Jew), for-the-record (an Ukraine Jew), and Greasy (an American Jew?).
     
    I didn't accuse you of being a 'Hasbara user'. I thanked you for your support for Israel and the Jewish people.

    I merely pointed out that you were an apologist for G-dless, secular Zionism which is detached from the Torah and is in it's death throes. Your apologia for secular Zionism goes so far that you seem to even buy into the sanitized national myths of the State of Israel that I had previously thought that only dumbass Mizrahim were capable of believing. It doesn't matter how many times you've been to Israel or how many Israeli's you know: the future of Israel lies in the Haredim and Hardelim, not your secular or "traditional" Israel friends.

    for-the-record is not Jewish. Those not born to a Jewish mother are not Jews, as you well know.

    Unz is a self hating Jew and increasingly insane. If he is calling you a Hasbarist, it means you are doing good work.

    I merely pointed out that you were an apologist for G-dless, secular Zionism which is detached from the Torah and is in it’s death throes. Your apologia for secular Zionism goes so far that you seem to even buy into the sanitized national myths of the State of Israel that I had previously thought that only dumbass Mizrahim were capable of believing. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been to Israel or how many Israeli’s you know: the future of Israel lies in the Haredim and Hardelim, not your secular or “traditional” Israel friends.

    Where? The original post – I am explaining that Israel was liberal – with my view that it could be too liberal for his long-term survival.*

    I wrote a accurate description, with some personal knowledge, and I seem to know more about the country than anyone I talked to here (excluding for convenience proposal that half users here are secret agents of the Mossad), which results in ‘my authority’, even if self-claimed, on the topic.

    I have no view to decide about the initial point, if Arabs or Jews are the morally right or wrong in Israel in the beginning, and neither do I care about these issues. (Sure I will care if innocent people are being killed – but I have less sympathy about other forms of moralizing that does not affect my life or friends).

    *It will be interesting to see what the situation is with the proposals later this week to delimit the power of בג”ץ.

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  139. @reiner Tor
    In general, there needs to be some religion and spirituality for a society to be strong. Once it loses it (and goes for the fake spirituality of horoscope and esoterica worship), it gets decadent, and collapse will follow soon.

    Though Rome managed to keep itself going for several centuries after that point.

    Though Rome managed to keep itself going for several centuries after that point.

    Rome only collapsed when the empire had become Christian, so I don’t think lack of spirituality can be adduced as a reason.
    And while it’s true that the old cults seem to have lost much of their appeal by the late 3rd/early 4th century, that wasn’t a universal phenomenon either. Diocletian really seems to have believed that he had a personal relationship with Jupiter, and the emperor Julian was of course a devout pagan who spent much time on animal sacrifices.

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  140. @Dmitry
    It's strange that mainly the Jewish people on here, were accusing me of 'Hasbara user' because of my connection and knowledge to Israel.

    Unless I misremembered who these people are.

    So far we have Ron Unz (an American Jew), for-the-record (an Ukraine Jew), and Greasy (an American Jew?).

    Internet is really an ironic place.

    Postscript - I am also a Jewish roots, but to the third-generation - 1 grandfather through his mother (i.e. Jewish great-grandmother).

    You misremember, you were accused of being Hasbara by utu and AaronB iirc.

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    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Lol, that was under a different post though. I got called this a lot - I will survive.

    Maybe I should embrace it and add some Hebrew writing to my posts. Although probably only Greasy will understand and I don't think I would continue sanity in a one-way conversation with Greasy.
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  141. @reiner Tor

    USSR failed primarily because of ideological instead of economical reasons
     
    There would have been no problems at all if the Soviets were confident in the viability of their economic system. Andropov wanted economic reforms, and that’s why he supported Gorbachev as a successor. The whole debacle was a result of the economic weakness.

    The whole debacle was a result of the economic weakness.

    Economic weakness certainly was an important factor, but the primordial factor was Gorbachev, I believe. With another leader I think it could have worked out very differently.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Economic weakness led to the appointment of Gorbachev.

    I agree the reformist guy could have turned out to be more competent.

    The ideology here also played a role. For example the communists talked about democracy (but didn’t practice it), so democracy was used as a weapon against the entrenched interests. Gorbachev used it extensively.

    Another thing is that other than the communist party, nothing held the country together. Other than the implicit threat of brute force, nothing kept the European satellites on the USSR’s side. So as the communist party lost control of several republics due to the democratization, which was needed to prevent the “hardliners” from stopping the economic reforms.

    Now after a few years (I’d say by 1989 at the latest) it increasingly became clear that the economic reforms weren’t working (the economy started to shrink), and the political reforms were leading to political disintegration (both of the Warsaw Pact and the USSR itself).

    Under such circumstances Gorbachev tried momentarily to reverse the economic reforms (to stop the deterioration of living standards and get some breath), and doubled down on the political reforms (because otherwise he’d have to have admitted that his whole reform program was a dismal failure — politicians often double down on failure not to appear weak or stupid).

    I think what he did was not totally illogical (except with the benefit of hindsight), but it’s difficult to know if others would really have done it well.
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  142. @reiner Tor

    Consider a possibility that the Iranian Revolution was engineered
     
    An easier way to achieve a weaker Iran would have been simply not supplying Iran with the most advanced weapons and nuclear technology at the time.

    At the time Iran seemed to be pretty far away from Israel, and inherently hostile to the Arab states closer to Israel (especially Iraq) which were implacably hostile. The revolution itself made Iran hostile to Israel.

    So it’s a conspiracy theory without any evidence or even motive.

    An easier way to achieve a weaker Iran would have been simply not supplying Iran with the most advanced weapons and nuclear technology at the time.

    That would have required cooperation between US and USSR.

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  143. @reiner Tor

    Consider a possibility that the Iranian Revolution was engineered
     
    An easier way to achieve a weaker Iran would have been simply not supplying Iran with the most advanced weapons and nuclear technology at the time.

    At the time Iran seemed to be pretty far away from Israel, and inherently hostile to the Arab states closer to Israel (especially Iraq) which were implacably hostile. The revolution itself made Iran hostile to Israel.

    So it’s a conspiracy theory without any evidence or even motive.

    Obviously we do not know and have no proof. This was the period when the secular government of Afghanistan was being destabilized by the support Islamists were getting form CIA to make trouble for USSR and ultimately to draw them in.

    Somebody helped to destabilize Iran. Could it be USSR? I doubt because they ddid not deal with the Isalmists and they had relatively good relations with Shah. However Shah himself believed that Brits were behind Iranian Revolution. And indeed Brits continued to collaborate with Khomeini’s regime:

    Islamic Revolution in Iran: Cultivating, then Arming the Ayatollah

    http://markcurtis.info/2017/02/01/islamic-revolution-in-iran-cultivating-then-arming-the-ayatollah/

    In a short term Israel was making the best of the fact that Iran was the US ally by wheeling and dealing and squeezing as much a possible in terms of profits from Iran and possibly even helping in nuclear program (this might be a disinformation though for alibi purpose) but most importantly Israel in the process was able to thoroughly penetrate Iran:

    Did Israel, under Shah, help start Iran’s nuclear program?

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/a-generation-ago-israelis-found-paradise-in-iran/

    IRAN WAS THE ALLY ISRAEL WANTED. IT GOT SAUDI ARABIA

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/a-generation-ago-israelis-found-paradise-in-iran/

    The Yinon plan was not officially formulated then as far as we know, but perhaps it was already being worked on. All secular ME states were considered a threat. Why not Iran? Would Israel wanted to have a strong Iran in a long term that also was friendly with West at the same time? No, Israel is much more comfortable with the nincompoops from Saudi Arabia that can be rolled up in 24h.

    Iran had to be pried off the US. Which the Iranian Revolution succeed in doing so. Iran became official enemy of the West. Sanctions set back all developments. The next step was Iraq-Iran war in which the US was siding with Iraq while the Yinon plan was envisioning the destruction of Iraq in this war.

    Anyway, my hypothesis is that Iran had to go because it was getting too strong and paradoxically because it was on too good terms with the West. Iranian Revolution accomplished it.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Somebody helped to destabilize Iran.
     
    Well, Islamism was a homegrown movement. Though the West certainly did nothing against it.

    Could it be USSR? I doubt because they ddid not deal with the Isalmists and they had relatively good relations with Shah.
     
    They certainly helped the Marxist revolutionaries, without whom the revolution would’ve failed. Later on Khomeini skillfully sidelined and destroyed them. Just as he did to his enemies within the Islamist movement.

    The Soviets initially thought that the revolutionaries would become their allies, because they were anti-American and the shah had been pro-American.
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  144. @for-the-record
    The whole debacle was a result of the economic weakness.

    Economic weakness certainly was an important factor, but the primordial factor was Gorbachev, I believe. With another leader I think it could have worked out very differently.

    Economic weakness led to the appointment of Gorbachev.

    I agree the reformist guy could have turned out to be more competent.

    The ideology here also played a role. For example the communists talked about democracy (but didn’t practice it), so democracy was used as a weapon against the entrenched interests. Gorbachev used it extensively.

    Another thing is that other than the communist party, nothing held the country together. Other than the implicit threat of brute force, nothing kept the European satellites on the USSR’s side. So as the communist party lost control of several republics due to the democratization, which was needed to prevent the “hardliners” from stopping the economic reforms.

    Now after a few years (I’d say by 1989 at the latest) it increasingly became clear that the economic reforms weren’t working (the economy started to shrink), and the political reforms were leading to political disintegration (both of the Warsaw Pact and the USSR itself).

    Under such circumstances Gorbachev tried momentarily to reverse the economic reforms (to stop the deterioration of living standards and get some breath), and doubled down on the political reforms (because otherwise he’d have to have admitted that his whole reform program was a dismal failure — politicians often double down on failure not to appear weak or stupid).

    I think what he did was not totally illogical (except with the benefit of hindsight), but it’s difficult to know if others would really have done it well.

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    • Replies: @for-the-record
    If you haven't already read it I strongly recommend Matlock's Autopsy of an Empire, I need to go back and re-read it myself.
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  145. @Dmitry
    It's strange that mainly the Jewish people on here, were accusing me of 'Hasbara user' because of my connection and knowledge to Israel.

    Unless I misremembered who these people are.

    So far we have Ron Unz (an American Jew), for-the-record (an Ukraine Jew), and Greasy (an American Jew?).

    Internet is really an ironic place.

    Postscript - I am also a Jewish roots, but to the third-generation - 1 grandfather through his mother (i.e. Jewish great-grandmother).

    It’s strange that mainly the Jewish people on here, were accusing me of ‘Hasbara user’ because of my connection and knowledge to Israel.

    Not by me, I have never used the word ‘Hasbara’ in my life. I did critcize your apparent lack of commiseration with the Arab and Christian inhabitants, so this is perhaps what you were thinking of. And I didn’t entirely appreciate your remark that Israel should have denied me entry because I was working for a (religious) NGO that was seeking to enhance the lives of these people.

    Not sure I would describe myself as a Ukraine Jew, since that’s only half my ethnicity, and I wasn’t brought up Jewish.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Well maybe I will re-write my point from that post.

    My point of view is that, regardless of justice or not of the original situation, the country (Israel) is probably too liberal to minority groups, to a suicidal extent in the low level civil-war situation that is the permanent reality there (with hostile populations living mixed together in the same country).

    Some liberalism is good, but in this case there is probably too much.

    Commiseration and moralizing is not my concern. I feel a degree of commiseration for all minority groups, which would be larger if I was friends with them personally.

    I feel commiseration when I see all kinds of people, including illegal immigrants and everyone else we criticize here.

    But if I will invest and live all the time in Israel, like a number of my friends are - I would not feel sympathy, but rather prefer the domination of the majority group, regardless of historical injustice there might be.

    Just as if I was to live permanently in America, I prefer not to have Native-American or African-Americans shooting arrows at me, but the domination of the majority group in America.

    Likewise, if you live in Sochi, it's good that Circassians are not charging from mountain top.

    That's not to say anything against the injustice which has happened with those people in the historical level.
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  146. @utu
    Obviously we do not know and have no proof. This was the period when the secular government of Afghanistan was being destabilized by the support Islamists were getting form CIA to make trouble for USSR and ultimately to draw them in.

    Somebody helped to destabilize Iran. Could it be USSR? I doubt because they ddid not deal with the Isalmists and they had relatively good relations with Shah. However Shah himself believed that Brits were behind Iranian Revolution. And indeed Brits continued to collaborate with Khomeini's regime:


    Islamic Revolution in Iran: Cultivating, then Arming the Ayatollah
    http://markcurtis.info/2017/02/01/islamic-revolution-in-iran-cultivating-then-arming-the-ayatollah/
     
    In a short term Israel was making the best of the fact that Iran was the US ally by wheeling and dealing and squeezing as much a possible in terms of profits from Iran and possibly even helping in nuclear program (this might be a disinformation though for alibi purpose) but most importantly Israel in the process was able to thoroughly penetrate Iran:

    Did Israel, under Shah, help start Iran’s nuclear program?
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/a-generation-ago-israelis-found-paradise-in-iran/

    IRAN WAS THE ALLY ISRAEL WANTED. IT GOT SAUDI ARABIA
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/a-generation-ago-israelis-found-paradise-in-iran/
     
    The Yinon plan was not officially formulated then as far as we know, but perhaps it was already being worked on. All secular ME states were considered a threat. Why not Iran? Would Israel wanted to have a strong Iran in a long term that also was friendly with West at the same time? No, Israel is much more comfortable with the nincompoops from Saudi Arabia that can be rolled up in 24h.

    Iran had to be pried off the US. Which the Iranian Revolution succeed in doing so. Iran became official enemy of the West. Sanctions set back all developments. The next step was Iraq-Iran war in which the US was siding with Iraq while the Yinon plan was envisioning the destruction of Iraq in this war.

    Anyway, my hypothesis is that Iran had to go because it was getting too strong and paradoxically because it was on too good terms with the West. Iranian Revolution accomplished it.

    Somebody helped to destabilize Iran.

    Well, Islamism was a homegrown movement. Though the West certainly did nothing against it.

    Could it be USSR? I doubt because they ddid not deal with the Isalmists and they had relatively good relations with Shah.

    They certainly helped the Marxist revolutionaries, without whom the revolution would’ve failed. Later on Khomeini skillfully sidelined and destroyed them. Just as he did to his enemies within the Islamist movement.

    The Soviets initially thought that the revolutionaries would become their allies, because they were anti-American and the shah had been pro-American.

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  147. @reiner Tor
    Economic weakness led to the appointment of Gorbachev.

    I agree the reformist guy could have turned out to be more competent.

    The ideology here also played a role. For example the communists talked about democracy (but didn’t practice it), so democracy was used as a weapon against the entrenched interests. Gorbachev used it extensively.

    Another thing is that other than the communist party, nothing held the country together. Other than the implicit threat of brute force, nothing kept the European satellites on the USSR’s side. So as the communist party lost control of several republics due to the democratization, which was needed to prevent the “hardliners” from stopping the economic reforms.

    Now after a few years (I’d say by 1989 at the latest) it increasingly became clear that the economic reforms weren’t working (the economy started to shrink), and the political reforms were leading to political disintegration (both of the Warsaw Pact and the USSR itself).

    Under such circumstances Gorbachev tried momentarily to reverse the economic reforms (to stop the deterioration of living standards and get some breath), and doubled down on the political reforms (because otherwise he’d have to have admitted that his whole reform program was a dismal failure — politicians often double down on failure not to appear weak or stupid).

    I think what he did was not totally illogical (except with the benefit of hindsight), but it’s difficult to know if others would really have done it well.

    If you haven’t already read it I strongly recommend Matlock’s Autopsy of an Empire, I need to go back and re-read it myself.

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  148. @reiner Tor
    Retaliation is not the same thing as initiating such actions. For one thing, retaliation is legal. For another, I’m sure real estate prices are higher in the US, so the retaliation still probably meant the Russians lost more in terms of monetary value.

    Real estate prices are probably higher in Moscow region than in Seattle region.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The Moscow region dachas were seized as a response to the illegal seizure of two compounds in Maryland and New York. I think those are probably among the most expensive states in the USA, though I might be wrong.
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  149. @for-the-record
    Quoting James is not much "proof", the book is a real outlier and the surprising thing is that it was included in the "corpus" -- presumably this was because the author was thought to be the "brother of the Lord".

    James advocates salvation through works as opposed to faith, which is in total contradiction to the Pauline doctrine that the Church adopted and still maintains:

    James: “You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone..” (James 2:24)

    Paul: “For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law..” (Romans 3:28)

    Contra Luther, James is not an “epistle of straw” and Church doctrine is not so simple: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10202b.htm

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  150. @German_reader
    You misremember, you were accused of being Hasbara by utu and AaronB iirc.

    Lol, that was under a different post though. I got called this a lot – I will survive.

    Maybe I should embrace it and add some Hebrew writing to my posts. Although probably only Greasy will understand and I don’t think I would continue sanity in a one-way conversation with Greasy.

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  151. @AaronB

    If you don’t want to talk about specific theology, what’s the point in going on about God?
     
    You are correct, we must clearly formulate and choose a religion - even of it is syncretic, or new in important ways. We absolutely cannot remain on the level of generalities, you are quite correct about that.

    I merely mean that it is clear that different communities, adhering to different faiths, can flourish, and have historically. It seems there are many legitimate paths to God. The only sure path to decline, history has shown, is loss of any path to God.

    The soldiers of the Caliphate in the early centuries of Islam or those of 16th century Spain had a lot of imperial ambition and undoubtedly many of them believed they were doing God’s will, so this seems like a rather one-sided view.
     
    I think a closer reading of history will show that each of your examples immediately preceded a period of decline. John Glubb has some highly pertinent and revealing remarks on the social decline of 8th and 9th centry Baghdad that astonishingly mirror our own, down to feminism (!), in the period immediately following the Islamic expansion, and of course it's well known that the Golden Age of Spanish wealth and power declined shortly after the conquest of the Americas.

    Glubb's essay examines all known empires up to the British, and finds a remarkably consistent pattern of decline immediately following a period of exuberant expansion.

    Because, in truth, when imperial ambitions replace legitimate flourishing, you have already turned to excessive materialism and broken faith with God.

    Glubb Pasha’s essay is very good, but there are simpler and more banal explanations.

    1 – Regression to the mean
    2 – Imperial success causes others to sharpen their game and form coalitions against you

    Look at the Napoleonic Wars or WW2 for instance. Napoleon and the Wehrmacht steadily got worse in their relative performance, and their enemies steadily got better (and amassed superior resources).

    We can see this today with the new Russia-China alliance that America’s stupid policy created. And that brings up a third point. As the Greeks said, hubris breeds nemesis.

    Or from our own magnificent King James Bible, Proverbs 16:18:

    Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

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    • Replies: @for-the-record
    Napoleon and the Wehrmacht steadily got worse in their relative performance, and their enemies steadily got better (and amassed superior resources).

    And the Japanese in WWII, who dominated in the early going.
    , @DFH
    Another factor is that initial success gives you room to adopt stupid and delusional attitudes and policies which later can't be changed in time, as can be observed in the British Empire and America today.
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  152. @AP
    Real estate prices are probably higher in Moscow region than in Seattle region.

    The Moscow region dachas were seized as a response to the illegal seizure of two compounds in Maryland and New York. I think those are probably among the most expensive states in the USA, though I might be wrong.

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    • Replies: @JL
    Those dachas were in Moscow, the city proper, not the Moscow region. It's one of the few remaining dacha compounds in the city limits and is located, upstream, on the bank of the Moscow river. It's prized real estate, mostly not available at any price. I don't know if it's exactly comparable to what the Russians had seized, but it's probably pretty close. And, as Anatoly already wrote, the Americans lost all their St. Petersburg real estate.

    Anyway, it's all mostly symbolic. My original point was that the Russians do retaliate, not that what they did was illegal or unjustified.
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  153. @for-the-record
    It’s strange that mainly the Jewish people on here, were accusing me of ‘Hasbara user’ because of my connection and knowledge to Israel.

    Not by me, I have never used the word 'Hasbara' in my life. I did critcize your apparent lack of commiseration with the Arab and Christian inhabitants, so this is perhaps what you were thinking of. And I didn't entirely appreciate your remark that Israel should have denied me entry because I was working for a (religious) NGO that was seeking to enhance the lives of these people.

    Not sure I would describe myself as a Ukraine Jew, since that's only half my ethnicity, and I wasn't brought up Jewish.

    Well maybe I will re-write my point from that post.

    My point of view is that, regardless of justice or not of the original situation, the country (Israel) is probably too liberal to minority groups, to a suicidal extent in the low level civil-war situation that is the permanent reality there (with hostile populations living mixed together in the same country).

    Some liberalism is good, but in this case there is probably too much.

    Commiseration and moralizing is not my concern. I feel a degree of commiseration for all minority groups, which would be larger if I was friends with them personally.

    I feel commiseration when I see all kinds of people, including illegal immigrants and everyone else we criticize here.

    But if I will invest and live all the time in Israel, like a number of my friends are – I would not feel sympathy, but rather prefer the domination of the majority group, regardless of historical injustice there might be.

    Just as if I was to live permanently in America, I prefer not to have Native-American or African-Americans shooting arrows at me, but the domination of the majority group in America.

    Likewise, if you live in Sochi, it’s good that Circassians are not charging from mountain top.

    That’s not to say anything against the injustice which has happened with those people in the historical level.

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  154. @Bukephalos
    seeing salient features of US political life right now such as the Russiagate or the growing trend towards censorship- it could be construed as ideology-driven, i.e. craziness. I believe however that it's fear.

    Why would google de-rank RT articles, or why are you called a Russian agent if you believe their version of one event or the other? Has it to do with the fact that they had to stage three CW theaters as trigger for intervention in Syria, more absurd and unbelievable each time, but they still carried on. Fourth is a charm, maybe? While the Syrian government is still sitting and the regime-change mojo has definitely gone.

    The fear is of the internal opposition, i.e. the deplorables. We’re an emerging ruling class which seeks to replace the existing ossified (and deeply corrupt and evil one) one.

    A good way to understand this is by analyzing this in religious terms.

    The Cathedral (Moldbug’s term) is the Catholic Church. The deplorables are the Protestant Reformation.

    Increasing censorship, conspiracy theories, etc. are the Counter-Reformation.

    Of course, the Cathedral lacks the self-awareness and intellectual firepower of early modern Catholic intellectuals.

    A more recent and secular example would be the Restoration, Holy Alliance, Carlsbad Decrees, etc.

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  155. @reiner Tor
    In the last weeks of the Obama administration they illegally closed down a diplomatic compound. I think they still haven’t given it back despite it being owned by Russia. The Seattle building also continues to be the possession of the Russian government. They cannot just remove the locks and break into it. At the very least they could have asked for cooperation.

    They are obviously much harsher on Russia than they ever were on the USSR. The only comparison with the treatment of a greater power is that of the way they treated Imperial Japan and perhaps Nazi Germany. They are of course still less harsh on Russia than on Iran. But the treatment of Iran is also something of an anomaly. Did they ever unilaterally introduce such harsh sanctions on any country during the Cold War?

    They are obviously much harsher on Russia than they ever were on the USSR.

    They feared USSR and respected it for its monolithic ideology and internal discipline. Russia now is just like any other country of greedy and corruptible politicians that believe in nothing and have nothing to fall back on so they can be bribed and cowed. Yeltsin era clearly demonstrated it.

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    • Agree: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I agree.

    Another factor is that now a relatively long time has passed since the collapse of the USSR, and the old guys think that since the USSR is no more, then the US must be the undisputed master of the world. The younger ones more or less grew up with that worldview, so for them it’s the natural arrangement of things and they cannot think of any other world order.

    These people need a very strong opposition. Putin is apparently not such an opposition. He’s not a person willing to die for his ideals, and his ideals are probably not worth dying for in the first place anyway.
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  156. @reiner Tor
    Syria so far is a loss for the US, but usually in most conflicts the losing side can point to local tactical or operational victories, while losing on the strategic level.

    Currently Russia is bleeding white economically, while the US lost a marginal battle which is only important to it due to an ethnic lobby group.

    It’s impossible for Russia to stay militarily strong and politically stable while being economically weak. The USSR kept winning in the third world until it collapsed, and Germany in WW1 was also winning until it suddenly collapsed after a quick campaign. Similarly they kept winning in WW2 while falling behind in war production, but finally they started losing.

    The economy is the cornerstone of any sustained conflict (cold or hot), and the US is still very strong in that area.

    The Germans and Russians, incidentally, were both aware of this and developed appropriate doctrines as a result.

    Prussia was so militaristic (outside of the ambitions of the Great Elector and Frederick the Great) because it had far fewer resources at its disposal than France, Austria, and Russia. The idea was that only through quick, decisive, and victorious campaigns could Prussia sustain its position and ambitions. When drawn into a war of attrition (the Seven Years War) Prussia was set to be snuffed out by Catherine the Great until she died.

    An earlier equivalent to the Kingdom of Prussia was the Kingdom of Sweden. The Swedish Army was largely considered invincible on the battlefield until Poltava.

    The Schlieffen Plan, Fall Gelb, and Operation Barbarossa all recognized this.

    The failure of the Schlieffen Plan was really down to the Reichstag’s refusal to match continuous increases in French Army expenditures after the Tangier Crisis until after the Agadir Crisis. A cynic would of course note that Kaiser Wilhelm II was to blame for this owing to his fleet building program (diverting resources from the army) and various gaffes.

    Fall Gelb and Barbarossa were really quite similar–the qualitatively superior German Army swept everything before them. Trouble was in the east they had to continue…sweeping. Until they outran their supply lines and reserves.

    The Soviet Union had more or less the same doctrine during the Cold War. The reason Warsaw Pact forces were continuously larger than the NATO forces opposing them was awareness of the superior resources available to NATO. The longer any hypothetical WW3 persisted, the greater the likelihood of Soviet defeat.

    Hence this plan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Days_to_the_River_Rhine

    Binkov’s Battlegrounds on Youtube did a fun three-part series modeling a hypothetical WW3 in 1989:

    This is the third video which covers the ground war:

    There are separate videos for the air war and naval war.

    Today Russia is in such a relatively weak position that it threatens nuclear war instead, not even bothering to try to maintain conventional superiority in peacetime.

    Admiral Martyanov is likely correct about Russian missile superiority, but these missiles would be quickly exhausted in a hot conflict against NATO.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Minor addition to this: the fall of the Swedish Empire is not just down to defeat on the battlefield, but the poz.

    The disastrous defeats of Karl XII could be compared to Jena and Auerstedt for Prussia. Prussia recovered.

    Sweden on the other hand entered into the "Age of Liberty" (age of squabbling) and that was that. Had Gustav III lived longer Sweden may have recovered as a great power.

    The Prussians however consistently refused the poz. Jacobins, German liberal-nationalists, and Friedrich Wilhelm's Anglo-LARPing were all rejected.

    Lesson there for Russia, Iran, and China today.
    , @reiner Tor
    The Warsaw Pact plans were not quite realistic. I have seen some discussion of the plans involving the Hungarian People’s Army, and it was obvious that our troops were not up to the task. I know Hungary was heavily criticized for shirking in the arms race, fortunately our opposite numbers, the Italians, did the same thing, so theoretically there was still some chance, but it was unlikely, because we had to first fight our way through Austria, and then within a week reach some strategic target in Northern Italy. After which the Hungarian forces would’ve been worn out and replaced by Soviet replacements.

    Which shows that basically the job of satellite troops was to bleed the enemy while sparing Soviet casualties. Essentially they were to be sacrificed. But how well would they have fought? I guess without any enthusiasm.
    , @AP

    Trouble was in the east they had to continue…sweeping. Until they outran their supply lines and reserves.
     
    Twinkie explained how Germany still had a very good chance of winning by bleeding the Soviets dry (elastic defense - third Battle of Kharkov) if not for Hitler's interference; Hitler forced the Germans to adopt more fixed positions, which did not play to their strength, and guaranteed the loss.
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  157. @Thorfinnsson
    Glubb Pasha's essay is very good, but there are simpler and more banal explanations.

    1 - Regression to the mean
    2 - Imperial success causes others to sharpen their game and form coalitions against you

    Look at the Napoleonic Wars or WW2 for instance. Napoleon and the Wehrmacht steadily got worse in their relative performance, and their enemies steadily got better (and amassed superior resources).

    We can see this today with the new Russia-China alliance that America's stupid policy created. And that brings up a third point. As the Greeks said, hubris breeds nemesis.

    Or from our own magnificent King James Bible, Proverbs 16:18:

    Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
     

    Napoleon and the Wehrmacht steadily got worse in their relative performance, and their enemies steadily got better (and amassed superior resources).

    And the Japanese in WWII, who dominated in the early going.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Yes. This basically applies to any weak power which is ambitious.

    A story as old as struggle between Rome and Carthage.

    And probably a lot older than that.

    The only long war I can think of off the top of my head where the fundamentally weaker state prevailed is the Pelopennesian War. And Sparta got Persian subsidies so there you go.

    WW2 is kind of interesting because of how Germany attempted to match its enemies economically after Stalingrad. The Germans got some astonishing results but it wasn't enough in the face of the Soviet steamroller and the Allied Combined Bombing Offensive (Russians consistently underrate this as kind of a reaction to Western D-Day masturbation).

    , @random rand
    The Japanese early domination doesn't mean much since they only did well because everyone else around them were complete basket cases. In fact, Japan itself knew this since they never thought they would be able to beat the USSR or the USA. Even in the early goings they managed to invade and lose to the USSR. They did pretty miserably in their invasion of China as well given their absolute military advantages. What Japan should have done is kept Manchuria and leave it at that instead of idiotically invading every which way.
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  158. @Thorfinnsson
    The Germans and Russians, incidentally, were both aware of this and developed appropriate doctrines as a result.

    Prussia was so militaristic (outside of the ambitions of the Great Elector and Frederick the Great) because it had far fewer resources at its disposal than France, Austria, and Russia. The idea was that only through quick, decisive, and victorious campaigns could Prussia sustain its position and ambitions. When drawn into a war of attrition (the Seven Years War) Prussia was set to be snuffed out by Catherine the Great until she died.

    An earlier equivalent to the Kingdom of Prussia was the Kingdom of Sweden. The Swedish Army was largely considered invincible on the battlefield until Poltava.

    The Schlieffen Plan, Fall Gelb, and Operation Barbarossa all recognized this.

    The failure of the Schlieffen Plan was really down to the Reichstag's refusal to match continuous increases in French Army expenditures after the Tangier Crisis until after the Agadir Crisis. A cynic would of course note that Kaiser Wilhelm II was to blame for this owing to his fleet building program (diverting resources from the army) and various gaffes.

    Fall Gelb and Barbarossa were really quite similar--the qualitatively superior German Army swept everything before them. Trouble was in the east they had to continue...sweeping. Until they outran their supply lines and reserves.

    The Soviet Union had more or less the same doctrine during the Cold War. The reason Warsaw Pact forces were continuously larger than the NATO forces opposing them was awareness of the superior resources available to NATO. The longer any hypothetical WW3 persisted, the greater the likelihood of Soviet defeat.

    Hence this plan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Days_to_the_River_Rhine

    Binkov's Battlegrounds on Youtube did a fun three-part series modeling a hypothetical WW3 in 1989:

    This is the third video which covers the ground war: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kONMKmWQyE8

    There are separate videos for the air war and naval war.

    Today Russia is in such a relatively weak position that it threatens nuclear war instead, not even bothering to try to maintain conventional superiority in peacetime.

    Admiral Martyanov is likely correct about Russian missile superiority, but these missiles would be quickly exhausted in a hot conflict against NATO.

    Minor addition to this: the fall of the Swedish Empire is not just down to defeat on the battlefield, but the poz.

    The disastrous defeats of Karl XII could be compared to Jena and Auerstedt for Prussia. Prussia recovered.

    Sweden on the other hand entered into the “Age of Liberty” (age of squabbling) and that was that. Had Gustav III lived longer Sweden may have recovered as a great power.

    The Prussians however consistently refused the poz. Jacobins, German liberal-nationalists, and Friedrich Wilhelm’s Anglo-LARPing were all rejected.

    Lesson there for Russia, Iran, and China today.

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  159. @for-the-record
    Napoleon and the Wehrmacht steadily got worse in their relative performance, and their enemies steadily got better (and amassed superior resources).

    And the Japanese in WWII, who dominated in the early going.

    Yes. This basically applies to any weak power which is ambitious.

    A story as old as struggle between Rome and Carthage.

    And probably a lot older than that.

    The only long war I can think of off the top of my head where the fundamentally weaker state prevailed is the Pelopennesian War. And Sparta got Persian subsidies so there you go.

    WW2 is kind of interesting because of how Germany attempted to match its enemies economically after Stalingrad. The Germans got some astonishing results but it wasn’t enough in the face of the Soviet steamroller and the Allied Combined Bombing Offensive (Russians consistently underrate this as kind of a reaction to Western D-Day masturbation).

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    WW2 is kind of interesting because of how Germany attempted to match its enemies economically after Stalingrad.
     
    Have you read Tooze, Overy, or Evans?

    Apparently the new consensus is that the Germans already devoted nearly all available resources to war production already in 1940, but they didn’t do it in an efficient way, because the German military kept demanding many variants of the weapons, handmade quality, and constant improvements, and it killed mass production.

    Another issue was investment, they kept building militarily important installations (including chemical plants for synthetic rubber and synthetic fuel), and this diverted resources away from war production in the first stage of the war.

    A third issue (related to the previous one) is that they would have fully prepared for war with all capacities coming online and major weapons systems developed and put into service. That was prevented by the early outbreak of war, which left Germany without a full line of weapons. (No heavy tank until late 1942, no heavy bomber or transport plane, not fully motorized army, but anyway no synthetic fuel plants to fuel them, not enough steel production capacity, a lot of other bottlenecks, etc.)

    They had a lot of luck in France, which enabled them to get as far as they could without a fully equipped army and a fully functional military industry. But they squandered the opportunity to get their war economy in shape, and didn’t fully start mass production until it was too late. The whole idea of conquering a vast racial empire in a few years was a long shot anyway.
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  160. @utu

    They are obviously much harsher on Russia than they ever were on the USSR.
     
    They feared USSR and respected it for its monolithic ideology and internal discipline. Russia now is just like any other country of greedy and corruptible politicians that believe in nothing and have nothing to fall back on so they can be bribed and cowed. Yeltsin era clearly demonstrated it.

    I agree.

    Another factor is that now a relatively long time has passed since the collapse of the USSR, and the old guys think that since the USSR is no more, then the US must be the undisputed master of the world. The younger ones more or less grew up with that worldview, so for them it’s the natural arrangement of things and they cannot think of any other world order.

    These people need a very strong opposition. Putin is apparently not such an opposition. He’s not a person willing to die for his ideals, and his ideals are probably not worth dying for in the first place anyway.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    He’s not a person willing to die for his ideals, and his ideals are probably not worth dying for in the first place anyway.
     
    What's "not a person willing to die for his ideals" supposed to mean? It's not like Putin could enter into single combat against some American champion, he has responsibility for all of Russian society which would suffer horribly in a full-scale war with the Americans, so I find a certain restraint commendable.
    And which ideals would be worth dying for?
    Bit much Putin-bashing here imo. I'm not a fan of the man, but he does some positive qualities imo, and the decisions he has to make are very difficult.
    , @utu

    He’s not a person willing to die for his ideals
     
    Yes, and nobody really knows what are his ideas. Though one that was definitive though apocalyptic was: there will be no world w/o Russia, meaning Russia will destroy the world before going down.

    I suspect that China's reluctance to give much stronger support to Russia comes from her evaluation of Russia's elites as not trustworthy that they may fold under the pressure of stick and carrot because of the lack of internal discipline. China fears what American counts on. China has CPC which is responsible for the discipline among its elite.
    , @Mitleser
    The issue here is that Putin is one of the younger ones who accepted American domination and victory and wanted to remain one the winning side.
    Unsurprisingly, it is difficult to change such a worldview and commit to the opposite side.
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  161. @reiner Tor
    I agree.

    Another factor is that now a relatively long time has passed since the collapse of the USSR, and the old guys think that since the USSR is no more, then the US must be the undisputed master of the world. The younger ones more or less grew up with that worldview, so for them it’s the natural arrangement of things and they cannot think of any other world order.

    These people need a very strong opposition. Putin is apparently not such an opposition. He’s not a person willing to die for his ideals, and his ideals are probably not worth dying for in the first place anyway.

    He’s not a person willing to die for his ideals, and his ideals are probably not worth dying for in the first place anyway.

    What’s “not a person willing to die for his ideals” supposed to mean? It’s not like Putin could enter into single combat against some American champion, he has responsibility for all of Russian society which would suffer horribly in a full-scale war with the Americans, so I find a certain restraint commendable.
    And which ideals would be worth dying for?
    Bit much Putin-bashing here imo. I’m not a fan of the man, but he does some positive qualities imo, and the decisions he has to make are very difficult.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    In game theory, there are lots of situations where being willing to die for the smallest slights while being initially polite to all is a very good strategy. Under such circumstances being unwilling to get into fights will lead to humiliation and a higher chance of being killed.

    Basically, where there’s no police and court system to protect you — like in international relations.
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  162. @reiner Tor

    I believe however that it’s fear.
     
    So what. Stalin’s terror was also largely driven by fear — fear of both foreign powers and internal opposition. Yet it would be wrong to think he was weak. Hitler thought so, but he was wrong.

    It’s not an existential fear. Just the fear of a waning dominance, of losing the empire.

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  163. @reiner Tor
    I agree.

    Another factor is that now a relatively long time has passed since the collapse of the USSR, and the old guys think that since the USSR is no more, then the US must be the undisputed master of the world. The younger ones more or less grew up with that worldview, so for them it’s the natural arrangement of things and they cannot think of any other world order.

    These people need a very strong opposition. Putin is apparently not such an opposition. He’s not a person willing to die for his ideals, and his ideals are probably not worth dying for in the first place anyway.

    He’s not a person willing to die for his ideals

    Yes, and nobody really knows what are his ideas. Though one that was definitive though apocalyptic was: there will be no world w/o Russia, meaning Russia will destroy the world before going down.

    I suspect that China’s reluctance to give much stronger support to Russia comes from her evaluation of Russia’s elites as not trustworthy that they may fold under the pressure of stick and carrot because of the lack of internal discipline. China fears what American counts on. China has CPC which is responsible for the discipline among its elite.

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  164. @Thorfinnsson
    Yes. This basically applies to any weak power which is ambitious.

    A story as old as struggle between Rome and Carthage.

    And probably a lot older than that.

    The only long war I can think of off the top of my head where the fundamentally weaker state prevailed is the Pelopennesian War. And Sparta got Persian subsidies so there you go.

    WW2 is kind of interesting because of how Germany attempted to match its enemies economically after Stalingrad. The Germans got some astonishing results but it wasn't enough in the face of the Soviet steamroller and the Allied Combined Bombing Offensive (Russians consistently underrate this as kind of a reaction to Western D-Day masturbation).

    WW2 is kind of interesting because of how Germany attempted to match its enemies economically after Stalingrad.

    Have you read Tooze, Overy, or Evans?

    Apparently the new consensus is that the Germans already devoted nearly all available resources to war production already in 1940, but they didn’t do it in an efficient way, because the German military kept demanding many variants of the weapons, handmade quality, and constant improvements, and it killed mass production.

    Another issue was investment, they kept building militarily important installations (including chemical plants for synthetic rubber and synthetic fuel), and this diverted resources away from war production in the first stage of the war.

    A third issue (related to the previous one) is that they would have fully prepared for war with all capacities coming online and major weapons systems developed and put into service. That was prevented by the early outbreak of war, which left Germany without a full line of weapons. (No heavy tank until late 1942, no heavy bomber or transport plane, not fully motorized army, but anyway no synthetic fuel plants to fuel them, not enough steel production capacity, a lot of other bottlenecks, etc.)

    They had a lot of luck in France, which enabled them to get as far as they could without a fully equipped army and a fully functional military industry. But they squandered the opportunity to get their war economy in shape, and didn’t fully start mass production until it was too late. The whole idea of conquering a vast racial empire in a few years was a long shot anyway.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    I've read Tooze who is excellent. I do agree that Germany's focus on increasing production predated the appointment of Albert Speer, who charitably decided to credit himself with the "armaments miracle" while at the same time denouncing his old boss that he once hero-worshipped.

    That said the "new consensus" is overly revisionist. Some examples:

    *The fact that British airplane construction actually overtook German during the Battle of Britain
    *The H-man's determination to keep the German civilian standard of living above the WWI level, which continued until 1943 when he abandoned domestic affairs to Goebbels, Bormann, and Lammers
    *Failure to properly integrate industrial and especially engineering talent of conquered territory and allies until 1943 (see for instance the Luftwaffe's evaluation of the excellent Italian Series 5 fighters in 1943)
    *Decision to basically murder Barbarossa POWs instead of enslaving them
    *An absurd decision to reduce shell production prior to Barbarossa (?!)
    *The dictate in the middle of 1940 to suspend development of weapons programs which would take longer than eighteen months to complete
    *In a particularly embarrassing example, Herman Goering prevented the closure of his favorite restaurant in Berlin when it was decided to close all unnecessary businesses

    I will say however the big myth that will not die is the idea that the Germans didn't mobilize women into the workforce during the war.

    It should also be noted that in some aspects the Germans employed more standardization than the allies and the Soviets. The Reich Air Ministry for instance strictly limited the number of types in a given aircraft class and the number of engine designs produced. Production constraints are generally cited especially with engines, but until 1942 Germany actually had more machine tools and machinists than America (but, to be fair, less of just about every other kind of production capacity).

    The Army's lesser standardization was partly the result of Germany not being fully rearmed or prepared for war. As a result booty was pressed into service and inferior designs kept in production. Heinz Guderian for instance personally kept the inferior PzKw IV in production (which, contrary to myth, was actually not more reliable than the Panther and was only 10% more expensive).

    Other issues are doctrinal. The heavy tank for instance was part of Soviet and French (and British to some extent with their "infantry tanks") doctrine, but not German. The German doctrine of armored warfare developed out of the failure of the Kaiserschlact in 1918. Germany was consistently able, without the use of tanks, to break through Allied lines owing to the superior tactical qualities of the German Army. What it was not able to do was exploit the breakthroughs on a major operational level.

    Heinz Guderian:


    The engine of the tank is just as much a weapon as its gun.
     
    French doctrine on the contrary stemmed from the need to break through battlefield fortifications, and as such heavy tanks were considered important.

    I'm not really sure why the Soviets produced heavy tanks before the war, as it doesn't seem to square with Deep Operations doctrine. Perhaps Stalin's personal interest, or perhaps simply a result of bureaucratic imperatives.

    German heavy tanks were developed in response combat experience with superior (in terms of firepower and armament) Soviet and French tanks, though the Waffenamt was interested in 30 ton tanks as early as 1937.

    Heavy bombers are a similar story. The death of Walther Wever and the experience of Operation Condor led to abandonment of strategic bombing until the entry of America into the war. German four-engined heavy bombers in fact first flew in 1935--the same year as the B-17 and far before any British heavies.

    Heavy transport planes another doctrinal decision. Until 1938 the opponents Germany was preparing to fight were France, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. It should also be noted that neither the allies nor the Soviets developed heavy transport aircraft in any numbers in the 1930s. The C-54 did not come out until 1942, and efforts like converting the B-24 and Boeing 307 to military transport use weren't undertaken until that year either.

    Full motorization of the German army was probably always an unrealistic goal given the inadequate size of the prewar German automotive sector. The USSR, with a more developed (in production capacity) automotive sector, also failed to fully motorize before or during the war despite also received Lend-Lease trucks. Germany didn't actually have a large automotive sector until the late 1950s.

    And a fully motorized German army would have been even more dependent on oil imports.
    , @DFH

    Apparently the new consensus is that the Germans already devoted nearly all available resources to war production already in 1940, but they didn’t do it in an efficient way, because the German military kept demanding many variants of the weapons, handmade quality, and constant improvements, and it killed mass production.
     
    It was still far, far better than the equivalent British industries. German aircarft factories were about a 1/4 more productive than their British equivalents in 1944, despite the bombing.
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  165. Found this on /pol/ of all places. That in of itself should mean it has to be taken with a lot of caution, but still, interesting map nonetheless. Anyone see anything wildly out of the ordinary?

    Paris looks ridiculously low to me after a quick skim. Though as some wrote in the /pol/ thread, it probably includes all the banelieus.

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    • Replies: @songbird
    Nothing obviously dishonest, however I think there are probably different standards for South America vs. the US. US is non-Hispanic whites, while, I could be wrong, I rather doubt Buenos Aires is about 70% pure Euro. Probably 70% are reasonably white, but pure? I doubt it.

    Boston was 97% white into the 1950s. People who say that the US was like 89% white at one time are basically wrong. Most of the important cities like Boston were 95-97% white right into the '40s and '50s, which only means that the North as a whole was considerably whiter. It really hits you when you go into the Boston Public Library and see the murals vs. the people in the library.

    , @for-the-record
    Washington DC seems significantly off (too low), as whites in 2017 were estimated at 44.6% . When I was in school (across the river in Northern Virginia) DC was more than 70% black. It's interesting that between 1950 and 1970 the white population decreased from 65% to 28%, and its recent meteoric rise is all post-2000.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Washington,_D.C.

    https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/DC


    For Paris the figures say they are for Île-de-France, which has a population of nearly 12 million , as compared to a bit over 2 million for Paris itself.
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  166. @Thorfinnsson
    The Germans and Russians, incidentally, were both aware of this and developed appropriate doctrines as a result.

    Prussia was so militaristic (outside of the ambitions of the Great Elector and Frederick the Great) because it had far fewer resources at its disposal than France, Austria, and Russia. The idea was that only through quick, decisive, and victorious campaigns could Prussia sustain its position and ambitions. When drawn into a war of attrition (the Seven Years War) Prussia was set to be snuffed out by Catherine the Great until she died.

    An earlier equivalent to the Kingdom of Prussia was the Kingdom of Sweden. The Swedish Army was largely considered invincible on the battlefield until Poltava.

    The Schlieffen Plan, Fall Gelb, and Operation Barbarossa all recognized this.

    The failure of the Schlieffen Plan was really down to the Reichstag's refusal to match continuous increases in French Army expenditures after the Tangier Crisis until after the Agadir Crisis. A cynic would of course note that Kaiser Wilhelm II was to blame for this owing to his fleet building program (diverting resources from the army) and various gaffes.

    Fall Gelb and Barbarossa were really quite similar--the qualitatively superior German Army swept everything before them. Trouble was in the east they had to continue...sweeping. Until they outran their supply lines and reserves.

    The Soviet Union had more or less the same doctrine during the Cold War. The reason Warsaw Pact forces were continuously larger than the NATO forces opposing them was awareness of the superior resources available to NATO. The longer any hypothetical WW3 persisted, the greater the likelihood of Soviet defeat.

    Hence this plan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Days_to_the_River_Rhine

    Binkov's Battlegrounds on Youtube did a fun three-part series modeling a hypothetical WW3 in 1989:

    This is the third video which covers the ground war: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kONMKmWQyE8

    There are separate videos for the air war and naval war.

    Today Russia is in such a relatively weak position that it threatens nuclear war instead, not even bothering to try to maintain conventional superiority in peacetime.

    Admiral Martyanov is likely correct about Russian missile superiority, but these missiles would be quickly exhausted in a hot conflict against NATO.

    The Warsaw Pact plans were not quite realistic. I have seen some discussion of the plans involving the Hungarian People’s Army, and it was obvious that our troops were not up to the task. I know Hungary was heavily criticized for shirking in the arms race, fortunately our opposite numbers, the Italians, did the same thing, so theoretically there was still some chance, but it was unlikely, because we had to first fight our way through Austria, and then within a week reach some strategic target in Northern Italy. After which the Hungarian forces would’ve been worn out and replaced by Soviet replacements.

    Which shows that basically the job of satellite troops was to bleed the enemy while sparing Soviet casualties. Essentially they were to be sacrificed. But how well would they have fought? I guess without any enthusiasm.

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  167. @Polish Perspective
    Found this on /pol/ of all places. That in of itself should mean it has to be taken with a lot of caution, but still, interesting map nonetheless. Anyone see anything wildly out of the ordinary?

    https://i.imgur.com/7FuFW55.png

    Paris looks ridiculously low to me after a quick skim. Though as some wrote in the /pol/ thread, it probably includes all the banelieus.

    Nothing obviously dishonest, however I think there are probably different standards for South America vs. the US. US is non-Hispanic whites, while, I could be wrong, I rather doubt Buenos Aires is about 70% pure Euro. Probably 70% are reasonably white, but pure? I doubt it.

    Boston was 97% white into the 1950s. People who say that the US was like 89% white at one time are basically wrong. Most of the important cities like Boston were 95-97% white right into the ’40s and ’50s, which only means that the North as a whole was considerably whiter. It really hits you when you go into the Boston Public Library and see the murals vs. the people in the library.

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    • Replies: @Polish Perspective

    I think there are probably different standards for South America vs. the US. US is non-Hispanic whites, while, I could be wrong, I rather doubt Buenos Aires is about 70% pure Euro. Probably 70% are reasonably white, but pure? I doubt it.
     
    Yes, this sounds plausible. As Steve Sailer has repeatedly pointed out, last in his recent post on Brazilian Affirmative Action, there was no 'One Drop Rule' in Latin America. People joke about the Amerimutt, but in reality, most white people in the US are really white, we're talking about 98% or more on average.

    Then again, most of the Argentinian population is descended from Southern Europe, whereas historically most of the US white population came from Northern and later Eastern Europe with just Italians and to a lesser extent Greeks being mixed in. There's over 10 million Polish-Americans alone. This means that it is harder to judge how 'white' someone is in Argentina or anywhere else in the LatAm countries since the whites who settled there were quite dark to begin with.

    The Nordic phenotype never dominated the way it did early on in the US.


    People who say that the US was like 89% white at one time are basically wrong.
     
    Well...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_racial_and_ethnic_demographics_of_the_United_States#Historical_data_for_all_races_and_for_Hispanic_origin_(1610–2010)

    According to the US census data, whites were never more than in the high 80s. What you say about Boston may not be wrong. The US was extremely segregated for much of its history. It was possible to live in a country that was 12% non-white but barely see a non-white person if you lived in New England. It was only with the so-called 'Great Migration' in the 30s and 40s that this started to change.

    It's interesting to note that it was the capitalists who needed cheap labour. Before the Northern Industrialists imported Mexicans, they imported blacks from the South. Of course this historical fact isn't going to sit well with capitalist-worshipping GOPers.

    Also, keep in mind that the 88% white percentage includes 2-3% Jews and even back then some Arabs and others who were not counted, though we're talking no more than 10-20 basis points at most.

    The reason why the US didn't become non-white faster even with large non-European migration post-1965 is because of insanely high fertility rates. I mean even in the 1960s, you had something like 3 to 3.5 TFR per woman, that is insane. It was then structurally higher than in (Northern) Europe up until very recently. This allowed the process to drag on for longer. Otherwise you'd probably reach the current stage already in the 1990s.


    It really hits you when you go into the Boston Public Library and see the murals vs. the people in the library.
     
    I am ultimately an unsentimental person. If a people collectively decide that they do not want to exist, then they won't. This includes being passive in the face of slow wipeout. Life doesn't reward the meek or the passive. I know it sounds harsh, and I do genuinely feel empathy for the minority who were always against this displacement. But at some level I feel like people need to re-examine how much they themselves actually fight and how much is spent whining but doing nothing.

    Whatever comes after America - I will not view it as the same nation anymore - will be worse than what it historically was. But if the original inhabitants and builders of America do not want to preserve their creation, then what is the actual loss? Only the strong and the wise deserve to survive.

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  168. @German_reader

    He’s not a person willing to die for his ideals, and his ideals are probably not worth dying for in the first place anyway.
     
    What's "not a person willing to die for his ideals" supposed to mean? It's not like Putin could enter into single combat against some American champion, he has responsibility for all of Russian society which would suffer horribly in a full-scale war with the Americans, so I find a certain restraint commendable.
    And which ideals would be worth dying for?
    Bit much Putin-bashing here imo. I'm not a fan of the man, but he does some positive qualities imo, and the decisions he has to make are very difficult.

    In game theory, there are lots of situations where being willing to die for the smallest slights while being initially polite to all is a very good strategy. Under such circumstances being unwilling to get into fights will lead to humiliation and a higher chance of being killed.

    Basically, where there’s no police and court system to protect you — like in international relations.

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    • Replies: @German_reader

    Under such circumstances being unwilling to get into fights
     
    I don't see how that's really the case with Putin though, the Russians did threaten drastic reactions to a large-scale American attack on Syria after all...and presumably that was the main reason why such an attack didn't happen. It's not clear to me if there would have been a better course of action.
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  169. @reiner Tor
    In game theory, there are lots of situations where being willing to die for the smallest slights while being initially polite to all is a very good strategy. Under such circumstances being unwilling to get into fights will lead to humiliation and a higher chance of being killed.

    Basically, where there’s no police and court system to protect you — like in international relations.

    Under such circumstances being unwilling to get into fights

    I don’t see how that’s really the case with Putin though, the Russians did threaten drastic reactions to a large-scale American attack on Syria after all…and presumably that was the main reason why such an attack didn’t happen. It’s not clear to me if there would have been a better course of action.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Well, if you are willing to go to a nuclear war (albeit in a halfhearted manner — I guarantee that the world would be destroyed in a halfhearted nuclear war just as thoroughly as in one started in a fanatical manner) over Syria anyway, why not make the threat fully credible? You can sign a mutual defense treaty with Syria against American aggression. (American, because like the British in 1939 with the Soviets, the Russians probably would like to avoid an unnecessary war with Israel.)

    Put your bloody nuclear forces on the highest alert level when there is a crisis, and publicize it fully. It’s important that the American and European public (like the commenter Matra) and the most obnoxious warmongers (like John Bolton) get the message that it was a nuclear war situation, as you clearly think it was.

    By making your commitments crystal clear you will actually lower the risk of any future American attack. A corollary is that if Putin was truly willing to go to nuclear war (but was willing to otherwise be reasonable and not aggressive — like he is otherwise), the chances of such a war would actually go down. During the Cold War no one in a position of power had the idiotic idea to help the Hungarian Revolution with US troops in 1956. The same mentality should be made to prevail regarding Syria.

    Oh, and don’t bank on a detente. It won’t come soon anyway. You can burn some bridges. In response to extraterritorial US sanctions destroying a major Russian corporation respond forcefully, like immediately selling S-400 systems to Iran, or even giving them for free.

    Make the Americans fear that if they keep pushing you you will do something truly crazy. They certainly feared that if pushed over the USSR would react in a crazy manner. Actually, that’s what North Korea did for decades, but they were always very weak. There are clearly limits to it. But Russia is much stronger. Also Russia is not seeking to upset the regional balance, it just seeks to preserve what little is left of its sphere of influence.
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  170. @reiner Tor

    WW2 is kind of interesting because of how Germany attempted to match its enemies economically after Stalingrad.
     
    Have you read Tooze, Overy, or Evans?

    Apparently the new consensus is that the Germans already devoted nearly all available resources to war production already in 1940, but they didn’t do it in an efficient way, because the German military kept demanding many variants of the weapons, handmade quality, and constant improvements, and it killed mass production.

    Another issue was investment, they kept building militarily important installations (including chemical plants for synthetic rubber and synthetic fuel), and this diverted resources away from war production in the first stage of the war.

    A third issue (related to the previous one) is that they would have fully prepared for war with all capacities coming online and major weapons systems developed and put into service. That was prevented by the early outbreak of war, which left Germany without a full line of weapons. (No heavy tank until late 1942, no heavy bomber or transport plane, not fully motorized army, but anyway no synthetic fuel plants to fuel them, not enough steel production capacity, a lot of other bottlenecks, etc.)

    They had a lot of luck in France, which enabled them to get as far as they could without a fully equipped army and a fully functional military industry. But they squandered the opportunity to get their war economy in shape, and didn’t fully start mass production until it was too late. The whole idea of conquering a vast racial empire in a few years was a long shot anyway.

    I’ve read Tooze who is excellent. I do agree that Germany’s focus on increasing production predated the appointment of Albert Speer, who charitably decided to credit himself with the “armaments miracle” while at the same time denouncing his old boss that he once hero-worshipped.

    That said the “new consensus” is overly revisionist. Some examples:

    *The fact that British airplane construction actually overtook German during the Battle of Britain
    *The H-man’s determination to keep the German civilian standard of living above the WWI level, which continued until 1943 when he abandoned domestic affairs to Goebbels, Bormann, and Lammers
    *Failure to properly integrate industrial and especially engineering talent of conquered territory and allies until 1943 (see for instance the Luftwaffe’s evaluation of the excellent Italian Series 5 fighters in 1943)
    *Decision to basically murder Barbarossa POWs instead of enslaving them
    *An absurd decision to reduce shell production prior to Barbarossa (?!)
    *The dictate in the middle of 1940 to suspend development of weapons programs which would take longer than eighteen months to complete
    *In a particularly embarrassing example, Herman Goering prevented the closure of his favorite restaurant in Berlin when it was decided to close all unnecessary businesses

    I will say however the big myth that will not die is the idea that the Germans didn’t mobilize women into the workforce during the war.

    It should also be noted that in some aspects the Germans employed more standardization than the allies and the Soviets. The Reich Air Ministry for instance strictly limited the number of types in a given aircraft class and the number of engine designs produced. Production constraints are generally cited especially with engines, but until 1942 Germany actually had more machine tools and machinists than America (but, to be fair, less of just about every other kind of production capacity).

    The Army’s lesser standardization was partly the result of Germany not being fully rearmed or prepared for war. As a result booty was pressed into service and inferior designs kept in production. Heinz Guderian for instance personally kept the inferior PzKw IV in production (which, contrary to myth, was actually not more reliable than the Panther and was only 10% more expensive).

    Other issues are doctrinal. The heavy tank for instance was part of Soviet and French (and British to some extent with their “infantry tanks”) doctrine, but not German. The German doctrine of armored warfare developed out of the failure of the Kaiserschlact in 1918. Germany was consistently able, without the use of tanks, to break through Allied lines owing to the superior tactical qualities of the German Army. What it was not able to do was exploit the breakthroughs on a major operational level.

    Heinz Guderian:

    The engine of the tank is just as much a weapon as its gun.

    French doctrine on the contrary stemmed from the need to break through battlefield fortifications, and as such heavy tanks were considered important.

    I’m not really sure why the Soviets produced heavy tanks before the war, as it doesn’t seem to square with Deep Operations doctrine. Perhaps Stalin’s personal interest, or perhaps simply a result of bureaucratic imperatives.

    German heavy tanks were developed in response combat experience with superior (in terms of firepower and armament) Soviet and French tanks, though the Waffenamt was interested in 30 ton tanks as early as 1937.

    Heavy bombers are a similar story. The death of Walther Wever and the experience of Operation Condor led to abandonment of strategic bombing until the entry of America into the war. German four-engined heavy bombers in fact first flew in 1935–the same year as the B-17 and far before any British heavies.

    Heavy transport planes another doctrinal decision. Until 1938 the opponents Germany was preparing to fight were France, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. It should also be noted that neither the allies nor the Soviets developed heavy transport aircraft in any numbers in the 1930s. The C-54 did not come out until 1942, and efforts like converting the B-24 and Boeing 307 to military transport use weren’t undertaken until that year either.

    Full motorization of the German army was probably always an unrealistic goal given the inadequate size of the prewar German automotive sector. The USSR, with a more developed (in production capacity) automotive sector, also failed to fully motorize before or during the war despite also received Lend-Lease trucks. Germany didn’t actually have a large automotive sector until the late 1950s.

    And a fully motorized German army would have been even more dependent on oil imports.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    fully motorized German army would have been even more dependent on oil imports.
     
    I think there were plans to increase synthetic fuel production capacity by almost an order of magnitude above the level actually achieved in 1942...

    Yes, total motorization was not realistic, but they were planning to have something like triple the number of motorized and Panzer divisions than they actually had.

    The H-man’s determination to keep the German civilian standard of living above the WWI level
     
    They were starving in WW1, I don’t think it was a bad decision. Starving population leads to a declining GDP (-30% I think by 1917) and thus makes everything else more difficult.

    An absurd decision to reduce shell production prior to Barbarossa (?!)
     
    No, it was taken I think during the summer when it was thought that Germany was going to win in a few weeks anyway. Hitler himself probably never heard of the decision, because he was growing unsure already at that time.

    I think his biggest failure was to spend all of his time staring at maps instead of dealing with grand strategy and war economy. Stalin actually spent a lot of time on both. Yes, he was also staring at maps a lot, but he dealt with his true job, too.
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  171. @for-the-record
    Napoleon and the Wehrmacht steadily got worse in their relative performance, and their enemies steadily got better (and amassed superior resources).

    And the Japanese in WWII, who dominated in the early going.

    The Japanese early domination doesn’t mean much since they only did well because everyone else around them were complete basket cases. In fact, Japan itself knew this since they never thought they would be able to beat the USSR or the USA. Even in the early goings they managed to invade and lose to the USSR. They did pretty miserably in their invasion of China as well given their absolute military advantages. What Japan should have done is kept Manchuria and leave it at that instead of idiotically invading every which way.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    The performance of the IJN in the early phases of the Pacific War was quite spectacular compared to the American, British, and Dutch navies. The sinking of the Prince of Wales for instance was one of very few occasions during the war that a battleship underway was sunk solely by other aircraft, and it was done with a small number of aircraft as opposed to the Yamato being attacked by 400 warplanes. The Pearl Harbor raid, while inspired by the British raid on Taranto, was a much more impressive operation.

    You can also look at for instance the stunning proficiency of the IJN in night-fighting, done without radar.

    That the IJN performed better than the Royal Navy which had already been at war for more than two years was deeply impressive.

    While Japan was largely technologically inferior, it did develop some impressive technologies before the war to gain an edge as well. Most famously the Long Lance torpedo, but also superior optical range-finders and a lightweight aluminum-zinc alloy for aircraft production.

    The Japanese Army was on the other hand not impressive, but the Japanese themselves knew this which is why they chose the Strike South strategy.

    Highly recommend the website Combined Fleet for details: http://combinedfleet.com/kaigun.htm
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  172. @German_reader

    Under such circumstances being unwilling to get into fights
     
    I don't see how that's really the case with Putin though, the Russians did threaten drastic reactions to a large-scale American attack on Syria after all...and presumably that was the main reason why such an attack didn't happen. It's not clear to me if there would have been a better course of action.

    Well, if you are willing to go to a nuclear war (albeit in a halfhearted manner — I guarantee that the world would be destroyed in a halfhearted nuclear war just as thoroughly as in one started in a fanatical manner) over Syria anyway, why not make the threat fully credible? You can sign a mutual defense treaty with Syria against American aggression. (American, because like the British in 1939 with the Soviets, the Russians probably would like to avoid an unnecessary war with Israel.)

    Put your bloody nuclear forces on the highest alert level when there is a crisis, and publicize it fully. It’s important that the American and European public (like the commenter Matra) and the most obnoxious warmongers (like John Bolton) get the message that it was a nuclear war situation, as you clearly think it was.

    By making your commitments crystal clear you will actually lower the risk of any future American attack. A corollary is that if Putin was truly willing to go to nuclear war (but was willing to otherwise be reasonable and not aggressive — like he is otherwise), the chances of such a war would actually go down. During the Cold War no one in a position of power had the idiotic idea to help the Hungarian Revolution with US troops in 1956. The same mentality should be made to prevail regarding Syria.

    Oh, and don’t bank on a detente. It won’t come soon anyway. You can burn some bridges. In response to extraterritorial US sanctions destroying a major Russian corporation respond forcefully, like immediately selling S-400 systems to Iran, or even giving them for free.

    Make the Americans fear that if they keep pushing you you will do something truly crazy. They certainly feared that if pushed over the USSR would react in a crazy manner. Actually, that’s what North Korea did for decades, but they were always very weak. There are clearly limits to it. But Russia is much stronger. Also Russia is not seeking to upset the regional balance, it just seeks to preserve what little is left of its sphere of influence.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    Yes, that makes sense, thanks for writing that up. Such a strategy would also be quite risky and hard to calibrate though. And the fundamental problem, as you've written yourself, is of course that US elites seem to be increasingly crazy and not driven by rational calculations.
    , @utu

    Put your bloody nuclear forces on the highest alert level when there is a crisis, and publicize it fully. It’s important that the American and European public (like the commenter Matra) and the most obnoxious warmongers (like John Bolton) get the message that it was a nuclear war situation, as you clearly think it was.

    By making your commitments crystal clear you will actually lower the risk of any future American attack.
     
    I came to this conclusion and then I thought of Israel and why Russia is so timid with respect to it. If Russia wants to flex its muscle and reassert itself it must put Israel in its place first. It is possible that if Israel gets the message the US will back off. As long as we will be seeing Israeli planes and missile flying over Syria we will know that Putin is not ready to make a serious confrontation.
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  173. @random rand
    The Japanese early domination doesn't mean much since they only did well because everyone else around them were complete basket cases. In fact, Japan itself knew this since they never thought they would be able to beat the USSR or the USA. Even in the early goings they managed to invade and lose to the USSR. They did pretty miserably in their invasion of China as well given their absolute military advantages. What Japan should have done is kept Manchuria and leave it at that instead of idiotically invading every which way.

    The performance of the IJN in the early phases of the Pacific War was quite spectacular compared to the American, British, and Dutch navies. The sinking of the Prince of Wales for instance was one of very few occasions during the war that a battleship underway was sunk solely by other aircraft, and it was done with a small number of aircraft as opposed to the Yamato being attacked by 400 warplanes. The Pearl Harbor raid, while inspired by the British raid on Taranto, was a much more impressive operation.

    You can also look at for instance the stunning proficiency of the IJN in night-fighting, done without radar.

    That the IJN performed better than the Royal Navy which had already been at war for more than two years was deeply impressive.

    While Japan was largely technologically inferior, it did develop some impressive technologies before the war to gain an edge as well. Most famously the Long Lance torpedo, but also superior optical range-finders and a lightweight aluminum-zinc alloy for aircraft production.

    The Japanese Army was on the other hand not impressive, but the Japanese themselves knew this which is why they chose the Strike South strategy.

    Highly recommend the website Combined Fleet for details: http://combinedfleet.com/kaigun.htm

    Read More
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  174. @reiner Tor
    Well, if you are willing to go to a nuclear war (albeit in a halfhearted manner — I guarantee that the world would be destroyed in a halfhearted nuclear war just as thoroughly as in one started in a fanatical manner) over Syria anyway, why not make the threat fully credible? You can sign a mutual defense treaty with Syria against American aggression. (American, because like the British in 1939 with the Soviets, the Russians probably would like to avoid an unnecessary war with Israel.)

    Put your bloody nuclear forces on the highest alert level when there is a crisis, and publicize it fully. It’s important that the American and European public (like the commenter Matra) and the most obnoxious warmongers (like John Bolton) get the message that it was a nuclear war situation, as you clearly think it was.

    By making your commitments crystal clear you will actually lower the risk of any future American attack. A corollary is that if Putin was truly willing to go to nuclear war (but was willing to otherwise be reasonable and not aggressive — like he is otherwise), the chances of such a war would actually go down. During the Cold War no one in a position of power had the idiotic idea to help the Hungarian Revolution with US troops in 1956. The same mentality should be made to prevail regarding Syria.

    Oh, and don’t bank on a detente. It won’t come soon anyway. You can burn some bridges. In response to extraterritorial US sanctions destroying a major Russian corporation respond forcefully, like immediately selling S-400 systems to Iran, or even giving them for free.

    Make the Americans fear that if they keep pushing you you will do something truly crazy. They certainly feared that if pushed over the USSR would react in a crazy manner. Actually, that’s what North Korea did for decades, but they were always very weak. There are clearly limits to it. But Russia is much stronger. Also Russia is not seeking to upset the regional balance, it just seeks to preserve what little is left of its sphere of influence.

    Yes, that makes sense, thanks for writing that up. Such a strategy would also be quite risky and hard to calibrate though. And the fundamental problem, as you’ve written yourself, is of course that US elites seem to be increasingly crazy and not driven by rational calculations.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Putin's strategy of basically being a pushover, but not always, is also very difficult to calibrate. In fact, it might be more difficult to calibrate, because by often letting himself being pushed over he creates the expectation that he will let himself pushed over the next time.

    In essence by letting himself be pushed over over and over again, he created the expectation that he'll just "eat his spinach" the Nth time again. This could easily lead to a point where he will be pushed into a situation where he really cannot retreat any more (I think Crimea was something like this), and then his response will be totally unexpected. For example like during the Douma Crisis (or whatever it's called) the American president quickly drew himself into a corner where he had to do something. Clearly because he was sure that Putin will fold again. Now of course a solution was found, but the more such situations come about, the higher likelihood of an accident.

    Also, I'm not sure the Americans really folded. They promised a bigger retaliation than last year, and to be sure, according to the Russians, they truly did attack a large number of military targets. They didn't dare escalate after the Syrians (Russians?) took down most of the missiles (except the ones aimed at worthless targets), but the fact that their attack was ineffectual doesn't mean that it was not launched. They didn't dare go any further, they warned the Russians ahead of it, etc., but they didn't fold completely - they did attack, in the end. Putin didn't retaliate.

    The expectation of the warmongers is that next time Putin will threaten with a lot of things, but he won't actually do anything. Needless to say, this is a very dangerous situation. You shouldn't threaten at all unless you're willing to follow through, and the fact that there's a perception he didn't follow through is extremely dangerous.

    In short, I think if Putin was truly determined to fight with tooth and nails (and nukes), we'd actually have a lower chance of a nuclear war.
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  175. @Thorfinnsson
    I've read Tooze who is excellent. I do agree that Germany's focus on increasing production predated the appointment of Albert Speer, who charitably decided to credit himself with the "armaments miracle" while at the same time denouncing his old boss that he once hero-worshipped.

    That said the "new consensus" is overly revisionist. Some examples:

    *The fact that British airplane construction actually overtook German during the Battle of Britain
    *The H-man's determination to keep the German civilian standard of living above the WWI level, which continued until 1943 when he abandoned domestic affairs to Goebbels, Bormann, and Lammers
    *Failure to properly integrate industrial and especially engineering talent of conquered territory and allies until 1943 (see for instance the Luftwaffe's evaluation of the excellent Italian Series 5 fighters in 1943)
    *Decision to basically murder Barbarossa POWs instead of enslaving them
    *An absurd decision to reduce shell production prior to Barbarossa (?!)
    *The dictate in the middle of 1940 to suspend development of weapons programs which would take longer than eighteen months to complete
    *In a particularly embarrassing example, Herman Goering prevented the closure of his favorite restaurant in Berlin when it was decided to close all unnecessary businesses

    I will say however the big myth that will not die is the idea that the Germans didn't mobilize women into the workforce during the war.

    It should also be noted that in some aspects the Germans employed more standardization than the allies and the Soviets. The Reich Air Ministry for instance strictly limited the number of types in a given aircraft class and the number of engine designs produced. Production constraints are generally cited especially with engines, but until 1942 Germany actually had more machine tools and machinists than America (but, to be fair, less of just about every other kind of production capacity).

    The Army's lesser standardization was partly the result of Germany not being fully rearmed or prepared for war. As a result booty was pressed into service and inferior designs kept in production. Heinz Guderian for instance personally kept the inferior PzKw IV in production (which, contrary to myth, was actually not more reliable than the Panther and was only 10% more expensive).

    Other issues are doctrinal. The heavy tank for instance was part of Soviet and French (and British to some extent with their "infantry tanks") doctrine, but not German. The German doctrine of armored warfare developed out of the failure of the Kaiserschlact in 1918. Germany was consistently able, without the use of tanks, to break through Allied lines owing to the superior tactical qualities of the German Army. What it was not able to do was exploit the breakthroughs on a major operational level.

    Heinz Guderian:


    The engine of the tank is just as much a weapon as its gun.
     
    French doctrine on the contrary stemmed from the need to break through battlefield fortifications, and as such heavy tanks were considered important.

    I'm not really sure why the Soviets produced heavy tanks before the war, as it doesn't seem to square with Deep Operations doctrine. Perhaps Stalin's personal interest, or perhaps simply a result of bureaucratic imperatives.

    German heavy tanks were developed in response combat experience with superior (in terms of firepower and armament) Soviet and French tanks, though the Waffenamt was interested in 30 ton tanks as early as 1937.

    Heavy bombers are a similar story. The death of Walther Wever and the experience of Operation Condor led to abandonment of strategic bombing until the entry of America into the war. German four-engined heavy bombers in fact first flew in 1935--the same year as the B-17 and far before any British heavies.

    Heavy transport planes another doctrinal decision. Until 1938 the opponents Germany was preparing to fight were France, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. It should also be noted that neither the allies nor the Soviets developed heavy transport aircraft in any numbers in the 1930s. The C-54 did not come out until 1942, and efforts like converting the B-24 and Boeing 307 to military transport use weren't undertaken until that year either.

    Full motorization of the German army was probably always an unrealistic goal given the inadequate size of the prewar German automotive sector. The USSR, with a more developed (in production capacity) automotive sector, also failed to fully motorize before or during the war despite also received Lend-Lease trucks. Germany didn't actually have a large automotive sector until the late 1950s.

    And a fully motorized German army would have been even more dependent on oil imports.

    fully motorized German army would have been even more dependent on oil imports.

    I think there were plans to increase synthetic fuel production capacity by almost an order of magnitude above the level actually achieved in 1942…

    Yes, total motorization was not realistic, but they were planning to have something like triple the number of motorized and Panzer divisions than they actually had.

    The H-man’s determination to keep the German civilian standard of living above the WWI level

    They were starving in WW1, I don’t think it was a bad decision. Starving population leads to a declining GDP (-30% I think by 1917) and thus makes everything else more difficult.

    An absurd decision to reduce shell production prior to Barbarossa (?!)

    No, it was taken I think during the summer when it was thought that Germany was going to win in a few weeks anyway. Hitler himself probably never heard of the decision, because he was growing unsure already at that time.

    I think his biggest failure was to spend all of his time staring at maps instead of dealing with grand strategy and war economy. Stalin actually spent a lot of time on both. Yes, he was also staring at maps a lot, but he dealt with his true job, too.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson


    They were starving in WW1, I don’t think it was a bad decision. Starving population leads to a declining GDP (-30% I think by 1917) and thus makes everything else more difficult.
     
    Germany had no choice in this matter in WW1, and in WW2 food supplies were not a problem owing to Germany's conquests and willingness to starve or just kill people who would otherwise need food.

    The fact that Miele alone produced "only" 22,000 washing machines in 1940 is a good example of the problem.
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  176. @reiner Tor

    fully motorized German army would have been even more dependent on oil imports.
     
    I think there were plans to increase synthetic fuel production capacity by almost an order of magnitude above the level actually achieved in 1942...

    Yes, total motorization was not realistic, but they were planning to have something like triple the number of motorized and Panzer divisions than they actually had.

    The H-man’s determination to keep the German civilian standard of living above the WWI level
     
    They were starving in WW1, I don’t think it was a bad decision. Starving population leads to a declining GDP (-30% I think by 1917) and thus makes everything else more difficult.

    An absurd decision to reduce shell production prior to Barbarossa (?!)
     
    No, it was taken I think during the summer when it was thought that Germany was going to win in a few weeks anyway. Hitler himself probably never heard of the decision, because he was growing unsure already at that time.

    I think his biggest failure was to spend all of his time staring at maps instead of dealing with grand strategy and war economy. Stalin actually spent a lot of time on both. Yes, he was also staring at maps a lot, but he dealt with his true job, too.

    They were starving in WW1, I don’t think it was a bad decision. Starving population leads to a declining GDP (-30% I think by 1917) and thus makes everything else more difficult.

    Germany had no choice in this matter in WW1, and in WW2 food supplies were not a problem owing to Germany’s conquests and willingness to starve or just kill people who would otherwise need food.

    The fact that Miele alone produced “only” 22,000 washing machines in 1940 is a good example of the problem.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Producing any washing machines or refrigerators etc. was stupid, though I think the consensus view is that it amounted to only a few percentage points of production. (Still.)

    Anyway, you make good points. It's obvious that they could've done better.
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  177. @Thorfinnsson
    Glubb Pasha's essay is very good, but there are simpler and more banal explanations.

    1 - Regression to the mean
    2 - Imperial success causes others to sharpen their game and form coalitions against you

    Look at the Napoleonic Wars or WW2 for instance. Napoleon and the Wehrmacht steadily got worse in their relative performance, and their enemies steadily got better (and amassed superior resources).

    We can see this today with the new Russia-China alliance that America's stupid policy created. And that brings up a third point. As the Greeks said, hubris breeds nemesis.

    Or from our own magnificent King James Bible, Proverbs 16:18:

    Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
     

    Another factor is that initial success gives you room to adopt stupid and delusional attitudes and policies which later can’t be changed in time, as can be observed in the British Empire and America today.

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  178. @reiner Tor

    WW2 is kind of interesting because of how Germany attempted to match its enemies economically after Stalingrad.
     
    Have you read Tooze, Overy, or Evans?

    Apparently the new consensus is that the Germans already devoted nearly all available resources to war production already in 1940, but they didn’t do it in an efficient way, because the German military kept demanding many variants of the weapons, handmade quality, and constant improvements, and it killed mass production.

    Another issue was investment, they kept building militarily important installations (including chemical plants for synthetic rubber and synthetic fuel), and this diverted resources away from war production in the first stage of the war.

    A third issue (related to the previous one) is that they would have fully prepared for war with all capacities coming online and major weapons systems developed and put into service. That was prevented by the early outbreak of war, which left Germany without a full line of weapons. (No heavy tank until late 1942, no heavy bomber or transport plane, not fully motorized army, but anyway no synthetic fuel plants to fuel them, not enough steel production capacity, a lot of other bottlenecks, etc.)

    They had a lot of luck in France, which enabled them to get as far as they could without a fully equipped army and a fully functional military industry. But they squandered the opportunity to get their war economy in shape, and didn’t fully start mass production until it was too late. The whole idea of conquering a vast racial empire in a few years was a long shot anyway.

    Apparently the new consensus is that the Germans already devoted nearly all available resources to war production already in 1940, but they didn’t do it in an efficient way, because the German military kept demanding many variants of the weapons, handmade quality, and constant improvements, and it killed mass production.

    It was still far, far better than the equivalent British industries. German aircarft factories were about a 1/4 more productive than their British equivalents in 1944, despite the bombing.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    They weren't in 1940 I think, when the UK produced more aircrafts than Germany.

    By 1944 it didn't matter any longer, besides the UK was only a small portion of allied war production.
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  179. @German_reader
    Yes, that makes sense, thanks for writing that up. Such a strategy would also be quite risky and hard to calibrate though. And the fundamental problem, as you've written yourself, is of course that US elites seem to be increasingly crazy and not driven by rational calculations.

    Putin’s strategy of basically being a pushover, but not always, is also very difficult to calibrate. In fact, it might be more difficult to calibrate, because by often letting himself being pushed over he creates the expectation that he will let himself pushed over the next time.

    In essence by letting himself be pushed over over and over again, he created the expectation that he’ll just “eat his spinach” the Nth time again. This could easily lead to a point where he will be pushed into a situation where he really cannot retreat any more (I think Crimea was something like this), and then his response will be totally unexpected. For example like during the Douma Crisis (or whatever it’s called) the American president quickly drew himself into a corner where he had to do something. Clearly because he was sure that Putin will fold again. Now of course a solution was found, but the more such situations come about, the higher likelihood of an accident.

    Also, I’m not sure the Americans really folded. They promised a bigger retaliation than last year, and to be sure, according to the Russians, they truly did attack a large number of military targets. They didn’t dare escalate after the Syrians (Russians?) took down most of the missiles (except the ones aimed at worthless targets), but the fact that their attack was ineffectual doesn’t mean that it was not launched. They didn’t dare go any further, they warned the Russians ahead of it, etc., but they didn’t fold completely – they did attack, in the end. Putin didn’t retaliate.

    The expectation of the warmongers is that next time Putin will threaten with a lot of things, but he won’t actually do anything. Needless to say, this is a very dangerous situation. You shouldn’t threaten at all unless you’re willing to follow through, and the fact that there’s a perception he didn’t follow through is extremely dangerous.

    In short, I think if Putin was truly determined to fight with tooth and nails (and nukes), we’d actually have a lower chance of a nuclear war.

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  180. @Thorfinnsson


    They were starving in WW1, I don’t think it was a bad decision. Starving population leads to a declining GDP (-30% I think by 1917) and thus makes everything else more difficult.
     
    Germany had no choice in this matter in WW1, and in WW2 food supplies were not a problem owing to Germany's conquests and willingness to starve or just kill people who would otherwise need food.

    The fact that Miele alone produced "only" 22,000 washing machines in 1940 is a good example of the problem.

    Producing any washing machines or refrigerators etc. was stupid, though I think the consensus view is that it amounted to only a few percentage points of production. (Still.)

    Anyway, you make good points. It’s obvious that they could’ve done better.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    America's war mobilization strategy is quite interesting viewed in context.

    Britain effectively mobilized more (much more in fact) of its economy than America did. The USSR not only mobilized more of its economy but basically stopped producing capital goods during the war, and depreciated equipment was replaced by American imports.

    USA mobilized less, never introduced labor conscription, but most interestingly it allocated a huge proportion of its war effort to investment.

    As a result the economy doubled in size during the war, and not only of that is down to recovery as the USA recovered its 1929 GDP by 1939.

    This successful American experiment in dirigisme I believe is unmatched in world history and should be more carefully studied by historians, as should Germany's "armaments miracle" for the same reasons.
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  181. @DFH

    Apparently the new consensus is that the Germans already devoted nearly all available resources to war production already in 1940, but they didn’t do it in an efficient way, because the German military kept demanding many variants of the weapons, handmade quality, and constant improvements, and it killed mass production.
     
    It was still far, far better than the equivalent British industries. German aircarft factories were about a 1/4 more productive than their British equivalents in 1944, despite the bombing.

    They weren’t in 1940 I think, when the UK produced more aircrafts than Germany.

    By 1944 it didn’t matter any longer, besides the UK was only a small portion of allied war production.

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    • Replies: @DFH

    They weren’t in 1940 I think, when the UK produced more aircrafts than Germany.
     
    I'm fairly certain they were. According to the Audit of War by Correlli Barnett, the peak of British production was 1.28lb a day compared to the German average throughout the war being 1.5lb. This if anything understates the German advantage since far more of British production was going towards bombers, which take fewer man hours per pound.
    The reason British toal production was so high was because of the gigantic proportion of British manufacturing being directed towards it, it probably also helped that so many of the inputs were being imported from America.
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  182. @reiner Tor
    Well, if you are willing to go to a nuclear war (albeit in a halfhearted manner — I guarantee that the world would be destroyed in a halfhearted nuclear war just as thoroughly as in one started in a fanatical manner) over Syria anyway, why not make the threat fully credible? You can sign a mutual defense treaty with Syria against American aggression. (American, because like the British in 1939 with the Soviets, the Russians probably would like to avoid an unnecessary war with Israel.)

    Put your bloody nuclear forces on the highest alert level when there is a crisis, and publicize it fully. It’s important that the American and European public (like the commenter Matra) and the most obnoxious warmongers (like John Bolton) get the message that it was a nuclear war situation, as you clearly think it was.

    By making your commitments crystal clear you will actually lower the risk of any future American attack. A corollary is that if Putin was truly willing to go to nuclear war (but was willing to otherwise be reasonable and not aggressive — like he is otherwise), the chances of such a war would actually go down. During the Cold War no one in a position of power had the idiotic idea to help the Hungarian Revolution with US troops in 1956. The same mentality should be made to prevail regarding Syria.

    Oh, and don’t bank on a detente. It won’t come soon anyway. You can burn some bridges. In response to extraterritorial US sanctions destroying a major Russian corporation respond forcefully, like immediately selling S-400 systems to Iran, or even giving them for free.

    Make the Americans fear that if they keep pushing you you will do something truly crazy. They certainly feared that if pushed over the USSR would react in a crazy manner. Actually, that’s what North Korea did for decades, but they were always very weak. There are clearly limits to it. But Russia is much stronger. Also Russia is not seeking to upset the regional balance, it just seeks to preserve what little is left of its sphere of influence.

    Put your bloody nuclear forces on the highest alert level when there is a crisis, and publicize it fully. It’s important that the American and European public (like the commenter Matra) and the most obnoxious warmongers (like John Bolton) get the message that it was a nuclear war situation, as you clearly think it was.

    By making your commitments crystal clear you will actually lower the risk of any future American attack.

    I came to this conclusion and then I thought of Israel and why Russia is so timid with respect to it. If Russia wants to flex its muscle and reassert itself it must put Israel in its place first. It is possible that if Israel gets the message the US will back off. As long as we will be seeing Israeli planes and missile flying over Syria we will know that Putin is not ready to make a serious confrontation.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Here Putin is in a difficult situation, because Israel had bombed Syria with impunity well before Putin even showed up there. So it was basically the status quo when he went in there.

    Another problem is that since he went there, he's still allowed Israel to bomb Syria (see my previous point, I think it would've been difficult to change this suddenly), so now it's doubly the status quo.

    It's always more difficult to make someone stop a behavior (stop bombing Syria) than make him not start one (like making the US not getting into the habit of bombing Syria). So I would've let Israel bomb Syria, but not the US. (I'd also have provided the S-300 to Syria in response to some new US sanction maybe a year ago. Let the US know that by sanctioning Russia they're also making life more difficult for Israel.)

    In any way, now Putin has maneuvered himself into a position where it's now an almost established habit of the US to occasionally bomb Syria on the slightest of pretexts. So it'll take more and more confrontation to stop them next time.

    Another idea I just had is during the Douma Crisis (or whatever it's called) sending a diplomatic note to Estonia asking them if, in the event of a US aggression against Russian forces in Syria or against the forces of Russia's ally Syria, would Estonia let its airspace be used by US aircraft against Russia if as a result there would be a war between Russia and the US? It would only be a polite question, but it might send the chills down the spines of, for example, German, politicians, who wouldn't even be asked. Or the public. It wouldn't even be a threat: just a question. You wouldn't need to follow it through, because if you're not threatening with anything, you wouldn't need to follow it through. It would just be a question. It wouldn't even threaten Estonia with retaliation (that would be implicit anyway), just ask them if they have an official position about this eventuality.
    , @for-the-record
    As long as we will be seeing Israeli planes and missile flying over Syria we will know that Putin is not ready to make a serious confrontation.

    The S-300 will perhaps be a test of this. The other day there were news reports that the Russians would provide the S-300 to Syria, but reading things more carefully it seems that all they said is that they would "upgrade" Syrian capability. If in the end they don't follow through with the S-300, it will be yet another example of their backing down.
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  183. @reiner Tor
    Producing any washing machines or refrigerators etc. was stupid, though I think the consensus view is that it amounted to only a few percentage points of production. (Still.)

    Anyway, you make good points. It's obvious that they could've done better.

    America’s war mobilization strategy is quite interesting viewed in context.

    Britain effectively mobilized more (much more in fact) of its economy than America did. The USSR not only mobilized more of its economy but basically stopped producing capital goods during the war, and depreciated equipment was replaced by American imports.

    USA mobilized less, never introduced labor conscription, but most interestingly it allocated a huge proportion of its war effort to investment.

    As a result the economy doubled in size during the war, and not only of that is down to recovery as the USA recovered its 1929 GDP by 1939.

    This successful American experiment in dirigisme I believe is unmatched in world history and should be more carefully studied by historians, as should Germany’s “armaments miracle” for the same reasons.

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  184. Jodi has been a goldmine lately. This one surprised me somewhat.

    Slovakia is the biggest question mark. Croatia is a given. Yugoslavia was a pretty comfy place from what I read. Croatia was also brutally beaten in the 2008 crisis compared to most EE nations, even the Baltics. Greece is self-explanatory.

    France is interesting. The question asked is a 30 year perspective. Most people may not remember this – and neither do, since I wasn’t born then, but I have access to statistics – namely that France was as rich if not richer than (West Germany) 30 years ago. It was well ahead of the UK.

    Now it looks a lot like Italy did in the early 2000s. Still a rich country but stagnating. But yeah, going back to Slovakia, I wonder what fuels their nostalgia. They have done quite well economically, arguably the best out of all EE countries. Seems a bit mysterious to me.


    I was surprised by this chart, especially for Poland. What social scientists call ‘locus of control’ is often linked to success, both individually and nationally. Namely, if you view yourself as a hapless victim of outside circumstances perpetually, you will be stuck in a victimhood complex and never quite improve.

    Historically, North European Protestant nations have had high rates of ‘locus of control’, together with individualism, and to some extent this is true here as well. Poland has often done quite badly on these polls. So either this is an outlier or part of a new trend. We are ahead of Estonia and almost on par with Germany. Far ahead of even Czechia, not to mention the Southern European states.

    I even unironically sympathise with Greece’s response. They elected a far-left anti-austerity candidate who got crucified by the Troika. It was one of the clearest examples of the futility of democracy when it truly matters.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Slovakia did pretty well, much better than Hungary, since 1998. But not so well before, I think. In fact, since a lot of the Czechoslovak communist heavy industry and armament industry was concentrated there, they were I think brutally beaten in the 1990s.

    So maybe that's the explanation. I'm not sure.
    , @utu
    Probably translations of these silly questions are iffy. Do Greeks Poles and French have the same concept of 'fair'?

    And the first question "getting ahead in life has become more equal" is really moronic. Getting ahead of what? Doesn't getting ahead precludes equality? And how any single person is supposed to gage "the more equal" state? By looking at poorer or richer neighbors or by watching and listening to media?

    Who are the morons who come up with these surveys? Hucksters and swindlers, I guess.
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  185. @utu

    Put your bloody nuclear forces on the highest alert level when there is a crisis, and publicize it fully. It’s important that the American and European public (like the commenter Matra) and the most obnoxious warmongers (like John Bolton) get the message that it was a nuclear war situation, as you clearly think it was.

    By making your commitments crystal clear you will actually lower the risk of any future American attack.
     
    I came to this conclusion and then I thought of Israel and why Russia is so timid with respect to it. If Russia wants to flex its muscle and reassert itself it must put Israel in its place first. It is possible that if Israel gets the message the US will back off. As long as we will be seeing Israeli planes and missile flying over Syria we will know that Putin is not ready to make a serious confrontation.

    Here Putin is in a difficult situation, because Israel had bombed Syria with impunity well before Putin even showed up there. So it was basically the status quo when he went in there.

    Another problem is that since he went there, he’s still allowed Israel to bomb Syria (see my previous point, I think it would’ve been difficult to change this suddenly), so now it’s doubly the status quo.

    It’s always more difficult to make someone stop a behavior (stop bombing Syria) than make him not start one (like making the US not getting into the habit of bombing Syria). So I would’ve let Israel bomb Syria, but not the US. (I’d also have provided the S-300 to Syria in response to some new US sanction maybe a year ago. Let the US know that by sanctioning Russia they’re also making life more difficult for Israel.)

    In any way, now Putin has maneuvered himself into a position where it’s now an almost established habit of the US to occasionally bomb Syria on the slightest of pretexts. So it’ll take more and more confrontation to stop them next time.

    Another idea I just had is during the Douma Crisis (or whatever it’s called) sending a diplomatic note to Estonia asking them if, in the event of a US aggression against Russian forces in Syria or against the forces of Russia’s ally Syria, would Estonia let its airspace be used by US aircraft against Russia if as a result there would be a war between Russia and the US? It would only be a polite question, but it might send the chills down the spines of, for example, German, politicians, who wouldn’t even be asked. Or the public. It wouldn’t even be a threat: just a question. You wouldn’t need to follow it through, because if you’re not threatening with anything, you wouldn’t need to follow it through. It would just be a question. It wouldn’t even threaten Estonia with retaliation (that would be implicit anyway), just ask them if they have an official position about this eventuality.

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    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @utu

    It’s always more difficult to make someone stop a behavior (stop bombing Syria) than make him not start one (like making the US not getting into the habit of bombing Syria). So I would’ve let Israel bomb Syria, but not the US. (I’d also have provided the S-300 to Syria in response to some new US sanction maybe a year ago. Let the US know that by sanctioning Russia they’re also making life more difficult for Israel.)
     
    I can't believe it. You are another Dimitry. And Karlin agrees as well. Wow.

    You have to kill the chicken to scare the money not the other way around. Killing (intimidating) the chicken may not end the world while trying to kill the money most likely will.

    For the record the Clausewitzes-Cucksewitzes reiner Tor and Anatoly Karlin just stated:


    I would’ve let Israel bomb Syria
    I would’ve let Israel bomb Syria
    I would’ve let Israel bomb Syria
    I would’ve let Israel bomb Syria

     
    , @utu

    Another idea I just had is during the Douma Crisis (or whatever it’s called) sending a diplomatic note to Estonia asking them if...
     
    This is good. Not cucky at all. Taking shit to Estonians your can stomach but to the other Estonians who are not Etonians you can't even envision.
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  186. @Polish Perspective
    Jodi has been a goldmine lately. This one surprised me somewhat.

    https://jodi.graphics/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Number-of-_Total-agree_-answers-to-the-question_-Compared-with-30-years-ago-opportunities-for-getting-ahead-in-life-have-become-more-equal-in-your-country_-Eurobarometer-2018-Jo-Di-graphics.png

    Slovakia is the biggest question mark. Croatia is a given. Yugoslavia was a pretty comfy place from what I read. Croatia was also brutally beaten in the 2008 crisis compared to most EE nations, even the Baltics. Greece is self-explanatory.

    France is interesting. The question asked is a 30 year perspective. Most people may not remember this - and neither do, since I wasn't born then, but I have access to statistics - namely that France was as rich if not richer than (West Germany) 30 years ago. It was well ahead of the UK.

    Now it looks a lot like Italy did in the early 2000s. Still a rich country but stagnating. But yeah, going back to Slovakia, I wonder what fuels their nostalgia. They have done quite well economically, arguably the best out of all EE countries. Seems a bit mysterious to me.


    https://i.imgur.com/iKh7nKC.png

    I was surprised by this chart, especially for Poland. What social scientists call 'locus of control' is often linked to success, both individually and nationally. Namely, if you view yourself as a hapless victim of outside circumstances perpetually, you will be stuck in a victimhood complex and never quite improve.

    Historically, North European Protestant nations have had high rates of 'locus of control', together with individualism, and to some extent this is true here as well. Poland has often done quite badly on these polls. So either this is an outlier or part of a new trend. We are ahead of Estonia and almost on par with Germany. Far ahead of even Czechia, not to mention the Southern European states.

    I even unironically sympathise with Greece's response. They elected a far-left anti-austerity candidate who got crucified by the Troika. It was one of the clearest examples of the futility of democracy when it truly matters.

    Slovakia did pretty well, much better than Hungary, since 1998. But not so well before, I think. In fact, since a lot of the Czechoslovak communist heavy industry and armament industry was concentrated there, they were I think brutally beaten in the 1990s.

    So maybe that’s the explanation. I’m not sure.

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    • Replies: @Polish Perspective
    That's interesting. I admit I have limited knowledge about Slovakia - which is a common stereotype in Poland about our general ignorance of our nice neighbors to the south - but from what I understand, they basically had a soft semi-authoritarian leadership in the 1990s under the aegis of Mečiar. They had a brief interregnum, which was apparently mostly for show to mollify Western observers/liberals criticising the obvious lack of genuine democracy.

    It was only towards the late 1990s that there was true democratisation and Mečiar and his oligarchs (somewhat) relinquished control. This authortiarian phase in the 1990s coincided with very gradual privatisation up until the late 1990s which meant that growth could be somewhat smooth. The big wave of privitisation came later. and by that time, there had been enough adjustment, which is why Slovakia did quite well in the 1990s.

    Slovakia also had high unemployment throughout most of this period. But then again, so did we.

    I think a key clue might be in the question itself. It asks: have opportunities to get ahead become more equal? One could reasonably say that life in general has improved a lot and still say that inequality has not become less of an issue. They need not cancel each other out and can indeed co-exist. This may be closer to the mark, since I do often hear that economic opportunity in Slovakia is heavily constrained to the Bratislavia region. The Eastern part of Slovakia has basically not closed the economic gap at all and might even have fallen further behind. This could be one of the reasons for the surprisingly negative response from them.

    By contrast, Warsaw doesn't dominate Poland nearly to the same extent. In fact, some even claim that Warsaw is underpopulated compared to the median ratio in most countries. Greater London is 20% of the UK population. Warsaw by contrast is barely 5%. There's still regional inequality, but it has gotten better. That may not be true for Slovakia. Just a guess, of course.

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  187. @reiner Tor
    They weren't in 1940 I think, when the UK produced more aircrafts than Germany.

    By 1944 it didn't matter any longer, besides the UK was only a small portion of allied war production.

    They weren’t in 1940 I think, when the UK produced more aircrafts than Germany.

    I’m fairly certain they were. According to the Audit of War by Correlli Barnett, the peak of British production was 1.28lb a day compared to the German average throughout the war being 1.5lb. This if anything understates the German advantage since far more of British production was going towards bombers, which take fewer man hours per pound.
    The reason British toal production was so high was because of the gigantic proportion of British manufacturing being directed towards it, it probably also helped that so many of the inputs were being imported from America.

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  188. JL says:
    @reiner Tor
    The Moscow region dachas were seized as a response to the illegal seizure of two compounds in Maryland and New York. I think those are probably among the most expensive states in the USA, though I might be wrong.

    Those dachas were in Moscow, the city proper, not the Moscow region. It’s one of the few remaining dacha compounds in the city limits and is located, upstream, on the bank of the Moscow river. It’s prized real estate, mostly not available at any price. I don’t know if it’s exactly comparable to what the Russians had seized, but it’s probably pretty close. And, as Anatoly already wrote, the Americans lost all their St. Petersburg real estate.

    Anyway, it’s all mostly symbolic. My original point was that the Russians do retaliate, not that what they did was illegal or unjustified.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Okay, I stand corrected.

    My point was that the US is doing outright illegal things in a kind of no holds barred struggle, for example seizing Russian diplomatic compounds. The Russian retaliation is irrelevant (because it’s legal) in this symbolic battle.

    In the less symbolic cases, like the sanctions against Rusal, they do not (or only rarely) retaliate.

    Obviously there’s no good symmetrical retaliation. But why not suddenly send weapons to Iran? Or even Hezbollah? And publicly announce that in retaliation for the sanctions Russia will send weapons to organizations considered to be terrorist by the US but not by Russia. If Netanyahu angrily calls, Putin could tell him to talk to the Americans. Tell him if he doesn’t want Hezbollah with modern heavy weapons (initially I’d only send them symbolically small arms) then there should be no more US extraterritorial sanctions against Russia.

    Now Putin is not doing anything like this. He’s not doing anything at all. This is what I call “no retaliation.” I was aware that the diplomatic incidents always had proportional retaliations. They were only to illustrate how no holds barred the struggle is, on the side of the Americans.
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  189. @songbird
    Nothing obviously dishonest, however I think there are probably different standards for South America vs. the US. US is non-Hispanic whites, while, I could be wrong, I rather doubt Buenos Aires is about 70% pure Euro. Probably 70% are reasonably white, but pure? I doubt it.

    Boston was 97% white into the 1950s. People who say that the US was like 89% white at one time are basically wrong. Most of the important cities like Boston were 95-97% white right into the '40s and '50s, which only means that the North as a whole was considerably whiter. It really hits you when you go into the Boston Public Library and see the murals vs. the people in the library.

    I think there are probably different standards for South America vs. the US. US is non-Hispanic whites, while, I could be wrong, I rather doubt Buenos Aires is about 70% pure Euro. Probably 70% are reasonably white, but pure? I doubt it.

    Yes, this sounds plausible. As Steve Sailer has repeatedly pointed out, last in his recent post on Brazilian Affirmative Action, there was no ‘One Drop Rule’ in Latin America. People joke about the Amerimutt, but in reality, most white people in the US are really white, we’re talking about 98% or more on average.

    Then again, most of the Argentinian population is descended from Southern Europe, whereas historically most of the US white population came from Northern and later Eastern Europe with just Italians and to a lesser extent Greeks being mixed in. There’s over 10 million Polish-Americans alone. This means that it is harder to judge how ‘white’ someone is in Argentina or anywhere else in the LatAm countries since the whites who settled there were quite dark to begin with.

    The Nordic phenotype never dominated the way it did early on in the US.

    People who say that the US was like 89% white at one time are basically wrong.

    Well…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_racial_and_ethnic_demographics_of_the_United_States#Historical_data_for_all_races_and_for_Hispanic_origin_(1610–2010)

    According to the US census data, whites were never more than in the high 80s. What you say about Boston may not be wrong. The US was extremely segregated for much of its history. It was possible to live in a country that was 12% non-white but barely see a non-white person if you lived in New England. It was only with the so-called ‘Great Migration’ in the 30s and 40s that this started to change.

    It’s interesting to note that it was the capitalists who needed cheap labour. Before the Northern Industrialists imported Mexicans, they imported blacks from the South. Of course this historical fact isn’t going to sit well with capitalist-worshipping GOPers.

    Also, keep in mind that the 88% white percentage includes 2-3% Jews and even back then some Arabs and others who were not counted, though we’re talking no more than 10-20 basis points at most.

    The reason why the US didn’t become non-white faster even with large non-European migration post-1965 is because of insanely high fertility rates. I mean even in the 1960s, you had something like 3 to 3.5 TFR per woman, that is insane. It was then structurally higher than in (Northern) Europe up until very recently. This allowed the process to drag on for longer. Otherwise you’d probably reach the current stage already in the 1990s.

    It really hits you when you go into the Boston Public Library and see the murals vs. the people in the library.

    I am ultimately an unsentimental person. If a people collectively decide that they do not want to exist, then they won’t. This includes being passive in the face of slow wipeout. Life doesn’t reward the meek or the passive. I know it sounds harsh, and I do genuinely feel empathy for the minority who were always against this displacement. But at some level I feel like people need to re-examine how much they themselves actually fight and how much is spent whining but doing nothing.

    Whatever comes after America – I will not view it as the same nation anymore – will be worse than what it historically was. But if the original inhabitants and builders of America do not want to preserve their creation, then what is the actual loss? Only the strong and the wise deserve to survive.

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  190. @reiner Tor
    Slovakia did pretty well, much better than Hungary, since 1998. But not so well before, I think. In fact, since a lot of the Czechoslovak communist heavy industry and armament industry was concentrated there, they were I think brutally beaten in the 1990s.

    So maybe that's the explanation. I'm not sure.

    That’s interesting. I admit I have limited knowledge about Slovakia – which is a common stereotype in Poland about our general ignorance of our nice neighbors to the south – but from what I understand, they basically had a soft semi-authoritarian leadership in the 1990s under the aegis of Mečiar. They had a brief interregnum, which was apparently mostly for show to mollify Western observers/liberals criticising the obvious lack of genuine democracy.

    It was only towards the late 1990s that there was true democratisation and Mečiar and his oligarchs (somewhat) relinquished control. This authortiarian phase in the 1990s coincided with very gradual privatisation up until the late 1990s which meant that growth could be somewhat smooth. The big wave of privitisation came later. and by that time, there had been enough adjustment, which is why Slovakia did quite well in the 1990s.

    Slovakia also had high unemployment throughout most of this period. But then again, so did we.

    I think a key clue might be in the question itself. It asks: have opportunities to get ahead become more equal? One could reasonably say that life in general has improved a lot and still say that inequality has not become less of an issue. They need not cancel each other out and can indeed co-exist. This may be closer to the mark, since I do often hear that economic opportunity in Slovakia is heavily constrained to the Bratislavia region. The Eastern part of Slovakia has basically not closed the economic gap at all and might even have fallen further behind. This could be one of the reasons for the surprisingly negative response from them.

    By contrast, Warsaw doesn’t dominate Poland nearly to the same extent. In fact, some even claim that Warsaw is underpopulated compared to the median ratio in most countries. Greater London is 20% of the UK population. Warsaw by contrast is barely 5%. There’s still regional inequality, but it has gotten better. That may not be true for Slovakia. Just a guess, of course.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Meciar was making anti-Hungarian nationalist noises, so for me it’s difficult to form an objective opinion of him. But I was wondering before if he really was as harmful to Slovakia as he was described in the Hungarian press.

    And yes, a large portion of the communist heavy industries and armament industry were located in the east of Slovakia.
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  191. @reiner Tor

    In PPP terms, the size of Russia’s economy is comparable to Germany’s.
     
    Germany is probably too small.

    One problem is that Russian citizens can see that their living standards are lower than in the West, and it’s a question how long they will be willing to put up with it.

    But even if the answer to the former question is “forever,” it’s still a question how long Russia will be able to maintain military near parity with the US.

    Even if the answer to both questions is “forever,” there’s still a strong asymmetry here: the US can single-handedly strangulate a major Russian corporation, while Russia cannot strangulate any American companies. It’s a quite uncomfortable situation even if it won’t result in a loss for Russia. And it very well might.

    Biggest European economy is too small?

    One problem is that Russian citizens can see that their living standards are lower than in the West, and it’s a question how long they will be willing to put up with it.

    What is the alternative?
    Migrating does not necessarily mean an improvement of living standards.
    And just doing what the West wants is not going to work either.

    But even if the answer to the former question is “forever,” it’s still a question how long Russia will be able to maintain military near parity with the US.

    The rise of the PRC means that the USA has to relocate more forces against them which improves Russia’s chances to maintain an acceptable balance of power in areas relevant to Russia.

    the US can single-handedly strangulate a major Russian corporation, while Russia cannot strangulate any American companies.

    Rusal showed limits of this sanctions policy.

    They agreed, according to leaks to the Moscow press, that the US is unhappy with the sudden rise in aluminium and alumina prices, and that Russia is unhappy at the sanctions imposed on the company.

    Out of their negotiation came Mnuchin’s agreement to distinguish publicly between Deripaska and Rusal; allow a six-month extension for Rusal to trade metal with Americans, plus a promise the Treasury will consider Rusal’s petition to be delisted. This concession has restored the production chain for non-US companies in Europe, Africa and Australia to supply Rusal’s smelters. It has avoided embarrassment for the Ukrainian regime in Kiev which wants to keep Deripaska’s alumina refinery in Nikolaev running at full capacity. It also allowed Americans to continue contracting for Rusal metal shipments.

    http://johnhelmer.net/us-reprieve-for-rusal-does-not-relieve-president-putin-of-fatal-choice-for-oleg-deripaska/

    They can straggle a major Russian corporation, but it does not mean it is going to be cheap.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Then they’d be in a still stronger position if they retaliated. By sending weapons to actors (Iran, perhaps even Hezbollah?) the US is heavily opposed to.

    If they want some military strike to prevent it, then just calmly start preparations for a nuclear war. Don’t even threaten anything. The threats should be implicit. Like the polite diplomatic note to some NATO countries about whether they’d allow the US to use their airspace in the event the US attacked Russian forces elsewhere. Or simply putting all nuclear forces on the highest alert. Costs nothing, at least it’s a drill.
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  192. @reiner Tor

    USSR failed primarily because of ideological instead of economical reasons
     
    There would have been no problems at all if the Soviets were confident in the viability of their economic system. Andropov wanted economic reforms, and that’s why he supported Gorbachev as a successor. The whole debacle was a result of the economic weakness.

    There would be problems even if they were confident in the viability of their economic system.
    A better economic system would not suddenly fix the weakness of the ruling party or prevent rising nationalism.

    Look at China. Chinese economy is doing fine yet they have real problem like corruption within the ruling party which undermines their legitimacy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I was exaggerating. There are always some problems. But not on the scale of the Soviet existential crisis in the late 1980s.
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  193. @JL
    Those dachas were in Moscow, the city proper, not the Moscow region. It's one of the few remaining dacha compounds in the city limits and is located, upstream, on the bank of the Moscow river. It's prized real estate, mostly not available at any price. I don't know if it's exactly comparable to what the Russians had seized, but it's probably pretty close. And, as Anatoly already wrote, the Americans lost all their St. Petersburg real estate.

    Anyway, it's all mostly symbolic. My original point was that the Russians do retaliate, not that what they did was illegal or unjustified.

    Okay, I stand corrected.

    My point was that the US is doing outright illegal things in a kind of no holds barred struggle, for example seizing Russian diplomatic compounds. The Russian retaliation is irrelevant (because it’s legal) in this symbolic battle.

    In the less symbolic cases, like the sanctions against Rusal, they do not (or only rarely) retaliate.

    Obviously there’s no good symmetrical retaliation. But why not suddenly send weapons to Iran? Or even Hezbollah? And publicly announce that in retaliation for the sanctions Russia will send weapons to organizations considered to be terrorist by the US but not by Russia. If Netanyahu angrily calls, Putin could tell him to talk to the Americans. Tell him if he doesn’t want Hezbollah with modern heavy weapons (initially I’d only send them symbolically small arms) then there should be no more US extraterritorial sanctions against Russia.

    Now Putin is not doing anything like this. He’s not doing anything at all. This is what I call “no retaliation.” I was aware that the diplomatic incidents always had proportional retaliations. They were only to illustrate how no holds barred the struggle is, on the side of the Americans.

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    • Replies: @AP
    It may be illegal but are you sure? Embassies are one thing, but do countries have some sort of legal right to have real estate in other countries? Were these privately owned buildings where Russia had some sort of title, or not? I have the impression that such buildings aren't taxed and are considered "foreign soil" at the discretion of the country they are in but I could be completely wrong here.
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  194. @Mitleser
    There would be problems even if they were confident in the viability of their economic system.
    A better economic system would not suddenly fix the weakness of the ruling party or prevent rising nationalism.

    Look at China. Chinese economy is doing fine yet they have real problem like corruption within the ruling party which undermines their legitimacy.

    I was exaggerating. There are always some problems. But not on the scale of the Soviet existential crisis in the late 1980s.

    Read More
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  195. @reiner Tor
    I agree.

    Another factor is that now a relatively long time has passed since the collapse of the USSR, and the old guys think that since the USSR is no more, then the US must be the undisputed master of the world. The younger ones more or less grew up with that worldview, so for them it’s the natural arrangement of things and they cannot think of any other world order.

    These people need a very strong opposition. Putin is apparently not such an opposition. He’s not a person willing to die for his ideals, and his ideals are probably not worth dying for in the first place anyway.

    The issue here is that Putin is one of the younger ones who accepted American domination and victory and wanted to remain one the winning side.
    Unsurprisingly, it is difficult to change such a worldview and commit to the opposite side.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    There were reports already in 2007 how Putin was totally fed up with the US and the West in general. After that, he allowed Medvedev to do foreign policy, inexperienced and unsupervised. Then Libya happened, then Syria started, then Ukraine (these were in my opinion all largely internal developments, but the US was always all too eager to take advantage of the situation), and Crimea, and there were reports about how Putin had now truly had enough, but then he kept trying to keep the doors open to an ever more elusive reconciliation. Then the Russiagate happened, and Trump with his strikes in Syria, and the ever ratcheting sanctions. And there were reports that now he really was fed up. And then the Skripal Affair and the Rusal sanctions and the new Syrian strikes happened, and then it looked like enough was enough.

    And yet here we are. That’s what I described as Putin being weak.

    Compare Neville Chamberlain. He wanted to avoid a new conflagration at all prices. He truly wanted to work with Hitler. Yet after Hitler finally broke his word to destroy Czechia, showing his true colors to be an imperialist, he resigned himself to starting a war against the next aggression. He was capable of learning. He was capable of adjusting his behavior as new facts came out. Putin doesn’t seem to be able to do so.
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  196. @Mitleser
    Biggest European economy is too small?

    One problem is that Russian citizens can see that their living standards are lower than in the West, and it’s a question how long they will be willing to put up with it.
     
    What is the alternative?
    Migrating does not necessarily mean an improvement of living standards.
    And just doing what the West wants is not going to work either.

    But even if the answer to the former question is “forever,” it’s still a question how long Russia will be able to maintain military near parity with the US.
     
    The rise of the PRC means that the USA has to relocate more forces against them which improves Russia's chances to maintain an acceptable balance of power in areas relevant to Russia.

    the US can single-handedly strangulate a major Russian corporation, while Russia cannot strangulate any American companies.
     
    Rusal showed limits of this sanctions policy.

    They agreed, according to leaks to the Moscow press, that the US is unhappy with the sudden rise in aluminium and alumina prices, and that Russia is unhappy at the sanctions imposed on the company.

    Out of their negotiation came Mnuchin’s agreement to distinguish publicly between Deripaska and Rusal; allow a six-month extension for Rusal to trade metal with Americans, plus a promise the Treasury will consider Rusal’s petition to be delisted. This concession has restored the production chain for non-US companies in Europe, Africa and Australia to supply Rusal’s smelters. It has avoided embarrassment for the Ukrainian regime in Kiev which wants to keep Deripaska’s alumina refinery in Nikolaev running at full capacity. It also allowed Americans to continue contracting for Rusal metal shipments.
     
    http://johnhelmer.net/us-reprieve-for-rusal-does-not-relieve-president-putin-of-fatal-choice-for-oleg-deripaska/

    They can straggle a major Russian corporation, but it does not mean it is going to be cheap.

    Then they’d be in a still stronger position if they retaliated. By sending weapons to actors (Iran, perhaps even Hezbollah?) the US is heavily opposed to.

    If th