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Assessing Russia's Military Strength
Is America Seeking "Preventive War" to Forestall the Rise of Russian Power?
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There is a popular point of view in some of Russia’s political circles, especially among those who profess monarchist views and cling to a famous meme of 1913 Tsarist Russia development statistics, that WW I was started by Germany to forestall Russia’s industrial development which would inevitably challenge Germany’s plans on domination of Europe. A somewhat similar argument could be made for the WW II, but, in general, preventive wars are nothing new in human history. While “preventive” argument may or may not be a valid one regarding WW I, there is no doubt that it could be used, among others, when explaining the origins of a war.

A classic example of such “preventive” war is, of course, US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the mayhem which ensued there when US, as was stated then, “prevented” Saddam from obtaining Weapons of Mass Destruction, that is nuclear weapons, which, of course, he never had and wasn’t intent on obtaining. It is becoming increasingly clear that “preventive war” has become a preferred instrument in the hands of Washington establishment, be it Iraq, Libya or Syria.

But what about Russia, one may ask, or China. Are “preventive wars” against them possible? Taken at face value the question may seem strange—both China, and especially Russia are nuclear armed states which can defend themselves. They do have deterrents and that supposedly should stop any attempt on any kind of war on them. This all is true but only so far. One may consider the current geopolitical situation in which China has all but created a new alternative economic power pole, and in which the US finds herself increasingly in the position of the still extremely important but second and, eventually, even third place player in Eurasian economic development. The United States doesn’t like being in second and doesn’t take such a reality kindly.

But for Washington, whose political discourse is based on American exceptionalism and foreign policy now is defined completely in terms of military power, emergence of a “peer” military power is absolutely unacceptable. While China is an economic giant and is now arguably the largest economy in the world, she still has a long way to go until she becomes a true “peer” to the United States militarily. This is not the case with Russia. It becomes also true when one begins to look at doctrinal and technological developments both in the US and Russia. The contrast is startling, even if one considers a very dubious US intelligence analysis on Russia.

Russia’s military doctrine and posture are explicitly defensive. Power Projection in Russian strategic considerations is secondary, if not tertiary, to the defense of Russia proper and her immediate geographic vicinity which can roughly be defined as about 80-85% of territory of the former USSR. This is not the case with the United States who is a consummate expeditionary power and fights wars not on own territory, and whose population and political elites are not conditioned by continental warfare.

Arthur J. Alexander in his Decision Making In Soviet Weapons Procurement came up with quantification of what he called “classes of forces” (or constants) influencing aggregate defense expenditures for USSR. This quantification remains virtually unchanged for modern day Russia. To quote Alexander, two of the most “heavy” constants he mentions are: “History, culture and values–40-50 percent. International environment, threat and internal capabilities–10-30 percent”. Taken by their maxima, 50+30=80%, we get the picture. 80% of Russia’s military expenditures are dictated by real military threats, which were, time after time over centuries, realized for Russia and resulted in the destruction and human losses on a scale incomprehensible for people who write US military doctrines and national security strategies. This is especially true for Neocon “strategists” who have a very vague understanding of the nature and application of military power—expeditionary warfare simply does not provide a proper angle on the issues of actual defense. The nation whose 20th Century losses due to wars from WW I, to Civil War to WW II number roughly in 40-45 million range, would certainly try to not repeat such ordeals. Even famous Russophobe and falsifier, Richard Pipes, was forced to admit that:

Such figures are beyond the comprehension of most Americans. But clearly a country… must define “unacceptable damage” differently from the United States which has known no famines or purges, and whose deaths from all the wars waged since 1775 are estimated at 650,000—fewer casualties than Russia suffered in the 900-day siege of Leningrad in World War II alone. Such a country (Russia) tends also to assess the rewards of defense in much more realistic terms.

In layman’s lingo, the United States lacks geographic, historic, cultural, economic and technological pressures to develop and have a coherent defensive military doctrine and weapons which would help to implement it. As Michael Lind writes:

The possibility of military defeat and invasion are usually left out of discussion….in the United states and Britain. The United States, if one discounts Pearl Harbor has not suffered a serious invasion from 1812; Britain, though it has been bombed from the air in the (20th century), has been free from foreign invasion even longer….Elsewhere in the world, political elites cannot as easily separate foreign policy and economics.

Russia lives under these pressures constantly and, in fact, Russians as ethnos were formed and defined by warfare. Russia is also defined by her weapons and it is here where we may start looking for one of the most important rationales for anti-Russian hysteria in Washington which have proceeded unabated sincethe return of Crimea in 2014, in reality even earlier.

1. The Western analytical and expert community failed utterly in assessing Russia’s both economic and, as a consequence, military potential. The problem here is not with Russia, which offers unprecedented access to all kinds of foreigners, from businessmen and tourists to political and intelligence (overt and covert) professionals. The problem is with Western view of Russia which as late as three years ago was completely triumphalist and detached from Russia’s economic realities. That is the reality not defined by meaningless Wall Street economic indices.

It took a complete and embarrassing failure of the West’s economic sanctions on Russia to recognize that the actual size of Russia’s economy is about that of Germany, if not larger, and that Russia was defining herself in terms of enclosed technological cycles, localization and manufacturing long before she was forced to engage in the war in Georgia in 2008. Very few people realistically care about Russia’s Stock Market, the financial markets of Germany are on the order of magnitude larger, but Germany cannot design and build from scratch a state of the art fighter jet, Russia can. Germany doesn’t have a space industry, Russia does. The same argumentation goes for Russia’s microelectronics industry and her military-industrial complex which dwarfs that of any “economic” competitor Western “economists” always try to compare Russia to, with the exception of US and China, and then on bulk, not quality, only. Third or Second World economies do not produce such weapons as Borey-class strategic missile submarines or SU-35 fighter jets, they also do not build space-stations and operate the only global alternative to US GPS, GLONASS system.

Whether this lesson will be learned by the combined West is yet to be seen. So far, the learning process has been slow for US crowd which cheered on US deindustrialization and invented a fairy tale concept of post-industrial, that is non-productive, virtual economy.

The Russian economy is not without problems, far from it—it still tries to break with the “heritage” of robbery and deformities of 1990s and still tries to find its way on a path different from destructive ideology of Russia’s “young reformers” who still dominate policy formulation, be it from the positions of power or through such institutions as notorious High School of Economics.

Yet, it seems this economy which was “left in tatters” or was an economy of a “gas station masquerading as a country”, is the only other economy in the world which can produce and does produce the whole spectrum of weapons ranging from small arms to state-of-the-art complex weapon and signal processing systems. No other nation with the exception of the US and Russia, not even China, can produce and procure a cutting edge military technology which has capabilities beyond the reach of everyone else.

Here, the US establishment, also known as the Neocon interventionist cabal, it seems, has begun to wake up to actual reality, not the fictitious one that the US can allegedly create for itself. Such as the fact that Russia, in a planned and well executed manner, without any unnecessary fanfare, launched a complete upgrade of her naval nuclear deterrent with the state of the art SSBNs of Borey-class (Project 955 and 955A). Three submarines of this type are already afloat while other 5 are in a different stages of completion and this is the program which most of US Russia “analysts” were laughing at 10 years ago. They are not laughing anymore.

Today it is US Navy which is in dire need for upgrade of its nuclear deterrent, with the youngest of Ohio-class SSBN, SSBN-743 USS Louisiana, being 20 year old. The future replacement of venerable Ohio-class SSBNs, a Columbia-class is slated to go into production in 2021 that is if the R&D will go smoothly. But one has to consider a feature which became defining of US R&D and weapons procurement practices—delays and astronomical costs of US weapons, which, despite constantly being declared “superior”, “unrivaled” and “best in the world” are not such at all, especially for the prices they are offered both domestically and abroad. As in the case with above mentioned Columbia-class SSBN, the GAO expects the cost of the whole program to be slightly above 97 billion dollars and that means that the average cost for each sub of this class will be around 8.1 billion dollars. That is much more than the cost of the whole—8 advanced submarines—program of Russia’s naval nuclear deterrent.

And this single example demonstrates well an abyss in fundamental approaches to the war between US and Russia: not only do Russian weapons rival those made in US, they are much-much less expensive and they provide Russia with this proverbial bang for a buck, also known in professional circles which deal with strategy and operation’s research as cost/effectiveness ratio. Here, United States is simply no competition to Russia and the gap not only remains, it widens with ever-increasing speed. As Colonel Daniel Davies admitted: “The truth is, the United States is nowhere near as powerful and dominant as many believe.” That brings us to a second issue, of doctrines, operational concepts and weapons themselves.

2. A complete inability to see the evolution of Russia’s Armed Forces is another failure which not only irritated but continues to irritate US military-political establishment since it proved them completely wrong. Economic “blindness” factored in here very strongly—it was inevitable in a system that looks at the world through a grossly distorted Wall Street monetarist spyglass. Many times it was pointed out that direct linear comparison, dollar-for-dollar, of military budgets is wrong and does not reflect real military, in general, and combat, in particular, potentials in the least.

While the US Navy was busy spending 420 million dollars per hull on its 26-ship fleet of Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), Russian Navy spent two times less per unit on a frigates whose combat capabilities dwarf those of any LCS in any aspect: ASW, Air Defense and Sensors, including the ability to launch supersonic anti-shipping cruise missiles from 600 kilometers and land-attack missiles from 2500. The same goes to much smaller and even much cheaper missile corvettes of Buyan and Karakurt classes which can engage any US Navy’s targets, let alone something of LCS caliber.

Experiences with a technological embarrassment known as F-35 merely confirm the fact that US is being tangled in a bizarre combination of unrealistic doctrinal views, unachievable technological and operational requirements and, in general, a complete failure to follow Sun Tzu’s popular dictums of “Know Thy Enemy” and “Know Thy Self”. On both counts the US policy makers and doctrine mongers failed miserably.

As late as two years ago a number of US Russia’s military “experts” declared that Russia’s ground forces return to division structure was merely “symbolic”. Symbolic they were not, with Russia resurrecting both divisions and armies as appropriate operational-tactical and operational-strategic units in order for a large scale combined arms operations. While following closely the evolution of US forces within the framework of initially much touted Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), Russia never changed her focus on the large scale combined arms operations. This came as a nasty surprise on 08/08/2008 when the elements of the supposedly “backward” Russian 58th Army demolished NATO and Israel trained, and partially equipped, Saakashivili’s Army in a matter of 96 hours. Nobody celebrated this victory and Russian Army was subjected, somewhat justifiably, to scathing criticism from many quarters. But it was clear already then that combined arms operations of large army units remain a principle method of the war between peer-to-peer state actors. The issue then, in 2008, was that US didn’t consider Russia a peer and even near peer “status” was grudgingly afforded due to Russia’s nuclear arsenal.

Things changed dramatically after the coup in Kiev and junta unleashing a war in Donbass. Brigade and Division size forces there engaged in a full blown combined arms warfare, including head to head armor clashes, employment, especially for LDNR forces, of full C4ISR capabilities and Net-Centric warfare principles. So much so that it created a cultural shock for US military’s COIN crowd, which got used to operate in the environment of total domination over its rag-tag lightly armed guerilla formations in Iraq or Afghanistan.

And it was then, and later, in 2015, demonstrated by Russia’s Syria campaign, that the realization of an inability to defeat Russia conventionally began to dawn on many in D.C. establishment. Thus the whole premise of last quarter century “Pax Americana”—alleged conventional military superiority over any adversary—was blown out of the water. American military record of the last quarter century is not impressive for a power which proclaimed herself to be a hyper-power and as having the most powerful military in history. As US Marine Corps Captain Joshua Waddle bitterly admitted:

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

Delusion, of course, being the fact of US expecting a decisive tactical and technological superiority on the battlefield. Overwhelming empirical evidence tells a completely different story:

1) United States military in future conflicts will have to deal, in case of conventional conflict against near-peer, let alone peer, with adversary who will have C4ISR capability either approaching that or on par with that of the US. This adversary will have the ability to counter US military decision cycles (OODA loop) with equal frequency and will be able to produce better tactical, operational and strategic decisions.

2) US real and perceived advantage in electronic means of warfare (EW) will be greatly reduced or completely suppressed by present and future EW means of adversary thus forcing US forces fight under the conditions of partial or complete electronic blindness and with partially or completely suppressed communications and computer networks.

3) US will encounter combat technologies not only on par but often better designed and used, from armor to artillery, to hyper-sonic anti-shipping missiles, than US military ever encountered.

4) Modern air-forces and complex advanced air defense systems will make the main pillar of US military power—its Air Force—much less effective.

5) Last but not least, today the US military will have to deal with a grim reality of its staging areas, rear supply facilities, lines of communications being the target of massive salvos of long-range high subsonic, supersonic and hyper-sonic missiles. The US military has never encountered such paradigm in its history. Moreover, already today, US lower 48 are not immune to a conventional massive missile strike.

But above all, if to finally name this “peer”, which is Russia, and that is who pre-occupies the minds of former and current Pentagon’s and National Security brass, in case of conventional conflict Russians will be fighting in defense of their motherland. Here Russia has a track record without equals in human history. Meanwhile, if the current military trends continue, and there are no reasons for them to stop, the window of opportunities for the Neocon cabal to attack Russia conventionally and unleash a preventive war is closing really fast (if it ever existed). That is what drives to a large extent an aggressive military rhetoric and plans, such as National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster’s doctrine and war mongering.

By mid 2020s Russia’s rearmament program will be largely complete, which will allow Russia’s Armed Forces to field and float a technology which will completely prevent NATO from exercising any illusions about the outcome of any conventional war in Russia’s geographic vicinity, including her littoral, and that will mark the end of US designs on Eurasia by military means. It wouldn’t matter how many carrier battle groups US will be able to move to forward areas or how many submarines, or how many brigades it will be able to deploy around Russia it will not be able to defeat Russia conventionally. With that, especially when one considers China’s growing military potential, comes the end of Pax-Bellum Americana, the one we all hoped for this election cycle.

At this point, the only locality where the US can hope to “defeat” Russia is in Syria, to reassert, even if for a little while longer, itself as “greatest military in history”. But even there the window of opportunities is closing fast since the Russian conventional response in Europe would be devastating. As Colonel Pat Lang’s blog noted: “If Russia decides to call our bluff and escalate things Trump will likely preside over a public humiliation that will explode America’s military delusions of grandeur”.

Today, the United States in general, and her military in particular, still remain a premier geopolitical force, but increasingly they will have to content with the fact that the short-lived era of self-proclaimed superiority in every single facet of modern nation-states’ activity is over, if it ever was the case to start with. Will the US “Deep State” unleash a preventive war to prevent Russia from serving US with the pink slip for its position as world’s chaos-monger or will it be, rephrasing the magnificent Corelli Barnett: “US Power had quietly vanished amid stupendous events of the 21st Century, like a ship-of-the-line going down unperceived in the smoke and confusion of battle”. This is the most important question of the 21st Century so far, but knowing US deep state ignorance of Russia one can never discount its insanity and an acute case of sour grapes.

 

Andrei Martyanov has extensive knowledge of naval issues, and has been published in US Naval Institute Proceedings. Using the handle “SmoothieX12,” he has written over 130,000 words of comments at The Unz Review, overwhelmingly on Russian and military matters.

 
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  1. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Russia spent almost 5.4% of GDP on military spending. The US last year spent 3.3% and with Trump’s proposed increase this number will increase by a few decimal points.

    Russia is a middle income country while the US is a rich country, in the top 10 of GDP per capita. If oil prices don’t substantially improve and Russia continues to spend the way it does on the military it will simply go broke.

    Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)_per_capita (Russia is between Mexico and Suriname)

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

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP
    Goods and services in Russia are considerably less expensive than in the West (and this includes the cost of producing fighter jets or rockets), so for such purposes GDP PPP is a better indicator than is nominal GDP. In terms of GDP PPP, Russia is of course not on par with the United States but is considerably higher than Mexico. It is in the same neighborhood as places such as Hungary.

    Russia's overall GDP PPP places it slightly below Germany - 6th place in the world:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)
    , @Lewl42
    Russia is a middle income country while the US is a rich country, in the top 10 of GDP per capita.

    But the US GDP is of an different structure. Compared it is overblown with pure financial sales and "hedonistic adjustments". More is blown by the culture. In the US much more everyday things relies on money. In case of case they are all worth nothing. Furthermore, if it comes to conflicts than the whole US Infrastructure has to be "revalued", and i doubt that it can withheld some stress tests.

    If oil prices don’t substantially improve and Russia continues to spend the way it does on the military it will simply go broke

    No country that relies on oil ( Russia do not) has made substantial improvements. Normally they are problem states where the problems made by oil are solved by money.

    So from my point of view the opposite is true. Russia has made the big mistake to open itself to the west and was bitten. Now they readjust (with a border to china). Thank's to the US Oligarchs which thrown away that chance for they're primitive Neanderthal tribe thinking.
    , @Carlton Meyer
    Over the years, the Pentagon encouraged Congress to move parts of national security spending out of its budget to the extent that almost half is found outside the DOD. The USA really spends over a trillion dollars a year. For example, nuclear weapons research, testing, procurement, and maintenance is found in the Dept of Energy budget.

    http://www.pogo.org/straus/issues/defense-budget/2016/americas-1-trillion-national-security-budget.html

    And as others have noted, GDP is a measure of activity, not prosperity. For example, mortgage refinancing creates lots of GDP, but no real wealth. Hurricanes and arson are good for GDP too!
    , @5371
    Stupid beyond belief. Countries can't go broke doing something, if they control the natural and human resources they need to accomplish it. In addition, you apparently did not read Smoothie's explanation of why just comparing the sums spent is silly.
    , @Joe Wong
    "Russia is a middle income country while the US is a rich country, in the top 10 of GDP per capita." this is very funny, how about the 20 trillions of US national debt and it is skyrocketing fast? If you only count asset without counting liability US maybe in the top 10 GDP per capita, but if you count net asset the US is in the negative GDP per capita, a broke nation. Perhaps it is American Exceptionalism logic, claiming credit where credit is not due, living in a world detached from reality.

    "If oil prices don’t substantially improve and Russia continues to spend the way it does on the military it will simply go broke." this is even funnier, Russian does not use USD in Russia, nor Russian government pay its MIC in USD, meanwhile Russian Central Bank can print Ruble thru the thin air just like the Fed, why does oil price have any relationship with Russian internal spending? Another example of "completely triumphalist and detached from Russia’s economic realities" which is defined by meaningless Wall Street economic indices and snakeoil economic theories and rhetoric taught in the western universities.

    , @Joey Zaza
    Hopefully the President of Russia will take on board your succinct and informed analysis.
    , @annamaria
    "Russia spent almost 5.4% of GDP on military spending. The US last year spent 3.3%... If oil prices don’t substantially improve and Russia continues to spend the way it does on the military it will simply go broke."
    1. The article emphasizes the inefficiency of the US spending on the military
    2. The article emphasizes the moral cause (defensive vs aggressive attitude to weaponry/military service)
    3. The greatest problem is the spectacular ignorance of the US deciders -- ignorance that is married to cowardice of the highest-echelon opportunists.
    , @Serg Derbst
    Bollocks!

    First, you're still thinking that Russian economy relies on oil. But thanks to the "Western" moronic sanction regime, Russia managed to diversify a lot of their economy, now replacing a lot of what before they had to import from EU-rope (especially Germany). Also, add to that the partnership with China, the upcoming New Silk Road, Russia's potential as the world's largest GMO-free crop producer (a declared goal), that it has much more than just oil as resources, and most importantly the replacement of the Dollar as reserve currency for BRICS countries still with the large potential of the EU, Iran, India etc. as trade partners.

    Thinking long-term I'd say Russia has the best of prospects for the future, while the US has the grimmest.

    Second, GDP is essentially meaningless in order to measure the quality of an economy, because it almost randomly lumps together numbers which don't necessarily belong together. Plus, since government spending is part of it, the more indebted a country is the more bloated is its GDP. And the US will NEVER be able to repay their debt, while Russia is virtually debt free. That is why it has a smaller GDP overall. And as for GDP per capita, income in the US and in Russia are hardly comparable. For instance, Russians don't have to spend a lot for housing (unless Moscow or St. Petersburg) or health, simply because these things are mostly paid for by the government, whereas Americans have to spend huge amounts for these things. So, income in the US might be higher, but overall quality of life? Not from what I've seen, heard, and read since 2008.

    You're still thinking in this typical "Western" big dick mentality, which only measures size, yet not quality.

    And since we're talking about military hear: Just compare US military cost and Russian military cost. The US is highly inefficient (the most inefficient of all countries) yet is facing its most heavy economic (debt) crisis. The are only so many countries you can bomb to postpone the inevitable. And with American threat, Russia doesn't need much more than it already has.

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  2. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is the probable consensus among America’s Deep State elites, as exemplified by the truly evil Hillary Clinton, that an all-out war with Russia which totally devastates Russia but leaves America just barely standing, would, notwithstanding the rivers of blood and the chaos unleashed, be an acceptable outcome as long as the blasted rump of America, namely the Deep State itself, gets to subsequently enthrone itself as the unchallenged world hegemon. The Deep State views the entirety of America’s economic and military might, as well as the lives of its citizens, as merely a means to this end.

    I also believe that Russia’s strategists and state-level actors have come to the same conclusion regarding America’s designs. This is the strategic situation that Russia is up against, and this is why Russia has wisely prepared itself to fight a defensive war of astonishing proportions. And for the sake of the human race, for the peace of men of good will everywhere, I would advise Russia that when dealing with a cranky, feeble, delusional, and senile Uncle Sam, it is not possible to be too paranoid. You will not be up against a rational actor if and when this war breaks out. Whatever zany, desperate, and counterproductive gambits you can imagine the USA making, they will not be worse than what these people are capable of.

    As an American myself, I would have liked to have been a patriot. If my country must go to war, I would have liked to be on my country’s side. But the bitter truth is that my government is something the world would be better off without. Russia has the moral high ground in this conflict. Hopefully that, and the strength of its arms, will be enough.

    The great tragedy of the 20th century was that all the wrong people won the major wars. Whether it was Chiang Kai-shek in China or Hitler and Mussolini in Europe, or the Kaiser and the House of Hapsburg before them, the real heroes, the ones who were however ineffectively and confusedly on the side of Right, suffered defeat at the hands of the evil imperialists. We cannot allow that to happen again. I know who I will be supporting if it comes to war.

    Long live king and country. God bless the patriots, wherever they be. Hail victory.

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    • Replies: @DannyMarcus
    There is a very important and perhaps most decisive aspect of possible US war with Russia or China, which is completely missing in Andrei Martyanov piece and the related comments.
    Don't you think European NATO countries, as well as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan will loudly resist, when their very well-being and existences is utterly jeopardized by American ambitions for hegemony well beyond its shores?
    I imagine and hope that well before a shooting war breaks out with Russia or China, US' present subservient allies will show enough courage to put the brakes on American designs long before any future global wars involving their vital interest is invoked.
    The South Koreans, over 10 million of whom are living in Seoul, are most likely right now pressing the Trump Administration hard to avoid any foolhardy military adventures in North Korea.
    The Europeans, Japanese, South Koreans and the Taiwanese are the best hope of stopping American adventurism because in the final analysis they will refuse to be the sheep marching willingly to the slaughterhouse of a WWIII.
    , @anonHUN
    I think the military and intelligence guys (and the big contractors) need Russia as the enemy, the bogeyman, probably many of them were secretly disappointed back then when the Soviet Union collapsed. The Deep State wants an endless race, a race where America is always leading but not by too much. A Cold War with a worthy opponent, not with tinpot third world dictatorships. Many of them don't even hate Russia, even respects it to some extent. Now they are probably happy that the old days are back.

    On the other hand there are of course real Russophobes, who really want to win and finish the "job" that was left unfinished in the 90's according to their view. They want regime change in Russia and preferably break it up, with all the republics of the RF declaring independence etc. Brzezinski, McCain or the neocons are like that. But they don't want WW3 either, they are not nutcases, just they want to settle an account with Russia badly.

    Regarding Russian military they are still 20 years behind on average, the gap didn't close since Soviet times, if anything, it widened in many respects.
    US military might is still unique and unrivaled, on the long run China has the most chance to challenge it. Russia is simply too poor, an economic dwarf compared to China (China is the workshop of the world, Russia mostly exports raw materials), also it's population is probably too small.
    , @colm
    Those who fought for the Entente in the Great War fought for the sake of the Third World.

    Veterans Day should be abolished immediately. Memorial Day is enough.
    , @Anatoly Karlin

    ... that an all-out war with Russia which totally devastates Russia but leaves America just barely standing, would, notwithstanding the rivers of blood and the chaos unleashed, be an acceptable outcome as long as the blasted rump of America, namely the Deep State itself, gets to subsequently enthrone itself as the unchallenged world hegemon. The Deep State views the entirety of America’s economic and military might, as well as the lives of its citizens, as merely a means to this end.
     
    The Enclave.
    , @lastnerve
    I agree with what you write except that the Deep State is but a part of the Globalist (NWO)
    plans for their future world.
  3. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    “The US lacks a coherent defensive military doctrine”..

    Which is hardly surprising since its only two bordering countries are very weak and zero military threat. It is also moated by two huge oceans. The USA could spend virtually nothing on its military and (with a sound immigration policy and secure borders) be perfectly safe. But the American political establishment are not content with this. They seek hegemony. It all started with Woodrow Wilson who refused to mind his business and stay out of war in 1917.

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    • Agree: Randal
    • Replies: @Randal
    I agreed with the main thrust of your comment, but I would just note that I don't agree with the last sentence:


    It all started with Woodrow Wilson who refused to mind his business and stay out of war in 1917.
     
    The essence of the US was always expansion by military and other means, from its settler colonial origins and the Manifest Destiny to the expansionist wars against Mexico and Spain, the Monroe Doctrine, and colonial expansions into Hawaii, the Philippines and central America, all before Wilson, who admittedly took the opportunity handed to him by the self-destructive warring of the European powers to go for the big one.

    It's just the nature of the beast.
    , @Diversity Heretic
    The Spanish-American War was completely unnecessary for U.S. security. The acquisition of the Phillipines put us on a collision course with Japan and even today we suffer the burden of strategically useless economic parasite of Puerto Rico.
  4. Russia said it was going to bolster Syria’s air defenses.

    If true – what does this mean for Israeli air power over Syria and Lebanon?

    Hezbollah has shown, even with its air force behind it that the IDF is a paper tiger.

    Without its air forces at 100%, Israel is very vulnerable. A war would be very costly. Many Jews want to leave Israel as it is now.

    Peace — Art

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymouse
    You're gloating, Art. Many jews have been leaving Israel for many years for fear of their personal safety. Others remain. Gloating this way reflects a mean spirit.
    , @annamaria
    "Many Jews want to leave Israel as it is now."
    The more the better.
    The tribalists continue stomping publicly their feet when talking about Germans; they love to say that when Germans ask for forgiveness (re WWII) this is too little and too late. The ziocons pretend on righteousness while being blind and deaf to Nakba and to ziocons' "victories" in Ukraine (hand-in-hand with neo-Nazis there) and while not noticing the Israel's tacit support for ISIS (to get the Golan Heights by any means, even for the cost of hundreds of thousands of dead Syrians). All this transforms the state of Israel into a stillborn monstrosity. Israel was supposed to become a paragon of ethics, but with the Friends of Israel everywhere cheerleading for more slaughter in the Middle East, this dream has been effectively dead. Israel is a lost case.
  5. The US – with its NATO dogs contributing their yaps – has driven Russia & China into an economic & strategic partnership. Such a foreign policy must rate in the top ten of historical blunders. Essentially they have given a very helpful shove towards Eurasian unity — not yet, but forseeable, perhaps probable.
    Russia & China’s continuing military advances are just one side of a coin: economic integration & advance is the other.
    If or when the US loses this struggle it need look no futher than classic Greek tragedy for the first causes of its decline: HUBRIS.

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  6. Hey ‘Neocon Cabal’ is my phrase!!!!! (wink)
    The S400 is a great example of Russian simplicity that scares the Americans and the Jews to death. I hope the Iranians get as many of those SAM’s as they need to defend against the Zionist threat!

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    The S400 is a great example of Russian simplicity
     
    It is a very complex weapon system, whose actual combat potential is highly classified. From people who serve on it, and I quote:"mind boggling capabilities". Latest modifications of S-300 seem almost tame in comparison and S-300 (PMU, Favorit) is a superb complex. Once S-500 comes online, well--it is a different game altogether from there.
  7. It is one thing to let a woman “man” a game console in order to fire a missile, or pilot a killer drone, hundreds (or even thousands) of miles away from the action. But it’s another when “boots” hit the ground. I wonder how effective our Americanized, feminized, transgendered, gay friendly, diversified Army and Navy will be when they actually have to storm a beach, somewhere, against a real army–and not some third world outpost.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Don't worry, when the going gets tough, suddenly the US military will only send straight white men to die for LGBT and black "equality".
    , @Maxim Amplikov
    As a former soldier, I can report that "affimative action" is the air the Army breathes. It may be different in the other services. I can't speak from personal experience. But I've often wondered what happened to the development of new weapons and aircraft. It seems to have broken down completely in the 80's. Perhaps some sort of "diversity quota" has been inflicted on defense contractors also. The Army has plenty of Marie Harf types who would eagerly enforce racial and gender quotas. And the public would never know.
  8. This is a situation that should never have permitted to arise. The US Federal Deficit is approaching $20 trillion, 2016′s Trade Deficit is $0.5 trillion and the Accumulated Trade Deficit over the last 30 years about $10 trillion. The US is to all intents bankrupt, and bankrupt states quickly lose their empires.
    Of course, America’s creditors – China, Japan etc – have rigged the financial sector so that America is still able to afford their goods. Herein, lies the solution. The US dollar is a fiat currency and will collapse sooner or later. It is in Russia and China’s interests that they precipitate such a collapse ASAP, even if they themselves suffer negative economic consequences.
    Faced with an imploding economy, and a choice between minimum social welfare measures and a grotesquely expansive military, there can only be one outcome for America. The Neocons will be defanged.
    This form of economic warfare has got to be a lot safer and more effective in achieving its aims than actual warfare. I sincerely hope that the Russians and Chinese have some such plan formulated.
    The era of military confrontation should have been over with the end of the Soviet Union. The Neocons have stolen the Peace, and helped themselves to the Peace Dividend.

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  9. I think that while it’s a grave mistake for Americans to underestimate Russians, it’s also a grave mistake for Russians to underestimate Americans.

    Since I cannot claim to be an expert in military technology, I always read such articles with great interest, but never know with how much grain of salt I need to take them – none? a little? a lot? a whole salt mine?

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  10. Trump’s isolationism and embrace of realpolitik is just a recognition of realities, interestingly this is a viewpoint shared in many European capitals, despite their fulminating over Trump. If Trump isn’t co-opted he deserves congratulations for stymieing the traditional imperial overstretch, that is unless recent events in Syria and the Ukraine, perhaps analogous to the Boer War, don’t already represent the high points of US power before inevitable decline. Avoiding a WWI type general conflagration will be achievement enough.

    We are both supposed to deride and fear Russia, both can’t be true.

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    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig

    We are both supposed to deride and fear Russia, both can’t be true.
     
    True, but it can be effective as a propaganda technique nevertheless. Orwell referred to it as 'doublethink'.
  11. Excellent article – and congratulations on your first article here.

    Agree with the general argument here, having said similar things in some of my articles.

    * GDP (PPP) being much more relevant for military comparisons than nominal GDP, let alone stockmarket capitalizations.
    * The Russian military technological gap being smaller than what the Western media tends to posit.
    * The US having predominance in Syria and MENA generally, but with Russia having the capability to successfully respond horizontally in areas where it has the advantage (in Ukraine or even the Baltics).
    * The WW1 preemptive war argument does have a lot of merit. I think it was Moltke the Younger who said that given a couple of more years Germany would find it much more difficult to fight the Russian Army. That happened to be the date when Russia’s military reforms should have come to fruition.
    * You can’t say much about US (or Israeli) military effectiveness on the basis of their performance in fighting Arabs.

    More skeptical about:

    * “but Germany cannot design and build from scratch a state of the art fighter jet, Russia can” – Russia spends 5% of its GDP on the military (esp. once adjusted for hidden spending), Germany just a bit more than 1%. If Germany was to effectively quadruple its real military spending, I have no doubt that the world’s second most complex economy would be up to the task. I am sure it will also be able to build world-class nuclear subs (it already has excellent AIP ones) and a global positioning system with that kind of investment.
    * “The same argumentation goes for Russia’s microelectronics industry … with the exception of US and China, and then on bulk, not quality, only.” Russia is a consistent 5-10 years behind in semiconductor process technology (only recently began to produce 28nm, whereas state of the art is now 10nm).
    * It’s lagging in the most “futuristic” aspects. It had a huge lag in drones, though it has made that up somewhat with purchases from Israel. Railguns, and associated naval EM systems. In robotics, Boston Dynamics has far more impressive exponents than anything Russia has publicly demonstrated. To be sure this is all pretty irrelevant right now and most likely in 10 years, but not in 20-30 years time.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    The WW1 preemptive war argument does have a lot of merit.
     
    Czar Nicholas II could've simply told the Serbs to comply with the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum. Actually, that was the first reaction of Russian government circles (harboring terrorists was not looked upon very nicely in Russia where the grandfather of the Czar was murdered by similar terrorists), but then they changed their minds.

    In any event, WW1 was a blunder for almost all involved - all countries that participated could've easily stayed out, and with a few exceptions (perhaps Romania and Japan? maybe even China?) none had any significant benefits relative to the enormous costs. Not even the US.

    , @AP
    I generally agree both with Andrei's article and with your responses. But -

    You can’t say much about US (or Israeli) military effectiveness on the basis of their performance in fighting Arabs
     
    Or Russian, on the basis of performance in fighting Georgians or Arabs in Syria. Neither side has really been tested, but a real test would reflect some sort of disaster. US would have a real test in North Korea or Iran, Russia in a war against Turkey.

    "but Germany cannot design and build from scratch a state of the art fighter jet, Russia can” – Russia spends 5% of its GDP on the military (esp. once adjusted for hidden spending), Germany just a bit more than 1%. If Germany was to effectively quadruple its real military spending, I have no doubt that the world’s second most complex economy would be up to the task. I am sure it will also be able to build world-class nuclear subs (it already has excellent AIP ones) and a global positioning system with that kind of investment
     
    But how long would it take? I suspect, at least two decades.
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    Excellent article – and congratulations on your first article here.
     
    Thank you.

    Russia is a consistent 5-10 years behind in semiconductor process technology (only recently began to produce 28nm, whereas state of the art is now 10nm).
     
    Processing power in military applications is less dependent on 10 or 28 nm, than on mathematics and algorithms. Both architectures are more than sufficient for the whole spectrum of military tasks, be it signal processing or developing firing solutions.

    I am sure it will also be able to build world-class nuclear subs (it already has excellent AIP ones) and a global positioning system with that kind of investment.
     
    Apples and oranges. Producing a state-of-the-art nuclear sub is on the order of magnitude more complex task than producing even a very good SSK. China now produces very good AIP SSKs of 039A type, she still is not capable to produce a nuke with at least third generation characteristics.

    Railguns, and associated naval EM systems
     
    Absolutely useless, other than to impress journalists, in combat paradigm where hyper-sonic missiles with ranges of 1000 kilometers begin to rule the day. I think 3M22 Zircon reaching Mach=8 this weekend on trials is by far more impressive and influential on the tactical and even political level than any rail-gun. Zircon is a change in combat paradigm of such a scale that it is even difficult to completely grasp it at this stage. I may elaborate on it in depth at some point of time.
    , @5371
    WW1, unlike Barbarossa, didn't start with a German attack on Russia, although in each case the argument was made by some (stronger in retrospective for 1941 than 1914) that Russia would be too strong to take on in a couple of years. The difference is that a number of factors - the ideological conflict, the success of "blitzkrieg", the weak Soviet performance at the start of the Finnish war - created an illusory hope of easy victory for the Germans along with the fear of later defeat. That tipped the balance in favour of attack.
    As I understand it, the claimed regular progress to smaller and smaller chip feature sizes has for some time been a matter of marketing, not reality.
  12. Having read many, many of SmoothieX12′s knowledgable comments and now this article, I would imagine that his many critics have enough egg on their faces to have their eggs any way they want them, except sunny side up of course.

    Nobody should be surprised by the revelations here nor should they feel disheartened. It is doubtful that Russia has any plans or even thoughts to ever invade or harm the US. The upside could be that the Neocons and the AIPAC crowd might become so disempowered that they will be finally held to account for their many crimes and that would be good for everyone.

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  13. @Anonymous
    Russia spent almost 5.4% of GDP on military spending. The US last year spent 3.3% and with Trump's proposed increase this number will increase by a few decimal points.

    Russia is a middle income country while the US is a rich country, in the top 10 of GDP per capita. If oil prices don't substantially improve and Russia continues to spend the way it does on the military it will simply go broke.

    Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)_per_capita (Russia is between Mexico and Suriname)

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

    Goods and services in Russia are considerably less expensive than in the West (and this includes the cost of producing fighter jets or rockets), so for such purposes GDP PPP is a better indicator than is nominal GDP. In terms of GDP PPP, Russia is of course not on par with the United States but is considerably higher than Mexico. It is in the same neighborhood as places such as Hungary.

    Russia’s overall GDP PPP places it slightly below Germany – 6th place in the world:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)

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  14. @anon
    "The US lacks a coherent defensive military doctrine"..

    Which is hardly surprising since its only two bordering countries are very weak and zero military threat. It is also moated by two huge oceans. The USA could spend virtually nothing on its military and (with a sound immigration policy and secure borders) be perfectly safe. But the American political establishment are not content with this. They seek hegemony. It all started with Woodrow Wilson who refused to mind his business and stay out of war in 1917.

    I agreed with the main thrust of your comment, but I would just note that I don’t agree with the last sentence:

    It all started with Woodrow Wilson who refused to mind his business and stay out of war in 1917.

    The essence of the US was always expansion by military and other means, from its settler colonial origins and the Manifest Destiny to the expansionist wars against Mexico and Spain, the Monroe Doctrine, and colonial expansions into Hawaii, the Philippines and central America, all before Wilson, who admittedly took the opportunity handed to him by the self-destructive warring of the European powers to go for the big one.

    It’s just the nature of the beast.

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    • Replies: @anon
    Yes but up until 1898 - the war against Spain - the US actually got something out of its wars. Wars with countries BEYOND the Americas have gained nothing for America.
  15. @Anonymous
    Russia spent almost 5.4% of GDP on military spending. The US last year spent 3.3% and with Trump's proposed increase this number will increase by a few decimal points.

    Russia is a middle income country while the US is a rich country, in the top 10 of GDP per capita. If oil prices don't substantially improve and Russia continues to spend the way it does on the military it will simply go broke.

    Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)_per_capita (Russia is between Mexico and Suriname)

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

    Russia is a middle income country while the US is a rich country, in the top 10 of GDP per capita.

    But the US GDP is of an different structure. Compared it is overblown with pure financial sales and “hedonistic adjustments”. More is blown by the culture. In the US much more everyday things relies on money. In case of case they are all worth nothing. Furthermore, if it comes to conflicts than the whole US Infrastructure has to be “revalued”, and i doubt that it can withheld some stress tests.

    If oil prices don’t substantially improve and Russia continues to spend the way it does on the military it will simply go broke

    No country that relies on oil ( Russia do not) has made substantial improvements. Normally they are problem states where the problems made by oil are solved by money.

    So from my point of view the opposite is true. Russia has made the big mistake to open itself to the west and was bitten. Now they readjust (with a border to china). Thank’s to the US Oligarchs which thrown away that chance for they’re primitive Neanderthal tribe thinking.

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  16. @mp
    It is one thing to let a woman "man" a game console in order to fire a missile, or pilot a killer drone, hundreds (or even thousands) of miles away from the action. But it's another when "boots" hit the ground. I wonder how effective our Americanized, feminized, transgendered, gay friendly, diversified Army and Navy will be when they actually have to storm a beach, somewhere, against a real army--and not some third world outpost.

    Don’t worry, when the going gets tough, suddenly the US military will only send straight white men to die for LGBT and black “equality”.

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    • Replies: @Avery
    {...suddenly the US military will only send straight white men to die....}

    What happens IF straight white men refuse to go and die?

    [Stunning Evidence that the Left Has Won its War on White Males]
    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/03/stunning_evidence_that_the_left_has_won_its_war_on_white_males__comments.html

    {White males, in large numbers, are simply losing their will to live, and as a result, they are dying so prematurely and in such large numbers that a startling demographic gap has emerged. It is not just the “opioid epidemic” that is killing off white working class males, it is a spiritual crisis, and Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton have the numbers to sustain this conclusion.}
    , @anon
    Hopefully at least some of those straight white males will know better. Hopefully.

    Then again people often act contrary to their best interests.
    , @Joe Wong

    US military will only send straight white men to die for LGBT and black “equality”
     
    That did not happen during the Korean War and Vietnam War. The straight white men stayed behind and played gook hockey games.
    , @in the middle
    Come on! While serving in Africa, I saw the US Marines, and, and, well, not many whites were visible! Mostly minorities, specially Hispanics, and Blacks, so there goes your argument; same for the Army. So Hush! (The AF is the only service with majority whites). The Navy, lots of Philippinos.
  17. Thank you Mr Martyanov, for a highly informative article.

    I am always amazed at the “euphemisms” of our “belligerent war” era, and how they affix themselves, and have affixed themselves, to our mendacious and deceitful behavior.

    Take the idea of a “surge”, as was used during the Iraq disaster, as a substitute for the word “escalation”…because nobody was comfortable with “escalating the war” once the imminent WMD threat had proven to be phony….so our belligerent elites substituted the word “surge” to ram through funding for the ……escalation.

    Or lets look at the “euphemisms” of “pre-emptive war” or “preventive war”. Do they not function as substitutes for what is , in reality, the greatest crime any nation on earth can commit…… “War of Aggression”?

    There are other areas too, where we need to take a long, hard look a this ” parade of euphemisms” which is constantly inserting itself into the hearts and minds of our citizens .

    For example, lets take a look at the word “propaganda”, which is a word that, for the most part, stands on its own ,yet, for arguments sake, does it not function as a “euphemism”,( in our ongoing global belligerence) for FRAUD ?

    As we think about these assorted “euphemistic realities” set upon us in our tragic age..we understand the acute distinction between defining something as “war propaganda” versus “WAR FRAUD”.

    “War propaganda”, however desultory a term, is understood as a legitimate tool within the toolbox of belligerence…whereas WAR FRAUD is implicitly understood as a CRIME..which is in need of punishment.

    Have not our euphemistic manipulations , like “preemptive war”, or “preventive war”,overwhelmed the integrity of our national discourse, and paved the way for heinous murderous behavior which would normally not be tolerated ?,

    Is not their primary purpose to insulate us from our own awareness of the CRIMES we have committed , and will continue to commit ?.

    What a blessing it will be for the whole wide world, once we end this ” charade of euphemisms”…and start calling things what they truly are.

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    • Replies: @Afrohican
    By far the most insightful comment that humbly expresses a definitive understanding of the status quo
  18. Yes, thank you for an excellent summation of the situation.

    The owners of the US face an Either/Or moment. Either they abandon their ambitions of Global Hegemony, and retreat to attempt to rule over N. America (with some residual dreams of ruling C. & S. America to sweeten the pot) or they go for broke.

    Unlike Dasein, I have no doubt that any dreams of Global Hegemony will come crashing to ground if any sort of a war breaks out. Putin has made it perfectly plain. Russia will never allow itself to be invaded again. That means something, and what it means is that Russia will take the fight to the enemy when it sees its red lines crossed.
    The continental US can be thrown into socio-political-economic collapse with 3 dozen Kalibrs aimed at critical nodes in the national electrical grid. With no prospect of electricity being revived, the now largely urban population would find itself instantly transported to 1900 with none of the skills and infrastructure that kept a pre-electrified rural society fed and secure. If the subs and/or TU-160s are in place, that’s 45-90 minutes without a single nuke fired.

    No mushroom clouds or devastated cities, yet, but the Either/Or moment will become acute indeed. One can hope that we’ll be rejoicing that America’s owners follow their internationalistic instincts when that moment has passed.

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    • Replies: @The Alarmist

    "The continental US can be thrown into socio-political-economic collapse with 3 dozen Kalibrs aimed at critical nodes in the national electrical grid. With no prospect of electricity being revived, the now largely urban population would find itself instantly transported to 1900 with none of the skills and infrastructure that kept a pre-electrified rural society fed and secure. If the subs and/or TU-160s are in place, that’s 45-90 minutes without a single nuke fired."
     
    You have nut-jobs in Congress talking out hacking being an act of war and planners talking about massive NATO reponse as being appropriate ... can one seriously believe the US would not repond with nukes in the event of such an attack, even though it is non-nuclear?
  19. @Anatoly Karlin
    Excellent article - and congratulations on your first article here.

    Agree with the general argument here, having said similar things in some of my articles.

    * GDP (PPP) being much more relevant for military comparisons than nominal GDP, let alone stockmarket capitalizations.
    * The Russian military technological gap being smaller than what the Western media tends to posit.
    * The US having predominance in Syria and MENA generally, but with Russia having the capability to successfully respond horizontally in areas where it has the advantage (in Ukraine or even the Baltics).
    * The WW1 preemptive war argument does have a lot of merit. I think it was Moltke the Younger who said that given a couple of more years Germany would find it much more difficult to fight the Russian Army. That happened to be the date when Russia's military reforms should have come to fruition.
    * You can't say much about US (or Israeli) military effectiveness on the basis of their performance in fighting Arabs.

    More skeptical about:

    * "but Germany cannot design and build from scratch a state of the art fighter jet, Russia can" - Russia spends 5% of its GDP on the military (esp. once adjusted for hidden spending), Germany just a bit more than 1%. If Germany was to effectively quadruple its real military spending, I have no doubt that the world's second most complex economy would be up to the task. I am sure it will also be able to build world-class nuclear subs (it already has excellent AIP ones) and a global positioning system with that kind of investment.
    * "The same argumentation goes for Russia’s microelectronics industry ... with the exception of US and China, and then on bulk, not quality, only." Russia is a consistent 5-10 years behind in semiconductor process technology (only recently began to produce 28nm, whereas state of the art is now 10nm).
    * It's lagging in the most "futuristic" aspects. It had a huge lag in drones, though it has made that up somewhat with purchases from Israel. Railguns, and associated naval EM systems. In robotics, Boston Dynamics has far more impressive exponents than anything Russia has publicly demonstrated. To be sure this is all pretty irrelevant right now and most likely in 10 years, but not in 20-30 years time.

    The WW1 preemptive war argument does have a lot of merit.

    Czar Nicholas II could’ve simply told the Serbs to comply with the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum. Actually, that was the first reaction of Russian government circles (harboring terrorists was not looked upon very nicely in Russia where the grandfather of the Czar was murdered by similar terrorists), but then they changed their minds.

    In any event, WW1 was a blunder for almost all involved – all countries that participated could’ve easily stayed out, and with a few exceptions (perhaps Romania and Japan? maybe even China?) none had any significant benefits relative to the enormous costs. Not even the US.

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    • Replies: @5371
    Neither France nor Germany could have stayed out once Russia was in, but then both of them had given their respective allies every encouragement to bring matters to a head. The French had a great increase in self-confidence just in the last two or three years. You are right that Serbia didn't even decide to reject the ultimatum until they heard Russia was already going ahead with pre-mobilisation.
    , @anon
    That is a point I have often tried to make. Had the Tsar just told the Serbs flat out, "You guys are on your own. Comply. Or fight the Central Powers by yourself. We are out of it.",' there would never have been a 'Great' war (WW1). At most the 'war' would have been a minor brawl between Serbia and Austria-Hungary. History would have recorded it as just another Balkan skirmish. It would have been virtually forgotten today. This was the initial assumption of the Kaiser when he issued his 'blank check' of support. The Tsar would have saved millions of lives, including his own and his family too. Just nine years earlier the Tsar had fought and lost a disastrous war with Japan. That defeat led to a revolution that came within a hair of deposing him. He SHOULD have learned his lesson and avoided any future conflict like the plague. Tsar Nicolas was an incredibly stupid man. He deserves far more vilification then the Kaiser does.
    , @Vendetta
    Japan was certainly the greatest beneficiary of the war in economic terms. Their exports ended up tripling to fuel the demand of the wartime European economies and especially to fill in the gap for consumer goods in the East Asian markets whose normal suppliers had redirected their production for the war effort. Shipbuilding in Japan also boomed as a result of wartime demands. Pre-WWI Japan was still importing most of its major warships from Britain; post-WWI Japan was building them all on its own.

    Romania gained a lot in territory but its doubtful whether these gains were worth it in terms of the lives they cost.

    The United States certainly gained in terms of geopolitical power, but that was largely due to the same wartime economic circumstances that had benefited Japan, with the addition of supplanting Britain as the world's leading financial power. These gains, however, would have been won whether or not we'd sent 100,000 of our own to die in France, so their lives ultimately amounted to little more than a sacrifice to Woodrow Wilson's egomaniacal dreams of reshaping the world order into a utopia.
    , @Kiza
    You and your responders are obviously not Russian, because you exhibit a terribly superficial knowledge of the pre WW1 Europe and Russia. You must have learned your history in US or British schools.

    The situation in Europe in 1914 was much, much more complicated than your simple minds could comprehend. The key factor was the crumbling of the Ottoman Empire and the power vacuum that this has created in the Balkans. This has encouraged all European powers of the time, from U.K., through Germany and Austro-Hungarian Empire, all the way to Russia to have designs for the area. Russia actually cultivated most Serbian nationalistic groups to counter the influence of U.K. and Germany/Austria in the Balkans. Therefore, Russia just did not let its Balkan proxies, the Serbs, down when attacked by Austro-Hungary, but it was involved in what was happening in the Balkans even before the war started. Yes, there was internal opposition in Russia against getting involved in the Balkans, but the non-interventionists lost. The U.K. was trying to prop up the dying Turkish Empire to remain an enemy of Russia, Germany and Austro-Hungary were trying to acquire as much new territory and population in the Balkans as possible. Russia just could not allow the Catholic Austro-Hungary to strengthen further after the annexation of Bosnia in 1908. France was on the same side. And so on.

    Is it not amazing how most of Western history of WW1 starts with Archduke's assassination in Sarajevo, instead of power vacuum in Southeast Europe and aggressive imperial designs at the turn of the century? It is typical Western bullshit history. Nobody had evil intentions, everybody was just dragged into WW1.

    You can observe that today's Russians are blaming the Germans for sending the half-Jewish Lenin with a trainload of gold to foment Bolshevik (Jewish) revolution in Russia and cause Tsar family's deaths, instead of the Serbs who were defending themselves against an expansionist Catholic Empire. It is mainly the British and US "historians", and their Russian liberals who are blaming the Serbs for WW1, the same old, same old Anglo-Zionist bull.

  20. @Anatoly Karlin
    Excellent article - and congratulations on your first article here.

    Agree with the general argument here, having said similar things in some of my articles.

    * GDP (PPP) being much more relevant for military comparisons than nominal GDP, let alone stockmarket capitalizations.
    * The Russian military technological gap being smaller than what the Western media tends to posit.
    * The US having predominance in Syria and MENA generally, but with Russia having the capability to successfully respond horizontally in areas where it has the advantage (in Ukraine or even the Baltics).
    * The WW1 preemptive war argument does have a lot of merit. I think it was Moltke the Younger who said that given a couple of more years Germany would find it much more difficult to fight the Russian Army. That happened to be the date when Russia's military reforms should have come to fruition.
    * You can't say much about US (or Israeli) military effectiveness on the basis of their performance in fighting Arabs.

    More skeptical about:

    * "but Germany cannot design and build from scratch a state of the art fighter jet, Russia can" - Russia spends 5% of its GDP on the military (esp. once adjusted for hidden spending), Germany just a bit more than 1%. If Germany was to effectively quadruple its real military spending, I have no doubt that the world's second most complex economy would be up to the task. I am sure it will also be able to build world-class nuclear subs (it already has excellent AIP ones) and a global positioning system with that kind of investment.
    * "The same argumentation goes for Russia’s microelectronics industry ... with the exception of US and China, and then on bulk, not quality, only." Russia is a consistent 5-10 years behind in semiconductor process technology (only recently began to produce 28nm, whereas state of the art is now 10nm).
    * It's lagging in the most "futuristic" aspects. It had a huge lag in drones, though it has made that up somewhat with purchases from Israel. Railguns, and associated naval EM systems. In robotics, Boston Dynamics has far more impressive exponents than anything Russia has publicly demonstrated. To be sure this is all pretty irrelevant right now and most likely in 10 years, but not in 20-30 years time.

    I generally agree both with Andrei’s article and with your responses. But –

    You can’t say much about US (or Israeli) military effectiveness on the basis of their performance in fighting Arabs

    Or Russian, on the basis of performance in fighting Georgians or Arabs in Syria. Neither side has really been tested, but a real test would reflect some sort of disaster. US would have a real test in North Korea or Iran, Russia in a war against Turkey.

    “but Germany cannot design and build from scratch a state of the art fighter jet, Russia can” – Russia spends 5% of its GDP on the military (esp. once adjusted for hidden spending), Germany just a bit more than 1%. If Germany was to effectively quadruple its real military spending, I have no doubt that the world’s second most complex economy would be up to the task. I am sure it will also be able to build world-class nuclear subs (it already has excellent AIP ones) and a global positioning system with that kind of investment

    But how long would it take? I suspect, at least two decades.

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    • Agree: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    US would have a real test in North Korea or Iran, Russia in a war against Turkey.
     
    I think Turkey's military is stronger than either Iran's or North Korea's, so it would be a tougher test for Russia to fight Turkey than for the US to fight North Korea or Iran.
    , @Randal

    US would have a real test in North Korea or Iran, Russia in a war against Turkey.
     
    Russia would crush Turkey very quickly in a straight one on one conflict, though it would struggle to physically occupy it. The only reason Turkey would have any capability to resist at all is that Turkey has full US backing, both in terms of the NATO alliance and in terms of the military systems and capabilities it fields. Russia's capabilities, in contrast, are wholly indigenous. Individually, the two countries are not remotely in the same class, militarily.

    Likewise for the US versus Iran or NK. The problem would likely not be in defeating the military forces themselves, but in occupying and holding ground longer term, and dealing with problems caused by horizontal escalation.

    These are issues not really of military capabilities, but rather of national political will to apply those capabilities ruthlessly and to inflict and to take the losses required for total victory.
  21. This is an interesting and informative article.

    Can you give us your opinion of the F-35 program and to a lesser extent the LCS program? I have no doubt that we get good and reliable information in the US, but just in case, a different perspective on whether the projected capabilities are actually being met by the weapons would be nice to consider.

    Read More
  22. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Excellent article - and congratulations on your first article here.

    Agree with the general argument here, having said similar things in some of my articles.

    * GDP (PPP) being much more relevant for military comparisons than nominal GDP, let alone stockmarket capitalizations.
    * The Russian military technological gap being smaller than what the Western media tends to posit.
    * The US having predominance in Syria and MENA generally, but with Russia having the capability to successfully respond horizontally in areas where it has the advantage (in Ukraine or even the Baltics).
    * The WW1 preemptive war argument does have a lot of merit. I think it was Moltke the Younger who said that given a couple of more years Germany would find it much more difficult to fight the Russian Army. That happened to be the date when Russia's military reforms should have come to fruition.
    * You can't say much about US (or Israeli) military effectiveness on the basis of their performance in fighting Arabs.

    More skeptical about:

    * "but Germany cannot design and build from scratch a state of the art fighter jet, Russia can" - Russia spends 5% of its GDP on the military (esp. once adjusted for hidden spending), Germany just a bit more than 1%. If Germany was to effectively quadruple its real military spending, I have no doubt that the world's second most complex economy would be up to the task. I am sure it will also be able to build world-class nuclear subs (it already has excellent AIP ones) and a global positioning system with that kind of investment.
    * "The same argumentation goes for Russia’s microelectronics industry ... with the exception of US and China, and then on bulk, not quality, only." Russia is a consistent 5-10 years behind in semiconductor process technology (only recently began to produce 28nm, whereas state of the art is now 10nm).
    * It's lagging in the most "futuristic" aspects. It had a huge lag in drones, though it has made that up somewhat with purchases from Israel. Railguns, and associated naval EM systems. In robotics, Boston Dynamics has far more impressive exponents than anything Russia has publicly demonstrated. To be sure this is all pretty irrelevant right now and most likely in 10 years, but not in 20-30 years time.

    Excellent article – and congratulations on your first article here.

    Thank you.

    Russia is a consistent 5-10 years behind in semiconductor process technology (only recently began to produce 28nm, whereas state of the art is now 10nm).

    Processing power in military applications is less dependent on 10 or 28 nm, than on mathematics and algorithms. Both architectures are more than sufficient for the whole spectrum of military tasks, be it signal processing or developing firing solutions.

    I am sure it will also be able to build world-class nuclear subs (it already has excellent AIP ones) and a global positioning system with that kind of investment.

    Apples and oranges. Producing a state-of-the-art nuclear sub is on the order of magnitude more complex task than producing even a very good SSK. China now produces very good AIP SSKs of 039A type, she still is not capable to produce a nuke with at least third generation characteristics.

    Railguns, and associated naval EM systems

    Absolutely useless, other than to impress journalists, in combat paradigm where hyper-sonic missiles with ranges of 1000 kilometers begin to rule the day. I think 3M22 Zircon reaching Mach=8 this weekend on trials is by far more impressive and influential on the tactical and even political level than any rail-gun. Zircon is a change in combat paradigm of such a scale that it is even difficult to completely grasp it at this stage. I may elaborate on it in depth at some point of time.

    Read More
    • Replies: @1rw
    Please do. It would be interesting to have someone with a naval background weigh the merits of hypersonic weapons such as missiles and rail guns against current ones
  23. @AP
    I generally agree both with Andrei's article and with your responses. But -

    You can’t say much about US (or Israeli) military effectiveness on the basis of their performance in fighting Arabs
     
    Or Russian, on the basis of performance in fighting Georgians or Arabs in Syria. Neither side has really been tested, but a real test would reflect some sort of disaster. US would have a real test in North Korea or Iran, Russia in a war against Turkey.

    "but Germany cannot design and build from scratch a state of the art fighter jet, Russia can” – Russia spends 5% of its GDP on the military (esp. once adjusted for hidden spending), Germany just a bit more than 1%. If Germany was to effectively quadruple its real military spending, I have no doubt that the world’s second most complex economy would be up to the task. I am sure it will also be able to build world-class nuclear subs (it already has excellent AIP ones) and a global positioning system with that kind of investment
     
    But how long would it take? I suspect, at least two decades.

    US would have a real test in North Korea or Iran, Russia in a war against Turkey.

    I think Turkey’s military is stronger than either Iran’s or North Korea’s, so it would be a tougher test for Russia to fight Turkey than for the US to fight North Korea or Iran.

    Read More
    • Replies: @5371
    Turkey's military has a decent reputation, but I'm not sure that the reputation corresponds with reality any longer.
    , @anon
    The real point is that Russia and Turkey are almost neighbors while N.K. is about 8,000 miles from the US. In other words the US could ignore Korea.
    , @Max Steel
    Russians have already defeated Ottomans and Turkey is NOT a tough test for Russia given Turkey invades Russia otheriwse unlike US you don't expect Russia to go launch a war bravado against them.
  24. @reiner Tor
    Don't worry, when the going gets tough, suddenly the US military will only send straight white men to die for LGBT and black "equality".

    {…suddenly the US military will only send straight white men to die….}

    What happens IF straight white men refuse to go and die?

    [Stunning Evidence that the Left Has Won its War on White Males]

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/03/stunning_evidence_that_the_left_has_won_its_war_on_white_males__comments.html

    {White males, in large numbers, are simply losing their will to live, and as a result, they are dying so prematurely and in such large numbers that a startling demographic gap has emerged. It is not just the “opioid epidemic” that is killing off white working class males, it is a spiritual crisis, and Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton have the numbers to sustain this conclusion.}

    Read More
  25. @Anonymous
    Russia spent almost 5.4% of GDP on military spending. The US last year spent 3.3% and with Trump's proposed increase this number will increase by a few decimal points.

    Russia is a middle income country while the US is a rich country, in the top 10 of GDP per capita. If oil prices don't substantially improve and Russia continues to spend the way it does on the military it will simply go broke.

    Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)_per_capita (Russia is between Mexico and Suriname)

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

    Over the years, the Pentagon encouraged Congress to move parts of national security spending out of its budget to the extent that almost half is found outside the DOD. The USA really spends over a trillion dollars a year. For example, nuclear weapons research, testing, procurement, and maintenance is found in the Dept of Energy budget.

    http://www.pogo.org/straus/issues/defense-budget/2016/americas-1-trillion-national-security-budget.html

    And as others have noted, GDP is a measure of activity, not prosperity. For example, mortgage refinancing creates lots of GDP, but no real wealth. Hurricanes and arson are good for GDP too!

    Read More
  26. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Z-man
    Hey 'Neocon Cabal' is my phrase!!!!! (wink)
    The S400 is a great example of Russian simplicity that scares the Americans and the Jews to death. I hope the Iranians get as many of those SAM's as they need to defend against the Zionist threat!

    The S400 is a great example of Russian simplicity

    It is a very complex weapon system, whose actual combat potential is highly classified. From people who serve on it, and I quote:”mind boggling capabilities”. Latest modifications of S-300 seem almost tame in comparison and S-300 (PMU, Favorit) is a superb complex. Once S-500 comes online, well–it is a different game altogether from there.

    Read More
    • Replies: @ANOSPH
    Excellent article. I look forward to many more from you.

    Re: the S400, for those interested, TASS developed an excellent and visually appealing overview on the system in Russian: http://s400.tass.ru/

    Just keep scrolling down.

    , @Z-man
    Well, it shouldn't be that complicated because it has to be used rapidly. Hopefully it is easy for the user to operate it.
    Thanks for the reply.
    , @Avery
    {From people who serve on it, and I quote:”mind boggling capabilities”.}

    Until it has proven itself in a real war against a technologically competent adversary, e.g. U.S./NATO, then it's all simulation.
    Its ”mind boggling capabilities” are nothing more than engineering specifications.
    No computer simulation anywhere, anytime has been able to come even close to the chaotic, unpredictable conditions of real war.

    To wit: the Patriot worked great on paper, but its performance in the Iraq war against ancient Iraqi Scuds was dismal.
    To wit2: the misnamed 'Iron Dome', which is a supposedly improved copy of the Patriot and which Israelis claim has a hit rate of 90%+, was proven by Prof. Postol of MIT to have a success rate of ~5% against primitive Hamas rockets.

    Let's wait and see if the S-400 has ”mind boggling capabilities” .
    I hope it does. (Armenia has 'bought' some S-300s, officially. Maybe Russia gave RoA some S-400s too, unofficially).

    , @David Lemire
    Andrei,

    Could you contact me at lm@camhigh.school.nz. I would like your advice on a subject I am trying to research. It has to do with the actual event that caused "the owners of America" to set in motion the dethroning (or attempted dethroning) of the neocons.

    I believe this to have been Russian Federation President Putin's mysterious March 4th -11th, 2015, disappearance.

    Please read my article, "The Election that Wasn't" on Katehon, or "Yalta-II" on geopolitika.ru for a full explanation.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Yours,

    David Lemire
  27. An excellent and very useful piece, thanks, even if I don’t agree with all of it. Certainly many good and important points are made. I would share most of Anatoly Karlin’s points above, both in terms of points of agreement and disagreement.

    But when it comes down to the big picture, I think focussing on technologies and doctrines and even crystallised military capabilities is a mistake if you are trying to see long term trends. Such things come and go, and are always in any event shrouded in uncertainty and ignorance. Nobody except a very few (and they aren’t talking) really knows what our own side has, and even they don’t really know what the other side has, and neither side really knows how their own systems will perform, or how each side’s systems will interact in the crucible of war.

    If we are going to speculate about medium term power trends, then we need to look at the underlying basics, which for military power are economic strength (for which the best, albeit imperfect, measure we have is gdp using ppp) and population. Here are the relevant figures:

    Share of world gdp, ppp:

    US
    2020 14.878%
    2015 15.809%
    2010 16.846%
    2000 20.76%

    China
    2020 19.351%
    2015 17.082%
    2010 13.822%
    2000 7.389%

    Russia
    2020 2.836%
    2015 3.275%
    2010 3.641%
    2000 3.294%

    Source IMF per economywatch.com

    Population (2017):

    China: 1,388,232,693

    US: 326,474,013

    Russia: 143,375,006

    These are the basic sinews of world power, at least as far as fully developed countries are concerned (which Russia and the US certainly are, and China nowadays largely is).

    When relative economic strength is changing, military power lags by decades because many of the systems, technologies and institutions can only be built on such timescales. That is why China’s military capabilities are so far behind their current economic status. It is also why it is all but certain that China’s relative military strength will continue to increase dramatically, relative to all rivals, for decades to come.

    To compare with past world power levels, when the US dominated and the Soviet Union was its rival in the mid-C20th (1950), the US accounted for 27.3% of world gdp, and the Soviet Union had around a third of that, with Britain in third place. In 1913 just before the European powers and Britain committed their suicide by world war, the US accounted for 18.9% of world gdp, with the British Empire just behind and Germany and Russia on about half as much each, but the US was in the position of China today with its relative military power lagging behind its growing economic strength (in 1870 the US share of world gdp had been less than half that of the British Empire).

    The trend of the past decades has been for a steady decline of the US’s share of world gdp from its 1950 peak of 27% to only 16% today. There’s no reason to expect that trend to halt, so it is just a matter of time before the military balance shifts. In the past, this would likely have been uncovered by a catastrophic military defeat at the hands of a rising power, and that might yet happen, but we now live in the dubious shade of the nuclear peace and so things might be different.

    The figures however make it perfectly clear that the only plausible peer rival to the US in the medium term is China, and not Russia, regardless of current military capabilities.

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    • Agree: The Scalpel
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    When relative economic strength is changing, military power lags by decades because many of the systems, technologies and institutions can only be built on such timescales.
     
    Russia is a very special case here--this is one of the points which is missed completely from "western" discussion. The empirical evidence is in and it overwhelmingly supports my, now academic, contention that "western" metrics for Russia do not work, nor most of the "experts" know what they are talking about, even when they have almost unrestricted access to sources. The way US "missed" Russia's military transformation which started in earnest in 2008 and completed its first phase by 2012 (4 years, you are talking about decades) is nothing short of astonishing. Combination of ignorance, hubris and downright stupidity are responsible for all that.

    P.S. No serious analyst takes US GDP as 18 trillion dollars seriously. A huge part of it is a creative bookkeeping and most of it is financial and service sector. Out of very few good things Vitaly Shlykov left after himself was his "The General Staff And Economics", which addressed the issue of actual US military-industrial potential. Then come strategic, operational and technological dimensions. You want to see operational dimension--look no further than Mosul which is still, after 6 months, being "liberated". Comparisons to Aleppo are not only warranted but irresistible. In general, overall power of the state (nation) is not only in its "economic" indices. I use Barnett's definition of national power constantly, remarkably Lavrov's recent speech in the General Staff Academy uses virtually identical definition.
    , @Sergey Krieger
    Randal, what do you think happens if neutron star approaches red giant? US GDP contains a lot of things that are irrelevant to fighting wars. Is US going to hit Russia with nice shoes, highly apprised real estate or S&P500? Creative accounting is another thing that makes US GDP larger than it really is.
  28. When folks discuss Russia’s capabilities they often forget what’s blatantly obvious – which is what’s not obvious, i.e. what the bear has created and is in it’s hidden caves.

    What happened to that U.S. destroyer in the Black Sea was just a teasing mini-harbinger of this reality!

    So is the genius to create a cavity to eavesdrop, &c…

    If you want to enjoy happy days don’t mess with the bear!

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    • Replies: @Joe Franklin
    The USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) is a 4th generation guided missile destroyer whose key weapons are Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of up to 2,500 kilometers, and capable of carrying nuclear explosives. This ship carries 56 Tomahawk missiles in standard mode, and 96 missiles in attack mode.

    The US destroyer is equipped with the most recent Aegis Combat System. It is an integrated naval weapons systems which can link together the missile defense systems of all vessels embedded within the same network, so as to ensure the detection, tracking and destruction of hundreds of targets at the same time. In addition, the USS Donald Cook is equipped with 4 large radars, whose power is comparable to that of several stations. For protection, it carries more than fifty anti-aircraft missiles of various types.


    Meanwhile, the Russian Su-24 that buzzed the USS Donald Cook carried neither bombs nor missiles but only a basket mounted under the fuselage, which, according to the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta [2], contained a Russian electronic warfare device called Khibiny.

    As the Russian jet approached the US vessel, the electronic device disabled all radars, control circuits, systems, information transmission, etc. on board the US destroyer. In other words, the all-powerful Aegis system, now hooked up - or about to be - with the defense systems installed on NATO’s most modern ships was shut down, as turning off the TV set with the remote control.

    The Russian Su-24 then simulated a missile attack against the USS Donald Cook, which was left literally deaf and blind. As if carrying out a training exercise, the Russian aircraft - unarmed - repeated the same maneuver 12 times before flying away.

    After that, the 4th generation destroyer immediately set sail towards a port in Romania.

    Since that incident, which the Atlanticist media have carefully covered up despite the widespread reactions sparked among defense industry experts, no US ship has ever approached Russian territorial waters again.

    According to some specialized media, 27 sailors from the USS Donald Cook requested to be relieved from active service.

    http://www.voltairenet.org/article185860.html
  29. @Anonymous
    Russia spent almost 5.4% of GDP on military spending. The US last year spent 3.3% and with Trump's proposed increase this number will increase by a few decimal points.

    Russia is a middle income country while the US is a rich country, in the top 10 of GDP per capita. If oil prices don't substantially improve and Russia continues to spend the way it does on the military it will simply go broke.

    Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)_per_capita (Russia is between Mexico and Suriname)

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

    Stupid beyond belief. Countries can’t go broke doing something, if they control the natural and human resources they need to accomplish it. In addition, you apparently did not read Smoothie’s explanation of why just comparing the sums spent is silly.

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  30. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Randal
    I agreed with the main thrust of your comment, but I would just note that I don't agree with the last sentence:


    It all started with Woodrow Wilson who refused to mind his business and stay out of war in 1917.
     
    The essence of the US was always expansion by military and other means, from its settler colonial origins and the Manifest Destiny to the expansionist wars against Mexico and Spain, the Monroe Doctrine, and colonial expansions into Hawaii, the Philippines and central America, all before Wilson, who admittedly took the opportunity handed to him by the self-destructive warring of the European powers to go for the big one.

    It's just the nature of the beast.

    Yes but up until 1898 – the war against Spain – the US actually got something out of its wars. Wars with countries BEYOND the Americas have gained nothing for America.

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  31. @reiner Tor

    US would have a real test in North Korea or Iran, Russia in a war against Turkey.
     
    I think Turkey's military is stronger than either Iran's or North Korea's, so it would be a tougher test for Russia to fight Turkey than for the US to fight North Korea or Iran.

    Turkey’s military has a decent reputation, but I’m not sure that the reputation corresponds with reality any longer.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Vendetta
    Their recent mishaps in Syria certainly cast some doubts on their formidable reputation. However I would hesitate to go so far as to say that Turkey has become a paper tiger.

    I don't know if there's a more professional terminology for this, but I think there is a difference between what you might call weakness the surface level and weakness at the core.

    The Winter War, for example, was a humiliating display of weakness from the Red Army - one which the Germans took (mistakenly) as a sign of weakness at the core.

    America in the years before it became a permanently mobilized state was also prone to this sort of happening in the initial stages of its wars - see the rout at Kasserine Pass in World War II or the initial defeats it suffered to the North Koreans in 1950. The British made "our Italians" jokes after Kasserine, but these had a short shelf life as US performance picked up very quickly afterwards.

    The state of the Turkish military right now seems more likely to be one of surface-level weakness (which would be tempered by exposure to battle) than of core-level weakness (which would be exacerbated by it).
  32. March 19, 2017 Putin Prepares For Invasion of Europe With Massive Cuts to Military Spending

    Russia announces “deepest defense budget cuts since 1990s”. Putin must be stopped before it’s too late. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the world has enjoyed an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity. Long gone are the days of wasteful military expenditures and no-bid contracts to build airplanes and aircraft carriers that neither fly nor float.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46686.htm

    Aug 8, 2016 “I want to scare Assad” Mike Morell on Charlie Rose

    Mike Morell, former deputy director of the CIA, discusses the need to put pressure on Syria and Russia. The full conversation airs on PBS on August 8th, 2016.

    Read More
  33. @Andrei Martyanov

    The S400 is a great example of Russian simplicity
     
    It is a very complex weapon system, whose actual combat potential is highly classified. From people who serve on it, and I quote:"mind boggling capabilities". Latest modifications of S-300 seem almost tame in comparison and S-300 (PMU, Favorit) is a superb complex. Once S-500 comes online, well--it is a different game altogether from there.

    Excellent article. I look forward to many more from you.

    Re: the S400, for those interested, TASS developed an excellent and visually appealing overview on the system in Russian: http://s400.tass.ru/

    Just keep scrolling down.

    Read More
  34. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @reiner Tor

    US would have a real test in North Korea or Iran, Russia in a war against Turkey.
     
    I think Turkey's military is stronger than either Iran's or North Korea's, so it would be a tougher test for Russia to fight Turkey than for the US to fight North Korea or Iran.

    The real point is that Russia and Turkey are almost neighbors while N.K. is about 8,000 miles from the US. In other words the US could ignore Korea.

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  35. @reiner Tor

    The WW1 preemptive war argument does have a lot of merit.
     
    Czar Nicholas II could've simply told the Serbs to comply with the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum. Actually, that was the first reaction of Russian government circles (harboring terrorists was not looked upon very nicely in Russia where the grandfather of the Czar was murdered by similar terrorists), but then they changed their minds.

    In any event, WW1 was a blunder for almost all involved - all countries that participated could've easily stayed out, and with a few exceptions (perhaps Romania and Japan? maybe even China?) none had any significant benefits relative to the enormous costs. Not even the US.

    Neither France nor Germany could have stayed out once Russia was in, but then both of them had given their respective allies every encouragement to bring matters to a head. The French had a great increase in self-confidence just in the last two or three years. You are right that Serbia didn’t even decide to reject the ultimatum until they heard Russia was already going ahead with pre-mobilisation.

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  36. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @reiner Tor
    Don't worry, when the going gets tough, suddenly the US military will only send straight white men to die for LGBT and black "equality".

    Hopefully at least some of those straight white males will know better. Hopefully.

    Then again people often act contrary to their best interests.

    Read More
  37. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Randal
    An excellent and very useful piece, thanks, even if I don't agree with all of it. Certainly many good and important points are made. I would share most of Anatoly Karlin's points above, both in terms of points of agreement and disagreement.

    But when it comes down to the big picture, I think focussing on technologies and doctrines and even crystallised military capabilities is a mistake if you are trying to see long term trends. Such things come and go, and are always in any event shrouded in uncertainty and ignorance. Nobody except a very few (and they aren't talking) really knows what our own side has, and even they don't really know what the other side has, and neither side really knows how their own systems will perform, or how each side's systems will interact in the crucible of war.

    If we are going to speculate about medium term power trends, then we need to look at the underlying basics, which for military power are economic strength (for which the best, albeit imperfect, measure we have is gdp using ppp) and population. Here are the relevant figures:

    Share of world gdp, ppp:

    US
    2020 14.878%
    2015 15.809%
    2010 16.846%
    2000 20.76%

    China
    2020 19.351%
    2015 17.082%
    2010 13.822%
    2000 7.389%


    Russia
    2020 2.836%
    2015 3.275%
    2010 3.641%
    2000 3.294%

    Source IMF per economywatch.com

    Population (2017):

    China: 1,388,232,693

    US: 326,474,013

    Russia: 143,375,006

    These are the basic sinews of world power, at least as far as fully developed countries are concerned (which Russia and the US certainly are, and China nowadays largely is).

    When relative economic strength is changing, military power lags by decades because many of the systems, technologies and institutions can only be built on such timescales. That is why China's military capabilities are so far behind their current economic status. It is also why it is all but certain that China's relative military strength will continue to increase dramatically, relative to all rivals, for decades to come.

    To compare with past world power levels, when the US dominated and the Soviet Union was its rival in the mid-C20th (1950), the US accounted for 27.3% of world gdp, and the Soviet Union had around a third of that, with Britain in third place. In 1913 just before the European powers and Britain committed their suicide by world war, the US accounted for 18.9% of world gdp, with the British Empire just behind and Germany and Russia on about half as much each, but the US was in the position of China today with its relative military power lagging behind its growing economic strength (in 1870 the US share of world gdp had been less than half that of the British Empire).

    The trend of the past decades has been for a steady decline of the US's share of world gdp from its 1950 peak of 27% to only 16% today. There's no reason to expect that trend to halt, so it is just a matter of time before the military balance shifts. In the past, this would likely have been uncovered by a catastrophic military defeat at the hands of a rising power, and that might yet happen, but we now live in the dubious shade of the nuclear peace and so things might be different.

    The figures however make it perfectly clear that the only plausible peer rival to the US in the medium term is China, and not Russia, regardless of current military capabilities.

    When relative economic strength is changing, military power lags by decades because many of the systems, technologies and institutions can only be built on such timescales.

    Russia is a very special case here–this is one of the points which is missed completely from “western” discussion. The empirical evidence is in and it overwhelmingly supports my, now academic, contention that “western” metrics for Russia do not work, nor most of the “experts” know what they are talking about, even when they have almost unrestricted access to sources. The way US “missed” Russia’s military transformation which started in earnest in 2008 and completed its first phase by 2012 (4 years, you are talking about decades) is nothing short of astonishing. Combination of ignorance, hubris and downright stupidity are responsible for all that.

    P.S. No serious analyst takes US GDP as 18 trillion dollars seriously. A huge part of it is a creative bookkeeping and most of it is financial and service sector. Out of very few good things Vitaly Shlykov left after himself was his “The General Staff And Economics”, which addressed the issue of actual US military-industrial potential. Then come strategic, operational and technological dimensions. You want to see operational dimension–look no further than Mosul which is still, after 6 months, being “liberated”. Comparisons to Aleppo are not only warranted but irresistible. In general, overall power of the state (nation) is not only in its “economic” indices. I use Barnett’s definition of national power constantly, remarkably Lavrov’s recent speech in the General Staff Academy uses virtually identical definition.

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    • Replies: @bluedog
    Very good article and David Stockman says the same thing on our GDP that its do to very creative accounting much like our BLS report....
    , @Sam Shama

    Russia is a very special case here–this is one of the points which is missed completely from “western” discussion. The empirical evidence is in and it overwhelmingly supports my, now academic, contention that “western” metrics for Russia do not work, nor most of the “experts” know what they are talking about,
     
    Hey Smoothie,
    Loved this informative piece.

    On the military aspect, I'll take your assessments without any salt at all, for I do believe the U.S. has been tracking a technologically shallower but cost wise steeper trajectory.

    I think Russians are a highly gifted lot, able to do wonders mostly on account of their deep science & mathematics bench.

    Yet I also think Randal is mostly right about economic strength playing a vital, even decisive role in overall strength in the longer run. There are no countries which can match the U.S. in the department of raw economic endowments.

    China comes closest to exceeding the overall size of the U.S.economy, based on a combination of sheer population, relentless mercantilism combined with extractive labour policies over the last five decades or more. All of which has also propelled them to achieve technological capabilities not far behind many western European states.

    The U.S is eminently capable of really, I mean really increasing military spending without breaking a sweat. But that is not the goal in itself. It needs to come down hard on MIC waste, which if done successfully can change things around very quickly. Imagine a U.S. spending an efficient 7-10% of GDP on this, in which case I see its competitors doing little else besides gearing their entire economies to armaments, and then failing to keep up. I am confident if such a race ensued there'd be a global run to purchase U.S. assets, even as capital controls are put into action.

    The troubles of the U.S have stemmed from a paucity of far-sighted leaders of late. I am still hoping Mr Trump comes through, and there are signs he will. We should be establishing a truly friendly relationship with Russia and focusing our resources on joint goals of a far loftier nature than besting each other on wartime toys.

    , @anon
    Your main point is well taken. PPP instead of simply GDP captures lower costs in Russia and is a better starting point. Plus, the US military procurement is remarkably inefficient. The combination of the two plus tacit and institutional knowledge regarding spending on military hardware makes analysis based on US spending misleading.

    However, the US is remarkably efficient in many other areas and has had the best performing developed economy since 2008.

    Regarding access to capital markets, the US over the last decade has developed a massive unconventional oil industry. This was done with capital investment of $3 trillion. Which came from capital markets. Not only was this unplanned, but it was done with grudging support from the Obama administration. And it is of enormous geo strategic value. I wish to hell that our defense doctrine would plug this new fact -- US has no need for Middle East oil -- into their strategy. Not to totally discount its importance, but the idea fighting and dying for a strategic resource that can be bought or drilled for needs to be thought out.

    If we were going to refight WW 2, then we would have some problems with global supply chains, etc. The next major war, if we have one, won't be like WW 2. The logic of a US conventional war with Russia is stupid. Either side with a decisive conventional advantage would simply increase the risk of it going nuclear.

    Russia could, if they were so inclined, forcibly take back some of the former USSR. But why would they want to? Even Crimea is expensive. It has taken what seems like forever to build the Kerch Strait Bridge. They have their Naval Base and the border dispute will keep Ukraine out of NATO. Technically, they could try it, but one of the requirements for membership is that the nation is not involved in conflict. It's held in Georgia and Moldova.
  38. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @reiner Tor

    The WW1 preemptive war argument does have a lot of merit.
     
    Czar Nicholas II could've simply told the Serbs to comply with the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum. Actually, that was the first reaction of Russian government circles (harboring terrorists was not looked upon very nicely in Russia where the grandfather of the Czar was murdered by similar terrorists), but then they changed their minds.

    In any event, WW1 was a blunder for almost all involved - all countries that participated could've easily stayed out, and with a few exceptions (perhaps Romania and Japan? maybe even China?) none had any significant benefits relative to the enormous costs. Not even the US.

    That is a point I have often tried to make. Had the Tsar just told the Serbs flat out, “You guys are on your own. Comply. Or fight the Central Powers by yourself. We are out of it.”,’ there would never have been a ‘Great’ war (WW1). At most the ‘war’ would have been a minor brawl between Serbia and Austria-Hungary. History would have recorded it as just another Balkan skirmish. It would have been virtually forgotten today. This was the initial assumption of the Kaiser when he issued his ‘blank check’ of support. The Tsar would have saved millions of lives, including his own and his family too. Just nine years earlier the Tsar had fought and lost a disastrous war with Japan. That defeat led to a revolution that came within a hair of deposing him. He SHOULD have learned his lesson and avoided any future conflict like the plague. Tsar Nicolas was an incredibly stupid man. He deserves far more vilification then the Kaiser does.

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    • Replies: @Seraphim
    Tsar Nicholas was not that stupid to not see that the aggression against Serbia was in fact directed at Russia. The Dual Alliance of 1879, coming immediately after the Berlin Congress was directed squarely against Russia. By the time of Nicholas it evolved in the Triple Alliance and I have no doubts that Russians knew that Romania had adhered in secret in 1882. He could not be unaware of the 'Drang nach Osten' mentality which gripped Germany by the end of the 19th century and that the plans for the partition of Russia were on the drawing board. He could not have been unaware that the rejection of his proposals for disarmament has induced Germany to believe that the proposal reflected the weakness of Russia. He could not been unaware of Moltke's proposal in 1912 for a preventive war against Russia. He could not have been unaware that an external war was a precondition of for the revolution.
    War was imposed on Russia.
  39. An interesting article. A few random thoughts.

    1. “Preventive war is like committing suicide for fear of death” – Otto von Bismarck.

    2. In general I agree and wish that the United States military would be more defensive and waste fewer resources attacking irrelevant nations on the other side of the world. But. It is nevertheless true that “defensive” Russia has been invaded and devastated multiple times, and the United States has not. Perhaps creating chaos on the other side of the world is long-term not quite so ineffective as sitting around waiting for an attack?

    3. The American elites are simply corrupt and insane/don’t care about the long-term. At every level – companies taking out massive loans to buy back their stock to boost CEO bonuses, loading up college students with massive unpayable debt so that university administrators can get paid like CEOs, drug prices going through the roof, etc.etc. Military costs will never be as efficient as civilian, war is expensive, but the US has gotten to the point where there is no financial accountability, it’s all about the right people grabbing as much money as possible. To make more money you just add another zero at the end of the price tag. At some point the costs will become so inflated and divorced from reality that we will be unable to afford anything… And the right people will take their loot and move to New Zealand and wring their hands at how the lazy Americans were not worthy of their brilliant leadership…

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  40. @Art
    Russia said it was going to bolster Syria’s air defenses.

    If true – what does this mean for Israeli air power over Syria and Lebanon?

    Hezbollah has shown, even with its air force behind it that the IDF is a paper tiger.

    Without its air forces at 100%, Israel is very vulnerable. A war would be very costly. Many Jews want to leave Israel as it is now.

    Peace --- Art

    You’re gloating, Art. Many jews have been leaving Israel for many years for fear of their personal safety. Others remain. Gloating this way reflects a mean spirit.

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    • Replies: @Art
    You’re gloating, Art. Many jews have been leaving Israel for many years for fear of their personal safety. Others remain. Gloating this way reflects a mean spirit.

    Pointing out the evils of Zionist Israel is not mean - it is crucial.

    Exposing Judaism and Zionism for their backward ways is the only path to a peaceful just world.

    The Kushner White House is now pushing us to war in N Korea.

    Congress must stop this - but they cannot because Jews control them also.

    Peace --- Art

    p.s. Good god – Trump is sending two more carrier groups to Korea!

  41. @reiner Tor

    The WW1 preemptive war argument does have a lot of merit.
     
    Czar Nicholas II could've simply told the Serbs to comply with the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum. Actually, that was the first reaction of Russian government circles (harboring terrorists was not looked upon very nicely in Russia where the grandfather of the Czar was murdered by similar terrorists), but then they changed their minds.

    In any event, WW1 was a blunder for almost all involved - all countries that participated could've easily stayed out, and with a few exceptions (perhaps Romania and Japan? maybe even China?) none had any significant benefits relative to the enormous costs. Not even the US.

    Japan was certainly the greatest beneficiary of the war in economic terms. Their exports ended up tripling to fuel the demand of the wartime European economies and especially to fill in the gap for consumer goods in the East Asian markets whose normal suppliers had redirected their production for the war effort. Shipbuilding in Japan also boomed as a result of wartime demands. Pre-WWI Japan was still importing most of its major warships from Britain; post-WWI Japan was building them all on its own.

    Romania gained a lot in territory but its doubtful whether these gains were worth it in terms of the lives they cost.

    The United States certainly gained in terms of geopolitical power, but that was largely due to the same wartime economic circumstances that had benefited Japan, with the addition of supplanting Britain as the world’s leading financial power. These gains, however, would have been won whether or not we’d sent 100,000 of our own to die in France, so their lives ultimately amounted to little more than a sacrifice to Woodrow Wilson’s egomaniacal dreams of reshaping the world order into a utopia.

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  42. @Anatoly Karlin
    Excellent article - and congratulations on your first article here.

    Agree with the general argument here, having said similar things in some of my articles.

    * GDP (PPP) being much more relevant for military comparisons than nominal GDP, let alone stockmarket capitalizations.
    * The Russian military technological gap being smaller than what the Western media tends to posit.
    * The US having predominance in Syria and MENA generally, but with Russia having the capability to successfully respond horizontally in areas where it has the advantage (in Ukraine or even the Baltics).
    * The WW1 preemptive war argument does have a lot of merit. I think it was Moltke the Younger who said that given a couple of more years Germany would find it much more difficult to fight the Russian Army. That happened to be the date when Russia's military reforms should have come to fruition.
    * You can't say much about US (or Israeli) military effectiveness on the basis of their performance in fighting Arabs.

    More skeptical about:

    * "but Germany cannot design and build from scratch a state of the art fighter jet, Russia can" - Russia spends 5% of its GDP on the military (esp. once adjusted for hidden spending), Germany just a bit more than 1%. If Germany was to effectively quadruple its real military spending, I have no doubt that the world's second most complex economy would be up to the task. I am sure it will also be able to build world-class nuclear subs (it already has excellent AIP ones) and a global positioning system with that kind of investment.
    * "The same argumentation goes for Russia’s microelectronics industry ... with the exception of US and China, and then on bulk, not quality, only." Russia is a consistent 5-10 years behind in semiconductor process technology (only recently began to produce 28nm, whereas state of the art is now 10nm).
    * It's lagging in the most "futuristic" aspects. It had a huge lag in drones, though it has made that up somewhat with purchases from Israel. Railguns, and associated naval EM systems. In robotics, Boston Dynamics has far more impressive exponents than anything Russia has publicly demonstrated. To be sure this is all pretty irrelevant right now and most likely in 10 years, but not in 20-30 years time.

    WW1, unlike Barbarossa, didn’t start with a German attack on Russia, although in each case the argument was made by some (stronger in retrospective for 1941 than 1914) that Russia would be too strong to take on in a couple of years. The difference is that a number of factors – the ideological conflict, the success of “blitzkrieg”, the weak Soviet performance at the start of the Finnish war – created an illusory hope of easy victory for the Germans along with the fear of later defeat. That tipped the balance in favour of attack.
    As I understand it, the claimed regular progress to smaller and smaller chip feature sizes has for some time been a matter of marketing, not reality.

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  43. @Intelligent Dasein
    I've come to the conclusion that it is the probable consensus among America's Deep State elites, as exemplified by the truly evil Hillary Clinton, that an all-out war with Russia which totally devastates Russia but leaves America just barely standing, would, notwithstanding the rivers of blood and the chaos unleashed, be an acceptable outcome as long as the blasted rump of America, namely the Deep State itself, gets to subsequently enthrone itself as the unchallenged world hegemon. The Deep State views the entirety of America's economic and military might, as well as the lives of its citizens, as merely a means to this end.

    I also believe that Russia's strategists and state-level actors have come to the same conclusion regarding America's designs. This is the strategic situation that Russia is up against, and this is why Russia has wisely prepared itself to fight a defensive war of astonishing proportions. And for the sake of the human race, for the peace of men of good will everywhere, I would advise Russia that when dealing with a cranky, feeble, delusional, and senile Uncle Sam, it is not possible to be too paranoid. You will not be up against a rational actor if and when this war breaks out. Whatever zany, desperate, and counterproductive gambits you can imagine the USA making, they will not be worse than what these people are capable of.

    As an American myself, I would have liked to have been a patriot. If my country must go to war, I would have liked to be on my country's side. But the bitter truth is that my government is something the world would be better off without. Russia has the moral high ground in this conflict. Hopefully that, and the strength of its arms, will be enough.

    The great tragedy of the 20th century was that all the wrong people won the major wars. Whether it was Chiang Kai-shek in China or Hitler and Mussolini in Europe, or the Kaiser and the House of Hapsburg before them, the real heroes, the ones who were however ineffectively and confusedly on the side of Right, suffered defeat at the hands of the evil imperialists. We cannot allow that to happen again. I know who I will be supporting if it comes to war.

    Long live king and country. God bless the patriots, wherever they be. Hail victory.

    There is a very important and perhaps most decisive aspect of possible US war with Russia or China, which is completely missing in Andrei Martyanov piece and the related comments.
    Don’t you think European NATO countries, as well as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan will loudly resist, when their very well-being and existences is utterly jeopardized by American ambitions for hegemony well beyond its shores?
    I imagine and hope that well before a shooting war breaks out with Russia or China, US’ present subservient allies will show enough courage to put the brakes on American designs long before any future global wars involving their vital interest is invoked.
    The South Koreans, over 10 million of whom are living in Seoul, are most likely right now pressing the Trump Administration hard to avoid any foolhardy military adventures in North Korea.
    The Europeans, Japanese, South Koreans and the Taiwanese are the best hope of stopping American adventurism because in the final analysis they will refuse to be the sheep marching willingly to the slaughterhouse of a WWIII.

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    • Replies: @Art
    The South Koreans, over 10 million of whom are living in Seoul, are most likely right now pressing the Trump Administration hard to avoid any foolhardy military adventures in North Korea.

    Too late - Trump is sending in two more carrier groups.

    US Deploys Two More Aircraft Carriers Toward Korean Peninsula: Yonhap

    According to a report by South Korea's primary news outlet, Yonhap, the Pentagon has directed a total of three US aircraft carriers toward the Korean Peninsula, citing a South Korean government source.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-17/us-deploys-two-more-aircraft-carriers-toward-korean-peninsula-yonhap
     
    This is insane - another preventive war like Iraq - but on China and Russia's doorstep.

    Congress must stop this!

    Peace --- Art
    , @anon
    If these countries really wanted to stop the USA, why not make the American troops leave their countries?
    , @martino from barcelona
    Eu, japan, taiwaneses, south koreans...Their governements are all puppets, whores of washington, the people doesnt matter, we (I am european) have no voice- All westerns politics are the same whores. Countrys and people have no value. Only globalists are going for bussines. Rusia is the great premium: The major land in the world---
    , @Joe Wong
    There are a lot of nations wanting wars between USA, Russia and China, from top of the list is Japan, India, UK, ... They believe they will be the next global hegemons standing on the ashes of USA, Russia and China.

    Taiwanese are mentally colonized Japanese wannabes, they will be happy just returning to the Japanese colony status.

  44. @AP
    I generally agree both with Andrei's article and with your responses. But -

    You can’t say much about US (or Israeli) military effectiveness on the basis of their performance in fighting Arabs
     
    Or Russian, on the basis of performance in fighting Georgians or Arabs in Syria. Neither side has really been tested, but a real test would reflect some sort of disaster. US would have a real test in North Korea or Iran, Russia in a war against Turkey.

    "but Germany cannot design and build from scratch a state of the art fighter jet, Russia can” – Russia spends 5% of its GDP on the military (esp. once adjusted for hidden spending), Germany just a bit more than 1%. If Germany was to effectively quadruple its real military spending, I have no doubt that the world’s second most complex economy would be up to the task. I am sure it will also be able to build world-class nuclear subs (it already has excellent AIP ones) and a global positioning system with that kind of investment
     
    But how long would it take? I suspect, at least two decades.

    US would have a real test in North Korea or Iran, Russia in a war against Turkey.

    Russia would crush Turkey very quickly in a straight one on one conflict, though it would struggle to physically occupy it. The only reason Turkey would have any capability to resist at all is that Turkey has full US backing, both in terms of the NATO alliance and in terms of the military systems and capabilities it fields. Russia’s capabilities, in contrast, are wholly indigenous. Individually, the two countries are not remotely in the same class, militarily.

    Likewise for the US versus Iran or NK. The problem would likely not be in defeating the military forces themselves, but in occupying and holding ground longer term, and dealing with problems caused by horizontal escalation.

    These are issues not really of military capabilities, but rather of national political will to apply those capabilities ruthlessly and to inflict and to take the losses required for total victory.

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  45. The US is not worried about Russia. They were worried about the EU and Russia with economic links to China.

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  46. @5371
    Turkey's military has a decent reputation, but I'm not sure that the reputation corresponds with reality any longer.

    Their recent mishaps in Syria certainly cast some doubts on their formidable reputation. However I would hesitate to go so far as to say that Turkey has become a paper tiger.

    I don’t know if there’s a more professional terminology for this, but I think there is a difference between what you might call weakness the surface level and weakness at the core.

    The Winter War, for example, was a humiliating display of weakness from the Red Army – one which the Germans took (mistakenly) as a sign of weakness at the core.

    America in the years before it became a permanently mobilized state was also prone to this sort of happening in the initial stages of its wars – see the rout at Kasserine Pass in World War II or the initial defeats it suffered to the North Koreans in 1950. The British made “our Italians” jokes after Kasserine, but these had a short shelf life as US performance picked up very quickly afterwards.

    The state of the Turkish military right now seems more likely to be one of surface-level weakness (which would be tempered by exposure to battle) than of core-level weakness (which would be exacerbated by it).

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  47. A good informative article. Unfortunately it suffers from the typical poor understanding of the economic and financial realities.

    No, “Wall Street economic indices” are not meaningless. And you do have to care about the Russian stock market. Its small size relative to the economy is a cause for concern. In general, Russian financial system is too weak, too small and shallow for an economy of this size. This is not surprising, as it is very new. Hopefully it will grow to its proper dimensions.

    Incidentally, Putin and his government seem to understand these things, even if many others don’t.

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    • Agree: Kiza
    • Replies: @Ondrej

    No, “Wall Street economic indices” are not meaningless. And you do have to care about the Russian stock market.

     

    Try to make following thought experiment, what would happen with SP100 financial valuation of shares GN a Lockheed in case of conflict and what would be impact on with Suchoi and MIG shares and how this would impact real economy instead of economics?

    Luckily there is still plenty of people in Russian companies who were educated in economy instead of economics..


    Incidentally, Putin and his government seem to understand these things, even if many others don’t.

     

    From seeing some discussions in Russian TV channels, I can say people in Russia are in fact disgusted with part of government still trying to apply Western type of economics..
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    Hopefully it will grow to its proper dimensions.
     
    So, Facebook's capitalization of 400 billion, that is for company which produces nothing of real value (in fact, is detrimental to mental health of the society) is a true size of economy.

    https://ycharts.com/companies/FB/market_cap

    Mind you--this is for a collection of several buildings, servers and about 200-300 pages of code in whatever they wrote it (C++, C whatever--make your pick).

    Meanwhile, Gazprom, which is an energy monster is about...10 times less.

    https://ycharts.com/companies/OGZPY/market_cap

    Here is a dilemma. Gazprom extracts and delivers energy without which Eurasia can not exist. Facebook? Turn it off tomorrow and bar some impressionable teenagers committing suicide, the world will continue on living just fine. But that is just one example. You will not find, however, such a hi-tech monster as Rostec on any financial market. For a corporate giant which employs half-a-million people and produces state of the art weapon systems and civilian products--ask yourself a question whose "capitalization" is more important for economy--of useless Facebook or of the corporation which produces civilian jet engines. But let me add insult to injury. While Facebook "capitalizes" on almost half-trillion, a gem of the American industry, aerospace giant Boeing barely makes it to 109 billion. Most US economic indices are fraud, the same as most of US economy is virtual--a collection of virtual transactions with virtual money and virtual services. i am not talking, of course, about stock buybacks. As I already stated, nobody of any serious expertise in actual things that matter, treats this whole US "economic" data seriously. The problem here is that many in US establishment do and that is a clear and present danger to both US and world at large because constant and grotesque overestimation of own capabilities becomes a matter of policy, not a one-off accident.
    , @AtomAnt
    That's just bankster propaganda. In truth, anything past 5% (generously) for the financial sector is just parasitism. The US S&P 500 hovers around 30% financial sector. That's just elites extracting resources from productive people.
  48. The Winter War, for example, was a humiliating display of weakness from the Red Army – one which the Germans took (mistakenly) as a sign of weakness at the core.

    Mannerheim (Finish Commander in Chief)
    was stressing how fast Soviet Army learned from their experience, trying to counter claim H. Göring who claimed Winter War as biggest military bluf in history.

    Gen. Waldemar Erfuth
    Wermacht Army Attache in Finish General Staff
    from book: Fighting in Hell – German Ordeal on Eastern Front

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Mannerheim (Finish Commander in Chief) was stressing how fast Soviet Army learned from their experience, trying to counter claim H. Göring who claimed Winter War as biggest military bluf in history.
     
    When was it?
  49. @Ondrej

    The Winter War, for example, was a humiliating display of weakness from the Red Army – one which the Germans took (mistakenly) as a sign of weakness at the core.
     
    Mannerheim (Finish Commander in Chief)
    was stressing how fast Soviet Army learned from their experience, trying to counter claim H. Göring who claimed Winter War as biggest military bluf in history.

    Gen. Waldemar Erfuth
    Wermacht Army Attache in Finish General Staff
    from book: Fighting in Hell - German Ordeal on Eastern Front

    Mannerheim (Finish Commander in Chief) was stressing how fast Soviet Army learned from their experience, trying to counter claim H. Göring who claimed Winter War as biggest military bluf in history.

    When was it?

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    • Replies: @Ondrej
    according to book 4. March 1943

    Mannerheim in front of German General as reaction to some public speech of H. Göring before.
  50. @inertial
    A good informative article. Unfortunately it suffers from the typical poor understanding of the economic and financial realities.

    No, "Wall Street economic indices" are not meaningless. And you do have to care about the Russian stock market. Its small size relative to the economy is a cause for concern. In general, Russian financial system is too weak, too small and shallow for an economy of this size. This is not surprising, as it is very new. Hopefully it will grow to its proper dimensions.

    Incidentally, Putin and his government seem to understand these things, even if many others don't.

    No, “Wall Street economic indices” are not meaningless. And you do have to care about the Russian stock market.

    Try to make following thought experiment, what would happen with SP100 financial valuation of shares GN a Lockheed in case of conflict and what would be impact on with Suchoi and MIG shares and how this would impact real economy instead of economics?

    Luckily there is still plenty of people in Russian companies who were educated in economy instead of economics..

    Incidentally, Putin and his government seem to understand these things, even if many others don’t.

    From seeing some discussions in Russian TV channels, I can say people in Russia are in fact disgusted with part of government still trying to apply Western type of economics..

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  51. @reiner Tor

    Mannerheim (Finish Commander in Chief) was stressing how fast Soviet Army learned from their experience, trying to counter claim H. Göring who claimed Winter War as biggest military bluf in history.
     
    When was it?

    according to book 4. March 1943

    Mannerheim in front of German General as reaction to some public speech of H. Göring before.

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  52. @Andrei Martyanov

    When relative economic strength is changing, military power lags by decades because many of the systems, technologies and institutions can only be built on such timescales.
     
    Russia is a very special case here--this is one of the points which is missed completely from "western" discussion. The empirical evidence is in and it overwhelmingly supports my, now academic, contention that "western" metrics for Russia do not work, nor most of the "experts" know what they are talking about, even when they have almost unrestricted access to sources. The way US "missed" Russia's military transformation which started in earnest in 2008 and completed its first phase by 2012 (4 years, you are talking about decades) is nothing short of astonishing. Combination of ignorance, hubris and downright stupidity are responsible for all that.

    P.S. No serious analyst takes US GDP as 18 trillion dollars seriously. A huge part of it is a creative bookkeeping and most of it is financial and service sector. Out of very few good things Vitaly Shlykov left after himself was his "The General Staff And Economics", which addressed the issue of actual US military-industrial potential. Then come strategic, operational and technological dimensions. You want to see operational dimension--look no further than Mosul which is still, after 6 months, being "liberated". Comparisons to Aleppo are not only warranted but irresistible. In general, overall power of the state (nation) is not only in its "economic" indices. I use Barnett's definition of national power constantly, remarkably Lavrov's recent speech in the General Staff Academy uses virtually identical definition.

    Very good article and David Stockman says the same thing on our GDP that its do to very creative accounting much like our BLS report….

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  53. Congratulations on the article Andrei. As another commenter said – I do not agree with everything in the article, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    I also fully support your answers to Karlin, he often barks up a wrong tree.

    Now the main issue with your article that I have is the same old issue that I always had with your comments. You start from the right premise and then you blow it up beyond recognition. In other words, you are too optimistic. For example, it is a very good point that the Russian and US perceptions of war are totally different: for a Russian the war is a fight for survival as an individual and as a nation, for a US person war and killing are just another day in the office. Then you start counting weapons and comparing weapons technology specifications and always conclude that Russian is better and cheaper, even when there is no direct comparison of effectiveness in battle.

    In other words, if your top level goal is to counter the ubiquitous US MIC propaganda with the Russian MIC propaganda, then you are doing a good job. But never forget the Motke’s dictum: no wonderful battle plan survives contact with the enemy. I accept that the mercenairy armies, like the US one, are not very good when dying starts, they totally rely on military superiority which does not exist against Russia and soon will not exist against China. But the new generations of Russians are becoming softer and softer and Russian military has not been tested in a recent conflict against a peer just like the US one has not.

    The second major disadvantage of the Russian MIC is that US has a huge market of allies which it ruthlessly milks for weapons procurement, whilst when Russia sells an S300 to Cyprus it lands in the hands of the Israelis to be cracked. Even after such experience Russia engages in an apparently serious discussion to sell S400 to Turkey, straight into NATO hands. To put it mildly – Russia has to nurture the BRICS defense market, although most of the customers are copy artists, China being the master copier.

    Having criticised you too much, now I have to admit that I do not understand how Russia can get on average 5X more bang for the buck than US, sometimes more. Does Russian MIC operate some underground former mine facilities in which these engineering slaves design all these wonderful military toys and then build them at the cost of sustenance? Lower Russian wages and US MIC’s extraordinary greed still cannot fully explain such huge difference. Is it some amazing corruption-free project management skills inherited from Soviet Union?

    As someone who has had experience with the weaponry of both sides, I have always been a fan of Russian engineering simplicity and reliability in design. Most people are familiar with this design philosophy through experience with Kalashnikov rifle, but this is a general design principle of all Russian weapons, even the sophisticated ones (probably even S500). Admittedly, the Chinese apply a similar principle in their engineering, although not at the same level – I remember well the shock of my Western colleagues when they realised that the Chinese Long March rockets utilised plywood where they utilised (at that time) very expensive carbon fibre and other composites.

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    • Replies: @Ondrej

    Having criticised you too much, now I have to admit that I do not understand how Russia can get on average 5X more bang for the buck than US, sometimes more.
     
    Superb and efficient educational system of USSR. Last generation is in their forties.
    Rules -
    1. push what you can into children when they young and train them properly
    2. Go fast, finish University in 22 - go to production and learn from olders
    3. Go trough Army service (only when you are already extremely good you are exempt)

    This gives you head start, you are conditioned to design things that work.

    Problem with many current - not only military products, that their designers often do not have idea how they are used..

    You simply can not take classes of ergonomic design and design even hammer correctly as it is often case with different innovative gadgets nowadays:-)
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    But the new generations of Russians are becoming softer and softer and Russian military has not been tested in a recent conflict against a peer just like the US one has not.
     
    Generally legitimate point but it will require a very expanded answer. I will, at some point, elaborate on it--there are some serious nuances.

    The second major disadvantage of the Russian MIC is that US has a huge market of allies which it ruthlessly milks for weapons procurement, whilst when Russia sells an S300 to Cyprus it lands in the hands of the Israelis to be cracked. Even after such experience Russia engages in an apparently serious discussion to sell S400 to Turkey, straight into NATO hands. To put it mildly – Russia has to nurture the BRICS defense market, although most of the customers are copy artists, China being the master copier.
     
    Largely true. However, in serious signal processing systems such as radar, sonar, combat control (management) systems etc. the main secret are mathematics (algorithms). Just to give you an example, it was impossible for China to copy any software from any Russian-made systems. As an example, Shtil Air Defense complexes which went to China after she bought Project 956 destroyers in 1990s are defended such way that any attempt to tamper with their (and other systems') brains results in a clean slate. It is true today also, actually, especially today. China now is receiving full Russian "version" of SU-35 and of S-400, they still will not be able to copy it. Mimic somewhat? Yes. After all they do have their own S-300 knock offs. Copy? No. They will try, of course but, say, SU-35 engine and avionics is still beyond their reach.

    Having criticised you too much, now I have to admit that I do not understand how Russia can get on average 5X more bang for the buck than US, sometimes more. Does Russian MIC operate some underground former mine facilities in which these engineering slaves design all these wonderful military toys and then build them at the cost of sustenance?
     
    I believe Ondrej made a good, albeit partial case, for you in his response. Let me put it this way--viewing Russia's public schools' 8-9th grade books on math and physics (and chemistry) may create a state of shock in many, even elite, US schools and not among students only I know.
    , @Max Steel
    There is a slight flaw in your comment.

    Israeli used Greece's S-300 PMU-1 to prepare their F-16I pilots for potential air strikes on Iran .

    we still don't know which version went to Iran so if they practice on the S-300PMU-1 and Iran gets the S-300VM it will be like practising on a home cat and then going against a tiger.

    Even US and UK had older S-300 models with them. US has S-300PS/PMU systems at Nevada. It has same value as figuring out Turkish F-16 from Egyptian/Pakistan/UAE/Taiwan /Korean.



    But yes earlier S-300 models are not completely protected Israel succeeded where many in NATO failed against even an old system like PMU. Regarding S-300PMU, it has been upgraded substantially in previous years.


    Its guidance system is literally unjammable unless huge resources are dedicated, ie broadband noise jamming of the most powerful kind.

    Though recently Israel announced that it is upgrading its F-16 variants external link to be able to handle the vaunted Russian S-300 anti-aircraft system. Iran is perennially about to receive shipments of the system. But mere intention does not mean they have managed to do so.

    It was the middle of the 1990s and money was nonexistent in Russia . They sold components of an S-300V battery to the US... likely the oldest model they had that was incomplete.With the money they made they upgraded the whole system to S-300VM or Antei-2500.So in effect the US paid for the next generation to replace the generation that was compromised.And the S-300V was in service in most former Soviet republics so chances were eventually they would get their hands on it anyway... at least this way they got their own funding to develop a replacement system.
  54. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @inertial
    A good informative article. Unfortunately it suffers from the typical poor understanding of the economic and financial realities.

    No, "Wall Street economic indices" are not meaningless. And you do have to care about the Russian stock market. Its small size relative to the economy is a cause for concern. In general, Russian financial system is too weak, too small and shallow for an economy of this size. This is not surprising, as it is very new. Hopefully it will grow to its proper dimensions.

    Incidentally, Putin and his government seem to understand these things, even if many others don't.

    Hopefully it will grow to its proper dimensions.

    So, Facebook’s capitalization of 400 billion, that is for company which produces nothing of real value (in fact, is detrimental to mental health of the society) is a true size of economy.

    https://ycharts.com/companies/FB/market_cap

    Mind you–this is for a collection of several buildings, servers and about 200-300 pages of code in whatever they wrote it (C++, C whatever–make your pick).

    Meanwhile, Gazprom, which is an energy monster is about…10 times less.

    https://ycharts.com/companies/OGZPY/market_cap

    Here is a dilemma. Gazprom extracts and delivers energy without which Eurasia can not exist. Facebook? Turn it off tomorrow and bar some impressionable teenagers committing suicide, the world will continue on living just fine. But that is just one example. You will not find, however, such a hi-tech monster as Rostec on any financial market. For a corporate giant which employs half-a-million people and produces state of the art weapon systems and civilian products–ask yourself a question whose “capitalization” is more important for economy–of useless Facebook or of the corporation which produces civilian jet engines. But let me add insult to injury. While Facebook “capitalizes” on almost half-trillion, a gem of the American industry, aerospace giant Boeing barely makes it to 109 billion. Most US economic indices are fraud, the same as most of US economy is virtual–a collection of virtual transactions with virtual money and virtual services. i am not talking, of course, about stock buybacks. As I already stated, nobody of any serious expertise in actual things that matter, treats this whole US “economic” data seriously. The problem here is that many in US establishment do and that is a clear and present danger to both US and world at large because constant and grotesque overestimation of own capabilities becomes a matter of policy, not a one-off accident.

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    • Replies: @AP

    While Facebook “capitalizes” on almost half-trillion, a gem of the American industry, aerospace giant Boeing barely makes it to 109 billion.
     
    Indeed. And Tesla is now "worth" more than Ford, on paper:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/business/tesla-ford-general-motors-stock-market.html?_r=0
    , @Verymuchalive
    The financialisation of the economy has been a disaster in most Western countries, especially for manufacturing companies. I had personal dealings with Pilkingtons, a World-leading British glass company. At the first opportunity, the Banks and other corporate investors sold it to a Japanese competitor. Pilkingtons is now a branch operation and has lost its research base.
    Mr Putin seems to realise the importance of indigenous manufacturing industry- and not only for defence- related purposes. So the capitalisation of such companies has been treated with great caution, e g Gazprom. I could be wrong, of course.
    So I must ask if you think Mr Putin has an Advanced Manufacturing Strategy in place, like Eamonn Fingleton sees in Japan, Korea, Germany etc.
    , @inertial
    You just illustrated my point. Facebook vs. Gazprom market caps - all that shows is that Facebook has access to vastly larger amounts of capital than Gazprom. Well, duh.

    Market capitalization is determined mostly by institutional investors - mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, etc. - who pool private savings and channel them into various investments. There are massive amounts of such savings available in USA; in Russia, not so much.

    In Russia, the government is just about the only major saver and investor. This works fine in areas where the government must play a role, such as weapons manufacture. In other areas, enterprises that need capital to develop must either accumulate it themselves over the years (which puts limit on growth,) or get the government to help them out, or borrow abroad at usurious rates. That's not good. Ideally, Russian enterprises should enter Russian stock or fixed income market and raise as much capital as they need.

    As for Boeing, yes it's a gem. But it does have some difficulties in raising capital. It's been balancing on the edge of bankruptcy for years and, unlike Facebook, it has huge liabilities. Incidentally, Boeing very much engages in all that "useless" high finance stuff. The buy and sell and issue bonds and short term paper; I don't know if they issue options but they certainly trade them. They don't believe that they are performing "virtual transactions with virtual money;" on the contrary, they consider this and essential part of the business, as important as building engines or whatever. Perhaps they know something you don't?

    Finally, a tip. Any "expert" who doesn't treat US (or other) economic data seriously is an idiot.
    , @Anon

    Here is a dilemma. Gazprom extracts and delivers energy without which Eurasia can not exist. Facebook? Turn it off tomorrow and bar some impressionable teenagers committing suicide, the world will continue on living just fine. But that is just one example. You will not find, however, such a hi-tech monster as Rostec on any financial market. For a corporate giant which employs half-a-million people and produces state of the art weapon systems and civilian products–ask yourself a question whose “capitalization” is more important for economy–of useless Facebook or of the corporation which produces civilian jet engines. But let me add insult to injury. While Facebook “capitalizes” on almost half-trillion, a gem of the American industry, aerospace giant Boeing barely makes it to 109 billion. Most US economic indices are fraud, the same as most of US economy is virtual–a collection of virtual transactions with virtual money and virtual services.
     
    The above is a classic example of elementalism. It is a flawed perspective. Humans do not need much more than clean air, clean shelter, food, water and perhaps some antibiotics to live perfectly well. Every desire is born of the limbic system, which includes the hippocampus and the amygdala.

    Don't speak so dismissively of Virtual Reality.
  55. I think this is a good article. I say “I think so” because the truth of the matter is that I lack the detailed domain knowledge to be able to evaluate it very well.

    The comment I would make about it (which is not a critique of the article per se) is that Russia (or the USSR speaking more precisely) did suffer a horrendous defeat from which it is still recovering — I mean, in the Cold War. However, that defeat was not military in nature. It was entirely political/psychological/ideological. (N.B. The complete neocon/zionist takeover of the U.S. and other Western countries also occurred without firing a shot, no?)

    Anyway, no grand battles occurred like Stalingrad or Kursk, yet somehow the USSR was as defeated a nation in the 1990′s as Germany was in 1945! In my view, the AngloZionists would be more interested in repeating that feat, than actually getting into a real hot war. That, also, would be their template for defeating China, as opposed to getting into some land war in Asia.

    I assume the above, because I have the tendency to think they are crazy, but not that crazy. But… that said, I don’t know for sure either. Maybe they really are that crazy and I just don’t want to believe it. After all, it’s really terrifying to think they are insane on that level.

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  56. Russia is in the position to be king maker out of China & US.

    Think about it Russia collapses & disintergrates, Siberia goes to China, which with all this land mass, energy reserves and population overtakes the US to become leading superpower. Ask yourself is that what the US wants?

    Or

    China betrays Russia, Russia then goes on to be US bitch, allows US missile defence to encircle China with US bases. China looses a key friend at the UN, when the SHTF in Tibet, Tywan or Hong Kong China finds its self alone. Is that what China wants?

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  57. @Kiza
    Congratulations on the article Andrei. As another commenter said - I do not agree with everything in the article, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    I also fully support your answers to Karlin, he often barks up a wrong tree.

    Now the main issue with your article that I have is the same old issue that I always had with your comments. You start from the right premise and then you blow it up beyond recognition. In other words, you are too optimistic. For example, it is a very good point that the Russian and US perceptions of war are totally different: for a Russian the war is a fight for survival as an individual and as a nation, for a US person war and killing are just another day in the office. Then you start counting weapons and comparing weapons technology specifications and always conclude that Russian is better and cheaper, even when there is no direct comparison of effectiveness in battle.

    In other words, if your top level goal is to counter the ubiquitous US MIC propaganda with the Russian MIC propaganda, then you are doing a good job. But never forget the Motke's dictum: no wonderful battle plan survives contact with the enemy. I accept that the mercenairy armies, like the US one, are not very good when dying starts, they totally rely on military superiority which does not exist against Russia and soon will not exist against China. But the new generations of Russians are becoming softer and softer and Russian military has not been tested in a recent conflict against a peer just like the US one has not.

    The second major disadvantage of the Russian MIC is that US has a huge market of allies which it ruthlessly milks for weapons procurement, whilst when Russia sells an S300 to Cyprus it lands in the hands of the Israelis to be cracked. Even after such experience Russia engages in an apparently serious discussion to sell S400 to Turkey, straight into NATO hands. To put it mildly - Russia has to nurture the BRICS defense market, although most of the customers are copy artists, China being the master copier.

    Having criticised you too much, now I have to admit that I do not understand how Russia can get on average 5X more bang for the buck than US, sometimes more. Does Russian MIC operate some underground former mine facilities in which these engineering slaves design all these wonderful military toys and then build them at the cost of sustenance? Lower Russian wages and US MIC's extraordinary greed still cannot fully explain such huge difference. Is it some amazing corruption-free project management skills inherited from Soviet Union?

    As someone who has had experience with the weaponry of both sides, I have always been a fan of Russian engineering simplicity and reliability in design. Most people are familiar with this design philosophy through experience with Kalashnikov rifle, but this is a general design principle of all Russian weapons, even the sophisticated ones (probably even S500). Admittedly, the Chinese apply a similar principle in their engineering, although not at the same level - I remember well the shock of my Western colleagues when they realised that the Chinese Long March rockets utilised plywood where they utilised (at that time) very expensive carbon fibre and other composites.

    Having criticised you too much, now I have to admit that I do not understand how Russia can get on average 5X more bang for the buck than US, sometimes more.

    Superb and efficient educational system of USSR. Last generation is in their forties.
    Rules –
    1. push what you can into children when they young and train them properly
    2. Go fast, finish University in 22 – go to production and learn from olders
    3. Go trough Army service (only when you are already extremely good you are exempt)

    This gives you head start, you are conditioned to design things that work.

    Problem with many current – not only military products, that their designers often do not have idea how they are used..

    You simply can not take classes of ergonomic design and design even hammer correctly as it is often case with different innovative gadgets nowadays:-)

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  58. @reiner Tor

    The WW1 preemptive war argument does have a lot of merit.
     
    Czar Nicholas II could've simply told the Serbs to comply with the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum. Actually, that was the first reaction of Russian government circles (harboring terrorists was not looked upon very nicely in Russia where the grandfather of the Czar was murdered by similar terrorists), but then they changed their minds.

    In any event, WW1 was a blunder for almost all involved - all countries that participated could've easily stayed out, and with a few exceptions (perhaps Romania and Japan? maybe even China?) none had any significant benefits relative to the enormous costs. Not even the US.

    You and your responders are obviously not Russian, because you exhibit a terribly superficial knowledge of the pre WW1 Europe and Russia. You must have learned your history in US or British schools.

    The situation in Europe in 1914 was much, much more complicated than your simple minds could comprehend. The key factor was the crumbling of the Ottoman Empire and the power vacuum that this has created in the Balkans. This has encouraged all European powers of the time, from U.K., through Germany and Austro-Hungarian Empire, all the way to Russia to have designs for the area. Russia actually cultivated most Serbian nationalistic groups to counter the influence of U.K. and Germany/Austria in the Balkans. Therefore, Russia just did not let its Balkan proxies, the Serbs, down when attacked by Austro-Hungary, but it was involved in what was happening in the Balkans even before the war started. Yes, there was internal opposition in Russia against getting involved in the Balkans, but the non-interventionists lost. The U.K. was trying to prop up the dying Turkish Empire to remain an enemy of Russia, Germany and Austro-Hungary were trying to acquire as much new territory and population in the Balkans as possible. Russia just could not allow the Catholic Austro-Hungary to strengthen further after the annexation of Bosnia in 1908. France was on the same side. And so on.

    Is it not amazing how most of Western history of WW1 starts with Archduke’s assassination in Sarajevo, instead of power vacuum in Southeast Europe and aggressive imperial designs at the turn of the century? It is typical Western bullshit history. Nobody had evil intentions, everybody was just dragged into WW1.

    You can observe that today’s Russians are blaming the Germans for sending the half-Jewish Lenin with a trainload of gold to foment Bolshevik (Jewish) revolution in Russia and cause Tsar family’s deaths, instead of the Serbs who were defending themselves against an expansionist Catholic Empire. It is mainly the British and US “historians”, and their Russian liberals who are blaming the Serbs for WW1, the same old, same old Anglo-Zionist bull.

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    • Replies: @Zzz

    Russians blaming the Germans for sending the half-Jewish Lenin with a trainload of gold to foment Bolshevik (Jewish) revolution
     

    Russian who are blaming the Serbs for WW1
     
    Are the same people.
  59. @Randal
    An excellent and very useful piece, thanks, even if I don't agree with all of it. Certainly many good and important points are made. I would share most of Anatoly Karlin's points above, both in terms of points of agreement and disagreement.

    But when it comes down to the big picture, I think focussing on technologies and doctrines and even crystallised military capabilities is a mistake if you are trying to see long term trends. Such things come and go, and are always in any event shrouded in uncertainty and ignorance. Nobody except a very few (and they aren't talking) really knows what our own side has, and even they don't really know what the other side has, and neither side really knows how their own systems will perform, or how each side's systems will interact in the crucible of war.

    If we are going to speculate about medium term power trends, then we need to look at the underlying basics, which for military power are economic strength (for which the best, albeit imperfect, measure we have is gdp using ppp) and population. Here are the relevant figures:

    Share of world gdp, ppp:

    US
    2020 14.878%
    2015 15.809%
    2010 16.846%
    2000 20.76%

    China
    2020 19.351%
    2015 17.082%
    2010 13.822%
    2000 7.389%


    Russia
    2020 2.836%
    2015 3.275%
    2010 3.641%
    2000 3.294%

    Source IMF per economywatch.com

    Population (2017):

    China: 1,388,232,693

    US: 326,474,013

    Russia: 143,375,006

    These are the basic sinews of world power, at least as far as fully developed countries are concerned (which Russia and the US certainly are, and China nowadays largely is).

    When relative economic strength is changing, military power lags by decades because many of the systems, technologies and institutions can only be built on such timescales. That is why China's military capabilities are so far behind their current economic status. It is also why it is all but certain that China's relative military strength will continue to increase dramatically, relative to all rivals, for decades to come.

    To compare with past world power levels, when the US dominated and the Soviet Union was its rival in the mid-C20th (1950), the US accounted for 27.3% of world gdp, and the Soviet Union had around a third of that, with Britain in third place. In 1913 just before the European powers and Britain committed their suicide by world war, the US accounted for 18.9% of world gdp, with the British Empire just behind and Germany and Russia on about half as much each, but the US was in the position of China today with its relative military power lagging behind its growing economic strength (in 1870 the US share of world gdp had been less than half that of the British Empire).

    The trend of the past decades has been for a steady decline of the US's share of world gdp from its 1950 peak of 27% to only 16% today. There's no reason to expect that trend to halt, so it is just a matter of time before the military balance shifts. In the past, this would likely have been uncovered by a catastrophic military defeat at the hands of a rising power, and that might yet happen, but we now live in the dubious shade of the nuclear peace and so things might be different.

    The figures however make it perfectly clear that the only plausible peer rival to the US in the medium term is China, and not Russia, regardless of current military capabilities.

    Randal, what do you think happens if neutron star approaches red giant? US GDP contains a lot of things that are irrelevant to fighting wars. Is US going to hit Russia with nice shoes, highly apprised real estate or S&P500? Creative accounting is another thing that makes US GDP larger than it really is.

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    • Replies: @inertial

    US GDP contains a lot of things that are irrelevant to fighting wars.
     
    You say it as though it's a bad thing.
  60. @Andrei Martyanov

    Hopefully it will grow to its proper dimensions.
     
    So, Facebook's capitalization of 400 billion, that is for company which produces nothing of real value (in fact, is detrimental to mental health of the society) is a true size of economy.

    https://ycharts.com/companies/FB/market_cap

    Mind you--this is for a collection of several buildings, servers and about 200-300 pages of code in whatever they wrote it (C++, C whatever--make your pick).

    Meanwhile, Gazprom, which is an energy monster is about...10 times less.

    https://ycharts.com/companies/OGZPY/market_cap

    Here is a dilemma. Gazprom extracts and delivers energy without which Eurasia can not exist. Facebook? Turn it off tomorrow and bar some impressionable teenagers committing suicide, the world will continue on living just fine. But that is just one example. You will not find, however, such a hi-tech monster as Rostec on any financial market. For a corporate giant which employs half-a-million people and produces state of the art weapon systems and civilian products--ask yourself a question whose "capitalization" is more important for economy--of useless Facebook or of the corporation which produces civilian jet engines. But let me add insult to injury. While Facebook "capitalizes" on almost half-trillion, a gem of the American industry, aerospace giant Boeing barely makes it to 109 billion. Most US economic indices are fraud, the same as most of US economy is virtual--a collection of virtual transactions with virtual money and virtual services. i am not talking, of course, about stock buybacks. As I already stated, nobody of any serious expertise in actual things that matter, treats this whole US "economic" data seriously. The problem here is that many in US establishment do and that is a clear and present danger to both US and world at large because constant and grotesque overestimation of own capabilities becomes a matter of policy, not a one-off accident.

    While Facebook “capitalizes” on almost half-trillion, a gem of the American industry, aerospace giant Boeing barely makes it to 109 billion.

    Indeed. And Tesla is now “worth” more than Ford, on paper:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/business/tesla-ford-general-motors-stock-market.html?_r=0

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    • Agree: Andrei Martyanov
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Indeed. And Tesla is now “worth” more than Ford, on paper:
     
    Faced with the choice between most expensive Tesla and new F-150 truck for free--I would choose Tesla, sell it back to dealership or would find some moron from Redmond/Kirkland area and sell Tesla to him and then would go buy F-150 and would use the rest of the money for other useful purposes, such as donating to animal shelter or will help some family in need. I certainly would make sure that I have the access to a bottle or two of really good bourbon to celebrate my new F-150. I wish, though, that Subaru made trucks.
  61. @Anonymous
    Russia spent almost 5.4% of GDP on military spending. The US last year spent 3.3% and with Trump's proposed increase this number will increase by a few decimal points.

    Russia is a middle income country while the US is a rich country, in the top 10 of GDP per capita. If oil prices don't substantially improve and Russia continues to spend the way it does on the military it will simply go broke.

    Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)_per_capita (Russia is between Mexico and Suriname)

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

    “Russia is a middle income country while the US is a rich country, in the top 10 of GDP per capita.” this is very funny, how about the 20 trillions of US national debt and it is skyrocketing fast? If you only count asset without counting liability US maybe in the top 10 GDP per capita, but if you count net asset the US is in the negative GDP per capita, a broke nation. Perhaps it is American Exceptionalism logic, claiming credit where credit is not due, living in a world detached from reality.

    “If oil prices don’t substantially improve and Russia continues to spend the way it does on the military it will simply go broke.” this is even funnier, Russian does not use USD in Russia, nor Russian government pay its MIC in USD, meanwhile Russian Central Bank can print Ruble thru the thin air just like the Fed, why does oil price have any relationship with Russian internal spending? Another example of “completely triumphalist and detached from Russia’s economic realities” which is defined by meaningless Wall Street economic indices and snakeoil economic theories and rhetoric taught in the western universities.

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    • Replies: @Erebus

    Russian Central Bank can print Ruble thru the thin air just like the Fed
     
    No, it cannot.
    The Russian Central Bank, like all "emerging market" central banks are treaty bound to print local currency only in a prescribed ratio to their "hard currency" reserves. The latter are the USD, the UKP, the EUR, the JPY, and now the CNY.
    As IMF treaties are considered International Treaties, they stand above the law of the land.
    These treaties are the instruments whereby the US' IMF-USD $ystem keeps the dollar in demand, and extracts value from the "3rd world" which are thereby forced to sell raw commodities to print enough currency to develop their internal economies. Of course, they can never really sell enough, and so they stay where they are.
    So, when the USM buys some insanely expensive aircraft carrier, or fighter aircraft, the rest of the world pays for it. In turn, the US uses that same carrier or aircraft to enforce the treaties. A self-reinforcing arrangement that allows the US and its allies to enjoy all the benefits of thievery over honest toil. "Extraordinary privilege", DeGaulle called it.

    The Russian Central Bank is doubly constrained by virtue of its (American authored) constitution which all but prohibits its restructuring.

    You can read a rather lengthy, but eye opening treatise on this subject here:
    http://lit.md/files/nstarikov/rouble_nationalization-the_way_to_russia%27s_freedom.pdf
  62. @Anonymouse
    You're gloating, Art. Many jews have been leaving Israel for many years for fear of their personal safety. Others remain. Gloating this way reflects a mean spirit.

    You’re gloating, Art. Many jews have been leaving Israel for many years for fear of their personal safety. Others remain. Gloating this way reflects a mean spirit.

    Pointing out the evils of Zionist Israel is not mean – it is crucial.

    Exposing Judaism and Zionism for their backward ways is the only path to a peaceful just world.

    The Kushner White House is now pushing us to war in N Korea.

    Congress must stop this – but they cannot because Jews control them also.

    Peace — Art

    p.s. Good god – Trump is sending two more carrier groups to Korea!

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    • Replies: @Z-man
    Korea?, no big deal as far as I'm concerned. Let's bomb that fat boy to submission. It's when we blindly support that dirty little country occupying the Holy Land, that's when I get my blood pressure up!
  63. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @AP

    While Facebook “capitalizes” on almost half-trillion, a gem of the American industry, aerospace giant Boeing barely makes it to 109 billion.
     
    Indeed. And Tesla is now "worth" more than Ford, on paper:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/business/tesla-ford-general-motors-stock-market.html?_r=0

    Indeed. And Tesla is now “worth” more than Ford, on paper:

    Faced with the choice between most expensive Tesla and new F-150 truck for free–I would choose Tesla, sell it back to dealership or would find some moron from Redmond/Kirkland area and sell Tesla to him and then would go buy F-150 and would use the rest of the money for other useful purposes, such as donating to animal shelter or will help some family in need. I certainly would make sure that I have the access to a bottle or two of really good bourbon to celebrate my new F-150. I wish, though, that Subaru made trucks.

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  64. I seriously doubt the author’s statement:

    Germany cannot design and build from scratch a state of the art fighter jet …

    Seriously? The technological & industrial genius of Germany could not produce it’s own jet fighter?
    After all, they designed & built the world’s first fighter jet, the ME 262, ‘The Swallow’.

    Laughable.

    Granted, AFAIK, it’s current fighters are ‘collaborative’ with other Europeans.
    IOW, Germany did the heavy lifting.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Germany did the heavy lifting.
     
    Sir, before writing something, at least study subject a bit. Euro Fighter (Typhoon) is a thoroughly British effort initially, with engines being based on Rolls Royce XG-40 and avionics being, for the lack of better word, American, Italian, what have you, but not German. Yes, MTU was involved in some form in developing some Euro Jet EJ200 components but it will take a whole lot of space to explain to you what is "cooperative" effort in military aviation.

    After all, they designed & built the world’s first fighter jet, the ME 262, ‘The Swallow’.
     
    Actually:

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

    Just as the matter of general education, but here is the deal: Chinese invented gun powder, so what? When and if Germany will be able to produce something comparable to MiG-29SMT, forget about SU-35, not to speak of T-50, then we may start looking into German "genius". In order for you to understand what I am trying to convey to you, one has to have understanding of what enclosed technological cycle is. But I am sure, if MTU will be asked they will come up immediately with the fifth generation jet engine, right? After all, it is so simple and I am not talking about such things as designing the air-frames. US has expertise on that on several orders of magnitude than Germany and look where it got US with F-35;)
  65. @anon
    "The US lacks a coherent defensive military doctrine"..

    Which is hardly surprising since its only two bordering countries are very weak and zero military threat. It is also moated by two huge oceans. The USA could spend virtually nothing on its military and (with a sound immigration policy and secure borders) be perfectly safe. But the American political establishment are not content with this. They seek hegemony. It all started with Woodrow Wilson who refused to mind his business and stay out of war in 1917.

    The Spanish-American War was completely unnecessary for U.S. security. The acquisition of the Phillipines put us on a collision course with Japan and even today we suffer the burden of strategically useless economic parasite of Puerto Rico.

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    • Replies: @Corvinus
    "The Spanish-American War was completely unnecessary for U.S. security."

    At the time, yes. In the long run, no.

    "The acquisition of the Phillipines put us on a collision course with Japan..."

    Imperialistic ambitions in the Pacific by the U.S. and Japan put our nations on a path to fight.
    , @anon
    Yes of course, you are right. The 1898 war with Spain was 100% a war of choice for America. Without it, it was certainly possible war with Japan could have been avoided. Also agree that Puerto Rico has proven to be utterly worthless to America. Should be given its independence ASAP.
  66. @DannyMarcus
    There is a very important and perhaps most decisive aspect of possible US war with Russia or China, which is completely missing in Andrei Martyanov piece and the related comments.
    Don't you think European NATO countries, as well as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan will loudly resist, when their very well-being and existences is utterly jeopardized by American ambitions for hegemony well beyond its shores?
    I imagine and hope that well before a shooting war breaks out with Russia or China, US' present subservient allies will show enough courage to put the brakes on American designs long before any future global wars involving their vital interest is invoked.
    The South Koreans, over 10 million of whom are living in Seoul, are most likely right now pressing the Trump Administration hard to avoid any foolhardy military adventures in North Korea.
    The Europeans, Japanese, South Koreans and the Taiwanese are the best hope of stopping American adventurism because in the final analysis they will refuse to be the sheep marching willingly to the slaughterhouse of a WWIII.

    The South Koreans, over 10 million of whom are living in Seoul, are most likely right now pressing the Trump Administration hard to avoid any foolhardy military adventures in North Korea.

    Too late – Trump is sending in two more carrier groups.

    US Deploys Two More Aircraft Carriers Toward Korean Peninsula: Yonhap

    According to a report by South Korea’s primary news outlet, Yonhap, the Pentagon has directed a total of three US aircraft carriers toward the Korean Peninsula, citing a South Korean government source.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-17/us-deploys-two-more-aircraft-carriers-toward-korean-peninsula-yonhap

    This is insane – another preventive war like Iraq – but on China and Russia’s doorstep.

    Congress must stop this!

    Peace — Art

    Read More
  67. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Kiza
    Congratulations on the article Andrei. As another commenter said - I do not agree with everything in the article, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    I also fully support your answers to Karlin, he often barks up a wrong tree.

    Now the main issue with your article that I have is the same old issue that I always had with your comments. You start from the right premise and then you blow it up beyond recognition. In other words, you are too optimistic. For example, it is a very good point that the Russian and US perceptions of war are totally different: for a Russian the war is a fight for survival as an individual and as a nation, for a US person war and killing are just another day in the office. Then you start counting weapons and comparing weapons technology specifications and always conclude that Russian is better and cheaper, even when there is no direct comparison of effectiveness in battle.

    In other words, if your top level goal is to counter the ubiquitous US MIC propaganda with the Russian MIC propaganda, then you are doing a good job. But never forget the Motke's dictum: no wonderful battle plan survives contact with the enemy. I accept that the mercenairy armies, like the US one, are not very good when dying starts, they totally rely on military superiority which does not exist against Russia and soon will not exist against China. But the new generations of Russians are becoming softer and softer and Russian military has not been tested in a recent conflict against a peer just like the US one has not.

    The second major disadvantage of the Russian MIC is that US has a huge market of allies which it ruthlessly milks for weapons procurement, whilst when Russia sells an S300 to Cyprus it lands in the hands of the Israelis to be cracked. Even after such experience Russia engages in an apparently serious discussion to sell S400 to Turkey, straight into NATO hands. To put it mildly - Russia has to nurture the BRICS defense market, although most of the customers are copy artists, China being the master copier.

    Having criticised you too much, now I have to admit that I do not understand how Russia can get on average 5X more bang for the buck than US, sometimes more. Does Russian MIC operate some underground former mine facilities in which these engineering slaves design all these wonderful military toys and then build them at the cost of sustenance? Lower Russian wages and US MIC's extraordinary greed still cannot fully explain such huge difference. Is it some amazing corruption-free project management skills inherited from Soviet Union?

    As someone who has had experience with the weaponry of both sides, I have always been a fan of Russian engineering simplicity and reliability in design. Most people are familiar with this design philosophy through experience with Kalashnikov rifle, but this is a general design principle of all Russian weapons, even the sophisticated ones (probably even S500). Admittedly, the Chinese apply a similar principle in their engineering, although not at the same level - I remember well the shock of my Western colleagues when they realised that the Chinese Long March rockets utilised plywood where they utilised (at that time) very expensive carbon fibre and other composites.

    But the new generations of Russians are becoming softer and softer and Russian military has not been tested in a recent conflict against a peer just like the US one has not.

    Generally legitimate point but it will require a very expanded answer. I will, at some point, elaborate on it–there are some serious nuances.

    The second major disadvantage of the Russian MIC is that US has a huge market of allies which it ruthlessly milks for weapons procurement, whilst when Russia sells an S300 to Cyprus it lands in the hands of the Israelis to be cracked. Even after such experience Russia engages in an apparently serious discussion to sell S400 to Turkey, straight into NATO hands. To put it mildly – Russia has to nurture the BRICS defense market, although most of the customers are copy artists, China being the master copier.

    Largely true. However, in serious signal processing systems such as radar, sonar, combat control (management) systems etc. the main secret are mathematics (algorithms). Just to give you an example, it was impossible for China to copy any software from any Russian-made systems. As an example, Shtil Air Defense complexes which went to China after she bought Project 956 destroyers in 1990s are defended such way that any attempt to tamper with their (and other systems’) brains results in a clean slate. It is true today also, actually, especially today. China now is receiving full Russian “version” of SU-35 and of S-400, they still will not be able to copy it. Mimic somewhat? Yes. After all they do have their own S-300 knock offs. Copy? No. They will try, of course but, say, SU-35 engine and avionics is still beyond their reach.

    Having criticised you too much, now I have to admit that I do not understand how Russia can get on average 5X more bang for the buck than US, sometimes more. Does Russian MIC operate some underground former mine facilities in which these engineering slaves design all these wonderful military toys and then build them at the cost of sustenance?

    I believe Ondrej made a good, albeit partial case, for you in his response. Let me put it this way–viewing Russia’s public schools’ 8-9th grade books on math and physics (and chemistry) may create a state of shock in many, even elite, US schools and not among students only I know.

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    • Replies: @Kiza
    Ok. so the secret of Russian military project effectiveness is that there are no congressional districts and power plays to divvy up the military budget not based on merit and proven capability than based on the power of the district's Congressional and/or Senatorial whore. Then, there are no MIC billionaires to skim the pie. Then the engineers works for reasonable salaries with a highly respected bonus of patriotism. Then there is an excellent well established educational system (for the whites) which puts accent on physics, maths and real technical building skills, supported by mentorship by experienced engineers, instead of putting accent on lying, financial market wizardry (again manipulation), MBAs, whilst training blacks to become engineers and importing engineers from India. Finally, there is the accumulated project experience and cooperative networks from building good weaponry during the days of Soviet Union, in which Russia quickly and effectively replaced sometimes dysfunctional pieces of network which dropped out, especially the important ones from Ukraine. I am truly amazed how quickly the Russian military manufacturing network compensates and adjusts for the loss of any piece.

    Have I answered my own question of how Russia produces on average 5X more bang for the buck (or more precisely, almost the same bang for five times less buck) than the US MIC? Am I missing any other component of success?

  68. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Ondrej

    Having criticised you too much, now I have to admit that I do not understand how Russia can get on average 5X more bang for the buck than US, sometimes more.
     
    Superb and efficient educational system of USSR. Last generation is in their forties.
    Rules -
    1. push what you can into children when they young and train them properly
    2. Go fast, finish University in 22 - go to production and learn from olders
    3. Go trough Army service (only when you are already extremely good you are exempt)

    This gives you head start, you are conditioned to design things that work.

    Problem with many current - not only military products, that their designers often do not have idea how they are used..

    You simply can not take classes of ergonomic design and design even hammer correctly as it is often case with different innovative gadgets nowadays:-)

    Some very good points you made.

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    • Replies: @Ondrej
    Having recent experience in teaching in former socialist country and remembering and comparing with past I must say...

    It is quite painful to watch horrors of destruction of once functional educational system of your own country which is trying to mimic current trends in western education.

    I guess in Russia, given by typical Slavic tendency to extremes, is even more horrible. But it looks like they do get it and they have still chance revert this trend.

    First step is always to recognize problem, which is in my opinion given by public discussions such as
    http://lastcall.su
  69. @Andrei Martyanov

    When relative economic strength is changing, military power lags by decades because many of the systems, technologies and institutions can only be built on such timescales.
     
    Russia is a very special case here--this is one of the points which is missed completely from "western" discussion. The empirical evidence is in and it overwhelmingly supports my, now academic, contention that "western" metrics for Russia do not work, nor most of the "experts" know what they are talking about, even when they have almost unrestricted access to sources. The way US "missed" Russia's military transformation which started in earnest in 2008 and completed its first phase by 2012 (4 years, you are talking about decades) is nothing short of astonishing. Combination of ignorance, hubris and downright stupidity are responsible for all that.

    P.S. No serious analyst takes US GDP as 18 trillion dollars seriously. A huge part of it is a creative bookkeeping and most of it is financial and service sector. Out of very few good things Vitaly Shlykov left after himself was his "The General Staff And Economics", which addressed the issue of actual US military-industrial potential. Then come strategic, operational and technological dimensions. You want to see operational dimension--look no further than Mosul which is still, after 6 months, being "liberated". Comparisons to Aleppo are not only warranted but irresistible. In general, overall power of the state (nation) is not only in its "economic" indices. I use Barnett's definition of national power constantly, remarkably Lavrov's recent speech in the General Staff Academy uses virtually identical definition.

    Russia is a very special case here–this is one of the points which is missed completely from “western” discussion. The empirical evidence is in and it overwhelmingly supports my, now academic, contention that “western” metrics for Russia do not work, nor most of the “experts” know what they are talking about,

    Hey Smoothie,
    Loved this informative piece.

    On the military aspect, I’ll take your assessments without any salt at all, for I do believe the U.S. has been tracking a technologically shallower but cost wise steeper trajectory.

    I think Russians are a highly gifted lot, able to do wonders mostly on account of their deep science & mathematics bench.

    Yet I also think Randal is mostly right about economic strength playing a vital, even decisive role in overall strength in the longer run. There are no countries which can match the U.S. in the department of raw economic endowments.

    China comes closest to exceeding the overall size of the U.S.economy, based on a combination of sheer population, relentless mercantilism combined with extractive labour policies over the last five decades or more. All of which has also propelled them to achieve technological capabilities not far behind many western European states.

    The U.S is eminently capable of really, I mean really increasing military spending without breaking a sweat. But that is not the goal in itself. It needs to come down hard on MIC waste, which if done successfully can change things around very quickly. Imagine a U.S. spending an efficient 7-10% of GDP on this, in which case I see its competitors doing little else besides gearing their entire economies to armaments, and then failing to keep up. I am confident if such a race ensued there’d be a global run to purchase U.S. assets, even as capital controls are put into action.

    The troubles of the U.S have stemmed from a paucity of far-sighted leaders of late. I am still hoping Mr Trump comes through, and there are signs he will. We should be establishing a truly friendly relationship with Russia and focusing our resources on joint goals of a far loftier nature than besting each other on wartime toys.

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    • Replies: @bluedog
    Hmm first we would have to rebuild our manufacturing sector seeing most of our goods including military are outsourced out, and I question the raw economics endowment what ever they are, and then you have to retrain the workers for the old class is gone and the new isn't all that inclined to work, and who would want to invest in a hallowed out economy, trillions in debt more trillions in future liabilities trillions in derivitives little to no natural resources left military projects milked to the bone months years overdue I'm afraid your caught in the light on the hill we are exceptional bit but I presume that's to be expected..
    , @Ondrej

    There are no countries which can match the U.S. in the department of raw economic endowments.
     
    I will add bit of Central Europe perspective:-)

    Products of US economic endowments which I use in Europe or see some value in them:

    a) Military Complex (waste of money)
    b) Boeing (OK that is serious, not flying much lately)
    c) Hollywod movies (huge industry, some movies are good but mostly rubbish)
    d) Coca-Cola (sometimes nice - but can live without it)
    e) MacDonald (only in rush for their car ride)
    f) Microsoft Windows (I hate it)
    g) Apple products (well I have still preference for them, but they are mostly produced in China anyway)
    h) Harley-Davidson (not any value for me, but it is as American as it can be:-)

    To be honest, I am more interested if I have heated home and electricity runnig, provided in form of nuclear, gas or oil fuel from Russia + some Siemens technology provided by Germany for Electrical Grid regulation and function of PowerPlants..

    , @NoseytheDuke
    The troubles of the US of late have largely stemmed from having an insatiable parasite on its back sucking all that it can from the military and the economy in general whilst simultaneously plotting to undermine it.

    The senseless wars in the ME to provide Israel with "security", the billions of dollars in "loans" that will never be repaid, the vast amounts of military hardware worth billions declared as "scrap" and given to Israel, what a great investment it all has been.

    No doubt millions of Americans will welcome more degradation of their cities and infrastructure in order to field a larger military since it cares for the fruit of their loins so well AND has accomplished so much good in the world with the trillions already squandered at the behest of the Neocon Israel Firsters.

    You sure have your finger on America's pulse Shammy and clearly want nothing but the best for the American people, right? What a tosser!
    , @Kiza

    It [US] needs to come down hard on MIC waste, which if done successfully can change things around very quickly.
     
    Gee Sam, you are totally lost in your understanding of US problems.

    Firstly, US military budget is significantly more than presented because the whole budget has been divided between different government departments. For example, nuclear weapons are under the Department of Energy, the huge ongoing cost of Veterans' health is under Department of Health budget, the free money to Israel is under the Foreign Affairs and so on. Overall, about 40% of the US military budget is hidden, which means that US spends not 2.5% of GDP on the military then probably around 4.5%.

    Secondly, if US were to bump up the military budget to 7-10% this could come only either at the expense of money printing machines running even hotter than super hot QE1,QE2,QE3 (what Trump is doing) or by increasing taxes on a quite depressed economy in which retail spending has almost collapsed. I cannot believe that you are suggesting this, maybe you are too close to your Fed buddies.

    Thirdly, the idea of "coming down hard on MIC waste" is utterly ridiculous because the "MIC waste" is the Deep State profit and we just had an illustration of what happens with those who oppose the Deep State. In other words, only God could come down on US MIC waste, the Presidents can only pretend.

    Since Russia and China started replacing US$ as a reserve and exchange currency, the clock has been ticking for the money printers such as the Fed and Trump. When the amount of US$ returning to US starts exceeding the amount bought by foreigners, then the inflation will explode to the German one of the 1920s.The US$ is still strong, not because of its intrinsic value then thanks to skillful FX market manipulation and thanks to 10-12 aircraft carrier groups.

    Trump is now amassing three carrier groups near North Korea, Russia and China. What do you think would happen to US$ if even one of those carriers gets sunk?

  70. @inertial
    A good informative article. Unfortunately it suffers from the typical poor understanding of the economic and financial realities.

    No, "Wall Street economic indices" are not meaningless. And you do have to care about the Russian stock market. Its small size relative to the economy is a cause for concern. In general, Russian financial system is too weak, too small and shallow for an economy of this size. This is not surprising, as it is very new. Hopefully it will grow to its proper dimensions.

    Incidentally, Putin and his government seem to understand these things, even if many others don't.

    That’s just bankster propaganda. In truth, anything past 5% (generously) for the financial sector is just parasitism. The US S&P 500 hovers around 30% financial sector. That’s just elites extracting resources from productive people.

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  71. @Intelligent Dasein
    I've come to the conclusion that it is the probable consensus among America's Deep State elites, as exemplified by the truly evil Hillary Clinton, that an all-out war with Russia which totally devastates Russia but leaves America just barely standing, would, notwithstanding the rivers of blood and the chaos unleashed, be an acceptable outcome as long as the blasted rump of America, namely the Deep State itself, gets to subsequently enthrone itself as the unchallenged world hegemon. The Deep State views the entirety of America's economic and military might, as well as the lives of its citizens, as merely a means to this end.

    I also believe that Russia's strategists and state-level actors have come to the same conclusion regarding America's designs. This is the strategic situation that Russia is up against, and this is why Russia has wisely prepared itself to fight a defensive war of astonishing proportions. And for the sake of the human race, for the peace of men of good will everywhere, I would advise Russia that when dealing with a cranky, feeble, delusional, and senile Uncle Sam, it is not possible to be too paranoid. You will not be up against a rational actor if and when this war breaks out. Whatever zany, desperate, and counterproductive gambits you can imagine the USA making, they will not be worse than what these people are capable of.

    As an American myself, I would have liked to have been a patriot. If my country must go to war, I would have liked to be on my country's side. But the bitter truth is that my government is something the world would be better off without. Russia has the moral high ground in this conflict. Hopefully that, and the strength of its arms, will be enough.

    The great tragedy of the 20th century was that all the wrong people won the major wars. Whether it was Chiang Kai-shek in China or Hitler and Mussolini in Europe, or the Kaiser and the House of Hapsburg before them, the real heroes, the ones who were however ineffectively and confusedly on the side of Right, suffered defeat at the hands of the evil imperialists. We cannot allow that to happen again. I know who I will be supporting if it comes to war.

    Long live king and country. God bless the patriots, wherever they be. Hail victory.

    I think the military and intelligence guys (and the big contractors) need Russia as the enemy, the bogeyman, probably many of them were secretly disappointed back then when the Soviet Union collapsed. The Deep State wants an endless race, a race where America is always leading but not by too much. A Cold War with a worthy opponent, not with tinpot third world dictatorships. Many of them don’t even hate Russia, even respects it to some extent. Now they are probably happy that the old days are back.

    On the other hand there are of course real Russophobes, who really want to win and finish the “job” that was left unfinished in the 90′s according to their view. They want regime change in Russia and preferably break it up, with all the republics of the RF declaring independence etc. Brzezinski, McCain or the neocons are like that. But they don’t want WW3 either, they are not nutcases, just they want to settle an account with Russia badly.

    Regarding Russian military they are still 20 years behind on average, the gap didn’t close since Soviet times, if anything, it widened in many respects.
    US military might is still unique and unrivaled, on the long run China has the most chance to challenge it. Russia is simply too poor, an economic dwarf compared to China (China is the workshop of the world, Russia mostly exports raw materials), also it’s population is probably too small.

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    • Replies: @Joe Wong
    "still 20 years behind on average?" since you are fabricating thru the thin air, why did you stop at 20 years? Why didn't you say 30 years behind, 40 years behind, ... ? You should know fake news is always fake new regardless it is a small fake news or a big fake news.
    , @AtomAnt
    "Regarding Russian military they are still 20 years behind on average"

    Dude, you're delusional. The US military is to a large extent a paper tiger. Example: Aircraft carriers are not survivable against Russian or Chinese missiles and subs. They are good for bombing 3rd world countries only, like 19th century gunboats (plus fattening MIC coffers). Example: A Rand report found the F-35 "can't turn, can't climb, isn't fast enough to run away".
    I would argue nothing is as important as missile technology. Russia may be leading in that.
    Furthermore, the US has lower income and less capital now than 20 years ago. Russia has a central bank focused on rational economics rather than milking the country for billionaires' sake. They insist on positive interest rates so savers get the benefit of their money. That's why Russia is growing albeit slowly while the US regresses.
    The US will find fighting Russia is not like fighting Arabs. (Remember what some Israeli general said about fighting Arabs.) The US hasn't fought without air superiority in over 74 years.
    Note the moral dimension, also. The US has to pay its military 2X the equivalent private sector wages, because no one wants to die for Lockheed Martin.
    , @NoseytheDuke
    Did you skip the article and go straight to comments?
  72. @Andrei Martyanov

    Hopefully it will grow to its proper dimensions.
     
    So, Facebook's capitalization of 400 billion, that is for company which produces nothing of real value (in fact, is detrimental to mental health of the society) is a true size of economy.

    https://ycharts.com/companies/FB/market_cap

    Mind you--this is for a collection of several buildings, servers and about 200-300 pages of code in whatever they wrote it (C++, C whatever--make your pick).

    Meanwhile, Gazprom, which is an energy monster is about...10 times less.

    https://ycharts.com/companies/OGZPY/market_cap

    Here is a dilemma. Gazprom extracts and delivers energy without which Eurasia can not exist. Facebook? Turn it off tomorrow and bar some impressionable teenagers committing suicide, the world will continue on living just fine. But that is just one example. You will not find, however, such a hi-tech monster as Rostec on any financial market. For a corporate giant which employs half-a-million people and produces state of the art weapon systems and civilian products--ask yourself a question whose "capitalization" is more important for economy--of useless Facebook or of the corporation which produces civilian jet engines. But let me add insult to injury. While Facebook "capitalizes" on almost half-trillion, a gem of the American industry, aerospace giant Boeing barely makes it to 109 billion. Most US economic indices are fraud, the same as most of US economy is virtual--a collection of virtual transactions with virtual money and virtual services. i am not talking, of course, about stock buybacks. As I already stated, nobody of any serious expertise in actual things that matter, treats this whole US "economic" data seriously. The problem here is that many in US establishment do and that is a clear and present danger to both US and world at large because constant and grotesque overestimation of own capabilities becomes a matter of policy, not a one-off accident.

    The financialisation of the economy has been a disaster in most Western countries, especially for manufacturing companies. I had personal dealings with Pilkingtons, a World-leading British glass company. At the first opportunity, the Banks and other corporate investors sold it to a Japanese competitor. Pilkingtons is now a branch operation and has lost its research base.
    Mr Putin seems to realise the importance of indigenous manufacturing industry- and not only for defence- related purposes. So the capitalisation of such companies has been treated with great caution, e g Gazprom. I could be wrong, of course.
    So I must ask if you think Mr Putin has an Advanced Manufacturing Strategy in place, like Eamonn Fingleton sees in Japan, Korea, Germany etc.

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  73. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Wally
    I seriously doubt the author's statement:

    Germany cannot design and build from scratch a state of the art fighter jet ...
     
    Seriously? The technological & industrial genius of Germany could not produce it's own jet fighter?
    After all, they designed & built the world's first fighter jet, the ME 262, 'The Swallow'.

    Laughable.

    Granted, AFAIK, it's current fighters are 'collaborative' with other Europeans.
    IOW, Germany did the heavy lifting.

    Germany did the heavy lifting.

    Sir, before writing something, at least study subject a bit. Euro Fighter (Typhoon) is a thoroughly British effort initially, with engines being based on Rolls Royce XG-40 and avionics being, for the lack of better word, American, Italian, what have you, but not German. Yes, MTU was involved in some form in developing some Euro Jet EJ200 components but it will take a whole lot of space to explain to you what is “cooperative” effort in military aviation.

    After all, they designed & built the world’s first fighter jet, the ME 262, ‘The Swallow’.

    Actually:

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

    Just as the matter of general education, but here is the deal: Chinese invented gun powder, so what? When and if Germany will be able to produce something comparable to MiG-29SMT, forget about SU-35, not to speak of T-50, then we may start looking into German “genius”. In order for you to understand what I am trying to convey to you, one has to have understanding of what enclosed technological cycle is. But I am sure, if MTU will be asked they will come up immediately with the fifth generation jet engine, right? After all, it is so simple and I am not talking about such things as designing the air-frames. US has expertise on that on several orders of magnitude than Germany and look where it got US with F-35;)

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    • Replies: @Z-man
    This reminds me of the line from 'Ice Station Zebra' by the Patrick McGoohan played character 'David Jones of MI6', "The Russians put our (Brits) camera made by *our* German scientists and your (US) film made by *your* German scientists into their satellite made by *their* German scientists." LOL! Exaggeration of course but funny and somewhat true.
    , @Wally
    You really need to know what you are talking about:

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

    About "Lyulka"?

    "In 1945-47 he designed the first Soviet jet engine".

    Hoisted by your own petard.

  74. ,

    There is wisdom to the old adage “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. Your WW1 rant is lacking in accurate facts and the actual facts that you refer to are misapplied subsequently your logic is flawed and you find yourself in the oft quoted IBM construct of GIGO.

    The genesis and the triggers for the eruption of WW1 are broad and complex and could generally be put in the context of the colloquial term ” a perfect storm”. Your Slavic tinted glasses illuminate only a tip of the tip of the iceberg as it were. I state this in the spirit of constructive criticism.

    Cheers-

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  75. @Andrei Martyanov
    Some very good points you made.

    Having recent experience in teaching in former socialist country and remembering and comparing with past I must say…

    It is quite painful to watch horrors of destruction of once functional educational system of your own country which is trying to mimic current trends in western education.

    I guess in Russia, given by typical Slavic tendency to extremes, is even more horrible. But it looks like they do get it and they have still chance revert this trend.

    First step is always to recognize problem, which is in my opinion given by public discussions such as

    http://lastcall.su

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  76. @Sam Shama

    Russia is a very special case here–this is one of the points which is missed completely from “western” discussion. The empirical evidence is in and it overwhelmingly supports my, now academic, contention that “western” metrics for Russia do not work, nor most of the “experts” know what they are talking about,
     
    Hey Smoothie,
    Loved this informative piece.

    On the military aspect, I'll take your assessments without any salt at all, for I do believe the U.S. has been tracking a technologically shallower but cost wise steeper trajectory.

    I think Russians are a highly gifted lot, able to do wonders mostly on account of their deep science & mathematics bench.

    Yet I also think Randal is mostly right about economic strength playing a vital, even decisive role in overall strength in the longer run. There are no countries which can match the U.S. in the department of raw economic endowments.

    China comes closest to exceeding the overall size of the U.S.economy, based on a combination of sheer population, relentless mercantilism combined with extractive labour policies over the last five decades or more. All of which has also propelled them to achieve technological capabilities not far behind many western European states.

    The U.S is eminently capable of really, I mean really increasing military spending without breaking a sweat. But that is not the goal in itself. It needs to come down hard on MIC waste, which if done successfully can change things around very quickly. Imagine a U.S. spending an efficient 7-10% of GDP on this, in which case I see its competitors doing little else besides gearing their entire economies to armaments, and then failing to keep up. I am confident if such a race ensued there'd be a global run to purchase U.S. assets, even as capital controls are put into action.

    The troubles of the U.S have stemmed from a paucity of far-sighted leaders of late. I am still hoping Mr Trump comes through, and there are signs he will. We should be establishing a truly friendly relationship with Russia and focusing our resources on joint goals of a far loftier nature than besting each other on wartime toys.

    Hmm first we would have to rebuild our manufacturing sector seeing most of our goods including military are outsourced out, and I question the raw economics endowment what ever they are, and then you have to retrain the workers for the old class is gone and the new isn’t all that inclined to work, and who would want to invest in a hallowed out economy, trillions in debt more trillions in future liabilities trillions in derivitives little to no natural resources left military projects milked to the bone months years overdue I’m afraid your caught in the light on the hill we are exceptional bit but I presume that’s to be expected..

    Read More
  77. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @DannyMarcus
    There is a very important and perhaps most decisive aspect of possible US war with Russia or China, which is completely missing in Andrei Martyanov piece and the related comments.
    Don't you think European NATO countries, as well as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan will loudly resist, when their very well-being and existences is utterly jeopardized by American ambitions for hegemony well beyond its shores?
    I imagine and hope that well before a shooting war breaks out with Russia or China, US' present subservient allies will show enough courage to put the brakes on American designs long before any future global wars involving their vital interest is invoked.
    The South Koreans, over 10 million of whom are living in Seoul, are most likely right now pressing the Trump Administration hard to avoid any foolhardy military adventures in North Korea.
    The Europeans, Japanese, South Koreans and the Taiwanese are the best hope of stopping American adventurism because in the final analysis they will refuse to be the sheep marching willingly to the slaughterhouse of a WWIII.

    If these countries really wanted to stop the USA, why not make the American troops leave their countries?

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  78. @Diversity Heretic
    The Spanish-American War was completely unnecessary for U.S. security. The acquisition of the Phillipines put us on a collision course with Japan and even today we suffer the burden of strategically useless economic parasite of Puerto Rico.

    “The Spanish-American War was completely unnecessary for U.S. security.”

    At the time, yes. In the long run, no.

    “The acquisition of the Phillipines put us on a collision course with Japan…”

    Imperialistic ambitions in the Pacific by the U.S. and Japan put our nations on a path to fight.

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  79. @Intelligent Dasein
    I've come to the conclusion that it is the probable consensus among America's Deep State elites, as exemplified by the truly evil Hillary Clinton, that an all-out war with Russia which totally devastates Russia but leaves America just barely standing, would, notwithstanding the rivers of blood and the chaos unleashed, be an acceptable outcome as long as the blasted rump of America, namely the Deep State itself, gets to subsequently enthrone itself as the unchallenged world hegemon. The Deep State views the entirety of America's economic and military might, as well as the lives of its citizens, as merely a means to this end.

    I also believe that Russia's strategists and state-level actors have come to the same conclusion regarding America's designs. This is the strategic situation that Russia is up against, and this is why Russia has wisely prepared itself to fight a defensive war of astonishing proportions. And for the sake of the human race, for the peace of men of good will everywhere, I would advise Russia that when dealing with a cranky, feeble, delusional, and senile Uncle Sam, it is not possible to be too paranoid. You will not be up against a rational actor if and when this war breaks out. Whatever zany, desperate, and counterproductive gambits you can imagine the USA making, they will not be worse than what these people are capable of.

    As an American myself, I would have liked to have been a patriot. If my country must go to war, I would have liked to be on my country's side. But the bitter truth is that my government is something the world would be better off without. Russia has the moral high ground in this conflict. Hopefully that, and the strength of its arms, will be enough.

    The great tragedy of the 20th century was that all the wrong people won the major wars. Whether it was Chiang Kai-shek in China or Hitler and Mussolini in Europe, or the Kaiser and the House of Hapsburg before them, the real heroes, the ones who were however ineffectively and confusedly on the side of Right, suffered defeat at the hands of the evil imperialists. We cannot allow that to happen again. I know who I will be supporting if it comes to war.

    Long live king and country. God bless the patriots, wherever they be. Hail victory.

    Those who fought for the Entente in the Great War fought for the sake of the Third World.

    Veterans Day should be abolished immediately. Memorial Day is enough.

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  80. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Diversity Heretic
    The Spanish-American War was completely unnecessary for U.S. security. The acquisition of the Phillipines put us on a collision course with Japan and even today we suffer the burden of strategically useless economic parasite of Puerto Rico.

    Yes of course, you are right. The 1898 war with Spain was 100% a war of choice for America. Without it, it was certainly possible war with Japan could have been avoided. Also agree that Puerto Rico has proven to be utterly worthless to America. Should be given its independence ASAP.

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  81. @DannyMarcus
    There is a very important and perhaps most decisive aspect of possible US war with Russia or China, which is completely missing in Andrei Martyanov piece and the related comments.
    Don't you think European NATO countries, as well as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan will loudly resist, when their very well-being and existences is utterly jeopardized by American ambitions for hegemony well beyond its shores?
    I imagine and hope that well before a shooting war breaks out with Russia or China, US' present subservient allies will show enough courage to put the brakes on American designs long before any future global wars involving their vital interest is invoked.
    The South Koreans, over 10 million of whom are living in Seoul, are most likely right now pressing the Trump Administration hard to avoid any foolhardy military adventures in North Korea.
    The Europeans, Japanese, South Koreans and the Taiwanese are the best hope of stopping American adventurism because in the final analysis they will refuse to be the sheep marching willingly to the slaughterhouse of a WWIII.

    Eu, japan, taiwaneses, south koreans…Their governements are all puppets, whores of washington, the people doesnt matter, we (I am european) have no voice- All westerns politics are the same whores. Countrys and people have no value. Only globalists are going for bussines. Rusia is the great premium: The major land in the world—

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  82. @SmoothieX12

    The points you make with respect to capitalization of Facebook and other totally worthless social media constructs in comparison to actual entities that produce something, anything that you could stub your foot on, be it good or not is brilliant in that it exposes the sham of GDP and GNP tabulations.

    Question: I read about 10 years ago of an incident where an American carrier group was sailing on in it’s merry way in waters that I can’t now recall when a couple of Sukhois came in undetected and screamed over the actual aircraft carrier at mast level at the maximum speed that the altitude would allow. The carrier group immediately did a 180 and got the hell out of Dodge. The Admiral was supposedly called on the carpet afterwards as to why he altered course without prior approval and he stuck to his guns and said that his responsibility was for the safety of his group first and foremost and that was that.

    I have been unable to substantiate this episode. Has it been brushed from the internet or did I fall for a Russian (internet) hoax? I remember mentioning it to some senior Russian officers at a Canadian multi national English language course at an army base close to me and they were non committal in their answers and basically looked guardedly at me as if I were a spook of sorts.

    Any knowledge of this supposed incident from you would be much appreciated. By the way the event that I am referring to is not to be mistaken with the relatively recent Black Sea incident (USS Donald Cook).

    Cheers-

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    • Replies: @ThatDamnGood
    Kitty Hawk.

    http://mobile.wnd.com/2000/12/2254/
    , @Andrei Martyanov
    There were many cases of Russian SU-24, TU-142, Tu-22s flying over one of the US carriers. Here is one such case:

    http://freebeacon.com/national-security/two-russian-bombers-buzz-u-s-aircraft-carrier/

    Nothing secret about it. Roger Thompson in his seminal work on US Navy gives a recount of number of such cases:

    https://www.usni.org/store/books/clear-decks-50-90/lessons-not-learned

    There is nothing secret really about it, except for reputational losses. Cases of breaking through US Carrier Battle Groups air defense and ASW screens are very numerous. As per this USS Donald Cook "affair", which continues to dominate many "military" forums--a complete baloney, of course, SU-24 are simply not equipped for alleged "burning of circuits" and "shutting down radars". Here I discuss a little bit the issue.

    http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2016/05/so-much-for-trumps-new-foreign-policy.html
  83. @Erebus
    Yes, thank you for an excellent summation of the situation.

    The owners of the US face an Either/Or moment. Either they abandon their ambitions of Global Hegemony, and retreat to attempt to rule over N. America (with some residual dreams of ruling C. & S. America to sweeten the pot) or they go for broke.

    Unlike Dasein, I have no doubt that any dreams of Global Hegemony will come crashing to ground if any sort of a war breaks out. Putin has made it perfectly plain. Russia will never allow itself to be invaded again. That means something, and what it means is that Russia will take the fight to the enemy when it sees its red lines crossed.
    The continental US can be thrown into socio-political-economic collapse with 3 dozen Kalibrs aimed at critical nodes in the national electrical grid. With no prospect of electricity being revived, the now largely urban population would find itself instantly transported to 1900 with none of the skills and infrastructure that kept a pre-electrified rural society fed and secure. If the subs and/or TU-160s are in place, that's 45-90 minutes without a single nuke fired.

    No mushroom clouds or devastated cities, yet, but the Either/Or moment will become acute indeed. One can hope that we'll be rejoicing that America's owners follow their internationalistic instincts when that moment has passed.

    “The continental US can be thrown into socio-political-economic collapse with 3 dozen Kalibrs aimed at critical nodes in the national electrical grid. With no prospect of electricity being revived, the now largely urban population would find itself instantly transported to 1900 with none of the skills and infrastructure that kept a pre-electrified rural society fed and secure. If the subs and/or TU-160s are in place, that’s 45-90 minutes without a single nuke fired.”

    You have nut-jobs in Congress talking out hacking being an act of war and planners talking about massive NATO reponse as being appropriate … can one seriously believe the US would not repond with nukes in the event of such an attack, even though it is non-nuclear?

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    • Replies: @Erebus
    I understand that there would be great hue and cry to take revenge. That is why I wrote (with a correction in bold):

    One can hope that we'll be rejoicing that America's owners followed their internationalistic instincts when that moment has passed.
     
    America's owners aren't necessarily American. That the civilizational consequences of America's death be limited to the N. American continent is in their interest, and they would make that interest known.
    The geo-political consequences of an attack on the grid in response to a US/NATO attack on Russia would be that the US would instantly cease to be a military/economic power for at least several generations. The Great Game would be over. If the US came back with a nuclear response, they know well that Russia's counter-response would simply extend that timeline. Perhaps to infinity. IOW, other than suicidal madness, there is no geo-political reason to respond, and there'd be every reason to take the hit and try to rebuild.

    Likewise, Russia's politicians would be hard pressed to resist responding to an American nuclear attack in kind, but the fact is that there would be no military purpose to doing so. The US would be finished as a world power. Vaporizing 200M people would be of no military value. Better to keep what's left of your nuclear forces intact so you don't have to rebuild them.
  84. @Sam Shama

    Russia is a very special case here–this is one of the points which is missed completely from “western” discussion. The empirical evidence is in and it overwhelmingly supports my, now academic, contention that “western” metrics for Russia do not work, nor most of the “experts” know what they are talking about,
     
    Hey Smoothie,
    Loved this informative piece.

    On the military aspect, I'll take your assessments without any salt at all, for I do believe the U.S. has been tracking a technologically shallower but cost wise steeper trajectory.

    I think Russians are a highly gifted lot, able to do wonders mostly on account of their deep science & mathematics bench.

    Yet I also think Randal is mostly right about economic strength playing a vital, even decisive role in overall strength in the longer run. There are no countries which can match the U.S. in the department of raw economic endowments.

    China comes closest to exceeding the overall size of the U.S.economy, based on a combination of sheer population, relentless mercantilism combined with extractive labour policies over the last five decades or more. All of which has also propelled them to achieve technological capabilities not far behind many western European states.

    The U.S is eminently capable of really, I mean really increasing military spending without breaking a sweat. But that is not the goal in itself. It needs to come down hard on MIC waste, which if done successfully can change things around very quickly. Imagine a U.S. spending an efficient 7-10% of GDP on this, in which case I see its competitors doing little else besides gearing their entire economies to armaments, and then failing to keep up. I am confident if such a race ensued there'd be a global run to purchase U.S. assets, even as capital controls are put into action.

    The troubles of the U.S have stemmed from a paucity of far-sighted leaders of late. I am still hoping Mr Trump comes through, and there are signs he will. We should be establishing a truly friendly relationship with Russia and focusing our resources on joint goals of a far loftier nature than besting each other on wartime toys.

    There are no countries which can match the U.S. in the department of raw economic endowments.

    I will add bit of Central Europe perspective:-)

    Products of US economic endowments which I use in Europe or see some value in them:

    a) Military Complex (waste of money)
    b) Boeing (OK that is serious, not flying much lately)
    c) Hollywod movies (huge industry, some movies are good but mostly rubbish)
    d) Coca-Cola (sometimes nice – but can live without it)
    e) MacDonald (only in rush for their car ride)
    f) Microsoft Windows (I hate it)
    g) Apple products (well I have still preference for them, but they are mostly produced in China anyway)
    h) Harley-Davidson (not any value for me, but it is as American as it can be:-)

    To be honest, I am more interested if I have heated home and electricity runnig, provided in form of nuclear, gas or oil fuel from Russia + some Siemens technology provided by Germany for Electrical Grid regulation and function of PowerPlants..

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  85. @Andrei Martyanov

    Hopefully it will grow to its proper dimensions.
     
    So, Facebook's capitalization of 400 billion, that is for company which produces nothing of real value (in fact, is detrimental to mental health of the society) is a true size of economy.

    https://ycharts.com/companies/FB/market_cap

    Mind you--this is for a collection of several buildings, servers and about 200-300 pages of code in whatever they wrote it (C++, C whatever--make your pick).

    Meanwhile, Gazprom, which is an energy monster is about...10 times less.

    https://ycharts.com/companies/OGZPY/market_cap

    Here is a dilemma. Gazprom extracts and delivers energy without which Eurasia can not exist. Facebook? Turn it off tomorrow and bar some impressionable teenagers committing suicide, the world will continue on living just fine. But that is just one example. You will not find, however, such a hi-tech monster as Rostec on any financial market. For a corporate giant which employs half-a-million people and produces state of the art weapon systems and civilian products--ask yourself a question whose "capitalization" is more important for economy--of useless Facebook or of the corporation which produces civilian jet engines. But let me add insult to injury. While Facebook "capitalizes" on almost half-trillion, a gem of the American industry, aerospace giant Boeing barely makes it to 109 billion. Most US economic indices are fraud, the same as most of US economy is virtual--a collection of virtual transactions with virtual money and virtual services. i am not talking, of course, about stock buybacks. As I already stated, nobody of any serious expertise in actual things that matter, treats this whole US "economic" data seriously. The problem here is that many in US establishment do and that is a clear and present danger to both US and world at large because constant and grotesque overestimation of own capabilities becomes a matter of policy, not a one-off accident.

    You just illustrated my point. Facebook vs. Gazprom market caps – all that shows is that Facebook has access to vastly larger amounts of capital than Gazprom. Well, duh.

    Market capitalization is determined mostly by institutional investors – mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, etc. – who pool private savings and channel them into various investments. There are massive amounts of such savings available in USA; in Russia, not so much.

    In Russia, the government is just about the only major saver and investor. This works fine in areas where the government must play a role, such as weapons manufacture. In other areas, enterprises that need capital to develop must either accumulate it themselves over the years (which puts limit on growth,) or get the government to help them out, or borrow abroad at usurious rates. That’s not good. Ideally, Russian enterprises should enter Russian stock or fixed income market and raise as much capital as they need.

    As for Boeing, yes it’s a gem. But it does have some difficulties in raising capital. It’s been balancing on the edge of bankruptcy for years and, unlike Facebook, it has huge liabilities. Incidentally, Boeing very much engages in all that “useless” high finance stuff. The buy and sell and issue bonds and short term paper; I don’t know if they issue options but they certainly trade them. They don’t believe that they are performing “virtual transactions with virtual money;” on the contrary, they consider this and essential part of the business, as important as building engines or whatever. Perhaps they know something you don’t?

    Finally, a tip. Any “expert” who doesn’t treat US (or other) economic data seriously is an idiot.

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    • Replies: @bb.
    not treating US data seriously is obviously hyperbole, but incidentally a very on spot one in this case.
    all things being equal, you are right about market formation and capitalization. but these are not normal times. nobody really knows whats going to happen when the shit, which is the US stock market QE fueled ponzi scheme, hits the fan. it is very hard to take the subprime, derivative, QE, buyback economy of the last almost 20 years seriously.
    it is also false to say that zuckerbook is useless. it generates way too much money(compared to twitter or tesla) to make that statement. in general, it is hard to estimate the value and effectiveness of marketing expenses and facebook put a decent metric on it, better than google to some extent.
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    Market capitalization is determined mostly by institutional investors – mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, etc. – who pool private savings and channel them into various investments. There are massive amounts of such savings available in USA; in Russia, not so much.
     
    Sure, and that is why a company which produces nothing of value "commands" the so called "investments" which are several times larger than those of Boeing who is de facto US national treasure and who, as you stated, has problems with raising "capital". That pretty much says it all. Again, I omit here the trick with stock buybacks. But in the end, you seem to miss completely the point--structure of GDP.

    You may go here and see for yourself how FIRE overtook manufacturing in US in output. What is "output", of course, remains a complete mystery, same as many other services, once one considers the "quality" of education in US public schools which reflects in the most profound way on US labor force which increasingly begins to look like a third world one.

    https://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTable.cfm?ReqID=51&step=1#reqid=51&step=51&isuri=1&5114=a&5102=15

    In general, we speak here different languages and I may only refer you back to Michael Lind's quote in my text. Judged in a larger, geopolitical framework, one can observe very clearly the process of US literally running out of resources and no amount of "raised capital" can change it. This is not to speak about the whole house of cards of Pax Americana which rested on US military imperial mythology. Once this mythology is debunked (the process which is ongoing as I type it) the house of cards folds.
  86. @Andrei Martyanov

    The S400 is a great example of Russian simplicity
     
    It is a very complex weapon system, whose actual combat potential is highly classified. From people who serve on it, and I quote:"mind boggling capabilities". Latest modifications of S-300 seem almost tame in comparison and S-300 (PMU, Favorit) is a superb complex. Once S-500 comes online, well--it is a different game altogether from there.

    Well, it shouldn’t be that complicated because it has to be used rapidly. Hopefully it is easy for the user to operate it.
    Thanks for the reply.

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  87. @Ondrej

    There are no countries which can match the U.S. in the department of raw economic endowments.
     
    I will add bit of Central Europe perspective:-)

    Products of US economic endowments which I use in Europe or see some value in them:

    a) Military Complex (waste of money)
    b) Boeing (OK that is serious, not flying much lately)
    c) Hollywod movies (huge industry, some movies are good but mostly rubbish)
    d) Coca-Cola (sometimes nice - but can live without it)
    e) MacDonald (only in rush for their car ride)
    f) Microsoft Windows (I hate it)
    g) Apple products (well I have still preference for them, but they are mostly produced in China anyway)
    h) Harley-Davidson (not any value for me, but it is as American as it can be:-)

    To be honest, I am more interested if I have heated home and electricity runnig, provided in form of nuclear, gas or oil fuel from Russia + some Siemens technology provided by Germany for Electrical Grid regulation and function of PowerPlants..

    You are coming as a very pragmatic sort of a man ;)

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    • Replies: @Ondrej
    Just for your warning - well, bit of cultural and genetical conditioning helps in this case.

    As one of my grandfathers was helping in early stages of establishing https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comecon.

    Unfortunately, I did not have chance to discuss these issues with him.

    Unfortunately, depending on point view, I am not enough pragmatic for current ideologically driven socio-economical society ;-)
  88. Any military conflict between Russia and US is bound to degenerate into nuclear war. That’s because only degenerates can plan such event and even try to predict “survivability” of such war. I believe only recently US funded a study to explore the outcome of such conflict. You don’t have to be military genius to realize that the odds are in Russia’s favor.

    How so? Simple. More than half of US population lives in 30 major cities. Russia’s population is much more dispersed. I think I read somewhere that during the cold war US had enough nukes to destroy every USSR city of 10 000 and more inhabitants. Still, the Russians can inflict far more casualties targeting far fewer cities than US can.

    For those who think that western weapons are superior because they are more complicated – perfection is always simple.

    One of the most symptomatic examples of what’s wrong with American military technology is F35. At the end of the cold war the feeling of omnipotence has spread into their military technology. F35 was supposed to do the job of what previously used to be done by several different planes. It was supposed to be a ground support, vertical takeoff, interceptor, aircraft carrier based, bomber, air superiority fighter plane.

    While they were at it, why they didn’t include in their specifications ability to fly to the moon, be used as a cargo plane, awacs, fuel refueling tanker and passenger plane. When something is designed to be universally good at different tasks it usually ends not being particularly good at any of them.

    Congratulations on your first article Andrei, keep up the good work.

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  89. @Sergey Krieger
    Randal, what do you think happens if neutron star approaches red giant? US GDP contains a lot of things that are irrelevant to fighting wars. Is US going to hit Russia with nice shoes, highly apprised real estate or S&P500? Creative accounting is another thing that makes US GDP larger than it really is.

    US GDP contains a lot of things that are irrelevant to fighting wars.

    You say it as though it’s a bad thing.

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    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    No, I am just trying to look at it from the point of view currently discussed. Namely Russian GDP is being mocked as an inadequate to stand up to USA in military terms.
    I am just pointing that what GDP consists of is far more important that nominal size of it.
    Namely, Italy might have a large share of GDP coming from tourist industry and designers shoes and other garments. . How is it relevant to military power?
    US GDP also is full of basically fraudulent valuations. Tesla as it was pointed is just one example and Facebook and others are another.
  90. @Art
    You’re gloating, Art. Many jews have been leaving Israel for many years for fear of their personal safety. Others remain. Gloating this way reflects a mean spirit.

    Pointing out the evils of Zionist Israel is not mean - it is crucial.

    Exposing Judaism and Zionism for their backward ways is the only path to a peaceful just world.

    The Kushner White House is now pushing us to war in N Korea.

    Congress must stop this - but they cannot because Jews control them also.

    Peace --- Art

    p.s. Good god – Trump is sending two more carrier groups to Korea!

    Korea?, no big deal as far as I’m concerned. Let’s bomb that fat boy to submission. It’s when we blindly support that dirty little country occupying the Holy Land, that’s when I get my blood pressure up!

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    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
    What if the fat boy (and the NK people) feel that they need those weapons for defensive purposes? After all, it wasn't too long ago that Korea was invaded by the US (plus a few satraps) and millions of Koreans were killed. Who are we in the west to interfere with NK?
    , @Kiza
    You are stupid, are you not?
  91. […]  • 3,200 WORDS • 93 COMMENTS • REPLY […]

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  92. @Andrei Martyanov

    Germany did the heavy lifting.
     
    Sir, before writing something, at least study subject a bit. Euro Fighter (Typhoon) is a thoroughly British effort initially, with engines being based on Rolls Royce XG-40 and avionics being, for the lack of better word, American, Italian, what have you, but not German. Yes, MTU was involved in some form in developing some Euro Jet EJ200 components but it will take a whole lot of space to explain to you what is "cooperative" effort in military aviation.

    After all, they designed & built the world’s first fighter jet, the ME 262, ‘The Swallow’.
     
    Actually:

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

    Just as the matter of general education, but here is the deal: Chinese invented gun powder, so what? When and if Germany will be able to produce something comparable to MiG-29SMT, forget about SU-35, not to speak of T-50, then we may start looking into German "genius". In order for you to understand what I am trying to convey to you, one has to have understanding of what enclosed technological cycle is. But I am sure, if MTU will be asked they will come up immediately with the fifth generation jet engine, right? After all, it is so simple and I am not talking about such things as designing the air-frames. US has expertise on that on several orders of magnitude than Germany and look where it got US with F-35;)

    This reminds me of the line from ‘Ice Station Zebra’ by the Patrick McGoohan played character ‘David Jones of MI6′, “The Russians put our (Brits) camera made by *our* German scientists and your (US) film made by *your* German scientists into their satellite made by *their* German scientists.” LOL! Exaggeration of course but funny and somewhat true.

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  93. @DannyMarcus
    There is a very important and perhaps most decisive aspect of possible US war with Russia or China, which is completely missing in Andrei Martyanov piece and the related comments.
    Don't you think European NATO countries, as well as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan will loudly resist, when their very well-being and existences is utterly jeopardized by American ambitions for hegemony well beyond its shores?
    I imagine and hope that well before a shooting war breaks out with Russia or China, US' present subservient allies will show enough courage to put the brakes on American designs long before any future global wars involving their vital interest is invoked.
    The South Koreans, over 10 million of whom are living in Seoul, are most likely right now pressing the Trump Administration hard to avoid any foolhardy military adventures in North Korea.
    The Europeans, Japanese, South Koreans and the Taiwanese are the best hope of stopping American adventurism because in the final analysis they will refuse to be the sheep marching willingly to the slaughterhouse of a WWIII.

    There are a lot of nations wanting wars between USA, Russia and China, from top of the list is Japan, India, UK, … They believe they will be the next global hegemons standing on the ashes of USA, Russia and China.

    Taiwanese are mentally colonized Japanese wannabes, they will be happy just returning to the Japanese colony status.

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  94. @inertial

    US GDP contains a lot of things that are irrelevant to fighting wars.
     
    You say it as though it's a bad thing.

    No, I am just trying to look at it from the point of view currently discussed. Namely Russian GDP is being mocked as an inadequate to stand up to USA in military terms.
    I am just pointing that what GDP consists of is far more important that nominal size of it.
    Namely, Italy might have a large share of GDP coming from tourist industry and designers shoes and other garments. . How is it relevant to military power?
    US GDP also is full of basically fraudulent valuations. Tesla as it was pointed is just one example and Facebook and others are another.

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    • Replies: @inertial
    I agree with you. I just wish that Russian GDP had a lot more of those non-military components.

    Incidentally, market cap has nothing to do with GDP. I'm pretty sure that Facebook's contribution to GDP is minuscule.
  95. @anonHUN
    I think the military and intelligence guys (and the big contractors) need Russia as the enemy, the bogeyman, probably many of them were secretly disappointed back then when the Soviet Union collapsed. The Deep State wants an endless race, a race where America is always leading but not by too much. A Cold War with a worthy opponent, not with tinpot third world dictatorships. Many of them don't even hate Russia, even respects it to some extent. Now they are probably happy that the old days are back.

    On the other hand there are of course real Russophobes, who really want to win and finish the "job" that was left unfinished in the 90's according to their view. They want regime change in Russia and preferably break it up, with all the republics of the RF declaring independence etc. Brzezinski, McCain or the neocons are like that. But they don't want WW3 either, they are not nutcases, just they want to settle an account with Russia badly.

    Regarding Russian military they are still 20 years behind on average, the gap didn't close since Soviet times, if anything, it widened in many respects.
    US military might is still unique and unrivaled, on the long run China has the most chance to challenge it. Russia is simply too poor, an economic dwarf compared to China (China is the workshop of the world, Russia mostly exports raw materials), also it's population is probably too small.

    “still 20 years behind on average?” since you are fabricating thru the thin air, why did you stop at 20 years? Why didn’t you say 30 years behind, 40 years behind, … ? You should know fake news is always fake new regardless it is a small fake news or a big fake news.

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    • Replies: @anonHUN
    It depends on the area, in some things they are 30 years behind, or even 40. The USSR collapsed in 1991 and for at least 10 years Russia had no money even to pay its soldiers. As the Chechen debacles had shown they were in shambles. Their new projects weren't going much forward, as you can see they resumed their 1980's projects after 2000 when they had more oil income and Putin made the Russian state working again (well, kind of... it is still hindered by corruption, disincentivizes citizens from being entrepreneurial (in a state where the rules can be changed overnight at the ruler's whim (no real rule of law) and you can be a billionaire oligarch but you can't be sure the state doesn't simple take everything from you and throw you in prison overnight, even arranging for your "accidental" death, except the money you siphoned to foreign accounts and real estate abroad etc.) It is mafia state, or a mafia (ex KGB) presenting itself as the state. Of course it is more ore less true everywhere (in the US too of course), deep under the veneer of democracy and rule of law, but in Russia it is almost open and blatant. Also the Russians don't have any traditions of enterpreneurship, private incentive, contrary to China, which is also a very corrupt country with a corrupt and totally nondemocratic regime (contrary to Russia which has token Western-style democratic institutions now), but thanks to the industriousness of the Chinese people they have risen to where they are now. Average Russians still seem to expect the state to provide for them as it was in the USSR, they need a "Father Tsar" which is now Putin, or they are just drinking too much and are in a rut, idk.

    As for the years it was only an estimate of course, but as I said they first had to make up for the lost decade after 1991, like finishing subs that were left unfinished since 1992 and things like that. First really new gadgets were the Armata (and Kurganets) which is still a newcomer, and T-50, still not an operational fighter. Regarding SAM's I must say the Russians always were the fans of SAM's but they were ineffective in the ME and Vietnam too. Didn't stop the enemy from achieving air superiority. I don't doubt that the S-300 /400 is much more advanced than the SAM systems of the 60's and 70's were, but they would have to face a much more advanced opponent too. Like low RCS planes that cannot be detected until they are well within the range of their air-to-surface weapons or dozens of targets flying at 20-3o m coming in from multiple directions.
    The F-35 is derided around here, the US spent a fortune on it, true. It has problems (only known because the US is more open, you usually don't read in the media about problems with the new Chinese or Russian planes, sure you think it is because they don't have any with them?) but it's capabilities are something. Stealth is not some scam as some believe. It is serious business when your SAM's or AAM's cannot lock on the damn thing even if you have a monster longwave radar that can detect it from a few dozen miles...

  96. good post smooty. And good coments also.I have three issues I am thinking some time ago. First: The soviet Union not colapsed, Gorbachev vas not a moron or a traitor. It was 50 years chess-game- The west is in turmoil already. Gorbachev did not do nothing without the approbation of the hundreds of specialists .The same with Trump, as USA has about more than 5 milions of people working in intel or something about. Second misread: Usa did not lost the war in Irak or Afganistan., as is said by journalists. Bush (W) said it in clair: I´ll bring the caos to irak, to stoneage.
    In Afganistan they are for 16 years for run the caos meantime. If they left , te country could go normaly, They cant afford this. Is for future desestabilization of central asia. Three: In the future war, you can see that the europeens are too sweet for go to war against Russia (Don´t talk about the gays, trans and woman of de USA Army) : What about theese 2 milions of refugees (arabs mens in militar age, all men?) All in Germany. This is not an Army for go to fight with russia?

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  97. @Intelligent Dasein
    I've come to the conclusion that it is the probable consensus among America's Deep State elites, as exemplified by the truly evil Hillary Clinton, that an all-out war with Russia which totally devastates Russia but leaves America just barely standing, would, notwithstanding the rivers of blood and the chaos unleashed, be an acceptable outcome as long as the blasted rump of America, namely the Deep State itself, gets to subsequently enthrone itself as the unchallenged world hegemon. The Deep State views the entirety of America's economic and military might, as well as the lives of its citizens, as merely a means to this end.

    I also believe that Russia's strategists and state-level actors have come to the same conclusion regarding America's designs. This is the strategic situation that Russia is up against, and this is why Russia has wisely prepared itself to fight a defensive war of astonishing proportions. And for the sake of the human race, for the peace of men of good will everywhere, I would advise Russia that when dealing with a cranky, feeble, delusional, and senile Uncle Sam, it is not possible to be too paranoid. You will not be up against a rational actor if and when this war breaks out. Whatever zany, desperate, and counterproductive gambits you can imagine the USA making, they will not be worse than what these people are capable of.

    As an American myself, I would have liked to have been a patriot. If my country must go to war, I would have liked to be on my country's side. But the bitter truth is that my government is something the world would be better off without. Russia has the moral high ground in this conflict. Hopefully that, and the strength of its arms, will be enough.

    The great tragedy of the 20th century was that all the wrong people won the major wars. Whether it was Chiang Kai-shek in China or Hitler and Mussolini in Europe, or the Kaiser and the House of Hapsburg before them, the real heroes, the ones who were however ineffectively and confusedly on the side of Right, suffered defeat at the hands of the evil imperialists. We cannot allow that to happen again. I know who I will be supporting if it comes to war.

    Long live king and country. God bless the patriots, wherever they be. Hail victory.

    … that an all-out war with Russia which totally devastates Russia but leaves America just barely standing, would, notwithstanding the rivers of blood and the chaos unleashed, be an acceptable outcome as long as the blasted rump of America, namely the Deep State itself, gets to subsequently enthrone itself as the unchallenged world hegemon. The Deep State views the entirety of America’s economic and military might, as well as the lives of its citizens, as merely a means to this end.

    The Enclave.

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  98. @reiner Tor
    Don't worry, when the going gets tough, suddenly the US military will only send straight white men to die for LGBT and black "equality".

    US military will only send straight white men to die for LGBT and black “equality”

    That did not happen during the Korean War and Vietnam War. The straight white men stayed behind and played gook hockey games.

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  99. If anyone is interested in the perverse incentives in place in the US military development system, which result in such spectacular failures and misallocation of resources, you could read this:

    http://chuckspinney.blogspot.ca/p/the-defense-death-spiral-why-defense.html

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  100. The westerns politics, that works against their own people (starting with Merkel), and are absolute whores or the globalists of washington and elsewere….. (city of London, Rotschilds, Jews,Vatican, ,…etc) Have learned the trick of the proxys, as they are now in Siria. And conciousness that the european people are against else war, (and dont talk about the gay-trans-woman army of the EEUU) The criminals europeans politics are getting milions of future proxy warriors from muslim countrys. Their job will be the war we are not going. They, the “refugees” will get money, drugs, guns, slave women, alcohol, and will go to war against rusia, and in europe inf they are said. cheers.
    Ahh!.. They give him the blue pill, also, (Are not than macho men?)

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  101. @Andrei Martyanov

    Germany did the heavy lifting.
     
    Sir, before writing something, at least study subject a bit. Euro Fighter (Typhoon) is a thoroughly British effort initially, with engines being based on Rolls Royce XG-40 and avionics being, for the lack of better word, American, Italian, what have you, but not German. Yes, MTU was involved in some form in developing some Euro Jet EJ200 components but it will take a whole lot of space to explain to you what is "cooperative" effort in military aviation.

    After all, they designed & built the world’s first fighter jet, the ME 262, ‘The Swallow’.
     
    Actually:

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

    Just as the matter of general education, but here is the deal: Chinese invented gun powder, so what? When and if Germany will be able to produce something comparable to MiG-29SMT, forget about SU-35, not to speak of T-50, then we may start looking into German "genius". In order for you to understand what I am trying to convey to you, one has to have understanding of what enclosed technological cycle is. But I am sure, if MTU will be asked they will come up immediately with the fifth generation jet engine, right? After all, it is so simple and I am not talking about such things as designing the air-frames. US has expertise on that on several orders of magnitude than Germany and look where it got US with F-35;)

    You really need to know what you are talking about:

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

    About “Lyulka”?

    In 1945-47 he designed the first Soviet jet engine“.

    Hoisted by your own petard.

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  102. @Kiza
    You and your responders are obviously not Russian, because you exhibit a terribly superficial knowledge of the pre WW1 Europe and Russia. You must have learned your history in US or British schools.

    The situation in Europe in 1914 was much, much more complicated than your simple minds could comprehend. The key factor was the crumbling of the Ottoman Empire and the power vacuum that this has created in the Balkans. This has encouraged all European powers of the time, from U.K., through Germany and Austro-Hungarian Empire, all the way to Russia to have designs for the area. Russia actually cultivated most Serbian nationalistic groups to counter the influence of U.K. and Germany/Austria in the Balkans. Therefore, Russia just did not let its Balkan proxies, the Serbs, down when attacked by Austro-Hungary, but it was involved in what was happening in the Balkans even before the war started. Yes, there was internal opposition in Russia against getting involved in the Balkans, but the non-interventionists lost. The U.K. was trying to prop up the dying Turkish Empire to remain an enemy of Russia, Germany and Austro-Hungary were trying to acquire as much new territory and population in the Balkans as possible. Russia just could not allow the Catholic Austro-Hungary to strengthen further after the annexation of Bosnia in 1908. France was on the same side. And so on.

    Is it not amazing how most of Western history of WW1 starts with Archduke's assassination in Sarajevo, instead of power vacuum in Southeast Europe and aggressive imperial designs at the turn of the century? It is typical Western bullshit history. Nobody had evil intentions, everybody was just dragged into WW1.

    You can observe that today's Russians are blaming the Germans for sending the half-Jewish Lenin with a trainload of gold to foment Bolshevik (Jewish) revolution in Russia and cause Tsar family's deaths, instead of the Serbs who were defending themselves against an expansionist Catholic Empire. It is mainly the British and US "historians", and their Russian liberals who are blaming the Serbs for WW1, the same old, same old Anglo-Zionist bull.

    Russians blaming the Germans for sending the half-Jewish Lenin with a trainload of gold to foment Bolshevik (Jewish) revolution

    Russian who are blaming the Serbs for WW1

    Are the same people.

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    • Replies: @Kiza
    I thought I explained that it is the Russian liberals who picked up the Western view of who to blame for WW1, just like they picked up everything else from their Western role models. The Russian nationalists do not blame the Serbs "for dragging them into WW1" because this is principally a Western idea of how to push discord among Slavic relatives, not that it even matters that it is completely untrue.
  103. @Sergey Krieger
    No, I am just trying to look at it from the point of view currently discussed. Namely Russian GDP is being mocked as an inadequate to stand up to USA in military terms.
    I am just pointing that what GDP consists of is far more important that nominal size of it.
    Namely, Italy might have a large share of GDP coming from tourist industry and designers shoes and other garments. . How is it relevant to military power?
    US GDP also is full of basically fraudulent valuations. Tesla as it was pointed is just one example and Facebook and others are another.

    I agree with you. I just wish that Russian GDP had a lot more of those non-military components.

    Incidentally, market cap has nothing to do with GDP. I’m pretty sure that Facebook’s contribution to GDP is minuscule.

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    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    For this I believe nationalization of what was "privatized" in 90's is needed and new industrialization drive to become more self sufficient and less dependent upon outsiders. Finances also is a matter of concern. Russia has very good experience in how to do it. Political power will is needed though.
  104. One of the most spectacular misallocation of resources has been the US Navy’s insistence on building ever-more surface ships of ever-increasing complexity, while allowing their submarine fleet to languish, and neglecting missile & torpedo technology.

    The reason is career path incentives in the Navy, and in the defense contractor corporations, not in rational consideration of the directions naval warfare is developing in the rest of the world.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it here: the first time a surface fleet, no matter how modern, how large, even a carrier group, is attacked by a well-commanded, networked battery of modern missles, like the Moskit, Onyx or BrahMos, there will be debacle of historic proportions.

    Thousands of sailors and hundreds of billions of dollars worth of hardware will be headed to the bottom.

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    • Replies: @Carlton Meyer
    If you care to read my detailed explanation of why carrier strike groups are obsolete against a modern navy:

    http://www.g2mil.com/navwar.htm

    If you prefer to watch a 33 second example:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ki2-uyCHOA
  105. @inertial
    I agree with you. I just wish that Russian GDP had a lot more of those non-military components.

    Incidentally, market cap has nothing to do with GDP. I'm pretty sure that Facebook's contribution to GDP is minuscule.

    For this I believe nationalization of what was “privatized” in 90′s is needed and new industrialization drive to become more self sufficient and less dependent upon outsiders. Finances also is a matter of concern. Russia has very good experience in how to do it. Political power will is needed though.

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  106. Agreed; the US Navy only continues to pursue railgun technology to use up budget dollars – a peculiarity of western defense budgeting is that if you show efficiency by using less than the full amount allocated for your operations, maintenance and R&D, your budget is likely to be cut by that much next cycle. The USN has gone back to the drawing-board on railgun development, but absent a power-supply breakthrough it is unrealistic except as a vanity project.

    http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/us-navys-railgun-dream-could-be-denied-by-two-big-problems-17301

    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/this-is-why-the-navy-cant-have-nice-railguns

    An additional argument in Russia’s favour is that many of its systems are built simply to be rugged and easily operated by someone with a minimum of training, like a conscript, although the top end of the air defense systems are still largely operated by specialists. Western systems often are unnecessarily complex – sometimes seemingly just to impress reviewers – and the fiasco of the F-35 nightmare serves as exemplary of what happens when corporatism gets the upper hand on government; any vision of what the F-35 was originally supposed to do has been lost in a blizzard of pork-barreling and design changes.

    As far as the navy goes, I made some of the same points myself some years ago, particularly the gross discrepancy in the cost of the USN’s Littoral Combat Ships compared with – in this instance – China’s missile corvettes.

    https://marknesop.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/fall-out-and-secure-for-sea-the-2012-sino-russian-naval-exercises/comment-page-1/

    Thanks for a great piece; it was timely, informative, thought-provoking and chock-full of meaty phrases and terminology I cannot wait to borrow.

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    • Replies: @Kiza
    Mark, sorry but I have to disagree on the F-35 project. You are right that

    any vision of what the F-35 was originally supposed to do has been lost in a blizzard of pork-barreling and design changes
     
    But it appears that even that original concept was a pie in the sky sold to the government by a ruthless military almost-monopolistic corporation.

    Firstly, the concept was unrealistic, then also the concept was too ambitious in the wrong direction.

    Unrealistic: to create one frame for different airforce roles with very different requirements I describe as similar to creating a tank which can race on the ground, fly and submerge. I wonder why this has never been done successfully before. But this is what LM promised to USAF and on paper it looked fantastic and when greased with a few corrupt bucks the concept won the decision day. The same frame and 70% of shared components between all versions, ha!

    Too ambitious: instead of focusing on the firepower and maneuverability, it focused on stealth which is relatively easily defeated with multi-sensor IADS. The designers created the best stealth possible but at the expense of the principal plane performance: the firepower and maneuverability.

    LM claims that F-35 is completely new technology and suffers from birthing pains. Although true, this is not the crux of the problem. The whole design is back-to-the-drawing-board level of disaster. Even US & Allies cannot afford a trillion dollars stuff-up and a decade of time lost.

    In essence, the F-35 is again a good weapon only against the thirld-world opponents who cannot defeat stealth.

  107. @Andrei Martyanov

    The S400 is a great example of Russian simplicity
     
    It is a very complex weapon system, whose actual combat potential is highly classified. From people who serve on it, and I quote:"mind boggling capabilities". Latest modifications of S-300 seem almost tame in comparison and S-300 (PMU, Favorit) is a superb complex. Once S-500 comes online, well--it is a different game altogether from there.

    {From people who serve on it, and I quote:”mind boggling capabilities”.}

    Until it has proven itself in a real war against a technologically competent adversary, e.g. U.S./NATO, then it’s all simulation.
    Its ”mind boggling capabilities” are nothing more than engineering specifications.
    No computer simulation anywhere, anytime has been able to come even close to the chaotic, unpredictable conditions of real war.

    To wit: the Patriot worked great on paper, but its performance in the Iraq war against ancient Iraqi Scuds was dismal.
    To wit2: the misnamed ‘Iron Dome’, which is a supposedly improved copy of the Patriot and which Israelis claim has a hit rate of 90%+, was proven by Prof. Postol of MIT to have a success rate of ~5% against primitive Hamas rockets.

    Let’s wait and see if the S-400 has ”mind boggling capabilities” .
    I hope it does. (Armenia has ‘bought’ some S-300s, officially. Maybe Russia gave RoA some S-400s too, unofficially).

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    • Replies: @Kiza
    Well Scuds were strange beasts. Saddam's Scuds did not have regular ballistic trajectories, probably because they were old and falling apart during flight. Thus, their trajectories became unintentionally unpredictable/random. I agree that the Raytheon's shootdown rate was a boldface lie which professor Postol exposed. But randomised trajectory is the reason why the shootdown rate was so low.

    The Russian MIRV ICBM Bullawa uses exactly the same approach of randomising trajectory of each vehicle intentionally, small but quick completely random maneuvers, which makes it virtually impossible to shootdown. The US would have to place supercooled computers on its interceptors to destroy those babies. Therefore, another relatively cheap but highly effective countermeasure to US ABMD, a beautiful response.
    , @Mark Chapman
    In fact, Russia often tests its systems under much more realistic conditions than does the USA and western powers. They want to know if it is going to fail when it is confronted with western jamming, for example, and try to make intercept difficult where the west is obsessed with collecting test data for evaluation, and as a consequence the launch site knows the release time of the target and its initial course and speed, rather than a 'black' release. Not always, but often.

    http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/heres-russias-s-400-missile-system-in-action-and-heres-1746490022

    I guess much of it boils down to how seriously you take Russian accounts of their own tests, but they specify here that the test took place under heavy jamming and yet all four missiles intercepted the target during the midcourse phase. Whatever you believe, the author is correct in pointing out that the S-400 is just a part of a multilayered Integrated Air Defense System (IADS), and it only takes one mobile launcher in an unexpected place to wreck the day for a manned-aircraft element using current tactics.

    It is safe to say without further information that western air forces are very wary of the S-400, and confronting Russia's multilayered IADS would be nothing like taking on Gadaffi's eccentric and janky mismatched collection of air-defense weaponry.
  108. @anonHUN
    I think the military and intelligence guys (and the big contractors) need Russia as the enemy, the bogeyman, probably many of them were secretly disappointed back then when the Soviet Union collapsed. The Deep State wants an endless race, a race where America is always leading but not by too much. A Cold War with a worthy opponent, not with tinpot third world dictatorships. Many of them don't even hate Russia, even respects it to some extent. Now they are probably happy that the old days are back.

    On the other hand there are of course real Russophobes, who really want to win and finish the "job" that was left unfinished in the 90's according to their view. They want regime change in Russia and preferably break it up, with all the republics of the RF declaring independence etc. Brzezinski, McCain or the neocons are like that. But they don't want WW3 either, they are not nutcases, just they want to settle an account with Russia badly.

    Regarding Russian military they are still 20 years behind on average, the gap didn't close since Soviet times, if anything, it widened in many respects.
    US military might is still unique and unrivaled, on the long run China has the most chance to challenge it. Russia is simply too poor, an economic dwarf compared to China (China is the workshop of the world, Russia mostly exports raw materials), also it's population is probably too small.

    “Regarding Russian military they are still 20 years behind on average”

    Dude, you’re delusional. The US military is to a large extent a paper tiger. Example: Aircraft carriers are not survivable against Russian or Chinese missiles and subs. They are good for bombing 3rd world countries only, like 19th century gunboats (plus fattening MIC coffers). Example: A Rand report found the F-35 “can’t turn, can’t climb, isn’t fast enough to run away”.
    I would argue nothing is as important as missile technology. Russia may be leading in that.
    Furthermore, the US has lower income and less capital now than 20 years ago. Russia has a central bank focused on rational economics rather than milking the country for billionaires’ sake. They insist on positive interest rates so savers get the benefit of their money. That’s why Russia is growing albeit slowly while the US regresses.
    The US will find fighting Russia is not like fighting Arabs. (Remember what some Israeli general said about fighting Arabs.) The US hasn’t fought without air superiority in over 74 years.
    Note the moral dimension, also. The US has to pay its military 2X the equivalent private sector wages, because no one wants to die for Lockheed Martin.

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    • Agree: Kiza
    • Replies: @Seminumerical
    Sure the Aircraft carriers are vulnerable. But the US have a disproportionate response prepared for any country that strikes one with a missile or torpedo. So the carriers get to project power despite their vulnerability.
  109. SAR (search and rescue) versus SAD (search and destroy)

    “Disaster of the Kursk”

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  110. @Sam Shama

    Russia is a very special case here–this is one of the points which is missed completely from “western” discussion. The empirical evidence is in and it overwhelmingly supports my, now academic, contention that “western” metrics for Russia do not work, nor most of the “experts” know what they are talking about,
     
    Hey Smoothie,
    Loved this informative piece.

    On the military aspect, I'll take your assessments without any salt at all, for I do believe the U.S. has been tracking a technologically shallower but cost wise steeper trajectory.

    I think Russians are a highly gifted lot, able to do wonders mostly on account of their deep science & mathematics bench.

    Yet I also think Randal is mostly right about economic strength playing a vital, even decisive role in overall strength in the longer run. There are no countries which can match the U.S. in the department of raw economic endowments.

    China comes closest to exceeding the overall size of the U.S.economy, based on a combination of sheer population, relentless mercantilism combined with extractive labour policies over the last five decades or more. All of which has also propelled them to achieve technological capabilities not far behind many western European states.

    The U.S is eminently capable of really, I mean really increasing military spending without breaking a sweat. But that is not the goal in itself. It needs to come down hard on MIC waste, which if done successfully can change things around very quickly. Imagine a U.S. spending an efficient 7-10% of GDP on this, in which case I see its competitors doing little else besides gearing their entire economies to armaments, and then failing to keep up. I am confident if such a race ensued there'd be a global run to purchase U.S. assets, even as capital controls are put into action.

    The troubles of the U.S have stemmed from a paucity of far-sighted leaders of late. I am still hoping Mr Trump comes through, and there are signs he will. We should be establishing a truly friendly relationship with Russia and focusing our resources on joint goals of a far loftier nature than besting each other on wartime toys.

    The troubles of the US of late have largely stemmed from having an insatiable parasite on its back sucking all that it can from the military and the economy in general whilst simultaneously plotting to undermine it.

    The senseless wars in the ME to provide Israel with “security”, the billions of dollars in “loans” that will never be repaid, the vast amounts of military hardware worth billions declared as “scrap” and given to Israel, what a great investment it all has been.

    No doubt millions of Americans will welcome more degradation of their cities and infrastructure in order to field a larger military since it cares for the fruit of their loins so well AND has accomplished so much good in the world with the trillions already squandered at the behest of the Neocon Israel Firsters.

    You sure have your finger on America’s pulse Shammy and clearly want nothing but the best for the American people, right? What a tosser!

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    • Replies: @Sam Shama
    I shall refrain from returning your predictably dumb insults.

    On the topic of foreign aid and loan guarantees, you aren't well-read nor qualified to render any opinion likely to be worth more than the pixels wasted by your fatuous lines.

    First, understand the difference between actual loans and loan guarantees.

    https://fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33222.pdf [pg 25 - 27]

    Second, here is a table for U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel: Total Aid

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/total-u-s-foreign-aid-to-israel-1949-present

    It irks you the U.S. sends foreign aid to Israel by an amount which really means not a great deal [average, $1.86b % $310b = 0.006 of GDP], even as U.S. foreign aid finds a much wider set of recipients. That's your emotional prerogative, one which breaches a very, very long tradition observed by powerful nations.

    There is little you or I could do about it. Alea iacta est.
  111. @anonHUN
    I think the military and intelligence guys (and the big contractors) need Russia as the enemy, the bogeyman, probably many of them were secretly disappointed back then when the Soviet Union collapsed. The Deep State wants an endless race, a race where America is always leading but not by too much. A Cold War with a worthy opponent, not with tinpot third world dictatorships. Many of them don't even hate Russia, even respects it to some extent. Now they are probably happy that the old days are back.

    On the other hand there are of course real Russophobes, who really want to win and finish the "job" that was left unfinished in the 90's according to their view. They want regime change in Russia and preferably break it up, with all the republics of the RF declaring independence etc. Brzezinski, McCain or the neocons are like that. But they don't want WW3 either, they are not nutcases, just they want to settle an account with Russia badly.

    Regarding Russian military they are still 20 years behind on average, the gap didn't close since Soviet times, if anything, it widened in many respects.
    US military might is still unique and unrivaled, on the long run China has the most chance to challenge it. Russia is simply too poor, an economic dwarf compared to China (China is the workshop of the world, Russia mostly exports raw materials), also it's population is probably too small.

    Did you skip the article and go straight to comments?

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  112. @Z-man
    Korea?, no big deal as far as I'm concerned. Let's bomb that fat boy to submission. It's when we blindly support that dirty little country occupying the Holy Land, that's when I get my blood pressure up!

    What if the fat boy (and the NK people) feel that they need those weapons for defensive purposes? After all, it wasn’t too long ago that Korea was invaded by the US (plus a few satraps) and millions of Koreans were killed. Who are we in the west to interfere with NK?

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    • Replies: @Z-man
    Fat boy is developing missiles that will hit the USA, nuff said.
    Ok a little more, he can sell those little nuclear bombs to some terrorist group, now 'nuff said!'
  113. @The Alarmist

    "The continental US can be thrown into socio-political-economic collapse with 3 dozen Kalibrs aimed at critical nodes in the national electrical grid. With no prospect of electricity being revived, the now largely urban population would find itself instantly transported to 1900 with none of the skills and infrastructure that kept a pre-electrified rural society fed and secure. If the subs and/or TU-160s are in place, that’s 45-90 minutes without a single nuke fired."
     
    You have nut-jobs in Congress talking out hacking being an act of war and planners talking about massive NATO reponse as being appropriate ... can one seriously believe the US would not repond with nukes in the event of such an attack, even though it is non-nuclear?

    I understand that there would be great hue and cry to take revenge. That is why I wrote (with a correction in bold):

    One can hope that we’ll be rejoicing that America’s owners followed their internationalistic instincts when that moment has passed.

    America’s owners aren’t necessarily American. That the civilizational consequences of America’s death be limited to the N. American continent is in their interest, and they would make that interest known.
    The geo-political consequences of an attack on the grid in response to a US/NATO attack on Russia would be that the US would instantly cease to be a military/economic power for at least several generations. The Great Game would be over. If the US came back with a nuclear response, they know well that Russia’s counter-response would simply extend that timeline. Perhaps to infinity. IOW, other than suicidal madness, there is no geo-political reason to respond, and there’d be every reason to take the hit and try to rebuild.

    Likewise, Russia’s politicians would be hard pressed to resist responding to an American nuclear attack in kind, but the fact is that there would be no military purpose to doing so. The US would be finished as a world power. Vaporizing 200M people would be of no military value. Better to keep what’s left of your nuclear forces intact so you don’t have to rebuild them.

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    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    The more likely scenario is this: Sensing a number of strategic and tactical indicators of an impending attack, the US launches a bolt out of the blue attack to cripple the Russian forces before they can attack. Russian SLBMs and rail-based missiles get off a few MIRVs that take out DC and a few other major cities (counter-force targetting is pointless after the first-strike), but no-harm no-foul since the JEEP was executed at the time of the first-strike, so everybody who matters was saved from harm and that pesky problem of too many idle hands in the major urban centers was finally taken care of.

    Alternatively, the Russians use EMP weapons already in orbit to take out the US grid. The US NCA execute the SIOP. Outcome: See above.

    Winning move is not to play, but the geniuses running things don't see the extintinction of the little guy as a bug, rather as a feature.
  114. @Zzz

    Russians blaming the Germans for sending the half-Jewish Lenin with a trainload of gold to foment Bolshevik (Jewish) revolution
     

    Russian who are blaming the Serbs for WW1
     
    Are the same people.

    I thought I explained that it is the Russian liberals who picked up the Western view of who to blame for WW1, just like they picked up everything else from their Western role models. The Russian nationalists do not blame the Serbs “for dragging them into WW1″ because this is principally a Western idea of how to push discord among Slavic relatives, not that it even matters that it is completely untrue.

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  115. @Z-man
    Korea?, no big deal as far as I'm concerned. Let's bomb that fat boy to submission. It's when we blindly support that dirty little country occupying the Holy Land, that's when I get my blood pressure up!

    You are stupid, are you not?

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    • Replies: @Z-man
    No, I am smarter than you, and probably better looking. Just a guess, but an educated one, lol!
  116. @Avery
    {From people who serve on it, and I quote:”mind boggling capabilities”.}

    Until it has proven itself in a real war against a technologically competent adversary, e.g. U.S./NATO, then it's all simulation.
    Its ”mind boggling capabilities” are nothing more than engineering specifications.
    No computer simulation anywhere, anytime has been able to come even close to the chaotic, unpredictable conditions of real war.

    To wit: the Patriot worked great on paper, but its performance in the Iraq war against ancient Iraqi Scuds was dismal.
    To wit2: the misnamed 'Iron Dome', which is a supposedly improved copy of the Patriot and which Israelis claim has a hit rate of 90%+, was proven by Prof. Postol of MIT to have a success rate of ~5% against primitive Hamas rockets.

    Let's wait and see if the S-400 has ”mind boggling capabilities” .
    I hope it does. (Armenia has 'bought' some S-300s, officially. Maybe Russia gave RoA some S-400s too, unofficially).

    Well Scuds were strange beasts. Saddam’s Scuds did not have regular ballistic trajectories, probably because they were old and falling apart during flight. Thus, their trajectories became unintentionally unpredictable/random. I agree that the Raytheon’s shootdown rate was a boldface lie which professor Postol exposed. But randomised trajectory is the reason why the shootdown rate was so low.

    The Russian MIRV ICBM Bullawa uses exactly the same approach of randomising trajectory of each vehicle intentionally, small but quick completely random maneuvers, which makes it virtually impossible to shootdown. The US would have to place supercooled computers on its interceptors to destroy those babies. Therefore, another relatively cheap but highly effective countermeasure to US ABMD, a beautiful response.

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  117. @Joe Wong
    "Russia is a middle income country while the US is a rich country, in the top 10 of GDP per capita." this is very funny, how about the 20 trillions of US national debt and it is skyrocketing fast? If you only count asset without counting liability US maybe in the top 10 GDP per capita, but if you count net asset the US is in the negative GDP per capita, a broke nation. Perhaps it is American Exceptionalism logic, claiming credit where credit is not due, living in a world detached from reality.

    "If oil prices don’t substantially improve and Russia continues to spend the way it does on the military it will simply go broke." this is even funnier, Russian does not use USD in Russia, nor Russian government pay its MIC in USD, meanwhile Russian Central Bank can print Ruble thru the thin air just like the Fed, why does oil price have any relationship with Russian internal spending? Another example of "completely triumphalist and detached from Russia’s economic realities" which is defined by meaningless Wall Street economic indices and snakeoil economic theories and rhetoric taught in the western universities.

    Russian Central Bank can print Ruble thru the thin air just like the Fed

    No, it cannot.
    The Russian Central Bank, like all “emerging market” central banks are treaty bound to print local currency only in a prescribed ratio to their “hard currency” reserves. The latter are the USD, the UKP, the EUR, the JPY, and now the CNY.
    As IMF treaties are considered International Treaties, they stand above the law of the land.
    These treaties are the instruments whereby the US’ IMF-USD $ystem keeps the dollar in demand, and extracts value from the “3rd world” which are thereby forced to sell raw commodities to print enough currency to develop their internal economies. Of course, they can never really sell enough, and so they stay where they are.
    So, when the USM buys some insanely expensive aircraft carrier, or fighter aircraft, the rest of the world pays for it. In turn, the US uses that same carrier or aircraft to enforce the treaties. A self-reinforcing arrangement that allows the US and its allies to enjoy all the benefits of thievery over honest toil. “Extraordinary privilege”, DeGaulle called it.

    The Russian Central Bank is doubly constrained by virtue of its (American authored) constitution which all but prohibits its restructuring.

    You can read a rather lengthy, but eye opening treatise on this subject here:

    http://lit.md/files/nstarikov/rouble_nationalization-the_way_to_russia%27s_freedom.pdf

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    • Replies: @pogohere
    What international treaties has the Russian Central Bank entered into, if any?

    Re: "The Russian Central Bank is doubly constrained by virtue of its (American authored) constitution which all but prohibits its restructuring."

    Yours is an odd way of interpreting this provision of the Russian Constitution:

    The Constitution of the Russian Federation
    Article 75 (Chapter 3)

    1. The monetary unit in the Russian Federation shall be the rouble. Money issue shall be carried out exclusively by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation. Introduction and issue of other currencies in Russia shall not be allowed.
    2. The protection and ensuring the stability of the rouble shall be the major task of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, which it shall fulfil independently of the other bodies of state authority.
    3. The system of taxes paid to the federal budget and the general principles of taxation and dues in the Russian Federation shall be fixed by the federal law.
    4. State loans shall be issued according to the rules fixed by the federal law and shall be floated on a voluntary basis. [emphasis added]

    http://www.constitution.ru/en/10003000-04.htm
     
    With reference to this @p36 of the treatise cited:

    "Laws need to be changed. That means that it is necessary to take the State
    Duma under control. That means that a parliamentary majority is required.
    And therefore, a party needs to be created that will win the general elections.
    A political structure which is currently rather popular starts being created.
     
    The majority party in the Duma now has representation sufficient to enable an amendment to the constitution to change the above provisions, not to mention the laws pursuant to same. Whether that is actually politically feasible is another matter.

    The treatise you cited appears to be somewhat dated with regard to the constraints, if any, on changes to central banking in Russia.
    , @Joe Wong

    The Russian Central Bank, like all “emerging market” central banks are treaty bound to print local currency only in a prescribed ratio to their “hard currency” reserves.
     
    The above is your fabrication, the link is a write out by an over zealous nationalist with half baked truth, and the link is neither a treaty quoted by you to support your claim nor saying there is such IMF treaty.

    Most nations hardly have any hard currency reserves, yet the amount of local currency they printed proves your "prescribed ratio" a fake news. Even those nations have hard currency reserves, the amount of local currency they prints makes your "prescribed ratio" a Hollywood fantasy.

    Putin has begun de-dollarization Russian economy long time ago, Russian has signed currency SWAP with China, EU and Japan, so that Russian can trade without USD. China also has set up AIIB and Alt-SWIFT for rest of the world to bypass the USD as well. Time has changed, man.

  118. OT, here is some education about North Korea for the stupid people and those who are not stupid but lack information. This is truly worth a read, it will open your eyes. Particularly read the comments, and especially the three comments by “b”, the zine owner:

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/04/the-reason-behind-north-koreas-nuclear-program-and-its-offer-to-end-it.html#more

    The reality about North Korea is that the South Korean US puppets apply the same technique on NK defectors that the British US puppets apply on Russian “KGB defectors”. These poor defecting souls found themselves in a desperate situation in their new country to which they were attracted by stories of street paved in gold. Thus even just for food they have to invent more and more outrageous stories to feed the propaganda machines of their South Korean/British hosts.

    This is how Kim Jong Un threw his uncle to the 120 starving dogs and how Putin blew up some Russian apartments in Buynaksk, Moscow, and Volgodonsk, defector’s honor!

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  119. @Avery
    {From people who serve on it, and I quote:”mind boggling capabilities”.}

    Until it has proven itself in a real war against a technologically competent adversary, e.g. U.S./NATO, then it's all simulation.
    Its ”mind boggling capabilities” are nothing more than engineering specifications.
    No computer simulation anywhere, anytime has been able to come even close to the chaotic, unpredictable conditions of real war.

    To wit: the Patriot worked great on paper, but its performance in the Iraq war against ancient Iraqi Scuds was dismal.
    To wit2: the misnamed 'Iron Dome', which is a supposedly improved copy of the Patriot and which Israelis claim has a hit rate of 90%+, was proven by Prof. Postol of MIT to have a success rate of ~5% against primitive Hamas rockets.

    Let's wait and see if the S-400 has ”mind boggling capabilities” .
    I hope it does. (Armenia has 'bought' some S-300s, officially. Maybe Russia gave RoA some S-400s too, unofficially).

    In fact, Russia often tests its systems under much more realistic conditions than does the USA and western powers. They want to know if it is going to fail when it is confronted with western jamming, for example, and try to make intercept difficult where the west is obsessed with collecting test data for evaluation, and as a consequence the launch site knows the release time of the target and its initial course and speed, rather than a ‘black’ release. Not always, but often.

    http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/heres-russias-s-400-missile-system-in-action-and-heres-1746490022

    I guess much of it boils down to how seriously you take Russian accounts of their own tests, but they specify here that the test took place under heavy jamming and yet all four missiles intercepted the target during the midcourse phase. Whatever you believe, the author is correct in pointing out that the S-400 is just a part of a multilayered Integrated Air Defense System (IADS), and it only takes one mobile launcher in an unexpected place to wreck the day for a manned-aircraft element using current tactics.

    It is safe to say without further information that western air forces are very wary of the S-400, and confronting Russia’s multilayered IADS would be nothing like taking on Gadaffi’s eccentric and janky mismatched collection of air-defense weaponry.

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    • Replies: @Kiza
    Very good and relevant explanation. I would only add that what Russia has in Syria and what Syria has in Syria are not IADS then stand-alone radars and missiles. What Russia has over Russia is IADS, especially with the new S500 (Russian ABMD). The Russians do not develop separate systems for air-defence and missile-defence, in Russia it is all one integrated multi-sensor system. What is completely unknown is the effectiveness of the Western stealth techniques and jammers against the Russian IADS over Russia. What if, what the Western airforces call the blue line, the entry space which allows you to destroy the airdefense before being detected and destroyed, keeps changing, becomes unpredictable or disappears altogether. What if you cannot overwhelm the airdefense with a barrage of 59 Tomahawks as in Syria, because you would need to fire several hundred or even thousand missiles simultaneously?

    If Russia implements IADS over Syria, which may be what was announced after the US cruise missile attack, then the "blue line" for US and Israeli jets and missiles may disappear.
    , @Avery
    {I guess much of it boils down to how seriously you take Russian accounts of their own tests, but they specify here that the test took place under heavy jamming and yet all four missiles intercepted the target during the midcourse phase. }


    I don't doubt the veracity of the claim in the article. All I was commenting on was this sentence of the author of the article: {From people who serve on it, and I quote:”mind boggling capabilities”.}

    Traditionally Soviets/Russians have do spend more of their resources on defense, particularly anti-air. Their anti-air missiles have a solid track record: the highly competent USAF - in personnel, and training, and technology - lost lots and lots of equipment to Soviet SAMs in Viet Nam. Even high-flying B52 were not safe.

    Also, Egyptians shot down lots of Israeli jets with Soviet AAs during the Yom Kippur war .

    So there is no doubt in my mind that S-300/S-400 are very capable systems. But the phrase 'mind boggling' is a bit of a hyperbole.
    What is it based on? engineering specifications and simulated tests.

    I have a bit of a technical background (commercial, not military).
    We'd simulate all sorts real-life conditions in testing the product, but as soon as it was sent out, humans managed to find some sequence that crashed the system. You just can't simulate the randomness of the real world.

    If and when the S-400 is used in anger, then we'll see if its capabilities are 'mind boggling' . Until then, it's just conjecture.

  120. @DanC
    One of the most spectacular misallocation of resources has been the US Navy's insistence on building ever-more surface ships of ever-increasing complexity, while allowing their submarine fleet to languish, and neglecting missile & torpedo technology.

    The reason is career path incentives in the Navy, and in the defense contractor corporations, not in rational consideration of the directions naval warfare is developing in the rest of the world.

    I've said it before, and I'll repeat it here: the first time a surface fleet, no matter how modern, how large, even a carrier group, is attacked by a well-commanded, networked battery of modern missles, like the Moskit, Onyx or BrahMos, there will be debacle of historic proportions.

    Thousands of sailors and hundreds of billions of dollars worth of hardware will be headed to the bottom.

    If you care to read my detailed explanation of why carrier strike groups are obsolete against a modern navy:

    http://www.g2mil.com/navwar.htm

    If you prefer to watch a 33 second example:

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    • Replies: @DanC
    Great article.

    Concerning wastage of resources, here's what John Patch of the USN had to say:


    The Soviets debated building a significant carrier fleet in the 1960s but determined that large carriers had no place in the nuclear age, partly because of their vulnerability to missiles with nuclear warheads.2 While later choosing to build larger carriers, Moscow always retained the view that carriers remained vulnerable.
     
    https://defence.pk/pdf/threads/the-carrier-invulnerability-myth.145678/

    It is surely significant that Russia sold or gave away all its cold war-era aircraft carriers and retains only the hybrid aircraft-capable cruiser, Kuznetsov.

    They "get" it that the role of capital surface ships is changing,, and diminishing. This is also indicative of why the Russians will shock the first fleet that tries to engage them. They keep their planners and developers focused on what actually matters, and serious war gaming, rather than rigging things to provide the answer they want for careerist reasons

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Challenge_2002

    Note that it took the attacking general about 5 minutes using a swarm of old-generation cruise missiles to sink enough craft to disable the fleet's networked defense and EW capacity, with crew amounting to 20,000 on the ships sunk alone. The remaining ships were sitting ducks for the follow up attacks.

    These were subsonic cruise missiles. A bunch of moskits would have wiped everything out.

    And still these fools keep spending money on carrier groups. it's noteworthy that they restarted the war game and ordered the opposing general to stop making effective attacks. That sums up exactly why the US keeps wasting money and doing stupid things.
    __________________

    As an aside, note that the CGI from the movie of an aircraft carrier attack is not realistic.

    Projectiles travelling at the speeds shown would easily be destroyed or diverted by fleet defense systems.

    The new BrahMos adaptation of the Onyx missile travels at 2,800 mph. By comparison a bullet fired from a high compression hunting rifle travels at 1,700 mph.

    The ballistic missiles such as the Dong feng being developed by the Chinese, will have incoming speeds as high as 5,000 mph.

    The human eye can't actually see objects moving that fast.

  121. @Sam Shama

    Russia is a very special case here–this is one of the points which is missed completely from “western” discussion. The empirical evidence is in and it overwhelmingly supports my, now academic, contention that “western” metrics for Russia do not work, nor most of the “experts” know what they are talking about,
     
    Hey Smoothie,
    Loved this informative piece.

    On the military aspect, I'll take your assessments without any salt at all, for I do believe the U.S. has been tracking a technologically shallower but cost wise steeper trajectory.

    I think Russians are a highly gifted lot, able to do wonders mostly on account of their deep science & mathematics bench.

    Yet I also think Randal is mostly right about economic strength playing a vital, even decisive role in overall strength in the longer run. There are no countries which can match the U.S. in the department of raw economic endowments.

    China comes closest to exceeding the overall size of the U.S.economy, based on a combination of sheer population, relentless mercantilism combined with extractive labour policies over the last five decades or more. All of which has also propelled them to achieve technological capabilities not far behind many western European states.

    The U.S is eminently capable of really, I mean really increasing military spending without breaking a sweat. But that is not the goal in itself. It needs to come down hard on MIC waste, which if done successfully can change things around very quickly. Imagine a U.S. spending an efficient 7-10% of GDP on this, in which case I see its competitors doing little else besides gearing their entire economies to armaments, and then failing to keep up. I am confident if such a race ensued there'd be a global run to purchase U.S. assets, even as capital controls are put into action.

    The troubles of the U.S have stemmed from a paucity of far-sighted leaders of late. I am still hoping Mr Trump comes through, and there are signs he will. We should be establishing a truly friendly relationship with Russia and focusing our resources on joint goals of a far loftier nature than besting each other on wartime toys.

    It [US] needs to come down hard on MIC waste, which if done successfully can change things around very quickly.

    Gee Sam, you are totally lost in your understanding of US problems.

    Firstly, US military budget is significantly more than presented because the whole budget has been divided between different government departments. For example, nuclear weapons are under the Department of Energy, the huge ongoing cost of Veterans’ health is under Department of Health budget, the free money to Israel is under the Foreign Affairs and so on. Overall, about 40% of the US military budget is hidden, which means that US spends not 2.5% of GDP on the military then probably around 4.5%.

    Secondly, if US were to bump up the military budget to 7-10% this could come only either at the expense of money printing machines running even hotter than super hot QE1,QE2,QE3 (what Trump is doing) or by increasing taxes on a quite depressed economy in which retail spending has almost collapsed. I cannot believe that you are suggesting this, maybe you are too close to your Fed buddies.

    Thirdly, the idea of “coming down hard on MIC waste” is utterly ridiculous because the “MIC waste” is the Deep State profit and we just had an illustration of what happens with those who oppose the Deep State. In other words, only God could come down on US MIC waste, the Presidents can only pretend.

    Since Russia and China started replacing US$ as a reserve and exchange currency, the clock has been ticking for the money printers such as the Fed and Trump. When the amount of US$ returning to US starts exceeding the amount bought by foreigners, then the inflation will explode to the German one of the 1920s.The US$ is still strong, not because of its intrinsic value then thanks to skillful FX market manipulation and thanks to 10-12 aircraft carrier groups.

    Trump is now amassing three carrier groups near North Korea, Russia and China. What do you think would happen to US$ if even one of those carriers gets sunk?

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    • Replies: @Sam Shama

    Gee Sam, you are totally lost in your understanding of US problems.

     

    Hi Kiza,

    I admit I do get lost on occasion, so please feel free to correct me. Are you saying that accounting categorisation, which if reversed might lead to a 2% higher military spending, is an attempt to deceive international bond markets? You clearly think bond investors are stupid. That is an opinion based on what precisely? Experienced results of bond markets? Please enlighten me.

    Secondly, if US were to bump up the military budget to 7-10% this could come only either at the expense of money printing machines running even hotter than super hot QE1,QE2,QE3 (what Trump is doing) or by increasing taxes on a quite depressed economy in which retail spending has almost collapsed. I cannot believe that you are suggesting this, maybe you are too close to your Fed buddies.

     

    "Hot", as in inflation? If so, the characterisation is a fail, since U.S. inflation and long bond yields have been doing the opposite.

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/IRLTLT01USM156N

    I have no idea what you mean by "what Trump is doing". Have you noticed the Fed had actually raised short rates? Yet the 10-year bond is at 2.2%?

    Please read what I wrote carefully. Nowhere did I recommend the U.S. pursue the path of yet another Reaganesque star wars race. What I said was, of all nations, she is the most capable of doing so, where an escalation would literally push her "competitors" to engage in little else in their economies. That is all. Yes, I understand that MIC waste ends up in the pockets of the least desirable elements. Do you mean to say that other nations are bereft of this virtue?

    Since Russia and China started replacing US$ as a reserve and exchange currency, the clock has been ticking for the money printers such as the Fed and Trump.
     
    Gee Kiza, exaggerate much? Replace the USD?

    CNY has been added to the SDR basket as a reserve currency, with very limited international use, as of 2016 BIS data, after having doubled over the last year (but currently moving lower), the Yuan comprises 4% of total international reserve currency use.

    The United States actually wants the Chinese currency to gain much greater acceptance to aid global growth and relieve the pressure on the U.S, but of late the massive capital flows out of China to the U.S. has badly hindered this objective.

    Here is what the Yuan has done: from a managed and swiftly devalued currency pursuant to China's decades-long mercantilist policies (to which the US had given the implicit nod), it rose in value during 2005-2013 as the US/ECB/BoJ/BoC worked in a co-ordinated fashion to modify global savings imbalances, to yet again devalue during 2014-present, mostly as capital outflows gathered force.

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DEXCHUS

    The Rouble is not a reserve currency, so the AIB while a worthy development, does not give the Rouble reserve status, somehow "replacing" the USD/EUR/GBP/JPY/KRW. Can it achieve that status? I think it can, given the deep capabilities of the Russian population. International acceptance of such status requires a far more diversified economy.

    When the amount of US$ returning to US starts exceeding the amount bought by foreigners, then the inflation will explode to the German one of the 1920s.
     
    Reversing cause and effect. If hyperinflation ever arrives on the shores of the US, you'll have far greater problems globally than worrying about bonds. I've seen this trope play continuously since 2008. I need a date, even an approximate one, or I shall be forced to tell you that I know with certainty that "at some point in the future the Earth will cease to exist".

    Best
  122. @Andrei Martyanov

    But the new generations of Russians are becoming softer and softer and Russian military has not been tested in a recent conflict against a peer just like the US one has not.
     
    Generally legitimate point but it will require a very expanded answer. I will, at some point, elaborate on it--there are some serious nuances.

    The second major disadvantage of the Russian MIC is that US has a huge market of allies which it ruthlessly milks for weapons procurement, whilst when Russia sells an S300 to Cyprus it lands in the hands of the Israelis to be cracked. Even after such experience Russia engages in an apparently serious discussion to sell S400 to Turkey, straight into NATO hands. To put it mildly – Russia has to nurture the BRICS defense market, although most of the customers are copy artists, China being the master copier.
     
    Largely true. However, in serious signal processing systems such as radar, sonar, combat control (management) systems etc. the main secret are mathematics (algorithms). Just to give you an example, it was impossible for China to copy any software from any Russian-made systems. As an example, Shtil Air Defense complexes which went to China after she bought Project 956 destroyers in 1990s are defended such way that any attempt to tamper with their (and other systems') brains results in a clean slate. It is true today also, actually, especially today. China now is receiving full Russian "version" of SU-35 and of S-400, they still will not be able to copy it. Mimic somewhat? Yes. After all they do have their own S-300 knock offs. Copy? No. They will try, of course but, say, SU-35 engine and avionics is still beyond their reach.

    Having criticised you too much, now I have to admit that I do not understand how Russia can get on average 5X more bang for the buck than US, sometimes more. Does Russian MIC operate some underground former mine facilities in which these engineering slaves design all these wonderful military toys and then build them at the cost of sustenance?
     
    I believe Ondrej made a good, albeit partial case, for you in his response. Let me put it this way--viewing Russia's public schools' 8-9th grade books on math and physics (and chemistry) may create a state of shock in many, even elite, US schools and not among students only I know.

    Ok. so the secret of Russian military project effectiveness is that there are no congressional districts and power plays to divvy up the military budget not based on merit and proven capability than based on the power of the district’s Congressional and/or Senatorial whore. Then, there are no MIC billionaires to skim the pie. Then the engineers works for reasonable salaries with a highly respected bonus of patriotism. Then there is an excellent well established educational system (for the whites) which puts accent on physics, maths and real technical building skills, supported by mentorship by experienced engineers, instead of putting accent on lying, financial market wizardry (again manipulation), MBAs, whilst training blacks to become engineers and importing engineers from India. Finally, there is the accumulated project experience and cooperative networks from building good weaponry during the days of Soviet Union, in which Russia quickly and effectively replaced sometimes dysfunctional pieces of network which dropped out, especially the important ones from Ukraine. I am truly amazed how quickly the Russian military manufacturing network compensates and adjusts for the loss of any piece.

    Have I answered my own question of how Russia produces on average 5X more bang for the buck (or more precisely, almost the same bang for five times less buck) than the US MIC? Am I missing any other component of success?

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    • Replies: @ondrej
    Am I missing any other component of success?

    Just a possibility - or my hypothesis I am playing lately:-)

    It can be language according Sapir–Whorf hypothesis.
    The principle of linguistic relativity that the structure of a language affects its speakers' world view or cognition. Popularly known as the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, or Whorfianism, the principle is often defined to include two versions. The strong version says that language determines thought, and that linguistic categories limit and determine cognitive categories, whereas the weak version says that linguistic categories and usage only influence thought and decisions.

    and also due to fact that:

    Baltic and Slavic show the common trait of never having undergone in the course of their development any sudden systemic upheaval. […] there is no indication of a serious dislocation of any part of the linguistic system at any time. The sound structure has in general remained intact to the present. […] Baltic and Slavic are consequently the only languages in which certain modern word-forms resemble those reconstructed for Common Indo-European.” ( The Indo-European Dialects [Eng. translation of Les dialectes indo-européens (1908)], University of Alabama Press, 1967, pp.
    59-60).

    Which could explain math skills of Russians and Indian:-) because languages are closely related.

    + learning other languages helps one for recognizing other points of view, if you look at current Russian elites Shoigu, Lavrov and others they speak usually one or more foreign languages fluently.

    , @Andrei Martyanov

    Then, there are no MIC billionaires to skim the pie.
     
    This is crucial. Sure, Chemezov's or Rahmanov's salaries are huge by Russian standards (well, by Western too) and allows the military-industrial elite to live very comfortably, to put it mildly but the answer is the state's ownership of the whole defense sphere, from industry to doctrinal development. Relationship between Russians and their state are dramatically different from what most Westerners ever experienced in their relations. It was inevitable in the nation with such military history as Russia. As I mentioned Arthur J. Alexander's "spread"--Russia does have this pressure applied to her institutes to, in the end, become this character from Russian anecdote, where he buys a crib for his toddler from one of the former MIC plants and after assembling it at home gets AK-47. Russia is bound to produce (at least mostly) weapons which have to work.

    Here is what Russians do, barn, of course, being a representation of Russian State;)


    https://youtu.be/DqubBaLSeiA
  123. @Mark Chapman
    In fact, Russia often tests its systems under much more realistic conditions than does the USA and western powers. They want to know if it is going to fail when it is confronted with western jamming, for example, and try to make intercept difficult where the west is obsessed with collecting test data for evaluation, and as a consequence the launch site knows the release time of the target and its initial course and speed, rather than a 'black' release. Not always, but often.

    http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/heres-russias-s-400-missile-system-in-action-and-heres-1746490022

    I guess much of it boils down to how seriously you take Russian accounts of their own tests, but they specify here that the test took place under heavy jamming and yet all four missiles intercepted the target during the midcourse phase. Whatever you believe, the author is correct in pointing out that the S-400 is just a part of a multilayered Integrated Air Defense System (IADS), and it only takes one mobile launcher in an unexpected place to wreck the day for a manned-aircraft element using current tactics.

    It is safe to say without further information that western air forces are very wary of the S-400, and confronting Russia's multilayered IADS would be nothing like taking on Gadaffi's eccentric and janky mismatched collection of air-defense weaponry.

    Very good and relevant explanation. I would only add that what Russia has in Syria and what Syria has in Syria are not IADS then stand-alone radars and missiles. What Russia has over Russia is IADS, especially with the new S500 (Russian ABMD). The Russians do not develop separate systems for air-defence and missile-defence, in Russia it is all one integrated multi-sensor system. What is completely unknown is the effectiveness of the Western stealth techniques and jammers against the Russian IADS over Russia. What if, what the Western airforces call the blue line, the entry space which allows you to destroy the airdefense before being detected and destroyed, keeps changing, becomes unpredictable or disappears altogether. What if you cannot overwhelm the airdefense with a barrage of 59 Tomahawks as in Syria, because you would need to fire several hundred or even thousand missiles simultaneously?

    If Russia implements IADS over Syria, which may be what was announced after the US cruise missile attack, then the “blue line” for US and Israeli jets and missiles may disappear.

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  124. America and Russia will not go for a direct war.

    The reason is simple: one is crazy the other is nuts. When crazy meets nuts sanity of both is restored. They ‘ll go for a drink and head home.

    I sort of drove this conclusion from a Russian poem I read years ago.

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  125. @Mark Chapman
    Agreed; the US Navy only continues to pursue railgun technology to use up budget dollars - a peculiarity of western defense budgeting is that if you show efficiency by using less than the full amount allocated for your operations, maintenance and R&D, your budget is likely to be cut by that much next cycle. The USN has gone back to the drawing-board on railgun development, but absent a power-supply breakthrough it is unrealistic except as a vanity project.

    http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/us-navys-railgun-dream-could-be-denied-by-two-big-problems-17301

    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/this-is-why-the-navy-cant-have-nice-railguns

    An additional argument in Russia's favour is that many of its systems are built simply to be rugged and easily operated by someone with a minimum of training, like a conscript, although the top end of the air defense systems are still largely operated by specialists. Western systems often are unnecessarily complex - sometimes seemingly just to impress reviewers - and the fiasco of the F-35 nightmare serves as exemplary of what happens when corporatism gets the upper hand on government; any vision of what the F-35 was originally supposed to do has been lost in a blizzard of pork-barreling and design changes.

    As far as the navy goes, I made some of the same points myself some years ago, particularly the gross discrepancy in the cost of the USN's Littoral Combat Ships compared with - in this instance - China's missile corvettes.

    https://marknesop.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/fall-out-and-secure-for-sea-the-2012-sino-russian-naval-exercises/comment-page-1/

    Thanks for a great piece; it was timely, informative, thought-provoking and chock-full of meaty phrases and terminology I cannot wait to borrow.

    Mark, sorry but I have to disagree on the F-35 project. You are right that

    any vision of what the F-35 was originally supposed to do has been lost in a blizzard of pork-barreling and design changes

    But it appears that even that original concept was a pie in the sky sold to the government by a ruthless military almost-monopolistic corporation.

    Firstly, the concept was unrealistic, then also the concept was too ambitious in the wrong direction.

    Unrealistic: to create one frame for different airforce roles with very different requirements I describe as similar to creating a tank which can race on the ground, fly and submerge. I wonder why this has never been done successfully before. But this is what LM promised to USAF and on paper it looked fantastic and when greased with a few corrupt bucks the concept won the decision day. The same frame and 70% of shared components between all versions, ha!

    Too ambitious: instead of focusing on the firepower and maneuverability, it focused on stealth which is relatively easily defeated with multi-sensor IADS. The designers created the best stealth possible but at the expense of the principal plane performance: the firepower and maneuverability.

    LM claims that F-35 is completely new technology and suffers from birthing pains. Although true, this is not the crux of the problem. The whole design is back-to-the-drawing-board level of disaster. Even US & Allies cannot afford a trillion dollars stuff-up and a decade of time lost.

    In essence, the F-35 is again a good weapon only against the thirld-world opponents who cannot defeat stealth.

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  126. I could be wrong, but I am inclined to see a parallel between the US now and the Russian Empire pre-1904.
    After after the surprise attack by the Japanese navy against Port Arthur and ultimate victory by Japan in the Russian-Japanese war that followed back in 1904, the Czarist regime was doomed.
    The Russians were arrogantly confident that they could easily beat down the Japanese forces and got the shit kicked out of them.
    On paper the Russians should have had the advantage, but because there was so much corruption and incompetence in the Czarist military complex they were defeated.
    The result was a the revolution of 1905 and the Czars ultimate demise in 1917.
    I think everything about the US government is a lie and has been for a while. Even though billions are spent on the US military I suspect it is a “paper tiger” because of obvious corruption but also because of the traitorous activity of US government officials with allegiances to a foreign powers.
    Anyway I’d be surprised that the US would prevail (without destroying the entire world with nukes) in a conflict with a adversary like Russia.
    But, I certainly could be wrong.

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    • Replies: @Seraphim
    The war that the Japanese started pushed by the Schiff banking cabal was ended in 1945 by the people they helped to overturn a friend of Japan, the Tsar Nicholas II.
    , @AP

    I could be wrong, but I am inclined to see a parallel between the US now and the Russian Empire pre-1904.
     
    Sorry, that's just completely wrong.

    The best rough analogy to Russia of pre-1904 would be China (though China is further along in its development, perhaps it would be Russia of 1914 or later, had Russia not stupidly gotten itself into World War I).

    The US would somehow be analogous to the British Empire in its decline. A key difference, however, is the US' massive population (more than double that of Russia), territory and natural resources compared to that of the British mainland. This probably provides some sort of floor to the American decline that Britain didn't have.

    Also, keep in mind that western Russophobes plus Bolsheviks exaggerated the Tsars' Russia's weakness and incompetence, while there was nobody to defend it. This makes the picture unrealistically negative. During World War I, Russia defeated two of the three Central Powers (compare Russian vs. British performance vs. the Ottoman Empire) and was able to maintain a stable front vs. the third.

  127. @mushroom
    When folks discuss Russia's capabilities they often forget what's blatantly obvious - which is what's not obvious, i.e. what the bear has created and is in it's hidden caves.

    What happened to that U.S. destroyer in the Black Sea was just a teasing mini-harbinger of this reality!

    So is the genius to create a cavity to eavesdrop, &c...

    If you want to enjoy happy days don't mess with the bear!

    The USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) is a 4th generation guided missile destroyer whose key weapons are Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of up to 2,500 kilometers, and capable of carrying nuclear explosives. This ship carries 56 Tomahawk missiles in standard mode, and 96 missiles in attack mode.

    The US destroyer is equipped with the most recent Aegis Combat System. It is an integrated naval weapons systems which can link together the missile defense systems of all vessels embedded within the same network, so as to ensure the detection, tracking and destruction of hundreds of targets at the same time. In addition, the USS Donald Cook is equipped with 4 large radars, whose power is comparable to that of several stations. For protection, it carries more than fifty anti-aircraft missiles of various types.

    Meanwhile, the Russian Su-24 that buzzed the USS Donald Cook carried neither bombs nor missiles but only a basket mounted under the fuselage, which, according to the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta [2], contained a Russian electronic warfare device called Khibiny.

    As the Russian jet approached the US vessel, the electronic device disabled all radars, control circuits, systems, information transmission, etc. on board the US destroyer. In other words, the all-powerful Aegis system, now hooked up – or about to be – with the defense systems installed on NATO’s most modern ships was shut down, as turning off the TV set with the remote control.

    The Russian Su-24 then simulated a missile attack against the USS Donald Cook, which was left literally deaf and blind. As if carrying out a training exercise, the Russian aircraft – unarmed – repeated the same maneuver 12 times before flying away.

    After that, the 4th generation destroyer immediately set sail towards a port in Romania.

    Since that incident, which the Atlanticist media have carefully covered up despite the widespread reactions sparked among defense industry experts, no US ship has ever approached Russian territorial waters again.

    According to some specialized media, 27 sailors from the USS Donald Cook requested to be relieved from active service.

    http://www.voltairenet.org/article185860.html

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    • Replies: @Seraphim
    @no US ship has ever approached Russian territorial waters again.

    Not quite true. Americans didn't get the message and tried again (with the same results, albeit unreported).

    "The guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) was buzzed on April 11, 2016 in the Baltic Sea by a pair of Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer fighters. As seen in a video released by U.S. European Command on Wednesday afternoon.
    On April 11, Donald Cook was conducting deck landing drills with an Allied
    military helicopter when two Russian SU-24 jets made numerous, close-range
    and low altitude passes at approximately 3 p.m. local,” read a release from U.S. European Command provided to USNI News.
    “One of the passes, which occurred while the allied helicopter was refueling on the deck of Donald Cook, was deemed unsafe by the ship’s commanding officer. As a safety precaution, flight operations were suspended until the SU-24s departed the area...
    The following day, a pair of KA27 Kamov Helix helicopters orbited the ship taking photos in what officials called a “simulated attack profile” in several press reports...
    U.S. European Command expressed “deep concerns about the unsafe and unprofessional Russian flight maneuvers. These actions have the potential to unnecessarily escalate
    tensions between countries, and could result in a miscalculation or accident that could cause serious injury or death,” read the statement.
    “U.S. officials are using existing diplomatic channels to address the interactions, while the incidents are also being reviewed through U.S. Navy channels.
    The two recent incidents follow a similar series of 2014 flybys in which “Sukhoi SU-24 Fencer flew as close as 1,000 yards from USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) at an altitude of only 500 feet.”
    The Pentagon called the 2014 incident “provocative and unprofessional,” at the time.
    @https://news.usni.org/2016/04/13/video-russian-fighters-buzz-uss-donald-cook-in-baltic-sea

    "USS Porter Buzzed by Russian Planes in Black Sea", by: Sam LaGrone, February 14, 2017:

    A U.S. guided missile destroyer was buzzed by four Russian military aircraft last week – with one coming as close 200 yards – in incidents the Navy has deemed, “unsafe and unprofessional,” a U.S. European Command spokesman told USNI News on Tuesday.
    Three incidents in which Russian aircraft made low passes occurred on Feb. 10 while USS Porter (DDG-78) was operating in international waters in the Black Sea, Capt. Danny Hernandez told USNI News.
    Two Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer fighters made low-altitude, high-speed passes on the destroyer, an Ilyushin Il-38 surveillance aircraft also made a low pass and a separate Fencer made a low altitude pass on the ship, he said. The commander of Porter determined the actions were unsafe and unprofessional.
    It’s unclear if the Fencers were armed.
    At least one Fencer came within 200 yards of the ship, flying at 300 feet at more than 500 knots, a defense official told USNI News on Tuesday.
    None of the aircraft responded to radio queries from Porter and had their transponders turned off, Hernandez said.
    The destroyer had just completed the ten-day Romanian-led multinational Sea Shield 2017 exercise. Porter left the Black Sea on Feb. 11.
    @https://news.usni.org/2017/02/14/uss-porter-buzzed-russian-planes-black-sea

    "Provocative, unsafe and unprofessional". "These incidents are always concerning because they could result in miscalculation or accident".
    Same terms were applied to interception of American planes by Russian planes which approached them unseen until the last moment.

  128. The article is not backed up by numbers. There is zero specificity.

    How many S-300 and S-400 are actually deployed? How many missiles/fighter jets would it take to overwhelm this defensive force? Does US/NATO have that many missiles/fighter jets to do this job?

    How many Su-35 were deployed so far and how does this compare to the number of F-22 in service?

    How many submarines US and Russia have currently in the seas?

    What’s wrong with Ohio class subs? They are just there to deliver the punch and are perfectly safe as Russia does not have enough killer subs.

    And now this:

    Moreover, already today, US lower 48 are not immune to a conventional massive missile strike.

    What would be the purpose of such a strike? Wasting expensive missile on delivering just singular 500kg explosive? Anybody seriously in Russia’s military would consider such an idiocy?

    The bottom line is that Russia is a nuclear power that can annihilate the US. All strategies take this into account. This is the bottom line. Any response or aggression vis a vis Russia must take this into account.

    Russia has conventional defensive capabilities but has negligible ability of projecting its power beyond its borders. Circa 4 dozens of planes in Syria with half a dozen of fighter jets to protect them that all are defended by few dozens of S-300/400 tubes is not very impressive. This force could be overwhelmed in just few hours by Israel AF that has over 400 F-15/16 or Turkey AF that has over 200 F-16.

    I do not believe anybody really wants a war with Russia but certainly they want to conquer Russia to make it to submit to the Washington consensus. But this will not be done with foreign troops on Russian soil or with bombs falling or Russian cities. It will be done with a soft coup d’etat that will depose Putin and his semi-patriotic faction. It all will be done with Russian hands. The attack on Syria by Trump was perfectly timed with president Xi visit who is very familiar with the Chinese proverb: kill the chicken to scare the monkey. Putin was the chicken and Xi was the monkey in this case. Putin lost face and Xi lost face. With every incident of this nature there will be more and more resentment and plotting among various factions in Russia’s Deep State. There is no other choice because certainly Russia will not go to the preemptive nuclear war and apart of nuclear war Russia will be humiliated in every conventional skirmish.

    I am taking bets if Putin will be out of power by the end of this summer.

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    • Replies: @Max Steel
    S-300 can destroy Israeli warplanes even before they leave their airfields for sky. Do you see Russians doing it ? Why ? Because Russia and Israel have friendly relations and Russia doesn't interfere in Hezbollah and Israelis conflict.
  129. @Erebus

    Russian Central Bank can print Ruble thru the thin air just like the Fed
     
    No, it cannot.
    The Russian Central Bank, like all "emerging market" central banks are treaty bound to print local currency only in a prescribed ratio to their "hard currency" reserves. The latter are the USD, the UKP, the EUR, the JPY, and now the CNY.
    As IMF treaties are considered International Treaties, they stand above the law of the land.
    These treaties are the instruments whereby the US' IMF-USD $ystem keeps the dollar in demand, and extracts value from the "3rd world" which are thereby forced to sell raw commodities to print enough currency to develop their internal economies. Of course, they can never really sell enough, and so they stay where they are.
    So, when the USM buys some insanely expensive aircraft carrier, or fighter aircraft, the rest of the world pays for it. In turn, the US uses that same carrier or aircraft to enforce the treaties. A self-reinforcing arrangement that allows the US and its allies to enjoy all the benefits of thievery over honest toil. "Extraordinary privilege", DeGaulle called it.

    The Russian Central Bank is doubly constrained by virtue of its (American authored) constitution which all but prohibits its restructuring.

    You can read a rather lengthy, but eye opening treatise on this subject here:
    http://lit.md/files/nstarikov/rouble_nationalization-the_way_to_russia%27s_freedom.pdf

    What international treaties has the Russian Central Bank entered into, if any?

    Re: “The Russian Central Bank is doubly constrained by virtue of its (American authored) constitution which all but prohibits its restructuring.”

    Yours is an odd way of interpreting this provision of the Russian Constitution:

    The Constitution of the Russian Federation
    Article 75 (Chapter 3)

    1. The monetary unit in the Russian Federation shall be the rouble. Money issue shall be carried out exclusively by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation. Introduction and issue of other currencies in Russia shall not be allowed.
    2. The protection and ensuring the stability of the rouble shall be the major task of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, which it shall fulfil independently of the other bodies of state authority.
    3. The system of taxes paid to the federal budget and the general principles of taxation and dues in the Russian Federation shall be fixed by the federal law.
    4. State loans shall be issued according to the rules fixed by the federal law and shall be floated on a voluntary basis. [emphasis added]

    http://www.constitution.ru/en/10003000-04.htm

    With reference to this @p36 of the treatise cited:

    “Laws need to be changed. That means that it is necessary to take the State
    Duma under control. That means that a parliamentary majority is required.
    And therefore, a party needs to be created that will win the general elections.
    A political structure which is currently rather popular starts being created.

    The majority party in the Duma now has representation sufficient to enable an amendment to the constitution to change the above provisions, not to mention the laws pursuant to same. Whether that is actually politically feasible is another matter.

    The treatise you cited appears to be somewhat dated with regard to the constraints, if any, on changes to central banking in Russia.

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  130. @anon
    That is a point I have often tried to make. Had the Tsar just told the Serbs flat out, "You guys are on your own. Comply. Or fight the Central Powers by yourself. We are out of it.",' there would never have been a 'Great' war (WW1). At most the 'war' would have been a minor brawl between Serbia and Austria-Hungary. History would have recorded it as just another Balkan skirmish. It would have been virtually forgotten today. This was the initial assumption of the Kaiser when he issued his 'blank check' of support. The Tsar would have saved millions of lives, including his own and his family too. Just nine years earlier the Tsar had fought and lost a disastrous war with Japan. That defeat led to a revolution that came within a hair of deposing him. He SHOULD have learned his lesson and avoided any future conflict like the plague. Tsar Nicolas was an incredibly stupid man. He deserves far more vilification then the Kaiser does.

    Tsar Nicholas was not that stupid to not see that the aggression against Serbia was in fact directed at Russia. The Dual Alliance of 1879, coming immediately after the Berlin Congress was directed squarely against Russia. By the time of Nicholas it evolved in the Triple Alliance and I have no doubts that Russians knew that Romania had adhered in secret in 1882. He could not be unaware of the ‘Drang nach Osten’ mentality which gripped Germany by the end of the 19th century and that the plans for the partition of Russia were on the drawing board. He could not have been unaware that the rejection of his proposals for disarmament has induced Germany to believe that the proposal reflected the weakness of Russia. He could not been unaware of Moltke’s proposal in 1912 for a preventive war against Russia. He could not have been unaware that an external war was a precondition of for the revolution.
    War was imposed on Russia.

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  131. The Russian military is moving in the same direction as the US — toward state-of-the-art obsolescence. While they build tiny numbers of new weapons, many times that number of their predecessors are being retired faster than the new weapons can be built.

    That fancy T-14 Armata Russia started building a few years ago? It replaces over 20000 T-55s and T-62s built early in the Cold War, and 6000 T-64s that were all spontaneously retired in the early 2010s and shipped not to the tank graveyards, but straight to the cutting mills.

    The Borei class Ballistic Missile Submarines mentioned in the article currently number about 5 boats, most of which aren’t finished yet. They replace not only the infinitely more powerful and infamous Typhoon class (retired not because of age, but because Russia couldn’t afford them), but also some 50 other Cold War era “Boomers”.

    And that Su-35 that’s all the hype these days? It was back in the mid-1990s as well, and the Su-27 it was meant to replace is being retired faster than Su-35s can be built. The new T-50 isn’t much of a threat either, because it’s been in development almost as long as the F-35, and it’s no closer to being combat-ready.

    These are a metaphor for what Russia has become; a nation so insecure about the wrong things (cutting-edge technology rather than enough weapons to defend itself) that they’re over-spending to weakness.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    They replace not only the infinitely more powerful and infamous Typhoon class (retired not because of age,
     
    Sir, please, don't write things you don't know about. Pacific Fleet's Delta III (Project 667 BDR) SSBNs are in dire need of replacement, while Northern Fleet's SSBNs of Delta IV class (Project 667 BDRM) are nearing the end of life. Remaining Project 941 (Akula-class> not Typhoon) are not even consideration for Borey-class, serving out their lives as test platforms, mostly. Borey (Project 955 and 955A) was created to replace aging Deltas.
  132. @Sergey Krieger
    You are coming as a very pragmatic sort of a man ;)

    Just for your warning – well, bit of cultural and genetical conditioning helps in this case.

    As one of my grandfathers was helping in early stages of establishing https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comecon.

    Unfortunately, I did not have chance to discuss these issues with him.

    Unfortunately, depending on point view, I am not enough pragmatic for current ideologically driven socio-economical society ;-)

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  133. @Joe Wong
    "still 20 years behind on average?" since you are fabricating thru the thin air, why did you stop at 20 years? Why didn't you say 30 years behind, 40 years behind, ... ? You should know fake news is always fake new regardless it is a small fake news or a big fake news.

    It depends on the area, in some things they are 30 years behind, or even 40. The USSR collapsed in 1991 and for at least 10 years Russia had no money even to pay its soldiers. As the Chechen debacles had shown they were in shambles. Their new projects weren’t going much forward, as you can see they resumed their 1980′s projects after 2000 when they had more oil income and Putin made the Russian state working again (well, kind of… it is still hindered by corruption, disincentivizes citizens from being entrepreneurial (in a state where the rules can be changed overnight at the ruler’s whim (no real rule of law) and you can be a billionaire oligarch but you can’t be sure the state doesn’t simple take everything from you and throw you in prison overnight, even arranging for your “accidental” death, except the money you siphoned to foreign accounts and real estate abroad etc.) It is mafia state, or a mafia (ex KGB) presenting itself as the state. Of course it is more ore less true everywhere (in the US too of course), deep under the veneer of democracy and rule of law, but in Russia it is almost open and blatant. Also the Russians don’t have any traditions of enterpreneurship, private incentive, contrary to China, which is also a very corrupt country with a corrupt and totally nondemocratic regime (contrary to Russia which has token Western-style democratic institutions now), but thanks to the industriousness of the Chinese people they have risen to where they are now. Average Russians still seem to expect the state to provide for them as it was in the USSR, they need a “Father Tsar” which is now Putin, or they are just drinking too much and are in a rut, idk.

    As for the years it was only an estimate of course, but as I said they first had to make up for the lost decade after 1991, like finishing subs that were left unfinished since 1992 and things like that. First really new gadgets were the Armata (and Kurganets) which is still a newcomer, and T-50, still not an operational fighter. Regarding SAM’s I must say the Russians always were the fans of SAM’s but they were ineffective in the ME and Vietnam too. Didn’t stop the enemy from achieving air superiority. I don’t doubt that the S-300 /400 is much more advanced than the SAM systems of the 60′s and 70′s were, but they would have to face a much more advanced opponent too. Like low RCS planes that cannot be detected until they are well within the range of their air-to-surface weapons or dozens of targets flying at 20-3o m coming in from multiple directions.
    The F-35 is derided around here, the US spent a fortune on it, true. It has problems (only known because the US is more open, you usually don’t read in the media about problems with the new Chinese or Russian planes, sure you think it is because they don’t have any with them?) but it’s capabilities are something. Stealth is not some scam as some believe. It is serious business when your SAM’s or AAM’s cannot lock on the damn thing even if you have a monster longwave radar that can detect it from a few dozen miles…

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  134. @Kiza
    Ok. so the secret of Russian military project effectiveness is that there are no congressional districts and power plays to divvy up the military budget not based on merit and proven capability than based on the power of the district's Congressional and/or Senatorial whore. Then, there are no MIC billionaires to skim the pie. Then the engineers works for reasonable salaries with a highly respected bonus of patriotism. Then there is an excellent well established educational system (for the whites) which puts accent on physics, maths and real technical building skills, supported by mentorship by experienced engineers, instead of putting accent on lying, financial market wizardry (again manipulation), MBAs, whilst training blacks to become engineers and importing engineers from India. Finally, there is the accumulated project experience and cooperative networks from building good weaponry during the days of Soviet Union, in which Russia quickly and effectively replaced sometimes dysfunctional pieces of network which dropped out, especially the important ones from Ukraine. I am truly amazed how quickly the Russian military manufacturing network compensates and adjusts for the loss of any piece.

    Have I answered my own question of how Russia produces on average 5X more bang for the buck (or more precisely, almost the same bang for five times less buck) than the US MIC? Am I missing any other component of success?

    Am I missing any other component of success?

    Just a possibility – or my hypothesis I am playing lately:-)

    It can be language according Sapir–Whorf hypothesis.
    The principle of linguistic relativity that the structure of a language affects its speakers’ world view or cognition. Popularly known as the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, or Whorfianism, the principle is often defined to include two versions. The strong version says that language determines thought, and that linguistic categories limit and determine cognitive categories, whereas the weak version says that linguistic categories and usage only influence thought and decisions.

    and also due to fact that:

    Baltic and Slavic show the common trait of never having undergone in the course of their development any sudden systemic upheaval. […] there is no indication of a serious dislocation of any part of the linguistic system at any time. The sound structure has in general remained intact to the present. […] Baltic and Slavic are consequently the only languages in which certain modern word-forms resemble those reconstructed for Common Indo-European.” ( The Indo-European Dialects [Eng. translation of Les dialectes indo-européens (1908)], University of Alabama Press, 1967, pp.
    59-60).

    Which could explain math skills of Russians and Indian:-) because languages are closely related.

    + learning other languages helps one for recognizing other points of view, if you look at current Russian elites Shoigu, Lavrov and others they speak usually one or more foreign languages fluently.

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    • Replies: @Kiza

    learning other languages helps one for recognizing other points of view
     
    I do not know if this has been scientifically established but I can certainly vouch for it personally because learning every new language gives you a different perspective on existing things. After starting to learn a new language I would think - I had no idea that lego could be arranged this way as well! Therefore, learning new languages broadens one's view of the world but whether it also helps recognize other points of view probably depends on the tolerance of the person. Maybe the key word in your statement is "helps".
  135. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Andrei Martyanov

    When relative economic strength is changing, military power lags by decades because many of the systems, technologies and institutions can only be built on such timescales.
     
    Russia is a very special case here--this is one of the points which is missed completely from "western" discussion. The empirical evidence is in and it overwhelmingly supports my, now academic, contention that "western" metrics for Russia do not work, nor most of the "experts" know what they are talking about, even when they have almost unrestricted access to sources. The way US "missed" Russia's military transformation which started in earnest in 2008 and completed its first phase by 2012 (4 years, you are talking about decades) is nothing short of astonishing. Combination of ignorance, hubris and downright stupidity are responsible for all that.

    P.S. No serious analyst takes US GDP as 18 trillion dollars seriously. A huge part of it is a creative bookkeeping and most of it is financial and service sector. Out of very few good things Vitaly Shlykov left after himself was his "The General Staff And Economics", which addressed the issue of actual US military-industrial potential. Then come strategic, operational and technological dimensions. You want to see operational dimension--look no further than Mosul which is still, after 6 months, being "liberated". Comparisons to Aleppo are not only warranted but irresistible. In general, overall power of the state (nation) is not only in its "economic" indices. I use Barnett's definition of national power constantly, remarkably Lavrov's recent speech in the General Staff Academy uses virtually identical definition.

    Your main point is well taken. PPP instead of simply GDP captures lower costs in Russia and is a better starting point. Plus, the US military procurement is remarkably inefficient. The combination of the two plus tacit and institutional knowledge regarding spending on military hardware makes analysis based on US spending misleading.

    However, the US is remarkably efficient in many other areas and has had the best performing developed economy since 2008.

    Regarding access to capital markets, the US over the last decade has developed a massive unconventional oil industry. This was done with capital investment of $3 trillion. Which came from capital markets. Not only was this unplanned, but it was done with grudging support from the Obama administration. And it is of enormous geo strategic value. I wish to hell that our defense doctrine would plug this new fact — US has no need for Middle East oil — into their strategy. Not to totally discount its importance, but the idea fighting and dying for a strategic resource that can be bought or drilled for needs to be thought out.

    If we were going to refight WW 2, then we would have some problems with global supply chains, etc. The next major war, if we have one, won’t be like WW 2. The logic of a US conventional war with Russia is stupid. Either side with a decisive conventional advantage would simply increase the risk of it going nuclear.

    Russia could, if they were so inclined, forcibly take back some of the former USSR. But why would they want to? Even Crimea is expensive. It has taken what seems like forever to build the Kerch Strait Bridge. They have their Naval Base and the border dispute will keep Ukraine out of NATO. Technically, they could try it, but one of the requirements for membership is that the nation is not involved in conflict. It’s held in Georgia and Moldova.

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  136. @Carlton Meyer
    If you care to read my detailed explanation of why carrier strike groups are obsolete against a modern navy:

    http://www.g2mil.com/navwar.htm

    If you prefer to watch a 33 second example:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ki2-uyCHOA

    Great article.

    Concerning wastage of resources, here’s what John Patch of the USN had to say:

    The Soviets debated building a significant carrier fleet in the 1960s but determined that large carriers had no place in the nuclear age, partly because of their vulnerability to missiles with nuclear warheads.2 While later choosing to build larger carriers, Moscow always retained the view that carriers remained vulnerable.

    https://defence.pk/pdf/threads/the-carrier-invulnerability-myth.145678/

    It is surely significant that Russia sold or gave away all its cold war-era aircraft carriers and retains only the hybrid aircraft-capable cruiser, Kuznetsov.

    They “get” it that the role of capital surface ships is changing,, and diminishing. This is also indicative of why the Russians will shock the first fleet that tries to engage them. They keep their planners and developers focused on what actually matters, and serious war gaming, rather than rigging things to provide the answer they want for careerist reasons

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Challenge_2002

    Note that it took the attacking general about 5 minutes using a swarm of old-generation cruise missiles to sink enough craft to disable the fleet’s networked defense and EW capacity, with crew amounting to 20,000 on the ships sunk alone. The remaining ships were sitting ducks for the follow up attacks.

    These were subsonic cruise missiles. A bunch of moskits would have wiped everything out.

    And still these fools keep spending money on carrier groups. it’s noteworthy that they restarted the war game and ordered the opposing general to stop making effective attacks. That sums up exactly why the US keeps wasting money and doing stupid things.
    __________________

    As an aside, note that the CGI from the movie of an aircraft carrier attack is not realistic.

    Projectiles travelling at the speeds shown would easily be destroyed or diverted by fleet defense systems.

    The new BrahMos adaptation of the Onyx missile travels at 2,800 mph. By comparison a bullet fired from a high compression hunting rifle travels at 1,700 mph.

    The ballistic missiles such as the Dong feng being developed by the Chinese, will have incoming speeds as high as 5,000 mph.

    The human eye can’t actually see objects moving that fast.

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  137. @Anonymous
    Russia spent almost 5.4% of GDP on military spending. The US last year spent 3.3% and with Trump's proposed increase this number will increase by a few decimal points.

    Russia is a middle income country while the US is a rich country, in the top 10 of GDP per capita. If oil prices don't substantially improve and Russia continues to spend the way it does on the military it will simply go broke.

    Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)_per_capita (Russia is between Mexico and Suriname)

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

    Hopefully the President of Russia will take on board your succinct and informed analysis.

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  138. @reiner Tor
    I think that while it's a grave mistake for Americans to underestimate Russians, it's also a grave mistake for Russians to underestimate Americans.

    Since I cannot claim to be an expert in military technology, I always read such articles with great interest, but never know with how much grain of salt I need to take them - none? a little? a lot? a whole salt mine?

    Underestimate Americans in what ? Stupidity ?

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  139. @reiner Tor

    US would have a real test in North Korea or Iran, Russia in a war against Turkey.
     
    I think Turkey's military is stronger than either Iran's or North Korea's, so it would be a tougher test for Russia to fight Turkey than for the US to fight North Korea or Iran.

    Russians have already defeated Ottomans and Turkey is NOT a tough test for Russia given Turkey invades Russia otheriwse unlike US you don’t expect Russia to go launch a war bravado against them.

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  140. @2stateshmoostate
    I could be wrong, but I am inclined to see a parallel between the US now and the Russian Empire pre-1904.
    After after the surprise attack by the Japanese navy against Port Arthur and ultimate victory by Japan in the Russian-Japanese war that followed back in 1904, the Czarist regime was doomed.
    The Russians were arrogantly confident that they could easily beat down the Japanese forces and got the shit kicked out of them.
    On paper the Russians should have had the advantage, but because there was so much corruption and incompetence in the Czarist military complex they were defeated.
    The result was a the revolution of 1905 and the Czars ultimate demise in 1917.
    I think everything about the US government is a lie and has been for a while. Even though billions are spent on the US military I suspect it is a "paper tiger" because of obvious corruption but also because of the traitorous activity of US government officials with allegiances to a foreign powers.
    Anyway I'd be surprised that the US would prevail (without destroying the entire world with nukes) in a conflict with a adversary like Russia.
    But, I certainly could be wrong.

    The war that the Japanese started pushed by the Schiff banking cabal was ended in 1945 by the people they helped to overturn a friend of Japan, the Tsar Nicholas II.

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  141. @utu
    The article is not backed up by numbers. There is zero specificity.

    How many S-300 and S-400 are actually deployed? How many missiles/fighter jets would it take to overwhelm this defensive force? Does US/NATO have that many missiles/fighter jets to do this job?

    How many Su-35 were deployed so far and how does this compare to the number of F-22 in service?

    How many submarines US and Russia have currently in the seas?

    What's wrong with Ohio class subs? They are just there to deliver the punch and are perfectly safe as Russia does not have enough killer subs.

    And now this:

    Moreover, already today, US lower 48 are not immune to a conventional massive missile strike.
     
    What would be the purpose of such a strike? Wasting expensive missile on delivering just singular 500kg explosive? Anybody seriously in Russia's military would consider such an idiocy?

    The bottom line is that Russia is a nuclear power that can annihilate the US. All strategies take this into account. This is the bottom line. Any response or aggression vis a vis Russia must take this into account.

    Russia has conventional defensive capabilities but has negligible ability of projecting its power beyond its borders. Circa 4 dozens of planes in Syria with half a dozen of fighter jets to protect them that all are defended by few dozens of S-300/400 tubes is not very impressive. This force could be overwhelmed in just few hours by Israel AF that has over 400 F-15/16 or Turkey AF that has over 200 F-16.

    I do not believe anybody really wants a war with Russia but certainly they want to conquer Russia to make it to submit to the Washington consensus. But this will not be done with foreign troops on Russian soil or with bombs falling or Russian cities. It will be done with a soft coup d'etat that will depose Putin and his semi-patriotic faction. It all will be done with Russian hands. The attack on Syria by Trump was perfectly timed with president Xi visit who is very familiar with the Chinese proverb: kill the chicken to scare the monkey. Putin was the chicken and Xi was the monkey in this case. Putin lost face and Xi lost face. With every incident of this nature there will be more and more resentment and plotting among various factions in Russia's Deep State. There is no other choice because certainly Russia will not go to the preemptive nuclear war and apart of nuclear war Russia will be humiliated in every conventional skirmish.

    I am taking bets if Putin will be out of power by the end of this summer.

    S-300 can destroy Israeli warplanes even before they leave their airfields for sky. Do you see Russians doing it ? Why ? Because Russia and Israel have friendly relations and Russia doesn’t interfere in Hezbollah and Israelis conflict.

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  142. @Kiza
    Congratulations on the article Andrei. As another commenter said - I do not agree with everything in the article, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    I also fully support your answers to Karlin, he often barks up a wrong tree.

    Now the main issue with your article that I have is the same old issue that I always had with your comments. You start from the right premise and then you blow it up beyond recognition. In other words, you are too optimistic. For example, it is a very good point that the Russian and US perceptions of war are totally different: for a Russian the war is a fight for survival as an individual and as a nation, for a US person war and killing are just another day in the office. Then you start counting weapons and comparing weapons technology specifications and always conclude that Russian is better and cheaper, even when there is no direct comparison of effectiveness in battle.

    In other words, if your top level goal is to counter the ubiquitous US MIC propaganda with the Russian MIC propaganda, then you are doing a good job. But never forget the Motke's dictum: no wonderful battle plan survives contact with the enemy. I accept that the mercenairy armies, like the US one, are not very good when dying starts, they totally rely on military superiority which does not exist against Russia and soon will not exist against China. But the new generations of Russians are becoming softer and softer and Russian military has not been tested in a recent conflict against a peer just like the US one has not.

    The second major disadvantage of the Russian MIC is that US has a huge market of allies which it ruthlessly milks for weapons procurement, whilst when Russia sells an S300 to Cyprus it lands in the hands of the Israelis to be cracked. Even after such experience Russia engages in an apparently serious discussion to sell S400 to Turkey, straight into NATO hands. To put it mildly - Russia has to nurture the BRICS defense market, although most of the customers are copy artists, China being the master copier.

    Having criticised you too much, now I have to admit that I do not understand how Russia can get on average 5X more bang for the buck than US, sometimes more. Does Russian MIC operate some underground former mine facilities in which these engineering slaves design all these wonderful military toys and then build them at the cost of sustenance? Lower Russian wages and US MIC's extraordinary greed still cannot fully explain such huge difference. Is it some amazing corruption-free project management skills inherited from Soviet Union?

    As someone who has had experience with the weaponry of both sides, I have always been a fan of Russian engineering simplicity and reliability in design. Most people are familiar with this design philosophy through experience with Kalashnikov rifle, but this is a general design principle of all Russian weapons, even the sophisticated ones (probably even S500). Admittedly, the Chinese apply a similar principle in their engineering, although not at the same level - I remember well the shock of my Western colleagues when they realised that the Chinese Long March rockets utilised plywood where they utilised (at that time) very expensive carbon fibre and other composites.

    There is a slight flaw in your comment.

    Israeli used Greece’s S-300 PMU-1 to prepare their F-16I pilots for potential air strikes on Iran .

    we still don’t know which version went to Iran so if they practice on the S-300PMU-1 and Iran gets the S-300VM it will be like practising on a home cat and then going against a tiger.

    Even US and UK had older S-300 models with them. US has S-300PS/PMU systems at Nevada. It has same value as figuring out Turkish F-16 from Egyptian/Pakistan/UAE/Taiwan /Korean.

    But yes earlier S-300 models are not completely protected Israel succeeded where many in NATO failed against even an old system like PMU. Regarding S-300PMU, it has been upgraded substantially in previous years.

    Its guidance system is literally unjammable unless huge resources are dedicated, ie broadband noise jamming of the most powerful kind.

    Though recently Israel announced that it is upgrading its F-16 variants external link to be able to handle the vaunted Russian S-300 anti-aircraft system. Iran is perennially about to receive shipments of the system. But mere intention does not mean they have managed to do so.

    It was the middle of the 1990s and money was nonexistent in Russia . They sold components of an S-300V battery to the US… likely the oldest model they had that was incomplete.With the money they made they upgraded the whole system to S-300VM or Antei-2500.So in effect the US paid for the next generation to replace the generation that was compromised.And the S-300V was in service in most former Soviet republics so chances were eventually they would get their hands on it anyway… at least this way they got their own funding to develop a replacement system.

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  143. @inertial
    You just illustrated my point. Facebook vs. Gazprom market caps - all that shows is that Facebook has access to vastly larger amounts of capital than Gazprom. Well, duh.

    Market capitalization is determined mostly by institutional investors - mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, etc. - who pool private savings and channel them into various investments. There are massive amounts of such savings available in USA; in Russia, not so much.

    In Russia, the government is just about the only major saver and investor. This works fine in areas where the government must play a role, such as weapons manufacture. In other areas, enterprises that need capital to develop must either accumulate it themselves over the years (which puts limit on growth,) or get the government to help them out, or borrow abroad at usurious rates. That's not good. Ideally, Russian enterprises should enter Russian stock or fixed income market and raise as much capital as they need.

    As for Boeing, yes it's a gem. But it does have some difficulties in raising capital. It's been balancing on the edge of bankruptcy for years and, unlike Facebook, it has huge liabilities. Incidentally, Boeing very much engages in all that "useless" high finance stuff. The buy and sell and issue bonds and short term paper; I don't know if they issue options but they certainly trade them. They don't believe that they are performing "virtual transactions with virtual money;" on the contrary, they consider this and essential part of the business, as important as building engines or whatever. Perhaps they know something you don't?

    Finally, a tip. Any "expert" who doesn't treat US (or other) economic data seriously is an idiot.

    not treating US data seriously is obviously hyperbole, but incidentally a very on spot one in this case.
    all things being equal, you are right about market formation and capitalization. but these are not normal times. nobody really knows whats going to happen when the shit, which is the US stock market QE fueled ponzi scheme, hits the fan. it is very hard to take the subprime, derivative, QE, buyback economy of the last almost 20 years seriously.
    it is also false to say that zuckerbook is useless. it generates way too much money(compared to twitter or tesla) to make that statement. in general, it is hard to estimate the value and effectiveness of marketing expenses and facebook put a decent metric on it, better than google to some extent.

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  144. @2stateshmoostate
    I could be wrong, but I am inclined to see a parallel between the US now and the Russian Empire pre-1904.
    After after the surprise attack by the Japanese navy against Port Arthur and ultimate victory by Japan in the Russian-Japanese war that followed back in 1904, the Czarist regime was doomed.
    The Russians were arrogantly confident that they could easily beat down the Japanese forces and got the shit kicked out of them.
    On paper the Russians should have had the advantage, but because there was so much corruption and incompetence in the Czarist military complex they were defeated.
    The result was a the revolution of 1905 and the Czars ultimate demise in 1917.
    I think everything about the US government is a lie and has been for a while. Even though billions are spent on the US military I suspect it is a "paper tiger" because of obvious corruption but also because of the traitorous activity of US government officials with allegiances to a foreign powers.
    Anyway I'd be surprised that the US would prevail (without destroying the entire world with nukes) in a conflict with a adversary like Russia.
    But, I certainly could be wrong.

    I could be wrong, but I am inclined to see a parallel between the US now and the Russian Empire pre-1904.

    Sorry, that’s just completely wrong.

    The best rough analogy to Russia of pre-1904 would be China (though China is further along in its development, perhaps it would be Russia of 1914 or later, had Russia not stupidly gotten itself into World War I).

    The US would somehow be analogous to the British Empire in its decline. A key difference, however, is the US’ massive population (more than double that of Russia), territory and natural resources compared to that of the British mainland. This probably provides some sort of floor to the American decline that Britain didn’t have.

    Also, keep in mind that western Russophobes plus Bolsheviks exaggerated the Tsars’ Russia’s weakness and incompetence, while there was nobody to defend it. This makes the picture unrealistically negative. During World War I, Russia defeated two of the three Central Powers (compare Russian vs. British performance vs. the Ottoman Empire) and was able to maintain a stable front vs. the third.

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    • Replies: @Seraphim
    Do not forget that Germany made the first declarations of war. It declared war against Russia on the 1st of August 1914 and the next day invades Luxemburg. The declaration of war against France followed on the 3d of August, followed by the violation of Belgium neutrality.
    Russia was far from being defeated in 1916-17.
  145. They sold components of an S-300V battery to the US…

    Belarus sold the whole complex to the US, S-300V.

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  146. @Blacktail
    The Russian military is moving in the same direction as the US --- toward state-of-the-art obsolescence. While they build tiny numbers of new weapons, many times that number of their predecessors are being retired faster than the new weapons can be built.

    That fancy T-14 Armata Russia started building a few years ago? It replaces over 20000 T-55s and T-62s built early in the Cold War, and 6000 T-64s that were all spontaneously retired in the early 2010s and shipped not to the tank graveyards, but straight to the cutting mills.

    The Borei class Ballistic Missile Submarines mentioned in the article currently number about 5 boats, most of which aren't finished yet. They replace not only the infinitely more powerful and infamous Typhoon class (retired not because of age, but because Russia couldn't afford them), but also some 50 other Cold War era "Boomers".

    And that Su-35 that's all the hype these days? It was back in the mid-1990s as well, and the Su-27 it was meant to replace is being retired faster than Su-35s can be built. The new T-50 isn't much of a threat either, because it's been in development almost as long as the F-35, and it's no closer to being combat-ready.

    These are a metaphor for what Russia has become; a nation so insecure about the wrong things (cutting-edge technology rather than enough weapons to defend itself) that they're over-spending to weakness.

    They replace not only the infinitely more powerful and infamous Typhoon class (retired not because of age,

    Sir, please, don’t write things you don’t know about. Pacific Fleet’s Delta III (Project 667 BDR) SSBNs are in dire need of replacement, while Northern Fleet’s SSBNs of Delta IV class (Project 667 BDRM) are nearing the end of life. Remaining Project 941 (Akula-class> not Typhoon) are not even consideration for Borey-class, serving out their lives as test platforms, mostly. Borey (Project 955 and 955A) was created to replace aging Deltas.

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  147. @Kiza
    Ok. so the secret of Russian military project effectiveness is that there are no congressional districts and power plays to divvy up the military budget not based on merit and proven capability than based on the power of the district's Congressional and/or Senatorial whore. Then, there are no MIC billionaires to skim the pie. Then the engineers works for reasonable salaries with a highly respected bonus of patriotism. Then there is an excellent well established educational system (for the whites) which puts accent on physics, maths and real technical building skills, supported by mentorship by experienced engineers, instead of putting accent on lying, financial market wizardry (again manipulation), MBAs, whilst training blacks to become engineers and importing engineers from India. Finally, there is the accumulated project experience and cooperative networks from building good weaponry during the days of Soviet Union, in which Russia quickly and effectively replaced sometimes dysfunctional pieces of network which dropped out, especially the important ones from Ukraine. I am truly amazed how quickly the Russian military manufacturing network compensates and adjusts for the loss of any piece.

    Have I answered my own question of how Russia produces on average 5X more bang for the buck (or more precisely, almost the same bang for five times less buck) than the US MIC? Am I missing any other component of success?

    Then, there are no MIC billionaires to skim the pie.

    This is crucial. Sure, Chemezov’s or Rahmanov’s salaries are huge by Russian standards (well, by Western too) and allows the military-industrial elite to live very comfortably, to put it mildly but the answer is the state’s ownership of the whole defense sphere, from industry to doctrinal development. Relationship between Russians and their state are dramatically different from what most Westerners ever experienced in their relations. It was inevitable in the nation with such military history as Russia. As I mentioned Arthur J. Alexander’s “spread”–Russia does have this pressure applied to her institutes to, in the end, become this character from Russian anecdote, where he buys a crib for his toddler from one of the former MIC plants and after assembling it at home gets AK-47. Russia is bound to produce (at least mostly) weapons which have to work.

    Here is what Russians do, barn, of course, being a representation of Russian State;)

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  148. @NoseytheDuke
    What if the fat boy (and the NK people) feel that they need those weapons for defensive purposes? After all, it wasn't too long ago that Korea was invaded by the US (plus a few satraps) and millions of Koreans were killed. Who are we in the west to interfere with NK?

    Fat boy is developing missiles that will hit the USA, nuff said.
    Ok a little more, he can sell those little nuclear bombs to some terrorist group, now ’nuff said!’

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  149. @NoseytheDuke
    The troubles of the US of late have largely stemmed from having an insatiable parasite on its back sucking all that it can from the military and the economy in general whilst simultaneously plotting to undermine it.

    The senseless wars in the ME to provide Israel with "security", the billions of dollars in "loans" that will never be repaid, the vast amounts of military hardware worth billions declared as "scrap" and given to Israel, what a great investment it all has been.

    No doubt millions of Americans will welcome more degradation of their cities and infrastructure in order to field a larger military since it cares for the fruit of their loins so well AND has accomplished so much good in the world with the trillions already squandered at the behest of the Neocon Israel Firsters.

    You sure have your finger on America's pulse Shammy and clearly want nothing but the best for the American people, right? What a tosser!

    I shall refrain from returning your predictably dumb insults.

    On the topic of foreign aid and loan guarantees, you aren’t well-read nor qualified to render any opinion likely to be worth more than the pixels wasted by your fatuous lines.

    First, understand the difference between actual loans and loan guarantees.

    https://fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33222.pdf [pg 25 - 27]

    Second, here is a table for U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel: Total Aid

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/total-u-s-foreign-aid-to-israel-1949-present

    It irks you the U.S. sends foreign aid to Israel by an amount which really means not a great deal [average, $1.86b % $310b = 0.006 of GDP], even as U.S. foreign aid finds a much wider set of recipients. That’s your emotional prerogative, one which breaches a very, very long tradition observed by powerful nations.

    There is little you or I could do about it. Alea iacta est.

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  150. @Kiza
    You are stupid, are you not?

    No, I am smarter than you, and probably better looking. Just a guess, but an educated one, lol!

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    • Replies: @Kiza
    Nah, you are still the greatest idiot on unz.
  151. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Hopefully it will grow to its proper dimensions.
     
    So, Facebook's capitalization of 400 billion, that is for company which produces nothing of real value (in fact, is detrimental to mental health of the society) is a true size of economy.

    https://ycharts.com/companies/FB/market_cap

    Mind you--this is for a collection of several buildings, servers and about 200-300 pages of code in whatever they wrote it (C++, C whatever--make your pick).

    Meanwhile, Gazprom, which is an energy monster is about...10 times less.

    https://ycharts.com/companies/OGZPY/market_cap

    Here is a dilemma. Gazprom extracts and delivers energy without which Eurasia can not exist. Facebook? Turn it off tomorrow and bar some impressionable teenagers committing suicide, the world will continue on living just fine. But that is just one example. You will not find, however, such a hi-tech monster as Rostec on any financial market. For a corporate giant which employs half-a-million people and produces state of the art weapon systems and civilian products--ask yourself a question whose "capitalization" is more important for economy--of useless Facebook or of the corporation which produces civilian jet engines. But let me add insult to injury. While Facebook "capitalizes" on almost half-trillion, a gem of the American industry, aerospace giant Boeing barely makes it to 109 billion. Most US economic indices are fraud, the same as most of US economy is virtual--a collection of virtual transactions with virtual money and virtual services. i am not talking, of course, about stock buybacks. As I already stated, nobody of any serious expertise in actual things that matter, treats this whole US "economic" data seriously. The problem here is that many in US establishment do and that is a clear and present danger to both US and world at large because constant and grotesque overestimation of own capabilities becomes a matter of policy, not a one-off accident.

    Here is a dilemma. Gazprom extracts and delivers energy without which Eurasia can not exist. Facebook? Turn it off tomorrow and bar some impressionable teenagers committing suicide, the world will continue on living just fine. But that is just one example. You will not find, however, such a hi-tech monster as Rostec on any financial market. For a corporate giant which employs half-a-million people and produces state of the art weapon systems and civilian products–ask yourself a question whose “capitalization” is more important for economy–of useless Facebook or of the corporation which produces civilian jet engines. But let me add insult to injury. While Facebook “capitalizes” on almost half-trillion, a gem of the American industry, aerospace giant Boeing barely makes it to 109 billion. Most US economic indices are fraud, the same as most of US economy is virtual–a collection of virtual transactions with virtual money and virtual services.

    The above is a classic example of elementalism. It is a flawed perspective. Humans do not need much more than clean air, clean shelter, food, water and perhaps some antibiotics to live perfectly well. Every desire is born of the limbic system, which includes the hippocampus and the amygdala.

    Don’t speak so dismissively of Virtual Reality.

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    • Replies: @Joe Wong
    I guess what Andrei Martyanov was trying to say that virtual is not real, intrinsic or tangible, it is fabricated or created thru the thin air, hence the American economy is not real, intrinsic or tangible, it is fabricated or created thru the thin air.
    , @Ondrej

    It is a flawed perspective. Humans do not need much more than clean air, clean shelter, food, water and perhaps some antibiotics to live perfectly well.
     
    Yes, valid argument which true for GB, Belgium, Holland, with their Gulf Stream protected stable clime, but I would prefer Mediterranean area such as Greece or Balkan for that matter.

    Hmm Olive oil, vine, fishing sounds nice, but anything east of Frankfurt and North of let say Berlin in Europe, will add different perspective. Heating for winter, and shorter summer. Just ask people in Archangelsk or Petersburg :-)

    + Virtual reality need quite a lot of electrical power to run, not only on your computer but in cloud as well.

    Here you can find nice perspective as well..
    https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2015/09/you-call-this-progress/
  152. @Erebus

    Russian Central Bank can print Ruble thru the thin air just like the Fed
     
    No, it cannot.
    The Russian Central Bank, like all "emerging market" central banks are treaty bound to print local currency only in a prescribed ratio to their "hard currency" reserves. The latter are the USD, the UKP, the EUR, the JPY, and now the CNY.
    As IMF treaties are considered International Treaties, they stand above the law of the land.
    These treaties are the instruments whereby the US' IMF-USD $ystem keeps the dollar in demand, and extracts value from the "3rd world" which are thereby forced to sell raw commodities to print enough currency to develop their internal economies. Of course, they can never really sell enough, and so they stay where they are.
    So, when the USM buys some insanely expensive aircraft carrier, or fighter aircraft, the rest of the world pays for it. In turn, the US uses that same carrier or aircraft to enforce the treaties. A self-reinforcing arrangement that allows the US and its allies to enjoy all the benefits of thievery over honest toil. "Extraordinary privilege", DeGaulle called it.

    The Russian Central Bank is doubly constrained by virtue of its (American authored) constitution which all but prohibits its restructuring.

    You can read a rather lengthy, but eye opening treatise on this subject here:
    http://lit.md/files/nstarikov/rouble_nationalization-the_way_to_russia%27s_freedom.pdf

    The Russian Central Bank, like all “emerging market” central banks are treaty bound to print local currency only in a prescribed ratio to their “hard currency” reserves.

    The above is your fabrication, the link is a write out by an over zealous nationalist with half baked truth, and the link is neither a treaty quoted by you to support your claim nor saying there is such IMF treaty.

    Most nations hardly have any hard currency reserves, yet the amount of local currency they printed proves your “prescribed ratio” a fake news. Even those nations have hard currency reserves, the amount of local currency they prints makes your “prescribed ratio” a Hollywood fantasy.

    Putin has begun de-dollarization Russian economy long time ago, Russian has signed currency SWAP with China, EU and Japan, so that Russian can trade without USD. China also has set up AIIB and Alt-SWIFT for rest of the world to bypass the USD as well. Time has changed, man.

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  153. @inertial
    You just illustrated my point. Facebook vs. Gazprom market caps - all that shows is that Facebook has access to vastly larger amounts of capital than Gazprom. Well, duh.

    Market capitalization is determined mostly by institutional investors - mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, etc. - who pool private savings and channel them into various investments. There are massive amounts of such savings available in USA; in Russia, not so much.

    In Russia, the government is just about the only major saver and investor. This works fine in areas where the government must play a role, such as weapons manufacture. In other areas, enterprises that need capital to develop must either accumulate it themselves over the years (which puts limit on growth,) or get the government to help them out, or borrow abroad at usurious rates. That's not good. Ideally, Russian enterprises should enter Russian stock or fixed income market and raise as much capital as they need.

    As for Boeing, yes it's a gem. But it does have some difficulties in raising capital. It's been balancing on the edge of bankruptcy for years and, unlike Facebook, it has huge liabilities. Incidentally, Boeing very much engages in all that "useless" high finance stuff. The buy and sell and issue bonds and short term paper; I don't know if they issue options but they certainly trade them. They don't believe that they are performing "virtual transactions with virtual money;" on the contrary, they consider this and essential part of the business, as important as building engines or whatever. Perhaps they know something you don't?

    Finally, a tip. Any "expert" who doesn't treat US (or other) economic data seriously is an idiot.

    Market capitalization is determined mostly by institutional investors – mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, etc. – who pool private savings and channel them into various investments. There are massive amounts of such savings available in USA; in Russia, not so much.

    Sure, and that is why a company which produces nothing of value “commands” the so called “investments” which are several times larger than those of Boeing who is de facto US national treasure and who, as you stated, has problems with raising “capital”. That pretty much says it all. Again, I omit here the trick with stock buybacks. But in the end, you seem to miss completely the point–structure of GDP.

    You may go here and see for yourself how FIRE overtook manufacturing in US in output. What is “output”, of course, remains a complete mystery, same as many other services, once one considers the “quality” of education in US public schools which reflects in the most profound way on US labor force which increasingly begins to look like a third world one.

    https://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTable.cfm?ReqID=51&step=1#reqid=51&step=51&isuri=1&5114=a&5102=15

    In general, we speak here different languages and I may only refer you back to Michael Lind’s quote in my text. Judged in a larger, geopolitical framework, one can observe very clearly the process of US literally running out of resources and no amount of “raised capital” can change it. This is not to speak about the whole house of cards of Pax Americana which rested on US military imperial mythology. Once this mythology is debunked (the process which is ongoing as I type it) the house of cards folds.

    Read More
    • Agree: Sergey Krieger
    • Replies: @Ondrej
    Maybe this would help to someone:-)

    „Excluding as we do noncapitalist change, we have to define that word which good economists always try to avoid : capitalism is that form of private property economy in which innovations are carried out by means of borrowed money, which in general, though not by logical necessity, implies credit creation. A society, the economic life of which is characterized by private property and controlled by private initiative, is according to this definition not necessarily capitalist, even if there are, for instance, privately owned factories, salaried workers, and free exchange of goods and services, either kind or through the medium of money. The entrepreneurial function itself is not confined to capitalist society, since such economic leadership as it implies would be present, though in other forms, even in a primitive tribe or in a socialist community.“ (Schumpeter 1939, 216)

    This means that in perfect equilibrium interest would be zero in the sense that it would not be a necessary element of the process of production and distribution, or that pure interest tends to vanish as the system approaches perfect equilibrium. Proof of this proposition is very laborious, because it involves showing why all the theories which lead to a different result are logically unsatisfactory.
    Hence, the money market with all that happens in it acquires for us a much deeper significance than can be attributed to it from the standpoint just glanced at. It becomes the heart, although it never becomes the brain, of the capitalist organism (Schumpeter 1939)


    http://classiques.uqac.ca/classiques/Schumpeter_joseph/business_cycles/schumpeter_business_cycles.pdf
    , @inertial
    Years ago, I used to make fun of Amazon and later of Google. I learned my lesson. I personally don't have much use for Facebook; I don't have an account there. But I can see that Facebook provides a lot of value both to its users and to its customers (two distinct sets.)

    And then there is the potential. Lots of smart people are working at Facebook; they may well come up with a breakthrough in some unexpected area. Google started with search and now they are working on driverless cars, among other things. I doubt GM or Ford would've come up with driverless cars, as it is more of a software challenge than a car design one. So here is an example how an investment into a "virtual" company like Google worked out better than an investment into the "real" economy like GM.

    Now as for FIRE, and that brings me back to what I said about Facebook. Just because you personally don't need or don't understand a service it doesn't mean that it's "useless," or "virtual," or "fraudulent," or whatever other epithet is being used. Before you slam the FIRE sector you have to understand what services it provides, who needs these services, and why. Are there problems? Of course there are; there are always problems, that's human condition. Is FIRE sector too big? Perhaps, but with all due respect you are not a person to judge, as you have only the vaguest of ideas of what it actually does. The truth is, financial sector supports the "real" economy, which cannot exist without it. And this makes it as "real" as anything.

    Finally. The problem is that you listen to cranks. I used to be there 15-20 years but then I realized that the cranks are full of shit. Sometimes they accidentally may stumble upon a valid point but such cases are few and far between. Mostly they are one note Johnnies. Don't listen to cranks.
    , @Seraphim
    @ the “quality” of education in US public schools which reflects in the most profound way on US labor force which increasingly begins to look like a third world one.

    Does that anything to do with these facts?

    "According to a study conducted in late April by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults in the U.S. can’t read. That’s 14 percent of the population. 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can’t read.
    The current literacy rate isn’t any better than it was 10 years ago. According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (completed most recently in 2003, and before that, in 1992), 14 percent of adult Americans demonstrated a “below basic” literacy level in 2003, and 29 percent exhibited a “basic” reading level..
    According to the Department of Justice, “The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure.” The stats back up this claim: 85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate, and over 70 percent of inmates in America’s prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level, according to BeginToRead.com."
    @http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/06/illiteracy-rate_n_3880355.html.

    Has the situation improved in the following four years?

  154. @Anon

    Here is a dilemma. Gazprom extracts and delivers energy without which Eurasia can not exist. Facebook? Turn it off tomorrow and bar some impressionable teenagers committing suicide, the world will continue on living just fine. But that is just one example. You will not find, however, such a hi-tech monster as Rostec on any financial market. For a corporate giant which employs half-a-million people and produces state of the art weapon systems and civilian products–ask yourself a question whose “capitalization” is more important for economy–of useless Facebook or of the corporation which produces civilian jet engines. But let me add insult to injury. While Facebook “capitalizes” on almost half-trillion, a gem of the American industry, aerospace giant Boeing barely makes it to 109 billion. Most US economic indices are fraud, the same as most of US economy is virtual–a collection of virtual transactions with virtual money and virtual services.
     
    The above is a classic example of elementalism. It is a flawed perspective. Humans do not need much more than clean air, clean shelter, food, water and perhaps some antibiotics to live perfectly well. Every desire is born of the limbic system, which includes the hippocampus and the amygdala.

    Don't speak so dismissively of Virtual Reality.

    I guess what Andrei Martyanov was trying to say that virtual is not real, intrinsic or tangible, it is fabricated or created thru the thin air, hence the American economy is not real, intrinsic or tangible, it is fabricated or created thru the thin air.

    Read More
  155. @Anon

    Here is a dilemma. Gazprom extracts and delivers energy without which Eurasia can not exist. Facebook? Turn it off tomorrow and bar some impressionable teenagers committing suicide, the world will continue on living just fine. But that is just one example. You will not find, however, such a hi-tech monster as Rostec on any financial market. For a corporate giant which employs half-a-million people and produces state of the art weapon systems and civilian products–ask yourself a question whose “capitalization” is more important for economy–of useless Facebook or of the corporation which produces civilian jet engines. But let me add insult to injury. While Facebook “capitalizes” on almost half-trillion, a gem of the American industry, aerospace giant Boeing barely makes it to 109 billion. Most US economic indices are fraud, the same as most of US economy is virtual–a collection of virtual transactions with virtual money and virtual services.
     
    The above is a classic example of elementalism. It is a flawed perspective. Humans do not need much more than clean air, clean shelter, food, water and perhaps some antibiotics to live perfectly well. Every desire is born of the limbic system, which includes the hippocampus and the amygdala.

    Don't speak so dismissively of Virtual Reality.

    It is a flawed perspective. Humans do not need much more than clean air, clean shelter, food, water and perhaps some antibiotics to live perfectly well.

    Yes, valid argument which true for GB, Belgium, Holland, with their Gulf Stream protected stable clime, but I would prefer Mediterranean area such as Greece or Balkan for that matter.

    Hmm Olive oil, vine, fishing sounds nice, but anything east of Frankfurt and North of let say Berlin in Europe, will add different perspective. Heating for winter, and shorter summer. Just ask people in Archangelsk or Petersburg :-)

    + Virtual reality need quite a lot of electrical power to run, not only on your computer but in cloud as well.

    Here you can find nice perspective as well..

    https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2015/09/you-call-this-progress/

    Read More
  156. Strategy page thinks that the S400s in Syria are useless:

    https://strategypage.com/qnd/russia/articles/20170418.aspx

    In reading their article they seem to forget about the Mig-15 and Mig-17 in Korea and Vietnam, respectively, and about the effectiveness of those SAMs in Vietnam as well.

    Didn’t that traitor, John McCain get downed by a SAM?

    https://infogalactic.com/info/Mikoyan-Gurevich_MiG-15

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  157. @Andrei Martyanov

    Market capitalization is determined mostly by institutional investors – mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, etc. – who pool private savings and channel them into various investments. There are massive amounts of such savings available in USA; in Russia, not so much.
     
    Sure, and that is why a company which produces nothing of value "commands" the so called "investments" which are several times larger than those of Boeing who is de facto US national treasure and who, as you stated, has problems with raising "capital". That pretty much says it all. Again, I omit here the trick with stock buybacks. But in the end, you seem to miss completely the point--structure of GDP.

    You may go here and see for yourself how FIRE overtook manufacturing in US in output. What is "output", of course, remains a complete mystery, same as many other services, once one considers the "quality" of education in US public schools which reflects in the most profound way on US labor force which increasingly begins to look like a third world one.

    https://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTable.cfm?ReqID=51&step=1#reqid=51&step=51&isuri=1&5114=a&5102=15

    In general, we speak here different languages and I may only refer you back to Michael Lind's quote in my text. Judged in a larger, geopolitical framework, one can observe very clearly the process of US literally running out of resources and no amount of "raised capital" can change it. This is not to speak about the whole house of cards of Pax Americana which rested on US military imperial mythology. Once this mythology is debunked (the process which is ongoing as I type it) the house of cards folds.

    Maybe this would help to someone:-)

    „Excluding as we do noncapitalist change, we have to define that word which good economists always try to avoid : capitalism is that form of private property economy in which innovations are carried out by means of borrowed money, which in general, though not by logical necessity, implies credit creation. A society, the economic life of which is characterized by private property and controlled by private initiative, is according to this definition not necessarily capitalist, even if there are, for instance, privately owned factories, salaried workers, and free exchange of goods and services, either kind or through the medium of money. The entrepreneurial function itself is not confined to capitalist society, since such economic leadership as it implies would be present, though in other forms, even in a primitive tribe or in a socialist community.“ (Schumpeter 1939, 216)

    This means that in perfect equilibrium interest would be zero in the sense that it would not be a necessary element of the process of production and distribution, or that pure interest tends to vanish as the system approaches perfect equilibrium. Proof of this proposition is very laborious, because it involves showing why all the theories which lead to a different result are logically unsatisfactory.
    Hence, the money market with all that happens in it acquires for us a much deeper significance than can be attributed to it from the standpoint just glanced at. It becomes the heart, although it never becomes the brain, of the capitalist organism (Schumpeter 1939)

    http://classiques.uqac.ca/classiques/Schumpeter_joseph/business_cycles/schumpeter_business_cycles.pdf

    Read More
  158. @Z-man
    No, I am smarter than you, and probably better looking. Just a guess, but an educated one, lol!

    Nah, you are still the greatest idiot on unz.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    Nah, you are still the greatest idiot on unz

    And the field of competition is not that weak.

  159. @Erebus
    I understand that there would be great hue and cry to take revenge. That is why I wrote (with a correction in bold):

    One can hope that we'll be rejoicing that America's owners followed their internationalistic instincts when that moment has passed.
     
    America's owners aren't necessarily American. That the civilizational consequences of America's death be limited to the N. American continent is in their interest, and they would make that interest known.
    The geo-political consequences of an attack on the grid in response to a US/NATO attack on Russia would be that the US would instantly cease to be a military/economic power for at least several generations. The Great Game would be over. If the US came back with a nuclear response, they know well that Russia's counter-response would simply extend that timeline. Perhaps to infinity. IOW, other than suicidal madness, there is no geo-political reason to respond, and there'd be every reason to take the hit and try to rebuild.

    Likewise, Russia's politicians would be hard pressed to resist responding to an American nuclear attack in kind, but the fact is that there would be no military purpose to doing so. The US would be finished as a world power. Vaporizing 200M people would be of no military value. Better to keep what's left of your nuclear forces intact so you don't have to rebuild them.

    The more likely scenario is this: Sensing a number of strategic and tactical indicators of an impending attack, the US launches a bolt out of the blue attack to cripple the Russian forces before they can attack. Russian SLBMs and rail-based missiles get off a few MIRVs that take out DC and a few other major cities (counter-force targetting is pointless after the first-strike), but no-harm no-foul since the JEEP was executed at the time of the first-strike, so everybody who matters was saved from harm and that pesky problem of too many idle hands in the major urban centers was finally taken care of.

    Alternatively, the Russians use EMP weapons already in orbit to take out the US grid. The US NCA execute the SIOP. Outcome: See above.

    Winning move is not to play, but the geniuses running things don’t see the extintinction of the little guy as a bug, rather as a feature.

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  160. @Intelligent Dasein
    I've come to the conclusion that it is the probable consensus among America's Deep State elites, as exemplified by the truly evil Hillary Clinton, that an all-out war with Russia which totally devastates Russia but leaves America just barely standing, would, notwithstanding the rivers of blood and the chaos unleashed, be an acceptable outcome as long as the blasted rump of America, namely the Deep State itself, gets to subsequently enthrone itself as the unchallenged world hegemon. The Deep State views the entirety of America's economic and military might, as well as the lives of its citizens, as merely a means to this end.

    I also believe that Russia's strategists and state-level actors have come to the same conclusion regarding America's designs. This is the strategic situation that Russia is up against, and this is why Russia has wisely prepared itself to fight a defensive war of astonishing proportions. And for the sake of the human race, for the peace of men of good will everywhere, I would advise Russia that when dealing with a cranky, feeble, delusional, and senile Uncle Sam, it is not possible to be too paranoid. You will not be up against a rational actor if and when this war breaks out. Whatever zany, desperate, and counterproductive gambits you can imagine the USA making, they will not be worse than what these people are capable of.

    As an American myself, I would have liked to have been a patriot. If my country must go to war, I would have liked to be on my country's side. But the bitter truth is that my government is something the world would be better off without. Russia has the moral high ground in this conflict. Hopefully that, and the strength of its arms, will be enough.

    The great tragedy of the 20th century was that all the wrong people won the major wars. Whether it was Chiang Kai-shek in China or Hitler and Mussolini in Europe, or the Kaiser and the House of Hapsburg before them, the real heroes, the ones who were however ineffectively and confusedly on the side of Right, suffered defeat at the hands of the evil imperialists. We cannot allow that to happen again. I know who I will be supporting if it comes to war.

    Long live king and country. God bless the patriots, wherever they be. Hail victory.

    I agree with what you write except that the Deep State is but a part of the Globalist (NWO)
    plans for their future world.

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  161. @Kiza

    It [US] needs to come down hard on MIC waste, which if done successfully can change things around very quickly.
     
    Gee Sam, you are totally lost in your understanding of US problems.

    Firstly, US military budget is significantly more than presented because the whole budget has been divided between different government departments. For example, nuclear weapons are under the Department of Energy, the huge ongoing cost of Veterans' health is under Department of Health budget, the free money to Israel is under the Foreign Affairs and so on. Overall, about 40% of the US military budget is hidden, which means that US spends not 2.5% of GDP on the military then probably around 4.5%.

    Secondly, if US were to bump up the military budget to 7-10% this could come only either at the expense of money printing machines running even hotter than super hot QE1,QE2,QE3 (what Trump is doing) or by increasing taxes on a quite depressed economy in which retail spending has almost collapsed. I cannot believe that you are suggesting this, maybe you are too close to your Fed buddies.

    Thirdly, the idea of "coming down hard on MIC waste" is utterly ridiculous because the "MIC waste" is the Deep State profit and we just had an illustration of what happens with those who oppose the Deep State. In other words, only God could come down on US MIC waste, the Presidents can only pretend.

    Since Russia and China started replacing US$ as a reserve and exchange currency, the clock has been ticking for the money printers such as the Fed and Trump. When the amount of US$ returning to US starts exceeding the amount bought by foreigners, then the inflation will explode to the German one of the 1920s.The US$ is still strong, not because of its intrinsic value then thanks to skillful FX market manipulation and thanks to 10-12 aircraft carrier groups.

    Trump is now amassing three carrier groups near North Korea, Russia and China. What do you think would happen to US$ if even one of those carriers gets sunk?

    Gee Sam, you are totally lost in your understanding of US problems.

    Hi Kiza,

    I admit I do get lost on occasion, so please feel free to correct me. Are you saying that accounting categorisation, which if reversed might lead to a 2% higher military spending, is an attempt to deceive international bond markets? You clearly think bond investors are stupid. That is an opinion based on what precisely? Experienced results of bond markets? Please enlighten me.

    Secondly, if US were to bump up the military budget to 7-10% this could come only either at the expense of money printing machines running even hotter than super hot QE1,QE2,QE3 (what Trump is doing) or by increasing taxes on a quite depressed economy in which retail spending has almost collapsed. I cannot believe that you are suggesting this, maybe you are too close to your Fed buddies.

    “Hot”, as in inflation? If so, the characterisation is a fail, since U.S. inflation and long bond yields have been doing the opposite.

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/IRLTLT01USM156N

    I have no idea what you mean by “what Trump is doing”. Have you noticed the Fed had actually raised short rates? Yet the 10-year bond is at 2.2%?

    Please read what I wrote carefully. Nowhere did I recommend the U.S. pursue the path of yet another Reaganesque star wars race. What I said was, of all nations, she is the most capable of doing so, where an escalation would literally push her “competitors” to engage in little else in their economies. That is all. Yes, I understand that MIC waste ends up in the pockets of the least desirable elements. Do you mean to say that other nations are bereft of this virtue?

    Since Russia and China started replacing US$ as a reserve and exchange currency, the clock has been ticking for the money printers such as the Fed and Trump.

    Gee Kiza, exaggerate much? Replace the USD?

    CNY has been added to the SDR basket as a reserve currency, with very limited international use, as of 2016 BIS data, after having doubled over the last year (but currently moving lower), the Yuan comprises 4% of total international reserve currency use.

    The United States actually wants the Chinese currency to gain much greater acceptance to aid global growth and relieve the pressure on the U.S, but of late the massive capital flows out of China to the U.S. has badly hindered this objective.

    Here is what the Yuan has done: from a managed and swiftly devalued currency pursuant to China’s decades-long mercantilist policies (to which the US had given the implicit nod), it rose in value during 2005-2013 as the US/ECB/BoJ/BoC worked in a co-ordinated fashion to modify global savings imbalances, to yet again devalue during 2014-present, mostly as capital outflows gathered force.

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DEXCHUS

    The Rouble is not a reserve currency, so the AIB while a worthy development, does not give the Rouble reserve status, somehow “replacing” the USD/EUR/GBP/JPY/KRW. Can it achieve that status? I think it can, given the deep capabilities of the Russian population. International acceptance of such status requires a far more diversified economy.

    When the amount of US$ returning to US starts exceeding the amount bought by foreigners, then the inflation will explode to the German one of the 1920s.

    Reversing cause and effect. If hyperinflation ever arrives on the shores of the US, you’ll have far greater problems globally than worrying about bonds. I’ve seen this trope play continuously since 2008. I need a date, even an approximate one, or I shall be forced to tell you that I know with certainty that “at some point in the future the Earth will cease to exist”.

    Best

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    Yes, I understand that MIC waste ends up in the pockets of the least desirable elements.

    Who gets to define "least desirable"?

    I know that you are not talking about IAM members.

    A good defense industry is vital. In a capitalist economy, what other model for the MIC do you have in mind?

    , @The Alarmist

    "“Hot”, as in inflation? If so, the characterisation is a fail, since U.S. inflation and long bond yields have been doing the opposite."
     
    US inflation as officially reported is significantly understated. Do a little shopping from time to time and tell me what kind of inflation you actually experience. I come back to the US every few months, and it is hard to not notice how expensive many things have become over the past couple of decades.

    As for bond yields, there is a bit of a vicious and not-so-virtuous cycle going on, as the borrowed money is used to ramp up military spending, which translates to further aggression abroad, which leads to further international destabilisation, which then leads to money flow into US Treasury bonds and other US assets as a so-called flight-to-safety play. Lather, rinse, repeat ... ad nauseum.
  162. @Kiza
    Nah, you are still the greatest idiot on unz.

    Nah, you are still the greatest idiot on unz

    And the field of competition is not that weak.

    Read More
  163. @Mark Chapman
    In fact, Russia often tests its systems under much more realistic conditions than does the USA and western powers. They want to know if it is going to fail when it is confronted with western jamming, for example, and try to make intercept difficult where the west is obsessed with collecting test data for evaluation, and as a consequence the launch site knows the release time of the target and its initial course and speed, rather than a 'black' release. Not always, but often.

    http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/heres-russias-s-400-missile-system-in-action-and-heres-1746490022

    I guess much of it boils down to how seriously you take Russian accounts of their own tests, but they specify here that the test took place under heavy jamming and yet all four missiles intercepted the target during the midcourse phase. Whatever you believe, the author is correct in pointing out that the S-400 is just a part of a multilayered Integrated Air Defense System (IADS), and it only takes one mobile launcher in an unexpected place to wreck the day for a manned-aircraft element using current tactics.

    It is safe to say without further information that western air forces are very wary of the S-400, and confronting Russia's multilayered IADS would be nothing like taking on Gadaffi's eccentric and janky mismatched collection of air-defense weaponry.

    {I guess much of it boils down to how seriously you take Russian accounts of their own tests, but they specify here that the test took place under heavy jamming and yet all four missiles intercepted the target during the midcourse phase. }

    I don’t doubt the veracity of the claim in the article. All I was commenting on was this sentence of the author of the article: {From people who serve on it, and I quote:”mind boggling capabilities”.}

    Traditionally Soviets/Russians have do spend more of their resources on defense, particularly anti-air. Their anti-air missiles have a solid track record: the highly competent USAF – in personnel, and training, and technology – lost lots and lots of equipment to Soviet SAMs in Viet Nam. Even high-flying B52 were not safe.

    Also, Egyptians shot down lots of Israeli jets with Soviet AAs during the Yom Kippur war .

    So there is no doubt in my mind that S-300/S-400 are very capable systems. But the phrase ‘mind boggling’ is a bit of a hyperbole.
    What is it based on? engineering specifications and simulated tests.

    I have a bit of a technical background (commercial, not military).
    We’d simulate all sorts real-life conditions in testing the product, but as soon as it was sent out, humans managed to find some sequence that crashed the system. You just can’t simulate the randomness of the real world.

    If and when the S-400 is used in anger, then we’ll see if its capabilities are ‘mind boggling’ . Until then, it’s just conjecture.

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  164. @LondonBob
    Trump's isolationism and embrace of realpolitik is just a recognition of realities, interestingly this is a viewpoint shared in many European capitals, despite their fulminating over Trump. If Trump isn't co-opted he deserves congratulations for stymieing the traditional imperial overstretch, that is unless recent events in Syria and the Ukraine, perhaps analogous to the Boer War, don't already represent the high points of US power before inevitable decline. Avoiding a WWI type general conflagration will be achievement enough.

    We are both supposed to deride and fear Russia, both can't be true.

    We are both supposed to deride and fear Russia, both can’t be true.

    True, but it can be effective as a propaganda technique nevertheless. Orwell referred to it as ‘doublethink’.

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  165. @Sam Shama

    Gee Sam, you are totally lost in your understanding of US problems.

     

    Hi Kiza,

    I admit I do get lost on occasion, so please feel free to correct me. Are you saying that accounting categorisation, which if reversed might lead to a 2% higher military spending, is an attempt to deceive international bond markets? You clearly think bond investors are stupid. That is an opinion based on what precisely? Experienced results of bond markets? Please enlighten me.

    Secondly, if US were to bump up the military budget to 7-10% this could come only either at the expense of money printing machines running even hotter than super hot QE1,QE2,QE3 (what Trump is doing) or by increasing taxes on a quite depressed economy in which retail spending has almost collapsed. I cannot believe that you are suggesting this, maybe you are too close to your Fed buddies.

     

    "Hot", as in inflation? If so, the characterisation is a fail, since U.S. inflation and long bond yields have been doing the opposite.

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/IRLTLT01USM156N

    I have no idea what you mean by "what Trump is doing". Have you noticed the Fed had actually raised short rates? Yet the 10-year bond is at 2.2%?

    Please read what I wrote carefully. Nowhere did I recommend the U.S. pursue the path of yet another Reaganesque star wars race. What I said was, of all nations, she is the most capable of doing so, where an escalation would literally push her "competitors" to engage in little else in their economies. That is all. Yes, I understand that MIC waste ends up in the pockets of the least desirable elements. Do you mean to say that other nations are bereft of this virtue?

    Since Russia and China started replacing US$ as a reserve and exchange currency, the clock has been ticking for the money printers such as the Fed and Trump.
     
    Gee Kiza, exaggerate much? Replace the USD?

    CNY has been added to the SDR basket as a reserve currency, with very limited international use, as of 2016 BIS data, after having doubled over the last year (but currently moving lower), the Yuan comprises 4% of total international reserve currency use.

    The United States actually wants the Chinese currency to gain much greater acceptance to aid global growth and relieve the pressure on the U.S, but of late the massive capital flows out of China to the U.S. has badly hindered this objective.

    Here is what the Yuan has done: from a managed and swiftly devalued currency pursuant to China's decades-long mercantilist policies (to which the US had given the implicit nod), it rose in value during 2005-2013 as the US/ECB/BoJ/BoC worked in a co-ordinated fashion to modify global savings imbalances, to yet again devalue during 2014-present, mostly as capital outflows gathered force.

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DEXCHUS

    The Rouble is not a reserve currency, so the AIB while a worthy development, does not give the Rouble reserve status, somehow "replacing" the USD/EUR/GBP/JPY/KRW. Can it achieve that status? I think it can, given the deep capabilities of the Russian population. International acceptance of such status requires a far more diversified economy.

    When the amount of US$ returning to US starts exceeding the amount bought by foreigners, then the inflation will explode to the German one of the 1920s.
     
    Reversing cause and effect. If hyperinflation ever arrives on the shores of the US, you'll have far greater problems globally than worrying about bonds. I've seen this trope play continuously since 2008. I need a date, even an approximate one, or I shall be forced to tell you that I know with certainty that "at some point in the future the Earth will cease to exist".

    Best

    Yes, I understand that MIC waste ends up in the pockets of the least desirable elements.

    Who gets to define “least desirable”?

    I know that you are not talking about IAM members.

    A good defense industry is vital. In a capitalist economy, what other model for the MIC do you have in mind?

    Read More
    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
    One that focuses on the defence of the nation?
    , @Sam Shama

    Who gets to define “least desirable”?

    I know that you are not talking about IAM members.

    A good defense industry is vital. In a capitalist economy, what other model for the MIC do you have in mind?
     
    Sorry I missed your post.

    Look, I understand the MIC generates a great deal of employment, so definitionally every dollar in MIC spending is GDP positive. But it is far from efficient. That same dollar could be better spent (yield higher and longer term good) if spent on high NPV socially desirable projects, like better roads/bridges/airports, technology training, improved farming methods and above all assisting wounded veterans.

    So you ask a good question nevertheless. Who gets to decide? And how do they decide in a representative democracy? 'The People' certainly, but that is an impractical entity until they elect a Congress and POTUS who truly demonstrate a track record of prosocial undertakings.

    I am hoping Trump, after these recent misadventures, steers clear of military escalation and focuses on American jobs.

    MICs here as in all industrialised nations are perhaps the central nexuses for technological progress. But that is more a legacy condition from waging wars leading to more resource allocation leading to more R&D under its banners than a planned programme on account of the MICs efficiency. The U.S could, in theory, dismantle the NATO and re-deploy those monies in the sectors mentioned earlier. That would be an ideal outcome.

    What I am very unsure of are European reactions to such a move, particularly the Russian and Chinese follow-ons. Would they move in aggressively? Nature abhors a vacuum....
  166. @Timur The Lame
    @SmoothieX12

    The points you make with respect to capitalization of Facebook and other totally worthless social media constructs in comparison to actual entities that produce something, anything that you could stub your foot on, be it good or not is brilliant in that it exposes the sham of GDP and GNP tabulations.

    Question: I read about 10 years ago of an incident where an American carrier group was sailing on in it's merry way in waters that I can't now recall when a couple of Sukhois came in undetected and screamed over the actual aircraft carrier at mast level at the maximum speed that the altitude would allow. The carrier group immediately did a 180 and got the hell out of Dodge. The Admiral was supposedly called on the carpet afterwards as to why he altered course without prior approval and he stuck to his guns and said that his responsibility was for the safety of his group first and foremost and that was that.

    I have been unable to substantiate this episode. Has it been brushed from the internet or did I fall for a Russian (internet) hoax? I remember mentioning it to some senior Russian officers at a Canadian multi national English language course at an army base close to me and they were non committal in their answers and basically looked guardedly at me as if I were a spook of sorts.

    Any knowledge of this supposed incident from you would be much appreciated. By the way the event that I am referring to is not to be mistaken with the relatively recent Black Sea incident (USS Donald Cook).

    Cheers-
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  167. @reiner Tor
    Don't worry, when the going gets tough, suddenly the US military will only send straight white men to die for LGBT and black "equality".

    Come on! While serving in Africa, I saw the US Marines, and, and, well, not many whites were visible! Mostly minorities, specially Hispanics, and Blacks, so there goes your argument; same for the Army. So Hush! (The AF is the only service with majority whites). The Navy, lots of Philippinos.

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  168. @Timur The Lame
    @SmoothieX12

    The points you make with respect to capitalization of Facebook and other totally worthless social media constructs in comparison to actual entities that produce something, anything that you could stub your foot on, be it good or not is brilliant in that it exposes the sham of GDP and GNP tabulations.

    Question: I read about 10 years ago of an incident where an American carrier group was sailing on in it's merry way in waters that I can't now recall when a couple of Sukhois came in undetected and screamed over the actual aircraft carrier at mast level at the maximum speed that the altitude would allow. The carrier group immediately did a 180 and got the hell out of Dodge. The Admiral was supposedly called on the carpet afterwards as to why he altered course without prior approval and he stuck to his guns and said that his responsibility was for the safety of his group first and foremost and that was that.

    I have been unable to substantiate this episode. Has it been brushed from the internet or did I fall for a Russian (internet) hoax? I remember mentioning it to some senior Russian officers at a Canadian multi national English language course at an army base close to me and they were non committal in their answers and basically looked guardedly at me as if I were a spook of sorts.

    Any knowledge of this supposed incident from you would be much appreciated. By the way the event that I am referring to is not to be mistaken with the relatively recent Black Sea incident (USS Donald Cook).

    Cheers-

    There were many cases of Russian SU-24, TU-142, Tu-22s flying over one of the US carriers. Here is one such case:

    http://freebeacon.com/national-security/two-russian-bombers-buzz-u-s-aircraft-carrier/

    Nothing secret about it. Roger Thompson in his seminal work on US Navy gives a recount of number of such cases:

    https://www.usni.org/store/books/clear-decks-50-90/lessons-not-learned

    There is nothing secret really about it, except for reputational losses. Cases of breaking through US Carrier Battle Groups air defense and ASW screens are very numerous. As per this USS Donald Cook “affair”, which continues to dominate many “military” forums–a complete baloney, of course, SU-24 are simply not equipped for alleged “burning of circuits” and “shutting down radars”. Here I discuss a little bit the issue.

    http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2016/05/so-much-for-trumps-new-foreign-policy.html

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    • Replies: @ANOSPH
    Andrei,

    Off-topic, but what do you think about Igor Strelkov's opinion that the entire current Russian system is due for a collapse?

    Part 1: http://strelkov-i-i.livejournal.com/26121.html
    Part 2: http://strelkov-i-i.livejournal.com/26458.html

    I realize that he's been saying essentially the same thing for three years, but surely his words are worth at least some consideration given his "contacts in the elites."

  169. @iffen
    Nah, you are still the greatest idiot on unz

    And the field of competition is not that weak.

    And a weak sister chimes in.

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    • Replies: @Kiza
    I provided a link about North Korea to a blog which could educate you about it. But you still persisted with your original bull. This is a clear characteristic of an idiot, because the uninformed inform and correct themselves. And yes, there is a strong competition here at unz for the title of King of All Idiots.

    Here it is again, one last time, The Reason for North Korea's Nuclear Program and Its Unrequited Offers to End It: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/04/the-reason-behind-north-koreas-nuclear-program-and-its-offer-to-end-it.html#more

    On North Korea, the US chefs cook up their usual menu of bullshit and bombs, whilst the latest chef being the most prolific on both.

  170. @ Smoothiex12,

    Thank you for the information. I shall look up your post regarding the Donald Cook incident. Your take on it would be news to me as it did seem to be disabled, though I only read relatively superficial accounts.

    As ThatDamnGood pointed out (thanks) it was indeed the Kitty Hawk incident that escaped my recollection. I know that these type incidents occur but it was something about the aforementioned case that stuck in my mind, the super low altitude I think.

    Time for a revisit and a memory tonic. But then again even Kasparov eventually lost to Deep Blue.

    Cheers-

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  171. @AtomAnt
    "Regarding Russian military they are still 20 years behind on average"

    Dude, you're delusional. The US military is to a large extent a paper tiger. Example: Aircraft carriers are not survivable against Russian or Chinese missiles and subs. They are good for bombing 3rd world countries only, like 19th century gunboats (plus fattening MIC coffers). Example: A Rand report found the F-35 "can't turn, can't climb, isn't fast enough to run away".
    I would argue nothing is as important as missile technology. Russia may be leading in that.
    Furthermore, the US has lower income and less capital now than 20 years ago. Russia has a central bank focused on rational economics rather than milking the country for billionaires' sake. They insist on positive interest rates so savers get the benefit of their money. That's why Russia is growing albeit slowly while the US regresses.
    The US will find fighting Russia is not like fighting Arabs. (Remember what some Israeli general said about fighting Arabs.) The US hasn't fought without air superiority in over 74 years.
    Note the moral dimension, also. The US has to pay its military 2X the equivalent private sector wages, because no one wants to die for Lockheed Martin.

    Sure the Aircraft carriers are vulnerable. But the US have a disproportionate response prepared for any country that strikes one with a missile or torpedo. So the carriers get to project power despite their vulnerability.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    But the US have a disproportionate response prepared for any country that strikes one with a missile or torpedo
     
    Not against peer. Dynamics there is very different than it would have been with some adversary as Iran. Unless the "disproportionate" response becomes nuclear, what is a definition of "disproportionate". I can tell you what may happen if one of the CVNs sunk and this is not my idea but of former Chief Of Naval Operations late Admiral Elmo Zumwalt: the psychological demoralizing impact will be overwhelming and that is what may push a political (and suicidal) decision on nuclear response. In purely conventional framework--the game may become very different. To have some (however disagreeable from purely tactical point of view) primer on one of very many scenarios, you may try Naval War College Newport Papers, especially #20.

    https://www.usnwc.edu/Publications/Naval-War-College-Press/-Newport-Papers/Documents/20-pdf.aspx

    I am no fan of US military's war gaming but it will give you at least some general idea on how US Navy wanted to think about itself.
  172. @Andrei Martyanov

    Market capitalization is determined mostly by institutional investors – mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, etc. – who pool private savings and channel them into various investments. There are massive amounts of such savings available in USA; in Russia, not so much.
     
    Sure, and that is why a company which produces nothing of value "commands" the so called "investments" which are several times larger than those of Boeing who is de facto US national treasure and who, as you stated, has problems with raising "capital". That pretty much says it all. Again, I omit here the trick with stock buybacks. But in the end, you seem to miss completely the point--structure of GDP.

    You may go here and see for yourself how FIRE overtook manufacturing in US in output. What is "output", of course, remains a complete mystery, same as many other services, once one considers the "quality" of education in US public schools which reflects in the most profound way on US labor force which increasingly begins to look like a third world one.

    https://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTable.cfm?ReqID=51&step=1#reqid=51&step=51&isuri=1&5114=a&5102=15

    In general, we speak here different languages and I may only refer you back to Michael Lind's quote in my text. Judged in a larger, geopolitical framework, one can observe very clearly the process of US literally running out of resources and no amount of "raised capital" can change it. This is not to speak about the whole house of cards of Pax Americana which rested on US military imperial mythology. Once this mythology is debunked (the process which is ongoing as I type it) the house of cards folds.

    Years ago, I used to make fun of Amazon and later of Google. I learned my lesson. I personally don’t have much use for Facebook; I don’t have an account there. But I can see that Facebook provides a lot of value both to its users and to its customers (two distinct sets.)

    And then there is the potential. Lots of smart people are working at Facebook; they may well come up with a breakthrough in some unexpected area. Google started with search and now they are working on driverless cars, among other things. I doubt GM or Ford would’ve come up with driverless cars, as it is more of a software challenge than a car design one. So here is an example how an investment into a “virtual” company like Google worked out better than an investment into the “real” economy like GM.

    Now as for FIRE, and that brings me back to what I said about Facebook. Just because you personally don’t need or don’t understand a service it doesn’t mean that it’s “useless,” or “virtual,” or “fraudulent,” or whatever other epithet is being used. Before you slam the FIRE sector you have to understand what services it provides, who needs these services, and why. Are there problems? Of course there are; there are always problems, that’s human condition. Is FIRE sector too big? Perhaps, but with all due respect you are not a person to judge, as you have only the vaguest of ideas of what it actually does. The truth is, financial sector supports the “real” economy, which cannot exist without it. And this makes it as “real” as anything.

    Finally. The problem is that you listen to cranks. I used to be there 15-20 years but then I realized that the cranks are full of shit. Sometimes they accidentally may stumble upon a valid point but such cases are few and far between. Mostly they are one note Johnnies. Don’t listen to cranks.

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    • Replies: @Ondrej

    The truth is, financial sector supports the “real” economy, which cannot exist without it.
     
    Obviously false statement. You would need to at least some adjective such as mostly, probably, usually into sentence. Frame it in current prevailing socio-economical system.

    Just ask Soviets if they won ww2 due to strong financial system, or put Sputnik into space for that matter.

    So there is not at all any correlation in between financial sector and real economy;-)
    , @Frederic Bastiat

    Just because you personally don’t need or don’t understand a service it doesn’t mean that it’s “useless,” or “virtual,” or “fraudulent,” or whatever other epithet is being used. Before you slam the FIRE sector you have to understand what services it provides, who needs these services, and why.
     
    The financial sector is a fraud. It is a parasitic industry that only sucks tax payers money in the long run.

    Nassim Taleb is spot on regarding the financial industry:
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/b/69813f49-27b1-431f-8edc-ea892aa96d8d
  173. @ondrej
    Am I missing any other component of success?

    Just a possibility - or my hypothesis I am playing lately:-)

    It can be language according Sapir–Whorf hypothesis.
    The principle of linguistic relativity that the structure of a language affects its speakers' world view or cognition. Popularly known as the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, or Whorfianism, the principle is often defined to include two versions. The strong version says that language determines thought, and that linguistic categories limit and determine cognitive categories, whereas the weak version says that linguistic categories and usage only influence thought and decisions.

    and also due to fact that:

    Baltic and Slavic show the common trait of never having undergone in the course of their development any sudden systemic upheaval. […] there is no indication of a serious dislocation of any part of the linguistic system at any time. The sound structure has in general remained intact to the present. […] Baltic and Slavic are consequently the only languages in which certain modern word-forms resemble those reconstructed for Common Indo-European.” ( The Indo-European Dialects [Eng. translation of Les dialectes indo-européens (1908)], University of Alabama Press, 1967, pp.
    59-60).

    Which could explain math skills of Russians and Indian:-) because languages are closely related.

    + learning other languages helps one for recognizing other points of view, if you look at current Russian elites Shoigu, Lavrov and others they speak usually one or more foreign languages fluently.

    learning other languages helps one for recognizing other points of view

    I do not know if this has been scientifically established but I can certainly vouch for it personally because learning every new language gives you a different perspective on existing things. After starting to learn a new language I would think – I had no idea that lego could be arranged this way as well! Therefore, learning new languages broadens one’s view of the world but whether it also helps recognize other points of view probably depends on the tolerance of the person. Maybe the key word in your statement is “helps”.

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    • Replies: @Ondrej
    One could say that to certain degree it is disadvantage for English to be lingua-franca.

    In many ways it is also most abused language in world. All speakers bring to English their language frameworks.

    One could conclude that English native speakers became more accustomed - to be more tolerant for non-precise meanings or statements of others to certain degree - due to many non-native English speakers. Therefore it is not that obvious for them.

    I think, speakers of other languages would often not accept such improper usage of words or grammar in their language - (thinking) because by language we think.

    Combine that with euphemisms and political correctness and you have recepy for disaster in communication.
  174. @Z-man
    And a weak sister chimes in.

    I provided a link about North Korea to a blog which could educate you about it. But you still persisted with your original bull. This is a clear characteristic of an idiot, because the uninformed inform and correct themselves. And yes, there is a strong competition here at unz for the title of King of All Idiots.

    Here it is again, one last time, The Reason for North Korea’s Nuclear Program and Its Unrequited Offers to End It: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/04/the-reason-behind-north-koreas-nuclear-program-and-its-offer-to-end-it.html#more

    On North Korea, the US chefs cook up their usual menu of bullshit and bombs, whilst the latest chef being the most prolific on both.

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  175. @AP

    I could be wrong, but I am inclined to see a parallel between the US now and the Russian Empire pre-1904.
     
    Sorry, that's just completely wrong.

    The best rough analogy to Russia of pre-1904 would be China (though China is further along in its development, perhaps it would be Russia of 1914 or later, had Russia not stupidly gotten itself into World War I).

    The US would somehow be analogous to the British Empire in its decline. A key difference, however, is the US' massive population (more than double that of Russia), territory and natural resources compared to that of the British mainland. This probably provides some sort of floor to the American decline that Britain didn't have.

    Also, keep in mind that western Russophobes plus Bolsheviks exaggerated the Tsars' Russia's weakness and incompetence, while there was nobody to defend it. This makes the picture unrealistically negative. During World War I, Russia defeated two of the three Central Powers (compare Russian vs. British performance vs. the Ottoman Empire) and was able to maintain a stable front vs. the third.

    Do not forget that Germany made the first declarations of war. It declared war against Russia on the 1st of August 1914 and the next day invades Luxemburg. The declaration of war against France followed on the 3d of August, followed by the violation of Belgium neutrality.
    Russia was far from being defeated in 1916-17.

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    • Replies: @AP

    Do not forget that Germany made the first declarations of war. It declared war against Russia on the 1st of August 1914 and the next day invades Luxemburg.
     
    It declared war first, after Russia had mobilized and refused to turn back its mobilization. Germany would not and should not have waited until huge masses of Russian troops had actually crossed its border before declaring war.

    The sad events of the 20th century in some ways can be seen as a tragic, Old Testament style story of sin and brutal retribution. Serbia committed regicide, and lost 25% of its population in the ensuing war. Nicholas II, a decent but foolish man, supported the regicidal regime and was himself murdered, along with his family. The peoples of the Russian Empire didn't stop that crime, and suffered the millions dead under Bolshevism. Wilhelm sent Lenin to Russia and lost his own throne. The peoples of Central Europe abandoned the Habsburgs and suffered decades of Nazism, Communism and war. Such was the sad fate of the former Holy Alliance.
  176. @iffen
    Yes, I understand that MIC waste ends up in the pockets of the least desirable elements.

    Who gets to define "least desirable"?

    I know that you are not talking about IAM members.

    A good defense industry is vital. In a capitalist economy, what other model for the MIC do you have in mind?

    One that focuses on the defence of the nation?

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  177. @Sam Shama

    Gee Sam, you are totally lost in your understanding of US problems.

     

    Hi Kiza,

    I admit I do get lost on occasion, so please feel free to correct me. Are you saying that accounting categorisation, which if reversed might lead to a 2% higher military spending, is an attempt to deceive international bond markets? You clearly think bond investors are stupid. That is an opinion based on what precisely? Experienced results of bond markets? Please enlighten me.

    Secondly, if US were to bump up the military budget to 7-10% this could come only either at the expense of money printing machines running even hotter than super hot QE1,QE2,QE3 (what Trump is doing) or by increasing taxes on a quite depressed economy in which retail spending has almost collapsed. I cannot believe that you are suggesting this, maybe you are too close to your Fed buddies.

     

    "Hot", as in inflation? If so, the characterisation is a fail, since U.S. inflation and long bond yields have been doing the opposite.

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/IRLTLT01USM156N

    I have no idea what you mean by "what Trump is doing". Have you noticed the Fed had actually raised short rates? Yet the 10-year bond is at 2.2%?

    Please read what I wrote carefully. Nowhere did I recommend the U.S. pursue the path of yet another Reaganesque star wars race. What I said was, of all nations, she is the most capable of doing so, where an escalation would literally push her "competitors" to engage in little else in their economies. That is all. Yes, I understand that MIC waste ends up in the pockets of the least desirable elements. Do you mean to say that other nations are bereft of this virtue?

    Since Russia and China started replacing US$ as a reserve and exchange currency, the clock has been ticking for the money printers such as the Fed and Trump.
     
    Gee Kiza, exaggerate much? Replace the USD?

    CNY has been added to the SDR basket as a reserve currency, with very limited international use, as of 2016 BIS data, after having doubled over the last year (but currently moving lower), the Yuan comprises 4% of total international reserve currency use.

    The United States actually wants the Chinese currency to gain much greater acceptance to aid global growth and relieve the pressure on the U.S, but of late the massive capital flows out of China to the U.S. has badly hindered this objective.

    Here is what the Yuan has done: from a managed and swiftly devalued currency pursuant to China's decades-long mercantilist policies (to which the US had given the implicit nod), it rose in value during 2005-2013 as the US/ECB/BoJ/BoC worked in a co-ordinated fashion to modify global savings imbalances, to yet again devalue during 2014-present, mostly as capital outflows gathered force.

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DEXCHUS

    The Rouble is not a reserve currency, so the AIB while a worthy development, does not give the Rouble reserve status, somehow "replacing" the USD/EUR/GBP/JPY/KRW. Can it achieve that status? I think it can, given the deep capabilities of the Russian population. International acceptance of such status requires a far more diversified economy.

    When the amount of US$ returning to US starts exceeding the amount bought by foreigners, then the inflation will explode to the German one of the 1920s.
     
    Reversing cause and effect. If hyperinflation ever arrives on the shores of the US, you'll have far greater problems globally than worrying about bonds. I've seen this trope play continuously since 2008. I need a date, even an approximate one, or I shall be forced to tell you that I know with certainty that "at some point in the future the Earth will cease to exist".

    Best

    ““Hot”, as in inflation? If so, the characterisation is a fail, since U.S. inflation and long bond yields have been doing the opposite.”

    US inflation as officially reported is significantly understated. Do a little shopping from time to time and tell me what kind of inflation you actually experience. I come back to the US every few months, and it is hard to not notice how expensive many things have become over the past couple of decades.

    As for bond yields, there is a bit of a vicious and not-so-virtuous cycle going on, as the borrowed money is used to ramp up military spending, which translates to further aggression abroad, which leads to further international destabilisation, which then leads to money flow into US Treasury bonds and other US assets as a so-called flight-to-safety play. Lather, rinse, repeat … ad nauseum.

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    • Replies: @Kiza

    As for bond yields, there is a bit of a vicious and not-so-virtuous cycle going on, as the borrowed money is used to ramp up military spending, which translates to further aggression abroad, which leads to further international destabilisation, which then leads to money flow into US Treasury bonds and other US assets as a so-called flight-to-safety play. Lather, rinse, repeat … ad nauseum.
     
    "Ad nauseum" is only until the whole thing collapses. I have been saying for a long time that most markets in the US, and where they flow over into the international markets, are rigged. The number of people needed to rig a market is not large, because it is the same, about a dozen "banks" which dominate almost all markets. The Western Governments are in on the act and their official statistics on every economic measure are perverted jokes: inflation, unemployment, GDP, any and all.

    I lived under socialism/communism as an adult and I remember how my friends and I laughed at government's economic statistics. But this is much worse, this is an entire alternative reality moving on the inertia of the size of its lie.

    Sam asks for an approximate date of the collapse, which is almost like asking for the date when a nuclear war will end humanity. His is the principal fallacy that the past is a continuously good predictor of the future, that discrete events do not exist. Sam, imagine for a moment that Trump somehow manages to regime-change Russia and crush China (without causing a global nuclear war). Russia is the largest country on the planet, with vast unused land and resources, mainly because the technology for their exploitation did not exist in the past (inhospitable land). Now imagine adding this almost virgin land to the banking ledgers full of vapor-assets under the so called "mark-to-market". The market riggers and their governments could live happily ever after for another couple of generations of banksters. Like vampire needs blood, the sick system just needs a massive injection of real assets to survive another 100 years or longer. This is why they are so viciously attacking the Russian leadership. But this is a great example why the moment of collapse is unpredictable and it is unfair to ask for (an even approximate) date.

  178. @The Alarmist

    "“Hot”, as in inflation? If so, the characterisation is a fail, since U.S. inflation and long bond yields have been doing the opposite."
     
    US inflation as officially reported is significantly understated. Do a little shopping from time to time and tell me what kind of inflation you actually experience. I come back to the US every few months, and it is hard to not notice how expensive many things have become over the past couple of decades.

    As for bond yields, there is a bit of a vicious and not-so-virtuous cycle going on, as the borrowed money is used to ramp up military spending, which translates to further aggression abroad, which leads to further international destabilisation, which then leads to money flow into US Treasury bonds and other US assets as a so-called flight-to-safety play. Lather, rinse, repeat ... ad nauseum.

    As for bond yields, there is a bit of a vicious and not-so-virtuous cycle going on, as the borrowed money is used to ramp up military spending, which translates to further aggression abroad, which leads to further international destabilisation, which then leads to money flow into US Treasury bonds and other US assets as a so-called flight-to-safety play. Lather, rinse, repeat … ad nauseum.

    “Ad nauseum” is only until the whole thing collapses. I have been saying for a long time that most markets in the US, and where they flow over into the international markets, are rigged. The number of people needed to rig a market is not large, because it is the same, about a dozen “banks” which dominate almost all markets. The Western Governments are in on the act and their official statistics on every economic measure are perverted jokes: inflation, unemployment, GDP, any and all.

    I lived under socialism/communism as an adult and I remember how my friends and I laughed at government’s economic statistics. But this is much worse, this is an entire alternative reality moving on the inertia of the size of its lie.

    Sam asks for an approximate date of the collapse, which is almost like asking for the date when a nuclear war will end humanity. His is the principal fallacy that the past is a continuously good predictor of the future, that discrete events do not exist. Sam, imagine for a moment that Trump somehow manages to regime-change Russia and crush China (without causing a global nuclear war). Russia is the largest country on the planet, with vast unused land and resources, mainly because the technology for their exploitation did not exist in the past (inhospitable land). Now imagine adding this almost virgin land to the banking ledgers full of vapor-assets under the so called “mark-to-market”. The market riggers and their governments could live happily ever after for another couple of generations of banksters. Like vampire needs blood, the sick system just needs a massive injection of real assets to survive another 100 years or longer. This is why they are so viciously attacking the Russian leadership. But this is a great example why the moment of collapse is unpredictable and it is unfair to ask for (an even approximate) date.

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    • Replies: @Kiza
    Here I quote a funny comment from a guy on zerohedge. This is how the Western economies have been operating:
    You have two cows.
    You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
    The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
    The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release.
    The public then buys your bull.
    , @Sam Shama
    Hey Kiza,

    I base my views on data and economic theory generally accepted in the West. If one summarily dismisses these instruments of analyses then, of course, all conclusions derived are rejectable. Which is what you are doing. Fine.

    Simply deeming our system fraudulent and built on myth amounts to a meaningless unfalsifiable assertion. Unfalsifiable, since the collapse event dangles always in the undefined "future".

    His is the principal fallacy that the past is a continuously good predictor of the future, that discrete events do not exist.
     
    I thought you were using past experience to assert with high confidence that the West is headed for a repeat of Weimar :-) Has there been a total destruction of productive capacity which eluded my reverie?

    Data for prediction [at least parameter estimation of any system] is always from the past. I am not aware of any data from the future, is anyone? I don't claim a system superior without subjecting it to out-of-sample and live outcomes. Some Western models have failed recently [pure Rational Expectations models, e.g.]while others have succeeded with flying colours [New Keynesian Models]. What good is any theory or claim without corroborating empirical evidence? To me, claims of our economies headed to a collapse, because... because...well...BIG DEBT! WEIMAR! FALSE STATISTICS! etc are just emotional outbursts devoid of any internally consistent theory, let alone the utter absence of evidence since the whole trope started in 2008.

    Alarmist: you stated earlier that inflation stats are misleading. I am perfectly willing to accept that statement if it were supported by facts. If during your visits to supermarkets, shops, online purchases you found your favourite items costing more, that in itself is no reason to conclude inflation is at hand. I do shop, and a great deal in point of fact :-), and I've noticed that prices of computers, e.g. have fallen continuously and dramatically. What about rent inflation? Or transportation? Rent inflation stands at levels much lower than averages from the past 70 years and transportation costs have fallen greatly as well [Air travel as a percentage of median per capita income]. Do you deny these? Trouble arises when people take these things for granted, and only complain about (mostly) food items that have gone up in price ["I hate these prices for eggs! Back in my childhood, a dozen cost only a penny!"]

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CUUR0000SEHA#0 [change the graph to go from 1950 and pick the percentage change option]

    If you don't believe in official CPI/Core PCE, look at the MIT Billion Prices Index, which provides one with real-time inflation from literally a billion prices from online markets which operate globally. Those indices substantially tell the same story: inflation has been heading down!

    Sam, imagine for a moment that Trump somehow manages to regime-change Russia and crush China (without causing a global nuclear war).
     
    How is he going to regime change Russia? It's a pipe dream. Putin is immensely popular and in my reckoning, he is simply negotiating spheres of influence with USA.

    China, well they are joined to the US at the hip!. The U.S. is only looking for China to wean away from its mercantilist stance and start buying our goods and services.

    Russia is the largest country on the planet, with vast unused land and resources, mainly because the technology for their exploitation did not exist in the past (inhospitable land). Now imagine adding this almost virgin land to the banking ledgers full of vapor-assets under the so called “mark-to-market”. The market riggers and their governments could live happily ever after for another couple of generations of banksters. Like vampire needs blood, the sick system just needs a massive injection of real assets to survive another 100 years or longer.
     
    Russia is a vastly endowed nation with a gifted population. The climate isn't all that balmy, shall we say. Her natural resources are the assets of her citizens to do with them as they deem optimal.

    I'll go along with your hypothetical scenario in which Putin is unseated and a new Yeltsin is installed. I would consider that outcome both undesirable and approaching a vanishingly low probability. You'll need to convince me of its plausibility and DT's desire to bring about such an outcome.
  179. @Kiza

    learning other languages helps one for recognizing other points of view
     
    I do not know if this has been scientifically established but I can certainly vouch for it personally because learning every new language gives you a different perspective on existing things. After starting to learn a new language I would think - I had no idea that lego could be arranged this way as well! Therefore, learning new languages broadens one's view of the world but whether it also helps recognize other points of view probably depends on the tolerance of the person. Maybe the key word in your statement is "helps".

    One could say that to certain degree it is disadvantage for English to be lingua-franca.

    In many ways it is also most abused language in world. All speakers bring to English their language frameworks.

    One could conclude that English native speakers became more accustomed – to be more tolerant for non-precise meanings or statements of others to certain degree – due to many non-native English speakers. Therefore it is not that obvious for them.

    I think, speakers of other languages would often not accept such improper usage of words or grammar in their language – (thinking) because by language we think.

    Combine that with euphemisms and political correctness and you have recepy for disaster in communication.

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  180. @inertial
    Years ago, I used to make fun of Amazon and later of Google. I learned my lesson. I personally don't have much use for Facebook; I don't have an account there. But I can see that Facebook provides a lot of value both to its users and to its customers (two distinct sets.)

    And then there is the potential. Lots of smart people are working at Facebook; they may well come up with a breakthrough in some unexpected area. Google started with search and now they are working on driverless cars, among other things. I doubt GM or Ford would've come up with driverless cars, as it is more of a software challenge than a car design one. So here is an example how an investment into a "virtual" company like Google worked out better than an investment into the "real" economy like GM.

    Now as for FIRE, and that brings me back to what I said about Facebook. Just because you personally don't need or don't understand a service it doesn't mean that it's "useless," or "virtual," or "fraudulent," or whatever other epithet is being used. Before you slam the FIRE sector you have to understand what services it provides, who needs these services, and why. Are there problems? Of course there are; there are always problems, that's human condition. Is FIRE sector too big? Perhaps, but with all due respect you are not a person to judge, as you have only the vaguest of ideas of what it actually does. The truth is, financial sector supports the "real" economy, which cannot exist without it. And this makes it as "real" as anything.

    Finally. The problem is that you listen to cranks. I used to be there 15-20 years but then I realized that the cranks are full of shit. Sometimes they accidentally may stumble upon a valid point but such cases are few and far between. Mostly they are one note Johnnies. Don't listen to cranks.

    The truth is, financial sector supports the “real” economy, which cannot exist without it.

    Obviously false statement. You would need to at least some adjective such as mostly, probably, usually into sentence. Frame it in current prevailing socio-economical system.

    Just ask Soviets if they won ww2 due to strong financial system, or put Sputnik into space for that matter.

    So there is not at all any correlation in between financial sector and real economy;-)

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    • Replies: @Kiza
    In theory, the financial system is supposed to ensure the efficient allocation of investments, as opposed to central planning. This is how it us supposed to support the real economy. In reality, the Western financial system, and possibly the Chinese one, have turned into a leach draining blood out of the real economy, much worse than central planning.
  181. @Ondrej

    The truth is, financial sector supports the “real” economy, which cannot exist without it.
     
    Obviously false statement. You would need to at least some adjective such as mostly, probably, usually into sentence. Frame it in current prevailing socio-economical system.

    Just ask Soviets if they won ww2 due to strong financial system, or put Sputnik into space for that matter.

    So there is not at all any correlation in between financial sector and real economy;-)

    In theory, the financial system is supposed to ensure the efficient allocation of investments, as opposed to central planning. This is how it us supposed to support the real economy. In reality, the Western financial system, and possibly the Chinese one, have turned into a leach draining blood out of the real economy, much worse than central planning.

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    • Replies: @Ondrej

    In theory, the financial system is supposed to ensure the efficient allocation of investments, as opposed to central planning.

     

    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice; in practice there is.

    I know theory, but there is empirical evidence that it does not, see Taleb for that matter, or Schumpeter in my comment 165.

    Schumpeter is worth to read , as he argues, logically, in case of market equilibrium = fair prices interest would approach to zero, and it ceases to be incentive for financing innovation. And this leads us back to Marx`s theory of simple reproduction as his main argument in Kapital Volume I. which create a problem for system.

    As for Central economy, you would be probably surprised - at least I was surprised,
    that it was in fact J.V. Stalin who critiqued too much of Central planning. He was warning in 50. that it would block next development of system. in his book Economical problems of socialism.

    You mention your experience with socialistic system, in case you want to refresh your memory or get better than propagandistic (from right or left) view of Marx . I advise David Harwey lectures on youtube.
    http://davidharvey.org/reading-capital/