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“Humans have a habit of going into phases of mass destruction, generally self imposed to some extent.”

This is just one Arch Duke Ferdinand scenario. The number of possible scenarios are infinite due to the massive complexity of the many moving parts. And of course many of them lead to nothing happening. But based on history we are due another period of destruction, and based on history all the indicators are that we are entering one.

It will come in ways we can’t see coming, and will spin out of control so fast people won’t be able to stop it. Historians will look back and make sense of it all and wonder how we could all have been so naïve. How could I sit in a nice café in London, writing this, without wanting to run away. How could people read it and make sarcastic and dismissive comments about how pro-Remain people should stop whining, and how we shouldn’t blame everything on Brexit. Others will read this and sneer at me for saying America is in great shape, that Trump is a possible future Hitler (and yes, Godwin’s Law. But my comparison is to another narcissistic, charismatic leader fanning flames of hatred until things spiral out of control). It’s easy to jump to conclusions that oppose pessimistic predictions based on the weight of history and learning. Trump won against the other Republicans in debates by countering their claims by calling them names and dismissing them. It’s an easy route but the wrong one.

So I feel it’s all inevitable. I don’t know what it will be, but we are entering a bad phase. It will be unpleasant for those living through it, maybe even will unravel into being hellish and beyond imagination. Humans will come out the other side, recover, and move on. The human race will be fine, changed, maybe better. But for those at the sharp end?—?for the thousands of Turkish teachers who just got fired, for the Turkish journalists and lawyers in prison, for the Russian dissidents in gulags, for people lying wounded in French hospitals after terrorist attacks, for those yet to fall, this will be their Somme.

What can we do? Well, again, looking back, probably not much. …

History Tells Us What Will Happen With Trump and Brexit

America Has Never Been So Ripe for Tyranny — NYMag

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As this dystopian election campaign has unfolded, my mind keeps being tugged by a passage in Plato’s Republic. It has unsettled — even surprised — me from the moment I first read it in graduate school. The passage is from the part of the dialogue where Socrates and his friends are talking about the nature of different political systems, how they change over time, and how one can slowly evolve into another. And Socrates seemed pretty clear on one sobering point: that “tyranny is probably established out of no other regime than democracy.” What did Plato mean by that? Democracy, for him, I discovered, was a political system of maximal freedom and equality, where every lifestyle is allowed and public offices are filled by a lottery. And the longer a democracy lasted, Plato argued, the more democratic it would become. Its freedoms would multiply; its equality spread. Deference to any sort of authority would wither; tolerance of any kind of inequality would come under intense threat; and multiculturalism and sexual freedom would create a city or a country like “a many-colored cloak decorated in all hues.”

This rainbow-flag polity, Plato argues, is, for many people, the fairest of regimes. The freedom in that democracy has to be experienced to be believed — with shame and privilege in particular emerging over time as anathema. But it is inherently unstable. As the authority of elites fades, as Establishment values cede to popular ones, views and identities can become so magnificently diverse as to be mutually uncomprehending. And when all the barriers to equality, formal and informal, have been removed; when everyone is equal; when elites are despised and full license is established to do “whatever one wants,” you arrive at what might be called late-stage democracy. There is no kowtowing to authority here, let alone to political experience or expertise.

America Has Never Been So Ripe for Tyranny — NYMag

I think the point here is that in stepping back one can see the whole system at risk. It might be war or revolution, but something big is coming.

Is American democracy headed to extinction? – The Washington Post

Behind dysfunctional government, is democracy itself in decay?

It took only 250 years for democracy to disintegrate in ancient Athens. A wholly new form of government was invented there in which the people ruled themselves. That constitution proved marvelously effective. Athens grew in wealth and capacity, saw off the Persian challenge, established itself as the leading power in the known world and produced treasures of architecture, philosophy and art that bedazzle to this day. But when privilege, corruption and mismanagement took hold, the lights went out.

Is American democracy headed to extinction? – The Washington Post

Discord Between China’s Top Two Leaders Spills Into the Open – WSJ

President Xi and Premier Li offer conflicting messages on the economy, showing a crack in party’s united front

Earlier this month, President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang both delivered forceful instructions on how to reform China’s state-owned sector. Their messages directly contradicted one another.

On July 4, officials of the State Council, China’s cabinet, were read remarks by Mr. Xi calling for “stronger, better, bigger” state juggernauts, with a central role for the Communist Party in their management. Mr. Li’s prepared comments stressed the need to “slim down” state companies and to “follow market rules” in remaking them.

Party insiders and China experts say the conflicting messaging and other recent episodes, including thinly veiled criticism of Mr. Li’s policies from the Xi camp, show how discord between the top two Chinese leaders is increasingly spilling into the open, a remarkable departure from the unified front China’s leaders traditionally seek to present.

Discord Between China’s Top Two Leaders Spills Into the Open – WSJ

China Takes Asia Back to the 1930s [with the Threat of War Looming] – WSJ

In 1933, Japan walked out of the League of Nations after being condemned for invading Manchuria. This act of defiance dealt a blow to liberal internationalists’ hopes that global cooperation could lead to a peaceful resolution of the Asian crisis. It also ended decades of Japanese globalization during the Meiji and Taisho periods and set Tokyo on a path of confrontation with Western powers. The ultimate result was the Pacific War from 1937-45.

Could the same thing happen today with China? Beijing’s reaction to last week’s ruling by the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration recalls Tokyo’s rejection of the League’s attempt to rein in great-power competition 85 years ago.

The Hague ruling didn’t solve the struggle for mastery of Asia’s seas. Instead it likely exacerbated it, increasing the risk of war.

China Takes Asia Back to the 1930s – WSJ

Why The Baltic States Are Where Nuclear War Is Most Likely To Begin | The National Interest Blog

History may one day record that the greatest strategic blunder in history was the failure of U.S. leaders to take the possibility of nuclear war between America and Russia seriously once the Cold War ended.

Initially, U.S. leaders thought the ideological motivation for East-West nuclear tensions had disappeared with the collapse of communism.  But even after Vladimir Putin began rebuilding Russia’s military forces and signaling a desire to regain lost influence, Washington continued to treat the prospect of nuclear conflict as remote.

However, the possibility of nuclear war between America and Russia not only still exists, but is probably growing. And the place where it is most likely to begin is in a future military confrontation over three small Baltic states — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Since those nations and several other Eastern European states joined NATO in 2004, the United States has been committed to defending their freedom and territorial integrity under Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty.

Why The Baltic States Are Where Nuclear War Is Most Likely To Begin | The National Interest Blog

War Fever: “When are we going to war?”

‘In the past two months, I’ve traveled to the Baltic region, to Georgia, and to Russia. Talk of war is everywhere.’

‘On to Moscow, where “war fever” is at fever pitch. Here, there is no softening of language; NATO and the U.S. are the enemy and Russia must be ready for attack.’

Recently, I grabbed a taxi in Moscow. When the driver asked me where I was from, I told him the United States.  “I went there once,” he said, “to Chicago. I really liked it.”

“But tell me something,” he added. “When are we going to war?”

The question, put so starkly, so honestly, shocked me. “Well, I hope never,” I replied. “No one wants war.”

At the office I ask a Russian employee about the mood in his working-class Moscow neighborhood. The old people are buying salt, matches and “gretchka,” (buckwheat) he tells me – the time-worn refuge for Russians stocking up on essentials in case of war.

In an interview widely quoted in the Russian media, foreign affairs expert and member of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Foreign Policy and Defense Council, Sergei Karaganov, told the German magazine Der Spiegel that Western propaganda against Russia “is reminiscent of the period preceding a new war.”

But all the talk of war isn’t as crazy as it seems, several Russians tell me. “They may not love us,” they say, “but they fear us.”

War Fever | Wilson Center

Freedom of navigation patrols may end ‘in disaster': Chinese admiral | Reuters

Freedom of navigation patrols carried out by foreign navies in the South China Sea could end “in disaster”, a senior Chinese admiral has said, a warning to the United States after last week’s ruling against Beijing’s claims in the area.

Speaking behind closed doors at a forum in Beijing on Saturday evening, Sun Jianguo, an admiral and deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department of the powerful Central Military Commission, said the freedom of navigation issue was bogus and one that certain countries repeatedly hyped up.

“But China consistently opposes so-called military freedom of navigation, which brings with it a military threat and which challenges and disrespects the international law of the sea,” Sun said.

Freedom of navigation patrols may end ‘in disaster': Chinese admiral | Reuters

Here we have a Chinese admiral directly threatening the US over freedom of navigation patrols. Why would you not take this seriously? Why would you not prepare for nuclear war over this?

In my opinion the Obama administration is seriously delusional. The Chinese have laid everything out for us very nicely: Stop doing what you are doing or prepare for nuclear war. Will the Obama administration listen? So far they haven’t been listening.

“… but on the historical record it [war] is more likely than not,” Graham Allison. Watch this short video:

Destined for War: Can the U.S. and China Escape Thucydides Trap?

Mathematically, the historical record shows that the probability of war eventually happening is at least 75%. Something to think about.

And what is Russia is up to? Russia is practicing for nuclear war. Is that something we should be worried about?

Russian Armageddon Convoy Practices for World War III [July 12, 2016]

Russia Today has a story on a Russian strategic missile exercise that involves a massive convoy traveling from European-Russian border all the way to the Mongolian border. Russian mobile ICBMs have established, permanent bases but leave in groups on month-long patrols. This particular 400-vehicle convoy includes Topol, Topol-M, and Yars mobile missiles, as well as command and control, security, and logistics vehicles.

Topol and Yars missiles are capable of delivering one to four nuclear warheads within roughly a thousand feet of their target, making them accurate enough to destroy American missiles in their silos. This makes them a formidable first-strike weapon capable of wiping out a significant part of the US nuclear arsenal, if the Russians were so inclined.

Russian Armageddon Convoy Practices for World War III

U.S., NATO troop buildup in Eastern Europe to counter Russians is largest since Cold War

South China Sea: Building up trouble – FT.com

In the short term, top of the list of potential Sino-US flashpoints is Scarborough Shoal, 140 miles from the Philippines’ coast where China took control three years ago. Earlier this year, the Obama administration delivered private warnings to Beijing not to begin a new exercise in land reclamation. Although US officials refuse to say if Scarborough Shoal is covered by the mutual defence treaty between the countries, some in Washington would like to see a formal declaration in order to deter Beijing.

“I think we should be prepared to take military action in Scarborough Shoal” if China tries to build a new artificial island, says Admiral Dennis Blair, former head of US Pacific Command. “Draw the line there.”

South China Sea: Building up trouble – FT.com

German Intel: Iran Sought Chemical, Biological Weapons Tech Across Germany in 2015 | The Tower

Iran engaged in secret efforts last year to procure nuclear-related materials that spanned at least half of Germany’s states and involved attempts to advance the Islamic Republic’s chemical and biological weapons capabilities, according to newly-released German intelligence documents examined by the Jerusalem Post.

Iranian operatives targeted German manufacturers whose products could be “implemented for atomic, biological and chemical weapons in a war,” the state of Rhineland-Palatinate’s intelligence agency disclosed in its annual report. “These goods could, for example, be applied to the development of state nuclear and missile delivery programs,” the agency added.

German Intel: Iran Sought Chemical, Biological Weapons Tech Across Germany in 2015 | The Tower

China Names No. 1 Villain in the South China Sea: Uncle Sam – The Daily Beast

The Hague’s ruling Tuesday on the South China Sea could push Beijing and Washington closer to open confrontation.

American policymakers have yet to acknowledge that China’s increasingly belligerent Communist Party has become incurably anti-American, but we’re seeing that fact confirmed right now in bold relief.

So in China’s telling, there would never have been any dispute had it not been for Washington. The U.S. “uses the South China Sea as a lever to realize its own strategic objectives. This has led to the ever-increasing tension in the South China Sea.”

China Names No. 1 Villain in the South China Sea: Uncle Sam – The Daily Beast

South China Sea Showdown: Part of a Much Bigger Nightmare | The National Interest Blog

Sometimes it’s a good idea to just state the obvious. And the obvious, when it comes to the South China Sea and tomorrow’s impending ruling in the International Court of Arbitration on the matter of China vs. the Philippines is clear: no matter what happens, no matter what the ruling says or doesn’t say, a ‘sea’ of tensions will remain between the People’s Republic of China and various claimants in this important body of water, and between Beijing and Washington. It seems almost certain that things are going to go from bad to worse—possibly very quickly.

South China Sea Showdown: Part of a Much Bigger Nightmare | The National Interest Blog