The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>
Publications Filter?
Da Russophile
Nothing found
 TeasersRussian Reaction Blog
/
Africa

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New Reply
🔊 Listen RSS

So we correctly make fun of people like Neil Turok and Deirdre McCloskey who expect to discover the next generation of Einsteins amongst 70-75 IQ Africans. Even if we could run the full FLynn program on Africa and raise it up to its genotypic IQ potential of 85-90, it’s not like countries with those sorts of figures today are brimming with geniuses (though they are not necessarily unpleasant places to live in, as Fred Reed constantly reminds us).

But there’s some who think this implies that Africa will inevitably collapse due to overpopulation and their absolute inability to run any kind of industrial civilization without help from Europeans or the Chinese, because apparently Sub-Saharan Africa can barely support one billion people let alone the four billion that the UN projects for the end of the century. Here’s one example of such an argument:

This reply could also cover Piltdown man too: You are making an assumption that these people can work in an organized fashion, use and take care of mechanical equipment, and have an infrastructure that will let all of the population have access to this productive farmland. I know you’ve heard of Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia – the breadbasket of Africa.

Obviously I am not going to go down the “racism” card like some bottom-tier SJW, but I would like to play the “reality” card.

(1) First off, why the implicit assumption that trade and technological links with the outside world must vanish? I suppose that if a gamma ray burst were to fry the northern hemisphere tomorrow and wipe the high IQ peoples from the planet, then SSA will also experience an economic and demographic collapse. Advanced manufacturing will vanish, there will be zero further technological/scientific progress and an outright regression in the stock of knowledge by a century or so.

But short of these sci-fi scenarios, how can this happen? Individual African countries might decide to drive foreign investors and any lingering white/Indian minorities out, but there are more than fifty separate polities in Africa. The likelihood that the continent as a whole adopts such self-destructive policies are diminishingly small. The Chinese in particular are interested in acquiring tracts of African lands to increase their food security. Their motives are of course self-interested, but it results in technology transfer and helps Africans too.

(2) Sub Saharan Africa is almost eight times as big as India in land area, and India now supports 1.3 billion people. It has twice as much arable land, but this can be expanded. I don’t think there’s any equivalent of the Ganges valley in SSA (or really anywhere on Earth) in terms of agricultural productivity, but still, there’s no shortage of productive land.

Africa pessimists like citing Zimbabwe, where crop yields are lower than they were half a century ago. But it’s not representative of the continent. Crop yields in the continent as a whole have increased by almost 50% since 1990. In Ethiopia, a country once synonymous with photos of starving children, they have more than doubled.

crop-yields-africa

SSA is now on average where India was in the 1980s, and the world in general was in the 1960s. And it’s not like agriculture is a particularly g loaded occupation.

world-irrigation Certainly I don’t see Africans introducing automated hydroponics farms that super-densely populated advanced countries like Japan and the Netherlands are experimenting with, but they don’t have to do that even to feed a quadrupled population; just getting to Brazil’s level (which is slightly above the world average) by 2100 would do.

They have plenty of time and plenty of low-hanging fruit to be picked up. For instance, irrigation, which can basically double yields, is almost entirely absent from SSA.

(3) Paradoxically, (moderate) global warming can actually help Africa.

Historically, it was during colder periods that Africa’s dry zones became even drier, leading to famines. The reverse might be true: Conditions may well become wetter in the West African Sahel, “in what would be a rare example of a positive tipping point” in response to global warming (Copenhagen Diagnosis 2009).

There is paleoclimatic evidence for this. In the warming at the end of the last Ice Age, the modern day Sahara turned into a lush savannah, with crocodiles, hippos and elephants roaming the plains. Progressive cooling turned the area into the dessicated desert it is today, pushing populations south and towards the Nile valley.

Severe warming (5C+) is one thing that would be very bad for SSA and will push all the above considerations into the margins. (Though, that said, the sort of commenters who envisage Africans as Piltdown men also tend to think climate change is a liberal elite conspiracy).

(4) All societies have undergone the demographic transition, so why exactly should Africa be the exception anyway?

(I mean, assuming that the Neo-Nazis are wrong about Africans being like rabbits with no ability to control their fertility, and that real world examples of Blacks undergoing the demographic transition when they reach a sufficient level of development like in Jamaica or Trinidad and Tobago are not figments of statistics bureaus’ imaginations).

There’s no evidence that SSA is going to be an exception. It is certainly lagging, as it is most other indicators, but it’s still happening.

africa-infant-mortality

The TFR for the continent as a whole has declined from close to 7 children per woman inaround 1980 to about 5 children today. The Africa pessimist crowd loves to single out Niger, probably the single most illiterate and backwards country in the world. But if you want to nitpick, why not instead pick Rwanda, run by Paul Kagame (an authoritarian technocrat who has been called Africa’s Lee Kuan Yew), which has gone from having 8 children per woman in 1980 to just 4 today?

Demographers tend to project fertility trends as gentle declines, but they can also take the form of sudden collapses. Famously, Iran’s TFR plummeted from more than 6 children per woman to below replacement level rate within less than a decade. The decline in China during the 1970s was almost as steep (and took place before the One Child Policy was implemented).

To illustrate this further, below is a screenshot from Paul Kennedy’s 1993 book Preparing for the 21st Century, citing contemporary UN Population Prospects forecasts for the year 2025.

demographic-forecast-1980s

These were actually more pessimistic than the 2017 update of the World Population Prospects that Sailer is citing in his recent series of pessimistic posts on African demographics.

Outside Africa: Pakistan now projected at 227 million, not 267 million; Brazil at 219 million, not 245 million; Indonesia at 285 million, not 263 million, but as the only upwards exception massively canceled out by Iran, which is projected to have 87 million by 2025, not 122 million.

Even within Africa, which has by and large yet to undergo the demographic transition, those forecasts are now clearly pessimistic in hindsight: Nigeria now projected to be at 234 million, not 301 million; Kenya at 60 million, not 77 million; Tanzania at 73 million, not 84 million; and Zaire (now DRC) the only upwards outlier, at 104 million instead of 99 million.

africa-infant-mortality

Anyhow, it’s not like SSA is in standstill. Literacy is improving, school enrollment is rising, infant mortality is falling, peasants are leaving for the cities, wmen are going into education and having careers. All the factors that have historically collapsed fertility rates around the world are now acting on SSA.

It would not be surprising if Africa’s demographic transition happens faster than expected, as in the Low variant of the current UN forecast, and ends up merely tripling instead of quadrupling as in the Medium scenario.

(5) As I pointed out in A Short History of the Third Millennium, modern societies strongly select for lower IQ and higher fertility. The FLynn effect has gone into reverse, and if technological progress was to stagnate – as it might well do so due to the depletion of “smart fractions” – it is also likely that the cultural innovations that have hitherto suppressed fertility will also fall by the wayside. Even leaving aside low-IQ Third World immigration, Europe and White America will likely be duller and more fecund (leaving aside technological singularities, CRISPR-transhumanism, etc).

Africa still has some potential to increase its IQ via better nutrition, etc., though whether it will ever manage to create institutions capable of maximizing them out as in the developed world today is questionable. However, at least it does not yet appear to be subject to the dysgenic pressures that are ravaging the developed world. And if its future demographic expansion was to constantly bump up against the Malthusian limits, these dysgenic trends may even be averted altogether.

After three or four centuries of scraping against the Malthusian grindstone, it’s not inconceivable that African IQ will fully converge with that of Europeans and East Asians.

And then Turok’s successors will finally find their African Einsteins who will take us into space aboard the pyramids.

kangz

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Africa, Demographics 
🔊 Listen RSS

Chanda Chisala’s article on black/white IQ differences has been making quite the stir in the HBDsphere. It is well worth reading in its entirety, as some of the points he makes – e.g., the evidence for high IQ amongst certain African ethnic groups such as the Igbo – are quite compelling and novel even to those well versed in this debate. But the central plank of his argument is ultimately a strike against the “hereditarian position” in IQ on the basis that the children of African immigrants are failing to regress to the mean.

The predictable response of the hereditarians is to adopt the environmentalist argument of super high immigrant selection to explain this unexpected trend: where some environmentalists propose that these immigrants are the most driven achievers in their countries, the hereditarians say they are the most intellectually elite, the ones from the topmost segment of the IQ bell curve in their countries; the outliers who got some lucky genes in an otherwise poor-gene environment. But like the hyper-driven-personality hypothesis, this argument cannot explain the equally, if not more impressive, achievements of their children: lottery winners never have children who also win the lottery. The stubborn refusal of their children to conspicuously regress to the much lower African genetic mean IQ (and not even to the African American mean IQ) predicted by hereditarians is simply inexplicable under their racial genetic hierarchy.

The problem is that African IQs from all social groups are highly repressed because of Third World factors like malnutrition and parasitic load. Very significantly so – around 15 points, or one standard deviation. When Third Worlders migrate to the First World, they experience a sort of “accelerated Flynn Effect” as their children with one plane ride get to enjoy advantages such as superior nutrition, medicine, etc. that had taken their host countries a century to build up. It’s not so much that regression to the mean isn’t happening but that it is being cancelled out by Flynn. This is a point that with apparently just one exception on the part of the IQ blogger Pumpkin Person has been overlooked in both Chisala’s article and the comments to it.

Let’s do a few back of the envelope calculations based on several plausible scenarios to demonstrate this.

The (commonly accepted) phenotypic IQ of Sub-Saharan Africans is typically estimated at 65-80, with 70 being a particularly common estimate. Their genotypic IQ is around 85 extrapolating from African Americans (there are issues such as ~20% Caucasian admixture, selection effects during slavery, diversity in Africa itself, etc. but let’s keep things simple). As is also well known, and cited by Chisala himself, African immigrants to both the UK and the US tend to be highly credentialed (more credentialed in fact than any other ethnic immigrant group). A reasonable estimate of their average phenotypic IQ would be 100, i.e. two S.D.’s above the Nigerian/Ghanaian/etc. average (three S.D.’s would be too implausible since there are so very few of them), and a genotypic IQ of 115.

Some at this point would object that the genotypic/phenotypic difference diminishes for higher IQ Africans since they’d be wealthier and more “elite” on average than the commoners, and hence have access to better food, medicine, etc. This is a good argument, but actual height data indicates that in the Third World entire populations are shifted down – both commoner and elites – relative to their counterparts in the First World. You can see the same phenomenon not only geographically but historically, e.g. average US Presidential heights, which increased by more than three inches between 1776 and today (and that is despite the US being very well fed by global standards even two centuries ago).

Assume the standard method of calculating offspring IQ: The average of the father’s and mother’s IQs, plus some degree of convergence to the mean of the parents’ racial genotypic IQs, i.e. what is otherwise known as regression to the mean, which is usually estimated at 40%.

Now let’s assume our African immigrant is an economic migrant, i.e. an educated and credentialed Nigerian, as opposed to a semi-literate refugee from wartorn Somalia or DRC. (Average IQ of Black African immigrant offspring in the UK is about 93 according to the CAT tests, as Chisala points out and as I mentioned three years back. Since this group will include a lot of these very low IQ Somali/Eritrean/etc. refugees, the average IQ of children of African economic migrants should logically be a lot higher, i.e. maybe around the White average. This hypothesis will be further supported below).

Let’s assume our African immigrant is male for simplicity’s sake – plus the fact there are somewhat more men than women amongst African immigrants anyway – and that he made some of the following marriage choices:

  • Marries another cognitively elite Black immigrant woman just like himself, i.e. phenotypic IQ of 100, and genotypic IQ of 115, resulting in average offspring IQ of 107, i.e. standard “model minority”-level performance. It would not be particularly surprising or strange if Britain’s best performing secondary student in one particular year – Chidera Ota, prominently featured in Chisala’s article – was to come from the high end of this particular group’s bell curve.
  • Marries a Black immigrant woman whom he married back at home, thus she did not undergo the selection for higher IQ that is the selection process for economic migrants, thus has a phenotypic IQ of 85 and a genotypic IQ of 100. Resultant average IQ of offspring: 101.
  • Marries an African American woman with a phenotypic and genotypic IQ of 100 (i.e. associational mating). Expected offspring IQ: 101.
  • Marries a Caucasian woman with a phenotypic and genotypic IQ of 100 (i.e. associational mating). Expected offspring IQ: 103.

Here’s a summary:

Genotypic IQs F (ego) F (race) M (ego) M (race) S & D
Black immigrant (elite) + Black immigrant (elite) 115 85 115 85 107
Black immigrant (elite) + Black immigrant (nonelite) 115 85 100 85 100.5
Black immigrant (elite) + US Black (assoc) 115 85 100 85 100.5
Black immigrant (elite) + US White (assoc) 115 85 100 100 102.5

So you see the pattern? Cognitively, the children of African immigrants are basically Caucasians, i.e. a standard deviation above African Americans, but nowhere close to an elite cognitive group like Ashkenazi Jews or US Indians who are almost a full S.D. above Caucasians. They will come to form a population group with a fixed cognitive profile set around 100 or slightly higher (since regression to the mean stops after one generation), and as such they will do fairly well socially and economically. Most likely, better then Caucasians, since they will benefit from affirmative action policies in education and employment designed to benefit 1 S.D. duller African Americans while in fact being cognitively similar to Caucasians (think Ashkenazi Jews counting as Whites in university admissions). All of this, in fact, seems to be happening in real life.

Chisala might not have “disproven” the hereditarian or HBD position (at least its nuanced, non-White Nationalist part that pays due respect to auxology and Flynn dynamics). But he did demonstrate that African immigrants are doing fairly well for themselves. Indeed, as a cognitively elite Zambian immigrant, Chisala would presumably be quite the expert on it.

And don’t get me wrong, this is a genuinely attractive message, at least so long as you are an egalitarian blank slatist (US liberals), a cultural supremacist (US conservatives), or even a cognitive elitist who doesn’t attach any value to racial particularism. Liberals can point to them as living proof that Blacks are just as mentally gifted as Whites, and it is structural racism which is keeping African Americans down. As such, there needs to be more affirmative action, more racial quotas, more laws against hate speech, etc. to end it. Conservatives too would welcome it. They will praise the work ethic and family values of these African immigrants, citing the lack thereof amongst African Americans as the real cause of why they lag so much behind other ethnic groups in the US. That in turn will enable them to continue to wage their culture war against genuine African American culture. The economists and economic rationalists will be happy. Surely this is a good reason to expand immigration from Sub-Saharan Africa? More jobs, more skills, more entrepreneurialism. If anything, the only unhappy people would be the White Nationalists, and who cares about those primitive troglodytes anyway?

Even so, it should be pointed out that this argument can be critiqued even from morally universalistic, if still cognitively elitist, principles. An argument could be made that accepting African cognitive elites might improve the host societies, at least in the views of non-nativists: By increasing the size of the middle class, solving skills shortages, and providing fuel for the egalitarian narrative which – whatever its problems with logic, reason, and data – is nonetheless morally superior to “kneejerk” ideologies based on real racism and exclusion.

But proponents of these views should also seriously consider what effect their policies are going to have on the African societies that the high IQ immigrants are abandoning. It is becoming increasingly accepted in development economics that countries with high numbers of “smart fractions” – either via a high average IQ, like China, or at least a substantial “Brahmin” class, like India or South Africa – tend to do much better than low IQ and cognitively homogenous countries, like… most of Sub-Saharan Africa. The region has very few cognitive elites to start off with, and a large percentage of them are getting sucked up into Western societies that frankly have orders of magnitude less need of them than their own cognitively-strapped countries. These losses are not just financial, though those are no small matter even just by themselves: It takes a lot of money to train a doctor or an engineer, money which Sub-Saharan Africa generally doesn’t have. Even worse are the cognitive losses, as the stock of competent administrators and businessmen dwindles, reducing the size of Africa’s smart fractions even further and resulting in even more poverty and dysfunction.

It is adaptive to adopt the language of the Left on this issue. Enabling educated African immigration at a large scale is Western cognitive colonialism against the African continent, and is nothing more than a subtler version of the resource rapine that it subjected Africa to back in the days when imperialism was overt and didn’t bother concealing its iron fist beneath a velvet glove. Colonialism is bad and morally unjustifiable, and all foes of the global plutocratic elites must unite against it.

 
🔊 Listen RSS

Let’s start with two excellent new resources I’ve recently come across. Russia: Other Points of View states its objectives thus:

We believe there is need in the public forum for a venue which offers opinions and facts that at times may differ from the prevailing view in western media.

Hmm… Sounds quite similar to Da Russophile, in fact, and makes a substantial part of our News posts redundant. As such I’ll be referring to it frequently.

The other is the Moscow Defence Brief, an English-language quarterly that offers analysis on Russian, Eurasian and world military affairs from a Russian perspective.

Moving onto developments in Russia, the economy continues to boom, driven by investment and consumption. The vast majority of foreign investors have made handsome gains and are bullish about future prospects, despite recent global financial perturbations that have cut the RTS back below 2000 by around a quarter from its peak. Manufacturing growth remains strong at 8.4% for the first half of 2008 (artificially brought down by 0.6% yearly growth on June, due to the effects of celebrating Euro08 successes on Russian productivity). Overall industrial growth of 5.8% is as usual lowered by anemic growth of 0.5% in the extractive sectors, including a 0.6% fall in oil production (as covered in the previous News, Russia has now almost certainly reached its oil production peak). While slowing down in Moscow, the construction boom continues apace in the rest of the country. Russia’s mean salary has surpassed 700$ this year and as of May in real terms salaries and pensions had increased by 14.5% and 13.8%, respectively, on the same period last year. The Sukhoi SuperJet 100 made its maiden flight and Cisco announces investment in venture capital fund to focus on Russia and CIS.

No wonder then that Russia has overtaken Germany as Europe’s biggest car market, with 3.8mn units expected to be sold this year (compared with 3.2mn in Germany) and Russia (with 2% of the world population) predicted to account for 20% of global growth in the automotive market through to 2015. The Economist has a much more detailed (and, unusual for it, quite professional) overview of Russia’s bourgeoning car market. Exploding purchasing power means car sales are expected to approach 4.5mn units by 2010, when it is expected car ownership will rise to 253 / 1000 people. Government industrial policy has led to the world’s major car producers rushing to build factories in Russia, with their new capacity by 2012 estimated at 1.6mn units (in effect doubling Russian car production from 2007).

On the other hand, the Economist‘s oily hallucinations continue (“Is it “peak oil” or a speculative bubble? Neither, really”). The last “really” says it all, really. When you were so really, really wrong on predicting 5$ oil back in 1999, might as well burrow your head even deeper into the conventional ‘wisdom’. (Really reminds me of Newsweek‘s ‘Russia is really, really weak‘ line, made fun of in the eXile.) And to connect these issues together, the Economist repeats its catechism that a) Russian oil production is stagnating due to a lack of investment as opposed to basic geological limits and b) its economy is more dependent than ever on oil. This is in stark contrast to the Financial Times (‘Running on empty? Fears over oil supply move into the mainstream‘), which is beginning to see the light. Gazprom predicts oil will reach $250 in 2009.

Nikitsky Fund released an apocalyptic-sounding issue of its excellent Truth and Beautnewsletter, the Crack of Doom. Many things, from medium-term American economic prospects to long-term global sustainability, do indeed look apocalyptic…

The World Bank has revised its GDP estimates for 2007. According to the new figures, Russia overtook the UK last year to become the sixth-largest economy in the world and second in Europe behind Germany. Its PPP gross national income per capita reached 14,400 $, which is comparable to that of Croatia or Poland.

Russia has managed to occupy 9 places in the list of the world’s top 500 supercomputers in June 2008. Although it doesn’t sound impressive, it is a significant improvement on previous releases of the list; and besides, it is dominated by just a few players (the UK, Japan, France, Germany and above all the US, which accounts for more than half). As I pointed out here, national strength in things like supercomputers, nanotechnology and electronic connectivity will be to this century as steel, oil and literacy were to the last. Moscow State University also released a list of the Top 50 supercomputers in Russia and the CIS.

Medvedev’s new Presidency has brought a new burst of rhetorical energy to themes such as fighting corruption, easing bureaucratic regulations on small businesses and computerization. My interpretation on this is that just as restoring state power and implementing a national industrial and socio-economic policy were the dominant talked-about themes at the start of Putin’s first and second terms respectively, and followed up by measures to that effect, so this is the prelude to the sort of institutional reforms that are becoming increasingly important for further economic growth and rapid convergence to advanced industrialism. But we’ll see.

Western hypocrisy is heroically exposed by Gorbachev, Russia’s UK ambassador and Medvedev.
The demographic situation continued to improve over the first five months of May, as noted in my recent Demographics series of posts. There was an almost 10% increase in the crude birth rate, which nonetheless strongly suggests the TFR will exceed 1.5 this year and thus more than exceed the projection in the High scenario. On the other hand mortality has stagnated, the crude death rate rising by 0.7%. Nonetheless, I strongly suspect this is just a short-term flunctuation, in particular in view of the fact that the alcohol / food price ratio has plunged this year due to huge food inflation (the close link between that ratio and death rates was explored in Demographics II; the fact death rates have stagnated, rather than plummeted (as in 1994 and to a lesser extent post-1998), may actually be a positive sign, since it would indicate mortality is slowly but incessantly becoming divorced from the affordability of alcohol). Here’s a table showing mortality and fertility in Jan-Apr 2008 by region and change over the previous year. A few notes. Lower mortality in Muslim and rich Russian regions (Moscow, Tyumen oblast), higher birth rates in Muslim and less densely populated (e.g. Urals, Siberian, Far East) regions.

(Two remarks. It seems that the bigger the increases in number of births per month, the bigger the increase in deaths. For instance, January and April both saw relatively big increases in mortality and fertility as compared to the previous year; February to a lesser extent. March saw a small increase in fertility and small drop in mortality. May say smaller fertility and a big drop in mortality. As far as I’m aware the number of days per month remains constant from year to year (with just one minor exception, leap year Februaries), Russian maternal mortality and even infant mortality is statistically insignificant here. So I ask the question, do more babies lead to more heart attacks or something? (Most mortality increase was due to heart attacks; deaths from external causes fell). Secondly, a prediction – mortality will increase during July. With all the celebrations ensuing after Russia’s football successes that month, this is more or less inevitable.)

I found an interesting demographics opinion piece from the Moscow Defence Brief, Russia does not need a pro-immigration policy. It is true that the benefits of immigration as a source of cheap labor (as opposed to an intelligent policy of letting in only well-qualified, easy to integrate, ‘especially desirable’ workers) are overstated. I disagree with two of its claims, however. The idea that Russia’s hypermortality doesn’t actually exist because of the effect of illegal immigrant deaths is complete nonsense (they make up, ultimately, only a small fraction of Russia’s population and most of them will be young people with comparatively very low death rates). Secondly, it is not a good idea to replicate American suburban planning (for the purposes of increasing fertility, according to the article) as it is even now becoming obsolete with the era of expensive oil.

Boosting Population a Vague Science – comprehensive, conventional article about Russian demographics from Moscow Times. Happiness in Russia has increased, which should help lower mortality (unhappy people tend to die younger and Russia, as with other post-Soviet republics, have one of the world’s lowest levels of happiness).

Rampant inflation and political crisis in Ukraine do not stop it from intensifying Russophobic moves in language, religion and NATO enlargement.

Russia, along with China, vetoed sanctions against Zimbabwe in the UN (pushed most aggressively by the UK, who I suppose dislike this particular African tinpot despot because unlike the others he messed with the British whites who got the land they stole from indigenous blacks, stolen back. And I find it a bit suspicious that you have all these piteous people who whine about supposed torture, genocide, etc, but seem free enough to find and talk with Western journalists, especially those from the BBC). While this is certainly not an altruistic action on Russia’s/China’s part, it’s not as if the West concerns itself itself much (at all) over the plight of ordinary working Zimbabweans, as proved by British insistence that their companies withdraw from the country and their ruthless, cowardly support for sanctions.

Tensions have risen over Abkhazia, with both Georgia and Russia warning of a risk of war, while Russia and the US have hosted suspiciously simultaneous war games in the region. The Rise and Fall of Georgia’s UAVs casts doubt on whether the video of a Russian fighter shooting down a Georgian UAV (as shown in the previous News).

As for the video provided by Georgia, there are several reasons why their authenticity is in doubt. First, UAVs are made to observe objects on the earth, not in the air. Their cameras are housed in a semisphere on the underside of the vehicle, which makes it extremely difficult to focus on another flying object. The chances that this sort of camera could have caught another flying object at the very moment when it fired a missile are simply nonexistent.

Second, as a rule, high-definition photos and video are stored on board the UAV, while only low-quality pictures are sent in real time, due to the restricted bandwidth of the transmission system. The video shown by the Georgians was ostensibly captured in real time, since the UAV was destroyed, and the low quality of the video does not allow for the identification of the type of plane, let alone the country to which it belongs. Arguments to the effect that «the aircraft has a twin rudder and is therefore Russian» simply do not stand up to examination.

This article concludes that the “Georgian Army would be quickly defeated if Tbilisi tries to settle the conflict by force”.

Further to the excellent NY Sun article casting doubt on the mainstream Western account of Litvinenko’s death (poisoned by polonium by nefarious KGB agents), the Independent produces a piece worthy of its namesake, The Litvinenko files: Was he really murdered? It mostly covers the same points.

BP has been treating Russians as subjects (Financial Times) - the point of view from the Russian oligarchs, who reject British claims of Russian intimidation and strong-arming, and argue that BP has thwarted the company’s expansion plans abroad and long-term strategic development, in a bid to shore up reserves for BP itself.

Assessing Russian fighter technology concludes that since the end of the Cold War, Russian military aviation has for all practical purposes closed the technological gap with the West. Very succinct and detailed. Nagorno-Karabakh: Shift in the Military Balance analyzes the balance of power between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and concludes it is tilting towards Baku. Russian nuclear forces, 2008. Baiting the Russian bear – US plans for ballistic missile defences in eastern Europe risk alienating Russia and stirring up old resentments.

I liked Sean’s little insightful scribblings, Surveying Putin’s Generation and Putin: Leader or Revolutionary? He also penned a cynical critique of Nemtsov’s White Paper.

Kissinger penned Unconventional wisdom about Russia, emphasizing for US concern for Russia’s strategic interests if it wants to have its way in the world.

Russia’s energy drive leaves US reeling – Russia continues to strive for greater control over Eurasian energy flows under Medvedev, this time venturing into Africa. Washington’s reprisal (blocking Russian oil companies’ access to Iraq) was met by further Russian interest in a gas OPEC, with Iran as the other main partner.

The ever brilliant Nicolai Petro reports on yet another Western MSM smear job on Russia in Mr. Levy and the Magic Media.

The Misconception of Russian Authoritarianism – PhD thesis by an American graduate student at the University of St.-Petersburg makes a forceful argument that Russia has decisively shed its authoritarian past and is engaged in building up stable long-term democratic institutions.

Russia’s Other Great Victory – the War Nerd’s colorful (as usual) account of Russia’s crushing defeat of Japan in Manchuria in 1945. A Japanese POW’s life-affirming account of his time in Siberia.

Russia’s hawks (rather tellingly) support McCain, who will accelerate America’s decline (as per contributor Brother Karamazov’s theory). Not that that’s very relevant however since Obama will almost certainly win.

Michael Averko pens some excellent articles, including Chechnya, EU-Serbia and a Disputed Lands Update, Contradictions to the “New Cold War” Theme and book review of Not My Turn to Die.

For a laugh take a look at this Russphobic drivel (its volume continues to increase). School-child spanking afficianados from the conservative neo-imperialist Telegraph have decided Bully-boy Russia needs a lesson in manners. Loco Lucas indulges in more of his heartfeld mad rantings in Kremlin’s blast from the past in the Daily Mail (a British tabloid read by their near-illiterate football hooligans) and his spymania and Molotov cocktail fetish. The poor maiden Georgia is in jeopardy. Professional Russophobe freak Max Hastings belives Hopes of close cooperation between Russia and the west are now dead. I have a lively exchange with deranged La Russophobe here and sent a letter complaining about the inaccuracies in the Enough Rope for Russia WSJ Op-Ed, albeit to no avail.

Russia: A totalitarian regime in thrall to a Tsar who’s creating the new Facist empire takes the cake, however. The title alone wins it.

Russia performed far better than generally expected in Euro2008, losing only to the champion. I think it certainly has the potential to win the World Cup in South Africa; perhaps Hiddink’s luck could make it finally realize that potential. In any case it’s certainly not a bad bed (most bookies give returns of 25:1).

Finally, polls. Plans for summer holidays – since 1997, the number of Russians without money for holidays decline (from 30% to 20%), while a constant percentage plan to remain at home or on their dacha. Those planning to go abroad or to the Black Sea region remain few in number abut are on the increase. Russians tend to be positive about Israel and neutral/apathetic on the Palestine issue. Most Russians favor a policy of diplomacy and restraint towards regions of the former USSR. This detailed poll on corruption shows most Russians are tired of it, want greater measures against it and think it has registered a slight improvement over the past three years. Internet penetration is spreading fast but is still at relatively low levels nationally, especially amongst the older generations. Most Russians continue to read avidly.

(Republished from Sublime Oblivion by permission of author or representative)
 
No Items Found
Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.

One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.

Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.