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moscow-winter-station

I will admit that due to personal and work related reasons I got much less done this month than I hoped to. However, on the plus side, I have pretty much finished with furnishing my new apartment, and have largely ditched one commitment that was generally more trouble than it was worth. Along with an imminent reconsideration of posting strategy, I am sure that January and henceforth will be more productive than ever.

It is very good to see the legendary HBD blogger Audacious Epigone join the UR. Along with the recent acquisition of Guillaume Durocher, the site is going from strength to strength.

***

Featured

* TRUMP: Syria/Afghanistan withdrawals obviously good for the US. Turkey letting up on Khashoggi was obvious quid pro quo; Israel reportedly also reacquired rights to bomb Iranians in Syria from Russia.

Obviously something instigated by the Turks, and which mostly benefits Israel and Turkey, was yet another case of Putler manipulating Drumpf.

PS. Neocon Michael D. Weiss is really sad:

* Someone whose style you should recognize: A Week In Xinjiang’s Absolute Surveillance State. Must read!

*Ron Unz: Averting World Conflict with China

* Guillaume Durocher: The Economics of the Great Replacement

* TNSR: Xi’s Vision for Transforming Global Governance: A Strategic Challenge for Washington and Its Allies

***

Russia

* Leonid Bershidsky: The Maria Butina Case Is Not About Spying

* Russia demshiza has yet another irrelevant get-together in Vilnius

* Flagship journal of the Dork Web Quillette has Soviet immigrant Cathy Young do a hit job on Solzhenitsyn to mark his anniversary (RussoShoe Theory: “Stalinism is not true Marxism, and that’s terrible.”)

***

World

* Graham Allison: China and Russia: A Strategic Alliance in the Making

* Kenneth Rapoza: Don’t Believe Beijing: China Really Does Rival The U.S.

* China’s Social Ranking System Will Now Target Rule-Breaking Scientists. Likelihood of a Chinese biosingularity has been downgraded.

commissar-chepe

* Future commissar? Revealed: Antifa Leader Relied On Anonymity To Push Radical, Violent Communist Agenda

* Emil Kirkegaard: Fertility of immigrant groups in Denmark by generation. There is actually broad convergence to native norms. This suggests immigrant population % will stabilize after a few decades if immigration was to be halted.

* Demographic update for the year 2018 via Cicerone.

***

Science & Culture

* Shizuyu Sutou: Low-dose radiation from A-bombs elongated lifespan and reduced cancer mortality relative to un-irradiated individuals. One more for atomic trumphalism!

* Kirkegaard: Who wants to live forever?

* Twitter spat on validity of IQ between N.N. Taleb and real psychometrists:

***

Humor

* Insomniac: European Values Chief Did Gay Porn. How appropriate.

* Daily Stormer reviews new Chinese battle royale game Ring of Elysium. I notice that Anglin has been getting very Sinophile of late.

***

 
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  1. AK, I have a bit of appreciation for your analyses and writing on the handicaps imposed by the commies on Russia and other countries. Confusing to me is the fact that the Cultural Revolution doesn’t seem to have had any long term bad effects on China. Could this mean that the current preoccupation in the US with feminist gravity and transgenderqueer chemistry will not be all that bad?

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The Cultural Revolution was not so bad because it was so destructive. No one was very happy during it, everyone was afraid, everyone knew deep down how insane all this was, and it didn’t leave any lasting structures in its wake, in fact, it destroyed the communist bureaucracy which had been functioning there before. It made economic reform actually easier. It would have been way worse if Mao had opted for a saner policy, for example conventional Stalinism.

    Also, the Cultural Revolution was relatively short. The whole madness took three decades, tops. The USSR was way longer, over seven decades of communism, of which the first two and a half decades were absolutely insane, but insane with a method, so that it created lasting structures. It was still insane afterwards, until the very end (and beyond), but just sane enough to last long. Maoism was something for which no one had any appetite to repeat, not the party leadership, nor the little people, nor the party rank and file. While late Stalinism and especially Brezhnevism still elicits nostalgia on many levels.

    Similarly, in Hungary it was not the hard Stalinist Rákosi dictatorship which was the most destructive (in 1956 it turned out that no one really liked it), but the “goulash communism” of Kádár, which corrupted everyone to an extent and which was good enough that many people actually liked it, even if they understood that it could have been better.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    To add to reiner's point, Maoism did set China back by 1-2 decades economically. Its economic system made the USSR's seem rational and effective.

    (Greater chance of dying on the job than getting fired. In contrast, about 15% of the Soviet workforce switched jobs in any one year).

    No, I don't think SJWism will affect the US seriously, except in particular edge cases (e.g. a fullbore white genocide post-Trump President triggering Red state secession, or the new Lysenkoism criminalizing gene editing for IQ (if/when that becomes feasible).
  2. That one trillion dollars is probably missing from the US military R&D budget. It helped Russia and China to catch up, at least to an extent.

    • Replies: @songbird
    I just think of it like who could we have bribed to move back. Would be a pretty big bribe divided among Somalis, even all over the West. Would be a diplomatic coup - Australia, the good ol' USA has paid your Somalis to move back! But I suppose Somalis are crazy enough to demand more.
  3. Let me kick off discussion on some organizational issues. Not including this in the main post since it’s all exploratory at this stage.

    First off, I intend to set up a mailing list by the New Year or soon after. With more and more cases of Shut It Down, that seems overdue. Any tips? My last experience with mailing lists was MailChimp, but that was more than half a decade ago, technology I assume has moved on since then.

    Second, many users have expressed a preference for one or all of the following:

    1) Ability to contact other commenters
    2) A forum
    3) Meetup in meatspace

    About (1) – I assume Ron isn’t planning to introduce that functionality anytime soon, not even so much because its technically difficult (WordPress has native capabilities for it) but because it would require registration and have a knock on effect on privacy, which the website takes very seriously.

    I have over the years introduced certain individuals to each other over email, but it’s highly ineffective for me to manually serve as a conduit for all interested parties.

    Meanwhile, any IRL activities will require some degree of acquaintance between participants before it can happen.

    The natural connecting mechanism for that is a forum or discussion group.

    Issues:
    * Technically, it would also be trivial. WordPress has forum plugins such as bbPress that allow simple forums to be set up (we don’t need anything complicated).
    * Not sure that Ron would be interested in it, and it’s easy to see why – moderation will be a huge burden – and for limited gains.
    * Theoretically, I can create something myself at my website or another url.
    * Unfortunately, I don’t have much time for moderation either, so at most it will have to be a small, hand-selected group that can be relied upon to police itself.
    * One technical solution would be to buy DigitalOcean hosting and create a droplet running a Discourse forum (my favorite forum software atm). This is the current solution of what is probably Russia’s current biggest closed nationalist forum.
    * Running Discourse from their end is not an option due to it being prohibitively expensive ($100 per month).
    * One secret forum I was invited to uses https://www.proboards.com/ which is a remotely hosted blog.
    * App like alternatives: Slack, Discord, Telegram, Facebook groups (urgh), etc.
    Keybase might be interesting but I know too little about it and I assume it’s too esoteric for us to adopt it.
    * Risk of remotely hosted boards is that they can wipe us (or even dox us) for political reasons, though risk will probably remain low since I don’t intend for any discussions to be public. Risk of self-hosting it is that I might get hacked.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I’m member of a totally un-PC Google mail group, but it’s in Hungarian. Google is also reading our mail, so maybe something else?

    But will they really read a mail-list with a few dozen members?
    , @iffen
    1) Ability to contact other commenters Why?
    2) A forum Yes!
    3) Meetup in meatspace Why?
    , @Thorfinnsson
    MailChimp is well known for no platforming, having no platformed Alex Jones for instance. It's also overpriced--among other things charging for duplicate e-mail addresses.

    There are a lot of alternatives: https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-cheaper-better-alternatives-to-MailChimp

    I've used MailerLite. There are probably some Eastern European options, which I suspect are cheaper and will not no platform anyone (unless they're Polish and you claim Poles did the Holocaust). MailerLite appears to be based in Vilnius, which admittedly might not be the best location for you.

    Free Web 1.0 era messageboard platforms are more than adequate for discussion needs, provided you accept from the beginning the likelihood that messageboard will one day disappear since there's no money to be made from hosting web 1.0 messageboards. A more serious solution is to do what you suggested of course, though using DigitalOcean doesn't seem like a good idea at all. They're based in America and you need basic sysadmin skills to use it.

    Slack is pretty good, but unless you pay them (and pricing is quite high for what amounts to glorified IRC) you get no access to your old messages. They also seem extremely likely to no platform people to me, though so far the only victims of Slack purges appear to be hapless Iranians targeted by American sanctions.

    Discord and especially Facebook are completely out of the question. Telegram is quite good and while perhaps it's a 4D chess masterstroke by ZOG in reality it seems like Pavel Durov has succeeded in making enemies of both the Russian and American dweeb states and is paying the price for it.

    Doxing, incidentally, should be taken as a serious risk from the beginning. Especially if you live in a ZOG Heartland country like the USA or the UK (probably the Visegrad commenters are safe). Fortunately the Unz Review is too apparently challenging for professional SJWs to actually read, but I wouldn't preclude it becoming a subject of interest for intelligence agencies (e.g. Roosh was questioned by DHS about his work).

    Even for those of us who are antifragile and can't be cut off from our income easily, there's a lot that can be done to make life difficult for us. It's not hard to imagine someone like Talha being considered an Islamist connected to the Islamic State and also financed by Putin. I've had people try to report me to the police in the past, and two years ago some idiot homo-sexual with a lover who was a federal prosecutor made a lot of noise about getting me on the American No Fly List (of course nothing happened).

    Incidentally, there's currently a plot afoot to make registering domains require the use of a verified identity. While as usual I expect lawyers to find a way out of this (using lawyers as registered agents for anonymity purposes is common in American corporate law for instance), if any of you wish to own domains you might want to buy one for the next decade soon.

    , @Pericles
    Privately hosted forum/chan or perhaps mailing list is strongly preferable, I think. Running some app by a usual third party is a quick invitation to be deplatformed, doxed etc by some busybody SJW. I seem to recall that Discord, for example, has let law enforcement listen in on privately hosted instances. It's probably the same for everything run in the US or the West.

    It would be nice if posted messages also were scrubbed of identities like emails and other distinguishing marks to make malicious archiving more difficult. Perhaps a chan then?

    Best if it's also robust and needs a minimum of hand holding to run, including being reasonably secure to avoid too easy shenanigans.

    Whatever the solution, the key is of course the data. Take a daily offsite backup of the membership so you can easily reconstruct it when deplatformed.
  4. Taleb’s posturing is insufferable

    • Replies: @songbird
    Agree. If IQ weren't important, he'd probably be living in Lebanon because it would be a more functional society than it is.
    , @The Big Red Scary
    Taleb is just biased against the normal distribution. If you were to reanalyze the data and found a fat tail, he’d change his tune.
  5. @iffen
    AK, I have a bit of appreciation for your analyses and writing on the handicaps imposed by the commies on Russia and other countries. Confusing to me is the fact that the Cultural Revolution doesn't seem to have had any long term bad effects on China. Could this mean that the current preoccupation in the US with feminist gravity and transgenderqueer chemistry will not be all that bad?

    The Cultural Revolution was not so bad because it was so destructive. No one was very happy during it, everyone was afraid, everyone knew deep down how insane all this was, and it didn’t leave any lasting structures in its wake, in fact, it destroyed the communist bureaucracy which had been functioning there before. It made economic reform actually easier. It would have been way worse if Mao had opted for a saner policy, for example conventional Stalinism.

    Also, the Cultural Revolution was relatively short. The whole madness took three decades, tops. The USSR was way longer, over seven decades of communism, of which the first two and a half decades were absolutely insane, but insane with a method, so that it created lasting structures. It was still insane afterwards, until the very end (and beyond), but just sane enough to last long. Maoism was something for which no one had any appetite to repeat, not the party leadership, nor the little people, nor the party rank and file. While late Stalinism and especially Brezhnevism still elicits nostalgia on many levels.

    Similarly, in Hungary it was not the hard Stalinist Rákosi dictatorship which was the most destructive (in 1956 it turned out that no one really liked it), but the “goulash communism” of Kádár, which corrupted everyone to an extent and which was good enough that many people actually liked it, even if they understood that it could have been better.

    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @iffen
    My question was based upon the fact that for 20-30 years they replaced scholarship with right think with no apparent long term harm.
  6. @Anatoly Karlin
    Let me kick off discussion on some organizational issues. Not including this in the main post since it's all exploratory at this stage.

    First off, I intend to set up a mailing list by the New Year or soon after. With more and more cases of Shut It Down, that seems overdue. Any tips? My last experience with mailing lists was MailChimp, but that was more than half a decade ago, technology I assume has moved on since then.

    Second, many users have expressed a preference for one or all of the following:

    1) Ability to contact other commenters
    2) A forum
    3) Meetup in meatspace

    About (1) - I assume Ron isn't planning to introduce that functionality anytime soon, not even so much because its technically difficult (WordPress has native capabilities for it) but because it would require registration and have a knock on effect on privacy, which the website takes very seriously.

    I have over the years introduced certain individuals to each other over email, but it's highly ineffective for me to manually serve as a conduit for all interested parties.

    Meanwhile, any IRL activities will require some degree of acquaintance between participants before it can happen.

    The natural connecting mechanism for that is a forum or discussion group.

    Issues:
    * Technically, it would also be trivial. WordPress has forum plugins such as bbPress that allow simple forums to be set up (we don't need anything complicated).
    * Not sure that Ron would be interested in it, and it's easy to see why - moderation will be a huge burden - and for limited gains.
    * Theoretically, I can create something myself at my website or another url.
    * Unfortunately, I don't have much time for moderation either, so at most it will have to be a small, hand-selected group that can be relied upon to police itself.
    * One technical solution would be to buy DigitalOcean hosting and create a droplet running a Discourse forum (my favorite forum software atm). This is the current solution of what is probably Russia's current biggest closed nationalist forum.
    * Running Discourse from their end is not an option due to it being prohibitively expensive ($100 per month).
    * One secret forum I was invited to uses https://www.proboards.com/ which is a remotely hosted blog.
    * App like alternatives: Slack, Discord, Telegram, Facebook groups (urgh), etc.
    Keybase might be interesting but I know too little about it and I assume it's too esoteric for us to adopt it.
    * Risk of remotely hosted boards is that they can wipe us (or even dox us) for political reasons, though risk will probably remain low since I don't intend for any discussions to be public. Risk of self-hosting it is that I might get hacked.

    I’m member of a totally un-PC Google mail group, but it’s in Hungarian. Google is also reading our mail, so maybe something else?

    But will they really read a mail-list with a few dozen members?

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I want to keep mailing list and forum separate.

    Mailing list - to inform people of my own plans, projects, articles, etc. once every few months (e.g. like Razib's newsletter).

    Forum - to build a community that can do things like organize meetups.

    Assuming you're speaking of Google Groups, I suppose that's one possibility.
  7. @reiner Tor
    The Cultural Revolution was not so bad because it was so destructive. No one was very happy during it, everyone was afraid, everyone knew deep down how insane all this was, and it didn’t leave any lasting structures in its wake, in fact, it destroyed the communist bureaucracy which had been functioning there before. It made economic reform actually easier. It would have been way worse if Mao had opted for a saner policy, for example conventional Stalinism.

    Also, the Cultural Revolution was relatively short. The whole madness took three decades, tops. The USSR was way longer, over seven decades of communism, of which the first two and a half decades were absolutely insane, but insane with a method, so that it created lasting structures. It was still insane afterwards, until the very end (and beyond), but just sane enough to last long. Maoism was something for which no one had any appetite to repeat, not the party leadership, nor the little people, nor the party rank and file. While late Stalinism and especially Brezhnevism still elicits nostalgia on many levels.

    Similarly, in Hungary it was not the hard Stalinist Rákosi dictatorship which was the most destructive (in 1956 it turned out that no one really liked it), but the “goulash communism” of Kádár, which corrupted everyone to an extent and which was good enough that many people actually liked it, even if they understood that it could have been better.

    My question was based upon the fact that for 20-30 years they replaced scholarship with right think with no apparent long term harm.

    • Replies: @ia

    with no apparent long term harm.
     
    It is a police state. Compared to Russia, I don't know.
  8. @Anatoly Karlin
    Let me kick off discussion on some organizational issues. Not including this in the main post since it's all exploratory at this stage.

    First off, I intend to set up a mailing list by the New Year or soon after. With more and more cases of Shut It Down, that seems overdue. Any tips? My last experience with mailing lists was MailChimp, but that was more than half a decade ago, technology I assume has moved on since then.

    Second, many users have expressed a preference for one or all of the following:

    1) Ability to contact other commenters
    2) A forum
    3) Meetup in meatspace

    About (1) - I assume Ron isn't planning to introduce that functionality anytime soon, not even so much because its technically difficult (WordPress has native capabilities for it) but because it would require registration and have a knock on effect on privacy, which the website takes very seriously.

    I have over the years introduced certain individuals to each other over email, but it's highly ineffective for me to manually serve as a conduit for all interested parties.

    Meanwhile, any IRL activities will require some degree of acquaintance between participants before it can happen.

    The natural connecting mechanism for that is a forum or discussion group.

    Issues:
    * Technically, it would also be trivial. WordPress has forum plugins such as bbPress that allow simple forums to be set up (we don't need anything complicated).
    * Not sure that Ron would be interested in it, and it's easy to see why - moderation will be a huge burden - and for limited gains.
    * Theoretically, I can create something myself at my website or another url.
    * Unfortunately, I don't have much time for moderation either, so at most it will have to be a small, hand-selected group that can be relied upon to police itself.
    * One technical solution would be to buy DigitalOcean hosting and create a droplet running a Discourse forum (my favorite forum software atm). This is the current solution of what is probably Russia's current biggest closed nationalist forum.
    * Running Discourse from their end is not an option due to it being prohibitively expensive ($100 per month).
    * One secret forum I was invited to uses https://www.proboards.com/ which is a remotely hosted blog.
    * App like alternatives: Slack, Discord, Telegram, Facebook groups (urgh), etc.
    Keybase might be interesting but I know too little about it and I assume it's too esoteric for us to adopt it.
    * Risk of remotely hosted boards is that they can wipe us (or even dox us) for political reasons, though risk will probably remain low since I don't intend for any discussions to be public. Risk of self-hosting it is that I might get hacked.

    1) Ability to contact other commenters Why?
    2) A forum Yes!
    3) Meetup in meatspace Why?

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    1 - many people have expressed an interest in contacting each other over the years. This involves:

    - A expressing an interest in contacting B
    - me emailing B to ask if he's interested in getting contacted by A
    - me getting (or not getting) response from B
    - me relaying B's response to A
    - me putting them in touch via mutual email

    I'd rather not deal with that tbh.

    3 - topic of active discussion over the past few months.


    ***

    Really, TBH, it's the forum that's the least necessary component, because individual posts (especially open threads) are basically forums anyway.

    But a dedicated forum is also the crispest way of achieving both 1 and 3
  9. @reiner Tor
    I’m member of a totally un-PC Google mail group, but it’s in Hungarian. Google is also reading our mail, so maybe something else?

    But will they really read a mail-list with a few dozen members?

    I want to keep mailing list and forum separate.

    Mailing list – to inform people of my own plans, projects, articles, etc. once every few months (e.g. like Razib’s newsletter).

    Forum – to build a community that can do things like organize meetups.

    Assuming you’re speaking of Google Groups, I suppose that’s one possibility.

  10. @iffen
    1) Ability to contact other commenters Why?
    2) A forum Yes!
    3) Meetup in meatspace Why?

    1 – many people have expressed an interest in contacting each other over the years. This involves:

    – A expressing an interest in contacting B
    – me emailing B to ask if he’s interested in getting contacted by A
    – me getting (or not getting) response from B
    – me relaying B’s response to A
    – me putting them in touch via mutual email

    I’d rather not deal with that tbh.

    3 – topic of active discussion over the past few months.

    ***

    Really, TBH, it’s the forum that’s the least necessary component, because individual posts (especially open threads) are basically forums anyway.

    But a dedicated forum is also the crispest way of achieving both 1 and 3

  11. @DFH
    Taleb's posturing is insufferable

    Agree. If IQ weren’t important, he’d probably be living in Lebanon because it would be a more functional society than it is.

    • Replies: @Swarthy Greek
    Lebanon’s isn’t functional for a very simple reason: palestinians.
  12. Re the Shuttening, I have been relying on Jazzhands McFeels’ twitter for news updates. He’s been shoah’d. Anyone know of a good substitute?

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    https://twitter.com/dprk_news

    https://twitter.com/DPRK_News/status/1076565277683404803
  13. @iffen
    AK, I have a bit of appreciation for your analyses and writing on the handicaps imposed by the commies on Russia and other countries. Confusing to me is the fact that the Cultural Revolution doesn't seem to have had any long term bad effects on China. Could this mean that the current preoccupation in the US with feminist gravity and transgenderqueer chemistry will not be all that bad?

    To add to reiner’s point, Maoism did set China back by 1-2 decades economically. Its economic system made the USSR’s seem rational and effective.

    (Greater chance of dying on the job than getting fired. In contrast, about 15% of the Soviet workforce switched jobs in any one year).

    No, I don’t think SJWism will affect the US seriously, except in particular edge cases (e.g. a fullbore white genocide post-Trump President triggering Red state secession, or the new Lysenkoism criminalizing gene editing for IQ (if/when that becomes feasible).

    • Replies: @iffen
    To add to reiner’s point, Maoism did set China back by 1-2 decades economically. Its economic system made the USSR’s seem rational and effective.

    Understood, but within the total Maoist period they did full frontal Lysenkoism, and more, for 20 years. Yet, many of our products, technology, etc. can only be had from there.

    No, I don’t think SJWism will affect the US seriously,

    So you won’t mind being on the Mars explorer built by the mandated 50% female, 10% abcxyzlgbyt community and 20% assorted others rocket scientists?
  14. @reiner Tor
    That one trillion dollars is probably missing from the US military R&D budget. It helped Russia and China to catch up, at least to an extent.

    I just think of it like who could we have bribed to move back. Would be a pretty big bribe divided among Somalis, even all over the West. Would be a diplomatic coup – Australia, the good ol’ USA has paid your Somalis to move back! But I suppose Somalis are crazy enough to demand more.

  15. @Rosie
    Re the Shuttening, I have been relying on Jazzhands McFeels' twitter for news updates. He's been shoah'd. Anyone know of a good substitute?

    • Replies: @Rosie
    All I want for Christmas is one serious comment reply from Thorfinnsson.
  16. @Anatoly Karlin
    To add to reiner's point, Maoism did set China back by 1-2 decades economically. Its economic system made the USSR's seem rational and effective.

    (Greater chance of dying on the job than getting fired. In contrast, about 15% of the Soviet workforce switched jobs in any one year).

    No, I don't think SJWism will affect the US seriously, except in particular edge cases (e.g. a fullbore white genocide post-Trump President triggering Red state secession, or the new Lysenkoism criminalizing gene editing for IQ (if/when that becomes feasible).

    To add to reiner’s point, Maoism did set China back by 1-2 decades economically. Its economic system made the USSR’s seem rational and effective.

    Understood, but within the total Maoist period they did full frontal Lysenkoism, and more, for 20 years. Yet, many of our products, technology, etc. can only be had from there.

    No, I don’t think SJWism will affect the US seriously,

    So you won’t mind being on the Mars explorer built by the mandated 50% female, 10% abcxyzlgbyt community and 20% assorted others rocket scientists?

  17. Syria/Afghanistan withdrawals obviously good for the US.

    Define “US”:

    – If you’re talking about the country, it’s so far gone, that shuffling troops around will hardly make a difference at this point. Suffice to say it, the cost of keeping troops in Syria pales in comparison to the cost of Donald Trump’s tax cuts. It’s simply irrelevant in the bigger picture.

    – Now, if you’re talking about Washington as an agent of international politics, “abandoning” Syria is a geopolitical disaster for America, comparable to Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. It sends unmistakable message of weakness. US political class is in meltdown, and justifiably so.

    Given the circumstances, it makes no sense for Russia to allow Israel bomb Syria again. They should compensate us for the loss of Il-20 instead.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson

    Define “US”:

    - If you’re talking about the country, it’s so far gone, that shuffling troops around will hardly make a difference at this point. Suffice to say it, the cost of keeping troops in Syria pales in comparison to the cost of Donald Trump’s tax cuts. It’s simply irrelevant in the bigger picture.
     
    https://www.cbo.gov/publication/53787

    Take the numbers with a grain of salt, but essentially the CBO projected a cumulative increase of the federal deficit in the next decade by $1.3 trillion ($130 billion per year--average). And that's for a $20 trillion economy.

    And then there's the fact that a government liability is a private sector asset. A larger deficit increases private sector income and net worth. The total net worth of the nation doesn't change. The government, like any borrower, does ultimately face certain fiscal constraints (interest rates, inflation). But inflation and interest rates remain low.

    Bottom line--there is no solvency issue.

    Leaving Syria represents and opportunity to begin abandoning other idiotic imperial commitments which do nothing to enhance America's security or power. I will, of course, not hold my breath.

    - Now, if you’re talking about Washington as an agent of international politics, “abandoning” Syria is a geopolitical disaster for America, comparable to Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. It sends unmistakable message of weakness. US political class is in meltdown, and justifiably so.
     
    "War should only be conducted for a policy." -Otto von Bismarck

    What was American policy in Syria exactly?

    For that matter, what did withdrawing from Afghanistan do to the USSR? It was embarrassing...but not as embarrassing as spending 17 years and counting in Afghanistan.


    Given the circumstances, it makes no sense for Russia to allow Israel bomb Syria again. They should compensate us for the loss of Il-20 instead.
     
    I think you're right on this.
    , @Dmitry

    “abandoning” Syria is a geopolitical disaster for America
     
    Is there anything important in Syria? And anything there that is relevant to American power?

    (There is no substantial oil in Syria, no compatible people, and it is 9000 kilometers from their coast).

    , @Jon0815

    Now, if you’re talking about Washington as an agent of international politics, “abandoning” Syria is a geopolitical disaster for America, comparable to Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. It sends unmistakable message of weakness. US political class is in meltdown, and justifiably so.
     
    Yes, no question that Syria has been a humiliation for the US, the first time it has suffered a defeat in a great power proxy war since Vietnam.

    Other than Ho Chi Minh and maybe Castro, I can't think of any post-WWII leader of a non-great power, who has frustrated US foreign policy goals more than Assad.

    , @anon
    Thats silly. The US hasn't been serious in either place for years. Casualties are low The political class is noisy because they have no arguments for staying. Plus they can rant about Trump. Hence the db level.

    If there is any damage, did it happen when they gave up or when the modest troop contingent is shipped home?

    What should be on their minds is the collapse of the anti Assad narrative. Move on before the public is further red pilled.

  18. How does use of Belarusian language in Belarus compare to use of Ukrainian in that country?

    • Replies: @Yevardian
    Rapidly dying and looked down upon. It doesn't have the musicality of Ukrainian, nor any native literature comparable to that language.
  19. @songbird
    Agree. If IQ weren't important, he'd probably be living in Lebanon because it would be a more functional society than it is.

    Lebanon’s isn’t functional for a very simple reason: palestinians.

    • Replies: @songbird
    Which should be a lesson to us all.

    Still, I wonder if they would have been better of with a smaller country. The Mount Lebanon Governorate. The Druze probably wouldn't have been as keen as other Muslims in welcoming them. Or else, there should have been population movements Middle East Christians into Lebanon.
  20. @Felix Keverich

    Syria/Afghanistan withdrawals obviously good for the US.
     
    Define "US":

    - If you're talking about the country, it's so far gone, that shuffling troops around will hardly make a difference at this point. Suffice to say it, the cost of keeping troops in Syria pales in comparison to the cost of Donald Trump's tax cuts. It's simply irrelevant in the bigger picture.

    - Now, if you're talking about Washington as an agent of international politics, "abandoning" Syria is a geopolitical disaster for America, comparable to Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. It sends unmistakable message of weakness. US political class is in meltdown, and justifiably so.

    Given the circumstances, it makes no sense for Russia to allow Israel bomb Syria again. They should compensate us for the loss of Il-20 instead.

    Define “US”:

    – If you’re talking about the country, it’s so far gone, that shuffling troops around will hardly make a difference at this point. Suffice to say it, the cost of keeping troops in Syria pales in comparison to the cost of Donald Trump’s tax cuts. It’s simply irrelevant in the bigger picture.

    https://www.cbo.gov/publication/53787

    Take the numbers with a grain of salt, but essentially the CBO projected a cumulative increase of the federal deficit in the next decade by $1.3 trillion ($130 billion per year–average). And that’s for a $20 trillion economy.

    And then there’s the fact that a government liability is a private sector asset. A larger deficit increases private sector income and net worth. The total net worth of the nation doesn’t change. The government, like any borrower, does ultimately face certain fiscal constraints (interest rates, inflation). But inflation and interest rates remain low.

    Bottom line–there is no solvency issue.

    Leaving Syria represents and opportunity to begin abandoning other idiotic imperial commitments which do nothing to enhance America’s security or power. I will, of course, not hold my breath.

    – Now, if you’re talking about Washington as an agent of international politics, “abandoning” Syria is a geopolitical disaster for America, comparable to Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. It sends unmistakable message of weakness. US political class is in meltdown, and justifiably so.

    “War should only be conducted for a policy.” -Otto von Bismarck

    What was American policy in Syria exactly?

    For that matter, what did withdrawing from Afghanistan do to the USSR? It was embarrassing…but not as embarrassing as spending 17 years and counting in Afghanistan.

    Given the circumstances, it makes no sense for Russia to allow Israel bomb Syria again. They should compensate us for the loss of Il-20 instead.

    I think you’re right on this.

    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    Leaving Syria represents and opportunity to begin abandoning other idiotic imperial commitments which do nothing to enhance America’s security or power. I will, of course, not hold my breath.
     
    There are reasons for scepticism as Trump seems to be backtracking on his Syria decision already. Apparently Lindsay Graham convinced him that this is bad for Israel. What a joke!

    https://twitter.com/LindseyGrahamSC/status/1079514943152631808

  21. @Thorfinnsson
    https://twitter.com/dprk_news

    https://twitter.com/DPRK_News/status/1076565277683404803

    All I want for Christmas is one serious comment reply from Thorfinnsson.

  22. Isn’t the main effect Afghanistan has now on opium production?

    So will opium production and export abroad increase, with continued withdrawal of NATO?

    Is there also a positive side to that – perhaps opium provides some economic development in Afghanistan, making it slightly less dysfunctional internally.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    The Taliban came close to eradicating opium poppy production.

    Under American occupation, production has skyrocketed. So much so that it makes you suspect that elements of the Dweeb State are involving in it.
  23. @Felix Keverich

    Syria/Afghanistan withdrawals obviously good for the US.
     
    Define "US":

    - If you're talking about the country, it's so far gone, that shuffling troops around will hardly make a difference at this point. Suffice to say it, the cost of keeping troops in Syria pales in comparison to the cost of Donald Trump's tax cuts. It's simply irrelevant in the bigger picture.

    - Now, if you're talking about Washington as an agent of international politics, "abandoning" Syria is a geopolitical disaster for America, comparable to Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. It sends unmistakable message of weakness. US political class is in meltdown, and justifiably so.

    Given the circumstances, it makes no sense for Russia to allow Israel bomb Syria again. They should compensate us for the loss of Il-20 instead.

    “abandoning” Syria is a geopolitical disaster for America

    Is there anything important in Syria? And anything there that is relevant to American power?

    (There is no substantial oil in Syria, no compatible people, and it is 9000 kilometers from their coast).

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    No. Nothing. The closest thing I can come up with is it's near the Suez Canal, but that's hardly relevant since:

    1 - Britain has sovereign territory on Cyprus
    2 - USN 6th fleet is anchored Naples, Italy
    3 - Suez Canal really isn't that important for America

    Justifications given to us for fighting in Syria usually involve ISIS, "humanitarian" concerns (ie remove the Assman b/c reasons), and of course the dark specter of the Persian menace which is of course a tremendous danger to America. Oh and of course--credibility. Whatever the hell that means.

    The Iraq War was a disaster, but Dick Cheney did make an argument which was that by 2020 America would be forced to import 90% of its oil. Today that sounds ridiculous, but in 2002 it sounded credible.

    What happened was that the No Fly Zones and UN Inspections that were imposed on Iraq in the aftermath of the Gulf War slowly normalized the concept of always being at war in the Middle East. And needless to say, a certain well-networked group of people have taken advantage of this to push a variety of idiotic wars.
  24. @Dmitry
    Isn't the main effect Afghanistan has now on opium production?

    So will opium production and export abroad increase, with continued withdrawal of NATO?

    Is there also a positive side to that - perhaps opium provides some economic development in Afghanistan, making it slightly less dysfunctional internally.

    The Taliban came close to eradicating opium poppy production.

    Under American occupation, production has skyrocketed. So much so that it makes you suspect that elements of the Dweeb State are involving in it.

    • Replies: @Dmitry

    The Taliban came close to eradicating opium poppy production.

     

    Isn't opium their main industry.

    You know before 1979, the Afghanistan economy was massively funded by the USSR (e.g. building all their infrastructure for free).

    This economic assistance continued during the war. But as Soviet Union began to retreat from occupying rural areas of Afghanistan from the mid-1980s, their opium production skyrocketed, and the income could replace foreign aid.

  25. @Dmitry

    “abandoning” Syria is a geopolitical disaster for America
     
    Is there anything important in Syria? And anything there that is relevant to American power?

    (There is no substantial oil in Syria, no compatible people, and it is 9000 kilometers from their coast).

    No. Nothing. The closest thing I can come up with is it’s near the Suez Canal, but that’s hardly relevant since:

    1 – Britain has sovereign territory on Cyprus
    2 – USN 6th fleet is anchored Naples, Italy
    3 – Suez Canal really isn’t that important for America

    Justifications given to us for fighting in Syria usually involve ISIS, “humanitarian” concerns (ie remove the Assman b/c reasons), and of course the dark specter of the Persian menace which is of course a tremendous danger to America. Oh and of course–credibility. Whatever the hell that means.

    The Iraq War was a disaster, but Dick Cheney did make an argument which was that by 2020 America would be forced to import 90% of its oil. Today that sounds ridiculous, but in 2002 it sounded credible.

    What happened was that the No Fly Zones and UN Inspections that were imposed on Iraq in the aftermath of the Gulf War slowly normalized the concept of always being at war in the Middle East. And needless to say, a certain well-networked group of people have taken advantage of this to push a variety of idiotic wars.

    • Replies: @Anon

    No. Nothing
     
    The single greatest interest in Syria is the Israeli interest. The masks fell off when the MSM reacted (in horror) to Trump's announcement. Many leading commentators, especially neocons, immediatedly brought up Israel's worsening position as a justification for the freakout.

    That's basically the reason. Over the last 15 years, US middle eastern policy has largely been about pleasing Israeli interests which in turn is a reflection that Jewish influence in the US - while not absolute - is nevertheless extremely pervasive. This is especially true in the mainstream media, which allows Jewish interests to filter/shape public discourse. The same was true in the run-up to the Iraq war.

    Afghanistan is a harder nut to crack. There aren't any obvious Jewish interests there such as in Syria. The poppy production question in interesting. I've heard conspiracy theories claim that the CIA is involved in the poppy trade as a way to illicitly finance untracable activities/slushfund stuff. There could also be the usual MIC interests in having a live battleground to test new weapons/tactics.

    One thing's for sure, the "muh humanitarian" bullshit is always, well, bullshit. If they cared about that then they wouldn't have allowed Saudi Arabia a free hand in Yemen for well over a year now.

    Libya is an interesting case study as well. They were silent about the slave markets for a long time. Now they are starting to pick up the story. As always: they never mention that Western interventionism caused this. But you can see the beginning of a "we must take them in to stop slavery" narrative taking shape.

    As Sailer says: invade the world, invite the world.

  26. @Swarthy Greek
    Lebanon’s isn’t functional for a very simple reason: palestinians.

    Which should be a lesson to us all.

    Still, I wonder if they would have been better of with a smaller country. The Mount Lebanon Governorate. The Druze probably wouldn’t have been as keen as other Muslims in welcoming them. Or else, there should have been population movements Middle East Christians into Lebanon.

  27. @Thorfinnsson
    The Taliban came close to eradicating opium poppy production.

    Under American occupation, production has skyrocketed. So much so that it makes you suspect that elements of the Dweeb State are involving in it.

    The Taliban came close to eradicating opium poppy production.

    Isn’t opium their main industry.

    You know before 1979, the Afghanistan economy was massively funded by the USSR (e.g. building all their infrastructure for free).

    This economic assistance continued during the war. But as Soviet Union began to retreat from occupying rural areas of Afghanistan from the mid-1980s, their opium production skyrocketed, and the income could replace foreign aid.

    • Replies: @for-the-record
    Isn’t opium their main industry.

    In July 2000, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, collaborating with the UN to eradicate heroin production in Afghanistan, declared that growing poppies was un-Islamic, resulting in one of the world's most successful anti-drug campaigns. The Taliban enforced a ban on poppy farming via threats, forced eradication, and public punishment of transgressors. The result was a 99% reduction in the area of opium poppy farming in Taliban-controlled areas, roughly three quarters of the world's supply of heroin at the time.[18] The ban was effective only briefly due to the deposition of the Taliban in 2002.
     
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5c/Afghanistan_opium_poppy_cultivation_1994-2007b.PNG/400px-Afghanistan_opium_poppy_cultivation_1994-2007b.PNG
  28. I generally like NN Taleb, but when it comes to race and IQ, he’s an IYI. Maybe it’s an Arab (ha!) thing.

  29. Anon[107] • Disclaimer says:
    @Thorfinnsson
    No. Nothing. The closest thing I can come up with is it's near the Suez Canal, but that's hardly relevant since:

    1 - Britain has sovereign territory on Cyprus
    2 - USN 6th fleet is anchored Naples, Italy
    3 - Suez Canal really isn't that important for America

    Justifications given to us for fighting in Syria usually involve ISIS, "humanitarian" concerns (ie remove the Assman b/c reasons), and of course the dark specter of the Persian menace which is of course a tremendous danger to America. Oh and of course--credibility. Whatever the hell that means.

    The Iraq War was a disaster, but Dick Cheney did make an argument which was that by 2020 America would be forced to import 90% of its oil. Today that sounds ridiculous, but in 2002 it sounded credible.

    What happened was that the No Fly Zones and UN Inspections that were imposed on Iraq in the aftermath of the Gulf War slowly normalized the concept of always being at war in the Middle East. And needless to say, a certain well-networked group of people have taken advantage of this to push a variety of idiotic wars.

    No. Nothing

    The single greatest interest in Syria is the Israeli interest. The masks fell off when the MSM reacted (in horror) to Trump’s announcement. Many leading commentators, especially neocons, immediatedly brought up Israel’s worsening position as a justification for the freakout.

    That’s basically the reason. Over the last 15 years, US middle eastern policy has largely been about pleasing Israeli interests which in turn is a reflection that Jewish influence in the US – while not absolute – is nevertheless extremely pervasive. This is especially true in the mainstream media, which allows Jewish interests to filter/shape public discourse. The same was true in the run-up to the Iraq war.

    Afghanistan is a harder nut to crack. There aren’t any obvious Jewish interests there such as in Syria. The poppy production question in interesting. I’ve heard conspiracy theories claim that the CIA is involved in the poppy trade as a way to illicitly finance untracable activities/slushfund stuff. There could also be the usual MIC interests in having a live battleground to test new weapons/tactics.

    One thing’s for sure, the “muh humanitarian” bullshit is always, well, bullshit. If they cared about that then they wouldn’t have allowed Saudi Arabia a free hand in Yemen for well over a year now.

    Libya is an interesting case study as well. They were silent about the slave markets for a long time. Now they are starting to pick up the story. As always: they never mention that Western interventionism caused this. But you can see the beginning of a “we must take them in to stop slavery” narrative taking shape.

    As Sailer says: invade the world, invite the world.

  30. @DFH
    Taleb's posturing is insufferable

    Taleb is just biased against the normal distribution. If you were to reanalyze the data and found a fat tail, he’d change his tune.

    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    Taleb is just biased against the normal distribution. If you were to reanalyze the data and found a fat tail, he’d change his tune.
     
    This. He has made a career out of explaining the assumptions and conditions of the Central Limit Theorem. Now, normally this is a couple weeks, tops, for slow sophomores in a decent degree program, but America is a land of opportunity where you can make a lifelong career out of explaining two paragraphs of text, lol.
  31. Some tentative theses on armed conflict, geopolitics and history I’d be curious to hear people’s thoughts on. These apply to conflict from the point of a view of a state post-1648 and 1789; the dynamics of pre-state warfare and pre-modern imperialism are very different.

    1) Defense has remained consistently more cost-effective than offense. (Speaking here in a more tactical sense, but I will argue that this is true in terms of diplomacy/geopolitics as well.) Notably evident in the Napoleonic Wars, the American Civil War, World War 1, the Winter War, World War 2 and the Korean War. For whatever combination of factors like supply lines, fortification and a status quo bias favoring the defender, armed forces seem to be multiplied in effectiveness ceteris paribus when fighting on defense instead of offense. A particularly extreme, but I think still illustrative, example of this would be the Winter War, in which Finland, despite its much, much smaller population and industrial capacity, was able to inflict highly disproportionate casualties and fluster Soviet forces for several months. It takes a significant preponderance in terms of quality and/or quantity to be confident that an offensive operation will succeed.

    2) Wars often turn out to be more costly and less successful than their proponents predict they will be. Napoleon’s invasions of Spain and Russia, the US’s attempt to prevent CS succession (to some extent on both sides), Britain’s suppression of the Boer Rebellion, French, German, British and Russian plans in World War 1, Japan’s attack on the US, Hitler’s invasion of Russia, North Korea’s invasion of South Korea, the Vietnam War, the invasion of Canada in the War of 1812, Saddam’s invasion of Iran, the Iraq War, etc.. As Scott Alexander has noted, it seems like almost necessarily at least one side in a conflict has to be miscalculating. (You can probably challenge that in terms of game theory, but I feel like it’s still probably basically true.)

    3) Wars aimed at profoundly changing the balance of power often fail because the conflict draws in other parties who tend to favor the status quo antebellum. In the War of Spanish Succession and the Napoleonic Wars, French attempts to establish a hegemonic position on the continent failed because non-French powers formed coalitions against France. Saddam Hussein didn’t get much if any foreign support for his invasion of Iran, but once the tide turned and an Iranian takeover of Iraq seemed plausible, Iraq began receiving a lot more aid from foreign powers, including the US. However, this aid was conditional on seeking a stalemate, not accomplishment of Iraq’s initial objectives. The North Korean invasion of South Korea failed after a US led coalition turned back communist forces…and then the US invasion of the north to reunify Korea failed because it provoked Chinese intervention. The perception in both 1914 and 1939 that Germany was in a position to become a continental hegemon incited the intervention of the Anglo-Saxon powers, in various degrees, in favor of the French and Russian side. (Oversimplifying the details here, but I think the core geopolitical conflict is as I described.)

    4) Wars against foreign insurgents/guerillas—what Martin van Creveld calls “low intensity conflicts” in the Transformation of War— have a not great track record of succeeding, despite the many advantages that counter-insurgent forces would seem to have. If they do succeed, at least in the short term, like the British in the Boer War, it tends to be much, much more difficult than anyone would expect given the balance of forces. Like democratic peace theory, I don’t think the important thing is to say “this has literally never happened ever,” but rather that it seems like a true and important fact that this quite rarely ever happens. The French in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars, the British in the US during the American Revolution, the Germans in Eastern and Southeastern Europe during World War 2, the French in Vietnam, the French in Algeria, the US in Vietnam, the Soviets in Afghanistan, the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are a lot of cases like the Syrian government’s crushing of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1982 where I’m not sure how the conflict should be classified, though.

    5) The “positive” benefits of victory in war, particularly from the perspective of ordinary citizens, are often hard to identify. (This is in contrast to “negative” benefits that come from not losing the war, if that makes sense.) Consider, for instance, the Spanish-American War. Did American rule in the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico and various smaller islands really profoundly improve America’s geopolitical position or economy the way that hawks like Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge thought it would? An important corollary here is my view that empire is a source of weakness, not a source of strength. There is no reason, as far as I can tell based on the evidence of economic history, to suppose that empire makes a modern nation wealthier than it could be without empire. Britain had a gigantic global empire in 1914, yet its per capita GDP was pretty comparable to those of small, non-imperial nations like Switzerland and Sweden. In my view, the key source of geopolitical power in the modern world is having a homeland of loyal citizens that are numerous, high-IQ and genuinely committed to some sort of nation/tribe/project. Empire does NOT contribute to this. Strip away the empire but leave that, as with Germany after WW1, and you don’t really reduce a nation’s fundamental power.

    6) To expand on empire being a source of weakness: It’s often easier to undermine an empire through Lawrence of Arabia style shenanigans than it is to defend one. Don’t underestimate the power both in terms of rhetoric/ideology and in terms of military pragmatism of being on the anti-imperial side. Try to stick your enemy with the burden of empire, rather than carrying it yourself. Look at, for instance, how much more successful supporting anti-Soviet rebels in Afghanistan was for the US than fighting anti-American rebels in Vietnam. The US should have simply supported free elections and decolonization in Vietnam after WW2—even if the communists were to take power and overthrow democracy. If authoritarian rule and the various miseries of the common people could not possibly be blamed on the US/capitalism, but instead had to be laid at the feet of the Vietnamese government/communism, it would inevitably generate popular opposition to communism and the ruling government. It’s so much easier to condemn and support opposition to an authoritarian/foreign government than it is to actually rule. Thus, I think, somewhat paradoxically, that the more foreign territory that a nation has to hold on to, the weaker a position it’s in. As Professor Erica Chenoweth’s research has shown, violent regime change has a poor track record in terms of stability and democratization. Non-violent resistance has been the source of the vast majority of democratic transitions across the globe.

    Here is the significance that I think this has for US foreign policy/grand strategy. The US should generally try to avoid fighting wars. It should especially try to avoid fighting wars of aggression, anti-guerrilla wars, wars with other major powers “on their turf” in terms of supply lines and wars aimed at fundamentally changing the geopolitical status quo in some way. While I certainly would be willing to challenge these as well, these are to be distinguished from defensive wars, conventional wars, wars where the supply lines of the US and its allies are shorter than those of the enemy and wars with the aim of restoring the status quo antebellum. Wars meeting these latter conditions, like the Gulf War and the Korean War (excluding the invasion of the north), are I think considerably more likely to be successful than the former ones. Insofar as the US supports promoting democracy internationally, this is most likely going to happen through economic development, education and mass non-violent protests, not military regime change. Humanitarian intervention is more complicated—I think there are cases where it can work, like fighting ISIS, but it ought to be in response to an ongoing atrocity and aimed at defensively creating safe zones rather than overthrowing governments. It’s really, really difficult to build an effective and legitimate state out of nothing, especially when there is ethno-religious conflict, as we’ve seen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • Replies: @German_reader

    The French in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars, the British in the US during the American Revolution, the Germans in Eastern and Southeastern Europe during World War 2, the French in Vietnam, the French in Algeria, the US in Vietnam, the Soviets in Afghanistan, the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are a lot of cases like the Syrian government’s crushing of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1982 where I’m not sure how the conflict should be classified, though.
     
    But most of those conflicts were decided by fighting between conventional forces, with irregular warfare being only a sideshow that may have drained resources, but would never have proven decisive on its own; e.g. the British lost in America because of defeats in battles like Yorktown and the intervention of France and Spain, the French were defeated in a genuine field battle at Dien Bien Phu, the Vietnam war featured strong participation by regular North Vietnamese units in its later stages.
    Irregular warfare on its own is only really effective against forces that are constrained in what they can do by humanitarian or democratic principles. If Germany hadn't been defeated by the Red army in WW2, there wouldn't have been much of a problem with eventually crushing the partisan movements, by destroying the villages aiding the partisans, deporting civilian populations to concentration camps etc. The Soviets also managed to suppress the resistance movements in Ukraine and the Baltics when they reconquered those areas. This is only an ethical question of what kind of methods one is willing to adopt to fight insurgencies, not of any inherent advantage of insurgents that couldn't be overcome by greater levels of violence.
    , @Jon0815

    Wars often turn out to be more costly and less successful than their proponents predict they will be.
     
    Sometimes the reverse is true, albeit probably less often. US victory in the 1991 Gulf War was far easier than expected. And nobody, including the Russians themselves, expected their intervention in Syria to be as successful as it was in reversing Assad's fortunes.

    Wars against foreign insurgents/guerillas—what Martin van Creveld calls “low intensity conflicts” in the Transformation of War— have a not great track record of succeeding,
     
    I believe that historically the large majority of insurgencies against occupying foreign forces have failed.

    The French in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars, the British in the US during the American Revolution, the Germans in Eastern and Southeastern Europe during World War 2, the French in Vietnam, the French in Algeria, the US in Vietnam, the Soviets in Afghanistan, the US in Iraq and Afghanistan.
     
    The American Revolution was almost entirely a conventional war.

    The Germans were doing a good job suppressing the Eastern and Southeastern European guerillas, despite having their hands rather full elsewhere at the time, and would likely have completely crushed them had they won WWII.

    In Vietnam the guerillas were actually defeated: Tet was a disaster for the Viet Cong from which they never recovered, when South Vietnam fell it wasn't to guerillas but to a conventional cross-border invasion from the North.

    The mujahideen victory in Afghanistan comes with an asterisk, in that after the pullout of Soviet troops, the Soviet-backed Afghan government actually outlasted the Soviet Union itself, and might have survived had Russian military aid continued after 1991.

    Insurgents have clearly not defeated the US in Iraq, although they did come close in 2006-2007.

    , @songbird
    I'd say defense isn't always cheaper because you can hit someone's planes on the ground, like the Japanese did in the Philippines. Or their fuel. Although one can make the argument that the planes wouldn't have been clustered, if it was actual home soil.

    With Vietnam, it strikes me that the outcome was more purely based on geography and geopolitics (not angering China by invading the North) than the idea of empire. Taiwan was an island - we supported them easily - although China did get involved in distractions. South Korea was a penisula. Both were easier to defend and control than South Vietnam. Nor is it clear to me that the South Vietnamese would have lost, if their financial support hadn't been withdrawn.
    , @Dacian Soros
    US is already doing that. What sort of liberation are the morons of Maidan looking for? No, they are merely fighting a proxy war against Russia, for the benefit of Russia's most significant enemy. On the other front, Americans are getting Vietnam and Korea to stave China's march to their East. Even the morons living in Taiwan are ready to die for what is essentially America's strategic interest.
    , @Thorfinnsson
    This is quite sound up until points five and six, even if I agree with German_reader's point that insurgencies can be crushed by a sufficiently ruthless occupier.

    After that it runs off the rails.


    Consider, for instance, the Spanish-American War. Did American rule in the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico and various smaller islands really profoundly improve America’s geopolitical position or economy the way that hawks like Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge thought it would?
     
    American rule over Cuba (strictly speaking Cuba was only a protectorate), Porto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands (acquired from Denmark in 1917) improved America's geopolitical position by protecting the Atlantic approaches to the Panama Canal.

    The Panama Canal was important to American security in the prewar period, as in that era the US didn't having overwhelming naval dominance. Thus it was essential to have the capability to rapidly move fleets between the Atlantic to the Pacific.

    Even today geography is vitally important in naval affairs, but consider the state of technology from 1898-1917. Aircraft a novelty lacking range and payload, radar not yet invented, and certainly there were no satellites. In this period Britain and Germany had the capability to attack the Panama Canal, yet America had no basing in the Atlantic approaches to the Canal.

    And yes, I realize the Panama Canal did not open until 1914, but the USA was already planning a canal even before the Spanish-American War.

    As for the Philippines, probably it weakened America's strategic position by drawing it into conflict with Japan. But on the other hand you can argue this was a success, since Japan was destroyed and eliminated as a strategic competitor. The US thus gained complete dominance over the entire Pacific Ocean.


    There is no reason, as far as I can tell based on the evidence of economic history, to suppose that empire makes a modern nation wealthier than it could be without empire. Britain had a gigantic global empire in 1914, yet its per capita GDP was pretty comparable to those of small, non-imperial nations like Switzerland and Sweden.
     
    There's three problems with this.

    1 - It's actually an untrue statement, see below:

    https://i.imgur.com/sptAGGl.png

    Britain had a higher per capita GDP than every other country in Europe and was second in the world.

    2 - Per capita GDP is a misleading guide to the benefits of empire. You'd be better off with per capita GNI, because profits which flow to the metropole from the empire are not part of the metropole's domestic production.

    3 - While the per capita GDP of the United Kingdom may not have improved as a result of the British Empire, the total economic output controlled by Britain certainly did. In fact the rest of the British Empire at the time had roughly the same economic output as the UK itself did.

    And bear in mind that owing to Britain's idiotic liberalism, those small countries in Europe could freely access the British empire on equal commercial terms as Britain itself could. Britain could've excluded them from imperial markets, which would've boosted its own output and reduced theirs. An indictment of liberalism rather than imperialism in other words.


    In my view, the key source of geopolitical power in the modern world is having a homeland of loyal citizens that are numerous, high-IQ and genuinely committed to some sort of nation/tribe/project. Empire does NOT contribute to this.
     
    In the case of Britain empire provided several new homelands of loyal, numerous, high IQ, and genuinely committed citizens in the form of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Obviously this sort of thinking is presently obsolete with sub-replacement fertility everywhere, but then fertility rates were still high.

    The rest of the empire obviously wasn't as useful, but Britain was able to field fairly large numbers of soldiers from India in both world wars.

    Strip away the empire but leave that, as with Germany after WW1, and you don’t really reduce a nation’s fundamental power.
     
    Germany lost some sparsely populated African colonies, Qingdao, Papua, some islands in the Pacific, Elsass-Lothringen, Schleswig-Holstein, Danzig, and parts of Poland. Minor losses.

    Compare instead to, say, the losses suffered by Russia in 1991. The rump Russian Federation is a dramatically weaker state with much reduced security compared to the Soviet Union.


    6) To expand on empire being a source of weakness: It’s often easier to undermine an empire through Lawrence of Arabia style shenanigans than it is to defend one. Don’t underestimate the power both in terms of rhetoric/ideology and in terms of military pragmatism of being on the anti-imperial side. Try to stick your enemy with the burden of empire, rather than carrying it yourself.
     
    This kind of depends on the nature of your empire. You're operating under the assumption all empires are burdens. Not true. We gave the Soviets hell in Afghanistan...but not anywhere within the Soviet Union itself. Even in communist Eastern Europe we weren't able to give them much trouble.


    Look at, for instance, how much more successful supporting anti-Soviet rebels in Afghanistan was for the US than fighting anti-American rebels in Vietnam. The US should have simply supported free elections and decolonization in Vietnam after WW2—even if the communists were to take power and overthrow democracy. If authoritarian rule and the various miseries of the common people could not possibly be blamed on the US/capitalism, but instead had to be laid at the feet of the Vietnamese government/communism, it would inevitably generate popular opposition to communism and the ruling government.
     
    This history of communism doesn't lend itself to your conclusion at all. Especially indigenous communist revolutions.

    Though it was still a bad idea to go into Vietnam (and an even worse idea to fight it the way we did).

    These minor disagreements aside, I can disagree neither with your observations on warfare in general nor with your recommended grand strategy for America.
  32. @Stolen Valor Detective
    Some tentative theses on armed conflict, geopolitics and history I'd be curious to hear people's thoughts on. These apply to conflict from the point of a view of a state post-1648 and 1789; the dynamics of pre-state warfare and pre-modern imperialism are very different.

    1) Defense has remained consistently more cost-effective than offense. (Speaking here in a more tactical sense, but I will argue that this is true in terms of diplomacy/geopolitics as well.) Notably evident in the Napoleonic Wars, the American Civil War, World War 1, the Winter War, World War 2 and the Korean War. For whatever combination of factors like supply lines, fortification and a status quo bias favoring the defender, armed forces seem to be multiplied in effectiveness ceteris paribus when fighting on defense instead of offense. A particularly extreme, but I think still illustrative, example of this would be the Winter War, in which Finland, despite its much, much smaller population and industrial capacity, was able to inflict highly disproportionate casualties and fluster Soviet forces for several months. It takes a significant preponderance in terms of quality and/or quantity to be confident that an offensive operation will succeed.


    2) Wars often turn out to be more costly and less successful than their proponents predict they will be. Napoleon’s invasions of Spain and Russia, the US’s attempt to prevent CS succession (to some extent on both sides), Britain’s suppression of the Boer Rebellion, French, German, British and Russian plans in World War 1, Japan’s attack on the US, Hitler’s invasion of Russia, North Korea’s invasion of South Korea, the Vietnam War, the invasion of Canada in the War of 1812, Saddam’s invasion of Iran, the Iraq War, etc.. As Scott Alexander has noted, it seems like almost necessarily at least one side in a conflict has to be miscalculating. (You can probably challenge that in terms of game theory, but I feel like it's still probably basically true.)


    3) Wars aimed at profoundly changing the balance of power often fail because the conflict draws in other parties who tend to favor the status quo antebellum. In the War of Spanish Succession and the Napoleonic Wars, French attempts to establish a hegemonic position on the continent failed because non-French powers formed coalitions against France. Saddam Hussein didn’t get much if any foreign support for his invasion of Iran, but once the tide turned and an Iranian takeover of Iraq seemed plausible, Iraq began receiving a lot more aid from foreign powers, including the US. However, this aid was conditional on seeking a stalemate, not accomplishment of Iraq’s initial objectives. The North Korean invasion of South Korea failed after a US led coalition turned back communist forces...and then the US invasion of the north to reunify Korea failed because it provoked Chinese intervention. The perception in both 1914 and 1939 that Germany was in a position to become a continental hegemon incited the intervention of the Anglo-Saxon powers, in various degrees, in favor of the French and Russian side. (Oversimplifying the details here, but I think the core geopolitical conflict is as I described.)


    4) Wars against foreign insurgents/guerillas---what Martin van Creveld calls “low intensity conflicts” in the Transformation of War--- have a not great track record of succeeding, despite the many advantages that counter-insurgent forces would seem to have. If they do succeed, at least in the short term, like the British in the Boer War, it tends to be much, much more difficult than anyone would expect given the balance of forces. Like democratic peace theory, I don’t think the important thing is to say “this has literally never happened ever,” but rather that it seems like a true and important fact that this quite rarely ever happens. The French in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars, the British in the US during the American Revolution, the Germans in Eastern and Southeastern Europe during World War 2, the French in Vietnam, the French in Algeria, the US in Vietnam, the Soviets in Afghanistan, the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are a lot of cases like the Syrian government’s crushing of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1982 where I’m not sure how the conflict should be classified, though.


    5) The “positive” benefits of victory in war, particularly from the perspective of ordinary citizens, are often hard to identify. (This is in contrast to “negative” benefits that come from not losing the war, if that makes sense.) Consider, for instance, the Spanish-American War. Did American rule in the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico and various smaller islands really profoundly improve America’s geopolitical position or economy the way that hawks like Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge thought it would? An important corollary here is my view that empire is a source of weakness, not a source of strength. There is no reason, as far as I can tell based on the evidence of economic history, to suppose that empire makes a modern nation wealthier than it could be without empire. Britain had a gigantic global empire in 1914, yet its per capita GDP was pretty comparable to those of small, non-imperial nations like Switzerland and Sweden. In my view, the key source of geopolitical power in the modern world is having a homeland of loyal citizens that are numerous, high-IQ and genuinely committed to some sort of nation/tribe/project. Empire does NOT contribute to this. Strip away the empire but leave that, as with Germany after WW1, and you don’t really reduce a nation’s fundamental power.


    6) To expand on empire being a source of weakness: It’s often easier to undermine an empire through Lawrence of Arabia style shenanigans than it is to defend one. Don’t underestimate the power both in terms of rhetoric/ideology and in terms of military pragmatism of being on the anti-imperial side. Try to stick your enemy with the burden of empire, rather than carrying it yourself. Look at, for instance, how much more successful supporting anti-Soviet rebels in Afghanistan was for the US than fighting anti-American rebels in Vietnam. The US should have simply supported free elections and decolonization in Vietnam after WW2---even if the communists were to take power and overthrow democracy. If authoritarian rule and the various miseries of the common people could not possibly be blamed on the US/capitalism, but instead had to be laid at the feet of the Vietnamese government/communism, it would inevitably generate popular opposition to communism and the ruling government. It’s so much easier to condemn and support opposition to an authoritarian/foreign government than it is to actually rule. Thus, I think, somewhat paradoxically, that the more foreign territory that a nation has to hold on to, the weaker a position it’s in. As Professor Erica Chenoweth’s research has shown, violent regime change has a poor track record in terms of stability and democratization. Non-violent resistance has been the source of the vast majority of democratic transitions across the globe.

    Here is the significance that I think this has for US foreign policy/grand strategy. The US should generally try to avoid fighting wars. It should especially try to avoid fighting wars of aggression, anti-guerrilla wars, wars with other major powers “on their turf” in terms of supply lines and wars aimed at fundamentally changing the geopolitical status quo in some way. While I certainly would be willing to challenge these as well, these are to be distinguished from defensive wars, conventional wars, wars where the supply lines of the US and its allies are shorter than those of the enemy and wars with the aim of restoring the status quo antebellum. Wars meeting these latter conditions, like the Gulf War and the Korean War (excluding the invasion of the north), are I think considerably more likely to be successful than the former ones. Insofar as the US supports promoting democracy internationally, this is most likely going to happen through economic development, education and mass non-violent protests, not military regime change. Humanitarian intervention is more complicated---I think there are cases where it can work, like fighting ISIS, but it ought to be in response to an ongoing atrocity and aimed at defensively creating safe zones rather than overthrowing governments. It’s really, really difficult to build an effective and legitimate state out of nothing, especially when there is ethno-religious conflict, as we’ve seen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The French in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars, the British in the US during the American Revolution, the Germans in Eastern and Southeastern Europe during World War 2, the French in Vietnam, the French in Algeria, the US in Vietnam, the Soviets in Afghanistan, the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are a lot of cases like the Syrian government’s crushing of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1982 where I’m not sure how the conflict should be classified, though.

    But most of those conflicts were decided by fighting between conventional forces, with irregular warfare being only a sideshow that may have drained resources, but would never have proven decisive on its own; e.g. the British lost in America because of defeats in battles like Yorktown and the intervention of France and Spain, the French were defeated in a genuine field battle at Dien Bien Phu, the Vietnam war featured strong participation by regular North Vietnamese units in its later stages.
    Irregular warfare on its own is only really effective against forces that are constrained in what they can do by humanitarian or democratic principles. If Germany hadn’t been defeated by the Red army in WW2, there wouldn’t have been much of a problem with eventually crushing the partisan movements, by destroying the villages aiding the partisans, deporting civilian populations to concentration camps etc. The Soviets also managed to suppress the resistance movements in Ukraine and the Baltics when they reconquered those areas. This is only an ethical question of what kind of methods one is willing to adopt to fight insurgencies, not of any inherent advantage of insurgents that couldn’t be overcome by greater levels of violence.

    • Replies: @songbird
    Good point. I think there is also something to be said about technology being a force multiplier. The invention of the AK. The stuff that goes into bombs and IEDs. It tends to soften people too, make them less ruthless. Maybe that is only in a consumer society. I did hear stories (how to know if their true?) of Soviet soldiers pushing Afghanis out of helicopters for their boomboxes.

    Of course, the Soviets conquered over 100 million people in Eastern Europe for a time - fairly into the modern era. The Chinese seem to be doing well in their outer provinces. Communism probably has an edge because it is atheistic, but Islam has its own edge since Muhammad massacred people in revolt.
    , @Stolen Valor Detective

    But most of those conflicts were decided by fighting between conventional forces, with irregular warfare being only a sideshow that may have drained resources, but would never have proven decisive on its own; e.g. the British lost in America because of defeats in battles like Yorktown and the intervention of France and Spain, the French were defeated in a genuine field battle at Dien Bien Phu, the Vietnam war featured strong participation by regular North Vietnamese units in its later stages.
     
    There's some truth to this, but I'd have to fundamentally disagree with your characterization of those conflicts and the relationship between conventional and irregular warfare in them. Firstly, as I think Mao argued, guerrilla warfare serves to draw out and exhaust superior conventional forces until they can be isolated and forced to take a massively unfavorable engagement with easy to cut off supply lines. The conventional victories you cite in the American Revolution and in Vietnam would not have possible without an extensive guerrilla campaign beforehand. (If you aren't already familiar with him, look up Nathanael Greene, who is sadly largely forgotten by Americans today despite the crucial role he played in the revolution.)

    Secondly, I don't think that major conventional victories were necessary for the American or Vietnamese insurgents to achieve their objectives. Consider, among various other examples the success of the Algerians against the French in 1954-62, the Afghans against the Soviets in the 1980s and the Shia Lebanese against the Israelis in 2006. In none of these cases did the occupying force suffer a major conventional defeat like Dien Bien Phu or Yorktown; irregular forces, which the occupiers could not definitively defeat, just kept harassing them until they got fed up and left.

    Neither Yorktown nor Dien Bien Phu was such an overwhelming defeat, in the sense of, say, Stalingrad or Midway, that it irreparably reduced the potential of the imperial power to raise forces to fight in the conflict. The significance of these battles was rather that they graphically demonstrated how totally ineffective imperial forces had been at accomplishing their objective of destroying the insurgency, and motivated political leaders to seek some sort of withdrawal/peace.

    Consider that the Tet Offensive had a very similar effect, despite being an overwhelming conventional victory for US forces. People like to say that Well, Ackshually those dumb civilians were brainwashed by TV news and didn't realize that Tet was a #hugewin for America, but I think anti-war civilians were actually quite correct in perceiving that Tet demonstrated how totally ineffective massive deployments of US troops had been at defeating the insurgents, given what a total surprise it was. If the US had decided to continue occupying Vietnam, the VC would eventually have been rebuilt and proven just as impossible to deal with.

    Irregular warfare on its own is only really effective against forces that are constrained in what they can do by humanitarian or democratic principles. If Germany hadn’t been defeated by the Red army in WW2, there wouldn’t have been much of a problem with eventually crushing the partisan movements, by destroying the villages aiding the partisans, deporting civilian populations to concentration camps etc. The Soviets also managed to suppress the resistance movements in Ukraine and the Baltics when they reconquered those areas. This is only an ethical question of what kind of methods one is willing to adopt to fight insurgencies, not of any inherent advantage of insurgents that couldn’t be overcome by greater levels of violence.
     
    There's quite a bit of truth to this, but there are some nuances I want to explicate:

    Firstly, we need to define what "victory" against an insurgency means, because I think that counter-insurgent forces often have a flawed understanding of this. I think in practice the objective of most counter-insurgencies has been to establish a client state to an imperial power that most of the population is willing to just shrug their shoulders and accept the sovereignty of in perpetuity.

    I won't make a categorical statement that this is impossible, but it seems like this has been very, very difficult to do in the modern world. The example of post-WW2 Soviet rule in Ukraine and the Baltic states is a good one for your case, but consider that, in less than a healthy man's lifetime, the Soviets decided not to contest the local populations' rejection of their sovereignty. I think the (non-Russian, at least) populations of those countries never accepted Soviet rule as a permanent and desirable fact of life the way that Soviet leaders would have preferred.

    By contrast, you could define "victory" as "there are no insurgents in the area because there are no people in left in the area." Conventional forces can certainly achieve this by exterminating/expelling the entire civilian population, "dissolving the people and electing another" as it were, as for instance US forces did against Amerindians who used irregular tactics.

    However, I don't think that there's a middle-ground between the options of "complete withdrawal" and "complete destruction" in terms of permanently defeating an insurgency in a foreign country against imperial rule. I think that many academics, statesmen and generals have failed to perceive this essential dichotomy, which has led to disastrous, hopelessly confused wars, and bad ideas about how to win them.

    There are counter-insurgency "liberals" who think that the problem is insufficient economic aid and overly loose rules of engagement against enemy forces, and that "counter-insurgency with a human face" would work. What they fail to perceive is that 1) The motivation for resistance is political/tribal support for independence, not pecuniary; if economic development was enough to mollify the resisting population, the US's actual tactics in e.g. Vietnam and Afghanistan would be more than enough to easily win and 2) There is no level of violence so minimal necessary to maintain an imperial occupation and fight insurgents that it will not deeply anger the civilian population.

    Then there are the counter-insurgency "conservatives" who think that all we need to do to win is "take the gloves off" and "get rid of political meddling" so that soldiers have all the tactics, no matter how brutal, necessary to catch and kill insurgents---torture, summary execution, loose rules of engagement, indifference to type I errors in identifying insurgents, hostage taking, etc. This is fundamentally mistaken because it fails to understand that insurgencies cannot be ended through killing insurgents, who will regenerate like the Lernaean Hydra as long as there is a sympathetic civilian population supporting them, and there is no tactic to help catch insurgents that will obviate this problem. Furthermore, this point of view misunderstands that, as many guerrillas have themselves admitted, brutal and repressive tactics fundamentally benefit insurgencies by widening the popular support that they subsist on. If sheer brutality was all that was necessary to keep a population quiet, the Nazis would have had no problems in Yugoslavia, Greece, Poland, Russia, and so on.

    So, I agree with your assertion that the Nazis could have eventually eradicated insurgents, but I think that it is very important to note that they would have done this through wholesale slaughter/expulsion of the civilian population, not by catching and killing enough insurgents to get the locals to accept their rule in perpetuity. I actually have some more thoughts in response to your comment, I'll maybe explicate them later.
  33. @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan
    How does use of Belarusian language in Belarus compare to use of Ukrainian in that country?

    Rapidly dying and looked down upon. It doesn’t have the musicality of Ukrainian, nor any native literature comparable to that language.

    • Replies: @melanf


    How does use of Belarusian language in Belarus
     
    Rapidly dying
     
    This language is practically dead.
  34. @Yevardian
    Rapidly dying and looked down upon. It doesn't have the musicality of Ukrainian, nor any native literature comparable to that language.

    How does use of Belarusian language in Belarus

    Rapidly dying

    This language is practically dead.

    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    This language is practically dead.
     
    It's not a 'language' at all. It's less different from Russian than Scouse is from English.

    The reasons why it's labeled as a 'language' in the first place are political, and predictably braindead in the typical Soviet fashion:

    a) The Soviets broke up Russia proper into several pieces, to make the CPSU stronger than the CPRF. Belarus was one of those arbitrary pieces, and they got granted a 'nation' status by Soviet diktat.

    b) Stalin fancied himself as some sort of scientific authority on linguistic matters, and one of his "theories" was the idea that every nation must have its own language. So, a Belarusian "language" was invented for the new "nation", ASAP.

    But, as is Soviet tradition, they did the typical Soviet hack job. 90% of "Belarusian" iz jus speling werdz in a fonetik fashin.
    , @AP
    I actually met some Belarusin-speaking people in the USA. They emigrated from a village in the western part of the country and actually speak it as a first language. It sounds like an amalgamation of Russian, Ukrainian and Polish, but closer to Ukrainian than to the other two. It would be sad for a Slavic speech to disappear.

    Here are examples:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8v7VyClEG0
  35. @The Big Red Scary
    Taleb is just biased against the normal distribution. If you were to reanalyze the data and found a fat tail, he’d change his tune.

    Taleb is just biased against the normal distribution. If you were to reanalyze the data and found a fat tail, he’d change his tune.

    This. He has made a career out of explaining the assumptions and conditions of the Central Limit Theorem. Now, normally this is a couple weeks, tops, for slow sophomores in a decent degree program, but America is a land of opportunity where you can make a lifelong career out of explaining two paragraphs of text, lol.

    • Replies: @silviosilver
    That was my reaction to "Fooled By Randomness." An entire book to make such a simple point? No wonder he larded it up with tedious anecdotes and digressions.

    Still, from the point of view of influencing society, certain simple points can't be repeated often enough. I would just prefer that the people doing the repeating weren't as insufferable as Taleb.
  36. @melanf


    How does use of Belarusian language in Belarus
     
    Rapidly dying
     
    This language is practically dead.

    This language is practically dead.

    It’s not a ‘language’ at all. It’s less different from Russian than Scouse is from English.

    The reasons why it’s labeled as a ‘language’ in the first place are political, and predictably braindead in the typical Soviet fashion:

    a) The Soviets broke up Russia proper into several pieces, to make the CPSU stronger than the CPRF. Belarus was one of those arbitrary pieces, and they got granted a ‘nation’ status by Soviet diktat.

    b) Stalin fancied himself as some sort of scientific authority on linguistic matters, and one of his “theories” was the idea that every nation must have its own language. So, a Belarusian “language” was invented for the new “nation”, ASAP.

    But, as is Soviet tradition, they did the typical Soviet hack job. 90% of “Belarusian” iz jus speling werdz in a fonetik fashin.

    • Agree: melanf
  37. [Israel reportedly also reacquired rights to bomb Iranians in Syria from Russia.

    Obviously something instigated by the Turks, and which mostly benefits Israel]

    There is no evidence whatsoever for this, but within 20 words it has become established fact for AK.

    Taleb’s arguments in that thread are absolutely terrible, and yet he’s half right.

  38. The number of people in the world with ‘significant Jewish roots’, is now argued to be at about 200 million, approaching 3% of the world’s population, about 10x the 20 million or so ‘fully Jewish’ self-recognised Jews

    Israel has a Diaspora Affairs ministry, and one advisor to the ministry, Ashley Perry, is leading an initiative to ‘re-connect’ with the wider pool of Jewish descendants, called ‘Reconnectar’

    The largest number of Jewish-descended people may be in Latin America, having some share of ancestry in the Jews expelled from the Iberian peninsula, per a recent study in ‘Nature’
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07748-z

    article on the above –
    ‘New Genetic Study: 150 Million People of Spanish Ancestry With Possible Jewish Roots’
    By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz
    https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/119147/new-genetic-study-150-million-people-of-spanish-ancestry-with-possible-jewish-roots/

    • Replies: @5371
    LMFAO. So much of "testing" and "study" of human genetics has always been downright fraud.
  39. Being that this is an open thread, what Trump might be thinking of Macron:

  40. @Stolen Valor Detective
    Some tentative theses on armed conflict, geopolitics and history I'd be curious to hear people's thoughts on. These apply to conflict from the point of a view of a state post-1648 and 1789; the dynamics of pre-state warfare and pre-modern imperialism are very different.

    1) Defense has remained consistently more cost-effective than offense. (Speaking here in a more tactical sense, but I will argue that this is true in terms of diplomacy/geopolitics as well.) Notably evident in the Napoleonic Wars, the American Civil War, World War 1, the Winter War, World War 2 and the Korean War. For whatever combination of factors like supply lines, fortification and a status quo bias favoring the defender, armed forces seem to be multiplied in effectiveness ceteris paribus when fighting on defense instead of offense. A particularly extreme, but I think still illustrative, example of this would be the Winter War, in which Finland, despite its much, much smaller population and industrial capacity, was able to inflict highly disproportionate casualties and fluster Soviet forces for several months. It takes a significant preponderance in terms of quality and/or quantity to be confident that an offensive operation will succeed.


    2) Wars often turn out to be more costly and less successful than their proponents predict they will be. Napoleon’s invasions of Spain and Russia, the US’s attempt to prevent CS succession (to some extent on both sides), Britain’s suppression of the Boer Rebellion, French, German, British and Russian plans in World War 1, Japan’s attack on the US, Hitler’s invasion of Russia, North Korea’s invasion of South Korea, the Vietnam War, the invasion of Canada in the War of 1812, Saddam’s invasion of Iran, the Iraq War, etc.. As Scott Alexander has noted, it seems like almost necessarily at least one side in a conflict has to be miscalculating. (You can probably challenge that in terms of game theory, but I feel like it's still probably basically true.)


    3) Wars aimed at profoundly changing the balance of power often fail because the conflict draws in other parties who tend to favor the status quo antebellum. In the War of Spanish Succession and the Napoleonic Wars, French attempts to establish a hegemonic position on the continent failed because non-French powers formed coalitions against France. Saddam Hussein didn’t get much if any foreign support for his invasion of Iran, but once the tide turned and an Iranian takeover of Iraq seemed plausible, Iraq began receiving a lot more aid from foreign powers, including the US. However, this aid was conditional on seeking a stalemate, not accomplishment of Iraq’s initial objectives. The North Korean invasion of South Korea failed after a US led coalition turned back communist forces...and then the US invasion of the north to reunify Korea failed because it provoked Chinese intervention. The perception in both 1914 and 1939 that Germany was in a position to become a continental hegemon incited the intervention of the Anglo-Saxon powers, in various degrees, in favor of the French and Russian side. (Oversimplifying the details here, but I think the core geopolitical conflict is as I described.)


    4) Wars against foreign insurgents/guerillas---what Martin van Creveld calls “low intensity conflicts” in the Transformation of War--- have a not great track record of succeeding, despite the many advantages that counter-insurgent forces would seem to have. If they do succeed, at least in the short term, like the British in the Boer War, it tends to be much, much more difficult than anyone would expect given the balance of forces. Like democratic peace theory, I don’t think the important thing is to say “this has literally never happened ever,” but rather that it seems like a true and important fact that this quite rarely ever happens. The French in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars, the British in the US during the American Revolution, the Germans in Eastern and Southeastern Europe during World War 2, the French in Vietnam, the French in Algeria, the US in Vietnam, the Soviets in Afghanistan, the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are a lot of cases like the Syrian government’s crushing of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1982 where I’m not sure how the conflict should be classified, though.


    5) The “positive” benefits of victory in war, particularly from the perspective of ordinary citizens, are often hard to identify. (This is in contrast to “negative” benefits that come from not losing the war, if that makes sense.) Consider, for instance, the Spanish-American War. Did American rule in the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico and various smaller islands really profoundly improve America’s geopolitical position or economy the way that hawks like Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge thought it would? An important corollary here is my view that empire is a source of weakness, not a source of strength. There is no reason, as far as I can tell based on the evidence of economic history, to suppose that empire makes a modern nation wealthier than it could be without empire. Britain had a gigantic global empire in 1914, yet its per capita GDP was pretty comparable to those of small, non-imperial nations like Switzerland and Sweden. In my view, the key source of geopolitical power in the modern world is having a homeland of loyal citizens that are numerous, high-IQ and genuinely committed to some sort of nation/tribe/project. Empire does NOT contribute to this. Strip away the empire but leave that, as with Germany after WW1, and you don’t really reduce a nation’s fundamental power.


    6) To expand on empire being a source of weakness: It’s often easier to undermine an empire through Lawrence of Arabia style shenanigans than it is to defend one. Don’t underestimate the power both in terms of rhetoric/ideology and in terms of military pragmatism of being on the anti-imperial side. Try to stick your enemy with the burden of empire, rather than carrying it yourself. Look at, for instance, how much more successful supporting anti-Soviet rebels in Afghanistan was for the US than fighting anti-American rebels in Vietnam. The US should have simply supported free elections and decolonization in Vietnam after WW2---even if the communists were to take power and overthrow democracy. If authoritarian rule and the various miseries of the common people could not possibly be blamed on the US/capitalism, but instead had to be laid at the feet of the Vietnamese government/communism, it would inevitably generate popular opposition to communism and the ruling government. It’s so much easier to condemn and support opposition to an authoritarian/foreign government than it is to actually rule. Thus, I think, somewhat paradoxically, that the more foreign territory that a nation has to hold on to, the weaker a position it’s in. As Professor Erica Chenoweth’s research has shown, violent regime change has a poor track record in terms of stability and democratization. Non-violent resistance has been the source of the vast majority of democratic transitions across the globe.

    Here is the significance that I think this has for US foreign policy/grand strategy. The US should generally try to avoid fighting wars. It should especially try to avoid fighting wars of aggression, anti-guerrilla wars, wars with other major powers “on their turf” in terms of supply lines and wars aimed at fundamentally changing the geopolitical status quo in some way. While I certainly would be willing to challenge these as well, these are to be distinguished from defensive wars, conventional wars, wars where the supply lines of the US and its allies are shorter than those of the enemy and wars with the aim of restoring the status quo antebellum. Wars meeting these latter conditions, like the Gulf War and the Korean War (excluding the invasion of the north), are I think considerably more likely to be successful than the former ones. Insofar as the US supports promoting democracy internationally, this is most likely going to happen through economic development, education and mass non-violent protests, not military regime change. Humanitarian intervention is more complicated---I think there are cases where it can work, like fighting ISIS, but it ought to be in response to an ongoing atrocity and aimed at defensively creating safe zones rather than overthrowing governments. It’s really, really difficult to build an effective and legitimate state out of nothing, especially when there is ethno-religious conflict, as we’ve seen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Wars often turn out to be more costly and less successful than their proponents predict they will be.

    Sometimes the reverse is true, albeit probably less often. US victory in the 1991 Gulf War was far easier than expected. And nobody, including the Russians themselves, expected their intervention in Syria to be as successful as it was in reversing Assad’s fortunes.

    Wars against foreign insurgents/guerillas—what Martin van Creveld calls “low intensity conflicts” in the Transformation of War— have a not great track record of succeeding,

    I believe that historically the large majority of insurgencies against occupying foreign forces have failed.

    The French in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars, the British in the US during the American Revolution, the Germans in Eastern and Southeastern Europe during World War 2, the French in Vietnam, the French in Algeria, the US in Vietnam, the Soviets in Afghanistan, the US in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The American Revolution was almost entirely a conventional war.

    The Germans were doing a good job suppressing the Eastern and Southeastern European guerillas, despite having their hands rather full elsewhere at the time, and would likely have completely crushed them had they won WWII.

    In Vietnam the guerillas were actually defeated: Tet was a disaster for the Viet Cong from which they never recovered, when South Vietnam fell it wasn’t to guerillas but to a conventional cross-border invasion from the North.

    The mujahideen victory in Afghanistan comes with an asterisk, in that after the pullout of Soviet troops, the Soviet-backed Afghan government actually outlasted the Soviet Union itself, and might have survived had Russian military aid continued after 1991.

    Insurgents have clearly not defeated the US in Iraq, although they did come close in 2006-2007.

  41. @Brabantian
    The number of people in the world with 'significant Jewish roots', is now argued to be at about 200 million, approaching 3% of the world's population, about 10x the 20 million or so 'fully Jewish' self-recognised Jews

    Israel has a Diaspora Affairs ministry, and one advisor to the ministry, Ashley Perry, is leading an initiative to 're-connect' with the wider pool of Jewish descendants, called 'Reconnectar'

    The largest number of Jewish-descended people may be in Latin America, having some share of ancestry in the Jews expelled from the Iberian peninsula, per a recent study in 'Nature'
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07748-z

    article on the above -
    'New Genetic Study: 150 Million People of Spanish Ancestry With Possible Jewish Roots'
    By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz
    https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/119147/new-genetic-study-150-million-people-of-spanish-ancestry-with-possible-jewish-roots/

    LMFAO. So much of “testing” and “study” of human genetics has always been downright fraud.

  42. @Felix Keverich

    Syria/Afghanistan withdrawals obviously good for the US.
     
    Define "US":

    - If you're talking about the country, it's so far gone, that shuffling troops around will hardly make a difference at this point. Suffice to say it, the cost of keeping troops in Syria pales in comparison to the cost of Donald Trump's tax cuts. It's simply irrelevant in the bigger picture.

    - Now, if you're talking about Washington as an agent of international politics, "abandoning" Syria is a geopolitical disaster for America, comparable to Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. It sends unmistakable message of weakness. US political class is in meltdown, and justifiably so.

    Given the circumstances, it makes no sense for Russia to allow Israel bomb Syria again. They should compensate us for the loss of Il-20 instead.

    Now, if you’re talking about Washington as an agent of international politics, “abandoning” Syria is a geopolitical disaster for America, comparable to Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. It sends unmistakable message of weakness. US political class is in meltdown, and justifiably so.

    Yes, no question that Syria has been a humiliation for the US, the first time it has suffered a defeat in a great power proxy war since Vietnam.

    Other than Ho Chi Minh and maybe Castro, I can’t think of any post-WWII leader of a non-great power, who has frustrated US foreign policy goals more than Assad.

  43. @melanf


    How does use of Belarusian language in Belarus
     
    Rapidly dying
     
    This language is practically dead.

    I actually met some Belarusin-speaking people in the USA. They emigrated from a village in the western part of the country and actually speak it as a first language. It sounds like an amalgamation of Russian, Ukrainian and Polish, but closer to Ukrainian than to the other two. It would be sad for a Slavic speech to disappear.

    Here are examples:

    • Replies: @Swarthy Greek
    Belarusian is a dialect and dialects tend to disappear over time. The soviets put a halt to Russian nation building by elevating dialects to the status of language and creating "nations" out of regional identities. Now that the SU is toast and the CPSU no more, Russian nation building can move forward. The death of Belarusian is a fortuitous event to come .
    , @cliff arroyo
    A couple of years ago the Belarusian entry in Eurovision was in Belarusian, a jaunty little folk ditty with a real charm to it ('charm' is certainly not anyone's first thought when it comes to eastern slavs).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElqbLPcTHAI

    In pre-Soviet times Belarusian was sometimes written in a Czech-style latin script (łacinka) and there used to be a site that automatically translated modern Belarusian pages into it and I read a few short stories in it (pretty accessible for me knowing Polish and a sliver of Russian).
  44. @AP
    I actually met some Belarusin-speaking people in the USA. They emigrated from a village in the western part of the country and actually speak it as a first language. It sounds like an amalgamation of Russian, Ukrainian and Polish, but closer to Ukrainian than to the other two. It would be sad for a Slavic speech to disappear.

    Here are examples:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8v7VyClEG0

    Belarusian is a dialect and dialects tend to disappear over time. The soviets put a halt to Russian nation building by elevating dialects to the status of language and creating “nations” out of regional identities. Now that the SU is toast and the CPSU no more, Russian nation building can move forward. The death of Belarusian is a fortuitous event to come .

    • Replies: @Mikhail

    Belarusian is a dialect and dialects tend to disappear over time. The soviets put a halt to Russian nation building by elevating dialects to the status of language and creating “nations” out of regional identities. Now that the SU is toast and the CPSU no more, Russian nation building can move forward. The death of Belarusian is a fortuitous event to come .
     
    On the other hand, some Communist attributes are tolerated among some influential elements in the West. Note the level of uncritical support for Ukraine's Communist drawn boundaries and RFE/RL's suggestively positive accounts of Tito unlike (as a comparison) Mihailovic.
  45. anon[628] • Disclaimer says:
    @Felix Keverich

    Syria/Afghanistan withdrawals obviously good for the US.
     
    Define "US":

    - If you're talking about the country, it's so far gone, that shuffling troops around will hardly make a difference at this point. Suffice to say it, the cost of keeping troops in Syria pales in comparison to the cost of Donald Trump's tax cuts. It's simply irrelevant in the bigger picture.

    - Now, if you're talking about Washington as an agent of international politics, "abandoning" Syria is a geopolitical disaster for America, comparable to Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. It sends unmistakable message of weakness. US political class is in meltdown, and justifiably so.

    Given the circumstances, it makes no sense for Russia to allow Israel bomb Syria again. They should compensate us for the loss of Il-20 instead.

    Thats silly. The US hasn’t been serious in either place for years. Casualties are low The political class is noisy because they have no arguments for staying. Plus they can rant about Trump. Hence the db level.

    If there is any damage, did it happen when they gave up or when the modest troop contingent is shipped home?

    What should be on their minds is the collapse of the anti Assad narrative. Move on before the public is further red pilled.

  46. @Dmitry

    The Taliban came close to eradicating opium poppy production.

     

    Isn't opium their main industry.

    You know before 1979, the Afghanistan economy was massively funded by the USSR (e.g. building all their infrastructure for free).

    This economic assistance continued during the war. But as Soviet Union began to retreat from occupying rural areas of Afghanistan from the mid-1980s, their opium production skyrocketed, and the income could replace foreign aid.

    Isn’t opium their main industry.

    In July 2000, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, collaborating with the UN to eradicate heroin production in Afghanistan, declared that growing poppies was un-Islamic, resulting in one of the world’s most successful anti-drug campaigns. The Taliban enforced a ban on poppy farming via threats, forced eradication, and public punishment of transgressors. The result was a 99% reduction in the area of opium poppy farming in Taliban-controlled areas, roughly three quarters of the world’s supply of heroin at the time.[18] The ban was effective only briefly due to the deposition of the Taliban in 2002.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5c/Afghanistan_opium_poppy_cultivation_1994-2007b.PNG/400px-Afghanistan_opium_poppy_cultivation_1994-2007b.PNG

  47. @Stolen Valor Detective
    Some tentative theses on armed conflict, geopolitics and history I'd be curious to hear people's thoughts on. These apply to conflict from the point of a view of a state post-1648 and 1789; the dynamics of pre-state warfare and pre-modern imperialism are very different.

    1) Defense has remained consistently more cost-effective than offense. (Speaking here in a more tactical sense, but I will argue that this is true in terms of diplomacy/geopolitics as well.) Notably evident in the Napoleonic Wars, the American Civil War, World War 1, the Winter War, World War 2 and the Korean War. For whatever combination of factors like supply lines, fortification and a status quo bias favoring the defender, armed forces seem to be multiplied in effectiveness ceteris paribus when fighting on defense instead of offense. A particularly extreme, but I think still illustrative, example of this would be the Winter War, in which Finland, despite its much, much smaller population and industrial capacity, was able to inflict highly disproportionate casualties and fluster Soviet forces for several months. It takes a significant preponderance in terms of quality and/or quantity to be confident that an offensive operation will succeed.


    2) Wars often turn out to be more costly and less successful than their proponents predict they will be. Napoleon’s invasions of Spain and Russia, the US’s attempt to prevent CS succession (to some extent on both sides), Britain’s suppression of the Boer Rebellion, French, German, British and Russian plans in World War 1, Japan’s attack on the US, Hitler’s invasion of Russia, North Korea’s invasion of South Korea, the Vietnam War, the invasion of Canada in the War of 1812, Saddam’s invasion of Iran, the Iraq War, etc.. As Scott Alexander has noted, it seems like almost necessarily at least one side in a conflict has to be miscalculating. (You can probably challenge that in terms of game theory, but I feel like it's still probably basically true.)


    3) Wars aimed at profoundly changing the balance of power often fail because the conflict draws in other parties who tend to favor the status quo antebellum. In the War of Spanish Succession and the Napoleonic Wars, French attempts to establish a hegemonic position on the continent failed because non-French powers formed coalitions against France. Saddam Hussein didn’t get much if any foreign support for his invasion of Iran, but once the tide turned and an Iranian takeover of Iraq seemed plausible, Iraq began receiving a lot more aid from foreign powers, including the US. However, this aid was conditional on seeking a stalemate, not accomplishment of Iraq’s initial objectives. The North Korean invasion of South Korea failed after a US led coalition turned back communist forces...and then the US invasion of the north to reunify Korea failed because it provoked Chinese intervention. The perception in both 1914 and 1939 that Germany was in a position to become a continental hegemon incited the intervention of the Anglo-Saxon powers, in various degrees, in favor of the French and Russian side. (Oversimplifying the details here, but I think the core geopolitical conflict is as I described.)


    4) Wars against foreign insurgents/guerillas---what Martin van Creveld calls “low intensity conflicts” in the Transformation of War--- have a not great track record of succeeding, despite the many advantages that counter-insurgent forces would seem to have. If they do succeed, at least in the short term, like the British in the Boer War, it tends to be much, much more difficult than anyone would expect given the balance of forces. Like democratic peace theory, I don’t think the important thing is to say “this has literally never happened ever,” but rather that it seems like a true and important fact that this quite rarely ever happens. The French in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars, the British in the US during the American Revolution, the Germans in Eastern and Southeastern Europe during World War 2, the French in Vietnam, the French in Algeria, the US in Vietnam, the Soviets in Afghanistan, the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are a lot of cases like the Syrian government’s crushing of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1982 where I’m not sure how the conflict should be classified, though.


    5) The “positive” benefits of victory in war, particularly from the perspective of ordinary citizens, are often hard to identify. (This is in contrast to “negative” benefits that come from not losing the war, if that makes sense.) Consider, for instance, the Spanish-American War. Did American rule in the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico and various smaller islands really profoundly improve America’s geopolitical position or economy the way that hawks like Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge thought it would? An important corollary here is my view that empire is a source of weakness, not a source of strength. There is no reason, as far as I can tell based on the evidence of economic history, to suppose that empire makes a modern nation wealthier than it could be without empire. Britain had a gigantic global empire in 1914, yet its per capita GDP was pretty comparable to those of small, non-imperial nations like Switzerland and Sweden. In my view, the key source of geopolitical power in the modern world is having a homeland of loyal citizens that are numerous, high-IQ and genuinely committed to some sort of nation/tribe/project. Empire does NOT contribute to this. Strip away the empire but leave that, as with Germany after WW1, and you don’t really reduce a nation’s fundamental power.


    6) To expand on empire being a source of weakness: It’s often easier to undermine an empire through Lawrence of Arabia style shenanigans than it is to defend one. Don’t underestimate the power both in terms of rhetoric/ideology and in terms of military pragmatism of being on the anti-imperial side. Try to stick your enemy with the burden of empire, rather than carrying it yourself. Look at, for instance, how much more successful supporting anti-Soviet rebels in Afghanistan was for the US than fighting anti-American rebels in Vietnam. The US should have simply supported free elections and decolonization in Vietnam after WW2---even if the communists were to take power and overthrow democracy. If authoritarian rule and the various miseries of the common people could not possibly be blamed on the US/capitalism, but instead had to be laid at the feet of the Vietnamese government/communism, it would inevitably generate popular opposition to communism and the ruling government. It’s so much easier to condemn and support opposition to an authoritarian/foreign government than it is to actually rule. Thus, I think, somewhat paradoxically, that the more foreign territory that a nation has to hold on to, the weaker a position it’s in. As Professor Erica Chenoweth’s research has shown, violent regime change has a poor track record in terms of stability and democratization. Non-violent resistance has been the source of the vast majority of democratic transitions across the globe.

    Here is the significance that I think this has for US foreign policy/grand strategy. The US should generally try to avoid fighting wars. It should especially try to avoid fighting wars of aggression, anti-guerrilla wars, wars with other major powers “on their turf” in terms of supply lines and wars aimed at fundamentally changing the geopolitical status quo in some way. While I certainly would be willing to challenge these as well, these are to be distinguished from defensive wars, conventional wars, wars where the supply lines of the US and its allies are shorter than those of the enemy and wars with the aim of restoring the status quo antebellum. Wars meeting these latter conditions, like the Gulf War and the Korean War (excluding the invasion of the north), are I think considerably more likely to be successful than the former ones. Insofar as the US supports promoting democracy internationally, this is most likely going to happen through economic development, education and mass non-violent protests, not military regime change. Humanitarian intervention is more complicated---I think there are cases where it can work, like fighting ISIS, but it ought to be in response to an ongoing atrocity and aimed at defensively creating safe zones rather than overthrowing governments. It’s really, really difficult to build an effective and legitimate state out of nothing, especially when there is ethno-religious conflict, as we’ve seen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I’d say defense isn’t always cheaper because you can hit someone’s planes on the ground, like the Japanese did in the Philippines. Or their fuel. Although one can make the argument that the planes wouldn’t have been clustered, if it was actual home soil.

    With Vietnam, it strikes me that the outcome was more purely based on geography and geopolitics (not angering China by invading the North) than the idea of empire. Taiwan was an island – we supported them easily – although China did get involved in distractions. South Korea was a penisula. Both were easier to defend and control than South Vietnam. Nor is it clear to me that the South Vietnamese would have lost, if their financial support hadn’t been withdrawn.

  48. Zbigniew Brzezinski was probably trying to think of a way that Russia can be seen as a growing threat to the US. Yet the Poles and Germans are going to be sad: free ride is over

    Allison:

    The Clinton administration’s decision in 1996 to expand NATO toward Russia’s borders, Kennan observed, was the “most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-cold-war era.”

    The fateful error was Russia/ Soviet Union’s. It never explicitly raised the question of NATO enlargement, merely asking there should be no Nato forces in the former German Democratic Republic, and all they got was a verbal assurance by James Baker against that happening. Even if the West had explicitly and formally promised to never enlarge Nato eastward, how could that have been taken at face value and valid for decades in the future? By creating a vacuum the Soviet Union made it inevitable that Nato would be drawn right up to the borders of Russia proper in a strategic nightmare for the country.

    The big winner from Nato expansion was Germany’s export-orientated, manufacturing economy cocooned in friendly states on its borders. Germany has been defended by America at the expense of American taxpayers, but Russia is not the Cold War Soviet Union and Germany could cope with it very easily, if it wanted to spend the money on tanks ect. Germany counts on its helpless kitten act continuing to work because having to put up with Germany as a mercantile predator and defence free-rider is America’s permanent fate. Unfortunately Russia is really not the old Soviet Union, and while it might be tempted into doing something with an insurgency in the Baltic it does not have the tanks to roll across the North European plain (too built up now anyway). Germany can defend itself against Russia. It chooses not to

    IT is the biggest economy in Europe and fourth-largest in the world that is the serious laggard. Germany spends all of 1.2 percent of GDP on defense. As Elizabeth Braw points out at Foreign Policy, its military is short on tents and winter clothes. Its aircraft suffers from missing spare parts and most of its tanks aren’t battle-ready*. It has a shortfall of about 20,000 officers and noncommissioned officers. It is promising to get to 1.5 percent GDP . . . by 2025 (when a Trump second term would be ending).

    *Germany has less than a hundred Leopard 2 battle tanks fit for action. The EC has four times the population and wealth of Russia, it can defend itself without the US. Meanwhile Merkel is so scared she is getting a massive pipe laid from Putinland.

    Russia’s relative economic and conventional military weakness is fatal to the successful continuation of Germany’s helpless kitten act, which has included getting rid of even civil nuclear power. The Baghdad to Berlin Refugee Express is not defence spending, it a source of cheap lablour and German unions are in on the low wage cost export strategy of business. The pivot to the East which was underway in American foreign policy long before Trump is going to mean that American strength will be sent East to face China. One might wonder why Russia would ally with China; this could only refocus America on Russia as part of a multi-headed Dragon, and lead to America getting cold feet about withdrawing its forces from Europe as it is going to, slow but sure, because China will become too big for a major US effort against Russia as well.

    There is only one way to go for counterfeit counts (Poles) the Fokkers, and above all China: try to keep America perceiving Russia as the main threat. If they could do that it would continue benefit from continuation of the Carter era official US policy of building up China. Just as he has over North Korea Xi could play the role of intermediary cum arbiter and get use that as a wedge to concessions over trade. However, if America acted this weakly, like Russia was under Gorby, China would push its advantage to the limit and beyond, like America did with the Nato expansion blitz that ended up in Russia feeling compelled to use military force. America treating China as anything less than a dangerous rival getting more powerful by the year is a recipe for China and America ending up getting into a proxy shooting war and maybe more.

    Allison :-

    To the extent that China persuades Russia to sit on its side of the see-saw, this adds to China’s heft, a nuclear superpower alongside an economic superpower.

    The best place for Russia would be in the middle of the see saw, but you can bet Xi covets that place for his country.

    As a Chinese colleague observed candidly, if the United States found itself in a conflict with China in the South China Sea, what should it expect Putin might do in the Baltics?

    Yes, if it allows itself to be influenced by a Chinese analysis, America will be vigilant about the threat from Russia. Meanwhile Russia’s resources and America’s technological lead will be drained away. The multinational corporations will have unimpeded access to the massive Chinese market dangled in front of them, and the foreign policy establishment does not need much convincing to articulate business’s view (the Marshal Plan worked as a subsidy to American exporters)

  49. In his recent book (page 52) Robert Plomin says that IQ is an “outdated concept”. Taleb is agitated about yet another and even worse disaster caused by excessive leveraging by the financial masterminds who caused the last one. The people making the decisions that build pressure for more leveraging are incentivised to do so by their firms which are too big to fail and know it. Sounds like a moral hazard problem to me.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Taleb to his credit didn't fall into the trap of permabear doomerism like other GFC "prophets" like Nouriel Roubini, Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, or Jim Rogers.

    But like a lot of other people (and this isn't just the prophets or the permabears), the experience of the GFC primes him to expect another financial crisis or "Black Swan". Taleb likes to complain that the problem of systemic risk wasn't solved--merely transferred to the state.

    Well, maybe. But the state can afford a hell of a lot more systemic risk than the banks. Especially outside of the Eurozone (which is in any case a phony problem created by irrational German-Lutheran moral views).

    I suppose America's descent into banana republic status isn't reassuring. The US federal government is once again shut down, and come March 15 of next year there will be another fight over the idiotic Debt Ceiling issue. I'd say the USA is at fairly considerable risk of an at least technical fault on its financial obligations simply owing to government dysfunction.

    Then there's China, which nobody appears to understand including the Chinese themselves. Defaults on bonds are skyrocketing in China at the moment. What does it mean? Who knows. That said China doesn't originate (much) credit for the rest of the world, so a Chinese financial crisis probably wouldn't spread outside of China (though it would almost certainly spark a global recession).
  50. @Anatoly Karlin
    Let me kick off discussion on some organizational issues. Not including this in the main post since it's all exploratory at this stage.

    First off, I intend to set up a mailing list by the New Year or soon after. With more and more cases of Shut It Down, that seems overdue. Any tips? My last experience with mailing lists was MailChimp, but that was more than half a decade ago, technology I assume has moved on since then.

    Second, many users have expressed a preference for one or all of the following:

    1) Ability to contact other commenters
    2) A forum
    3) Meetup in meatspace

    About (1) - I assume Ron isn't planning to introduce that functionality anytime soon, not even so much because its technically difficult (WordPress has native capabilities for it) but because it would require registration and have a knock on effect on privacy, which the website takes very seriously.

    I have over the years introduced certain individuals to each other over email, but it's highly ineffective for me to manually serve as a conduit for all interested parties.

    Meanwhile, any IRL activities will require some degree of acquaintance between participants before it can happen.

    The natural connecting mechanism for that is a forum or discussion group.

    Issues:
    * Technically, it would also be trivial. WordPress has forum plugins such as bbPress that allow simple forums to be set up (we don't need anything complicated).
    * Not sure that Ron would be interested in it, and it's easy to see why - moderation will be a huge burden - and for limited gains.
    * Theoretically, I can create something myself at my website or another url.
    * Unfortunately, I don't have much time for moderation either, so at most it will have to be a small, hand-selected group that can be relied upon to police itself.
    * One technical solution would be to buy DigitalOcean hosting and create a droplet running a Discourse forum (my favorite forum software atm). This is the current solution of what is probably Russia's current biggest closed nationalist forum.
    * Running Discourse from their end is not an option due to it being prohibitively expensive ($100 per month).
    * One secret forum I was invited to uses https://www.proboards.com/ which is a remotely hosted blog.
    * App like alternatives: Slack, Discord, Telegram, Facebook groups (urgh), etc.
    Keybase might be interesting but I know too little about it and I assume it's too esoteric for us to adopt it.
    * Risk of remotely hosted boards is that they can wipe us (or even dox us) for political reasons, though risk will probably remain low since I don't intend for any discussions to be public. Risk of self-hosting it is that I might get hacked.

    MailChimp is well known for no platforming, having no platformed Alex Jones for instance. It’s also overpriced–among other things charging for duplicate e-mail addresses.

    There are a lot of alternatives: https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-cheaper-better-alternatives-to-MailChimp

    I’ve used MailerLite. There are probably some Eastern European options, which I suspect are cheaper and will not no platform anyone (unless they’re Polish and you claim Poles did the Holocaust). MailerLite appears to be based in Vilnius, which admittedly might not be the best location for you.

    Free Web 1.0 era messageboard platforms are more than adequate for discussion needs, provided you accept from the beginning the likelihood that messageboard will one day disappear since there’s no money to be made from hosting web 1.0 messageboards. A more serious solution is to do what you suggested of course, though using DigitalOcean doesn’t seem like a good idea at all. They’re based in America and you need basic sysadmin skills to use it.

    Slack is pretty good, but unless you pay them (and pricing is quite high for what amounts to glorified IRC) you get no access to your old messages. They also seem extremely likely to no platform people to me, though so far the only victims of Slack purges appear to be hapless Iranians targeted by American sanctions.

    Discord and especially Facebook are completely out of the question. Telegram is quite good and while perhaps it’s a 4D chess masterstroke by ZOG in reality it seems like Pavel Durov has succeeded in making enemies of both the Russian and American dweeb states and is paying the price for it.

    Doxing, incidentally, should be taken as a serious risk from the beginning. Especially if you live in a ZOG Heartland country like the USA or the UK (probably the Visegrad commenters are safe). Fortunately the Unz Review is too apparently challenging for professional SJWs to actually read, but I wouldn’t preclude it becoming a subject of interest for intelligence agencies (e.g. Roosh was questioned by DHS about his work).

    Even for those of us who are antifragile and can’t be cut off from our income easily, there’s a lot that can be done to make life difficult for us. It’s not hard to imagine someone like Talha being considered an Islamist connected to the Islamic State and also financed by Putin. I’ve had people try to report me to the police in the past, and two years ago some idiot homo-sexual with a lover who was a federal prosecutor made a lot of noise about getting me on the American No Fly List (of course nothing happened).

    Incidentally, there’s currently a plot afoot to make registering domains require the use of a verified identity. While as usual I expect lawyers to find a way out of this (using lawyers as registered agents for anonymity purposes is common in American corporate law for instance), if any of you wish to own domains you might want to buy one for the next decade soon.

    • Replies: @DFH

    Fortunately the Unz Review is too apparently challenging for professional SJWs to actually read
     
    We did have a visit from the oddball British NEET, Atlantis enthusiast and former British-Israelite who wrote most of Rational wiki (including AK's entry)
    , @Spisarevski
    Good post.

    Free Web 1.0 era messageboard platforms are more than adequate for discussion needs
     
    Seconded.

    I would add that a VPS (whether from DigitalOcean or elsewhere) seems completely unnecessary, and not only because of the price. Considering the number of regular commenters in these threads and the volume of comments, shared hosting should be more than enough to handle such a forum, even a free hosting plan will probably be enough (I happen to know a few excellent options for that) and if not, it can be upgraded easily.

    Also with shared hosting you don't have to worry about server side management or security (as long as the company you choose is competent), you just need to keep the forum software updated and that's it. maybe check ModSecurity logs occasionally.

    Finally modern sharing hosting that is using "cloud" infrastructure often has actually more resources than a lower tier VPS and is much cheaper too.

    Incidentally, there’s currently a plot afoot to make registering domains require the use of a verified identity
     
    Do you have any links or could you otherwise elaborate? I don't want to dox myself too much but the company I work for is an ICANN accredited registrar and I haven't heard about such developments.
  51. @Thorfinnsson
    MailChimp is well known for no platforming, having no platformed Alex Jones for instance. It's also overpriced--among other things charging for duplicate e-mail addresses.

    There are a lot of alternatives: https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-cheaper-better-alternatives-to-MailChimp

    I've used MailerLite. There are probably some Eastern European options, which I suspect are cheaper and will not no platform anyone (unless they're Polish and you claim Poles did the Holocaust). MailerLite appears to be based in Vilnius, which admittedly might not be the best location for you.

    Free Web 1.0 era messageboard platforms are more than adequate for discussion needs, provided you accept from the beginning the likelihood that messageboard will one day disappear since there's no money to be made from hosting web 1.0 messageboards. A more serious solution is to do what you suggested of course, though using DigitalOcean doesn't seem like a good idea at all. They're based in America and you need basic sysadmin skills to use it.

    Slack is pretty good, but unless you pay them (and pricing is quite high for what amounts to glorified IRC) you get no access to your old messages. They also seem extremely likely to no platform people to me, though so far the only victims of Slack purges appear to be hapless Iranians targeted by American sanctions.

    Discord and especially Facebook are completely out of the question. Telegram is quite good and while perhaps it's a 4D chess masterstroke by ZOG in reality it seems like Pavel Durov has succeeded in making enemies of both the Russian and American dweeb states and is paying the price for it.

    Doxing, incidentally, should be taken as a serious risk from the beginning. Especially if you live in a ZOG Heartland country like the USA or the UK (probably the Visegrad commenters are safe). Fortunately the Unz Review is too apparently challenging for professional SJWs to actually read, but I wouldn't preclude it becoming a subject of interest for intelligence agencies (e.g. Roosh was questioned by DHS about his work).

    Even for those of us who are antifragile and can't be cut off from our income easily, there's a lot that can be done to make life difficult for us. It's not hard to imagine someone like Talha being considered an Islamist connected to the Islamic State and also financed by Putin. I've had people try to report me to the police in the past, and two years ago some idiot homo-sexual with a lover who was a federal prosecutor made a lot of noise about getting me on the American No Fly List (of course nothing happened).

    Incidentally, there's currently a plot afoot to make registering domains require the use of a verified identity. While as usual I expect lawyers to find a way out of this (using lawyers as registered agents for anonymity purposes is common in American corporate law for instance), if any of you wish to own domains you might want to buy one for the next decade soon.

    Fortunately the Unz Review is too apparently challenging for professional SJWs to actually read

    We did have a visit from the oddball British NEET, Atlantis enthusiast and former British-Israelite who wrote most of Rational wiki (including AK’s entry)

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Some professional Jewish activists occasionally turn up to attack Ron Unz as well. There's even some wacko who has made it his life's mission to oppose Wally. Some retard turned up after Ron Unz started writing about David Irving announcing he had proof that David Irving is an antisemite. The same bozo goes around trying to find proof that Leuther (the execution technician who claimed the Auschwitz gas chambers are bogus) has told people he's an engineer, which is apparently prohibited by court order. Really weird people.

    Linh Dinh is currently being attacked by...poets? He has also been deplatformed from the American "creative writing" and poetry communities, which in their organized formats only exist in the universities.
  52. @Sean
    In his recent book (page 52) Robert Plomin says that IQ is an "outdated concept". Taleb is agitated about yet another and even worse disaster caused by excessive leveraging by the financial masterminds who caused the last one. The people making the decisions that build pressure for more leveraging are incentivised to do so by their firms which are too big to fail and know it. Sounds like a moral hazard problem to me.

    Taleb to his credit didn’t fall into the trap of permabear doomerism like other GFC “prophets” like Nouriel Roubini, Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, or Jim Rogers.

    But like a lot of other people (and this isn’t just the prophets or the permabears), the experience of the GFC primes him to expect another financial crisis or “Black Swan”. Taleb likes to complain that the problem of systemic risk wasn’t solved–merely transferred to the state.

    Well, maybe. But the state can afford a hell of a lot more systemic risk than the banks. Especially outside of the Eurozone (which is in any case a phony problem created by irrational German-Lutheran moral views).

    I suppose America’s descent into banana republic status isn’t reassuring. The US federal government is once again shut down, and come March 15 of next year there will be another fight over the idiotic Debt Ceiling issue. I’d say the USA is at fairly considerable risk of an at least technical fault on its financial obligations simply owing to government dysfunction.

    Then there’s China, which nobody appears to understand including the Chinese themselves. Defaults on bonds are skyrocketing in China at the moment. What does it mean? Who knows. That said China doesn’t originate (much) credit for the rest of the world, so a Chinese financial crisis probably wouldn’t spread outside of China (though it would almost certainly spark a global recession).

    • Replies: @Sean

    But the state can afford a hell of a lot more systemic risk than the banks.
     
    A bank can borrow money much cheaper than anyone else only because a government stands behind them when and if the bank fails. Which is also the reason that bank can borrow money at a far higher ratio to its assets than any other business. Known risk is fine, but banks' supposedly prudent calculations contain real uncertainty. If people are paid higher bonuses for investing more leveraged money, then the pressure to loosen the regulatory limits is predictable.

    It is really Germany that stands behind French banks' loans to Italy. Germany can afford it because the Eurozone works as export promotion for German manufactured goods. But then, almost everything in Germany seems to work to that same end. For instance, German unions agree to keep wages low, the county imports a million non-European paupers and top companies can't wait to employ them ect ect.

    , @The Big Red Scary

    permabears
     
    I don't follow these people, but I can imagine three different positions that this could describe:

    1. Real economic growth is over and all that's left is to tread water or manipulate the market.

    2. While much of economic growth is real and would be likely to continue, reckless market manipulation exacerbated by the moral hazard of potential bailouts will lead to such a severe crisis that real economic growth could be completely undermined.

    3. While much of economic growth is real and is likely to continue, up to and after an economic crisis, all of the data show that the financial markets are becoming increasingly volatile and that frequency of market moves as a function of magnitude follow a power law (like earthquakes), so it is not unreasonable to make some preparations for an enormous economic crisis in the same way that the Japanese prepare for enormous earthquakes.

    I imagine that if Taleb were to take some testosterone blockers and then make his point in a more level-headed way, his position would sound something like 3. I recommend Mark Buchanan's "Forecast" as a popular introduction to how these problems are approached in "econophysics".
  53. @DFH

    Fortunately the Unz Review is too apparently challenging for professional SJWs to actually read
     
    We did have a visit from the oddball British NEET, Atlantis enthusiast and former British-Israelite who wrote most of Rational wiki (including AK's entry)

    Some professional Jewish activists occasionally turn up to attack Ron Unz as well. There’s even some wacko who has made it his life’s mission to oppose Wally. Some retard turned up after Ron Unz started writing about David Irving announcing he had proof that David Irving is an antisemite. The same bozo goes around trying to find proof that Leuther (the execution technician who claimed the Auschwitz gas chambers are bogus) has told people he’s an engineer, which is apparently prohibited by court order. Really weird people.

    Linh Dinh is currently being attacked by…poets? He has also been deplatformed from the American “creative writing” and poetry communities, which in their organized formats only exist in the universities.

  54. @German_reader

    The French in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars, the British in the US during the American Revolution, the Germans in Eastern and Southeastern Europe during World War 2, the French in Vietnam, the French in Algeria, the US in Vietnam, the Soviets in Afghanistan, the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are a lot of cases like the Syrian government’s crushing of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1982 where I’m not sure how the conflict should be classified, though.
     
    But most of those conflicts were decided by fighting between conventional forces, with irregular warfare being only a sideshow that may have drained resources, but would never have proven decisive on its own; e.g. the British lost in America because of defeats in battles like Yorktown and the intervention of France and Spain, the French were defeated in a genuine field battle at Dien Bien Phu, the Vietnam war featured strong participation by regular North Vietnamese units in its later stages.
    Irregular warfare on its own is only really effective against forces that are constrained in what they can do by humanitarian or democratic principles. If Germany hadn't been defeated by the Red army in WW2, there wouldn't have been much of a problem with eventually crushing the partisan movements, by destroying the villages aiding the partisans, deporting civilian populations to concentration camps etc. The Soviets also managed to suppress the resistance movements in Ukraine and the Baltics when they reconquered those areas. This is only an ethical question of what kind of methods one is willing to adopt to fight insurgencies, not of any inherent advantage of insurgents that couldn't be overcome by greater levels of violence.

    Good point. I think there is also something to be said about technology being a force multiplier. The invention of the AK. The stuff that goes into bombs and IEDs. It tends to soften people too, make them less ruthless. Maybe that is only in a consumer society. I did hear stories (how to know if their true?) of Soviet soldiers pushing Afghanis out of helicopters for their boomboxes.

    Of course, the Soviets conquered over 100 million people in Eastern Europe for a time – fairly into the modern era. The Chinese seem to be doing well in their outer provinces. Communism probably has an edge because it is atheistic, but Islam has its own edge since Muhammad massacred people in revolt.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Best force multiplier is weapons which are not only cheap, but relatively easy to drill men to use. Therefore it's not surprising that the Atlantic Revolutions occurred in the 18th century, when the dominant weapon in land warfare was the bayonet-equipped musket.

    Any group of men could become a formidable fighting force after two months of drilling. Heavy weaponry existed (muzzle loaded artillery firing primitive munitions and cavalry), but wasn't nearly as powerful as it would later become.

    An AK doesn't really multiply the power of an insurgent much more than a bolt action rifle. If you take terrain and training into account, it can even be less useful (bolt action rifle can engage from a much longer range). I'll grant that high explosives offer guerrillas new capabilities that gun powder didn't, but high explosives require sophisticated industry--thus guerrillas never have much.

    Compare this to the previous era of warfare in which mastery in warfare took years of training. Other than spears, a lot of effective weaponry was also quite expensive. In the entire Middle Ages, not a single peasant revolt in Europe was ever successful.

    Now look at what happened in the 19th and 20th centuries. High explosives, modern metallurgy, and hydraulics/pneumatics resulted in the development of quick-firing heavy artillery with the capability of indirect fire. Warfare went from a situation in which most casualties were inflicted by gunfire in the field to one in which two-thirds were inflicted by artillery. To survive the battlefield dominated by artillery (and suppressed by machine guns and breech-loading rifles with smokeless gunpowder), infantry required much more training than it did in the 18th century. The problems of this battlefield later led to tanks and combat aircraft as well.

    So within the space of a century we went from a situation in which guerrillas could quickly and inexpensively raise forces that could credibly challenge state armies to one in which the notion is completely laughable. A good example is the Germans using superheavy siege artillery to destroy Warsaw and squash the Polish Home Army like a bug. And the Poles had carefully husbanded heavy weaponry, received some state support, and were led by professional soldiers.

    What German_reader says is therefore completely true. There is a moral dimension however which is important. At the moral level, weakness is powerful. A good example of this is the collapse of apartheid South Africa. Presently Israel is suffering from the same problem, and who knows where that will end. If your atrocities sufficiently anger other states, you have a problem.
  55. I’m skeptical of immigrant groups not being a problem in Europe. Firstly, there is not one that doesn’t agitate to bring in his cousins or against nationalism. I’ve even seen whites in China talk about how Chinese nationalism worries them.

    Why are there so many Gypsies, if the fertility of all groups is doomed to collapse? And Gypsies are part of the Out of Africa group. They are not sub-Saharans. The less fertile portion of these groups is probably just boiling off, leaving the more tribalistic, more fertile portion to breed among itself, until it will explode.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Even immigrant groups of objectively good quality and totally lacking in nefarious designs are a problem, simply because they have a different identity. This causes them to make certain political demands which weaken the nation's unity and the integrity of the state.

    German immigrants opposed the goals of indigenous Americans to pursue alcohol Prohibition, imperialism, and war against Germany. They setup newspapers and schools in their own language. They also had a particularly nasty habit of supporting socialist candidates. Eventually the Americans found it necessary to squash them like a bug.

    Scandinavian immigrants were on board with alcohol prohibition, but otherwise had similar political goals as the Germans. A lot of Danish immigrants also become Mormons for some odd reason, though I suppose we can write that off as a fluke.

    Finnish immigrants became America's most prominent supporters of communism other than the Jews.

    Immigrants from the Visegrad area were partly responsible for poisoning America's diplomatic relations with Austria-Hungary, and without them it's not certain that Secretary of State Robert Lansing would've demanded the dissolution of Austria-Hungary.

    Korean immigrants are presently ruining America's geography textbooks by insisting on improper names for the Sea of Japan.

    It was the descendants of Ellis Island Papist immigrants (who were not without problems, but had ceased causing problems by that time) who supplied the cheap labor Republicans with sufficient muscle to stop the immigration reform efforts of the '90s. They didn't do this for nefarious reasons like the Jews. They were simply motivated by sentimental pablum (even though current immigration laws wouldn't let their parents in) and took the efforts of Brimelow, Buchanan, Jordan, etc. as a personal attack on themselves.

    Taking efforts at immigration control as a personal insult against one's own ethnic identity is a particular problem which appears to be universal.
  56. @songbird
    Good point. I think there is also something to be said about technology being a force multiplier. The invention of the AK. The stuff that goes into bombs and IEDs. It tends to soften people too, make them less ruthless. Maybe that is only in a consumer society. I did hear stories (how to know if their true?) of Soviet soldiers pushing Afghanis out of helicopters for their boomboxes.

    Of course, the Soviets conquered over 100 million people in Eastern Europe for a time - fairly into the modern era. The Chinese seem to be doing well in their outer provinces. Communism probably has an edge because it is atheistic, but Islam has its own edge since Muhammad massacred people in revolt.

    Best force multiplier is weapons which are not only cheap, but relatively easy to drill men to use. Therefore it’s not surprising that the Atlantic Revolutions occurred in the 18th century, when the dominant weapon in land warfare was the bayonet-equipped musket.

    Any group of men could become a formidable fighting force after two months of drilling. Heavy weaponry existed (muzzle loaded artillery firing primitive munitions and cavalry), but wasn’t nearly as powerful as it would later become.

    An AK doesn’t really multiply the power of an insurgent much more than a bolt action rifle. If you take terrain and training into account, it can even be less useful (bolt action rifle can engage from a much longer range). I’ll grant that high explosives offer guerrillas new capabilities that gun powder didn’t, but high explosives require sophisticated industry–thus guerrillas never have much.

    Compare this to the previous era of warfare in which mastery in warfare took years of training. Other than spears, a lot of effective weaponry was also quite expensive. In the entire Middle Ages, not a single peasant revolt in Europe was ever successful.

    Now look at what happened in the 19th and 20th centuries. High explosives, modern metallurgy, and hydraulics/pneumatics resulted in the development of quick-firing heavy artillery with the capability of indirect fire. Warfare went from a situation in which most casualties were inflicted by gunfire in the field to one in which two-thirds were inflicted by artillery. To survive the battlefield dominated by artillery (and suppressed by machine guns and breech-loading rifles with smokeless gunpowder), infantry required much more training than it did in the 18th century. The problems of this battlefield later led to tanks and combat aircraft as well.

    So within the space of a century we went from a situation in which guerrillas could quickly and inexpensively raise forces that could credibly challenge state armies to one in which the notion is completely laughable. A good example is the Germans using superheavy siege artillery to destroy Warsaw and squash the Polish Home Army like a bug. And the Poles had carefully husbanded heavy weaponry, received some state support, and were led by professional soldiers.

    What German_reader says is therefore completely true. There is a moral dimension however which is important. At the moral level, weakness is powerful. A good example of this is the collapse of apartheid South Africa. Presently Israel is suffering from the same problem, and who knows where that will end. If your atrocities sufficiently anger other states, you have a problem.

    • Replies: @songbird
    There is also a problem in that the world has become more multipolar. It was bad for the Portuguese Empire, when the British one fell apart. Not to mention the profusion of oil states - hell, we propped some up militarily - there are more than would naturally exist otherwise. Any of them can write a check for groups in other countries to buy mortars, etc. Send advisors.

    Another point is the economy is no longer almost fully directed toward war, like in WW2. That changes the incentives for people, where they want to get away from the war economy by defeating their enemy. War economy gives people a homefront, adding to the domestic morale and unity of purpose. Would Germany have been willing to hold Western Europe in peacetime, if it had won? Probably not. What we saw with regard to Germany was like a 6 year war, not a 20 year one.

    Atrocities are easier to document and broadcast now, so it may be easier to stir moral outrage. Hard to be an occupying power with collapsing fertility. Too much morale outrage at the death of troops.
    , @DFH

    In the entire Middle Ages, not a single peasant revolt in Europe was ever successful.
     
    That is not true.

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

    Also several militia armies with pikes were able to defeat armies of professional, armoured knights (Flemish and Swiss). Failure of peasant uprisings specifically probably has just as much to do with poor organisation and leadership.

    , @songbird
    IMO, the Boers' real mistake was that they started with a paternalistic attitude toward blacks. There was therefore a moral dimension implicit in their attitude, even under Apartheid, when they had huge hospitals for blacks. The result was that the black population exploded. This made the situation untenable.

    They had a good military. They could have withdrawn to a defensible border, along the Western Cape, where blacks don't even have much of a rational claim, since the land is arid. But that was impossible because they hadn't gone to egalitarianism from scratch, but from paternalism to egalitarianism. Of course, there were many cucked whites who probably would have foiled any such attempt anyway.
    , @LH

    In the entire Middle Ages, not a single peasant revolt in Europe was ever successful.

     

    Hussites in Bohemia managed to defeat several crusades sent against them, starting from 1419. In the beginning they were mostly untrained peasants, fanatical in their chiliastic belief.
  57. @Thorfinnsson
    MailChimp is well known for no platforming, having no platformed Alex Jones for instance. It's also overpriced--among other things charging for duplicate e-mail addresses.

    There are a lot of alternatives: https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-cheaper-better-alternatives-to-MailChimp

    I've used MailerLite. There are probably some Eastern European options, which I suspect are cheaper and will not no platform anyone (unless they're Polish and you claim Poles did the Holocaust). MailerLite appears to be based in Vilnius, which admittedly might not be the best location for you.

    Free Web 1.0 era messageboard platforms are more than adequate for discussion needs, provided you accept from the beginning the likelihood that messageboard will one day disappear since there's no money to be made from hosting web 1.0 messageboards. A more serious solution is to do what you suggested of course, though using DigitalOcean doesn't seem like a good idea at all. They're based in America and you need basic sysadmin skills to use it.

    Slack is pretty good, but unless you pay them (and pricing is quite high for what amounts to glorified IRC) you get no access to your old messages. They also seem extremely likely to no platform people to me, though so far the only victims of Slack purges appear to be hapless Iranians targeted by American sanctions.

    Discord and especially Facebook are completely out of the question. Telegram is quite good and while perhaps it's a 4D chess masterstroke by ZOG in reality it seems like Pavel Durov has succeeded in making enemies of both the Russian and American dweeb states and is paying the price for it.

    Doxing, incidentally, should be taken as a serious risk from the beginning. Especially if you live in a ZOG Heartland country like the USA or the UK (probably the Visegrad commenters are safe). Fortunately the Unz Review is too apparently challenging for professional SJWs to actually read, but I wouldn't preclude it becoming a subject of interest for intelligence agencies (e.g. Roosh was questioned by DHS about his work).

    Even for those of us who are antifragile and can't be cut off from our income easily, there's a lot that can be done to make life difficult for us. It's not hard to imagine someone like Talha being considered an Islamist connected to the Islamic State and also financed by Putin. I've had people try to report me to the police in the past, and two years ago some idiot homo-sexual with a lover who was a federal prosecutor made a lot of noise about getting me on the American No Fly List (of course nothing happened).

    Incidentally, there's currently a plot afoot to make registering domains require the use of a verified identity. While as usual I expect lawyers to find a way out of this (using lawyers as registered agents for anonymity purposes is common in American corporate law for instance), if any of you wish to own domains you might want to buy one for the next decade soon.

    Good post.

    Free Web 1.0 era messageboard platforms are more than adequate for discussion needs

    Seconded.

    I would add that a VPS (whether from DigitalOcean or elsewhere) seems completely unnecessary, and not only because of the price. Considering the number of regular commenters in these threads and the volume of comments, shared hosting should be more than enough to handle such a forum, even a free hosting plan will probably be enough (I happen to know a few excellent options for that) and if not, it can be upgraded easily.

    Also with shared hosting you don’t have to worry about server side management or security (as long as the company you choose is competent), you just need to keep the forum software updated and that’s it. maybe check ModSecurity logs occasionally.

    Finally modern sharing hosting that is using “cloud” infrastructure often has actually more resources than a lower tier VPS and is much cheaper too.

    Incidentally, there’s currently a plot afoot to make registering domains require the use of a verified identity

    Do you have any links or could you otherwise elaborate? I don’t want to dox myself too much but the company I work for is an ICANN accredited registrar and I haven’t heard about such developments.

  58. @songbird
    I'm skeptical of immigrant groups not being a problem in Europe. Firstly, there is not one that doesn't agitate to bring in his cousins or against nationalism. I've even seen whites in China talk about how Chinese nationalism worries them.

    Why are there so many Gypsies, if the fertility of all groups is doomed to collapse? And Gypsies are part of the Out of Africa group. They are not sub-Saharans. The less fertile portion of these groups is probably just boiling off, leaving the more tribalistic, more fertile portion to breed among itself, until it will explode.

    Even immigrant groups of objectively good quality and totally lacking in nefarious designs are a problem, simply because they have a different identity. This causes them to make certain political demands which weaken the nation’s unity and the integrity of the state.

    German immigrants opposed the goals of indigenous Americans to pursue alcohol Prohibition, imperialism, and war against Germany. They setup newspapers and schools in their own language. They also had a particularly nasty habit of supporting socialist candidates. Eventually the Americans found it necessary to squash them like a bug.

    Scandinavian immigrants were on board with alcohol prohibition, but otherwise had similar political goals as the Germans. A lot of Danish immigrants also become Mormons for some odd reason, though I suppose we can write that off as a fluke.

    Finnish immigrants became America’s most prominent supporters of communism other than the Jews.

    Immigrants from the Visegrad area were partly responsible for poisoning America’s diplomatic relations with Austria-Hungary, and without them it’s not certain that Secretary of State Robert Lansing would’ve demanded the dissolution of Austria-Hungary.

    Korean immigrants are presently ruining America’s geography textbooks by insisting on improper names for the Sea of Japan.

    It was the descendants of Ellis Island Papist immigrants (who were not without problems, but had ceased causing problems by that time) who supplied the cheap labor Republicans with sufficient muscle to stop the immigration reform efforts of the ’90s. They didn’t do this for nefarious reasons like the Jews. They were simply motivated by sentimental pablum (even though current immigration laws wouldn’t let their parents in) and took the efforts of Brimelow, Buchanan, Jordan, etc. as a personal attack on themselves.

    Taking efforts at immigration control as a personal insult against one’s own ethnic identity is a particular problem which appears to be universal.

    • Agree: songbird
    • Replies: @iffen
    Taking efforts at immigration control as a personal insult against one’s own ethnic identity is a particular problem which appears to be universal.

    It's not just immigration control. I've noticed that many people view selective actions against one's group as an action against the individual.
    , @Pericles


    Finnish immigrants became America’s most prominent supporters of communism other than the Jews.

     

    From what I've heard, those Finns were the losers of the Red-White Finnish civil war. They were commies when they arrived.
  59. @Thorfinnsson
    Even immigrant groups of objectively good quality and totally lacking in nefarious designs are a problem, simply because they have a different identity. This causes them to make certain political demands which weaken the nation's unity and the integrity of the state.

    German immigrants opposed the goals of indigenous Americans to pursue alcohol Prohibition, imperialism, and war against Germany. They setup newspapers and schools in their own language. They also had a particularly nasty habit of supporting socialist candidates. Eventually the Americans found it necessary to squash them like a bug.

    Scandinavian immigrants were on board with alcohol prohibition, but otherwise had similar political goals as the Germans. A lot of Danish immigrants also become Mormons for some odd reason, though I suppose we can write that off as a fluke.

    Finnish immigrants became America's most prominent supporters of communism other than the Jews.

    Immigrants from the Visegrad area were partly responsible for poisoning America's diplomatic relations with Austria-Hungary, and without them it's not certain that Secretary of State Robert Lansing would've demanded the dissolution of Austria-Hungary.

    Korean immigrants are presently ruining America's geography textbooks by insisting on improper names for the Sea of Japan.

    It was the descendants of Ellis Island Papist immigrants (who were not without problems, but had ceased causing problems by that time) who supplied the cheap labor Republicans with sufficient muscle to stop the immigration reform efforts of the '90s. They didn't do this for nefarious reasons like the Jews. They were simply motivated by sentimental pablum (even though current immigration laws wouldn't let their parents in) and took the efforts of Brimelow, Buchanan, Jordan, etc. as a personal attack on themselves.

    Taking efforts at immigration control as a personal insult against one's own ethnic identity is a particular problem which appears to be universal.

    Taking efforts at immigration control as a personal insult against one’s own ethnic identity is a particular problem which appears to be universal.

    It’s not just immigration control. I’ve noticed that many people view selective actions against one’s group as an action against the individual.

  60. @Thorfinnsson
    Taleb to his credit didn't fall into the trap of permabear doomerism like other GFC "prophets" like Nouriel Roubini, Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, or Jim Rogers.

    But like a lot of other people (and this isn't just the prophets or the permabears), the experience of the GFC primes him to expect another financial crisis or "Black Swan". Taleb likes to complain that the problem of systemic risk wasn't solved--merely transferred to the state.

    Well, maybe. But the state can afford a hell of a lot more systemic risk than the banks. Especially outside of the Eurozone (which is in any case a phony problem created by irrational German-Lutheran moral views).

    I suppose America's descent into banana republic status isn't reassuring. The US federal government is once again shut down, and come March 15 of next year there will be another fight over the idiotic Debt Ceiling issue. I'd say the USA is at fairly considerable risk of an at least technical fault on its financial obligations simply owing to government dysfunction.

    Then there's China, which nobody appears to understand including the Chinese themselves. Defaults on bonds are skyrocketing in China at the moment. What does it mean? Who knows. That said China doesn't originate (much) credit for the rest of the world, so a Chinese financial crisis probably wouldn't spread outside of China (though it would almost certainly spark a global recession).

    But the state can afford a hell of a lot more systemic risk than the banks.

    A bank can borrow money much cheaper than anyone else only because a government stands behind them when and if the bank fails. Which is also the reason that bank can borrow money at a far higher ratio to its assets than any other business. Known risk is fine, but banks’ supposedly prudent calculations contain real uncertainty. If people are paid higher bonuses for investing more leveraged money, then the pressure to loosen the regulatory limits is predictable.

    It is really Germany that stands behind French banks’ loans to Italy. Germany can afford it because the Eurozone works as export promotion for German manufactured goods. But then, almost everything in Germany seems to work to that same end. For instance, German unions agree to keep wages low, the county imports a million non-European paupers and top companies can’t wait to employ them ect ect.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Banks are not able to borrow much more cheaply than anyone else. There are plenty of nonfinancial corporate debt issuers who can borrow at rates lower than the LIBOR (or what the banks themselves get on the regular bond market). Toyota has even issued 30 year bonds with a coupon of...zero.

    Latest LIBOR: https://www.bankrate.com/rates/interest-rates/libor.aspx

    And here you can search for current bonds: https://markets.businessinsider.com/bonds

    Banks can borrow quite cheaply from depositors, but depositors have very good legal guarantees (the government stands behind the deposits, not the banks) and a hell of a lot of flexibility (pretty nice to be able to draw funds from an interest-bearing account on demand!) and thus good reason to lend to banks.

    The government's guarantee of the bank is also only implicit, and not always granted. Bear Stearns was allowed to go to the wolves, and while Lehman Bros was technically rescued the stockholders were basically wiped out. In Germany the Bundesbank's charter does not even authorize it to act as a lender of last resort (unsure about the ECB's charter, but it certainly acts like it's allowed to be a lender of last resort).

    German banks, incidentally, also made plenty of bad loans to the Greeks (and others--I recall various landesbanks getting hosed in the American mortgage backed security markets).

    Germany and France can afford it because it's really not that much money, it's just politically unpopular. The price of bailing out German and French banks (who did take haircuts) was to destroy Greece. No big deal since the Greeks, apparently, deserve it. Or so German voters believe. And it means policymakers never had to admit to being wrong. Everyone wins (other than Greeks)!

    Pressure to loosen regulatory limits (or simply to make imprudent decisions within existing legal limits) is inevitable regardless of the incentive structure for the simple reason that stability by itself breeds risk-taking. The longer an expansion goes on, the more risk-taking there will be as well. Of course incentives can worsen the problem.

    A lot of people think there was some kind of golden era of stability after the Great Depression but before the institution of "neoliberalism"...whatever that is. But this simply isn't true. Financial markets were in fact much more volatile and recessions both more frequent and deeper. There wasn't an event like 07-08, but then that was the first "big one" since 1929-1933.

    , @RadicalCenter
    Doesn’t make sense, though, if most of the immivaders (far more than one million in Germany alone in the past three years) are unemployed and subsidized by the government, which will cause taxes to increase.
  61. @Thorfinnsson
    Best force multiplier is weapons which are not only cheap, but relatively easy to drill men to use. Therefore it's not surprising that the Atlantic Revolutions occurred in the 18th century, when the dominant weapon in land warfare was the bayonet-equipped musket.

    Any group of men could become a formidable fighting force after two months of drilling. Heavy weaponry existed (muzzle loaded artillery firing primitive munitions and cavalry), but wasn't nearly as powerful as it would later become.

    An AK doesn't really multiply the power of an insurgent much more than a bolt action rifle. If you take terrain and training into account, it can even be less useful (bolt action rifle can engage from a much longer range). I'll grant that high explosives offer guerrillas new capabilities that gun powder didn't, but high explosives require sophisticated industry--thus guerrillas never have much.

    Compare this to the previous era of warfare in which mastery in warfare took years of training. Other than spears, a lot of effective weaponry was also quite expensive. In the entire Middle Ages, not a single peasant revolt in Europe was ever successful.

    Now look at what happened in the 19th and 20th centuries. High explosives, modern metallurgy, and hydraulics/pneumatics resulted in the development of quick-firing heavy artillery with the capability of indirect fire. Warfare went from a situation in which most casualties were inflicted by gunfire in the field to one in which two-thirds were inflicted by artillery. To survive the battlefield dominated by artillery (and suppressed by machine guns and breech-loading rifles with smokeless gunpowder), infantry required much more training than it did in the 18th century. The problems of this battlefield later led to tanks and combat aircraft as well.

    So within the space of a century we went from a situation in which guerrillas could quickly and inexpensively raise forces that could credibly challenge state armies to one in which the notion is completely laughable. A good example is the Germans using superheavy siege artillery to destroy Warsaw and squash the Polish Home Army like a bug. And the Poles had carefully husbanded heavy weaponry, received some state support, and were led by professional soldiers.

    What German_reader says is therefore completely true. There is a moral dimension however which is important. At the moral level, weakness is powerful. A good example of this is the collapse of apartheid South Africa. Presently Israel is suffering from the same problem, and who knows where that will end. If your atrocities sufficiently anger other states, you have a problem.

    There is also a problem in that the world has become more multipolar. It was bad for the Portuguese Empire, when the British one fell apart. Not to mention the profusion of oil states – hell, we propped some up militarily – there are more than would naturally exist otherwise. Any of them can write a check for groups in other countries to buy mortars, etc. Send advisors.

    Another point is the economy is no longer almost fully directed toward war, like in WW2. That changes the incentives for people, where they want to get away from the war economy by defeating their enemy. War economy gives people a homefront, adding to the domestic morale and unity of purpose. Would Germany have been willing to hold Western Europe in peacetime, if it had won? Probably not. What we saw with regard to Germany was like a 6 year war, not a 20 year one.

    Atrocities are easier to document and broadcast now, so it may be easier to stir moral outrage. Hard to be an occupying power with collapsing fertility. Too much morale outrage at the death of troops.

  62. @Sean

    But the state can afford a hell of a lot more systemic risk than the banks.
     
    A bank can borrow money much cheaper than anyone else only because a government stands behind them when and if the bank fails. Which is also the reason that bank can borrow money at a far higher ratio to its assets than any other business. Known risk is fine, but banks' supposedly prudent calculations contain real uncertainty. If people are paid higher bonuses for investing more leveraged money, then the pressure to loosen the regulatory limits is predictable.

    It is really Germany that stands behind French banks' loans to Italy. Germany can afford it because the Eurozone works as export promotion for German manufactured goods. But then, almost everything in Germany seems to work to that same end. For instance, German unions agree to keep wages low, the county imports a million non-European paupers and top companies can't wait to employ them ect ect.

    Banks are not able to borrow much more cheaply than anyone else. There are plenty of nonfinancial corporate debt issuers who can borrow at rates lower than the LIBOR (or what the banks themselves get on the regular bond market). Toyota has even issued 30 year bonds with a coupon of…zero.

    Latest LIBOR: https://www.bankrate.com/rates/interest-rates/libor.aspx

    And here you can search for current bonds: https://markets.businessinsider.com/bonds

    Banks can borrow quite cheaply from depositors, but depositors have very good legal guarantees (the government stands behind the deposits, not the banks) and a hell of a lot of flexibility (pretty nice to be able to draw funds from an interest-bearing account on demand!) and thus good reason to lend to banks.

    The government’s guarantee of the bank is also only implicit, and not always granted. Bear Stearns was allowed to go to the wolves, and while Lehman Bros was technically rescued the stockholders were basically wiped out. In Germany the Bundesbank’s charter does not even authorize it to act as a lender of last resort (unsure about the ECB’s charter, but it certainly acts like it’s allowed to be a lender of last resort).

    German banks, incidentally, also made plenty of bad loans to the Greeks (and others–I recall various landesbanks getting hosed in the American mortgage backed security markets).

    Germany and France can afford it because it’s really not that much money, it’s just politically unpopular. The price of bailing out German and French banks (who did take haircuts) was to destroy Greece. No big deal since the Greeks, apparently, deserve it. Or so German voters believe. And it means policymakers never had to admit to being wrong. Everyone wins (other than Greeks)!

    Pressure to loosen regulatory limits (or simply to make imprudent decisions within existing legal limits) is inevitable regardless of the incentive structure for the simple reason that stability by itself breeds risk-taking. The longer an expansion goes on, the more risk-taking there will be as well. Of course incentives can worsen the problem.

    A lot of people think there was some kind of golden era of stability after the Great Depression but before the institution of “neoliberalism”…whatever that is. But this simply isn’t true. Financial markets were in fact much more volatile and recessions both more frequent and deeper. There wasn’t an event like 07-08, but then that was the first “big one” since 1929-1933.

    • Replies: @Sean
    Who else is allowed to leverage on their assets the way banks sometimes have done? Some banks before 2008 were doing so at fifty to one. Macron is there as the French banks' man to organise Eurozone debt mutualisation (ie Germany pays) of toxic loans that greedy (often French) bankers gave to the Italians, who have no intention of fulfilling their obligations, which is why the interest on their bonds has doubled. Italy never intended to fulfill their undertaking of financial disciple that they gave Germany to be allowed in the euro, Andreotti simply fooled them. And Italy is probably too big to bail out.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giulio_Andreotti#European_Union_negotiations

    https://www.cfr.org/article/does-italy-threaten-new-european-debt-crisis

  63. Since it is Christmastime, as well as saying “Merry Christmas to all!” I’ll take this opportunity to satisfy my curiosity on one thing: what is the Christmas situation in Europe?

    In America, it has clearly been under attack for a long time. That is any public aknowledgement. You hear things like “Winter Carnival.” People wish you the insipid “Happy Holidays!”. The TV specials they put out now seem obviously worse. There was one based on “Frozen” a while back and in a very Nordic setting, I believe it had someone with a Menorah.

    One thing I’m wondering about is the Christmas fairs that go back hundreds of years. Have any had their name changed to take out Christmas? What do they say in stores? Merry Christmas?

    • Replies: @German_reader
    German media sometimes run stories about how multiculti fanatics have supposedly renamed Christmas into Lichterfest (festival of lights), but tbh that seems exaggerated to me and I can't confirm it from own experience.
    People in general do refer to Christmas openly; went to the baker today, and overheard even the Turkish shop assistant wishing a customer Frohe Weihnachten.
    Our asshole president also talks explicitly about Christmas in his Christmas speech:
    http://www.bundespraesident.de/SharedDocs/Reden/DE/Frank-Walter-Steinmeier/Reden/2017/12/171225-Weihnachtsansprache-2017.html

    So no, I don't think there can be any talk of a "war on Christmas" in Germany. Of course it has lost much of its religous significance though, with the increasing de-Christianization of German society.
    , @Thorfinnsson
    I can report that in Sweden no one ever stopped saying God Jul (literally Good Yule), and it's prominently displayed in commercial advertising and on property owned by the state.

    People also say God Helg (literally Good Holiday), but this has always been said and isn't equivalent to the American expression Happy Holidays.

    Lately there have been some attacks on Saint Lucy's Day, the festival of light (an important holiday in Scandinavia). This doesn't have much to do with antipathy to the Christian religion (which is practically extinct in Sweden anyway), but rather the fact that the holiday reminds Mohammedans that they're physically quite ugly compared to Scandinavians. The ritual involves selecting a teenage girl to play the role of St. Lucy by wearing a crown of candles on her head. Traditionally, the prettiest girl is picked. Obviously not fun for Mohammedan girls who are after all very unattractive.

    Lack of hostility to Christmas in Europe comes down to that fact that there is a lot less Jewish influence in Europe, particularly outside of Britain and France. Mohammedans consider us to be quasi-pagans, but they still consider Jesus Christ to be a prophet. And in any case Mohammedans have close to zero actual influence in Europe other than about making people afraid to draw cartoons of Mohammed.

    The Jews, on the other hand, genuinely hate Jesus Christ, Christmas, and Christianity. Some of them are so demented they refuse to even say the word Christmas.

    The 1st amendment of the US Constitution also offered them a useful bludgeon with which to attack Christmas which doesn't exist in any European country other than France. Though as far as I know in France everyone still says Joyeux Noel. They also don't control the media as much in Europe (or department store retailing).
    , @melanf

    I’ll take this opportunity to satisfy my curiosity on one thing: what is the Christmas situation in Europe?
    In America, it has clearly been under attack for a long time.
     
    In Russia, the situation is the opposite-the authorities аre introducing the celebration of Christmas, but most people do not understand what kind of holiday Christmas is.
    , @Dmitry

    ” I’ll take this opportunity to satisfy my curiosity on one thing: what is the Christmas situation in Europe?
     
    In Western Europe where I live, Christmas is the same as in America (but not exactly to the same amazing level as the American Christmas, as the scale is more modest).

    In Russia, what Americans mainly do as Christmas - it is New Year.

    , @Philip Owen
    When I was employed, my Jewish boss and I were the only practicing "believers" (I'm Anglican :-) ) in a fairly big management team. He had absolutely no trouble with being wished Merry Christmas, neither did my son"s Muslim friend from Iraq who spent Christmas day with us. My Muslim sister in law has just cooked a large Christmas dinner for us. My wife's Hindu in-laws relish Christmas.

    The opposition to explicitly Christian imagery in the UK is from posturing Labour Party councillors.
  64. @songbird
    Since it is Christmastime, as well as saying "Merry Christmas to all!" I'll take this opportunity to satisfy my curiosity on one thing: what is the Christmas situation in Europe?

    In America, it has clearly been under attack for a long time. That is any public aknowledgement. You hear things like "Winter Carnival." People wish you the insipid "Happy Holidays!". The TV specials they put out now seem obviously worse. There was one based on "Frozen" a while back and in a very Nordic setting, I believe it had someone with a Menorah.

    One thing I'm wondering about is the Christmas fairs that go back hundreds of years. Have any had their name changed to take out Christmas? What do they say in stores? Merry Christmas?

    German media sometimes run stories about how multiculti fanatics have supposedly renamed Christmas into Lichterfest (festival of lights), but tbh that seems exaggerated to me and I can’t confirm it from own experience.
    People in general do refer to Christmas openly; went to the baker today, and overheard even the Turkish shop assistant wishing a customer Frohe Weihnachten.
    Our asshole president also talks explicitly about Christmas in his Christmas speech:
    http://www.bundespraesident.de/SharedDocs/Reden/DE/Frank-Walter-Steinmeier/Reden/2017/12/171225-Weihnachtsansprache-2017.html

    So no, I don’t think there can be any talk of a “war on Christmas” in Germany. Of course it has lost much of its religous significance though, with the increasing de-Christianization of German society.

    • Replies: @songbird
    I don't have a lot of firsthand knowledge - but I sometimes think the approach is a bit different in Europe because it is more embedded in the culture. Seems to me they are trying to deconstruct it there - to fill it full of Muslims, queer couples, Hindus, and racially-mixed couples.

    I don't know maybe it is just their impulse to virtue signal and be inclusive, or a globalist push to commercialize it everywhere. Sell greetings cards in India and plastic snowmen.
  65. Having done business in China (and knowing lots of other people having done the same), I can tell you there is a huge culture of corruption in China. This corruption is everywhere, from high rise towers built with improper foundations (with concrete made from sea sand), papers based on fake scientific research, to shoddy goods made in every industry (bad vaccines, contaminated food ingredients, it goes on and one).

    Is it possible that Xi’s “social credit” system may be an attempt to eliminate this culture of corruption? Instead of viewing the social credit system as techno-Maoism (even though there is some of this in it), perhaps it should be viewed as the techno-version of the many laws and actions in Singapore under Lee Kwan Yew. I consider the culture of corruption the single biggest impediment to China’s technological and economic development. It is a far greater problem than the usual problems trotted out by the western MSM such as pollution, demographics, etc. It is reasonable that the Chinese leadership would want to tackle this problem. I cannot think of any other way to deal with it that could work on a time scale less than, say, a century or two.

    Any Chinese people reading this want to comment on this?

  66. @songbird
    Since it is Christmastime, as well as saying "Merry Christmas to all!" I'll take this opportunity to satisfy my curiosity on one thing: what is the Christmas situation in Europe?

    In America, it has clearly been under attack for a long time. That is any public aknowledgement. You hear things like "Winter Carnival." People wish you the insipid "Happy Holidays!". The TV specials they put out now seem obviously worse. There was one based on "Frozen" a while back and in a very Nordic setting, I believe it had someone with a Menorah.

    One thing I'm wondering about is the Christmas fairs that go back hundreds of years. Have any had their name changed to take out Christmas? What do they say in stores? Merry Christmas?

    I can report that in Sweden no one ever stopped saying God Jul (literally Good Yule), and it’s prominently displayed in commercial advertising and on property owned by the state.

    People also say God Helg (literally Good Holiday), but this has always been said and isn’t equivalent to the American expression Happy Holidays.

    Lately there have been some attacks on Saint Lucy’s Day, the festival of light (an important holiday in Scandinavia). This doesn’t have much to do with antipathy to the Christian religion (which is practically extinct in Sweden anyway), but rather the fact that the holiday reminds Mohammedans that they’re physically quite ugly compared to Scandinavians. The ritual involves selecting a teenage girl to play the role of St. Lucy by wearing a crown of candles on her head. Traditionally, the prettiest girl is picked. Obviously not fun for Mohammedan girls who are after all very unattractive.

    Lack of hostility to Christmas in Europe comes down to that fact that there is a lot less Jewish influence in Europe, particularly outside of Britain and France. Mohammedans consider us to be quasi-pagans, but they still consider Jesus Christ to be a prophet. And in any case Mohammedans have close to zero actual influence in Europe other than about making people afraid to draw cartoons of Mohammed.

    The Jews, on the other hand, genuinely hate Jesus Christ, Christmas, and Christianity. Some of them are so demented they refuse to even say the word Christmas.

    The 1st amendment of the US Constitution also offered them a useful bludgeon with which to attack Christmas which doesn’t exist in any European country other than France. Though as far as I know in France everyone still says Joyeux Noel. They also don’t control the media as much in Europe (or department store retailing).

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Obviously absurd - we know America is the country in the world which is most obsessed with Christmas, much more than any country in Europe.

    It's evident from watching any American media, Christmas films and television shows.

    So many people (in Europe) even go to New York for Christmas shopping.

    I'm in Western Europe, Christmas obsession is not American levels, and most people were still buying Christmas gifts this evening - shops just closed a few hours ago (I bought alcohol for my housemates).

    People also buy gifts more modestly than in America (in the extreme case, Americans are buying their children cars for Christmas).

    In Russia, the situation is a little confusing - equivalent traditions of Christmas as you would understand it, were transferred to New Year's.

    , @songbird
    I've heard St. Lucy's Day mentioned before, but you put it in an interesting context. When I went to high school, they had this thing - it was kind of like a beauty contest for guys. There were "talents" on display, and it was for charity - though it did have a prize. Guess based on demo, it was primarily a feminist PC thing, though there were blacks bused in, so that couldn't have helped. I guess even if the Nordic girls predominated, they would not have liked that outcome.
    , @Pericles
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWEYuRDTk8c
  67. @Thorfinnsson
    Best force multiplier is weapons which are not only cheap, but relatively easy to drill men to use. Therefore it's not surprising that the Atlantic Revolutions occurred in the 18th century, when the dominant weapon in land warfare was the bayonet-equipped musket.

    Any group of men could become a formidable fighting force after two months of drilling. Heavy weaponry existed (muzzle loaded artillery firing primitive munitions and cavalry), but wasn't nearly as powerful as it would later become.

    An AK doesn't really multiply the power of an insurgent much more than a bolt action rifle. If you take terrain and training into account, it can even be less useful (bolt action rifle can engage from a much longer range). I'll grant that high explosives offer guerrillas new capabilities that gun powder didn't, but high explosives require sophisticated industry--thus guerrillas never have much.

    Compare this to the previous era of warfare in which mastery in warfare took years of training. Other than spears, a lot of effective weaponry was also quite expensive. In the entire Middle Ages, not a single peasant revolt in Europe was ever successful.

    Now look at what happened in the 19th and 20th centuries. High explosives, modern metallurgy, and hydraulics/pneumatics resulted in the development of quick-firing heavy artillery with the capability of indirect fire. Warfare went from a situation in which most casualties were inflicted by gunfire in the field to one in which two-thirds were inflicted by artillery. To survive the battlefield dominated by artillery (and suppressed by machine guns and breech-loading rifles with smokeless gunpowder), infantry required much more training than it did in the 18th century. The problems of this battlefield later led to tanks and combat aircraft as well.

    So within the space of a century we went from a situation in which guerrillas could quickly and inexpensively raise forces that could credibly challenge state armies to one in which the notion is completely laughable. A good example is the Germans using superheavy siege artillery to destroy Warsaw and squash the Polish Home Army like a bug. And the Poles had carefully husbanded heavy weaponry, received some state support, and were led by professional soldiers.

    What German_reader says is therefore completely true. There is a moral dimension however which is important. At the moral level, weakness is powerful. A good example of this is the collapse of apartheid South Africa. Presently Israel is suffering from the same problem, and who knows where that will end. If your atrocities sufficiently anger other states, you have a problem.

    In the entire Middle Ages, not a single peasant revolt in Europe was ever successful.

    That is not true.

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

    Also several militia armies with pikes were able to defeat armies of professional, armoured knights (Flemish and Swiss). Failure of peasant uprisings specifically probably has just as much to do with poor organisation and leadership.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Touche, though Golden Spurs hardly counts as a peasant revolt. The Flemish militia was well armed, armored, and drilled. They may even have been better equipped than the French. The same was of course even more true of the Swiss halberdiers and pikemen.
  68. @DFH

    In the entire Middle Ages, not a single peasant revolt in Europe was ever successful.
     
    That is not true.

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

    Also several militia armies with pikes were able to defeat armies of professional, armoured knights (Flemish and Swiss). Failure of peasant uprisings specifically probably has just as much to do with poor organisation and leadership.

    Touche, though Golden Spurs hardly counts as a peasant revolt. The Flemish militia was well armed, armored, and drilled. They may even have been better equipped than the French. The same was of course even more true of the Swiss halberdiers and pikemen.

    • Replies: @DFH
    I just checked and you are right about the Flems, I did not realise their militia was so professional, but the Swiss at Morgarten were not well trained or equipped
  69. @Thorfinnsson
    Touche, though Golden Spurs hardly counts as a peasant revolt. The Flemish militia was well armed, armored, and drilled. They may even have been better equipped than the French. The same was of course even more true of the Swiss halberdiers and pikemen.

    I just checked and you are right about the Flems, I did not realise their militia was so professional, but the Swiss at Morgarten were not well trained or equipped

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Peasants don't have halberds, which are fairly expensive for pole-arms. Peasants were lucky to even have metal tools beyond small knives in those days. Pitchforks for instance were made of wood--deep into the 20th century even in many places. I suppose scythes and sickles had metal blades.

    The Hapsburg forces were defeated by a political confederacy commanded by a magistrate who surely came from a wealthy and possibly even literate family (details lost to time). I assume some of the Swiss soldiers were peasants, but they weren't led or equipped by peasants. No idea what sort of training they had, but their leaders at least had enough military sense to pick an ideal site for an ambush and to construct field fortifications.
  70. @songbird
    Since it is Christmastime, as well as saying "Merry Christmas to all!" I'll take this opportunity to satisfy my curiosity on one thing: what is the Christmas situation in Europe?

    In America, it has clearly been under attack for a long time. That is any public aknowledgement. You hear things like "Winter Carnival." People wish you the insipid "Happy Holidays!". The TV specials they put out now seem obviously worse. There was one based on "Frozen" a while back and in a very Nordic setting, I believe it had someone with a Menorah.

    One thing I'm wondering about is the Christmas fairs that go back hundreds of years. Have any had their name changed to take out Christmas? What do they say in stores? Merry Christmas?

    I’ll take this opportunity to satisfy my curiosity on one thing: what is the Christmas situation in Europe?
    In America, it has clearly been under attack for a long time.

    In Russia, the situation is the opposite-the authorities аre introducing the celebration of Christmas, but most people do not understand what kind of holiday Christmas is.

    • Replies: @songbird
    That is interesting. I wonder what the source of the difference is. Soviet legacy, or was it the case in the days of the czars?
  71. @Swarthy Greek
    Belarusian is a dialect and dialects tend to disappear over time. The soviets put a halt to Russian nation building by elevating dialects to the status of language and creating "nations" out of regional identities. Now that the SU is toast and the CPSU no more, Russian nation building can move forward. The death of Belarusian is a fortuitous event to come .

    Belarusian is a dialect and dialects tend to disappear over time. The soviets put a halt to Russian nation building by elevating dialects to the status of language and creating “nations” out of regional identities. Now that the SU is toast and the CPSU no more, Russian nation building can move forward. The death of Belarusian is a fortuitous event to come .

    On the other hand, some Communist attributes are tolerated among some influential elements in the West. Note the level of uncritical support for Ukraine’s Communist drawn boundaries and RFE/RL’s suggestively positive accounts of Tito unlike (as a comparison) Mihailovic.

    • Replies: @Swarthy Greek
    They are not tolerated because of communism per se but because they serve to undermine Russia/ promote multiculturalism /poz /globo homo ideology.
  72. @DFH
    I just checked and you are right about the Flems, I did not realise their militia was so professional, but the Swiss at Morgarten were not well trained or equipped

    Peasants don’t have halberds, which are fairly expensive for pole-arms. Peasants were lucky to even have metal tools beyond small knives in those days. Pitchforks for instance were made of wood–deep into the 20th century even in many places. I suppose scythes and sickles had metal blades.

    The Hapsburg forces were defeated by a political confederacy commanded by a magistrate who surely came from a wealthy and possibly even literate family (details lost to time). I assume some of the Swiss soldiers were peasants, but they weren’t led or equipped by peasants. No idea what sort of training they had, but their leaders at least had enough military sense to pick an ideal site for an ambush and to construct field fortifications.

  73. @Thorfinnsson
    I can report that in Sweden no one ever stopped saying God Jul (literally Good Yule), and it's prominently displayed in commercial advertising and on property owned by the state.

    People also say God Helg (literally Good Holiday), but this has always been said and isn't equivalent to the American expression Happy Holidays.

    Lately there have been some attacks on Saint Lucy's Day, the festival of light (an important holiday in Scandinavia). This doesn't have much to do with antipathy to the Christian religion (which is practically extinct in Sweden anyway), but rather the fact that the holiday reminds Mohammedans that they're physically quite ugly compared to Scandinavians. The ritual involves selecting a teenage girl to play the role of St. Lucy by wearing a crown of candles on her head. Traditionally, the prettiest girl is picked. Obviously not fun for Mohammedan girls who are after all very unattractive.

    Lack of hostility to Christmas in Europe comes down to that fact that there is a lot less Jewish influence in Europe, particularly outside of Britain and France. Mohammedans consider us to be quasi-pagans, but they still consider Jesus Christ to be a prophet. And in any case Mohammedans have close to zero actual influence in Europe other than about making people afraid to draw cartoons of Mohammed.

    The Jews, on the other hand, genuinely hate Jesus Christ, Christmas, and Christianity. Some of them are so demented they refuse to even say the word Christmas.

    The 1st amendment of the US Constitution also offered them a useful bludgeon with which to attack Christmas which doesn't exist in any European country other than France. Though as far as I know in France everyone still says Joyeux Noel. They also don't control the media as much in Europe (or department store retailing).

    Obviously absurd – we know America is the country in the world which is most obsessed with Christmas, much more than any country in Europe.

    It’s evident from watching any American media, Christmas films and television shows.

    So many people (in Europe) even go to New York for Christmas shopping.

    I’m in Western Europe, Christmas obsession is not American levels, and most people were still buying Christmas gifts this evening – shops just closed a few hours ago (I bought alcohol for my housemates).

    People also buy gifts more modestly than in America (in the extreme case, Americans are buying their children cars for Christmas).

    In Russia, the situation is a little confusing – equivalent traditions of Christmas as you would understand it, were transferred to New Year’s.

    • Replies: @songbird
    There is a strange duality in America. Hard to expain.

    On the one hand, Christmas is very profitable. Old Christmas TV specials are ratings hits - they don't have to pay money to produce them, just dust them off. Department stores make virtually all their profit from Christmas shoppers. They sell Christmas decorations way too early and play the music on a continuous loop, so any sane person avoids the stores. Some radio stations play the music continuously too. Lots of places, towns or colleges, put up lights, or trees. Many workplaces have some sort of party.

    But there is something else. The anti-establishment clause has been seized as a weapon, in a way it was never intended to try to push any genuine feeling out of it. To make it insipid and entirely commercial. Real traditions, like having a manger scene in public squares have been destroyed. Even in places, where they wouldn't want to take it down, they are afraid of being sued, so they do.

    It's been pushed out of schools where people used to celebrate it. Some places they will sing Kwanzaa (made up holiday) songs or Hanukkah songs. I did spin a dreidle in elementary school. We had only one half-Jew. Break is called "winter break."

    There's a tradition between Boston and Halifax, Nova Scotia. The people of Nova Scotia donate a tree to commemorate their aid, after the 1917 explosion in Halifax. One year it was called a "winter tree.". The reaction was too strong though . They had the guy who donated it, speaking on camera saying he was angry, so they had to change the name back.
    , @LondonBob
    Puritans didn't celebrate Christmas as much as others, that is why Thanksgiving is so big for them. I would say Christmas is a much bigger event in England, the Americans don't even have Boxing Day.
  74. @songbird
    Since it is Christmastime, as well as saying "Merry Christmas to all!" I'll take this opportunity to satisfy my curiosity on one thing: what is the Christmas situation in Europe?

    In America, it has clearly been under attack for a long time. That is any public aknowledgement. You hear things like "Winter Carnival." People wish you the insipid "Happy Holidays!". The TV specials they put out now seem obviously worse. There was one based on "Frozen" a while back and in a very Nordic setting, I believe it had someone with a Menorah.

    One thing I'm wondering about is the Christmas fairs that go back hundreds of years. Have any had their name changed to take out Christmas? What do they say in stores? Merry Christmas?

    ” I’ll take this opportunity to satisfy my curiosity on one thing: what is the Christmas situation in Europe?

    In Western Europe where I live, Christmas is the same as in America (but not exactly to the same amazing level as the American Christmas, as the scale is more modest).

    In Russia, what Americans mainly do as Christmas – it is New Year.

  75. Lol christcucks, Yule is a Pagan festival & decorating trees is banned in the bible

    • Replies: @DFH
    No-one actually believes in Paganism.
  76. @Anonnu
    Lol christcucks, Yule is a Pagan festival & decorating trees is banned in the bible

    No-one actually believes in Paganism.

    • Replies: @German_reader
    That's true, but not many people in Western Europe today really believe in Christianity either.
    And those who believe in your combination of white nationalism and Catholicism must be a very tiny sect.
    , @Anonnu
    Tell that to the Rodnovor who will shoot you in your face you fat cuck lol

    Christian women would be lured away by Viking men combing their long hair.

    Your christian women are getting fucked by & breeding for everyone and everything but you LOL
  77. @Mikhail

    Belarusian is a dialect and dialects tend to disappear over time. The soviets put a halt to Russian nation building by elevating dialects to the status of language and creating “nations” out of regional identities. Now that the SU is toast and the CPSU no more, Russian nation building can move forward. The death of Belarusian is a fortuitous event to come .
     
    On the other hand, some Communist attributes are tolerated among some influential elements in the West. Note the level of uncritical support for Ukraine's Communist drawn boundaries and RFE/RL's suggestively positive accounts of Tito unlike (as a comparison) Mihailovic.

    They are not tolerated because of communism per se but because they serve to undermine Russia/ promote multiculturalism /poz /globo homo ideology.

    • Replies: @Mikhail
    Keep in mind the number of anti-Russian leaning politically left of center folks.
  78. @DFH
    No-one actually believes in Paganism.

    That’s true, but not many people in Western Europe today really believe in Christianity either.
    And those who believe in your combination of white nationalism and Catholicism must be a very tiny sect.

    • Replies: @Anonnu
    No one gives a fuck about Grey and old western Europe lol the only decent young women there have moved far beyond the bastard son of Mariam & Panthera.
    , @LondonBob
    Most people still believe in God and the church in my upper middle class suburb is packed for all the Christmas services.
  79. @Thorfinnsson
    I can report that in Sweden no one ever stopped saying God Jul (literally Good Yule), and it's prominently displayed in commercial advertising and on property owned by the state.

    People also say God Helg (literally Good Holiday), but this has always been said and isn't equivalent to the American expression Happy Holidays.

    Lately there have been some attacks on Saint Lucy's Day, the festival of light (an important holiday in Scandinavia). This doesn't have much to do with antipathy to the Christian religion (which is practically extinct in Sweden anyway), but rather the fact that the holiday reminds Mohammedans that they're physically quite ugly compared to Scandinavians. The ritual involves selecting a teenage girl to play the role of St. Lucy by wearing a crown of candles on her head. Traditionally, the prettiest girl is picked. Obviously not fun for Mohammedan girls who are after all very unattractive.

    Lack of hostility to Christmas in Europe comes down to that fact that there is a lot less Jewish influence in Europe, particularly outside of Britain and France. Mohammedans consider us to be quasi-pagans, but they still consider Jesus Christ to be a prophet. And in any case Mohammedans have close to zero actual influence in Europe other than about making people afraid to draw cartoons of Mohammed.

    The Jews, on the other hand, genuinely hate Jesus Christ, Christmas, and Christianity. Some of them are so demented they refuse to even say the word Christmas.

    The 1st amendment of the US Constitution also offered them a useful bludgeon with which to attack Christmas which doesn't exist in any European country other than France. Though as far as I know in France everyone still says Joyeux Noel. They also don't control the media as much in Europe (or department store retailing).

    I’ve heard St. Lucy’s Day mentioned before, but you put it in an interesting context. When I went to high school, they had this thing – it was kind of like a beauty contest for guys. There were “talents” on display, and it was for charity – though it did have a prize. Guess based on demo, it was primarily a feminist PC thing, though there were blacks bused in, so that couldn’t have helped. I guess even if the Nordic girls predominated, they would not have liked that outcome.

  80. @Thorfinnsson
    Banks are not able to borrow much more cheaply than anyone else. There are plenty of nonfinancial corporate debt issuers who can borrow at rates lower than the LIBOR (or what the banks themselves get on the regular bond market). Toyota has even issued 30 year bonds with a coupon of...zero.

    Latest LIBOR: https://www.bankrate.com/rates/interest-rates/libor.aspx

    And here you can search for current bonds: https://markets.businessinsider.com/bonds

    Banks can borrow quite cheaply from depositors, but depositors have very good legal guarantees (the government stands behind the deposits, not the banks) and a hell of a lot of flexibility (pretty nice to be able to draw funds from an interest-bearing account on demand!) and thus good reason to lend to banks.

    The government's guarantee of the bank is also only implicit, and not always granted. Bear Stearns was allowed to go to the wolves, and while Lehman Bros was technically rescued the stockholders were basically wiped out. In Germany the Bundesbank's charter does not even authorize it to act as a lender of last resort (unsure about the ECB's charter, but it certainly acts like it's allowed to be a lender of last resort).

    German banks, incidentally, also made plenty of bad loans to the Greeks (and others--I recall various landesbanks getting hosed in the American mortgage backed security markets).

    Germany and France can afford it because it's really not that much money, it's just politically unpopular. The price of bailing out German and French banks (who did take haircuts) was to destroy Greece. No big deal since the Greeks, apparently, deserve it. Or so German voters believe. And it means policymakers never had to admit to being wrong. Everyone wins (other than Greeks)!

    Pressure to loosen regulatory limits (or simply to make imprudent decisions within existing legal limits) is inevitable regardless of the incentive structure for the simple reason that stability by itself breeds risk-taking. The longer an expansion goes on, the more risk-taking there will be as well. Of course incentives can worsen the problem.

    A lot of people think there was some kind of golden era of stability after the Great Depression but before the institution of "neoliberalism"...whatever that is. But this simply isn't true. Financial markets were in fact much more volatile and recessions both more frequent and deeper. There wasn't an event like 07-08, but then that was the first "big one" since 1929-1933.

    Who else is allowed to leverage on their assets the way banks sometimes have done? Some banks before 2008 were doing so at fifty to one. Macron is there as the French banks’ man to organise Eurozone debt mutualisation (ie Germany pays) of toxic loans that greedy (often French) bankers gave to the Italians, who have no intention of fulfilling their obligations, which is why the interest on their bonds has doubled. Italy never intended to fulfill their undertaking of financial disciple that they gave Germany to be allowed in the euro, Andreotti simply fooled them. And Italy is probably too big to bail out.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giulio_Andreotti#European_Union_negotiations

    https://www.cfr.org/article/does-italy-threaten-new-european-debt-crisis

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Nonfinancial businesses have considerably more freedom to take on leverage than banks do, other than a few regulated sectors like North American electric utilities (which are still under far less scrutiny than banks in this department). An ordinary corporation is free to take on as much debt as it likes, whereas banks must meet strict capital requirements.

    What's unique about banks is that they can create money. However, the catch is that they only create money when they extend credit, and the money is destroyed when a loan is repaid.

    Italy's fiscal deficit is no worse than that of France. The Stability and Growth Pact has always been a sham and is only enforced when countries engage in the sin of "populism".

    Latest yield on Italian 10 year bonds is 2.83%: https://www.bloomberg.com/quote/GBTPGR10:IND

    Clearly the market doesn't believe the sky is falling.
  81. @German_reader
    German media sometimes run stories about how multiculti fanatics have supposedly renamed Christmas into Lichterfest (festival of lights), but tbh that seems exaggerated to me and I can't confirm it from own experience.
    People in general do refer to Christmas openly; went to the baker today, and overheard even the Turkish shop assistant wishing a customer Frohe Weihnachten.
    Our asshole president also talks explicitly about Christmas in his Christmas speech:
    http://www.bundespraesident.de/SharedDocs/Reden/DE/Frank-Walter-Steinmeier/Reden/2017/12/171225-Weihnachtsansprache-2017.html

    So no, I don't think there can be any talk of a "war on Christmas" in Germany. Of course it has lost much of its religous significance though, with the increasing de-Christianization of German society.

    I don’t have a lot of firsthand knowledge – but I sometimes think the approach is a bit different in Europe because it is more embedded in the culture. Seems to me they are trying to deconstruct it there – to fill it full of Muslims, queer couples, Hindus, and racially-mixed couples.

    I don’t know maybe it is just their impulse to virtue signal and be inclusive, or a globalist push to commercialize it everywhere. Sell greetings cards in India and plastic snowmen.

    • Replies: @German_reader
    Most European countries basically have state churches, that's a rather different situation from the US with its separation of state and church.
    It's not necessarily positive from my point of view (churches in Germany are among the main supporters of the Merkel regime), but it makes a "war on Christmas" somewhat harder.
    Maybe things will change...recently there was some outcry over a CDU politician responsible for migration and refugees, a Catholic CDU woman...who went out of her way not to mention Christmas in her Christmas greetings ("Whatever you believe in, we're wishing you happy holidays"). That was perceived as bowing to Islam by many, with even normally cucky CDU people protesting.
    But on the whole, I don't see much conscious animosity towards Christmas.
  82. @iffen
    My question was based upon the fact that for 20-30 years they replaced scholarship with right think with no apparent long term harm.

    with no apparent long term harm.

    It is a police state. Compared to Russia, I don’t know.

  83. @songbird
    I don't have a lot of firsthand knowledge - but I sometimes think the approach is a bit different in Europe because it is more embedded in the culture. Seems to me they are trying to deconstruct it there - to fill it full of Muslims, queer couples, Hindus, and racially-mixed couples.

    I don't know maybe it is just their impulse to virtue signal and be inclusive, or a globalist push to commercialize it everywhere. Sell greetings cards in India and plastic snowmen.

    Most European countries basically have state churches, that’s a rather different situation from the US with its separation of state and church.
    It’s not necessarily positive from my point of view (churches in Germany are among the main supporters of the Merkel regime), but it makes a “war on Christmas” somewhat harder.
    Maybe things will change…recently there was some outcry over a CDU politician responsible for migration and refugees, a Catholic CDU woman…who went out of her way not to mention Christmas in her Christmas greetings (“Whatever you believe in, we’re wishing you happy holidays”). That was perceived as bowing to Islam by many, with even normally cucky CDU people protesting.
    But on the whole, I don’t see much conscious animosity towards Christmas.

  84. Merry Christmas everyone!

  85. @Dmitry
    Obviously absurd - we know America is the country in the world which is most obsessed with Christmas, much more than any country in Europe.

    It's evident from watching any American media, Christmas films and television shows.

    So many people (in Europe) even go to New York for Christmas shopping.

    I'm in Western Europe, Christmas obsession is not American levels, and most people were still buying Christmas gifts this evening - shops just closed a few hours ago (I bought alcohol for my housemates).

    People also buy gifts more modestly than in America (in the extreme case, Americans are buying their children cars for Christmas).

    In Russia, the situation is a little confusing - equivalent traditions of Christmas as you would understand it, were transferred to New Year's.

    There is a strange duality in America. Hard to expain.

    On the one hand, Christmas is very profitable. Old Christmas TV specials are ratings hits – they don’t have to pay money to produce them, just dust them off. Department stores make virtually all their profit from Christmas shoppers. They sell Christmas decorations way too early and play the music on a continuous loop, so any sane person avoids the stores. Some radio stations play the music continuously too. Lots of places, towns or colleges, put up lights, or trees. Many workplaces have some sort of party.

    But there is something else. The anti-establishment clause has been seized as a weapon, in a way it was never intended to try to push any genuine feeling out of it. To make it insipid and entirely commercial. Real traditions, like having a manger scene in public squares have been destroyed. Even in places, where they wouldn’t want to take it down, they are afraid of being sued, so they do.

    It’s been pushed out of schools where people used to celebrate it. Some places they will sing Kwanzaa (made up holiday) songs or Hanukkah songs. I did spin a dreidle in elementary school. We had only one half-Jew. Break is called “winter break.”

    There’s a tradition between Boston and Halifax, Nova Scotia. The people of Nova Scotia donate a tree to commemorate their aid, after the 1917 explosion in Halifax. One year it was called a “winter tree.”. The reaction was too strong though . They had the guy who donated it, speaking on camera saying he was angry, so they had to change the name back.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    North America is highly religious (compared to Europe).

    Probably, Christmas has much more religious significance in America (as well as the capitalist significance). It's possible it became less religious in the last years, but it still has a religious sentiment (including in the films and television).

    In West Europe, it is generally more secular by comparison to America, so Christmas is a religious festival for only a minority.

    In Russia, the whole situation is different again. Most traditions which you think as being "like Christmas", it's still here - but they are for New Year.

    For example, in America and Western Europe, "Santa Claus" gives gifts to children overnight on Christmas evening (he is flying in the air tonight).

    But in Russia, grandfather frost is giving gifts - for New Year's.

    , @Dmitry

    . One year it was called a “winter tree.”. The reaction was too strong though .
     
    Lol it's almost how you would say it in Russian - "New Year fir-tree".

    Anyway the important thing is to buy a live tree, or at least if artificial, then not one which is pink.
  86. @Sean
    Who else is allowed to leverage on their assets the way banks sometimes have done? Some banks before 2008 were doing so at fifty to one. Macron is there as the French banks' man to organise Eurozone debt mutualisation (ie Germany pays) of toxic loans that greedy (often French) bankers gave to the Italians, who have no intention of fulfilling their obligations, which is why the interest on their bonds has doubled. Italy never intended to fulfill their undertaking of financial disciple that they gave Germany to be allowed in the euro, Andreotti simply fooled them. And Italy is probably too big to bail out.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giulio_Andreotti#European_Union_negotiations

    https://www.cfr.org/article/does-italy-threaten-new-european-debt-crisis

    Nonfinancial businesses have considerably more freedom to take on leverage than banks do, other than a few regulated sectors like North American electric utilities (which are still under far less scrutiny than banks in this department). An ordinary corporation is free to take on as much debt as it likes, whereas banks must meet strict capital requirements.

    What’s unique about banks is that they can create money. However, the catch is that they only create money when they extend credit, and the money is destroyed when a loan is repaid.

    Italy’s fiscal deficit is no worse than that of France. The Stability and Growth Pact has always been a sham and is only enforced when countries engage in the sin of “populism”.

    Latest yield on Italian 10 year bonds is 2.83%: https://www.bloomberg.com/quote/GBTPGR10:IND

    Clearly the market doesn’t believe the sky is falling.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Capital requirements are just cash though. Whereas nonfinancial businesses typically have to put up its real assets as collateral to leverage.
    , @Sean
    The market thinks that Germany cannot afford to have Italian banks collapse and bring the European system of Germany down.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/european-bank-runs-and-failure-of-credit-anstalt-in-1931-2012-5?r=US&IR=T
    A recession turned into the Great Depression when France refused to help Germany over the Credit Anstalt bank failure. The international relations context is the key.

  87. @Thorfinnsson
    Best force multiplier is weapons which are not only cheap, but relatively easy to drill men to use. Therefore it's not surprising that the Atlantic Revolutions occurred in the 18th century, when the dominant weapon in land warfare was the bayonet-equipped musket.

    Any group of men could become a formidable fighting force after two months of drilling. Heavy weaponry existed (muzzle loaded artillery firing primitive munitions and cavalry), but wasn't nearly as powerful as it would later become.

    An AK doesn't really multiply the power of an insurgent much more than a bolt action rifle. If you take terrain and training into account, it can even be less useful (bolt action rifle can engage from a much longer range). I'll grant that high explosives offer guerrillas new capabilities that gun powder didn't, but high explosives require sophisticated industry--thus guerrillas never have much.

    Compare this to the previous era of warfare in which mastery in warfare took years of training. Other than spears, a lot of effective weaponry was also quite expensive. In the entire Middle Ages, not a single peasant revolt in Europe was ever successful.

    Now look at what happened in the 19th and 20th centuries. High explosives, modern metallurgy, and hydraulics/pneumatics resulted in the development of quick-firing heavy artillery with the capability of indirect fire. Warfare went from a situation in which most casualties were inflicted by gunfire in the field to one in which two-thirds were inflicted by artillery. To survive the battlefield dominated by artillery (and suppressed by machine guns and breech-loading rifles with smokeless gunpowder), infantry required much more training than it did in the 18th century. The problems of this battlefield later led to tanks and combat aircraft as well.

    So within the space of a century we went from a situation in which guerrillas could quickly and inexpensively raise forces that could credibly challenge state armies to one in which the notion is completely laughable. A good example is the Germans using superheavy siege artillery to destroy Warsaw and squash the Polish Home Army like a bug. And the Poles had carefully husbanded heavy weaponry, received some state support, and were led by professional soldiers.

    What German_reader says is therefore completely true. There is a moral dimension however which is important. At the moral level, weakness is powerful. A good example of this is the collapse of apartheid South Africa. Presently Israel is suffering from the same problem, and who knows where that will end. If your atrocities sufficiently anger other states, you have a problem.

    IMO, the Boers’ real mistake was that they started with a paternalistic attitude toward blacks. There was therefore a moral dimension implicit in their attitude, even under Apartheid, when they had huge hospitals for blacks. The result was that the black population exploded. This made the situation untenable.

    They had a good military. They could have withdrawn to a defensible border, along the Western Cape, where blacks don’t even have much of a rational claim, since the land is arid. But that was impossible because they hadn’t gone to egalitarianism from scratch, but from paternalism to egalitarianism. Of course, there were many cucked whites who probably would have foiled any such attempt anyway.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Their blacks weren't wards of the state--they were employed and paid taxes. The unemployment under apartheid was quite low, especially before 1985:

    https://i2.wp.com/www.rollingalpha.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/southafrica-unemployment.gif

    Restricting black population growth would've required excluding them from the economy or undertaking specific measures to reduce their population growth (the Botha government studied this option, but never did anything about it).

    The security situation was manageable and could be compared to the two Intifadas or the Troubles.

    What was harder to manage was the deteriorating economic and diplomatic situation, though it wasn't impossible.
  88. @Thorfinnsson
    Nonfinancial businesses have considerably more freedom to take on leverage than banks do, other than a few regulated sectors like North American electric utilities (which are still under far less scrutiny than banks in this department). An ordinary corporation is free to take on as much debt as it likes, whereas banks must meet strict capital requirements.

    What's unique about banks is that they can create money. However, the catch is that they only create money when they extend credit, and the money is destroyed when a loan is repaid.

    Italy's fiscal deficit is no worse than that of France. The Stability and Growth Pact has always been a sham and is only enforced when countries engage in the sin of "populism".

    Latest yield on Italian 10 year bonds is 2.83%: https://www.bloomberg.com/quote/GBTPGR10:IND

    Clearly the market doesn't believe the sky is falling.

    Capital requirements are just cash though. Whereas nonfinancial businesses typically have to put up its real assets as collateral to leverage.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    You don't think cash is a real asset?

    And in any case that simply isn't true.

    Most bond issues aren't covered (secured) at all. Bond holders who suffer default can of course sue, and they are senior to equity owners in bankruptcy. But there's usually no underlying asset tied to the bond at all. Covered bonds do exist of course, and are more commonly issued by junk borrowers.

    Businesses typically also maintain unsecured lines of credit with banks, although those with greater financing needs will mortgage assets to gain access to a larger secured line of credit (e.g. Tesla has floated the possibility of mortgaging its Fremont assembly plant).
  89. @Swarthy Greek
    They are not tolerated because of communism per se but because they serve to undermine Russia/ promote multiculturalism /poz /globo homo ideology.

    Keep in mind the number of anti-Russian leaning politically left of center folks.

  90. @songbird
    IMO, the Boers' real mistake was that they started with a paternalistic attitude toward blacks. There was therefore a moral dimension implicit in their attitude, even under Apartheid, when they had huge hospitals for blacks. The result was that the black population exploded. This made the situation untenable.

    They had a good military. They could have withdrawn to a defensible border, along the Western Cape, where blacks don't even have much of a rational claim, since the land is arid. But that was impossible because they hadn't gone to egalitarianism from scratch, but from paternalism to egalitarianism. Of course, there were many cucked whites who probably would have foiled any such attempt anyway.

    Their blacks weren’t wards of the state–they were employed and paid taxes. The unemployment under apartheid was quite low, especially before 1985:

    Restricting black population growth would’ve required excluding them from the economy or undertaking specific measures to reduce their population growth (the Botha government studied this option, but never did anything about it).

    The security situation was manageable and could be compared to the two Intifadas or the Troubles.

    What was harder to manage was the deteriorating economic and diplomatic situation, though it wasn’t impossible.

  91. @Anonymous
    Capital requirements are just cash though. Whereas nonfinancial businesses typically have to put up its real assets as collateral to leverage.

    You don’t think cash is a real asset?

    And in any case that simply isn’t true.

    Most bond issues aren’t covered (secured) at all. Bond holders who suffer default can of course sue, and they are senior to equity owners in bankruptcy. But there’s usually no underlying asset tied to the bond at all. Covered bonds do exist of course, and are more commonly issued by junk borrowers.

    Businesses typically also maintain unsecured lines of credit with banks, although those with greater financing needs will mortgage assets to gain access to a larger secured line of credit (e.g. Tesla has floated the possibility of mortgaging its Fremont assembly plant).

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Cash is obviously a real asset. My point was that nonfinancial businesses have less liquid capital assets that can be quite specialized and heterogeneous and thus difficult to value and worth much less outside the firm.
  92. @melanf

    I’ll take this opportunity to satisfy my curiosity on one thing: what is the Christmas situation in Europe?
    In America, it has clearly been under attack for a long time.
     
    In Russia, the situation is the opposite-the authorities аre introducing the celebration of Christmas, but most people do not understand what kind of holiday Christmas is.

    That is interesting. I wonder what the source of the difference is. Soviet legacy, or was it the case in the days of the czars?

    • Replies: @melanf

    That is interesting. I wonder what the source of the difference is. Soviet legacy, or was it the case in the days of the czars?
     
    In the old days, Christmas was the main holiday of the year with fist fights, massive drinking , caroling children (as in America on Halloween), etc., etc., In Soviet times, the main celebration was attended the New Year and Christmas traditions have been forgotten. And the Church's attempt to revive Christmas as a boring religious holiday (in an absolutely non-religious country) naturally did not have much success.
    , @reiner Tor
    The Orthodox Christmas is in early January anyway due to the Julian calendar.
  93. @songbird
    There is a strange duality in America. Hard to expain.

    On the one hand, Christmas is very profitable. Old Christmas TV specials are ratings hits - they don't have to pay money to produce them, just dust them off. Department stores make virtually all their profit from Christmas shoppers. They sell Christmas decorations way too early and play the music on a continuous loop, so any sane person avoids the stores. Some radio stations play the music continuously too. Lots of places, towns or colleges, put up lights, or trees. Many workplaces have some sort of party.

    But there is something else. The anti-establishment clause has been seized as a weapon, in a way it was never intended to try to push any genuine feeling out of it. To make it insipid and entirely commercial. Real traditions, like having a manger scene in public squares have been destroyed. Even in places, where they wouldn't want to take it down, they are afraid of being sued, so they do.

    It's been pushed out of schools where people used to celebrate it. Some places they will sing Kwanzaa (made up holiday) songs or Hanukkah songs. I did spin a dreidle in elementary school. We had only one half-Jew. Break is called "winter break."

    There's a tradition between Boston and Halifax, Nova Scotia. The people of Nova Scotia donate a tree to commemorate their aid, after the 1917 explosion in Halifax. One year it was called a "winter tree.". The reaction was too strong though . They had the guy who donated it, speaking on camera saying he was angry, so they had to change the name back.

    North America is highly religious (compared to Europe).

    Probably, Christmas has much more religious significance in America (as well as the capitalist significance). It’s possible it became less religious in the last years, but it still has a religious sentiment (including in the films and television).

    In West Europe, it is generally more secular by comparison to America, so Christmas is a religious festival for only a minority.

    In Russia, the whole situation is different again. Most traditions which you think as being “like Christmas”, it’s still here – but they are for New Year.

    For example, in America and Western Europe, “Santa Claus” gives gifts to children overnight on Christmas evening (he is flying in the air tonight).

    But in Russia, grandfather frost is giving gifts – for New Year’s.

  94. @Thorfinnsson
    You don't think cash is a real asset?

    And in any case that simply isn't true.

    Most bond issues aren't covered (secured) at all. Bond holders who suffer default can of course sue, and they are senior to equity owners in bankruptcy. But there's usually no underlying asset tied to the bond at all. Covered bonds do exist of course, and are more commonly issued by junk borrowers.

    Businesses typically also maintain unsecured lines of credit with banks, although those with greater financing needs will mortgage assets to gain access to a larger secured line of credit (e.g. Tesla has floated the possibility of mortgaging its Fremont assembly plant).

    Cash is obviously a real asset. My point was that nonfinancial businesses have less liquid capital assets that can be quite specialized and heterogeneous and thus difficult to value and worth much less outside the firm.

  95. @songbird
    There is a strange duality in America. Hard to expain.

    On the one hand, Christmas is very profitable. Old Christmas TV specials are ratings hits - they don't have to pay money to produce them, just dust them off. Department stores make virtually all their profit from Christmas shoppers. They sell Christmas decorations way too early and play the music on a continuous loop, so any sane person avoids the stores. Some radio stations play the music continuously too. Lots of places, towns or colleges, put up lights, or trees. Many workplaces have some sort of party.

    But there is something else. The anti-establishment clause has been seized as a weapon, in a way it was never intended to try to push any genuine feeling out of it. To make it insipid and entirely commercial. Real traditions, like having a manger scene in public squares have been destroyed. Even in places, where they wouldn't want to take it down, they are afraid of being sued, so they do.

    It's been pushed out of schools where people used to celebrate it. Some places they will sing Kwanzaa (made up holiday) songs or Hanukkah songs. I did spin a dreidle in elementary school. We had only one half-Jew. Break is called "winter break."

    There's a tradition between Boston and Halifax, Nova Scotia. The people of Nova Scotia donate a tree to commemorate their aid, after the 1917 explosion in Halifax. One year it was called a "winter tree.". The reaction was too strong though . They had the guy who donated it, speaking on camera saying he was angry, so they had to change the name back.

    . One year it was called a “winter tree.”. The reaction was too strong though .

    Lol it’s almost how you would say it in Russian – “New Year fir-tree”.

    Anyway the important thing is to buy a live tree, or at least if artificial, then not one which is pink.

    • Replies: @songbird
    I used to like real trees, but have you have thrown a pine branch into a campfire? They say if a Christmas tree catches fire, you don't have a chance. Being in a confined space, the heat instantly cooks you. I don't know if it is an urban legend. What would it take - the much vaunted and somewhat rare thunder snow (lightning in a winterstorm)? And how likely is it with a waterbowl?

    If I lived out in the country, I'd probably set one up outside and see how easy it would be to light on fire with a waterbowl.

    Maybe there is some way to do a calculation with cubic feet of air. But, then again, if you live in a wooden house, maybe there is not much point in that. I once heard someone make a funny stereotype about Germans: they are crazy about fire because so few have wooden houses.
  96. @Stolen Valor Detective
    Some tentative theses on armed conflict, geopolitics and history I'd be curious to hear people's thoughts on. These apply to conflict from the point of a view of a state post-1648 and 1789; the dynamics of pre-state warfare and pre-modern imperialism are very different.

    1) Defense has remained consistently more cost-effective than offense. (Speaking here in a more tactical sense, but I will argue that this is true in terms of diplomacy/geopolitics as well.) Notably evident in the Napoleonic Wars, the American Civil War, World War 1, the Winter War, World War 2 and the Korean War. For whatever combination of factors like supply lines, fortification and a status quo bias favoring the defender, armed forces seem to be multiplied in effectiveness ceteris paribus when fighting on defense instead of offense. A particularly extreme, but I think still illustrative, example of this would be the Winter War, in which Finland, despite its much, much smaller population and industrial capacity, was able to inflict highly disproportionate casualties and fluster Soviet forces for several months. It takes a significant preponderance in terms of quality and/or quantity to be confident that an offensive operation will succeed.


    2) Wars often turn out to be more costly and less successful than their proponents predict they will be. Napoleon’s invasions of Spain and Russia, the US’s attempt to prevent CS succession (to some extent on both sides), Britain’s suppression of the Boer Rebellion, French, German, British and Russian plans in World War 1, Japan’s attack on the US, Hitler’s invasion of Russia, North Korea’s invasion of South Korea, the Vietnam War, the invasion of Canada in the War of 1812, Saddam’s invasion of Iran, the Iraq War, etc.. As Scott Alexander has noted, it seems like almost necessarily at least one side in a conflict has to be miscalculating. (You can probably challenge that in terms of game theory, but I feel like it's still probably basically true.)


    3) Wars aimed at profoundly changing the balance of power often fail because the conflict draws in other parties who tend to favor the status quo antebellum. In the War of Spanish Succession and the Napoleonic Wars, French attempts to establish a hegemonic position on the continent failed because non-French powers formed coalitions against France. Saddam Hussein didn’t get much if any foreign support for his invasion of Iran, but once the tide turned and an Iranian takeover of Iraq seemed plausible, Iraq began receiving a lot more aid from foreign powers, including the US. However, this aid was conditional on seeking a stalemate, not accomplishment of Iraq’s initial objectives. The North Korean invasion of South Korea failed after a US led coalition turned back communist forces...and then the US invasion of the north to reunify Korea failed because it provoked Chinese intervention. The perception in both 1914 and 1939 that Germany was in a position to become a continental hegemon incited the intervention of the Anglo-Saxon powers, in various degrees, in favor of the French and Russian side. (Oversimplifying the details here, but I think the core geopolitical conflict is as I described.)


    4) Wars against foreign insurgents/guerillas---what Martin van Creveld calls “low intensity conflicts” in the Transformation of War--- have a not great track record of succeeding, despite the many advantages that counter-insurgent forces would seem to have. If they do succeed, at least in the short term, like the British in the Boer War, it tends to be much, much more difficult than anyone would expect given the balance of forces. Like democratic peace theory, I don’t think the important thing is to say “this has literally never happened ever,” but rather that it seems like a true and important fact that this quite rarely ever happens. The French in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars, the British in the US during the American Revolution, the Germans in Eastern and Southeastern Europe during World War 2, the French in Vietnam, the French in Algeria, the US in Vietnam, the Soviets in Afghanistan, the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are a lot of cases like the Syrian government’s crushing of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1982 where I’m not sure how the conflict should be classified, though.


    5) The “positive” benefits of victory in war, particularly from the perspective of ordinary citizens, are often hard to identify. (This is in contrast to “negative” benefits that come from not losing the war, if that makes sense.) Consider, for instance, the Spanish-American War. Did American rule in the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico and various smaller islands really profoundly improve America’s geopolitical position or economy the way that hawks like Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge thought it would? An important corollary here is my view that empire is a source of weakness, not a source of strength. There is no reason, as far as I can tell based on the evidence of economic history, to suppose that empire makes a modern nation wealthier than it could be without empire. Britain had a gigantic global empire in 1914, yet its per capita GDP was pretty comparable to those of small, non-imperial nations like Switzerland and Sweden. In my view, the key source of geopolitical power in the modern world is having a homeland of loyal citizens that are numerous, high-IQ and genuinely committed to some sort of nation/tribe/project. Empire does NOT contribute to this. Strip away the empire but leave that, as with Germany after WW1, and you don’t really reduce a nation’s fundamental power.


    6) To expand on empire being a source of weakness: It’s often easier to undermine an empire through Lawrence of Arabia style shenanigans than it is to defend one. Don’t underestimate the power both in terms of rhetoric/ideology and in terms of military pragmatism of being on the anti-imperial side. Try to stick your enemy with the burden of empire, rather than carrying it yourself. Look at, for instance, how much more successful supporting anti-Soviet rebels in Afghanistan was for the US than fighting anti-American rebels in Vietnam. The US should have simply supported free elections and decolonization in Vietnam after WW2---even if the communists were to take power and overthrow democracy. If authoritarian rule and the various miseries of the common people could not possibly be blamed on the US/capitalism, but instead had to be laid at the feet of the Vietnamese government/communism, it would inevitably generate popular opposition to communism and the ruling government. It’s so much easier to condemn and support opposition to an authoritarian/foreign government than it is to actually rule. Thus, I think, somewhat paradoxically, that the more foreign territory that a nation has to hold on to, the weaker a position it’s in. As Professor Erica Chenoweth’s research has shown, violent regime change has a poor track record in terms of stability and democratization. Non-violent resistance has been the source of the vast majority of democratic transitions across the globe.

    Here is the significance that I think this has for US foreign policy/grand strategy. The US should generally try to avoid fighting wars. It should especially try to avoid fighting wars of aggression, anti-guerrilla wars, wars with other major powers “on their turf” in terms of supply lines and wars aimed at fundamentally changing the geopolitical status quo in some way. While I certainly would be willing to challenge these as well, these are to be distinguished from defensive wars, conventional wars, wars where the supply lines of the US and its allies are shorter than those of the enemy and wars with the aim of restoring the status quo antebellum. Wars meeting these latter conditions, like the Gulf War and the Korean War (excluding the invasion of the north), are I think considerably more likely to be successful than the former ones. Insofar as the US supports promoting democracy internationally, this is most likely going to happen through economic development, education and mass non-violent protests, not military regime change. Humanitarian intervention is more complicated---I think there are cases where it can work, like fighting ISIS, but it ought to be in response to an ongoing atrocity and aimed at defensively creating safe zones rather than overthrowing governments. It’s really, really difficult to build an effective and legitimate state out of nothing, especially when there is ethno-religious conflict, as we’ve seen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    US is already doing that. What sort of liberation are the morons of Maidan looking for? No, they are merely fighting a proxy war against Russia, for the benefit of Russia’s most significant enemy. On the other front, Americans are getting Vietnam and Korea to stave China’s march to their East. Even the morons living in Taiwan are ready to die for what is essentially America’s strategic interest.

  97. @Stolen Valor Detective
    Some tentative theses on armed conflict, geopolitics and history I'd be curious to hear people's thoughts on. These apply to conflict from the point of a view of a state post-1648 and 1789; the dynamics of pre-state warfare and pre-modern imperialism are very different.

    1) Defense has remained consistently more cost-effective than offense. (Speaking here in a more tactical sense, but I will argue that this is true in terms of diplomacy/geopolitics as well.) Notably evident in the Napoleonic Wars, the American Civil War, World War 1, the Winter War, World War 2 and the Korean War. For whatever combination of factors like supply lines, fortification and a status quo bias favoring the defender, armed forces seem to be multiplied in effectiveness ceteris paribus when fighting on defense instead of offense. A particularly extreme, but I think still illustrative, example of this would be the Winter War, in which Finland, despite its much, much smaller population and industrial capacity, was able to inflict highly disproportionate casualties and fluster Soviet forces for several months. It takes a significant preponderance in terms of quality and/or quantity to be confident that an offensive operation will succeed.


    2) Wars often turn out to be more costly and less successful than their proponents predict they will be. Napoleon’s invasions of Spain and Russia, the US’s attempt to prevent CS succession (to some extent on both sides), Britain’s suppression of the Boer Rebellion, French, German, British and Russian plans in World War 1, Japan’s attack on the US, Hitler’s invasion of Russia, North Korea’s invasion of South Korea, the Vietnam War, the invasion of Canada in the War of 1812, Saddam’s invasion of Iran, the Iraq War, etc.. As Scott Alexander has noted, it seems like almost necessarily at least one side in a conflict has to be miscalculating. (You can probably challenge that in terms of game theory, but I feel like it's still probably basically true.)


    3) Wars aimed at profoundly changing the balance of power often fail because the conflict draws in other parties who tend to favor the status quo antebellum. In the War of Spanish Succession and the Napoleonic Wars, French attempts to establish a hegemonic position on the continent failed because non-French powers formed coalitions against France. Saddam Hussein didn’t get much if any foreign support for his invasion of Iran, but once the tide turned and an Iranian takeover of Iraq seemed plausible, Iraq began receiving a lot more aid from foreign powers, including the US. However, this aid was conditional on seeking a stalemate, not accomplishment of Iraq’s initial objectives. The North Korean invasion of South Korea failed after a US led coalition turned back communist forces...and then the US invasion of the north to reunify Korea failed because it provoked Chinese intervention. The perception in both 1914 and 1939 that Germany was in a position to become a continental hegemon incited the intervention of the Anglo-Saxon powers, in various degrees, in favor of the French and Russian side. (Oversimplifying the details here, but I think the core geopolitical conflict is as I described.)


    4) Wars against foreign insurgents/guerillas---what Martin van Creveld calls “low intensity conflicts” in the Transformation of War--- have a not great track record of succeeding, despite the many advantages that counter-insurgent forces would seem to have. If they do succeed, at least in the short term, like the British in the Boer War, it tends to be much, much more difficult than anyone would expect given the balance of forces. Like democratic peace theory, I don’t think the important thing is to say “this has literally never happened ever,” but rather that it seems like a true and important fact that this quite rarely ever happens. The French in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars, the British in the US during the American Revolution, the Germans in Eastern and Southeastern Europe during World War 2, the French in Vietnam, the French in Algeria, the US in Vietnam, the Soviets in Afghanistan, the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are a lot of cases like the Syrian government’s crushing of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1982 where I’m not sure how the conflict should be classified, though.


    5) The “positive” benefits of victory in war, particularly from the perspective of ordinary citizens, are often hard to identify. (This is in contrast to “negative” benefits that come from not losing the war, if that makes sense.) Consider, for instance, the Spanish-American War. Did American rule in the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico and various smaller islands really profoundly improve America’s geopolitical position or economy the way that hawks like Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge thought it would? An important corollary here is my view that empire is a source of weakness, not a source of strength. There is no reason, as far as I can tell based on the evidence of economic history, to suppose that empire makes a modern nation wealthier than it could be without empire. Britain had a gigantic global empire in 1914, yet its per capita GDP was pretty comparable to those of small, non-imperial nations like Switzerland and Sweden. In my view, the key source of geopolitical power in the modern world is having a homeland of loyal citizens that are numerous, high-IQ and genuinely committed to some sort of nation/tribe/project. Empire does NOT contribute to this. Strip away the empire but leave that, as with Germany after WW1, and you don’t really reduce a nation’s fundamental power.


    6) To expand on empire being a source of weakness: It’s often easier to undermine an empire through Lawrence of Arabia style shenanigans than it is to defend one. Don’t underestimate the power both in terms of rhetoric/ideology and in terms of military pragmatism of being on the anti-imperial side. Try to stick your enemy with the burden of empire, rather than carrying it yourself. Look at, for instance, how much more successful supporting anti-Soviet rebels in Afghanistan was for the US than fighting anti-American rebels in Vietnam. The US should have simply supported free elections and decolonization in Vietnam after WW2---even if the communists were to take power and overthrow democracy. If authoritarian rule and the various miseries of the common people could not possibly be blamed on the US/capitalism, but instead had to be laid at the feet of the Vietnamese government/communism, it would inevitably generate popular opposition to communism and the ruling government. It’s so much easier to condemn and support opposition to an authoritarian/foreign government than it is to actually rule. Thus, I think, somewhat paradoxically, that the more foreign territory that a nation has to hold on to, the weaker a position it’s in. As Professor Erica Chenoweth’s research has shown, violent regime change has a poor track record in terms of stability and democratization. Non-violent resistance has been the source of the vast majority of democratic transitions across the globe.

    Here is the significance that I think this has for US foreign policy/grand strategy. The US should generally try to avoid fighting wars. It should especially try to avoid fighting wars of aggression, anti-guerrilla wars, wars with other major powers “on their turf” in terms of supply lines and wars aimed at fundamentally changing the geopolitical status quo in some way. While I certainly would be willing to challenge these as well, these are to be distinguished from defensive wars, conventional wars, wars where the supply lines of the US and its allies are shorter than those of the enemy and wars with the aim of restoring the status quo antebellum. Wars meeting these latter conditions, like the Gulf War and the Korean War (excluding the invasion of the north), are I think considerably more likely to be successful than the former ones. Insofar as the US supports promoting democracy internationally, this is most likely going to happen through economic development, education and mass non-violent protests, not military regime change. Humanitarian intervention is more complicated---I think there are cases where it can work, like fighting ISIS, but it ought to be in response to an ongoing atrocity and aimed at defensively creating safe zones rather than overthrowing governments. It’s really, really difficult to build an effective and legitimate state out of nothing, especially when there is ethno-religious conflict, as we’ve seen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    This is quite sound up until points five and six, even if I agree with German_reader’s point that insurgencies can be crushed by a sufficiently ruthless occupier.

    After that it runs off the rails.

    Consider, for instance, the Spanish-American War. Did American rule in the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico and various smaller islands really profoundly improve America’s geopolitical position or economy the way that hawks like Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge thought it would?

    American rule over Cuba (strictly speaking Cuba was only a protectorate), Porto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands (acquired from Denmark in 1917) improved America’s geopolitical position by protecting the Atlantic approaches to the Panama Canal.

    The Panama Canal was important to American security in the prewar period, as in that era the US didn’t having overwhelming naval dominance. Thus it was essential to have the capability to rapidly move fleets between the Atlantic to the Pacific.

    Even today geography is vitally important in naval affairs, but consider the state of technology from 1898-1917. Aircraft a novelty lacking range and payload, radar not yet invented, and certainly there were no satellites. In this period Britain and Germany had the capability to attack the Panama Canal, yet America had no basing in the Atlantic approaches to the Canal.

    And yes, I realize the Panama Canal did not open until 1914, but the USA was already planning a canal even before the Spanish-American War.

    As for the Philippines, probably it weakened America’s strategic position by drawing it into conflict with Japan. But on the other hand you can argue this was a success, since Japan was destroyed and eliminated as a strategic competitor. The US thus gained complete dominance over the entire Pacific Ocean.

    There is no reason, as far as I can tell based on the evidence of economic history, to suppose that empire makes a modern nation wealthier than it could be without empire. Britain had a gigantic global empire in 1914, yet its per capita GDP was pretty comparable to those of small, non-imperial nations like Switzerland and Sweden.

    There’s three problems with this.

    1 – It’s actually an untrue statement, see below:

    Britain had a higher per capita GDP than every other country in Europe and was second in the world.

    2 – Per capita GDP is a misleading guide to the benefits of empire. You’d be better off with per capita GNI, because profits which flow to the metropole from the empire are not part of the metropole’s domestic production.

    3 – While the per capita GDP of the United Kingdom may not have improved as a result of the British Empire, the total economic output controlled by Britain certainly did. In fact the rest of the British Empire at the time had roughly the same economic output as the UK itself did.

    And bear in mind that owing to Britain’s idiotic liberalism, those small countries in Europe could freely access the British empire on equal commercial terms as Britain itself could. Britain could’ve excluded them from imperial markets, which would’ve boosted its own output and reduced theirs. An indictment of liberalism rather than imperialism in other words.

    In my view, the key source of geopolitical power in the modern world is having a homeland of loyal citizens that are numerous, high-IQ and genuinely committed to some sort of nation/tribe/project. Empire does NOT contribute to this.

    In the case of Britain empire provided several new homelands of loyal, numerous, high IQ, and genuinely committed citizens in the form of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Obviously this sort of thinking is presently obsolete with sub-replacement fertility everywhere, but then fertility rates were still high.

    The rest of the empire obviously wasn’t as useful, but Britain was able to field fairly large numbers of soldiers from India in both world wars.

    Strip away the empire but leave that, as with Germany after WW1, and you don’t really reduce a nation’s fundamental power.

    Germany lost some sparsely populated African colonies, Qingdao, Papua, some islands in the Pacific, Elsass-Lothringen, Schleswig-Holstein, Danzig, and parts of Poland. Minor losses.

    Compare instead to, say, the losses suffered by Russia in 1991. The rump Russian Federation is a dramatically weaker state with much reduced security compared to the Soviet Union.

    6) To expand on empire being a source of weakness: It’s often easier to undermine an empire through Lawrence of Arabia style shenanigans than it is to defend one. Don’t underestimate the power both in terms of rhetoric/ideology and in terms of military pragmatism of being on the anti-imperial side. Try to stick your enemy with the burden of empire, rather than carrying it yourself.

    This kind of depends on the nature of your empire. You’re operating under the assumption all empires are burdens. Not true. We gave the Soviets hell in Afghanistan…but not anywhere within the Soviet Union itself. Even in communist Eastern Europe we weren’t able to give them much trouble.

    Look at, for instance, how much more successful supporting anti-Soviet rebels in Afghanistan was for the US than fighting anti-American rebels in Vietnam. The US should have simply supported free elections and decolonization in Vietnam after WW2—even if the communists were to take power and overthrow democracy. If authoritarian rule and the various miseries of the common people could not possibly be blamed on the US/capitalism, but instead had to be laid at the feet of the Vietnamese government/communism, it would inevitably generate popular opposition to communism and the ruling government.

    This history of communism doesn’t lend itself to your conclusion at all. Especially indigenous communist revolutions.

    Though it was still a bad idea to go into Vietnam (and an even worse idea to fight it the way we did).

    These minor disagreements aside, I can disagree neither with your observations on warfare in general nor with your recommended grand strategy for America.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    China is crushing the Uighur insurgency not through ruthlessness but advanced surveillance, an interesting new model.
    , @songbird
    Re: the Boers. What I meant to say was that the trend was untenable. At the pop ratio of Rhodesia in its final days is about when you need complete ruthlessness to continue with whites in power. And I think in South Africa a lot of whites wanted to give up when they were in power, to generate goodwill. It seems it was the wrong strategy.

    You make a good argument about strategic interests and the Panama Canal, but, I think, in hindsight, annexing Puerto Rico was one of the all-time bonehead political moves of all history. The direct costs, as well as the costs of immivasion have been very high. Almost incalculable if you add in the political dimension.
    , @Stolen Valor Detective
    I have quite a few thoughts in response to your comment, which I found very interesting. For the sake of readability, I'll split them into multiple replies:

    These minor disagreements aside, I can disagree neither with your observations on warfare in general nor with your recommended grand strategy for America.
     
    Sure; as is often the case, I imagine we agree on, say, 70-80% of the important issues, but it's always more fun, maybe or maybe not more productive, to discuss areas of disagreement.

    American rule over Cuba (strictly speaking Cuba was only a protectorate), Porto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands (acquired from Denmark in 1917) improved America’s geopolitical position by protecting the Atlantic approaches to the Panama Canal.

    The Panama Canal was important to American security in the prewar period, as in that era the US didn’t having overwhelming naval dominance. Thus it was essential to have the capability to rapidly move fleets between the Atlantic to the Pacific.

    Even today geography is vitally important in naval affairs, but consider the state of technology from 1898-1917. Aircraft a novelty lacking range and payload, radar not yet invented, and certainly there were no satellites. In this period Britain and Germany had the capability to attack the Panama Canal, yet America had no basing in the Atlantic approaches to the Canal.
     
    That’s an interesting point, but I’d have to disagree quite strongly with this line of reasoning on several concentric grounds:

    Firstly, I do not believe that, even if we were to grant the claims that the Panama Canal was necessary for American security and that the Spanish-American War was a good/necessary means of securing it, either Britain or Germany, or for that matter any other foreign power, posed a threat to the security of the American homeland in 1898. Britain’s only serious interest in the Western Hemisphere, if any, was preventing any other imperial powers from controlling it, hence the UK’s tacit acceptance of, even arguably support for, the Monroe Doctrine throughout the 19th century. The most relevant demonstration of this would be the resolution of the 1895 Venezuela crisis, in which Britain---wisely---decided not to match insane US belligerence over the trivial issue and allowed the matter to be resolved to American satisfaction. British diplomats and statesmen had their hands full trying to manage their concerns in Africa, India, East Asia and continental Europe; I find it exceedingly difficult to imagine a scenario by 1898 in which they choose to make an enemy of the US, rather than, for better or for worse, seeking to cultivate it as an ally/successor.


    Then, as far as Germany goes, its foremost concern was its position on the European continent vis a vis France and Russia, followed by a desire to obtain colonial possessions in Africa and East Asia. Some German officials post-Bismarck liked to engage in a certain amount of bluster and swagger about Germany’s role on the world stage, occasionally including Latin America, but I do not see any even remotely plausible scenario in which Germany would initiate a naval war of aggression against the US to control the Western Hemisphere/attack the US homeland. (I would hope that it is obvious why this scenario is almost entirely different from the German submarine warfare campaign of WW1, but if it isn’t clear to anyone I will explicate the differences.) Consider, for instance, that Germany backed down in the 1903 Venezuela crisis in the face of Roosevelt’s USN-backed threats.


    Then, as a corollary, I’m not sure that, even if Britain, Germany, or some other foreign power had wanted to attack the US/control the Caribbean, they would have had the capabilities necessary to successfully do so. (Once again granting for the sake of argument the contentions about the Panama Canal.) You are correct that the USN didn’t have “overwhelming” naval supremacy in this era, but it wouldn’t have needed supremacy, just parity, to make fighting a war of aggression far from the homeland prohibitively potentially expensive for a foreign power, and historical experience suggests that the US’s industrial capacity would have allowed it to rapidly expand if necessary. Additionally, Germany lacked a coaling station in the Caribbean, in spite of intermittent attempts to acquire one. Further consider that any foreign power attempting to attack the US would have had to worry about its rivals opportunistically joining the conflict on the US side. Given the intense anxiety in Britain at the time over maintaining the Royal Navy’s tradition of supremacy in the face of the naval arms race with Germany, I think that even, say, a presumed 20% chance of defeat/stalemate in a conflict with the US would have been enough to scare the British off.


    Secondly, we can keep for the sake of argument the contention that the Panama Canal was necessary for US security but still put the contention that the Spanish-American War was necessary to defend Atlantic approaches to it up for debate. To me, it seems that, if the US only needed naval bases in the Caribbean to protect itself/the Panama Canal, this could probably have been easily done without fighting an imperial war of aggression. The US has quite frequently throughout its history made arrangements for the basing, supply and transit of its armed forces with other sovereign nations; consider for instance the leasing of bases in the Azores during WW2 for US/UK forces. If there was a genuine threat to the US homeland/the Panama Canal from a foreign power, I would think that some of the other imperial powers with holdings in the area/nearby independent nations would also view this as a threat and be willing to provide basing to US forces equivalent to whatever the US got from the Spanish-American War. If nothing else, wouldn’t Spain itself rather just sell some of its colonies/offer basing rights than lose all its possessions in a war anyway?


    Thirdly, I don’t even see that the Panama Canal was necessary for US security in this period. Was there a real threat of an assault on the US homeland’s Pacific coast circa 1898? I find it hard to imagine that, even if we suppose that Britain or Germany did want to attack the US, they would have found it more convenient to attack through the Pacific rather than the Atlantic. It seems to me that a strong USN presence in the Atlantic and a smaller one in the Pacific, even without a canal, would have sufficed to defend the US homeland; European navies would have had to worry about US countermoves against their home waters if they tried any crazy trans-oceanic shenanigans.


    TL;DR: The US homeland did not face any serious threats circa 1898; even if it did, bases to protect the Panama Canal could have been acquired without war; even if they couldn’t have been, strong USN presence in the Atlantic would have been enough for deterrence even without the canal. (All of this is in my opinion, of course; I always try to be open to having my mind changed by contrary evidence and reasoning.)

    As for the Philippines, probably it weakened America’s strategic position by drawing it into conflict with Japan. But on the other hand you can argue this was a success, since Japan was destroyed and eliminated as a strategic competitor. The US thus gained complete dominance over the entire Pacific Ocean.

     

    As before, you raise an interesting point, but I disagree strongly with it in multiple ways.


    Firstly, aside from everything else, US victory over Japan in WW2 was a mixed bag strategically: It had obvious benefits, but it removed the major barrier to the influence of the USSR/Russia in East Asia and the communists in China. My understanding is that American imperialists circa the Spanish-American War were interested in the Philippines primarily as a gateway to influence over China, which a certain segment of the US elite saw as extremely critical to American interests. Mao’s victory in the civil war was the death knell for that line of thought.


    Secondly, if all the US wanted to do was provoke a war with Japan, it only needed to enter a defensive alliance with Spain guaranteeing the security of the Philippines.


    Thirdly, I do not believe that Imperial Japan posed any threat to the US homeland, and I think the FDR administration could have easily avoided war with Japan if it had so desired. I’ll remain genuinely agnostic on whether or not the war was still justified/a positive overall for this comment, but at least in terms of protecting US citizens/the American homeland I do not believe that it was necessary.
  98. @German_reader

    The French in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars, the British in the US during the American Revolution, the Germans in Eastern and Southeastern Europe during World War 2, the French in Vietnam, the French in Algeria, the US in Vietnam, the Soviets in Afghanistan, the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are a lot of cases like the Syrian government’s crushing of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1982 where I’m not sure how the conflict should be classified, though.
     
    But most of those conflicts were decided by fighting between conventional forces, with irregular warfare being only a sideshow that may have drained resources, but would never have proven decisive on its own; e.g. the British lost in America because of defeats in battles like Yorktown and the intervention of France and Spain, the French were defeated in a genuine field battle at Dien Bien Phu, the Vietnam war featured strong participation by regular North Vietnamese units in its later stages.
    Irregular warfare on its own is only really effective against forces that are constrained in what they can do by humanitarian or democratic principles. If Germany hadn't been defeated by the Red army in WW2, there wouldn't have been much of a problem with eventually crushing the partisan movements, by destroying the villages aiding the partisans, deporting civilian populations to concentration camps etc. The Soviets also managed to suppress the resistance movements in Ukraine and the Baltics when they reconquered those areas. This is only an ethical question of what kind of methods one is willing to adopt to fight insurgencies, not of any inherent advantage of insurgents that couldn't be overcome by greater levels of violence.

    But most of those conflicts were decided by fighting between conventional forces, with irregular warfare being only a sideshow that may have drained resources, but would never have proven decisive on its own; e.g. the British lost in America because of defeats in battles like Yorktown and the intervention of France and Spain, the French were defeated in a genuine field battle at Dien Bien Phu, the Vietnam war featured strong participation by regular North Vietnamese units in its later stages.

    There’s some truth to this, but I’d have to fundamentally disagree with your characterization of those conflicts and the relationship between conventional and irregular warfare in them. Firstly, as I think Mao argued, guerrilla warfare serves to draw out and exhaust superior conventional forces until they can be isolated and forced to take a massively unfavorable engagement with easy to cut off supply lines. The conventional victories you cite in the American Revolution and in Vietnam would not have possible without an extensive guerrilla campaign beforehand. (If you aren’t already familiar with him, look up Nathanael Greene, who is sadly largely forgotten by Americans today despite the crucial role he played in the revolution.)

    Secondly, I don’t think that major conventional victories were necessary for the American or Vietnamese insurgents to achieve their objectives. Consider, among various other examples the success of the Algerians against the French in 1954-62, the Afghans against the Soviets in the 1980s and the Shia Lebanese against the Israelis in 2006. In none of these cases did the occupying force suffer a major conventional defeat like Dien Bien Phu or Yorktown; irregular forces, which the occupiers could not definitively defeat, just kept harassing them until they got fed up and left.

    Neither Yorktown nor Dien Bien Phu was such an overwhelming defeat, in the sense of, say, Stalingrad or Midway, that it irreparably reduced the potential of the imperial power to raise forces to fight in the conflict. The significance of these battles was rather that they graphically demonstrated how totally ineffective imperial forces had been at accomplishing their objective of destroying the insurgency, and motivated political leaders to seek some sort of withdrawal/peace.

    Consider that the Tet Offensive had a very similar effect, despite being an overwhelming conventional victory for US forces. People like to say that Well, Ackshually those dumb civilians were brainwashed by TV news and didn’t realize that Tet was a #hugewin for America, but I think anti-war civilians were actually quite correct in perceiving that Tet demonstrated how totally ineffective massive deployments of US troops had been at defeating the insurgents, given what a total surprise it was. If the US had decided to continue occupying Vietnam, the VC would eventually have been rebuilt and proven just as impossible to deal with.

    Irregular warfare on its own is only really effective against forces that are constrained in what they can do by humanitarian or democratic principles. If Germany hadn’t been defeated by the Red army in WW2, there wouldn’t have been much of a problem with eventually crushing the partisan movements, by destroying the villages aiding the partisans, deporting civilian populations to concentration camps etc. The Soviets also managed to suppress the resistance movements in Ukraine and the Baltics when they reconquered those areas. This is only an ethical question of what kind of methods one is willing to adopt to fight insurgencies, not of any inherent advantage of insurgents that couldn’t be overcome by greater levels of violence.

    There’s quite a bit of truth to this, but there are some nuances I want to explicate:

    Firstly, we need to define what “victory” against an insurgency means, because I think that counter-insurgent forces often have a flawed understanding of this. I think in practice the objective of most counter-insurgencies has been to establish a client state to an imperial power that most of the population is willing to just shrug their shoulders and accept the sovereignty of in perpetuity.

    I won’t make a categorical statement that this is impossible, but it seems like this has been very, very difficult to do in the modern world. The example of post-WW2 Soviet rule in Ukraine and the Baltic states is a good one for your case, but consider that, in less than a healthy man’s lifetime, the Soviets decided not to contest the local populations’ rejection of their sovereignty. I think the (non-Russian, at least) populations of those countries never accepted Soviet rule as a permanent and desirable fact of life the way that Soviet leaders would have preferred.

    By contrast, you could define “victory” as “there are no insurgents in the area because there are no people in left in the area.” Conventional forces can certainly achieve this by exterminating/expelling the entire civilian population, “dissolving the people and electing another” as it were, as for instance US forces did against Amerindians who used irregular tactics.

    However, I don’t think that there’s a middle-ground between the options of “complete withdrawal” and “complete destruction” in terms of permanently defeating an insurgency in a foreign country against imperial rule. I think that many academics, statesmen and generals have failed to perceive this essential dichotomy, which has led to disastrous, hopelessly confused wars, and bad ideas about how to win them.

    There are counter-insurgency “liberals” who think that the problem is insufficient economic aid and overly loose rules of engagement against enemy forces, and that “counter-insurgency with a human face” would work. What they fail to perceive is that 1) The motivation for resistance is political/tribal support for independence, not pecuniary; if economic development was enough to mollify the resisting population, the US’s actual tactics in e.g. Vietnam and Afghanistan would be more than enough to easily win and 2) There is no level of violence so minimal necessary to maintain an imperial occupation and fight insurgents that it will not deeply anger the civilian population.

    Then there are the counter-insurgency “conservatives” who think that all we need to do to win is “take the gloves off” and “get rid of political meddling” so that soldiers have all the tactics, no matter how brutal, necessary to catch and kill insurgents—torture, summary execution, loose rules of engagement, indifference to type I errors in identifying insurgents, hostage taking, etc. This is fundamentally mistaken because it fails to understand that insurgencies cannot be ended through killing insurgents, who will regenerate like the Lernaean Hydra as long as there is a sympathetic civilian population supporting them, and there is no tactic to help catch insurgents that will obviate this problem. Furthermore, this point of view misunderstands that, as many guerrillas have themselves admitted, brutal and repressive tactics fundamentally benefit insurgencies by widening the popular support that they subsist on. If sheer brutality was all that was necessary to keep a population quiet, the Nazis would have had no problems in Yugoslavia, Greece, Poland, Russia, and so on.

    So, I agree with your assertion that the Nazis could have eventually eradicated insurgents, but I think that it is very important to note that they would have done this through wholesale slaughter/expulsion of the civilian population, not by catching and killing enough insurgents to get the locals to accept their rule in perpetuity. I actually have some more thoughts in response to your comment, I’ll maybe explicate them later.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The Romans destroyed the insurgencies and then assimilated the populations, who thus became loyal. But the Romans had to keep the implicit threat of genocidal violence until the assimilation happened.

    The prerequisites were military dominance, a willingness to commit genocidal level violence, a perception that such dominance and political will would persist indefinitely in the future, and a superior, more civilized culture, which was attractive enough for the locals to join, at least once they realized they couldn’t defeat it.
  99. @songbird
    That is interesting. I wonder what the source of the difference is. Soviet legacy, or was it the case in the days of the czars?

    That is interesting. I wonder what the source of the difference is. Soviet legacy, or was it the case in the days of the czars?

    In the old days, Christmas was the main holiday of the year with fist fights, massive drinking , caroling children (as in America on Halloween), etc., etc., In Soviet times, the main celebration was attended the New Year and Christmas traditions have been forgotten. And the Church’s attempt to revive Christmas as a boring religious holiday (in an absolutely non-religious country) naturally did not have much success.

    • Replies: @Anon
    Didn't one of the Orthodox patriarchs warn a few years ago about rising Paganism within the Russian armed forces?

    Speaking of Paganism: https://twitter.com/DouthatNYT/status/1072857777138266112

    , @anonymous coward

    In the old days, Christmas was the main holiday of the year with fist fights, massive drinking , caroling children (as in America on Halloween), etc., etc., In Soviet times, the main celebration was attended the New Year and Christmas traditions have been forgotten. And the Church’s attempt to revive Christmas as a boring religious holiday (in an absolutely non-religious country) naturally did not have much success.
     
    Absolute, 100%, unadulterated bullshit. Are you Jewish? Only a Jew or a Muslim could be so ignorant about Russian culture.

    The most important Christian holiday is Easter, vastly more important than the other 12 Christian holidays put together.

    Celebrating Christmas is a Western import. It was never popular, and true Christians look down on the imported "Christmas" (but really Yuletide, i.e., pagan) celebrations.

    For modern Christians Christmas is a time of fasting and reflection.
  100. Anon[152] • Disclaimer says:
    @melanf

    That is interesting. I wonder what the source of the difference is. Soviet legacy, or was it the case in the days of the czars?
     
    In the old days, Christmas was the main holiday of the year with fist fights, massive drinking , caroling children (as in America on Halloween), etc., etc., In Soviet times, the main celebration was attended the New Year and Christmas traditions have been forgotten. And the Church's attempt to revive Christmas as a boring religious holiday (in an absolutely non-religious country) naturally did not have much success.

    Didn’t one of the Orthodox patriarchs warn a few years ago about rising Paganism within the Russian armed forces?

    Speaking of Paganism: https://twitter.com/DouthatNYT/status/1072857777138266112

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    There are a couple of million new style Pagans in Russia. Rodnveri. Most are some form of ariosophist straight out of the Thule Society. Demented hippies!
  101. @Stolen Valor Detective

    But most of those conflicts were decided by fighting between conventional forces, with irregular warfare being only a sideshow that may have drained resources, but would never have proven decisive on its own; e.g. the British lost in America because of defeats in battles like Yorktown and the intervention of France and Spain, the French were defeated in a genuine field battle at Dien Bien Phu, the Vietnam war featured strong participation by regular North Vietnamese units in its later stages.
     
    There's some truth to this, but I'd have to fundamentally disagree with your characterization of those conflicts and the relationship between conventional and irregular warfare in them. Firstly, as I think Mao argued, guerrilla warfare serves to draw out and exhaust superior conventional forces until they can be isolated and forced to take a massively unfavorable engagement with easy to cut off supply lines. The conventional victories you cite in the American Revolution and in Vietnam would not have possible without an extensive guerrilla campaign beforehand. (If you aren't already familiar with him, look up Nathanael Greene, who is sadly largely forgotten by Americans today despite the crucial role he played in the revolution.)

    Secondly, I don't think that major conventional victories were necessary for the American or Vietnamese insurgents to achieve their objectives. Consider, among various other examples the success of the Algerians against the French in 1954-62, the Afghans against the Soviets in the 1980s and the Shia Lebanese against the Israelis in 2006. In none of these cases did the occupying force suffer a major conventional defeat like Dien Bien Phu or Yorktown; irregular forces, which the occupiers could not definitively defeat, just kept harassing them until they got fed up and left.

    Neither Yorktown nor Dien Bien Phu was such an overwhelming defeat, in the sense of, say, Stalingrad or Midway, that it irreparably reduced the potential of the imperial power to raise forces to fight in the conflict. The significance of these battles was rather that they graphically demonstrated how totally ineffective imperial forces had been at accomplishing their objective of destroying the insurgency, and motivated political leaders to seek some sort of withdrawal/peace.

    Consider that the Tet Offensive had a very similar effect, despite being an overwhelming conventional victory for US forces. People like to say that Well, Ackshually those dumb civilians were brainwashed by TV news and didn't realize that Tet was a #hugewin for America, but I think anti-war civilians were actually quite correct in perceiving that Tet demonstrated how totally ineffective massive deployments of US troops had been at defeating the insurgents, given what a total surprise it was. If the US had decided to continue occupying Vietnam, the VC would eventually have been rebuilt and proven just as impossible to deal with.

    Irregular warfare on its own is only really effective against forces that are constrained in what they can do by humanitarian or democratic principles. If Germany hadn’t been defeated by the Red army in WW2, there wouldn’t have been much of a problem with eventually crushing the partisan movements, by destroying the villages aiding the partisans, deporting civilian populations to concentration camps etc. The Soviets also managed to suppress the resistance movements in Ukraine and the Baltics when they reconquered those areas. This is only an ethical question of what kind of methods one is willing to adopt to fight insurgencies, not of any inherent advantage of insurgents that couldn’t be overcome by greater levels of violence.
     
    There's quite a bit of truth to this, but there are some nuances I want to explicate:

    Firstly, we need to define what "victory" against an insurgency means, because I think that counter-insurgent forces often have a flawed understanding of this. I think in practice the objective of most counter-insurgencies has been to establish a client state to an imperial power that most of the population is willing to just shrug their shoulders and accept the sovereignty of in perpetuity.

    I won't make a categorical statement that this is impossible, but it seems like this has been very, very difficult to do in the modern world. The example of post-WW2 Soviet rule in Ukraine and the Baltic states is a good one for your case, but consider that, in less than a healthy man's lifetime, the Soviets decided not to contest the local populations' rejection of their sovereignty. I think the (non-Russian, at least) populations of those countries never accepted Soviet rule as a permanent and desirable fact of life the way that Soviet leaders would have preferred.

    By contrast, you could define "victory" as "there are no insurgents in the area because there are no people in left in the area." Conventional forces can certainly achieve this by exterminating/expelling the entire civilian population, "dissolving the people and electing another" as it were, as for instance US forces did against Amerindians who used irregular tactics.

    However, I don't think that there's a middle-ground between the options of "complete withdrawal" and "complete destruction" in terms of permanently defeating an insurgency in a foreign country against imperial rule. I think that many academics, statesmen and generals have failed to perceive this essential dichotomy, which has led to disastrous, hopelessly confused wars, and bad ideas about how to win them.

    There are counter-insurgency "liberals" who think that the problem is insufficient economic aid and overly loose rules of engagement against enemy forces, and that "counter-insurgency with a human face" would work. What they fail to perceive is that 1) The motivation for resistance is political/tribal support for independence, not pecuniary; if economic development was enough to mollify the resisting population, the US's actual tactics in e.g. Vietnam and Afghanistan would be more than enough to easily win and 2) There is no level of violence so minimal necessary to maintain an imperial occupation and fight insurgents that it will not deeply anger the civilian population.

    Then there are the counter-insurgency "conservatives" who think that all we need to do to win is "take the gloves off" and "get rid of political meddling" so that soldiers have all the tactics, no matter how brutal, necessary to catch and kill insurgents---torture, summary execution, loose rules of engagement, indifference to type I errors in identifying insurgents, hostage taking, etc. This is fundamentally mistaken because it fails to understand that insurgencies cannot be ended through killing insurgents, who will regenerate like the Lernaean Hydra as long as there is a sympathetic civilian population supporting them, and there is no tactic to help catch insurgents that will obviate this problem. Furthermore, this point of view misunderstands that, as many guerrillas have themselves admitted, brutal and repressive tactics fundamentally benefit insurgencies by widening the popular support that they subsist on. If sheer brutality was all that was necessary to keep a population quiet, the Nazis would have had no problems in Yugoslavia, Greece, Poland, Russia, and so on.

    So, I agree with your assertion that the Nazis could have eventually eradicated insurgents, but I think that it is very important to note that they would have done this through wholesale slaughter/expulsion of the civilian population, not by catching and killing enough insurgents to get the locals to accept their rule in perpetuity. I actually have some more thoughts in response to your comment, I'll maybe explicate them later.

    The Romans destroyed the insurgencies and then assimilated the populations, who thus became loyal. But the Romans had to keep the implicit threat of genocidal violence until the assimilation happened.

    The prerequisites were military dominance, a willingness to commit genocidal level violence, a perception that such dominance and political will would persist indefinitely in the future, and a superior, more civilized culture, which was attractive enough for the locals to join, at least once they realized they couldn’t defeat it.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Stolen Valor Detective (incidentally, I've always wanted to steal some valor--perhaps I can get into corporate valor theft and claim I was given national awards in accounting) qualified his position on guerrilla wars and empire by limiting it to the modern period.

    That begs the question--what's different about the modern period that changes things?

    Seems like there are two major changes:

    1 - Moral evolution has made such ruthlessness untenable

    2 - Urbanization and literacy have increased the political power of common people, which makes them less willing to sustain casualties

    A possible third problem is the modern fertility transition and improved hygiene, diet, medical care, etc. further making people more casualty averse.

    This doesn't change the definition or method of victory over the insurgents, but it does make it easier for the insurgents to defeat you politically. The recipe for victory is still the same as it always was, which the Jewish strategist and historian Edward Luttwak described as making the civilian population fear you more than they fear the insurgents.

    The US Army General Ray Odierno is described as independently having come to this conclusion during the American occupation of Iraq. He started asking himself routinely, "What would Saddam do?"

    Seems that these two problems can be overcome by implementing a totalitarian political system which holds that the expansion of its own power is the highest moral goal. That said the two such systems which came into being in the 20th century did not perpetuate themselves.

    A modern guerrilla war which meets Stolen Valor Detective's metric for COIN success would be the Philippine War. The insurgency was crushed, Filipinos passively accepted American domination, and in fact America won their hearts and minds to such an extent that Filipinos have excellent English language proficiency.

  102. @songbird
    That is interesting. I wonder what the source of the difference is. Soviet legacy, or was it the case in the days of the czars?

    The Orthodox Christmas is in early January anyway due to the Julian calendar.

  103. Julia Ioffe is telling us that she is offended when we wish her a merry Christmas. So just don’t do it!

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/12/21/please-dont-wish-me-merry-christmas/

    Hindus have wished me a happy Diwali and somehow I didn’t get offended, despite not being Hindu nor having the foggiest idea what Diwali was about. A Jew once wished me a happy [whichever Jewish holiday was taking place at the time] and I didn’t get offended. A Muslim once wished me happy Eid Mubarak (did I write it correctly?) and I didn’t get offended in any of these instances. Because these were obviously well-meaning wishes. Arguably they were more offensive than the people wishing merry Christmas to Julia Ioffe, because these people were aware that I was not a member of their religious traditions. But they meant it well. So I just said “thank you.”

    Julia Ioffe could also just say a thanks without explaining that she really doesn’t celebrate it. She could just move on with her life without destroying everyone else’s good mood and nice habits of wishing each other something good.

    So now Dmitry might understand what it is about.

    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    Yeah, even Alexander Cockburn had this to say:

    So, hear it from a unbaptised, unconfirmed Protestant/atheist, born out of wedlock, albeit raised in a Christo-Commie environment, MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
     
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/25/to-hell-with-happy-holidays/
    , @anonymous coward
    There are only two requirements for being Jewish:

    a) Hating Jesus Christ.

    b) A belief in Jewish racial supremacy.

    So, nothing remarkable or strange in Ioffe's behavior. She's just being a Jew and doing the traditional Jewish things.
    , @Mikhail

    Julia Ioffe could also just say a thanks without explaining that she really doesn’t celebrate it. She could just move on with her life without destroying everyone else’s good mood and nice habits of wishing each other something good.
     
    Better yet, that most coddled and overrated brat should be ideally ignored as much as possible. That she continues to get propped by the NPR, CNN, MSNBC establishment likes, is part of a negative issue concerning mass media.

    Another Jewish perspective indicating that Ioffe isn't representative of all Jews:

    https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/12/21/18151903/history-jews-chinese-food-christmas-kosher-american

    Excerpt -

    What did you do on Christmas growing up?

    I never went to Chinese restaurants. We’d go skating in front of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, and then we’d have hot chocolate with marshmallows. I have great memories of Christmas. My mother would take me to sit on Santa Claus’s lap. When I was writing this book, I asked her, “Why did you take me — the son of a rabbi! — to sit on Santa Claus’s lap?” She said, “Everybody in America does it, so why shouldn’t we?” She knew I was secure in my Jewish identity.
     
    This and some other pertinent comments have been put on hold (as in not posted) below Steve Sailor's article on the Ioffe piece.
    , @Dmitry

    So now Dmitry might understand what it is about.

     

    I know as much about Julia Ioffe, as I know about why her non-evil twin Karlin has recently stopped talking to us.

    So for Ioffe's behaviour I guess early-onset menopause; while for Karlin - that he has got a girlfriend?

  104. @Thorfinnsson
    Taleb to his credit didn't fall into the trap of permabear doomerism like other GFC "prophets" like Nouriel Roubini, Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, or Jim Rogers.

    But like a lot of other people (and this isn't just the prophets or the permabears), the experience of the GFC primes him to expect another financial crisis or "Black Swan". Taleb likes to complain that the problem of systemic risk wasn't solved--merely transferred to the state.

    Well, maybe. But the state can afford a hell of a lot more systemic risk than the banks. Especially outside of the Eurozone (which is in any case a phony problem created by irrational German-Lutheran moral views).

    I suppose America's descent into banana republic status isn't reassuring. The US federal government is once again shut down, and come March 15 of next year there will be another fight over the idiotic Debt Ceiling issue. I'd say the USA is at fairly considerable risk of an at least technical fault on its financial obligations simply owing to government dysfunction.

    Then there's China, which nobody appears to understand including the Chinese themselves. Defaults on bonds are skyrocketing in China at the moment. What does it mean? Who knows. That said China doesn't originate (much) credit for the rest of the world, so a Chinese financial crisis probably wouldn't spread outside of China (though it would almost certainly spark a global recession).

    permabears

    I don’t follow these people, but I can imagine three different positions that this could describe:

    1. Real economic growth is over and all that’s left is to tread water or manipulate the market.

    2. While much of economic growth is real and would be likely to continue, reckless market manipulation exacerbated by the moral hazard of potential bailouts will lead to such a severe crisis that real economic growth could be completely undermined.

    3. While much of economic growth is real and is likely to continue, up to and after an economic crisis, all of the data show that the financial markets are becoming increasingly volatile and that frequency of market moves as a function of magnitude follow a power law (like earthquakes), so it is not unreasonable to make some preparations for an enormous economic crisis in the same way that the Japanese prepare for enormous earthquakes.

    I imagine that if Taleb were to take some testosterone blockers and then make his point in a more level-headed way, his position would sound something like 3. I recommend Mark Buchanan’s “Forecast” as a popular introduction to how these problems are approached in “econophysics”.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    You're giving these people far more credit than they deserve.

    Some of them are simply hucksters who have found that doom sells. I believe Marc Faber is in this category. Nouriel Roubini may be as well.

    Most of the others are simply Austro-libertarians, which means they're religious fanatics who worship gold and consider debt (especially state debt) to be sinful and evil. There are always ready made arguments to discredit data undermining their positions as well (e.g. inflation statistics are phony and stocks only rise b/c central bank intervention).

    Taleb to his credit is not like these people, and he's generally making the second and third point. It's certainly true that attempting to eliminate risk tends to increase systemic fragility, and this isn't just the case in finance.

    It's certainly not unreasonable to make preparations for an economic crisis (or even simply a "normal" bear market or a "normal" recession), but following the advice of the permabears is unreasonable as it means you forego market gains. Unless, of course, gold goes to $50,000 per ounce Real Soon Now as they've been predicting for years.
  105. @reiner Tor
    Julia Ioffe is telling us that she is offended when we wish her a merry Christmas. So just don’t do it!

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/12/21/please-dont-wish-me-merry-christmas/

    Hindus have wished me a happy Diwali and somehow I didn’t get offended, despite not being Hindu nor having the foggiest idea what Diwali was about. A Jew once wished me a happy [whichever Jewish holiday was taking place at the time] and I didn’t get offended. A Muslim once wished me happy Eid Mubarak (did I write it correctly?) and I didn’t get offended in any of these instances. Because these were obviously well-meaning wishes. Arguably they were more offensive than the people wishing merry Christmas to Julia Ioffe, because these people were aware that I was not a member of their religious traditions. But they meant it well. So I just said “thank you.”

    Julia Ioffe could also just say a thanks without explaining that she really doesn’t celebrate it. She could just move on with her life without destroying everyone else’s good mood and nice habits of wishing each other something good.

    So now Dmitry might understand what it is about.

    Yeah, even Alexander Cockburn had this to say:

    So, hear it from a unbaptised, unconfirmed Protestant/atheist, born out of wedlock, albeit raised in a Christo-Commie environment, MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/25/to-hell-with-happy-holidays/

  106. @DFH
    No-one actually believes in Paganism.

    Tell that to the Rodnovor who will shoot you in your face you fat cuck lol

    Christian women would be lured away by Viking men combing their long hair.

    Your christian women are getting fucked by & breeding for everyone and everything but you LOL

  107. @German_reader
    That's true, but not many people in Western Europe today really believe in Christianity either.
    And those who believe in your combination of white nationalism and Catholicism must be a very tiny sect.

    No one gives a fuck about Grey and old western Europe lol the only decent young women there have moved far beyond the bastard son of Mariam & Panthera.

  108. How do weak christcucks balance pretending to be scientific whilst ignoring the existence of Panthera & the mentally ill whoring of Mariam.

    Something which btw, is still common among Jewish women who are the most mentally ill group in America today.

    • Replies: @DFH

    How do weak christcucks balance pretending to be scientific whilst ignoring the existence of Panthera & the mentally ill whoring of Mariam.

     

    How could anyone not take seriously literal talmudry made up hundreds of years later?
  109. @Anonnu
    How do weak christcucks balance pretending to be scientific whilst ignoring the existence of Panthera & the mentally ill whoring of Mariam.

    Something which btw, is still common among Jewish women who are the most mentally ill group in America today.

    How do weak christcucks balance pretending to be scientific whilst ignoring the existence of Panthera & the mentally ill whoring of Mariam.

    How could anyone not take seriously literal talmudry made up hundreds of years later?

    • Replies: @Anonnu
    Wth are you talking about faggot?

    Celcus and others contemporary to the time also speak of it.

    They've found his grave as well lol

    Otherwise yes Jesus Aladin flew away on his magic carpet & the white race was saved.
  110. @melanf

    That is interesting. I wonder what the source of the difference is. Soviet legacy, or was it the case in the days of the czars?
     
    In the old days, Christmas was the main holiday of the year with fist fights, massive drinking , caroling children (as in America on Halloween), etc., etc., In Soviet times, the main celebration was attended the New Year and Christmas traditions have been forgotten. And the Church's attempt to revive Christmas as a boring religious holiday (in an absolutely non-religious country) naturally did not have much success.

    In the old days, Christmas was the main holiday of the year with fist fights, massive drinking , caroling children (as in America on Halloween), etc., etc., In Soviet times, the main celebration was attended the New Year and Christmas traditions have been forgotten. And the Church’s attempt to revive Christmas as a boring religious holiday (in an absolutely non-religious country) naturally did not have much success.

    Absolute, 100%, unadulterated bullshit. Are you Jewish? Only a Jew or a Muslim could be so ignorant about Russian culture.

    The most important Christian holiday is Easter, vastly more important than the other 12 Christian holidays put together.

    Celebrating Christmas is a Western import. It was never popular, and true Christians look down on the imported “Christmas” (but really Yuletide, i.e., pagan) celebrations.

    For modern Christians Christmas is a time of fasting and reflection.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I guess melanf was not raised in a religious family. Besides, he might be correct in some sense: people already had lots of work to do by Easter (though perhaps not yet in Russia?), and food was running scarce (though, again, maybe not in Russia? where peasants had to store lots of grain for the frequent droughts), while due to the short days even non-agricultural work was difficult or impossible to perform in late December. Therefore, Christmas was a good time for feasting and drinking, so for simple people it might have been in some sense bigger than the religiously more significant Easter.

    Though Easter also followed the lengthiest fast, so it was also very significant even for simple hedonists.
    , @Anonnu
    Easter is the name of a German Goddess..

    Christian holidays are today just an excuse for inter racial sex
    , @melanf

    Absolute, 100%, unadulterated bullshit. Are you Jewish? Only a Jew or a Muslim could be so ignorant about Russian culture.....Celebrating Christmas is a Western import.
     
    Yeah, really? So Gogol's "Christmas Eve" is a slander on "Russian culture"? And Gogol himself was probably a secret Jew...
    And the fact that serfs workers who worked at the Ural factories in the 18th century had on Christmas 14 days vacation - it is probably also the Jewish machinations
  111. @reiner Tor
    Julia Ioffe is telling us that she is offended when we wish her a merry Christmas. So just don’t do it!

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/12/21/please-dont-wish-me-merry-christmas/

    Hindus have wished me a happy Diwali and somehow I didn’t get offended, despite not being Hindu nor having the foggiest idea what Diwali was about. A Jew once wished me a happy [whichever Jewish holiday was taking place at the time] and I didn’t get offended. A Muslim once wished me happy Eid Mubarak (did I write it correctly?) and I didn’t get offended in any of these instances. Because these were obviously well-meaning wishes. Arguably they were more offensive than the people wishing merry Christmas to Julia Ioffe, because these people were aware that I was not a member of their religious traditions. But they meant it well. So I just said “thank you.”

    Julia Ioffe could also just say a thanks without explaining that she really doesn’t celebrate it. She could just move on with her life without destroying everyone else’s good mood and nice habits of wishing each other something good.

    So now Dmitry might understand what it is about.

    There are only two requirements for being Jewish:

    a) Hating Jesus Christ.

    b) A belief in Jewish racial supremacy.

    So, nothing remarkable or strange in Ioffe’s behavior. She’s just being a Jew and doing the traditional Jewish things.

  112. @anonymous coward

    In the old days, Christmas was the main holiday of the year with fist fights, massive drinking , caroling children (as in America on Halloween), etc., etc., In Soviet times, the main celebration was attended the New Year and Christmas traditions have been forgotten. And the Church’s attempt to revive Christmas as a boring religious holiday (in an absolutely non-religious country) naturally did not have much success.
     
    Absolute, 100%, unadulterated bullshit. Are you Jewish? Only a Jew or a Muslim could be so ignorant about Russian culture.

    The most important Christian holiday is Easter, vastly more important than the other 12 Christian holidays put together.

    Celebrating Christmas is a Western import. It was never popular, and true Christians look down on the imported "Christmas" (but really Yuletide, i.e., pagan) celebrations.

    For modern Christians Christmas is a time of fasting and reflection.

    I guess melanf was not raised in a religious family. Besides, he might be correct in some sense: people already had lots of work to do by Easter (though perhaps not yet in Russia?), and food was running scarce (though, again, maybe not in Russia? where peasants had to store lots of grain for the frequent droughts), while due to the short days even non-agricultural work was difficult or impossible to perform in late December. Therefore, Christmas was a good time for feasting and drinking, so for simple people it might have been in some sense bigger than the religiously more significant Easter.

    Though Easter also followed the lengthiest fast, so it was also very significant even for simple hedonists.

    • Replies: @Mikhail

    I guess melanf was not raised in a religious family. Besides, he might be correct in some sense: people already had lots of work to do by Easter (though perhaps not yet in Russia?), and food was running scarce (though, again, maybe not in Russia? where peasants had to store lots of grain for the frequent droughts), while due to the short days even non-agricultural work was difficult or impossible to perform in late December. Therefore, Christmas was a good time for feasting and drinking, so for simple people it might have been in some sense bigger than the religiously more significant Easter.
     
    With Russia especially (though not exclusively) in mind, Easter came around the time that the weather was changing from colder to more pleasant conditions - something that (IMO and that of some others) added onto the feeling of celebrating this holiday.
    , @The Big Red Scary
    The hypothesis that in pre-revolutionary Russia Pascha was a holiday more important than Christmas
    seems to be supported by the fact that some form of its celebration was not uncommon even in the Soviet Union, while that of Christmas wasn't. (My wife was born on Pascha, in her home village in Ukraine. The birth was difficult and they needed to be transferred to a birth house some kilometers away, but found it very difficult to find anyone sober enough to help with the transfer.)

    As for "pagan yuletide", I've read that it was the Germanic Romanov's who introduced the Christmas
    tree to Russia, but by that point the tree had been Christianized in symbolism (as a type of the cross). Similarly, in Orthodox iconography, the manger represents the tomb of Christ and the swaddling clothes his shroud.
  113. @reiner Tor
    Julia Ioffe is telling us that she is offended when we wish her a merry Christmas. So just don’t do it!

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/12/21/please-dont-wish-me-merry-christmas/

    Hindus have wished me a happy Diwali and somehow I didn’t get offended, despite not being Hindu nor having the foggiest idea what Diwali was about. A Jew once wished me a happy [whichever Jewish holiday was taking place at the time] and I didn’t get offended. A Muslim once wished me happy Eid Mubarak (did I write it correctly?) and I didn’t get offended in any of these instances. Because these were obviously well-meaning wishes. Arguably they were more offensive than the people wishing merry Christmas to Julia Ioffe, because these people were aware that I was not a member of their religious traditions. But they meant it well. So I just said “thank you.”

    Julia Ioffe could also just say a thanks without explaining that she really doesn’t celebrate it. She could just move on with her life without destroying everyone else’s good mood and nice habits of wishing each other something good.

    So now Dmitry might understand what it is about.

    Julia Ioffe could also just say a thanks without explaining that she really doesn’t celebrate it. She could just move on with her life without destroying everyone else’s good mood and nice habits of wishing each other something good.

    Better yet, that most coddled and overrated brat should be ideally ignored as much as possible. That she continues to get propped by the NPR, CNN, MSNBC establishment likes, is part of a negative issue concerning mass media.

    Another Jewish perspective indicating that Ioffe isn’t representative of all Jews:

    https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/12/21/18151903/history-jews-chinese-food-christmas-kosher-american

    Excerpt –

    What did you do on Christmas growing up?

    I never went to Chinese restaurants. We’d go skating in front of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, and then we’d have hot chocolate with marshmallows. I have great memories of Christmas. My mother would take me to sit on Santa Claus’s lap. When I was writing this book, I asked her, “Why did you take me — the son of a rabbi! — to sit on Santa Claus’s lap?” She said, “Everybody in America does it, so why shouldn’t we?” She knew I was secure in my Jewish identity.

    This and some other pertinent comments have been put on hold (as in not posted) below Steve Sailor’s article on the Ioffe piece.

  114. @reiner Tor
    I guess melanf was not raised in a religious family. Besides, he might be correct in some sense: people already had lots of work to do by Easter (though perhaps not yet in Russia?), and food was running scarce (though, again, maybe not in Russia? where peasants had to store lots of grain for the frequent droughts), while due to the short days even non-agricultural work was difficult or impossible to perform in late December. Therefore, Christmas was a good time for feasting and drinking, so for simple people it might have been in some sense bigger than the religiously more significant Easter.

    Though Easter also followed the lengthiest fast, so it was also very significant even for simple hedonists.

    I guess melanf was not raised in a religious family. Besides, he might be correct in some sense: people already had lots of work to do by Easter (though perhaps not yet in Russia?), and food was running scarce (though, again, maybe not in Russia? where peasants had to store lots of grain for the frequent droughts), while due to the short days even non-agricultural work was difficult or impossible to perform in late December. Therefore, Christmas was a good time for feasting and drinking, so for simple people it might have been in some sense bigger than the religiously more significant Easter.

    With Russia especially (though not exclusively) in mind, Easter came around the time that the weather was changing from colder to more pleasant conditions – something that (IMO and that of some others) added onto the feeling of celebrating this holiday.

  115. I guess melanf was not raised in a religious family.

    You don’t have to be raised in a religious family to know the most basic things about Russia. (Knowing the biggest holiday in Russia is one of those things.)

    Therefore, Christmas was a good time for feasting and drinking, so for simple people it might have been in some sense bigger than the religiously more significant Easter.

    No, false. Easter is followed by 40 days of feasting and celebration. In contrast, Christmastime is a time of fasting.

    That said, let me expound a bit.

    Russia before the Soviet times had considerable religious diversity. Some people celebrated Yule right around Christmastime. Yule is a pagan holiday, celebrated in a typical pagan fashion: wearing costumes, getting drunk, summoning “spirits”, maybe having sex. Celebrating Yule wasn’t universal or mainstream, though. The Soviets only made it look like it was universal in the media, but this was just lousy anti-Christian propaganda. Easter remained the #2 most important holiday in the USSR even despite the religious persecution. (Yule, a.k.a. New Year, was #1, but New Year celebrations are quickly losing social approval and importance in modern Russia.)

  116. @reiner Tor
    I guess melanf was not raised in a religious family. Besides, he might be correct in some sense: people already had lots of work to do by Easter (though perhaps not yet in Russia?), and food was running scarce (though, again, maybe not in Russia? where peasants had to store lots of grain for the frequent droughts), while due to the short days even non-agricultural work was difficult or impossible to perform in late December. Therefore, Christmas was a good time for feasting and drinking, so for simple people it might have been in some sense bigger than the religiously more significant Easter.

    Though Easter also followed the lengthiest fast, so it was also very significant even for simple hedonists.

    The hypothesis that in pre-revolutionary Russia Pascha was a holiday more important than Christmas
    seems to be supported by the fact that some form of its celebration was not uncommon even in the Soviet Union, while that of Christmas wasn’t. (My wife was born on Pascha, in her home village in Ukraine. The birth was difficult and they needed to be transferred to a birth house some kilometers away, but found it very difficult to find anyone sober enough to help with the transfer.)

    As for “pagan yuletide”, I’ve read that it was the Germanic Romanov’s who introduced the Christmas
    tree to Russia, but by that point the tree had been Christianized in symbolism (as a type of the cross). Similarly, in Orthodox iconography, the manger represents the tomb of Christ and the swaddling clothes his shroud.

  117. @DFH

    How do weak christcucks balance pretending to be scientific whilst ignoring the existence of Panthera & the mentally ill whoring of Mariam.

     

    How could anyone not take seriously literal talmudry made up hundreds of years later?

    Wth are you talking about faggot?

    Celcus and others contemporary to the time also speak of it.

    They’ve found his grave as well lol

    Otherwise yes Jesus Aladin flew away on his magic carpet & the white race was saved.

    • Replies: @DFH
    So the evidence is that someone who hated Christ said it and that a random tombstone with a common name on it was found?
  118. @anonymous coward

    In the old days, Christmas was the main holiday of the year with fist fights, massive drinking , caroling children (as in America on Halloween), etc., etc., In Soviet times, the main celebration was attended the New Year and Christmas traditions have been forgotten. And the Church’s attempt to revive Christmas as a boring religious holiday (in an absolutely non-religious country) naturally did not have much success.
     
    Absolute, 100%, unadulterated bullshit. Are you Jewish? Only a Jew or a Muslim could be so ignorant about Russian culture.

    The most important Christian holiday is Easter, vastly more important than the other 12 Christian holidays put together.

    Celebrating Christmas is a Western import. It was never popular, and true Christians look down on the imported "Christmas" (but really Yuletide, i.e., pagan) celebrations.

    For modern Christians Christmas is a time of fasting and reflection.

    Easter is the name of a German Goddess..

    Christian holidays are today just an excuse for inter racial sex

  119. @Anonnu
    Wth are you talking about faggot?

    Celcus and others contemporary to the time also speak of it.

    They've found his grave as well lol

    Otherwise yes Jesus Aladin flew away on his magic carpet & the white race was saved.

    So the evidence is that someone who hated Christ said it and that a random tombstone with a common name on it was found?

    • Replies: @Anonnu
    Let's not talk about evidence when it comes to believing Aladin mom didn't fuck half the town, the reason she got married to an old man or that Aladin Kike died & then went to circumcised heaven.

    Are you gonna run around brandishing a holy foreskin christcuck?

    Not just any random tombstone but a Lebanese Centurion.
    , @Pericles
    I guess it's a Christmas miracle!
  120. The dweebs at Marginal Revolution would like to celebrate Christmas, but are apparently too afraid to post something relevant to Christmas as such.

    https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2018/12/merry-christmas-12.html

    https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2018/12/merry-christmas-11.html

  121. @Thorfinnsson
    Nonfinancial businesses have considerably more freedom to take on leverage than banks do, other than a few regulated sectors like North American electric utilities (which are still under far less scrutiny than banks in this department). An ordinary corporation is free to take on as much debt as it likes, whereas banks must meet strict capital requirements.

    What's unique about banks is that they can create money. However, the catch is that they only create money when they extend credit, and the money is destroyed when a loan is repaid.

    Italy's fiscal deficit is no worse than that of France. The Stability and Growth Pact has always been a sham and is only enforced when countries engage in the sin of "populism".

    Latest yield on Italian 10 year bonds is 2.83%: https://www.bloomberg.com/quote/GBTPGR10:IND

    Clearly the market doesn't believe the sky is falling.

    The market thinks that Germany cannot afford to have Italian banks collapse and bring the European system of Germany down.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/european-bank-runs-and-failure-of-credit-anstalt-in-1931-2012-5?r=US&IR=T
    A recession turned into the Great Depression when France refused to help Germany over the Credit Anstalt bank failure. The international relations context is the key.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Nice time capsule. A piece from 2012 about how everything was going to hell in Europe annnnnnny day now.

    Italy isn't Greece and has the resources to bail out its own banks, as it did with Monte dei Paschi in 2017.

    While the policy response to the Great Financial Crisis and subsequent Euro Crisis hasn't been optimal (especially in the case of the Euro), it has been much better than the Great Depression. And importantly today no one was on the gold standard to begin with, so outside of the Eurozone no one operated under gold standard constraints (in the Eurozone Germany insists on it for irrational reasons).
  122. @Dmitry
    Obviously absurd - we know America is the country in the world which is most obsessed with Christmas, much more than any country in Europe.

    It's evident from watching any American media, Christmas films and television shows.

    So many people (in Europe) even go to New York for Christmas shopping.

    I'm in Western Europe, Christmas obsession is not American levels, and most people were still buying Christmas gifts this evening - shops just closed a few hours ago (I bought alcohol for my housemates).

    People also buy gifts more modestly than in America (in the extreme case, Americans are buying their children cars for Christmas).

    In Russia, the situation is a little confusing - equivalent traditions of Christmas as you would understand it, were transferred to New Year's.

    Puritans didn’t celebrate Christmas as much as others, that is why Thanksgiving is so big for them. I would say Christmas is a much bigger event in England, the Americans don’t even have Boxing Day.

  123. @German_reader
    That's true, but not many people in Western Europe today really believe in Christianity either.
    And those who believe in your combination of white nationalism and Catholicism must be a very tiny sect.

    Most people still believe in God and the church in my upper middle class suburb is packed for all the Christmas services.

    • Agree: DFH
    • Replies: @German_reader

    the church in my upper middle class suburb is packed for all the Christmas services
     
    How does it look like in the rest of the year?
    There's certainly still a lot of attachment to Christian traditions, and a vague belief in God may well be widespread (true atheism is a pretty bleak world view after all). But I think Christianity as a coherent belief system is pretty much dead in Western Europe.
  124. Good news! Russia just expanded its sanctions against the Ukraine:

    The original Russian list, published in early November, included 300 Ukrainian individuals and entities. Apparently, it was expanded by another 200.

    The Ukraine is dying. It is Russia’s job to push it over the cliff.

  125. @DFH
    So the evidence is that someone who hated Christ said it and that a random tombstone with a common name on it was found?

    Let’s not talk about evidence when it comes to believing Aladin mom didn’t fuck half the town, the reason she got married to an old man or that Aladin Kike died & then went to circumcised heaven.

    Are you gonna run around brandishing a holy foreskin christcuck?

    Not just any random tombstone but a Lebanese Centurion.

    • Replies: @anonymous coward
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizophasia

    Stay safe, bro.
  126. @reiner Tor
    Julia Ioffe is telling us that she is offended when we wish her a merry Christmas. So just don’t do it!

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/12/21/please-dont-wish-me-merry-christmas/

    Hindus have wished me a happy Diwali and somehow I didn’t get offended, despite not being Hindu nor having the foggiest idea what Diwali was about. A Jew once wished me a happy [whichever Jewish holiday was taking place at the time] and I didn’t get offended. A Muslim once wished me happy Eid Mubarak (did I write it correctly?) and I didn’t get offended in any of these instances. Because these were obviously well-meaning wishes. Arguably they were more offensive than the people wishing merry Christmas to Julia Ioffe, because these people were aware that I was not a member of their religious traditions. But they meant it well. So I just said “thank you.”

    Julia Ioffe could also just say a thanks without explaining that she really doesn’t celebrate it. She could just move on with her life without destroying everyone else’s good mood and nice habits of wishing each other something good.

    So now Dmitry might understand what it is about.

    So now Dmitry might understand what it is about.

    I know as much about Julia Ioffe, as I know about why her non-evil twin Karlin has recently stopped talking to us.

    So for Ioffe’s behaviour I guess early-onset menopause; while for Karlin – that he has got a girlfriend?

    • Replies: @DFH

    So for Ioffe’s behaviour I guess early-onset menopause; while for Karlin – that he has got a girlfriend?

     

    The most parsimonious explanation is that Ioffe is AK's girlfriend
  127. @Thorfinnsson
    This is quite sound up until points five and six, even if I agree with German_reader's point that insurgencies can be crushed by a sufficiently ruthless occupier.

    After that it runs off the rails.


    Consider, for instance, the Spanish-American War. Did American rule in the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico and various smaller islands really profoundly improve America’s geopolitical position or economy the way that hawks like Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge thought it would?
     
    American rule over Cuba (strictly speaking Cuba was only a protectorate), Porto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands (acquired from Denmark in 1917) improved America's geopolitical position by protecting the Atlantic approaches to the Panama Canal.

    The Panama Canal was important to American security in the prewar period, as in that era the US didn't having overwhelming naval dominance. Thus it was essential to have the capability to rapidly move fleets between the Atlantic to the Pacific.

    Even today geography is vitally important in naval affairs, but consider the state of technology from 1898-1917. Aircraft a novelty lacking range and payload, radar not yet invented, and certainly there were no satellites. In this period Britain and Germany had the capability to attack the Panama Canal, yet America had no basing in the Atlantic approaches to the Canal.

    And yes, I realize the Panama Canal did not open until 1914, but the USA was already planning a canal even before the Spanish-American War.

    As for the Philippines, probably it weakened America's strategic position by drawing it into conflict with Japan. But on the other hand you can argue this was a success, since Japan was destroyed and eliminated as a strategic competitor. The US thus gained complete dominance over the entire Pacific Ocean.


    There is no reason, as far as I can tell based on the evidence of economic history, to suppose that empire makes a modern nation wealthier than it could be without empire. Britain had a gigantic global empire in 1914, yet its per capita GDP was pretty comparable to those of small, non-imperial nations like Switzerland and Sweden.
     
    There's three problems with this.

    1 - It's actually an untrue statement, see below:

    https://i.imgur.com/sptAGGl.png

    Britain had a higher per capita GDP than every other country in Europe and was second in the world.

    2 - Per capita GDP is a misleading guide to the benefits of empire. You'd be better off with per capita GNI, because profits which flow to the metropole from the empire are not part of the metropole's domestic production.

    3 - While the per capita GDP of the United Kingdom may not have improved as a result of the British Empire, the total economic output controlled by Britain certainly did. In fact the rest of the British Empire at the time had roughly the same economic output as the UK itself did.

    And bear in mind that owing to Britain's idiotic liberalism, those small countries in Europe could freely access the British empire on equal commercial terms as Britain itself could. Britain could've excluded them from imperial markets, which would've boosted its own output and reduced theirs. An indictment of liberalism rather than imperialism in other words.


    In my view, the key source of geopolitical power in the modern world is having a homeland of loyal citizens that are numerous, high-IQ and genuinely committed to some sort of nation/tribe/project. Empire does NOT contribute to this.
     
    In the case of Britain empire provided several new homelands of loyal, numerous, high IQ, and genuinely committed citizens in the form of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Obviously this sort of thinking is presently obsolete with sub-replacement fertility everywhere, but then fertility rates were still high.

    The rest of the empire obviously wasn't as useful, but Britain was able to field fairly large numbers of soldiers from India in both world wars.

    Strip away the empire but leave that, as with Germany after WW1, and you don’t really reduce a nation’s fundamental power.
     
    Germany lost some sparsely populated African colonies, Qingdao, Papua, some islands in the Pacific, Elsass-Lothringen, Schleswig-Holstein, Danzig, and parts of Poland. Minor losses.

    Compare instead to, say, the losses suffered by Russia in 1991. The rump Russian Federation is a dramatically weaker state with much reduced security compared to the Soviet Union.


    6) To expand on empire being a source of weakness: It’s often easier to undermine an empire through Lawrence of Arabia style shenanigans than it is to defend one. Don’t underestimate the power both in terms of rhetoric/ideology and in terms of military pragmatism of being on the anti-imperial side. Try to stick your enemy with the burden of empire, rather than carrying it yourself.
     
    This kind of depends on the nature of your empire. You're operating under the assumption all empires are burdens. Not true. We gave the Soviets hell in Afghanistan...but not anywhere within the Soviet Union itself. Even in communist Eastern Europe we weren't able to give them much trouble.


    Look at, for instance, how much more successful supporting anti-Soviet rebels in Afghanistan was for the US than fighting anti-American rebels in Vietnam. The US should have simply supported free elections and decolonization in Vietnam after WW2—even if the communists were to take power and overthrow democracy. If authoritarian rule and the various miseries of the common people could not possibly be blamed on the US/capitalism, but instead had to be laid at the feet of the Vietnamese government/communism, it would inevitably generate popular opposition to communism and the ruling government.
     
    This history of communism doesn't lend itself to your conclusion at all. Especially indigenous communist revolutions.

    Though it was still a bad idea to go into Vietnam (and an even worse idea to fight it the way we did).

    These minor disagreements aside, I can disagree neither with your observations on warfare in general nor with your recommended grand strategy for America.

    China is crushing the Uighur insurgency not through ruthlessness but advanced surveillance, an interesting new model.

    • Replies: @songbird
    It does have a kind of soft ruthlessness to it, like megaphones blaring constantly on public streets. Officials basically demolishing their culture and then constructing a phony one for Chinese tourists. There are also re-education camps. Many are banned from travelling to Han areas.

    I also wonder about the rumors of organ harvesting, but as a foreignor, it would be hard to tell if something like that is true.
  128. The emerging conflict between Russia and Belarus deserves more attention:

    Lukashenka will no longer call Russia a “brotherly state”.
    https://www.rbc.ru/politics/24/12/2018/5c2103ad9a7947dbc752268a

    Russian finance minister says that Russia will no longer subsidize Belarus in exchange for nothing.
    https://www.rbc.ru/economics/25/12/2018/5c22072f9a794722a5cbbb3c

    • Replies: @Anon

    The emerging conflict between Russia and Belarus deserves more attention:
     
    Indeed. English source here:
    https://belsat.eu/en/news/i-do-not-call-russia-brotherly-state-anymore-lukashenka/
    , @iffen
    It's almost like these Ukrainians and Belorussians, for some unknown reasons, don't want your "help".
    , @Mikhail
    Another take from someone who I generally agree with:

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/12/25/belarusian-leader-lukashenko-has-misplaced-his-faith-in-compromise-with-west-again.html
  129. @Anonnu
    Let's not talk about evidence when it comes to believing Aladin mom didn't fuck half the town, the reason she got married to an old man or that Aladin Kike died & then went to circumcised heaven.

    Are you gonna run around brandishing a holy foreskin christcuck?

    Not just any random tombstone but a Lebanese Centurion.
  130. @Thorfinnsson
    This is quite sound up until points five and six, even if I agree with German_reader's point that insurgencies can be crushed by a sufficiently ruthless occupier.

    After that it runs off the rails.


    Consider, for instance, the Spanish-American War. Did American rule in the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico and various smaller islands really profoundly improve America’s geopolitical position or economy the way that hawks like Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge thought it would?
     
    American rule over Cuba (strictly speaking Cuba was only a protectorate), Porto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands (acquired from Denmark in 1917) improved America's geopolitical position by protecting the Atlantic approaches to the Panama Canal.

    The Panama Canal was important to American security in the prewar period, as in that era the US didn't having overwhelming naval dominance. Thus it was essential to have the capability to rapidly move fleets between the Atlantic to the Pacific.

    Even today geography is vitally important in naval affairs, but consider the state of technology from 1898-1917. Aircraft a novelty lacking range and payload, radar not yet invented, and certainly there were no satellites. In this period Britain and Germany had the capability to attack the Panama Canal, yet America had no basing in the Atlantic approaches to the Canal.

    And yes, I realize the Panama Canal did not open until 1914, but the USA was already planning a canal even before the Spanish-American War.

    As for the Philippines, probably it weakened America's strategic position by drawing it into conflict with Japan. But on the other hand you can argue this was a success, since Japan was destroyed and eliminated as a strategic competitor. The US thus gained complete dominance over the entire Pacific Ocean.


    There is no reason, as far as I can tell based on the evidence of economic history, to suppose that empire makes a modern nation wealthier than it could be without empire. Britain had a gigantic global empire in 1914, yet its per capita GDP was pretty comparable to those of small, non-imperial nations like Switzerland and Sweden.
     
    There's three problems with this.

    1 - It's actually an untrue statement, see below:

    https://i.imgur.com/sptAGGl.png

    Britain had a higher per capita GDP than every other country in Europe and was second in the world.

    2 - Per capita GDP is a misleading guide to the benefits of empire. You'd be better off with per capita GNI, because profits which flow to the metropole from the empire are not part of the metropole's domestic production.

    3 - While the per capita GDP of the United Kingdom may not have improved as a result of the British Empire, the total economic output controlled by Britain certainly did. In fact the rest of the British Empire at the time had roughly the same economic output as the UK itself did.

    And bear in mind that owing to Britain's idiotic liberalism, those small countries in Europe could freely access the British empire on equal commercial terms as Britain itself could. Britain could've excluded them from imperial markets, which would've boosted its own output and reduced theirs. An indictment of liberalism rather than imperialism in other words.


    In my view, the key source of geopolitical power in the modern world is having a homeland of loyal citizens that are numerous, high-IQ and genuinely committed to some sort of nation/tribe/project. Empire does NOT contribute to this.
     
    In the case of Britain empire provided several new homelands of loyal, numerous, high IQ, and genuinely committed citizens in the form of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Obviously this sort of thinking is presently obsolete with sub-replacement fertility everywhere, but then fertility rates were still high.

    The rest of the empire obviously wasn't as useful, but Britain was able to field fairly large numbers of soldiers from India in both world wars.

    Strip away the empire but leave that, as with Germany after WW1, and you don’t really reduce a nation’s fundamental power.
     
    Germany lost some sparsely populated African colonies, Qingdao, Papua, some islands in the Pacific, Elsass-Lothringen, Schleswig-Holstein, Danzig, and parts of Poland. Minor losses.

    Compare instead to, say, the losses suffered by Russia in 1991. The rump Russian Federation is a dramatically weaker state with much reduced security compared to the Soviet Union.


    6) To expand on empire being a source of weakness: It’s often easier to undermine an empire through Lawrence of Arabia style shenanigans than it is to defend one. Don’t underestimate the power both in terms of rhetoric/ideology and in terms of military pragmatism of being on the anti-imperial side. Try to stick your enemy with the burden of empire, rather than carrying it yourself.
     
    This kind of depends on the nature of your empire. You're operating under the assumption all empires are burdens. Not true. We gave the Soviets hell in Afghanistan...but not anywhere within the Soviet Union itself. Even in communist Eastern Europe we weren't able to give them much trouble.


    Look at, for instance, how much more successful supporting anti-Soviet rebels in Afghanistan was for the US than fighting anti-American rebels in Vietnam. The US should have simply supported free elections and decolonization in Vietnam after WW2—even if the communists were to take power and overthrow democracy. If authoritarian rule and the various miseries of the common people could not possibly be blamed on the US/capitalism, but instead had to be laid at the feet of the Vietnamese government/communism, it would inevitably generate popular opposition to communism and the ruling government.
     
    This history of communism doesn't lend itself to your conclusion at all. Especially indigenous communist revolutions.

    Though it was still a bad idea to go into Vietnam (and an even worse idea to fight it the way we did).

    These minor disagreements aside, I can disagree neither with your observations on warfare in general nor with your recommended grand strategy for America.

    Re: the Boers. What I meant to say was that the trend was untenable. At the pop ratio of Rhodesia in its final days is about when you need complete ruthlessness to continue with whites in power. And I think in South Africa a lot of whites wanted to give up when they were in power, to generate goodwill. It seems it was the wrong strategy.

    You make a good argument about strategic interests and the Panama Canal, but, I think, in hindsight, annexing Puerto Rico was one of the all-time bonehead political moves of all history. The direct costs, as well as the costs of immivasion have been very high. Almost incalculable if you add in the political dimension.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    The fact that Rhodesia's military efforts were relatively successful despite whites only being 4% of the population and laboring under enormous burdens is telling. Whites fell from one-fifth of the population in Verwoerd's heyday to one-seventh by the time of the coup d'etat against Botha. Today they're one-fifteenth of the population and dwindling. Note that about one-fifth of the white population has emigrated since 1990 and the ANC government has permitted more or less uncontrolled immigration from the rest of black Africa (a problem which contributes to the country's sky high unemployment rate).

    So yes, over a long enough timescale the differential rate of reproduction between blacks and whites in South Africa was not sustainable. South Africa made this problem worse by permitting black immigration for economic reasons.

    I can Karlin taking a similar view with respect to Russia's relations with Central Asia. In the Tsarist period, demographic momentum was on Russia's side. Today it is just the opposite, which calls for a reappraisal of Russia's traditional policy.

    The Afrikaners were politically quite solid. They started majority voting for the KP even while Botha was still in power. If not for the Anglo voters the KP would've come to power and there would likely still be Apartheid today.

    Hindsight is 20/20, but one can identify many other errors.

    The first that comes to mind was the decision to abolish the monarchy and establish a republic. I've always described republicanism as a mental illness, and obviously this was done purely for egotistical reasons. This made it much easier for the UK to expel South Africa from the commonwealth, which in turn made it much easier for the UK to embargo arms just a few years later.

    The country permitting itself to be dependent on foreign finance was indescribably foolish and resulted in severe problems after 1985.

    While no level of internal reform was ever going to stop Western hostility, in a lot of ways apartheid did go too far. The denial of political rights to other civilized races such as subcontinentals and orientals until 1985 for instance. And while the ban on multiracial organizations was not unreasonable, extending this ban to foreign sports teams seems very dubious to me.

    In some aspects perhaps South Africa should've been more ruthless however. Foreign countries providing support for the ANC should've been targeted with terrorist attacks, just as Israel does (it is possible the South Africans murdered the Swedish Prime Minister). Outright seizing the oilfields in Angola would've solved some economic problems in South Africa, while providing powerful political allies in America and Britain in the form of Big Oil.

    As for Porto Rico the problem was the decision to grant them citizenship in 1917 in order to conscript them for military service (as if America with its 100 million people didn't have enough manpower). America's political system and ideology make imperialism a very bad choice for us. You could take this beyond America by noting that imperialism is always dangerous because there will always be a political faction which can profit from granting power to colonized peoples.

  131. @Dmitry

    So now Dmitry might understand what it is about.

     

    I know as much about Julia Ioffe, as I know about why her non-evil twin Karlin has recently stopped talking to us.

    So for Ioffe's behaviour I guess early-onset menopause; while for Karlin - that he has got a girlfriend?

    So for Ioffe’s behaviour I guess early-onset menopause; while for Karlin – that he has got a girlfriend?

    The most parsimonious explanation is that Ioffe is AK’s girlfriend

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Maybe Russia watchers belong to a guild, and each year they drunkenly meet each other at the annual Christmas Party (well, of course,- actually a secret Hanukkah party).
  132. @anonymous
    China is crushing the Uighur insurgency not through ruthlessness but advanced surveillance, an interesting new model.

    It does have a kind of soft ruthlessness to it, like megaphones blaring constantly on public streets. Officials basically demolishing their culture and then constructing a phony one for Chinese tourists. There are also re-education camps. Many are banned from travelling to Han areas.

    I also wonder about the rumors of organ harvesting, but as a foreignor, it would be hard to tell if something like that is true.

  133. @Dmitry

    . One year it was called a “winter tree.”. The reaction was too strong though .
     
    Lol it's almost how you would say it in Russian - "New Year fir-tree".

    Anyway the important thing is to buy a live tree, or at least if artificial, then not one which is pink.

    I used to like real trees, but have you have thrown a pine branch into a campfire? They say if a Christmas tree catches fire, you don’t have a chance. Being in a confined space, the heat instantly cooks you. I don’t know if it is an urban legend. What would it take – the much vaunted and somewhat rare thunder snow (lightning in a winterstorm)? And how likely is it with a waterbowl?

    If I lived out in the country, I’d probably set one up outside and see how easy it would be to light on fire with a waterbowl.

    Maybe there is some way to do a calculation with cubic feet of air. But, then again, if you live in a wooden house, maybe there is not much point in that. I once heard someone make a funny stereotype about Germans: they are crazy about fire because so few have wooden houses.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Well if you worry about fire, you could have a live tree without any kind of lighting, on it and it would still be nicer than the artificial tree.

    My grandparents had even in the past candles near around a live tree (this is probably a bit dangerous).
  134. @reiner Tor
    The Romans destroyed the insurgencies and then assimilated the populations, who thus became loyal. But the Romans had to keep the implicit threat of genocidal violence until the assimilation happened.

    The prerequisites were military dominance, a willingness to commit genocidal level violence, a perception that such dominance and political will would persist indefinitely in the future, and a superior, more civilized culture, which was attractive enough for the locals to join, at least once they realized they couldn’t defeat it.

    Stolen Valor Detective (incidentally, I’ve always wanted to steal some valor–perhaps I can get into corporate valor theft and claim I was given national awards in accounting) qualified his position on guerrilla wars and empire by limiting it to the modern period.

    That begs the question–what’s different about the modern period that changes things?

    Seems like there are two major changes:

    1 – Moral evolution has made such ruthlessness untenable

    2 – Urbanization and literacy have increased the political power of common people, which makes them less willing to sustain casualties

    A possible third problem is the modern fertility transition and improved hygiene, diet, medical care, etc. further making people more casualty averse.

    This doesn’t change the definition or method of victory over the insurgents, but it does make it easier for the insurgents to defeat you politically. The recipe for victory is still the same as it always was, which the Jewish strategist and historian Edward Luttwak described as making the civilian population fear you more than they fear the insurgents.

    The US Army General Ray Odierno is described as independently having come to this conclusion during the American occupation of Iraq. He started asking himself routinely, “What would Saddam do?”

    Seems that these two problems can be overcome by implementing a totalitarian political system which holds that the expansion of its own power is the highest moral goal. That said the two such systems which came into being in the 20th century did not perpetuate themselves.

    A modern guerrilla war which meets Stolen Valor Detective’s metric for COIN success would be the Philippine War. The insurgency was crushed, Filipinos passively accepted American domination, and in fact America won their hearts and minds to such an extent that Filipinos have excellent English language proficiency.

    • Replies: @iffen
    which the Jewish strategist

    Is Jewish strategy different from generic strategy? If so, do you think that there is also a transgenderqueer strategy that is different as well?

  135. @The Big Red Scary

    permabears
     
    I don't follow these people, but I can imagine three different positions that this could describe:

    1. Real economic growth is over and all that's left is to tread water or manipulate the market.

    2. While much of economic growth is real and would be likely to continue, reckless market manipulation exacerbated by the moral hazard of potential bailouts will lead to such a severe crisis that real economic growth could be completely undermined.

    3. While much of economic growth is real and is likely to continue, up to and after an economic crisis, all of the data show that the financial markets are becoming increasingly volatile and that frequency of market moves as a function of magnitude follow a power law (like earthquakes), so it is not unreasonable to make some preparations for an enormous economic crisis in the same way that the Japanese prepare for enormous earthquakes.

    I imagine that if Taleb were to take some testosterone blockers and then make his point in a more level-headed way, his position would sound something like 3. I recommend Mark Buchanan's "Forecast" as a popular introduction to how these problems are approached in "econophysics".

    You’re giving these people far more credit than they deserve.

    Some of them are simply hucksters who have found that doom sells. I believe Marc Faber is in this category. Nouriel Roubini may be as well.

    Most of the others are simply Austro-libertarians, which means they’re religious fanatics who worship gold and consider debt (especially state debt) to be sinful and evil. There are always ready made arguments to discredit data undermining their positions as well (e.g. inflation statistics are phony and stocks only rise b/c central bank intervention).

    Taleb to his credit is not like these people, and he’s generally making the second and third point. It’s certainly true that attempting to eliminate risk tends to increase systemic fragility, and this isn’t just the case in finance.

    It’s certainly not unreasonable to make preparations for an economic crisis (or even simply a “normal” bear market or a “normal” recession), but following the advice of the permabears is unreasonable as it means you forego market gains. Unless, of course, gold goes to $50,000 per ounce Real Soon Now as they’ve been predicting for years.

    • Replies: @LondonBob
    I read Faber's Tommorow's Gold in the early noughties at university. He advocated investing in gold, natural resources, Russia and Eastern Europe, I agreed and did. They were the best performing asset classes in that period. I also remember him going on CNBC when the S&P bottomed advocating you buy, the host jumped on him for being a bull. I always pay attention to his prognostications.
  136. @LondonBob
    Most people still believe in God and the church in my upper middle class suburb is packed for all the Christmas services.

    the church in my upper middle class suburb is packed for all the Christmas services

    How does it look like in the rest of the year?
    There’s certainly still a lot of attachment to Christian traditions, and a vague belief in God may well be widespread (true atheism is a pretty bleak world view after all). But I think Christianity as a coherent belief system is pretty much dead in Western Europe.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    Wales was once renowned for Non Conformist chapels. As late as the 60's the association was strong. They have now all but disappeared. Anglicans and Romans, once secondary are now the main denominations with Weleyans just about visible. From the most religious to the least part of the UK in 50 years. Economic stress played a large role. The ambitious and disciplined, overwhelmingly Chapel attenders, left. With the leaders removed the rest fell apart. But, as in the rest of the UK, the Anglican decline continues but at a slower and slower rate.
    , @LondonBob
    Young families and old people, but that has always been the case. What is new is what Charles Murray has identified with the lower classes being cast adrift.
  137. @Sean
    The market thinks that Germany cannot afford to have Italian banks collapse and bring the European system of Germany down.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/european-bank-runs-and-failure-of-credit-anstalt-in-1931-2012-5?r=US&IR=T
    A recession turned into the Great Depression when France refused to help Germany over the Credit Anstalt bank failure. The international relations context is the key.

    Nice time capsule. A piece from 2012 about how everything was going to hell in Europe annnnnnny day now.

    Italy isn’t Greece and has the resources to bail out its own banks, as it did with Monte dei Paschi in 2017.

    While the policy response to the Great Financial Crisis and subsequent Euro Crisis hasn’t been optimal (especially in the case of the Euro), it has been much better than the Great Depression. And importantly today no one was on the gold standard to begin with, so outside of the Eurozone no one operated under gold standard constraints (in the Eurozone Germany insists on it for irrational reasons).

    • Replies: @Sean
    The EU is dealing with a country that is not trying to find the correct policy, Italy is gaming the EU

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/12/the-next-italian-crisis/

    From the very begining Italy has never obeyed the EU rules, and now they have elected a extreme-populist government with a mandate to openly defy the EU, which is what the Italian government are doing. Italy is betting that Germany, for its own selfish reasons, will be forced to keep the euro going and the freeloading Italian lifestyle with it.

    But you say Germany is perfectly irrational and presumably it just happens to have a balance sheet compatible with it being run on mercantile lines. The great depression was not caused by French hatred of Austria and Germany, no it was plain lack of classical economic wisdom. Look, the Italians know what they are supposed to do they just are refusing to do it.

    Germany is a military freeloader on the US, but unfortunately for Germany, it has no longer has a Soviet threat it needs America's help with because Russia is so weak . America will haveleave Germany to go to contain China, and Germany will have to spend some money on defence. Russia is getting America out of Germany, Russia is not going to be so stupid as to make itself any kind of ally of China, because that would make America more interested in keeping forces in Western Europe

  138. @songbird
    Re: the Boers. What I meant to say was that the trend was untenable. At the pop ratio of Rhodesia in its final days is about when you need complete ruthlessness to continue with whites in power. And I think in South Africa a lot of whites wanted to give up when they were in power, to generate goodwill. It seems it was the wrong strategy.

    You make a good argument about strategic interests and the Panama Canal, but, I think, in hindsight, annexing Puerto Rico was one of the all-time bonehead political moves of all history. The direct costs, as well as the costs of immivasion have been very high. Almost incalculable if you add in the political dimension.

    The fact that Rhodesia’s military efforts were relatively successful despite whites only being 4% of the population and laboring under enormous burdens is telling. Whites fell from one-fifth of the population in Verwoerd’s heyday to one-seventh by the time of the coup d’etat against Botha. Today they’re one-fifteenth of the population and dwindling. Note that about one-fifth of the white population has emigrated since 1990 and the ANC government has permitted more or less uncontrolled immigration from the rest of black Africa (a problem which contributes to the country’s sky high unemployment rate).

    So yes, over a long enough timescale the differential rate of reproduction between blacks and whites in South Africa was not sustainable. South Africa made this problem worse by permitting black immigration for economic reasons.

    I can Karlin taking a similar view with respect to Russia’s relations with Central Asia. In the Tsarist period, demographic momentum was on Russia’s side. Today it is just the opposite, which calls for a reappraisal of Russia’s traditional policy.

    The Afrikaners were politically quite solid. They started majority voting for the KP even while Botha was still in power. If not for the Anglo voters the KP would’ve come to power and there would likely still be Apartheid today.

    Hindsight is 20/20, but one can identify many other errors.

    The first that comes to mind was the decision to abolish the monarchy and establish a republic. I’ve always described republicanism as a mental illness, and obviously this was done purely for egotistical reasons. This made it much easier for the UK to expel South Africa from the commonwealth, which in turn made it much easier for the UK to embargo arms just a few years later.

    The country permitting itself to be dependent on foreign finance was indescribably foolish and resulted in severe problems after 1985.

    While no level of internal reform was ever going to stop Western hostility, in a lot of ways apartheid did go too far. The denial of political rights to other civilized races such as subcontinentals and orientals until 1985 for instance. And while the ban on multiracial organizations was not unreasonable, extending this ban to foreign sports teams seems very dubious to me.

    In some aspects perhaps South Africa should’ve been more ruthless however. Foreign countries providing support for the ANC should’ve been targeted with terrorist attacks, just as Israel does (it is possible the South Africans murdered the Swedish Prime Minister). Outright seizing the oilfields in Angola would’ve solved some economic problems in South Africa, while providing powerful political allies in America and Britain in the form of Big Oil.

    As for Porto Rico the problem was the decision to grant them citizenship in 1917 in order to conscript them for military service (as if America with its 100 million people didn’t have enough manpower). America’s political system and ideology make imperialism a very bad choice for us. You could take this beyond America by noting that imperialism is always dangerous because there will always be a political faction which can profit from granting power to colonized peoples.

    • Replies: @sean42
    You can thank American occupation of the Philippines for making Filipinos even more pozzed than Americans themselves.
  139. @AP
    I actually met some Belarusin-speaking people in the USA. They emigrated from a village in the western part of the country and actually speak it as a first language. It sounds like an amalgamation of Russian, Ukrainian and Polish, but closer to Ukrainian than to the other two. It would be sad for a Slavic speech to disappear.

    Here are examples:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8v7VyClEG0

    A couple of years ago the Belarusian entry in Eurovision was in Belarusian, a jaunty little folk ditty with a real charm to it (‘charm’ is certainly not anyone’s first thought when it comes to eastern slavs).

    In pre-Soviet times Belarusian was sometimes written in a Czech-style latin script (łacinka) and there used to be a site that automatically translated modern Belarusian pages into it and I read a few short stories in it (pretty accessible for me knowing Polish and a sliver of Russian).

  140. OT but if you want to promote social conservatism in a population, is religious social conservatism more efficient as a method than secular arguments for conservatism? I mean the only two cases that I know of where populations became more conservative over the past 20 years are Malaysia and Indonesia, where the reason was the reemphasis of Islam in the public and private sphere, which would count as religious conservatism.

  141. @songbird
    I used to like real trees, but have you have thrown a pine branch into a campfire? They say if a Christmas tree catches fire, you don't have a chance. Being in a confined space, the heat instantly cooks you. I don't know if it is an urban legend. What would it take - the much vaunted and somewhat rare thunder snow (lightning in a winterstorm)? And how likely is it with a waterbowl?

    If I lived out in the country, I'd probably set one up outside and see how easy it would be to light on fire with a waterbowl.

    Maybe there is some way to do a calculation with cubic feet of air. But, then again, if you live in a wooden house, maybe there is not much point in that. I once heard someone make a funny stereotype about Germans: they are crazy about fire because so few have wooden houses.

    Well if you worry about fire, you could have a live tree without any kind of lighting, on it and it would still be nicer than the artificial tree.

    My grandparents had even in the past candles near around a live tree (this is probably a bit dangerous).

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I just bought a plastic tree, because I finally wanted to have a tree now that I couldn’t spend Christmas Eve at my parents. I’ve so far had two visitors, both asked if it was real. The trick is to buy a more expensive one, not a cheap and ugly plastic-looking plastic tree. There are many benefits. It’s going to last several years, so if you’re going to buy trees anyway, it’s a good investment. It’s cleaner. It doesn’t kill an actual innocent tree. (Okay, that last one is a bit bullshit.)
    , @Pericles
    The main problem with a live Christmas tree, IME, is that it drops its needles once it dries out. So when it's time to throw the tree out, you also get to do a major cleanup operation.

    Even so, I do by far prefer live trees to sensible plastic.
  142. @Thorfinnsson
    The fact that Rhodesia's military efforts were relatively successful despite whites only being 4% of the population and laboring under enormous burdens is telling. Whites fell from one-fifth of the population in Verwoerd's heyday to one-seventh by the time of the coup d'etat against Botha. Today they're one-fifteenth of the population and dwindling. Note that about one-fifth of the white population has emigrated since 1990 and the ANC government has permitted more or less uncontrolled immigration from the rest of black Africa (a problem which contributes to the country's sky high unemployment rate).

    So yes, over a long enough timescale the differential rate of reproduction between blacks and whites in South Africa was not sustainable. South Africa made this problem worse by permitting black immigration for economic reasons.

    I can Karlin taking a similar view with respect to Russia's relations with Central Asia. In the Tsarist period, demographic momentum was on Russia's side. Today it is just the opposite, which calls for a reappraisal of Russia's traditional policy.

    The Afrikaners were politically quite solid. They started majority voting for the KP even while Botha was still in power. If not for the Anglo voters the KP would've come to power and there would likely still be Apartheid today.

    Hindsight is 20/20, but one can identify many other errors.

    The first that comes to mind was the decision to abolish the monarchy and establish a republic. I've always described republicanism as a mental illness, and obviously this was done purely for egotistical reasons. This made it much easier for the UK to expel South Africa from the commonwealth, which in turn made it much easier for the UK to embargo arms just a few years later.

    The country permitting itself to be dependent on foreign finance was indescribably foolish and resulted in severe problems after 1985.

    While no level of internal reform was ever going to stop Western hostility, in a lot of ways apartheid did go too far. The denial of political rights to other civilized races such as subcontinentals and orientals until 1985 for instance. And while the ban on multiracial organizations was not unreasonable, extending this ban to foreign sports teams seems very dubious to me.

    In some aspects perhaps South Africa should've been more ruthless however. Foreign countries providing support for the ANC should've been targeted with terrorist attacks, just as Israel does (it is possible the South Africans murdered the Swedish Prime Minister). Outright seizing the oilfields in Angola would've solved some economic problems in South Africa, while providing powerful political allies in America and Britain in the form of Big Oil.

    As for Porto Rico the problem was the decision to grant them citizenship in 1917 in order to conscript them for military service (as if America with its 100 million people didn't have enough manpower). America's political system and ideology make imperialism a very bad choice for us. You could take this beyond America by noting that imperialism is always dangerous because there will always be a political faction which can profit from granting power to colonized peoples.

    You can thank American occupation of the Philippines for making Filipinos even more pozzed than Americans themselves.

  143. @DFH

    So for Ioffe’s behaviour I guess early-onset menopause; while for Karlin – that he has got a girlfriend?

     

    The most parsimonious explanation is that Ioffe is AK's girlfriend

    Maybe Russia watchers belong to a guild, and each year they drunkenly meet each other at the annual Christmas Party (well, of course,- actually a secret Hanukkah party).

    • LOL: DFH
  144. @anonymous coward

    In the old days, Christmas was the main holiday of the year with fist fights, massive drinking , caroling children (as in America on Halloween), etc., etc., In Soviet times, the main celebration was attended the New Year and Christmas traditions have been forgotten. And the Church’s attempt to revive Christmas as a boring religious holiday (in an absolutely non-religious country) naturally did not have much success.
     
    Absolute, 100%, unadulterated bullshit. Are you Jewish? Only a Jew or a Muslim could be so ignorant about Russian culture.

    The most important Christian holiday is Easter, vastly more important than the other 12 Christian holidays put together.

    Celebrating Christmas is a Western import. It was never popular, and true Christians look down on the imported "Christmas" (but really Yuletide, i.e., pagan) celebrations.

    For modern Christians Christmas is a time of fasting and reflection.

    Absolute, 100%, unadulterated bullshit. Are you Jewish? Only a Jew or a Muslim could be so ignorant about Russian culture…..Celebrating Christmas is a Western import.

    Yeah, really? So Gogol’s “Christmas Eve” is a slander on “Russian culture”? And Gogol himself was probably a secret Jew…
    And the fact that serfs workers who worked at the Ural factories in the 18th century had on Christmas 14 days vacation – it is probably also the Jewish machinations

    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    Yeah, really? So Gogol’s “Christmas Eve” is a slander on “Russian culture”?
     
    Are you retarded? Did you even read the story? Hint:

    a) The story isn't about Christmas or celebrating Christmas at all.
    b) The story isn't about "Russian culture", it's a fantasy story about demons and sex and other mystical shit.
    c) It isn't even about Russia at all, it's an attempt to make Ukraine fantastical and exotic.

    Goddamn, you are one stupid sonavabitch.

    And the fact that serfs workers who worked at the Ural factories in the 18th century had on Christmas 14 days vacation – it is probably also the Jewish machinations
     
    By strange coincidence, serfs today also have 14 days vacation around yuletide. This isn't really connected with Christmas, it's just a winter holiday.
  145. @melanf

    Absolute, 100%, unadulterated bullshit. Are you Jewish? Only a Jew or a Muslim could be so ignorant about Russian culture.....Celebrating Christmas is a Western import.
     
    Yeah, really? So Gogol's "Christmas Eve" is a slander on "Russian culture"? And Gogol himself was probably a secret Jew...
    And the fact that serfs workers who worked at the Ural factories in the 18th century had on Christmas 14 days vacation - it is probably also the Jewish machinations

    Yeah, really? So Gogol’s “Christmas Eve” is a slander on “Russian culture”?

    Are you retarded? Did you even read the story? Hint:

    a) The story isn’t about Christmas or celebrating Christmas at all.
    b) The story isn’t about “Russian culture”, it’s a fantasy story about demons and sex and other mystical shit.
    c) It isn’t even about Russia at all, it’s an attempt to make Ukraine fantastical and exotic.

    Goddamn, you are one stupid sonavabitch.

    And the fact that serfs workers who worked at the Ural factories in the 18th century had on Christmas 14 days vacation – it is probably also the Jewish machinations

    By strange coincidence, serfs today also have 14 days vacation around yuletide. This isn’t really connected with Christmas, it’s just a winter holiday.

    • Replies: @melanf



    Absolute, 100%, unadulterated bullshit. Are you Jewish? Only a Jew or a Muslim could be so ignorant about Russian culture…..Celebrating Christmas is a Western import.
     
    Yeah, really? So Gogol’s “Christmas Eve” is a slander on “Russian culture”? And Gogol himself was probably a secret Jew…
     
    Are you retarded? Did you even read the story?
    a) The story isn’t about Christmas or celebrating Christmas at all.
     
    https://bookfrom.net/nikolai-gogol/41779-the_night_before_christmas.html
    "THE DAY OF CHRISTMAS EVE ENDED, AND the night began, cold and clear. The stars and the crescent moon shone brightly upon the Christian world, helping all the good folks welcome the birth of our Savior. The cold grew sharper, yet the night was so quiet that one could hear the snow squeak under a traveler’s boots from half a mile away. Caroling hadn’t yet begun; village youths weren’t yet crowded outside the windows waiting for treats; the moon alone peeked through, as though inviting the girls to finish up their toilette and run out onto the clean, sparkling snow......


    the moon slid out and rose slowly into the sky. The whole world changed. The blizzard died down, the ground lit up like a silvery desert, and even the cold seemed warmer. Bands of girls and boys carrying sacks with treats poured into the streets, and Christmas carols filled the air. What a gorgeous night! How can one describe the fun of mingling with the carolers? It’s nice and warm under the sheepskin, the cold paints the young cheeks brighter, and the devil himself goads youngsters into mischief. A group of laughing girls with full sacks ran into Oksana’s house and surrounded the beauty, deafening Vakula with laughter and chatter. Everyone wanted to report what happened during their caroling and to show her their booty...""

    As you can see, it was (in the past ) a normal fun holiday (like one modern American holiday with caroling), not religious boredom

  146. @Felix Keverich
    The emerging conflict between Russia and Belarus deserves more attention:

    Lukashenka will no longer call Russia a "brotherly state".
    https://www.rbc.ru/politics/24/12/2018/5c2103ad9a7947dbc752268a

    Russian finance minister says that Russia will no longer subsidize Belarus in exchange for nothing.
    https://www.rbc.ru/economics/25/12/2018/5c22072f9a794722a5cbbb3c

    The emerging conflict between Russia and Belarus deserves more attention:

    Indeed. English source here:
    https://belsat.eu/en/news/i-do-not-call-russia-brotherly-state-anymore-lukashenka/

  147. @Dmitry
    Well if you worry about fire, you could have a live tree without any kind of lighting, on it and it would still be nicer than the artificial tree.

    My grandparents had even in the past candles near around a live tree (this is probably a bit dangerous).

    I just bought a plastic tree, because I finally wanted to have a tree now that I couldn’t spend Christmas Eve at my parents. I’ve so far had two visitors, both asked if it was real. The trick is to buy a more expensive one, not a cheap and ugly plastic-looking plastic tree. There are many benefits. It’s going to last several years, so if you’re going to buy trees anyway, it’s a good investment. It’s cleaner. It doesn’t kill an actual innocent tree. (Okay, that last one is a bit bullshit.)

  148. @anonymous coward

    Yeah, really? So Gogol’s “Christmas Eve” is a slander on “Russian culture”?
     
    Are you retarded? Did you even read the story? Hint:

    a) The story isn't about Christmas or celebrating Christmas at all.
    b) The story isn't about "Russian culture", it's a fantasy story about demons and sex and other mystical shit.
    c) It isn't even about Russia at all, it's an attempt to make Ukraine fantastical and exotic.

    Goddamn, you are one stupid sonavabitch.

    And the fact that serfs workers who worked at the Ural factories in the 18th century had on Christmas 14 days vacation – it is probably also the Jewish machinations
     
    By strange coincidence, serfs today also have 14 days vacation around yuletide. This isn't really connected with Christmas, it's just a winter holiday.

    Absolute, 100%, unadulterated bullshit. Are you Jewish? Only a Jew or a Muslim could be so ignorant about Russian culture…..Celebrating Christmas is a Western import.

    Yeah, really? So Gogol’s “Christmas Eve” is a slander on “Russian culture”? And Gogol himself was probably a secret Jew…

    Are you retarded? Did you even read the story?
    a) The story isn’t about Christmas or celebrating Christmas at all.

    https://bookfrom.net/nikolai-gogol/41779-the_night_before_christmas.html
    “THE DAY OF CHRISTMAS EVE ENDED, AND the night began, cold and clear. The stars and the crescent moon shone brightly upon the Christian world, helping all the good folks welcome the birth of our Savior. The cold grew sharper, yet the night was so quiet that one could hear the snow squeak under a traveler’s boots from half a mile away. Caroling hadn’t yet begun; village youths weren’t yet crowded outside the windows waiting for treats; the moon alone peeked through, as though inviting the girls to finish up their toilette and run out onto the clean, sparkling snow……

    the moon slid out and rose slowly into the sky. The whole world changed. The blizzard died down, the ground lit up like a silvery desert, and even the cold seemed warmer. Bands of girls and boys carrying sacks with treats poured into the streets, and Christmas carols filled the air. What a gorgeous night! How can one describe the fun of mingling with the carolers? It’s nice and warm under the sheepskin, the cold paints the young cheeks brighter, and the devil himself goads youngsters into mischief. A group of laughing girls with full sacks ran into Oksana’s house and surrounded the beauty, deafening Vakula with laughter and chatter. Everyone wanted to report what happened during their caroling and to show her their booty…“”

    As you can see, it was (in the past ) a normal fun holiday (like one modern American holiday with caroling), not religious boredom

  149. @Thorfinnsson
    Stolen Valor Detective (incidentally, I've always wanted to steal some valor--perhaps I can get into corporate valor theft and claim I was given national awards in accounting) qualified his position on guerrilla wars and empire by limiting it to the modern period.

    That begs the question--what's different about the modern period that changes things?

    Seems like there are two major changes:

    1 - Moral evolution has made such ruthlessness untenable

    2 - Urbanization and literacy have increased the political power of common people, which makes them less willing to sustain casualties

    A possible third problem is the modern fertility transition and improved hygiene, diet, medical care, etc. further making people more casualty averse.

    This doesn't change the definition or method of victory over the insurgents, but it does make it easier for the insurgents to defeat you politically. The recipe for victory is still the same as it always was, which the Jewish strategist and historian Edward Luttwak described as making the civilian population fear you more than they fear the insurgents.

    The US Army General Ray Odierno is described as independently having come to this conclusion during the American occupation of Iraq. He started asking himself routinely, "What would Saddam do?"

    Seems that these two problems can be overcome by implementing a totalitarian political system which holds that the expansion of its own power is the highest moral goal. That said the two such systems which came into being in the 20th century did not perpetuate themselves.

    A modern guerrilla war which meets Stolen Valor Detective's metric for COIN success would be the Philippine War. The insurgency was crushed, Filipinos passively accepted American domination, and in fact America won their hearts and minds to such an extent that Filipinos have excellent English language proficiency.

    which the Jewish strategist

    Is Jewish strategy different from generic strategy? If so, do you think that there is also a transgenderqueer strategy that is different as well?

    • Replies: @German_reader

    Is Jewish strategy different from generic strategy?
     
    It's probably especially devious.
    On a serious note, Luttwak was one of the first, in 1975, to advocate for US military intervention in the Mideast.
    From Andrew Bacevich's America's war for the greater Middle East:

    Two months later [i.e in March 1975], in Harper’s, the pseudonymous but apparently wellconnected Miles Ignotus went a step further, outlining in detail a plan to seize Saudi oil fields outright. Four divisions plus an air force contingent, with Israel generously pitching in to help, would do the trick, he argued. Echoing Tucker, Ignotus categorized spineless American leaders alongside “the craven men of Munich.” Allowing OPEC to dictate the price of oil amounted to “a futile policy of appeasement” and would inevitably lead to further disasters. In contrast, forceful military action promised an easy and nearly risk-free solution. Ignotus was actually Edward Luttwak, well-known national security gadfly and Pentagon consultant. In positing a U.S. attack on Saudi oil fields, he was pursuing an agenda that looked far beyond mere energy security. Luttwak was part of group seeking to “revolutionize warfare.” Saudi Arabia, he and his like-minded colleagues believed, offered the prospect of demonstrating the feasibility of using “fast, light forces to penetrate the enemy’s vital centers,” thereby providing a shortcut to victory. This was an early version of what twenty years later became known as the Revolution in Military Affairs. The invasion of Iraq in 2003, Luttwak would later claim, signified “the accomplishment of that revolution.”
     
    From his own mouth:
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/09/edward-luttwak-machiavelli-of-maryland

    “You know, I never gave George W Bush enough credit for what he’s done in the Middle East,” Luttwak continued. “I failed to appreciate at the time that he was a strategic genius far beyond Bismarck. He ignited a religious war between Shi’ites and Sunnis that will occupy the region for the next 1,000 years. It was a pure stroke of brilliance!”
     
    Maybe that's just some special kind of "humour". Though it certainly could be used as a piece of evidence for certain interpretations what exactly might be motivating people like Luttwak in their arguments for military interventions.
    But at least Thorfinnson seems to have profited from one of his books. My impression is that ancient historians generally dismiss his work about the Romans' alleged grand strategy, but maybe he does provide some useful insight.
    , @Thorfinnsson
    Jews should always be publicly identified as Jewish.
  150. @Felix Keverich
    The emerging conflict between Russia and Belarus deserves more attention:

    Lukashenka will no longer call Russia a "brotherly state".
    https://www.rbc.ru/politics/24/12/2018/5c2103ad9a7947dbc752268a

    Russian finance minister says that Russia will no longer subsidize Belarus in exchange for nothing.
    https://www.rbc.ru/economics/25/12/2018/5c22072f9a794722a5cbbb3c

    It’s almost like these Ukrainians and Belorussians, for some unknown reasons, don’t want your “help”.

  151. @Anatoly Karlin
    Let me kick off discussion on some organizational issues. Not including this in the main post since it's all exploratory at this stage.

    First off, I intend to set up a mailing list by the New Year or soon after. With more and more cases of Shut It Down, that seems overdue. Any tips? My last experience with mailing lists was MailChimp, but that was more than half a decade ago, technology I assume has moved on since then.

    Second, many users have expressed a preference for one or all of the following:

    1) Ability to contact other commenters
    2) A forum
    3) Meetup in meatspace

    About (1) - I assume Ron isn't planning to introduce that functionality anytime soon, not even so much because its technically difficult (WordPress has native capabilities for it) but because it would require registration and have a knock on effect on privacy, which the website takes very seriously.

    I have over the years introduced certain individuals to each other over email, but it's highly ineffective for me to manually serve as a conduit for all interested parties.

    Meanwhile, any IRL activities will require some degree of acquaintance between participants before it can happen.

    The natural connecting mechanism for that is a forum or discussion group.

    Issues:
    * Technically, it would also be trivial. WordPress has forum plugins such as bbPress that allow simple forums to be set up (we don't need anything complicated).
    * Not sure that Ron would be interested in it, and it's easy to see why - moderation will be a huge burden - and for limited gains.
    * Theoretically, I can create something myself at my website or another url.
    * Unfortunately, I don't have much time for moderation either, so at most it will have to be a small, hand-selected group that can be relied upon to police itself.
    * One technical solution would be to buy DigitalOcean hosting and create a droplet running a Discourse forum (my favorite forum software atm). This is the current solution of what is probably Russia's current biggest closed nationalist forum.
    * Running Discourse from their end is not an option due to it being prohibitively expensive ($100 per month).
    * One secret forum I was invited to uses https://www.proboards.com/ which is a remotely hosted blog.
    * App like alternatives: Slack, Discord, Telegram, Facebook groups (urgh), etc.
    Keybase might be interesting but I know too little about it and I assume it's too esoteric for us to adopt it.
    * Risk of remotely hosted boards is that they can wipe us (or even dox us) for political reasons, though risk will probably remain low since I don't intend for any discussions to be public. Risk of self-hosting it is that I might get hacked.

    Privately hosted forum/chan or perhaps mailing list is strongly preferable, I think. Running some app by a usual third party is a quick invitation to be deplatformed, doxed etc by some busybody SJW. I seem to recall that Discord, for example, has let law enforcement listen in on privately hosted instances. It’s probably the same for everything run in the US or the West.

    It would be nice if posted messages also were scrubbed of identities like emails and other distinguishing marks to make malicious archiving more difficult. Perhaps a chan then?

    Best if it’s also robust and needs a minimum of hand holding to run, including being reasonably secure to avoid too easy shenanigans.

    Whatever the solution, the key is of course the data. Take a daily offsite backup of the membership so you can easily reconstruct it when deplatformed.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I’d prefer a mailing list where each user would create a special email address for that purpose. Something like [email protected], [email protected], etc. (Maybe gmail is not the best, or we can leave the provider to the members.) That way we can be sure that the email was specifically registered for that purpose and nothing else. Maybe the monikers should be left out of the addresses. So someone seizing the mailing list addresses would get him no further than a list of unused email addresses.

    The email is good because it makes it easy for users to contact each other.
  152. The most controversial part of some notes taken during an interview with polymath and supergenius Greg Cochran:
    https://adarkwindhowls.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/conversation-with-a-scientist/

    – Jewish high iq probably also accidentally selected for ‘depression’ genes, anxiety, etc.

    – Jews were already leftwing, Moldbug is wrong (he really doesn’t like Moldbug!), look at role in Russian empire or Europe

    – Jews think of whites as their ‘ancient foe’ but don’t think that of Chinese

    – USS Liberty was absolutely a purposeful Israeli attack on US ship, only case he knows of repeated day-time ‘accidental’ attacks. Article in Chicago Tribune of retired army guys who saw classified info, and they said they heard transmissions from Israeli airforce being told to attack US ships. They wanted to kill everyone so there’d be no witnesses. Then later lied to say it was an ‘accident’ despite it happening over and over again. 6th Fleet was going to be scrambled, but McNamara ordered not to cuz LBJ ordered not to, because he didn’t want to piss off “the Jews”. What was the purpose of the attack on the Liberty? To pretend it was Egypt attacking and get US on Israel’s side. Likely some general didn’t realize in fog of war how easily Israel was winning and lost his nerve and ordered it, as well as good opportunity to cement American support and finish off residual “Arab” lobby in USG.

    – Nixon supporting Israel in ’73 was to get Jewish support for Cold War and tie their support to Vietnam war, etc. You don’t need all the Jews, but you need ‘some of them’.

    – White subordination to Jews, can change, it changed over past 100 years, it can change again. Israel will likely ‘push its luck’ and p.o. Trump, see below.

    • Replies: @LondonBob
    (((Moldbug)))
  153. @iffen
    which the Jewish strategist

    Is Jewish strategy different from generic strategy? If so, do you think that there is also a transgenderqueer strategy that is different as well?

    Is Jewish strategy different from generic strategy?

    It’s probably especially devious.
    On a serious note, Luttwak was one of the first, in 1975, to advocate for US military intervention in the Mideast.
    From Andrew Bacevich’s America’s war for the greater Middle East:

    Two months later [i.e in March 1975], in Harper’s, the pseudonymous but apparently wellconnected Miles Ignotus went a step further, outlining in detail a plan to seize Saudi oil fields outright. Four divisions plus an air force contingent, with Israel generously pitching in to help, would do the trick, he argued. Echoing Tucker, Ignotus categorized spineless American leaders alongside “the craven men of Munich.” Allowing OPEC to dictate the price of oil amounted to “a futile policy of appeasement” and would inevitably lead to further disasters. In contrast, forceful military action promised an easy and nearly risk-free solution. Ignotus was actually Edward Luttwak, well-known national security gadfly and Pentagon consultant. In positing a U.S. attack on Saudi oil fields, he was pursuing an agenda that looked far beyond mere energy security. Luttwak was part of group seeking to “revolutionize warfare.” Saudi Arabia, he and his like-minded colleagues believed, offered the prospect of demonstrating the feasibility of using “fast, light forces to penetrate the enemy’s vital centers,” thereby providing a shortcut to victory. This was an early version of what twenty years later became known as the Revolution in Military Affairs. The invasion of Iraq in 2003, Luttwak would later claim, signified “the accomplishment of that revolution.”

    From his own mouth:
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/09/edward-luttwak-machiavelli-of-maryland

    “You know, I never gave George W Bush enough credit for what he’s done in the Middle East,” Luttwak continued. “I failed to appreciate at the time that he was a strategic genius far beyond Bismarck. He ignited a religious war between Shi’ites and Sunnis that will occupy the region for the next 1,000 years. It was a pure stroke of brilliance!”

    Maybe that’s just some special kind of “humour”. Though it certainly could be used as a piece of evidence for certain interpretations what exactly might be motivating people like Luttwak in their arguments for military interventions.
    But at least Thorfinnson seems to have profited from one of his books. My impression is that ancient historians generally dismiss his work about the Romans’ alleged grand strategy, but maybe he does provide some useful insight.

    • Replies: @iffen
    It’s probably especially devious.

    Bad GR.

    Interesting.

    Do you suppose that he could have skewed his general military strategy with an eye upon its possible application in the ME?

    Related observation.

    Trump seems to be going rogue with regard to “Jewish influence” on ME policy.

    Are dem Jews in control or not?

    , @Thorfinnsson
    Luttwak's ideas in 1975 aren't the worst. The fact that the West allowed a bunch of dune coons to set off a decade long economic and monetary crisis by denying us the energy that we discovered and developed is incredibly pathetic.

    The USA was willing to put half a million men in Viet Nam and lose 50,000 dead for the most dubious reasons, but we meekly rolled over when the Arabalonians plunged a knife in the economic heart of the Western world.

    His 2015 remarks strike me as a joke. I don't recall what his views in 2002 were.
  154. @iffen
    which the Jewish strategist

    Is Jewish strategy different from generic strategy? If so, do you think that there is also a transgenderqueer strategy that is different as well?

    Jews should always be publicly identified as Jewish.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Everyone’s ethnicity should always be identified. I want to know when reading about, say, Croatia, if the author is Croat, Serb, Hungarian, Jewish, German, French, Hausa, Bushman, or Andamanese. It’s a useful information, similar to how, when reading stock market analysis, I need to know which stocks the author is invested in and which is he shorting.
    , @iffen
    What should be your public identification?
    , @silviosilver
    I agree. Maximum feasible public identification.
  155. @Thorfinnsson
    Even immigrant groups of objectively good quality and totally lacking in nefarious designs are a problem, simply because they have a different identity. This causes them to make certain political demands which weaken the nation's unity and the integrity of the state.

    German immigrants opposed the goals of indigenous Americans to pursue alcohol Prohibition, imperialism, and war against Germany. They setup newspapers and schools in their own language. They also had a particularly nasty habit of supporting socialist candidates. Eventually the Americans found it necessary to squash them like a bug.

    Scandinavian immigrants were on board with alcohol prohibition, but otherwise had similar political goals as the Germans. A lot of Danish immigrants also become Mormons for some odd reason, though I suppose we can write that off as a fluke.

    Finnish immigrants became America's most prominent supporters of communism other than the Jews.

    Immigrants from the Visegrad area were partly responsible for poisoning America's diplomatic relations with Austria-Hungary, and without them it's not certain that Secretary of State Robert Lansing would've demanded the dissolution of Austria-Hungary.

    Korean immigrants are presently ruining America's geography textbooks by insisting on improper names for the Sea of Japan.

    It was the descendants of Ellis Island Papist immigrants (who were not without problems, but had ceased causing problems by that time) who supplied the cheap labor Republicans with sufficient muscle to stop the immigration reform efforts of the '90s. They didn't do this for nefarious reasons like the Jews. They were simply motivated by sentimental pablum (even though current immigration laws wouldn't let their parents in) and took the efforts of Brimelow, Buchanan, Jordan, etc. as a personal attack on themselves.

    Taking efforts at immigration control as a personal insult against one's own ethnic identity is a particular problem which appears to be universal.

    Finnish immigrants became America’s most prominent supporters of communism other than the Jews.

    From what I’ve heard, those Finns were the losers of the Red-White Finnish civil war. They were commies when they arrived.

  156. @Thorfinnsson
    I can report that in Sweden no one ever stopped saying God Jul (literally Good Yule), and it's prominently displayed in commercial advertising and on property owned by the state.

    People also say God Helg (literally Good Holiday), but this has always been said and isn't equivalent to the American expression Happy Holidays.

    Lately there have been some attacks on Saint Lucy's Day, the festival of light (an important holiday in Scandinavia). This doesn't have much to do with antipathy to the Christian religion (which is practically extinct in Sweden anyway), but rather the fact that the holiday reminds Mohammedans that they're physically quite ugly compared to Scandinavians. The ritual involves selecting a teenage girl to play the role of St. Lucy by wearing a crown of candles on her head. Traditionally, the prettiest girl is picked. Obviously not fun for Mohammedan girls who are after all very unattractive.

    Lack of hostility to Christmas in Europe comes down to that fact that there is a lot less Jewish influence in Europe, particularly outside of Britain and France. Mohammedans consider us to be quasi-pagans, but they still consider Jesus Christ to be a prophet. And in any case Mohammedans have close to zero actual influence in Europe other than about making people afraid to draw cartoons of Mohammed.

    The Jews, on the other hand, genuinely hate Jesus Christ, Christmas, and Christianity. Some of them are so demented they refuse to even say the word Christmas.

    The 1st amendment of the US Constitution also offered them a useful bludgeon with which to attack Christmas which doesn't exist in any European country other than France. Though as far as I know in France everyone still says Joyeux Noel. They also don't control the media as much in Europe (or department store retailing).

  157. @Thorfinnsson
    Jews should always be publicly identified as Jewish.

    Everyone’s ethnicity should always be identified. I want to know when reading about, say, Croatia, if the author is Croat, Serb, Hungarian, Jewish, German, French, Hausa, Bushman, or Andamanese. It’s a useful information, similar to how, when reading stock market analysis, I need to know which stocks the author is invested in and which is he shorting.

    • Replies: @iffen
    When you use "my community" do you mean Hungarian?
    , @inertial
    Great idea! I would also add sex, sexual orientation, religion, income level, exact skin shade, and more. Based on this information, you'll be assigned a score. We can call it intersectionality.
  158. @Pericles
    Privately hosted forum/chan or perhaps mailing list is strongly preferable, I think. Running some app by a usual third party is a quick invitation to be deplatformed, doxed etc by some busybody SJW. I seem to recall that Discord, for example, has let law enforcement listen in on privately hosted instances. It's probably the same for everything run in the US or the West.

    It would be nice if posted messages also were scrubbed of identities like emails and other distinguishing marks to make malicious archiving more difficult. Perhaps a chan then?

    Best if it's also robust and needs a minimum of hand holding to run, including being reasonably secure to avoid too easy shenanigans.

    Whatever the solution, the key is of course the data. Take a daily offsite backup of the membership so you can easily reconstruct it when deplatformed.

    I’d prefer a mailing list where each user would create a special email address for that purpose. Something like [email protected], [email protected], etc. (Maybe gmail is not the best, or we can leave the provider to the members.) That way we can be sure that the email was specifically registered for that purpose and nothing else. Maybe the monikers should be left out of the addresses. So someone seizing the mailing list addresses would get him no further than a list of unused email addresses.

    The email is good because it makes it easy for users to contact each other.

    • Replies: @Pericles
    Well, register a fresh email on Yandex or Protonmail, if that seems more secure. Or maybe AK could run a private IMAP/POP server too. (I'm not sure I seriously recommend this. But then I'm not sure I disrecommend it either.)

    NB: Either way, I do not recommend using Gmail, Hotmail, and all the rest.

  159. @DFH
    So the evidence is that someone who hated Christ said it and that a random tombstone with a common name on it was found?

    I guess it’s a Christmas miracle!

    • Replies: @Anonnu
    Ye virgin births & Mohammad unicorns while white women get fucked out by coloreds

    Let's celebrate the genocide of indigenous European culture
  160. @Felix Keverich
    The emerging conflict between Russia and Belarus deserves more attention:

    Lukashenka will no longer call Russia a "brotherly state".
    https://www.rbc.ru/politics/24/12/2018/5c2103ad9a7947dbc752268a

    Russian finance minister says that Russia will no longer subsidize Belarus in exchange for nothing.
    https://www.rbc.ru/economics/25/12/2018/5c22072f9a794722a5cbbb3c
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Lukashenka is stubborn as fuck, the strategy of blackmailing Russia has always worked for him in the past - he won't give an inch. But as a Russian, I'm pleased that our government is no longer willing to write him blank checks. They seem to be learning from Ukrainian experience.
  161. @Dmitry
    Well if you worry about fire, you could have a live tree without any kind of lighting, on it and it would still be nicer than the artificial tree.

    My grandparents had even in the past candles near around a live tree (this is probably a bit dangerous).

    The main problem with a live Christmas tree, IME, is that it drops its needles once it dries out. So when it’s time to throw the tree out, you also get to do a major cleanup operation.

    Even so, I do by far prefer live trees to sensible plastic.

  162. @German_reader

    Is Jewish strategy different from generic strategy?
     
    It's probably especially devious.
    On a serious note, Luttwak was one of the first, in 1975, to advocate for US military intervention in the Mideast.
    From Andrew Bacevich's America's war for the greater Middle East:

    Two months later [i.e in March 1975], in Harper’s, the pseudonymous but apparently wellconnected Miles Ignotus went a step further, outlining in detail a plan to seize Saudi oil fields outright. Four divisions plus an air force contingent, with Israel generously pitching in to help, would do the trick, he argued. Echoing Tucker, Ignotus categorized spineless American leaders alongside “the craven men of Munich.” Allowing OPEC to dictate the price of oil amounted to “a futile policy of appeasement” and would inevitably lead to further disasters. In contrast, forceful military action promised an easy and nearly risk-free solution. Ignotus was actually Edward Luttwak, well-known national security gadfly and Pentagon consultant. In positing a U.S. attack on Saudi oil fields, he was pursuing an agenda that looked far beyond mere energy security. Luttwak was part of group seeking to “revolutionize warfare.” Saudi Arabia, he and his like-minded colleagues believed, offered the prospect of demonstrating the feasibility of using “fast, light forces to penetrate the enemy’s vital centers,” thereby providing a shortcut to victory. This was an early version of what twenty years later became known as the Revolution in Military Affairs. The invasion of Iraq in 2003, Luttwak would later claim, signified “the accomplishment of that revolution.”
     
    From his own mouth:
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/09/edward-luttwak-machiavelli-of-maryland

    “You know, I never gave George W Bush enough credit for what he’s done in the Middle East,” Luttwak continued. “I failed to appreciate at the time that he was a strategic genius far beyond Bismarck. He ignited a religious war between Shi’ites and Sunnis that will occupy the region for the next 1,000 years. It was a pure stroke of brilliance!”
     
    Maybe that's just some special kind of "humour". Though it certainly could be used as a piece of evidence for certain interpretations what exactly might be motivating people like Luttwak in their arguments for military interventions.
    But at least Thorfinnson seems to have profited from one of his books. My impression is that ancient historians generally dismiss his work about the Romans' alleged grand strategy, but maybe he does provide some useful insight.

    It’s probably especially devious.

    Bad GR.

    Interesting.

    Do you suppose that he could have skewed his general military strategy with an eye upon its possible application in the ME?

    Related observation.

    Trump seems to be going rogue with regard to “Jewish influence” on ME policy.

    Are dem Jews in control or not?

    • Replies: @German_reader

    Do you suppose that he could have skewed his general military strategy with an eye upon its possible application in the ME?
     
    He's got an Israeli wife, his daughter has served in the Israeli army; I don't think it would be unreasonable to suspect that this plays some role in his pronouncements about Mideast strategy (though I'm not sure how consistent he is, apparently he's also written at times that the US should disengage from the Mideast, because those backwards countries only bring trouble; tbh he comes across somewhat like a self-promoting charlatan who likes to exaggerate his own importance, so I don't care to find out more about him. Maybe Thorfinsson knows more about his views, he seems to have read him after all).
    , @reiner Tor


    It’s probably especially devious.
     
    Bad GR.
     
    You realized he was kidding, didn’t you?
  163. @reiner Tor
    Everyone’s ethnicity should always be identified. I want to know when reading about, say, Croatia, if the author is Croat, Serb, Hungarian, Jewish, German, French, Hausa, Bushman, or Andamanese. It’s a useful information, similar to how, when reading stock market analysis, I need to know which stocks the author is invested in and which is he shorting.

    When you use “my community” do you mean Hungarian?

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Depends. What context?
  164. @reiner Tor
    I’d prefer a mailing list where each user would create a special email address for that purpose. Something like [email protected], [email protected], etc. (Maybe gmail is not the best, or we can leave the provider to the members.) That way we can be sure that the email was specifically registered for that purpose and nothing else. Maybe the monikers should be left out of the addresses. So someone seizing the mailing list addresses would get him no further than a list of unused email addresses.

    The email is good because it makes it easy for users to contact each other.

    Well, register a fresh email on Yandex or Protonmail, if that seems more secure. Or maybe AK could run a private IMAP/POP server too. (I’m not sure I seriously recommend this. But then I’m not sure I disrecommend it either.)

    NB: Either way, I do not recommend using Gmail, Hotmail, and all the rest.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Registering a fresh email address not used (and not usable, hence the awkwardness) for anything else is safer in that the address itself will not be possible to be linked to anything. If you use your real email address, then some amateur hacker could dox you. The worst are email addresses which contain your name.
    , @reiner Tor
    The biggest risk is not that Google or Facebook doxes you, the biggest danger is some amateur SJW or an organization like the SPLC.
  165. @Thorfinnsson
    Jews should always be publicly identified as Jewish.

    What should be your public identification?

  166. @iffen
    When you use "my community" do you mean Hungarian?

    Depends. What context?

    • Replies: @iffen
    Giving to beggars.
  167. @reiner Tor
    Depends. What context?

    Giving to beggars.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I was thinking about Hungary, the country. By far the most often I give to beggars (always homeless) in Budapest. I avoid any beggars who don’t seem homeless. But I often give to the homeless when they are not begging. (Actually, that’s very typical.) They are usually just older alcoholic dudes. Sometimes women.
  168. @iffen
    It’s probably especially devious.

    Bad GR.

    Interesting.

    Do you suppose that he could have skewed his general military strategy with an eye upon its possible application in the ME?

    Related observation.

    Trump seems to be going rogue with regard to “Jewish influence” on ME policy.

    Are dem Jews in control or not?

    Do you suppose that he could have skewed his general military strategy with an eye upon its possible application in the ME?

    He’s got an Israeli wife, his daughter has served in the Israeli army; I don’t think it would be unreasonable to suspect that this plays some role in his pronouncements about Mideast strategy (though I’m not sure how consistent he is, apparently he’s also written at times that the US should disengage from the Mideast, because those backwards countries only bring trouble; tbh he comes across somewhat like a self-promoting charlatan who likes to exaggerate his own importance, so I don’t care to find out more about him. Maybe Thorfinsson knows more about his views, he seems to have read him after all).

    • Replies: @iffen
    Mideast strategy (though I’m not sure how consistent he is.... Maybe Thorfinsson knows more about his views, he seems to have read him after all).


    I know zip.

    I took from Thor’s comment that he was a military strategist, not necessarily a ME military strategist. Hence my question as to whether he could have skewed his “generic” strategy advice with an eye on the ME. The question really goes to the heart of the JQ.
  169. @iffen
    Giving to beggars.

    I was thinking about Hungary, the country. By far the most often I give to beggars (always homeless) in Budapest. I avoid any beggars who don’t seem homeless. But I often give to the homeless when they are not begging. (Actually, that’s very typical.) They are usually just older alcoholic dudes. Sometimes women.

  170. @iffen
    It’s probably especially devious.

    Bad GR.

    Interesting.

    Do you suppose that he could have skewed his general military strategy with an eye upon its possible application in the ME?

    Related observation.

    Trump seems to be going rogue with regard to “Jewish influence” on ME policy.

    Are dem Jews in control or not?

    It’s probably especially devious.

    Bad GR.

    You realized he was kidding, didn’t you?

    • Replies: @iffen
    Yes, apparently you didn't recognize the same from me.
  171. @reiner Tor


    It’s probably especially devious.
     
    Bad GR.
     
    You realized he was kidding, didn’t you?

    Yes, apparently you didn’t recognize the same from me.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Okay.
  172. @Pericles
    Well, register a fresh email on Yandex or Protonmail, if that seems more secure. Or maybe AK could run a private IMAP/POP server too. (I'm not sure I seriously recommend this. But then I'm not sure I disrecommend it either.)

    NB: Either way, I do not recommend using Gmail, Hotmail, and all the rest.

    Registering a fresh email address not used (and not usable, hence the awkwardness) for anything else is safer in that the address itself will not be possible to be linked to anything. If you use your real email address, then some amateur hacker could dox you. The worst are email addresses which contain your name.

  173. @Pericles
    Well, register a fresh email on Yandex or Protonmail, if that seems more secure. Or maybe AK could run a private IMAP/POP server too. (I'm not sure I seriously recommend this. But then I'm not sure I disrecommend it either.)

    NB: Either way, I do not recommend using Gmail, Hotmail, and all the rest.

    The biggest risk is not that Google or Facebook doxes you, the biggest danger is some amateur SJW or an organization like the SPLC.

  174. @German_reader

    Do you suppose that he could have skewed his general military strategy with an eye upon its possible application in the ME?
     
    He's got an Israeli wife, his daughter has served in the Israeli army; I don't think it would be unreasonable to suspect that this plays some role in his pronouncements about Mideast strategy (though I'm not sure how consistent he is, apparently he's also written at times that the US should disengage from the Mideast, because those backwards countries only bring trouble; tbh he comes across somewhat like a self-promoting charlatan who likes to exaggerate his own importance, so I don't care to find out more about him. Maybe Thorfinsson knows more about his views, he seems to have read him after all).

    Mideast strategy (though I’m not sure how consistent he is…. Maybe Thorfinsson knows more about his views, he seems to have read him after all).

    I know zip.

    I took from Thor’s comment that he was a military strategist, not necessarily a ME military strategist. Hence my question as to whether he could have skewed his “generic” strategy advice with an eye on the ME. The question really goes to the heart of the JQ.

    • Replies: @German_reader
    I can't really answer that, I don't know much more about Luttwak's general views about strategy than what's in the quote by Bacevich above (seems like a precursor of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumsfeld_Doctrine ).
    And I'm not really sure whether the question really should be if he deliberately skewed his advice, with intention to mislead and to advance Israeli interests (one also has to remember the Cold war background of his 1975 piece of course; arguably Israel was a much more useful ally to the US than it is today). I don't think that's really how those neoconnish foreign policy advisers operate mentally; they're probably quite sincere in their beliefs.
  175. @Mikhail
    Another take from someone who I generally agree with:

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/12/25/belarusian-leader-lukashenko-has-misplaced-his-faith-in-compromise-with-west-again.html

    Lukashenka is stubborn as fuck, the strategy of blackmailing Russia has always worked for him in the past – he won’t give an inch. But as a Russian, I’m pleased that our government is no longer willing to write him blank checks. They seem to be learning from Ukrainian experience.

  176. @iffen
    Mideast strategy (though I’m not sure how consistent he is.... Maybe Thorfinsson knows more about his views, he seems to have read him after all).


    I know zip.

    I took from Thor’s comment that he was a military strategist, not necessarily a ME military strategist. Hence my question as to whether he could have skewed his “generic” strategy advice with an eye on the ME. The question really goes to the heart of the JQ.

    I can’t really answer that, I don’t know much more about Luttwak’s general views about strategy than what’s in the quote by Bacevich above (seems like a precursor of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumsfeld_Doctrine ).
    And I’m not really sure whether the question really should be if he deliberately skewed his advice, with intention to mislead and to advance Israeli interests (one also has to remember the Cold war background of his 1975 piece of course; arguably Israel was a much more useful ally to the US than it is today). I don’t think that’s really how those neoconnish foreign policy advisers operate mentally; they’re probably quite sincere in their beliefs.

  177. @Thorfinnsson
    Nice time capsule. A piece from 2012 about how everything was going to hell in Europe annnnnnny day now.

    Italy isn't Greece and has the resources to bail out its own banks, as it did with Monte dei Paschi in 2017.

    While the policy response to the Great Financial Crisis and subsequent Euro Crisis hasn't been optimal (especially in the case of the Euro), it has been much better than the Great Depression. And importantly today no one was on the gold standard to begin with, so outside of the Eurozone no one operated under gold standard constraints (in the Eurozone Germany insists on it for irrational reasons).

    The EU is dealing with a country that is not trying to find the correct policy, Italy is gaming the EU

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/12/the-next-italian-crisis/

    From the very begining Italy has never obeyed the EU rules, and now they have elected a extreme-populist government with a mandate to openly defy the EU, which is what the Italian government are doing. Italy is betting that Germany, for its own selfish reasons, will be forced to keep the euro going and the freeloading Italian lifestyle with it.

    But you say Germany is perfectly irrational and presumably it just happens to have a balance sheet compatible with it being run on mercantile lines. The great depression was not caused by French hatred of Austria and Germany, no it was plain lack of classical economic wisdom. Look, the Italians know what they are supposed to do they just are refusing to do it.

    Germany is a military freeloader on the US, but unfortunately for Germany, it has no longer has a Soviet threat it needs America’s help with because Russia is so weak . America will haveleave Germany to go to contain China, and Germany will have to spend some money on defence. Russia is getting America out of Germany, Russia is not going to be so stupid as to make itself any kind of ally of China, because that would make America more interested in keeping forces in Western Europe

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    There's nothing wrong with Italy's fiscal policy. Perhaps suboptimal, but there's nothing wrong with it. Italy poses no danger to the Eurozone whatsoever. Note that the article you linked says that Italy plans a fiscal deficit of...2.4% of GDP.

    Inflation in Italy is 1.5% and the 10 year bond yield is 2.8%. And given that Italy has a 10.6% unemployment rate, traditionally one would expect expansive fiscal policy to reduce unemployment and shrink the output gap.

    What exactly the problem here, other than the fact that the Eurozone has stupid rules brought about by cack-brained German ideas?

    Italy does have an economic problem, but this isn't it. Italy's economic problem is that since joining the Euro its manufacturing sector has become uncompetitive thanks to German "wage restraint". In the past Italy could always deal with this by devaluing the Lira.

    And yes, Germany's economic policy is irrational. The country has a ridiculous current account surplus of 8% of GDP. Even ignoring the unhealthy impact of Germany's trade surpluses on its neighbors, the Germans are foregoing consumption and thus suffering from lower living standards than they can afford.
  178. @Sean
    The EU is dealing with a country that is not trying to find the correct policy, Italy is gaming the EU

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/12/the-next-italian-crisis/

    From the very begining Italy has never obeyed the EU rules, and now they have elected a extreme-populist government with a mandate to openly defy the EU, which is what the Italian government are doing. Italy is betting that Germany, for its own selfish reasons, will be forced to keep the euro going and the freeloading Italian lifestyle with it.

    But you say Germany is perfectly irrational and presumably it just happens to have a balance sheet compatible with it being run on mercantile lines. The great depression was not caused by French hatred of Austria and Germany, no it was plain lack of classical economic wisdom. Look, the Italians know what they are supposed to do they just are refusing to do it.

    Germany is a military freeloader on the US, but unfortunately for Germany, it has no longer has a Soviet threat it needs America's help with because Russia is so weak . America will haveleave Germany to go to contain China, and Germany will have to spend some money on defence. Russia is getting America out of Germany, Russia is not going to be so stupid as to make itself any kind of ally of China, because that would make America more interested in keeping forces in Western Europe

    There’s nothing wrong with Italy’s fiscal policy. Perhaps suboptimal, but there’s nothing wrong with it. Italy poses no danger to the Eurozone whatsoever. Note that the article you linked says that Italy plans a fiscal deficit of…2.4% of GDP.

    Inflation in Italy is 1.5% and the 10 year bond yield is 2.8%. And given that Italy has a 10.6% unemployment rate, traditionally one would expect expansive fiscal policy to reduce unemployment and shrink the output gap.

    What exactly the problem here, other than the fact that the Eurozone has stupid rules brought about by cack-brained German ideas?

    Italy does have an economic problem, but this isn’t it. Italy’s economic problem is that since joining the Euro its manufacturing sector has become uncompetitive thanks to German “wage restraint”. In the past Italy could always deal with this by devaluing the Lira.

    And yes, Germany’s economic policy is irrational. The country has a ridiculous current account surplus of 8% of GDP. Even ignoring the unhealthy impact of Germany’s trade surpluses on its neighbors, the Germans are foregoing consumption and thus suffering from lower living standards than they can afford.

    • Replies: @Sean

    Italy poses no danger to the Eurozone
     
    The Northern League used to talk about the north of Italy breaking away and joining in effect, with Germany. Then, the League made electoral gains by talking about Italy leaving the EU. Now that they are in power the League are being placatory, while ignoring the responsibilities Italy signed up to in the EU. It seems to me that Italians vote for whoever will try and game the German system so that Italians can continue with their luxury lifestyle.

    Italy does have an economic problem, but this isn’t it. Italy’s economic problem is that since joining the Euro its manufacturing sector has become noncompetitive thanks to German “wage restraint”. In the past Italy could always deal with this by devaluing the Lira.
     
    That is another way of saying that Italy cannot compete on equal terms with Germany. Well no-one can! Britain always makes a mistake when it wagers everything on the outcome of a Continental battle. A single currency will deindustrialise the noncompetitive rest of Europe and make Germany a world economic power. British productive capacity stared eroding almost as soon as it joined the what was then called the European Economic Community. Lord Weinstock, Britain's most successful postwar industrialist predicted the EU single trading and currency area would make a clean sweep of Britain. And that was exactly what was happening and Britain had Dunkirk it out the EU, and suffer the vindictive retaliation of Germany as implemented by their French girlfriend. Once the Continentals had taken out Britain's productive capacity, they would have come for the City of London banks. with regulation that would have handicapped them against German and French competition. Britain was always intended to be the EU's milch cow, there to be beaten, starved, and whipped.

    And yes, Germany’s economic policy is irrational. The country has a ridiculous current account surplus of 8% of GDP. Even ignoring the unhealthy impact of Germany’s trade surpluses on its neighbors, the Germans are foregoing consumption and thus suffering from lower living standards than they can afford.
     
    Apples apples and oranges; specifically, the difference between having a primary objective of making a country strong (Germany) and the goal of having the people in it happy (Italy). A government that wants to put making the country strong before anything else has to have people who are obedient, which Germans are. Germany tries to argue its integration of a million refugees should be accounted part of its spending on defence. Well it should! Germany intends to make its taxpayers fund the euro as an export promotion scheme for German industry. Slavish German unions agree to keep wages from rising, and the immigrants will be grist to the mill of business's class war against wages.
    , @songbird
    Despite, its traditional political instability, its disparate ethnic components, its short history as a nation, and somewhat stodgy historical military record - Italy may be the most successful country in Western Europe (if we call it in Western Europe.)

    Why? Because it seems to be the only one bucking globohomo. What is secret sauce? Perhaps, its long North-South axis. It has its "toe" dipped firmly in clannishness. Maybe, that is what is needed for the rest of Europe, more familiarity with Southern Europeans, in some sort of balance, where each side helps the other from going bonkers.
  179. @reiner Tor
    Everyone’s ethnicity should always be identified. I want to know when reading about, say, Croatia, if the author is Croat, Serb, Hungarian, Jewish, German, French, Hausa, Bushman, or Andamanese. It’s a useful information, similar to how, when reading stock market analysis, I need to know which stocks the author is invested in and which is he shorting.

    Great idea! I would also add sex, sexual orientation, religion, income level, exact skin shade, and more. Based on this information, you’ll be assigned a score. We can call it intersectionality.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    It’s impractical to have it all, but it’s obvious that it’s multi-dimensional and so cannot be represented with just one number. At least it shouldn’t be a secret.
  180. @German_reader

    Is Jewish strategy different from generic strategy?
     
    It's probably especially devious.
    On a serious note, Luttwak was one of the first, in 1975, to advocate for US military intervention in the Mideast.
    From Andrew Bacevich's America's war for the greater Middle East:

    Two months later [i.e in March 1975], in Harper’s, the pseudonymous but apparently wellconnected Miles Ignotus went a step further, outlining in detail a plan to seize Saudi oil fields outright. Four divisions plus an air force contingent, with Israel generously pitching in to help, would do the trick, he argued. Echoing Tucker, Ignotus categorized spineless American leaders alongside “the craven men of Munich.” Allowing OPEC to dictate the price of oil amounted to “a futile policy of appeasement” and would inevitably lead to further disasters. In contrast, forceful military action promised an easy and nearly risk-free solution. Ignotus was actually Edward Luttwak, well-known national security gadfly and Pentagon consultant. In positing a U.S. attack on Saudi oil fields, he was pursuing an agenda that looked far beyond mere energy security. Luttwak was part of group seeking to “revolutionize warfare.” Saudi Arabia, he and his like-minded colleagues believed, offered the prospect of demonstrating the feasibility of using “fast, light forces to penetrate the enemy’s vital centers,” thereby providing a shortcut to victory. This was an early version of what twenty years later became known as the Revolution in Military Affairs. The invasion of Iraq in 2003, Luttwak would later claim, signified “the accomplishment of that revolution.”
     
    From his own mouth:
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/09/edward-luttwak-machiavelli-of-maryland

    “You know, I never gave George W Bush enough credit for what he’s done in the Middle East,” Luttwak continued. “I failed to appreciate at the time that he was a strategic genius far beyond Bismarck. He ignited a religious war between Shi’ites and Sunnis that will occupy the region for the next 1,000 years. It was a pure stroke of brilliance!”
     
    Maybe that's just some special kind of "humour". Though it certainly could be used as a piece of evidence for certain interpretations what exactly might be motivating people like Luttwak in their arguments for military interventions.
    But at least Thorfinnson seems to have profited from one of his books. My impression is that ancient historians generally dismiss his work about the Romans' alleged grand strategy, but maybe he does provide some useful insight.

    Luttwak’s ideas in 1975 aren’t the worst. The fact that the West allowed a bunch of dune coons to set off a decade long economic and monetary crisis by denying us the energy that we discovered and developed is incredibly pathetic.

    The USA was willing to put half a million men in Viet Nam and lose 50,000 dead for the most dubious reasons, but we meekly rolled over when the Arabalonians plunged a knife in the economic heart of the Western world.

    His 2015 remarks strike me as a joke. I don’t recall what his views in 2002 were.

    • Replies: @German_reader

    Luttwak’s ideas in 1975 aren’t the worst.
     
    I can understand the sentiment (have recently admitted to similar fantasies after all), but I doubt anything positive would have come out of such a project.
    Can't find anything about Luttwak's views on Iraq in 2002/03...supposedly he later criticized the war (though I'm not sure whether in principle or just its management).
    His positions on other issues are quite predictable though:
    https://www.cato-unbound.org/2006/07/18/edward-n-luttwak/bombing-three-year-plan-iran
    (from 2006, about the possibility of airstrikes on Iran; even worse, he strongly suggests there should be support for various separatist movements in Iran).

    https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/25/opinion/sunday/in-syria-america-loses-if-either-side-wins.html

    "Maintaining a stalemate should be America’s objective. And the only possible method for achieving this is to arm the rebels when it seems that Mr. Assad’s forces are ascendant and to stop supplying the rebels if they actually seem to be winning. "
     
    Pretty cynical fellow. Maybe not quite as deranged as the worst neocons (at least he doesn't call for direct intervention and regime change in Syria in his 2013 piece). But his general inclinations seem to be for maximum chaos in the Mideast.
  181. @songbird
    Since it is Christmastime, as well as saying "Merry Christmas to all!" I'll take this opportunity to satisfy my curiosity on one thing: what is the Christmas situation in Europe?

    In America, it has clearly been under attack for a long time. That is any public aknowledgement. You hear things like "Winter Carnival." People wish you the insipid "Happy Holidays!". The TV specials they put out now seem obviously worse. There was one based on "Frozen" a while back and in a very Nordic setting, I believe it had someone with a Menorah.

    One thing I'm wondering about is the Christmas fairs that go back hundreds of years. Have any had their name changed to take out Christmas? What do they say in stores? Merry Christmas?

    When I was employed, my Jewish boss and I were the only practicing “believers” (I’m Anglican 🙂 ) in a fairly big management team. He had absolutely no trouble with being wished Merry Christmas, neither did my son”s Muslim friend from Iraq who spent Christmas day with us. My Muslim sister in law has just cooked a large Christmas dinner for us. My wife’s Hindu in-laws relish Christmas.

    The opposition to explicitly Christian imagery in the UK is from posturing Labour Party councillors.

    • Replies: @neutral
    Jewish boss, Muslim friend, Muslim sister in law, Hindu in law, you still missing the black and gay to complete your Pokemon diversity collection.
  182. @Thorfinnsson
    Luttwak's ideas in 1975 aren't the worst. The fact that the West allowed a bunch of dune coons to set off a decade long economic and monetary crisis by denying us the energy that we discovered and developed is incredibly pathetic.

    The USA was willing to put half a million men in Viet Nam and lose 50,000 dead for the most dubious reasons, but we meekly rolled over when the Arabalonians plunged a knife in the economic heart of the Western world.

    His 2015 remarks strike me as a joke. I don't recall what his views in 2002 were.

    Luttwak’s ideas in 1975 aren’t the worst.

    I can understand the sentiment (have recently admitted to similar fantasies after all), but I doubt anything positive would have come out of such a project.
    Can’t find anything about Luttwak’s views on Iraq in 2002/03…supposedly he later criticized the war (though I’m not sure whether in principle or just its management).
    His positions on other issues are quite predictable though:
    https://www.cato-unbound.org/2006/07/18/edward-n-luttwak/bombing-three-year-plan-iran
    (from 2006, about the possibility of airstrikes on Iran; even worse, he strongly suggests there should be support for various separatist movements in Iran).

    https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/25/opinion/sunday/in-syria-america-loses-if-either-side-wins.html

    “Maintaining a stalemate should be America’s objective. And the only possible method for achieving this is to arm the rebels when it seems that Mr. Assad’s forces are ascendant and to stop supplying the rebels if they actually seem to be winning. “

    Pretty cynical fellow. Maybe not quite as deranged as the worst neocons (at least he doesn’t call for direct intervention and regime change in Syria in his 2013 piece). But his general inclinations seem to be for maximum chaos in the Mideast.

  183. @Anon
    Didn't one of the Orthodox patriarchs warn a few years ago about rising Paganism within the Russian armed forces?

    Speaking of Paganism: https://twitter.com/DouthatNYT/status/1072857777138266112

    There are a couple of million new style Pagans in Russia. Rodnveri. Most are some form of ariosophist straight out of the Thule Society. Demented hippies!

    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    I don't have a representative sample of Rodnoveri, but I think I do have a pretty good sample of Russian hippies, and indeed some of them are into resurrecting some kind of imagined Slavic folk culture. So far as I know, though, my hippies don't sacrifice to Perun, and even some of the more Rodnoverish are also interested in the same kinds of things that typical hippies like (Indian clothes and incense, yoga, and so on).
  184. Invading Saudi Arabia with Israel as an ally seems like a very bad idea.

    Threatening OPEC states with carpet bombing might have been fruitful.

    That said, realistically probably the best course of action would have been the development of synthetic fuels based on the abundant coal resources available in North America, Western Europe, South Africa, and Australia.

    In addition to eliminating dependence on OPEC (and likely driving most of those regimes into bankruptcy), it would’ve harmed the Soviet Union.

    The possibility was discussed in West Germany and America, but never went anywhere it seems. One coal gasification plant in North Dakota was built. South Africa actually did develop a successful synthetic fuels program based on WW2 German technology, though they were never able to replace all imported oil.

    As for the Mideast today, maintaining maximum chaos in Syria seems like a reasonable foreign policy goal…for Israel (and perhaps Turkey). I don’t believe that America in fact has any strategic interests in Syria, but Europe’s interests would best be served by Assad winning the Syria civil war and reestablishing a strong central government.

    • Replies: @German_reader

    I don’t believe that America in fact has any strategic interests in Syria, but Europe’s interests would best be served by Assad winning the Syria civil war and reestablishing a strong central government.
     
    Of course, it would be the only chance to get rid of at least some of the Syrians now in Germany and other European countries. One would probably have to pay Assad a lot of money to take them back (and promise not to harm them...at least not immediately), but that would be much better than keeping them around and granting them citizenship.
    I don't see either how the average American is supposed to have any interests in indefinite civil war in Syria. The arguments of people like Luttwak seem just fundamentally disingenuous.
  185. @German_reader

    the church in my upper middle class suburb is packed for all the Christmas services
     
    How does it look like in the rest of the year?
    There's certainly still a lot of attachment to Christian traditions, and a vague belief in God may well be widespread (true atheism is a pretty bleak world view after all). But I think Christianity as a coherent belief system is pretty much dead in Western Europe.

    Wales was once renowned for Non Conformist chapels. As late as the 60’s the association was strong. They have now all but disappeared. Anglicans and Romans, once secondary are now the main denominations with Weleyans just about visible. From the most religious to the least part of the UK in 50 years. Economic stress played a large role. The ambitious and disciplined, overwhelmingly Chapel attenders, left. With the leaders removed the rest fell apart. But, as in the rest of the UK, the Anglican decline continues but at a slower and slower rate.

  186. @Thorfinnsson
    Invading Saudi Arabia with Israel as an ally seems like a very bad idea.

    Threatening OPEC states with carpet bombing might have been fruitful.

    That said, realistically probably the best course of action would have been the development of synthetic fuels based on the abundant coal resources available in North America, Western Europe, South Africa, and Australia.

    In addition to eliminating dependence on OPEC (and likely driving most of those regimes into bankruptcy), it would've harmed the Soviet Union.

    The possibility was discussed in West Germany and America, but never went anywhere it seems. One coal gasification plant in North Dakota was built. South Africa actually did develop a successful synthetic fuels program based on WW2 German technology, though they were never able to replace all imported oil.

    As for the Mideast today, maintaining maximum chaos in Syria seems like a reasonable foreign policy goal...for Israel (and perhaps Turkey). I don't believe that America in fact has any strategic interests in Syria, but Europe's interests would best be served by Assad winning the Syria civil war and reestablishing a strong central government.

    I don’t believe that America in fact has any strategic interests in Syria, but Europe’s interests would best be served by Assad winning the Syria civil war and reestablishing a strong central government.

    Of course, it would be the only chance to get rid of at least some of the Syrians now in Germany and other European countries. One would probably have to pay Assad a lot of money to take them back (and promise not to harm them…at least not immediately), but that would be much better than keeping them around and granting them citizenship.
    I don’t see either how the average American is supposed to have any interests in indefinite civil war in Syria. The arguments of people like Luttwak seem just fundamentally disingenuous.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    The Syrian government has already announced that it is ready for the refugees to return home.

    Beyond the refugee issue (or terrorism for that matter), it's obviously not in Europe's interest to have a state with an extensive Mediterranean coast fall apart. It's not implausible that pirates would turn such a location into a haven.

    Europe could also use a pipeline route to the Persian Gulf (certainly this is more useful than LNG terminals). This is in fact frequently touted as the reason for the destabilization of Syria, as if Assad has some sort of pathological hatred of pipelines and only in the event of his removal can they be constructed...

    I don't see any reason for Europe to pay Assad money (except to the extent it's needed to help him win the war, but it seems like Russia and Iran are enough there), but in the postwar reconstruction Europe should become the largest investor.

  187. @German_reader

    I don’t believe that America in fact has any strategic interests in Syria, but Europe’s interests would best be served by Assad winning the Syria civil war and reestablishing a strong central government.
     
    Of course, it would be the only chance to get rid of at least some of the Syrians now in Germany and other European countries. One would probably have to pay Assad a lot of money to take them back (and promise not to harm them...at least not immediately), but that would be much better than keeping them around and granting them citizenship.
    I don't see either how the average American is supposed to have any interests in indefinite civil war in Syria. The arguments of people like Luttwak seem just fundamentally disingenuous.

    The Syrian government has already announced that it is ready for the refugees to return home.

    Beyond the refugee issue (or terrorism for that matter), it’s obviously not in Europe’s interest to have a state with an extensive Mediterranean coast fall apart. It’s not implausible that pirates would turn such a location into a haven.

    Europe could also use a pipeline route to the Persian Gulf (certainly this is more useful than LNG terminals). This is in fact frequently touted as the reason for the destabilization of Syria, as if Assad has some sort of pathological hatred of pipelines and only in the event of his removal can they be constructed…

    I don’t see any reason for Europe to pay Assad money (except to the extent it’s needed to help him win the war, but it seems like Russia and Iran are enough there), but in the postwar reconstruction Europe should become the largest investor.

    • Replies: @German_reader

    The Syrian government has already announced that it is ready for the refugees to return home.
     
    I have my doubts how sincere they are about that. I don't have any data, but my impression is that a substantial number of the Syrian refugees in Europe are underclass Sunni trash, that is people whom Assad's regime is probably glad to be rid of, because they're the kind of Syrians that would back Islamist insurgencies against the regime. There are some reports about Assad's forces having engaged in ethnic cleansing of such people, to secure Syrian cities against any repeat of what has happened in the last few years. That's why I suppose one would have to pay Assad to take back Syrian nationals and make some guarantees for their safety.
    Of course the bigger problem that the immigration lobby in Europe is doing everything in its power to turn Syrian refugees into permanent residents.
  188. @Thorfinnsson
    The Syrian government has already announced that it is ready for the refugees to return home.

    Beyond the refugee issue (or terrorism for that matter), it's obviously not in Europe's interest to have a state with an extensive Mediterranean coast fall apart. It's not implausible that pirates would turn such a location into a haven.

    Europe could also use a pipeline route to the Persian Gulf (certainly this is more useful than LNG terminals). This is in fact frequently touted as the reason for the destabilization of Syria, as if Assad has some sort of pathological hatred of pipelines and only in the event of his removal can they be constructed...

    I don't see any reason for Europe to pay Assad money (except to the extent it's needed to help him win the war, but it seems like Russia and Iran are enough there), but in the postwar reconstruction Europe should become the largest investor.

    The Syrian government has already announced that it is ready for the refugees to return home.

    I have my doubts how sincere they are about that. I don’t have any data, but my impression is that a substantial number of the Syrian refugees in Europe are underclass Sunni trash, that is people whom Assad’s regime is probably glad to be rid of, because they’re the kind of Syrians that would back Islamist insurgencies against the regime. There are some reports about Assad’s forces having engaged in ethnic cleansing of such people, to secure Syrian cities against any repeat of what has happened in the last few years. That’s why I suppose one would have to pay Assad to take back Syrian nationals and make some guarantees for their safety.
    Of course the bigger problem that the immigration lobby in Europe is doing everything in its power to turn Syrian refugees into permanent residents.

    • Replies: @Pericles
    A lot of the putatively Syrian migrants who came to Sweden turned out to be Iraqis or Afghanis or other random muslim trash. There is apparently even a contigent of Moroccan 'street kids' (whatever that means) who can't possibly be deported back to their peaceful home country.
  189. @Pericles
    I guess it's a Christmas miracle!

    Ye virgin births & Mohammad unicorns while white women get fucked out by coloreds

    Let’s celebrate the genocide of indigenous European culture

    • Troll: German_reader
  190. So they’ve made a movie about the Kursk disaster.

    Looks like HATO propaganda to me, for domestic consumption.

    Have any Russian bloggers/writers covered this story in a comprehensive way? I’ve only ever read sources from within the bubble. I’m sure the Russian Navy at the time was incompetent, but that this movie will use that era’s incompetence to paint a picture of Russia in general as full of abused common people at the mercy of big bad Putin.

    • Replies: @Swarthy Greek
    I saw the movie. Mediocre but better than i expected. No mention of Putin anywhere in the movie.
  191. @Philip Owen
    When I was employed, my Jewish boss and I were the only practicing "believers" (I'm Anglican :-) ) in a fairly big management team. He had absolutely no trouble with being wished Merry Christmas, neither did my son"s Muslim friend from Iraq who spent Christmas day with us. My Muslim sister in law has just cooked a large Christmas dinner for us. My wife's Hindu in-laws relish Christmas.

    The opposition to explicitly Christian imagery in the UK is from posturing Labour Party councillors.

    Jewish boss, Muslim friend, Muslim sister in law, Hindu in law, you still missing the black and gay to complete your Pokemon diversity collection.

    • LOL: Rosie
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    Zambians mostly.
  192. @iffen
    Yes, apparently you didn't recognize the same from me.

    Okay.

  193. @inertial
    Great idea! I would also add sex, sexual orientation, religion, income level, exact skin shade, and more. Based on this information, you'll be assigned a score. We can call it intersectionality.

    It’s impractical to have it all, but it’s obvious that it’s multi-dimensional and so cannot be represented with just one number. At least it shouldn’t be a secret.

    • Replies: @songbird
    I've long thought, there is a kind of absurdity, where we can read all the ingredients on a candy bar, but not the human aspects of a newspaper, NGO, bureaucratic body, or the makers of a TV show. For me, the most obvious and simple question is, how do they vote? But it would be useful to know much more. Like do they have trust funds? How many gays?

    Of course, there would be a great many difficulties in labelling, so it is probably impractical, but a newspaper could at least attempt to have some integrity by having a semi-anonymous survey.
  194. @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan
    So they've made a movie about the Kursk disaster.

    Looks like HATO propaganda to me, for domestic consumption.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xExzwSc4_eQ

    Have any Russian bloggers/writers covered this story in a comprehensive way? I've only ever read sources from within the bubble. I'm sure the Russian Navy at the time was incompetent, but that this movie will use that era's incompetence to paint a picture of Russia in general as full of abused common people at the mercy of big bad Putin.

    I saw the movie. Mediocre but better than i expected. No mention of Putin anywhere in the movie.

    • Replies: @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan
    Interesting.

    Also, my understanding is that the still-living 23 (or so) Russian sailors died within 6 hours of the accident. If that's true, not like there was much the inept Russian fleet could do even with Scandinavian-British help.
  195. @German_reader

    The Syrian government has already announced that it is ready for the refugees to return home.
     
    I have my doubts how sincere they are about that. I don't have any data, but my impression is that a substantial number of the Syrian refugees in Europe are underclass Sunni trash, that is people whom Assad's regime is probably glad to be rid of, because they're the kind of Syrians that would back Islamist insurgencies against the regime. There are some reports about Assad's forces having engaged in ethnic cleansing of such people, to secure Syrian cities against any repeat of what has happened in the last few years. That's why I suppose one would have to pay Assad to take back Syrian nationals and make some guarantees for their safety.
    Of course the bigger problem that the immigration lobby in Europe is doing everything in its power to turn Syrian refugees into permanent residents.

    A lot of the putatively Syrian migrants who came to Sweden turned out to be Iraqis or Afghanis or other random muslim trash. There is apparently even a contigent of Moroccan ‘street kids’ (whatever that means) who can’t possibly be deported back to their peaceful home country.

    • Replies: @German_reader
    Exactly the same in Germany. There was a group of a few dozen highly criminal "minors", mostly from Morocco, in my city (I think they've been now shipped off to somewhere else in Germany, because the mayor wanted to get rid of them). The police eventually managed to uncover the real identities and real age of some of them by taking fingerprints and checking with Moroccan authorities...turns out not a single one was actually really under 18 years of age, e.g. two who claimed to be 11 and 13 years old were actually 18 and 20, and one was as old as 28. It's a grotesque situation.
  196. @fnn
    The most controversial part of some notes taken during an interview with polymath and supergenius Greg Cochran:
    https://adarkwindhowls.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/conversation-with-a-scientist/

    – Jewish high iq probably also accidentally selected for ‘depression’ genes, anxiety, etc.

    – Jews were already leftwing, Moldbug is wrong (he really doesn’t like Moldbug!), look at role in Russian empire or Europe

    – Jews think of whites as their ‘ancient foe’ but don’t think that of Chinese

    – USS Liberty was absolutely a purposeful Israeli attack on US ship, only case he knows of repeated day-time ‘accidental’ attacks. Article in Chicago Tribune of retired army guys who saw classified info, and they said they heard transmissions from Israeli airforce being told to attack US ships. They wanted to kill everyone so there’d be no witnesses. Then later lied to say it was an ‘accident’ despite it happening over and over again. 6th Fleet was going to be scrambled, but McNamara ordered not to cuz LBJ ordered not to, because he didn’t want to piss off “the Jews”. What was the purpose of the attack on the Liberty? To pretend it was Egypt attacking and get US on Israel’s side. Likely some general didn’t realize in fog of war how easily Israel was winning and lost his nerve and ordered it, as well as good opportunity to cement American support and finish off residual “Arab” lobby in USG.

    – Nixon supporting Israel in ’73 was to get Jewish support for Cold War and tie their support to Vietnam war, etc. You don’t need all the Jews, but you need ‘some of them’.

    – White subordination to Jews, can change, it changed over past 100 years, it can change again. Israel will likely ‘push its luck’ and p.o. Trump, see below.
     

    (((Moldbug)))

  197. @German_reader

    the church in my upper middle class suburb is packed for all the Christmas services
     
    How does it look like in the rest of the year?
    There's certainly still a lot of attachment to Christian traditions, and a vague belief in God may well be widespread (true atheism is a pretty bleak world view after all). But I think Christianity as a coherent belief system is pretty much dead in Western Europe.

    Young families and old people, but that has always been the case. What is new is what Charles Murray has identified with the lower classes being cast adrift.

  198. @Thorfinnsson
    You're giving these people far more credit than they deserve.

    Some of them are simply hucksters who have found that doom sells. I believe Marc Faber is in this category. Nouriel Roubini may be as well.

    Most of the others are simply Austro-libertarians, which means they're religious fanatics who worship gold and consider debt (especially state debt) to be sinful and evil. There are always ready made arguments to discredit data undermining their positions as well (e.g. inflation statistics are phony and stocks only rise b/c central bank intervention).

    Taleb to his credit is not like these people, and he's generally making the second and third point. It's certainly true that attempting to eliminate risk tends to increase systemic fragility, and this isn't just the case in finance.

    It's certainly not unreasonable to make preparations for an economic crisis (or even simply a "normal" bear market or a "normal" recession), but following the advice of the permabears is unreasonable as it means you forego market gains. Unless, of course, gold goes to $50,000 per ounce Real Soon Now as they've been predicting for years.

    I read Faber’s Tommorow’s Gold in the early noughties at university. He advocated investing in gold, natural resources, Russia and Eastern Europe, I agreed and did. They were the best performing asset classes in that period. I also remember him going on CNBC when the S&P bottomed advocating you buy, the host jumped on him for being a bull. I always pay attention to his prognostications.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    I got very lucky with these people myself. I became a convinced Austro-libertarian in high school and read Jim Rogers' investment books. As a result I bought gold, which performed spectacularly in the naughties. And Rogers had a reasonable thesis outside of Austro-libertarianism: the rise of China meant high demand for commodities.

    Of course, as we learned later this century, commodities are cyclical. Something an older generation of investors could've told us (take a look at the '70s).

    If I were a decade younger and followed the same advice, I would've lost money and missed out on a spectacular bull run.

    You can make money in any asset class if you know what you're doing--or, more realistically, simply get lucky--but that doesn't mean it's a good choice for most investors. In particular, as the legendary John Templeton said, it's when your investing decisions worked out well for you that you really need to scrutinize them.

    I have no doubt that the doomerists are sincere (particularly Schiff, whose father died in federal prison for his libertarian convictions), but that doesn't mean they're correct.

    At the end of the day commodities are physical inputs into the capital structure whose prices vary based on market conditions. They do not produce cashflow, they don't have a moat, and they never improve.

    Gold is something of a special case in that's a pseudo form of money. As a result it conserves its purchasing power on a very long timescale, but unfortunately with a lot of volatility.

    I particularly like Warren Buffet's take on gold from his 2011 annual shareholder letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, reproduced here: http://fortune.com/2012/02/09/warren-buffett-why-stocks-beat-gold-and-bonds/
  199. @Philip Owen
    There are a couple of million new style Pagans in Russia. Rodnveri. Most are some form of ariosophist straight out of the Thule Society. Demented hippies!

    I don’t have a representative sample of Rodnoveri, but I think I do have a pretty good sample of Russian hippies, and indeed some of them are into resurrecting some kind of imagined Slavic folk culture. So far as I know, though, my hippies don’t sacrifice to Perun, and even some of the more Rodnoverish are also interested in the same kinds of things that typical hippies like (Indian clothes and incense, yoga, and so on).

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    The connection is Theosophy. Invented in Russia and transferred to London, San Francisco and India. Also taken up in Germany. This was before WW1. It become the bedrock of hippy philosophy minus the anti-Semitism. That's why you can see the connections. Wait for your next trip to Grand Tartary.
  200. @neutral
    Jewish boss, Muslim friend, Muslim sister in law, Hindu in law, you still missing the black and gay to complete your Pokemon diversity collection.

    Zambians mostly.

  201. @The Big Red Scary
    I don't have a representative sample of Rodnoveri, but I think I do have a pretty good sample of Russian hippies, and indeed some of them are into resurrecting some kind of imagined Slavic folk culture. So far as I know, though, my hippies don't sacrifice to Perun, and even some of the more Rodnoverish are also interested in the same kinds of things that typical hippies like (Indian clothes and incense, yoga, and so on).

    The connection is Theosophy. Invented in Russia and transferred to London, San Francisco and India. Also taken up in Germany. This was before WW1. It become the bedrock of hippy philosophy minus the anti-Semitism. That’s why you can see the connections. Wait for your next trip to Grand Tartary.

  202. More one reads biographies of important an influential people from that period more learns about how Theosophy was influential. Some even allege that Ghandi learned Hinduism from Blavatsky. We already knew that he was greatly influenced by Tolstoy in his pacifism and passive resistance.

    • Replies: @songbird
    Gandhi was a pacifist because he did not have good access to weapons.
  203. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/russia-israel-s-syria-strike-directly-endangered-two-civilian-flights-1.6784562

    Russia: Israel’s ‘Provocative’ Syria Strike Directly Endangered Two Civilian Flights

    ‘Six Israeli F-16s fired 16 missiles at Damascus, Syrians intercepted 14 of them,’ Russian Defense Ministry says. One flight was landing in Beirut, the other in Damascus

    Gotta say: Russia is an idiot! Nobody is going to pay attentions to Russian complaints and warnings. They will pay attention when Israeli pilots start dying. Or better yet, when one of them gets captured by Hezbollah in Lebanon.

    What was the point of even bringing S300 to Syria if they are going to remain silent, fucking shithead Russia!

    • Replies: @Swarthy Greek
    Shooting down Israeli jets is just plain not worth it. Would you sacrifice Russian servicemen's lives for the sake of saving Arabs'/Iranians' asses?
  204. @Felix Keverich
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/russia-israel-s-syria-strike-directly-endangered-two-civilian-flights-1.6784562


    Russia: Israel's 'Provocative' Syria Strike Directly Endangered Two Civilian Flights

    'Six Israeli F-16s fired 16 missiles at Damascus, Syrians intercepted 14 of them,' Russian Defense Ministry says. One flight was landing in Beirut, the other in Damascus
     
    Gotta say: Russia is an idiot! Nobody is going to pay attentions to Russian complaints and warnings. They will pay attention when Israeli pilots start dying. Or better yet, when one of them gets captured by Hezbollah in Lebanon.

    What was the point of even bringing S300 to Syria if they are going to remain silent, fucking shithead Russia!

    Shooting down Israeli jets is just plain not worth it. Would you sacrifice Russian servicemen’s lives for the sake of saving Arabs’/Iranians’ asses?

    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    I would not sacrifice Russian lifes, just kill Jews. In case you're too dim to notice, Israeli airstikes is a direct threat to Russian assets and personnel in Syria. They are responsible for the loss of Russian plane in September.
  205. @Swarthy Greek
    Shooting down Israeli jets is just plain not worth it. Would you sacrifice Russian servicemen's lives for the sake of saving Arabs'/Iranians' asses?

    I would not sacrifice Russian lifes, just kill Jews. In case you’re too dim to notice, Israeli airstikes is a direct threat to Russian assets and personnel in Syria. They are responsible for the loss of Russian plane in September.

    • Replies: @Swarthy Greek
    downing Israeli planes could lead to Israeli retaliating against Russian assets in the region. For the time being the Il 38 downing was an isolated incident. Israel is the dominant military power in the Middle East and due to the Jewish Lobby in Congress has total US support. Israeli forces (without potential US backing) already outnumber the Russian contingent at Hmeimimm airbase. You only pick the fights that you can win and Putin knows that. Throwing a wrench in Russia's entire middle east strategy due to Israel's recklessness is out of the window.
  206. @Felix Keverich
    I would not sacrifice Russian lifes, just kill Jews. In case you're too dim to notice, Israeli airstikes is a direct threat to Russian assets and personnel in Syria. They are responsible for the loss of Russian plane in September.

    downing Israeli planes could lead to Israeli retaliating against Russian assets in the region. For the time being the Il 38 downing was an isolated incident. Israel is the dominant military power in the Middle East and due to the Jewish Lobby in Congress has total US support. Israeli forces (without potential US backing) already outnumber the Russian contingent at Hmeimimm airbase. You only pick the fights that you can win and Putin knows that. Throwing a wrench in Russia’s entire middle east strategy due to Israel’s recklessness is out of the window.

    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    downing Israeli planes could lead to Israeli retaliating against Russian assets in the region.
     
    It could also lead to Russia nuking Tel-Aviv...

    I'm not afraid of a potential Israeli retaliation. At the end of the day Russia is a military superpower. It should not be bullied by a pipsqueak Israel. Putin is making Russia look weak.
  207. @Thorfinnsson
    There's nothing wrong with Italy's fiscal policy. Perhaps suboptimal, but there's nothing wrong with it. Italy poses no danger to the Eurozone whatsoever. Note that the article you linked says that Italy plans a fiscal deficit of...2.4% of GDP.

    Inflation in Italy is 1.5% and the 10 year bond yield is 2.8%. And given that Italy has a 10.6% unemployment rate, traditionally one would expect expansive fiscal policy to reduce unemployment and shrink the output gap.

    What exactly the problem here, other than the fact that the Eurozone has stupid rules brought about by cack-brained German ideas?

    Italy does have an economic problem, but this isn't it. Italy's economic problem is that since joining the Euro its manufacturing sector has become uncompetitive thanks to German "wage restraint". In the past Italy could always deal with this by devaluing the Lira.

    And yes, Germany's economic policy is irrational. The country has a ridiculous current account surplus of 8% of GDP. Even ignoring the unhealthy impact of Germany's trade surpluses on its neighbors, the Germans are foregoing consumption and thus suffering from lower living standards than they can afford.

    Italy poses no danger to the Eurozone

    The Northern League used to talk about the north of Italy breaking away and joining in effect, with Germany. Then, the League made electoral gains by talking about Italy leaving the EU. Now that they are in power the League are being placatory, while ignoring the responsibilities Italy signed up to in the EU. It seems to me that Italians vote for whoever will try and game the German system so that Italians can continue with their luxury lifestyle.

    Italy does have an economic problem, but this isn’t it. Italy’s economic problem is that since joining the Euro its manufacturing sector has become noncompetitive thanks to German “wage restraint”. In the past Italy could always deal with this by devaluing the Lira.

    That is another way of saying that Italy cannot compete on equal terms with Germany. Well no-one can! Britain always makes a mistake when it wagers everything on the outcome of a Continental battle. A single currency will deindustrialise the noncompetitive rest of Europe and make Germany a world economic power. British productive capacity stared eroding almost as soon as it joined the what was then called the European Economic Community. Lord Weinstock, Britain’s most successful postwar industrialist predicted the EU single trading and currency area would make a clean sweep of Britain. And that was exactly what was happening and Britain had Dunkirk it out the EU, and suffer the vindictive retaliation of Germany as implemented by their French girlfriend. Once the Continentals had taken out Britain’s productive capacity, they would have come for the City of London banks. with regulation that would have handicapped them against German and French competition. Britain was always intended to be the EU’s milch cow, there to be beaten, starved, and whipped.

    And yes, Germany’s economic policy is irrational. The country has a ridiculous current account surplus of 8% of GDP. Even ignoring the unhealthy impact of Germany’s trade surpluses on its neighbors, the Germans are foregoing consumption and thus suffering from lower living standards than they can afford.

    Apples apples and oranges; specifically, the difference between having a primary objective of making a country strong (Germany) and the goal of having the people in it happy (Italy). A government that wants to put making the country strong before anything else has to have people who are obedient, which Germans are. Germany tries to argue its integration of a million refugees should be accounted part of its spending on defence. Well it should! Germany intends to make its taxpayers fund the euro as an export promotion scheme for German industry. Slavish German unions agree to keep wages from rising, and the immigrants will be grist to the mill of business’s class war against wages.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson


    The Northern League used to talk about the north of Italy breaking away and joining in effect, with Germany. Then, the League made electoral gains by talking about Italy leaving the EU. Now that they are in power the League are being placatory, while ignoring the responsibilities Italy signed up to in the EU. It seems to me that Italians vote for whoever will try and game the German system so that Italians can continue with their luxury lifestyle.
     
    Italy has had net zero economic growth for this entire century.

    Their unemployment rate is 10%.

    What luxury lifestyle?

    No wonder Lega and 5 Star are doing well.

    The "responsibilities" of the SGP, which are crankery to begin with, have practically never been honored by France and were initially not honored by Germany either.


    That is another way of saying that Italy cannot compete on equal terms with Germany. Well no-one can! Britain always makes a mistake when it wagers everything on the outcome of a Continental battle. A single currency will deindustrialise the noncompetitive rest of Europe and make Germany a world economic power.
     
    Germany peaked as a share of world GDP something like a century ago. And the other Germanic countries plus Finland do compete successfully with Germany within the Euro.

    France and Italy competed successfully with Germany on European and world markets prior to the introduction of the Euro. Frenchmen and Italians, being Latins, are too hotheaded to adopt "wage restraint" even if the end result is exactly the same as devaluation. Thus the single currency has been a disaster for them.


    British productive capacity stared eroding almost as soon as it joined the what was then called the European Economic Community. Lord Weinstock, Britain’s most successful postwar industrialist predicted the EU single trading and currency area would make a clean sweep of Britain. And that was exactly what was happening and Britain had Dunkirk it out the EU, and suffer the vindictive retaliation of Germany as implemented by their French girlfriend. Once the Continentals had taken out Britain’s productive capacity, they would have come for the City of London banks. with regulation that would have handicapped them against German and French competition. Britain was always intended to be the EU’s milch cow, there to be beaten, starved, and whipped.
     
    And now we're talking about Britain rather than Italy.

    Lord Weinstock was correct, but the damage was done decades before the implementation of the Euro, something which the UK never signed up for in any case.

    Before the war Britain had no trouble competing with Germany in world markets. There were some sectors in which Germany was more successful, such as chemicals, but the reverse is true as well (textiles and ships for Britain).

    I'm of the distinct impression that the reason British industry lost competitiveness was because they were nationalized. Obviously, Lord Weinstock (along with much of the Labour Party of the time) was right to think that joining the Common Market was hardly the solution.

    The French and the Italians it should be noted were never competitive with the Germans before the Common Market, because they were too underdeveloped before the war. Within the Common Market they successfully developed.

    And calling France Germany's girlfriend is silly. It's always German politicians talking about the Franco-German motor and speaking worshipfully about the French. The French just expect the Germans to get along with the program. The Euro was France's idea and Mitterand demanded the Germans embrace the Euro in order to agree to German reunification. The big idea in France was that signing up for the Euro would give France the power of the Deutsche Mark. Whoops.


    Apples apples and oranges; specifically, the difference between having a primary objective of making a country strong (Germany) and the goal of having the people in it happy (Italy). A government that wants to put making the country strong before anything else has to have people who are obedient, which Germans are. Germany tries to argue its integration of a million refugees should be accounted part of its spending on defence. Well it should! Germany intends to make its taxpayers fund the euro as an export promotion scheme for German industry. Slavish German unions agree to keep wages from rising, and the immigrants will be grist to the mill of business’s class war against wages.
     
    Most Italians would tell you their government doesn't make them very happy.

    Functionally there is no difference between wage restraint and devaluation.

    Merkel's millions are nearly all unemployable so not seeing how they help Germany's employers. It's rather the Visegrad group that has assisted Germany's employers.
    , @Philip Owen
    Weinstock, at me time my employer, made his money by pressuring MPs with GEC factories to lobby for him to win public sector contracts. GEC was an outstanding example of what needed to be removed from the British economy. Open tendering and lack of investment in new technology swept away GEC, STC, Plessey, NEI and so forth.

    Mid tech UK industry lost out to the oil curse. Anmelevatex exchange rate overpricing our production and high interest rates to control the consequent money supply issues.
  208. @Swarthy Greek
    downing Israeli planes could lead to Israeli retaliating against Russian assets in the region. For the time being the Il 38 downing was an isolated incident. Israel is the dominant military power in the Middle East and due to the Jewish Lobby in Congress has total US support. Israeli forces (without potential US backing) already outnumber the Russian contingent at Hmeimimm airbase. You only pick the fights that you can win and Putin knows that. Throwing a wrench in Russia's entire middle east strategy due to Israel's recklessness is out of the window.

    downing Israeli planes could lead to Israeli retaliating against Russian assets in the region.

    It could also lead to Russia nuking Tel-Aviv…

    I’m not afraid of a potential Israeli retaliation. At the end of the day Russia is a military superpower. It should not be bullied by a pipsqueak Israel. Putin is making Russia look weak.

    • Replies: @Vishnugupta
    Israel Jericho 3 ICBM can hit Moscow and every major Russian city..so the mutually assured destruction situation exists also courtesy of US they have superior missile tracking capability and they would have Arrow 3 and USN based SM 3 cover as well..

    Israel enjoys full spectrum dominance within 300 km of its borders with only the Turks theoretically capable of inflicting significant damage but the Turks are not going to risk liquidation of their economy and civil war..

    Israeli F 16 Sufa and F 15 E squadrons are more than a match for the roughly 50 Russian Air Force planes in Syria out of which only about 20 are Su 30 SM or Su 35 capable of putting up something resembling a fight the rest are ground attack aircraft..even these are armed with upgraded cold war weapons R 77 and R 73 outclassed by Aim 120 c7 amraam and Python 5..
  209. Israel has hundreds of warheads on Jericho missiles that can reach European Russia .Russia could raze the entirety of Israel, but Israel could also nuke Krasnodar and Kerch in Return. I’d like to know what leads you to believe that risking a war, whether conventional or nuclear for the sake of some middle eastern shit hole is worth it.

    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Israel will lose a nuclear war with Russia. Also, Jews are not suicidal people. They are afraid of a real war, and will crawl into a corner the moment Russia begins to bleed them.

    What is required of Putin is to convey in no uncertain terms that Russia will use force against Israel. It will be the end of Israeli airstrikes.
  210. @Swarthy Greek
    Israel has hundreds of warheads on Jericho missiles that can reach European Russia .Russia could raze the entirety of Israel, but Israel could also nuke Krasnodar and Kerch in Return. I'd like to know what leads you to believe that risking a war, whether conventional or nuclear for the sake of some middle eastern shit hole is worth it.

    Israel will lose a nuclear war with Russia. Also, Jews are not suicidal people. They are afraid of a real war, and will crawl into a corner the moment Russia begins to bleed them.

    What is required of Putin is to convey in no uncertain terms that Russia will use force against Israel. It will be the end of Israeli airstrikes.

    • Replies: @Swarthy Greek
    Nuclear wars are unwinnable for all parties involved, which is why the US didn't raze the USSR to the ground during the 1960s when it had a clear advantage over the Soviets in terms of AD, missiles and bombers.
  211. @Felix Keverich

    downing Israeli planes could lead to Israeli retaliating against Russian assets in the region.
     
    It could also lead to Russia nuking Tel-Aviv...

    I'm not afraid of a potential Israeli retaliation. At the end of the day Russia is a military superpower. It should not be bullied by a pipsqueak Israel. Putin is making Russia look weak.

    Israel Jericho 3 ICBM can hit Moscow and every major Russian city..so the mutually assured destruction situation exists also courtesy of US they have superior missile tracking capability and they would have Arrow 3 and USN based SM 3 cover as well..

    Israel enjoys full spectrum dominance within 300 km of its borders with only the Turks theoretically capable of inflicting significant damage but the Turks are not going to risk liquidation of their economy and civil war..

    Israeli F 16 Sufa and F 15 E squadrons are more than a match for the roughly 50 Russian Air Force planes in Syria out of which only about 20 are Su 30 SM or Su 35 capable of putting up something resembling a fight the rest are ground attack aircraft..even these are armed with upgraded cold war weapons R 77 and R 73 outclassed by Aim 120 c7 amraam and Python 5..

    • LOL: Felix Keverich
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Israeli missile defences have a whopping 25% rate of success against the home-made Palestinian rockets, launched from Gaza strip. Also, Jews want to live, so don't make laugh, dude.
    , @Swarthy Greek
    The R-77 is better than the AMRAAM. The problem is that Russia doesn't have enough of them. Due to the lack of R-77s, many Russian jets still carry the R-27, which is pretty outdated and doesn't have a fire and forget mode.
  212. @Felix Keverich
    Israel will lose a nuclear war with Russia. Also, Jews are not suicidal people. They are afraid of a real war, and will crawl into a corner the moment Russia begins to bleed them.

    What is required of Putin is to convey in no uncertain terms that Russia will use force against Israel. It will be the end of Israeli airstrikes.

    Nuclear wars are unwinnable for all parties involved, which is why the US didn’t raze the USSR to the ground during the 1960s when it had a clear advantage over the Soviets in terms of AD, missiles and bombers.

    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    My approach to Israel problem is informed by a belief that eradicating 7 million of Israel's Jews will do humanity a great favor.
    , @Sean
    For now that is true but even if the US got an advantage that made it easy to disarm Russia it would not try and do it. After WW2 the US never seriously considered a nuclear Sunday punch although Russia did not have nuclear weapons then, and it was predictable they would develop them soon. The logical anti-nuclear war thing for America to do would have been to use the treat of a nuking to demand Russia give up all its weapons research and crush it with nukes if it refused. Bertrand Russell and John Von Neunamm both advocated that course of action. When it comes to war, elites are playing a role in the movie inside their own heads, not thinking rationally.

    https://youtu.be/e8sRVGGlY3c?t=38
  213. @Thorfinnsson
    There's nothing wrong with Italy's fiscal policy. Perhaps suboptimal, but there's nothing wrong with it. Italy poses no danger to the Eurozone whatsoever. Note that the article you linked says that Italy plans a fiscal deficit of...2.4% of GDP.

    Inflation in Italy is 1.5% and the 10 year bond yield is 2.8%. And given that Italy has a 10.6% unemployment rate, traditionally one would expect expansive fiscal policy to reduce unemployment and shrink the output gap.

    What exactly the problem here, other than the fact that the Eurozone has stupid rules brought about by cack-brained German ideas?

    Italy does have an economic problem, but this isn't it. Italy's economic problem is that since joining the Euro its manufacturing sector has become uncompetitive thanks to German "wage restraint". In the past Italy could always deal with this by devaluing the Lira.

    And yes, Germany's economic policy is irrational. The country has a ridiculous current account surplus of 8% of GDP. Even ignoring the unhealthy impact of Germany's trade surpluses on its neighbors, the Germans are foregoing consumption and thus suffering from lower living standards than they can afford.

    Despite, its traditional political instability, its disparate ethnic components, its short history as a nation, and somewhat stodgy historical military record – Italy may be the most successful country in Western Europe (if we call it in Western Europe.)

    Why? Because it seems to be the only one bucking globohomo. What is secret sauce? Perhaps, its long North-South axis. It has its “toe” dipped firmly in clannishness. Maybe, that is what is needed for the rest of Europe, more familiarity with Southern Europeans, in some sort of balance, where each side helps the other from going bonkers.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    There's also Austria and Denmark (if we restrict it to globo and leave the Danes their beloved homo). Denmark was actually the first country in Europe to take serious measures against immigration and Islamification.

    The Netherlands is quite close.

    Other than cultural factors and the fact that Italians were never subjected to anything like denazification, a lot of the secret sauce might just be Salvini himself.
  214. @Swarthy Greek
    Nuclear wars are unwinnable for all parties involved, which is why the US didn't raze the USSR to the ground during the 1960s when it had a clear advantage over the Soviets in terms of AD, missiles and bombers.

    My approach to Israel problem is informed by a belief that eradicating 7 million of Israel’s Jews will do humanity a great favor.

    • Replies: @Sean
    “If Iran attacks Israel, Russia will stand alongside the US to defend Israel,” The Russian ambassador gave Israel that assurance at the Munich security conference earlier this year.

    Israel has very quiet German made Dolphin subs with nuclear missiles, they have the capacity to destroy more crucial targets than a couple of provincial Russian cities.

    If Russia was seriously nuked by anyone, it would attack the US and China.

  215. @utu
    More one reads biographies of important an influential people from that period more learns about how Theosophy was influential. Some even allege that Ghandi learned Hinduism from Blavatsky. We already knew that he was greatly influenced by Tolstoy in his pacifism and passive resistance.

    Gandhi was a pacifist because he did not have good access to weapons.

  216. @Vishnugupta
    Israel Jericho 3 ICBM can hit Moscow and every major Russian city..so the mutually assured destruction situation exists also courtesy of US they have superior missile tracking capability and they would have Arrow 3 and USN based SM 3 cover as well..

    Israel enjoys full spectrum dominance within 300 km of its borders with only the Turks theoretically capable of inflicting significant damage but the Turks are not going to risk liquidation of their economy and civil war..

    Israeli F 16 Sufa and F 15 E squadrons are more than a match for the roughly 50 Russian Air Force planes in Syria out of which only about 20 are Su 30 SM or Su 35 capable of putting up something resembling a fight the rest are ground attack aircraft..even these are armed with upgraded cold war weapons R 77 and R 73 outclassed by Aim 120 c7 amraam and Python 5..

    Israeli missile defences have a whopping 25% rate of success against the home-made Palestinian rockets, launched from Gaza strip. Also, Jews want to live, so don’t make laugh, dude.

    • Replies: @Vishnugupta
    Yeah and Russians don't? Israel has something like 100 IRBM/ICBMs that can hit Russia and destroy every major Russian city it doesn't matter that Russia can destroy Israel 1000+ times over..mutually assured destruction 101. The other points stand Israel has qualitative and quantitative superiority to Russian AF deployments in THEIR region and this is a fact on the ground that can't be wished away..
  217. @Vishnugupta
    Israel Jericho 3 ICBM can hit Moscow and every major Russian city..so the mutually assured destruction situation exists also courtesy of US they have superior missile tracking capability and they would have Arrow 3 and USN based SM 3 cover as well..

    Israel enjoys full spectrum dominance within 300 km of its borders with only the Turks theoretically capable of inflicting significant damage but the Turks are not going to risk liquidation of their economy and civil war..

    Israeli F 16 Sufa and F 15 E squadrons are more than a match for the roughly 50 Russian Air Force planes in Syria out of which only about 20 are Su 30 SM or Su 35 capable of putting up something resembling a fight the rest are ground attack aircraft..even these are armed with upgraded cold war weapons R 77 and R 73 outclassed by Aim 120 c7 amraam and Python 5..

    The R-77 is better than the AMRAAM. The problem is that Russia doesn’t have enough of them. Due to the lack of R-77s, many Russian jets still carry the R-27, which is pretty outdated and doesn’t have a fire and forget mode.

    • Replies: @Vishnugupta
    How exactly? Aerodynamics wise it uses draggy potato masher type control surfaces due to lack of reliable actuators. It's X band radar developed by AGAT is 2 generations behind c7 models..it uses a radar fuse as opposed to a laser fuse and Russian electronics lag behind the US by 2 generations..
  218. @Felix Keverich
    My approach to Israel problem is informed by a belief that eradicating 7 million of Israel's Jews will do humanity a great favor.

    “If Iran attacks Israel, Russia will stand alongside the US to defend Israel,” The Russian ambassador gave Israel that assurance at the Munich security conference earlier this year.

    Israel has very quiet German made Dolphin subs with nuclear missiles, they have the capacity to destroy more crucial targets than a couple of provincial Russian cities.

    If Russia was seriously nuked by anyone, it would attack the US and China.

    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    If Iran attacks Israel, Russia will stand alongside the US to defend Israel,
     
    No wonder Russia is not taken seriously by Israel! Now, imagine if Russia said "we will bury you" instead.
  219. @LondonBob
    I read Faber's Tommorow's Gold in the early noughties at university. He advocated investing in gold, natural resources, Russia and Eastern Europe, I agreed and did. They were the best performing asset classes in that period. I also remember him going on CNBC when the S&P bottomed advocating you buy, the host jumped on him for being a bull. I always pay attention to his prognostications.

    I got very lucky with these people myself. I became a convinced Austro-libertarian in high school and read Jim Rogers’ investment books. As a result I bought gold, which performed spectacularly in the naughties. And Rogers had a reasonable thesis outside of Austro-libertarianism: the rise of China meant high demand for commodities.

    Of course, as we learned later this century, commodities are cyclical. Something an older generation of investors could’ve told us (take a look at the ’70s).

    If I were a decade younger and followed the same advice, I would’ve lost money and missed out on a spectacular bull run.

    You can make money in any asset class if you know what you’re doing–or, more realistically, simply get lucky–but that doesn’t mean it’s a good choice for most investors. In particular, as the legendary John Templeton said, it’s when your investing decisions worked out well for you that you really need to scrutinize them.

    I have no doubt that the doomerists are sincere (particularly Schiff, whose father died in federal prison for his libertarian convictions), but that doesn’t mean they’re correct.

    At the end of the day commodities are physical inputs into the capital structure whose prices vary based on market conditions. They do not produce cashflow, they don’t have a moat, and they never improve.

    Gold is something of a special case in that’s a pseudo form of money. As a result it conserves its purchasing power on a very long timescale, but unfortunately with a lot of volatility.

    I particularly like Warren Buffet’s take on gold from his 2011 annual shareholder letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, reproduced here: http://fortune.com/2012/02/09/warren-buffett-why-stocks-beat-gold-and-bonds/

  220. @reiner Tor
    It’s impractical to have it all, but it’s obvious that it’s multi-dimensional and so cannot be represented with just one number. At least it shouldn’t be a secret.

    I’ve long thought, there is a kind of absurdity, where we can read all the ingredients on a candy bar, but not the human aspects of a newspaper, NGO, bureaucratic body, or the makers of a TV show. For me, the most obvious and simple question is, how do they vote? But it would be useful to know much more. Like do they have trust funds? How many gays?

    Of course, there would be a great many difficulties in labelling, so it is probably impractical, but a newspaper could at least attempt to have some integrity by having a semi-anonymous survey.

    • Agree: reiner Tor
  221. @Sean
    “If Iran attacks Israel, Russia will stand alongside the US to defend Israel,” The Russian ambassador gave Israel that assurance at the Munich security conference earlier this year.

    Israel has very quiet German made Dolphin subs with nuclear missiles, they have the capacity to destroy more crucial targets than a couple of provincial Russian cities.

    If Russia was seriously nuked by anyone, it would attack the US and China.

    If Iran attacks Israel, Russia will stand alongside the US to defend Israel,

    No wonder Russia is not taken seriously by Israel! Now, imagine if Russia said “we will bury you” instead.

  222. @Sean

    Italy poses no danger to the Eurozone
     
    The Northern League used to talk about the north of Italy breaking away and joining in effect, with Germany. Then, the League made electoral gains by talking about Italy leaving the EU. Now that they are in power the League are being placatory, while ignoring the responsibilities Italy signed up to in the EU. It seems to me that Italians vote for whoever will try and game the German system so that Italians can continue with their luxury lifestyle.

    Italy does have an economic problem, but this isn’t it. Italy’s economic problem is that since joining the Euro its manufacturing sector has become noncompetitive thanks to German “wage restraint”. In the past Italy could always deal with this by devaluing the Lira.
     
    That is another way of saying that Italy cannot compete on equal terms with Germany. Well no-one can! Britain always makes a mistake when it wagers everything on the outcome of a Continental battle. A single currency will deindustrialise the noncompetitive rest of Europe and make Germany a world economic power. British productive capacity stared eroding almost as soon as it joined the what was then called the European Economic Community. Lord Weinstock, Britain's most successful postwar industrialist predicted the EU single trading and currency area would make a clean sweep of Britain. And that was exactly what was happening and Britain had Dunkirk it out the EU, and suffer the vindictive retaliation of Germany as implemented by their French girlfriend. Once the Continentals had taken out Britain's productive capacity, they would have come for the City of London banks. with regulation that would have handicapped them against German and French competition. Britain was always intended to be the EU's milch cow, there to be beaten, starved, and whipped.

    And yes, Germany’s economic policy is irrational. The country has a ridiculous current account surplus of 8% of GDP. Even ignoring the unhealthy impact of Germany’s trade surpluses on its neighbors, the Germans are foregoing consumption and thus suffering from lower living standards than they can afford.
     
    Apples apples and oranges; specifically, the difference between having a primary objective of making a country strong (Germany) and the goal of having the people in it happy (Italy). A government that wants to put making the country strong before anything else has to have people who are obedient, which Germans are. Germany tries to argue its integration of a million refugees should be accounted part of its spending on defence. Well it should! Germany intends to make its taxpayers fund the euro as an export promotion scheme for German industry. Slavish German unions agree to keep wages from rising, and the immigrants will be grist to the mill of business's class war against wages.

    The Northern League used to talk about the north of Italy breaking away and joining in effect, with Germany. Then, the League made electoral gains by talking about Italy leaving the EU. Now that they are in power the League are being placatory, while ignoring the responsibilities Italy signed up to in the EU. It seems to me that Italians vote for whoever will try and game the German system so that Italians can continue with their luxury lifestyle.

    Italy has had net zero economic growth for this entire century.

    Their unemployment rate is 10%.

    What luxury lifestyle?

    No wonder Lega and 5 Star are doing well.

    The “responsibilities” of the SGP, which are crankery to begin with, have practically never been honored by France and were initially not honored by Germany either.

    That is another way of saying that Italy cannot compete on equal terms with Germany. Well no-one can! Britain always makes a mistake when it wagers everything on the outcome of a Continental battle. A single currency will deindustrialise the noncompetitive rest of Europe and make Germany a world economic power.

    Germany peaked as a share of world GDP something like a century ago. And the other Germanic countries plus Finland do compete successfully with Germany within the Euro.

    France and Italy competed successfully with Germany on European and world markets prior to the introduction of the Euro. Frenchmen and Italians, being Latins, are too hotheaded to adopt “wage restraint” even if the end result is exactly the same as devaluation. Thus the single currency has been a disaster for them.

    British productive capacity stared eroding almost as soon as it joined the what was then called the European Economic Community. Lord Weinstock, Britain’s most successful postwar industrialist predicted the EU single trading and currency area would make a clean sweep of Britain. And that was exactly what was happening and Britain had Dunkirk it out the EU, and suffer the vindictive retaliation of Germany as implemented by their French girlfriend. Once the Continentals had taken out Britain’s productive capacity, they would have come for the City of London banks. with regulation that would have handicapped them against German and French competition. Britain was always intended to be the EU’s milch cow, there to be beaten, starved, and whipped.

    And now we’re talking about Britain rather than Italy.

    Lord Weinstock was correct, but the damage was done decades before the implementation of the Euro, something which the UK never signed up for in any case.

    Before the war Britain had no trouble competing with Germany in world markets. There were some sectors in which Germany was more successful, such as chemicals, but the reverse is true as well (textiles and ships for Britain).

    I’m of the distinct impression that the reason British industry lost competitiveness was because they were nationalized. Obviously, Lord Weinstock (along with much of the Labour Party of the time) was right to think that joining the Common Market was hardly the solution.

    The French and the Italians it should be noted were never competitive with the Germans before the Common Market, because they were too underdeveloped before the war. Within the Common Market they successfully developed.

    And calling France Germany’s girlfriend is silly. It’s always German politicians talking about the Franco-German motor and speaking worshipfully about the French. The French just expect the Germans to get along with the program. The Euro was France’s idea and Mitterand demanded the Germans embrace the Euro in order to agree to German reunification. The big idea in France was that signing up for the Euro would give France the power of the Deutsche Mark. Whoops.

    Apples apples and oranges; specifically, the difference between having a primary objective of making a country strong (Germany) and the goal of having the people in it happy (Italy). A government that wants to put making the country strong before anything else has to have people who are obedient, which Germans are. Germany tries to argue its integration of a million refugees should be accounted part of its spending on defence. Well it should! Germany intends to make its taxpayers fund the euro as an export promotion scheme for German industry. Slavish German unions agree to keep wages from rising, and the immigrants will be grist to the mill of business’s class war against wages.

    Most Italians would tell you their government doesn’t make them very happy.

    Functionally there is no difference between wage restraint and devaluation.

    Merkel’s millions are nearly all unemployable so not seeing how they help Germany’s employers. It’s rather the Visegrad group that has assisted Germany’s employers.

    • Replies: @Sean

    Most Italians would tell you their government doesn’t make them very happy.
     
    https://www.ozy.com/acumen/why-italians-are-literally-stuffing-money-in-their-mattresses/74615

    The French just expect the Germans to get along with the program.
     


    https://europeansting.com/2018/12/10/the-yellow-vests-undermined-macron-in-france-and-the-eu/

    The most important of the reforms Paris wants is a real economic administration in the euro area, with a real Minister of Finance endowed with a budget macro-economically significant. It’s supposed to function as an income redistribution mechanism between the wealthy North and the poorer South. Just about what the national budgets do.

    By the same token, Macron wants a common Eurozone mechanism for an effective common bank deposits guarantee. Of course, all that is an ‘anathema’ for the Germans. Chancellor Angela Merkel, despite being the most open to such a discussion German prime rate politician, cannot support the core of Macron’s vision for Europe. Most of Germans think that France and the ‘lazy Southerners’ want Germany to pay for the South’s government deficits and the dud loans of their flawed banks.
     

    More or less what Thilo Sarrazin says .
  223. @songbird
    Despite, its traditional political instability, its disparate ethnic components, its short history as a nation, and somewhat stodgy historical military record - Italy may be the most successful country in Western Europe (if we call it in Western Europe.)

    Why? Because it seems to be the only one bucking globohomo. What is secret sauce? Perhaps, its long North-South axis. It has its "toe" dipped firmly in clannishness. Maybe, that is what is needed for the rest of Europe, more familiarity with Southern Europeans, in some sort of balance, where each side helps the other from going bonkers.

    There’s also Austria and Denmark (if we restrict it to globo and leave the Danes their beloved homo). Denmark was actually the first country in Europe to take serious measures against immigration and Islamification.

    The Netherlands is quite close.

    Other than cultural factors and the fact that Italians were never subjected to anything like denazification, a lot of the secret sauce might just be Salvini himself.

    • Agree: songbird
    • Replies: @songbird
    The Danes are doing good things, but as an isolate, they don't imbue me with much optimism because of the smallness of their country in relation to their pozzed neighbors. Germany is the strategic heart of Europe, after all.

    Don't get me wrong, I think an army of motivated Europeans could trounce almost anyone else -Africans at a ratio of 10:1 or more. But if their opponents were Germano-Arab mischlings, numbers would probably tell. That is why Visegrad is so important, but they need to be explicitly racist, for me to feel confidence in them.
    , @RadicalCenter
    Like you, I’m definitely encouraged by any sign of european people waking up and deciding not to surrender their countries to African violence and Turkish, Arab, and/or Muslim subjugation.

    But truly serious measures against Islamification would have to include the Dutch, Danes, and Austrians having children, I.e. their own, nonMuslim children.

    Until and unless the nonMuslim people in those countries start having children at above replacement rate again, each of those countries will be at least slightly more Muslim with each passing year.

    Whatever protective measures are enacted and enforced now, will be repealed or ignored by the new Muslim plurality within two generations, perhaps sooner. Enact and enforce them, by all means, but the end result is the same, in a fairly short timeframe, without nonMuslims being born and raised and equipped to survive.

  224. @Pericles
    A lot of the putatively Syrian migrants who came to Sweden turned out to be Iraqis or Afghanis or other random muslim trash. There is apparently even a contigent of Moroccan 'street kids' (whatever that means) who can't possibly be deported back to their peaceful home country.

    Exactly the same in Germany. There was a group of a few dozen highly criminal “minors”, mostly from Morocco, in my city (I think they’ve been now shipped off to somewhere else in Germany, because the mayor wanted to get rid of them). The police eventually managed to uncover the real identities and real age of some of them by taking fingerprints and checking with Moroccan authorities…turns out not a single one was actually really under 18 years of age, e.g. two who claimed to be 11 and 13 years old were actually 18 and 20, and one was as old as 28. It’s a grotesque situation.

    • Replies: @Pericles
    Something like 5 of 6 migrants who claimed to be minors turned out to be adults when medically measured by government physicians using standard approaches.

    Shortly after this was revealed there was a lot of legal judeo-howling and we haven't heard much about it since. What a surprise.
  225. @Swarthy Greek
    Nuclear wars are unwinnable for all parties involved, which is why the US didn't raze the USSR to the ground during the 1960s when it had a clear advantage over the Soviets in terms of AD, missiles and bombers.

    For now that is true but even if the US got an advantage that made it easy to disarm Russia it would not try and do it. After WW2 the US never seriously considered a nuclear Sunday punch although Russia did not have nuclear weapons then, and it was predictable they would develop them soon. The logical anti-nuclear war thing for America to do would have been to use the treat of a nuking to demand Russia give up all its weapons research and crush it with nukes if it refused. Bertrand Russell and John Von Neunamm both advocated that course of action. When it comes to war, elites are playing a role in the movie inside their own heads, not thinking rationally.

  226. @Thorfinnsson


    The Northern League used to talk about the north of Italy breaking away and joining in effect, with Germany. Then, the League made electoral gains by talking about Italy leaving the EU. Now that they are in power the League are being placatory, while ignoring the responsibilities Italy signed up to in the EU. It seems to me that Italians vote for whoever will try and game the German system so that Italians can continue with their luxury lifestyle.
     
    Italy has had net zero economic growth for this entire century.

    Their unemployment rate is 10%.

    What luxury lifestyle?

    No wonder Lega and 5 Star are doing well.

    The "responsibilities" of the SGP, which are crankery to begin with, have practically never been honored by France and were initially not honored by Germany either.


    That is another way of saying that Italy cannot compete on equal terms with Germany. Well no-one can! Britain always makes a mistake when it wagers everything on the outcome of a Continental battle. A single currency will deindustrialise the noncompetitive rest of Europe and make Germany a world economic power.
     
    Germany peaked as a share of world GDP something like a century ago. And the other Germanic countries plus Finland do compete successfully with Germany within the Euro.

    France and Italy competed successfully with Germany on European and world markets prior to the introduction of the Euro. Frenchmen and Italians, being Latins, are too hotheaded to adopt "wage restraint" even if the end result is exactly the same as devaluation. Thus the single currency has been a disaster for them.


    British productive capacity stared eroding almost as soon as it joined the what was then called the European Economic Community. Lord Weinstock, Britain’s most successful postwar industrialist predicted the EU single trading and currency area would make a clean sweep of Britain. And that was exactly what was happening and Britain had Dunkirk it out the EU, and suffer the vindictive retaliation of Germany as implemented by their French girlfriend. Once the Continentals had taken out Britain’s productive capacity, they would have come for the City of London banks. with regulation that would have handicapped them against German and French competition. Britain was always intended to be the EU’s milch cow, there to be beaten, starved, and whipped.
     
    And now we're talking about Britain rather than Italy.

    Lord Weinstock was correct, but the damage was done decades before the implementation of the Euro, something which the UK never signed up for in any case.

    Before the war Britain had no trouble competing with Germany in world markets. There were some sectors in which Germany was more successful, such as chemicals, but the reverse is true as well (textiles and ships for Britain).

    I'm of the distinct impression that the reason British industry lost competitiveness was because they were nationalized. Obviously, Lord Weinstock (along with much of the Labour Party of the time) was right to think that joining the Common Market was hardly the solution.

    The French and the Italians it should be noted were never competitive with the Germans before the Common Market, because they were too underdeveloped before the war. Within the Common Market they successfully developed.

    And calling France Germany's girlfriend is silly. It's always German politicians talking about the Franco-German motor and speaking worshipfully about the French. The French just expect the Germans to get along with the program. The Euro was France's idea and Mitterand demanded the Germans embrace the Euro in order to agree to German reunification. The big idea in France was that signing up for the Euro would give France the power of the Deutsche Mark. Whoops.


    Apples apples and oranges; specifically, the difference between having a primary objective of making a country strong (Germany) and the goal of having the people in it happy (Italy). A government that wants to put making the country strong before anything else has to have people who are obedient, which Germans are. Germany tries to argue its integration of a million refugees should be accounted part of its spending on defence. Well it should! Germany intends to make its taxpayers fund the euro as an export promotion scheme for German industry. Slavish German unions agree to keep wages from rising, and the immigrants will be grist to the mill of business’s class war against wages.
     
    Most Italians would tell you their government doesn't make them very happy.

    Functionally there is no difference between wage restraint and devaluation.

    Merkel's millions are nearly all unemployable so not seeing how they help Germany's employers. It's rather the Visegrad group that has assisted Germany's employers.

    Most Italians would tell you their government doesn’t make them very happy.

    https://www.ozy.com/acumen/why-italians-are-literally-stuffing-money-in-their-mattresses/74615

    The French just expect the Germans to get along with the program.

    https://europeansting.com/2018/12/10/the-yellow-vests-undermined-macron-in-france-and-the-eu/

    The most important of the reforms Paris wants is a real economic administration in the euro area, with a real Minister of Finance endowed with a budget macro-economically significant. It’s supposed to function as an income redistribution mechanism between the wealthy North and the poorer South. Just about what the national budgets do.

    By the same token, Macron wants a common Eurozone mechanism for an effective common bank deposits guarantee. Of course, all that is an ‘anathema’ for the Germans. Chancellor Angela Merkel, despite being the most open to such a discussion German prime rate politician, cannot support the core of Macron’s vision for Europe. Most of Germans think that France and the ‘lazy Southerners’ want Germany to pay for the South’s government deficits and the dud loans of their flawed banks.

    More or less what Thilo Sarrazin says .

  227. @Sean

    But the state can afford a hell of a lot more systemic risk than the banks.
     
    A bank can borrow money much cheaper than anyone else only because a government stands behind them when and if the bank fails. Which is also the reason that bank can borrow money at a far higher ratio to its assets than any other business. Known risk is fine, but banks' supposedly prudent calculations contain real uncertainty. If people are paid higher bonuses for investing more leveraged money, then the pressure to loosen the regulatory limits is predictable.

    It is really Germany that stands behind French banks' loans to Italy. Germany can afford it because the Eurozone works as export promotion for German manufactured goods. But then, almost everything in Germany seems to work to that same end. For instance, German unions agree to keep wages low, the county imports a million non-European paupers and top companies can't wait to employ them ect ect.

    Doesn’t make sense, though, if most of the immivaders (far more than one million in Germany alone in the past three years) are unemployed and subsidized by the government, which will cause taxes to increase.

    • Replies: @German_reader
    That's true, but business lobbyists still have come out strongly in favour of Merkel's open borders policy. Just recently Ingo Kramer, head of the Confederation of German Employers' Associations (umbrelly organization of employer's organizations, so very important) has stated that the "integration" of Merkel refugees into the labor market is proceeding wonderfully and that the only problems are due to nasty xenophobes.
    I don't know what motivates these people either, if they're really that deluded or just want to curry favour with the government, but there have been quite a lot of such statements by prominent managers.
  228. @RadicalCenter
    Doesn’t make sense, though, if most of the immivaders (far more than one million in Germany alone in the past three years) are unemployed and subsidized by the government, which will cause taxes to increase.

    That’s true, but business lobbyists still have come out strongly in favour of Merkel’s open borders policy. Just recently Ingo Kramer, head of the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (umbrelly organization of employer’s organizations, so very important) has stated that the “integration” of Merkel refugees into the labor market is proceeding wonderfully and that the only problems are due to nasty xenophobes.
    I don’t know what motivates these people either, if they’re really that deluded or just want to curry favour with the government, but there have been quite a lot of such statements by prominent managers.

    • Replies: @utu

    I don’t know what motivates these people
     
    I wish I knew. It might be just their opportunism and sense that whatever negative it will not apply to them but it also can be something deeper that they know something what you refuse to even think about.

    “Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.” ― Woodrow Wilson
     
  229. There was a convo about charity or aid to Africa in a previous post, so I thought I’d chime in here, with a few thoughts.

    Social media has been a benefit, IMO, because of all the transparent virtue signaling that takes place there. It makes independent-minded people more critical about the venture, when one sees posts that are obviously bragging and self-congratulatory about mundane (and frankly small) acts of charity. What is the motivation? To do good, or to feel good?

    One reason some people have a hard time being critical about it is that so much of it is abstract. It is not easily relatable to modern life in the first world. Wells? We have tap. Netting? We have screens on our windows and no malaria. Goats? The last people who owned goats in my family were born in the 1820s. It makes it harder to make comparisons, to question why they could possibly be in need of so much.

    Actually, the goat thing (along with reading books like “Dead Aid” ) helped me question it. Where would I be if someone had given free goats to my ancestors 1000 years ago? Maybe, my dumber ancestors would have had more children and I’d be missing 10 IQ points.

    I think we need something like Star Trek’s Prime Directive, for Africa. If not Warp Drive, what should be the threshold for contact? I don’t know – how much of technology is copying? But there were parts that didn’t have the wheel – and they probably saw the Chinese or Arabs with it.

  230. @German_reader
    Exactly the same in Germany. There was a group of a few dozen highly criminal "minors", mostly from Morocco, in my city (I think they've been now shipped off to somewhere else in Germany, because the mayor wanted to get rid of them). The police eventually managed to uncover the real identities and real age of some of them by taking fingerprints and checking with Moroccan authorities...turns out not a single one was actually really under 18 years of age, e.g. two who claimed to be 11 and 13 years old were actually 18 and 20, and one was as old as 28. It's a grotesque situation.

    Something like 5 of 6 migrants who claimed to be minors turned out to be adults when medically measured by government physicians using standard approaches.

    Shortly after this was revealed there was a lot of legal judeo-howling and we haven’t heard much about it since. What a surprise.

  231. @Thorfinnsson
    There's also Austria and Denmark (if we restrict it to globo and leave the Danes their beloved homo). Denmark was actually the first country in Europe to take serious measures against immigration and Islamification.

    The Netherlands is quite close.

    Other than cultural factors and the fact that Italians were never subjected to anything like denazification, a lot of the secret sauce might just be Salvini himself.

    The Danes are doing good things, but as an isolate, they don’t imbue me with much optimism because of the smallness of their country in relation to their pozzed neighbors. Germany is the strategic heart of Europe, after all.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think an army of motivated Europeans could trounce almost anyone else -Africans at a ratio of 10:1 or more. But if their opponents were Germano-Arab mischlings, numbers would probably tell. That is why Visegrad is so important, but they need to be explicitly racist, for me to feel confidence in them.

  232. @Swarthy Greek
    The R-77 is better than the AMRAAM. The problem is that Russia doesn't have enough of them. Due to the lack of R-77s, many Russian jets still carry the R-27, which is pretty outdated and doesn't have a fire and forget mode.

    How exactly? Aerodynamics wise it uses draggy potato masher type control surfaces due to lack of reliable actuators. It’s X band radar developed by AGAT is 2 generations behind c7 models..it uses a radar fuse as opposed to a laser fuse and Russian electronics lag be