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Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism
and Alliance of Transnational Elites

Neoliberalism is inseparable from imperialism and globalization

Who Rules America > Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism

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Introduction

All U.S. schoolchildren should be taught, as part of their basic civics education, by conscientious elementary, middle school and high school teachers, that they live in an imperialist country. The term itself ought to be popularized. This is what politicians like Obama actually refer to, elliptically, when they call the U.S. “exceptional.

Gary Leupp, The U.S. Versus ISIS

Looks like the USA successfully managed to recreate Imperial Rome on a new level, neoliberalism level. See Empires Then and Now - PaulCraig

The idea financial imperialism is simple. Instead of old-fashion military occupation of the country, take over the countries in crisis, if necessary remove their democratically elected governments from power by claiming that election are falsified and/or official are corrupted, and/or the government is authoritarian (unlike the puppets they want to install). They use the installed puppets to mandate austerity, burden the country with debt  and facilitate condition under which most of which will be stolen and repatriated to the West.

But neoliberals take this old idea to a new level -- the crisis can be manufactured. The scheme looks like the following (see IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement discussion of Greece for more information):

After installation of a puppet government, it is relatively easy to use Fifth column based government to protect foreign financial interests. Now you can recoup the costs and enjoy the profits. Much cheaper and more humane then bombing the country and killing a couple of hundred thousand people to achieve the same goals (Iraq variant) or by arming and training  jihadists (using Saudi and Gulf monarchies money) and tribal elements to depose the government (Libya and Syria variants) who kill as much, if nor more. 

A classic recent examples were Yeltsin's government in Russia, Yushchenko regime in Ukraine,  Poroshenko-Yatsenyuk duo in Ukraine and sequence of neoliberal governments in Greece. 

In other words neoliberalism is inseparable from imperialism and globalization (Neoliberalism A Critical Reader Alfredo Saad-Filho, Deborah Johnston, p. 2)

In the conventional (or mainstream) discourse, imperialism is either absent or, more recently, proudly presented as the ‘AmericanBurden': to civilize the world and bring to all the benediction of the Holy Trinity, the green-faced Lord Dollar and its deputies and occasional rivals. Holy Euro and Saint Yen. New converts win a refurbished international airport, one brand-new branch of McDonald’s, two luxury hotels, 3,000 NGOs and one US military base.

This offer cannot be refused - or else.2 In turn, globalisation is generally presented as an inescapable, inexorable and benevolent process leading to greater competition, welfare improvements and the spread of democracy around the world. In reality, however, the so-called process of globalisation - to the extent that it actually exists (see Saad-Rlho 2003) - is merely the international face of neoliberalism: a world-wide strategy of accumulation and social discipline that doubles up as tin imperialist project, spearheaded by the alliance between the US ruling class and locally dominant capitalist coalitions.

This ambitious power project centered on neoliberalism at home and imperial globalism abroad is implemented by diverse social and economic political alliances in each country, but the interests of local finance and the US ruling class, itself dominated by finance, are normally hegemonic.

...the United States, the United Kingdom and east and south-east Asia respectively, neoliberalism is a particular organisation of capitalism, which has evolved to protect capital(ism) and to reduce the power of labour. This is achieved by means of social, economic and political transformations imposed by internal forces as well as external pressure. The internal forces include the coalition between financial interests, leading industrialists, traders and exporters, media barons, big landowners, local political chieftains, the top echelons of the civil service and the military, and their intellectual and political proxies. These groups are closely connected with ‘global’ ideologies emanating from the centre, and they tend to adapt swiftly to the demands beamed from the metropolis. Their efforts have led to a significant worldwide shift in powerrelations away from the majority. Corporate power has increased, while finance hits acquired unrivalled influence, and the political spectrum has shifted towards the right. Left parties and mass organisations have imploded, while trade unions have been muzzled or disabled by unemployment. Forms of external pressure have included the diffusion of Western culture and ideology, foreign support for state and civil society institutions peddling neolibcral values, the shameless use of foreign aid, debt relief and balance of payments support to promote the neoliberal programme, and diplomatic pressure, political unrest and military intervention when necessary.

...the ruling economic and political forces in the European Union have instrumentalised the process of integration to ensure the hegemony of neoliberalism. This account is complemented by the segmentation of Eastern Europe into countries that are being drawn into a Western European-style neoliberalism and others that are following Russia’s business oligarchy model.

In sum, neoliberalism is everywhere both the outcome and the arena of social conflicts. It sets the political and economic agenda, limits the possible outcomes, biases expectations, and imposes urgent tasks on those challenging its assumptions, methods and consequences.

In the meantime, neoliberal theory has not remained static. In order to deal with the most powerful criticisms leveled against neoliberalism, that it has increased poverty and social dislocation around the world, neoliberal theory has attempted to present the ogre in a more favorable light. In spite of the substantial resources invested in this ideologically inspired make-over, these amendments have remained unconvincing, not least because the heart of the neoliberal project has remained unchanged. This is discussed in Chapter 15 for poverty and distribution, while Chapter 21 unpicks the agenda of the ‘Third Way', viewed by many as ‘neoliberalism with a human face’.

Neoliberalism offered a finance-friendly solution to the problems of capital accumulation at the end of a relatively long cycle of prosperity. Chapters 1. 22 and 30 show that neoliberalism imposed discipline upon a restless working class through contractionary fiscal and monetary policies and wide-ranging initiatives to curtail social rights, under the guise of anti-inflation and productivity-enhancing measures. Neoliberalism also rationalised the transfer of state capacity to allocate resources inter-temporally (the balance between investment and consumption) and inter-sectorally (the distribution of investment, employment and output) towards an increasingly internationally integrated (and US-led) financial sector. In doing so, neoliberalism facilitated a gigantic transfer of resources to the local rich and the United States, as is shown by Chapters 11 and 15.

The “elephant in the room” is peak oil (plato oil to be more correct) and the plato of food production. Without "cheap oil" extraction growing, it is more difficult to sustain both  population growth and rising standard of living simultaneously. It became the situation of iether/or.

So the future it does not look pretty. As soon as "cheap oil"  escape the current plato,  Western financial system gets into trouble: private banks based fractional reserve banking requires economy expansion for survival.  Essentially they add positive feedback loop to the economy, greatly increasing the instability.  That connection was discovered by Hyman Minsky. Minsky explored a form of instability that is embedded in neoliberal/financialized economies resulting from the use of fiat currency and fractional reserve banking. he argued that such an economy automatically generates bubbles, bursting of which result in periodic deep economic crisis. Which are not an exception, but a feature of neoliberal capitalism (aka "supercapitalism", or "casino capitalism).  

When Minsky crisis hits  some, less important, banks will implode and strategically important need to be saved by government at a great expense for taxpayers. The western elite is well aware of this possibility and will steal, loot and pillage as fast as they can to prolong the agony...  Neoliberal expansion and conversion of other countries into debt slaves thus serves as a substitute for economic growth.

What actually is devalued in austerity programs imposed on indebted nations via currency depreciation is the price of local labor (along with standard of living of the most population). So austerity programs caused a huge drop in the standard of living of population. For example after EuroMaydan color revolution the standard of living in Ukraine dropped to the level of the most poor countries of Africa  (less then $2 a day for the majority of population).

This is a pretty instructive example.   It qlso cur domestic consumption of fuels and minerals, consumer goods, and food.  As wages are sticky and it is difficult to reduced them directly (via high unemployment, leading to falling wages). But the currency depreciation can do the same trick even more effectively. For example since February 22 coup d'état, grivna, the Ukrainian currency depreciated from 8 to 28 grivna to dollar, or approximately 350%.

This is how war of creditors against debtor countries turns into a class war. But to impose such neoliberal reforms, foreign pressure is necessary to bypass domestic, democratically elected Parliaments. Not every country’s voters can be expected to be as passive in acting against their own interests as those of Latvia and Ireland. The financial capital objective is to bypass parliament by demanding a “consensus” (facilitated by a huge foreign debt) to put foreign creditors first, above the national economy. This is the essence of the status of debt slave country. Civil war it a perfect tool to accelerate this process. 

Buying natural monopolies in transportation, communications, and the land from the public domain for pennies on the dollar now can be called "rescue package", not the road to debt peonage and a financial neo-feudalism that is a grim reality of "debt slave" countries, where populations are indentured laborers of international capital. Let me state it very simply : "the borrower [debtor] is SERVANT to the lender" ( Wikipedia ):

An indentured servant or indentured laborer is an employee (indenturee) within a system of unfree labor who is bound by a signed or forced contract (indenture) to work for a particular employer for a fixed time. The contract often lets the employer sell the labor of an indenturee to a third party. Indenturees usually enter into an indenture for a specific payment or other benefit, or to meet a legal obligation, such as debt bondage.

The whole point of creating debt is to gain control of and rule over such countries.  Prof. Hudson's article Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011) illustrates this point admirably.

At the same time then comes to bailing out bankers who overplayed with derivatives, all rules are ignored – in order to serve the “higher justice” of saving banks and their high-finance counterparties from taking a loss. This is quite a contrast compared to IMF policy toward labor and “taxpayers.” The class war is back in business – with a vengeance, and bankers are the winners this time around.

Classic, textbook example of neocolonialism was rape of Russia in 1991-1999. See Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia

Henry C K Liu Views

One of the most interesting analysis of this new phenomena was provided by Henry C K Liu in his series of articles SUPER CAPITALISM, SUPER IMPERIALISM


PART 1: A Structural Link

Robert B Reich, former US Secretary of Labor and resident neo-liberal in the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1997, wrote in the September 14, 2007 edition of The Wall Street Journal an opinion piece, "CEOs Deserve Their Pay", as part of an orchestrated campaign to promote his new book: Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life (Afred A Knopf).

Reich is a former Harvard professor and the former Maurice B Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. He is currently a professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California (Berkley) and a regular liberal gadfly in the unabashed supply-side Larry Kudlow TV show that celebrates the merits of capitalism.

Reich's Supercapitalism brings to mind Michael Hudson's Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1972-2003). While Reich, a liberal turned neo-liberal, sees "supercapitalism" as the natural evolution of insatiable shareholder appetite for gain, a polite euphemism for greed, that cannot or should not be reined in by regulation, Hudson, a Marxist heterodox economist, sees "super imperialism" as the structural outcome of post-World War II superpower geopolitics, with state interests overwhelming free market forces, making regulation irrelevant. While Hudson is critical of "super imperialism" and thinks that it should be resisted by the weaker trading partners of the US, Reich gives the impression of being ambivalent about the inevitability, if not the benignity, of "supercapitalism".

The structural link between capitalism and imperialism was first observed by John Atkinson Hobson (1858-1940), an English economist, who wrote in 1902 an insightful analysis of the economic basis of imperialism. Hobson provided a humanist critique of neoclassical economics, rejecting exclusively materialistic definitions of value. With Albert Frederick Mummery (1855-1895), the great British mountaineer who was killed in 1895 by an avalanche while reconnoitering Nanga Parbat, an 8,000-meter Himalayan peak, Hobson wrote The Physiology of Industry (1889), which argued that an industrial economy requires government intervention to maintain stability, and developed the theory of over-saving that was given a glowing tribute by John Maynard Keynes three decades later.

The need for governmental intervention to stabilize an expanding national industrial economy was the rationale for political imperialism. On the other side of the coin, protectionism was a governmental counter-intervention on the part of weak trading partners for resisting imperialist expansion of the dominant power. Historically, the processes of globalization have always been the result of active state policy and action, as opposed to the mere passive surrender of state sovereignty to market forces. Market forces cannot operate in a vacuum. They are governed by man-made rules. Globalized markets require the acceptance by local authorities of established rules of the dominant economy. Currency monopoly of course is the most fundamental trade restraint by one single dominant government.

Adam Smith published Wealth of Nations in 1776, the year of US independence. By the time the constitution was framed 11 years later, the US founding fathers were deeply influenced by Smith's ideas, which constituted a reasoned abhorrence of trade monopoly and government policy in restricting trade. What Smith abhorred most was a policy known as mercantilism, which was practiced by all the major powers of the time. It is necessary to bear in mind that Smith's notion of the limitation of government action was exclusively related to mercantilist issues of trade restraint. Smith never advocated government tolerance of trade restraint, whether by big business monopolies or by other governments in the name of open markets.

A central aim of mercantilism was to ensure that a nation's exports remained higher in value than its imports, the surplus in that era being paid only in specie money (gold-backed as opposed to fiat money). This trade surplus in gold permitted the surplus country, such as England, to invest in more factories at home to manufacture more for export, thus bringing home more gold. The importing regions, such as the American colonies, not only found the gold reserves backing their currency depleted, causing free-fall devaluation (not unlike that faced today by many emerging-economy currencies), but also wanting in surplus capital for building factories to produce for domestic consumption and export. So despite plentiful iron ore in America, only pig iron was exported to England in return for English finished iron goods. The situation was similar to today's oil producing countries where despite plentiful crude oil, refined petrochemical products such as gasoline and heating oil have to be imported.

In 1795, when the newly independent Americans began finally to wake up to their disadvantaged trade relationship and began to raise European (mostly French and Dutch) capital to start a manufacturing industry, England decreed the Iron Act, forbidding the manufacture of iron goods in its American colonies, which caused great dissatisfaction among the prospering colonials.

Smith favored an opposite government policy toward promoting domestic economic production and free foreign trade for the weaker traders, a policy that came to be known as "laissez faire" (because the English, having nothing to do with such heretical ideas, refuse to give it an English name). Laissez faire, notwithstanding its literal meaning of "leave alone", meant nothing of the sort. It meant an activist government policy to counteract mercantilism. Neo-liberal free-market economists are just bad historians, among their other defective characteristics, when they propagandize "laissez faire" as no government interference in trade affairs.

Friedrich List, in his National System of Political Economy (1841), asserts that political economy as espoused in England, far from being a valid science universally, was merely British national opinion, suited only to English historical conditions. List's institutional school of economics asserts that the doctrine of free trade was devised to keep England rich and powerful at the expense of its trading partners and it must be fought with protective tariffs and other protective devices of economic nationalism by the weaker countries.

Henry Clay's "American system" was a national system of political economy. US neo-imperialism in the post WWII period disingenuously promotes neo-liberal free-trade against governmental protectionism to keep the US rich and powerful at the expense of its trading partners. Before the October Revolution of 1917, many national liberation movements in European colonies and semi-colonies around the world were influenced by List's economic nationalism. The 1911 Nationalist Revolution in China, led by Sun Yat-sen, was heavily influenced by Lincoln's political ideas - government of the people, by the people and for the people - and the economic nationalism of List, until after the October Revolution when Sun realized that the Soviet model was the correct path to national revival.

Hobson's magnum opus, Imperialism, (1902), argues that imperialistic expansion is driven not by state hubris, known in US history as "manifest destiny", but by an innate quest for new markets and investment opportunities overseas for excess capital formed by over-saving at home for the benefit of the home state. Over-saving during the industrial age came from Richardo's theory of the iron law of wages, according to which wages were kept perpetually at subsistence levels as a result of uneven market power between capital and labor. Today, job outsourcing that returns as low-price imports contributes to the iron law of wages in the US domestic economy. (See my article Organization of Labor Exporting Countries [OLEC]).

Hobson's analysis of the phenology (study of life cycles) of capitalism was drawn upon by Lenin to formulate a theory of imperialism as an advanced stage of capitalism:

"Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capitalism is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed." (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, 1916, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Chapter 7).

Lenin was also influenced by Rosa Luxemberg, who three year earlier had written her major work, The Accumulation of Capital: A Contribution to an Economic Explanation of Imperialism (Die Akkumulation des Kapitals: Ein Beitrag zur ökonomischen Erklärung des Imperialismus), 1913). Luxemberg, together with Karl Liebknecht a founding leader of the Spartacist League (Spartakusbund), a radical Marxist revolutionary movement that later renamed itself the Communist Party of Germany (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, or KPD), was murdered on January 15, 1919 by members of the Freikorps, rightwing militarists who were the forerunners of the Nazi Sturmabteilung (SA) led by Ernst Rohm.

The congenital association between capitalism and imperialism requires practically all truly anti-imperialist movements the world over to be also anti-capitalist. To this day, most nationalist capitalists in emerging economies are unwitting neo-compradors for super imperialism. Neo-liberalism, in its attempts to break down all national boundaries to facilitate global trade denominated in fiat dollars, is the ideology of super imperialism.

Hudson, the American heterodox economist, historian of ancient economies and post-WW II international balance-of-payments specialist, advanced in his 1972 book the notion of 20th century super imperialism. Hudson updated Hobson's idea of 19th century imperialism of state industrial policy seeking new markets to invest home-grown excess capital. To Hudson, super imperialism is a state financial strategy to export debt denominated in the state's fiat currency as capital to the new financial colonies to finance the global expansion of a superpower empire.

No necessity, or even intention, was entertained by the superpower of ever having to pay off these paper debts after the US dollar was taken off gold in 1971.

Monetary Imperialism and Dollar Hegemony

Super imperialism transformed into monetary imperialism after the 1973 Middle East oil crisis with the creation of the petrodollar and two decades later emerged as dollar hegemony through financial globalization after 1993. As described in my 2002 AToL article, Dollar hegemony has to go, a geopolitical phenomenon emerged after the 1973 oil crisis in which the US dollar, a fiat currency since 1971, continues to serve as the primary reserve currency for  international trade because oil continues to be denominated in fiat dollars as a result of superpower geopolitics, leading to dollar hegemony in 1993 with the globalization of deregulated financial markets.

Three causal developments allowed dollar hegemony to emerge over a span of two decades after 1973 and finally take hold in 1993. US fiscal deficits from overseas spending since the 1950s caused a massive drain in US gold holdings, forcing the US in 1971 to abandon the 1945 Bretton Woods regime of fixed exchange rate based on a gold-backed dollar. Under that international financial architecture, cross-border flow of funds was not considered necessary or desirable for promoting international trade or domestic development. The collapse of the 1945 Bretton Woods regime in 1971 was the initial development toward dollar hegemony.

The second development was the denomination of oil in dollars after the 1973 Middle East oil crisis. The emergence of petrodollars was the price the US, still only one of two contending superpowers in 1973, extracted from defenseless oil-producing nations for allowing them to nationalize the Western-owned oil industry on their soil. As long as oil transactions are denominated in fiat dollars, the US essentially controls all the oil in the world financially regardless of specific ownership, reducing all oil producing nations to the status of commodity agents of dollar hegemony.

The third development was the global deregulation of financial markets after the Cold War, making cross-border flow of funds routine, and a general relaxation of capital and foreign exchange control by most governments involved in international trade. This neo-liberal trade regime brought into existence a foreign exchange market in which free-floating exchange rates made computerized speculative attacks on weak currencies a regular occurrence. These three developments permitted the emergence of dollar hegemony after 1994 and helped the US win the Cold War with financial power derived from fiat money.

Dollar hegemony advanced super imperialism one stage further from the financial to the monetary front. Industrial imperialism sought to achieve a trade surplus by exporting manufactured good to the colonies for gold to fund investment for more productive plants at home. Super imperialism sought to extract real wealth from the colonies by paying for it with fiat dollars to sustain a balance of payments out of an imbalance in the exchange of commodities. Monetary imperialism under dollar hegemony exports debt denominated in fiat dollars through a permissive trade deficit with the new colonies, only to re-import the debt back to the US as capital account surplus to finance the US debt bubble.

The circular recycling of dollar-denominated debt was made operative by the dollar, a fiat currency that only the US can print at will, continuing as the world's prime reserve currency for international trade and finance, backed by US geopolitical superpower. Dollars are accepted universally because oil is denominated in dollars and everyone needs oil and thus needs dollars to buy oil. Any nation that seeks to denominate key commodities, such as oil, in currencies other than the dollar will soon find itself invaded by the sole superpower. Thus the war on Iraq is not about oil, as former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan suggested recently. It is about keeping oil denominated in dollars to protect dollar hegemony. The difference is subtle but of essential importance.

Since 1993, central banks of all trading nations around the world, with the exception of the US Federal Reserve, have been forced to hold more dollar reserves than they otherwise need to ward off the potential of sudden speculative attacks on their currencies in unregulated global financial markets. Thus "dollar hegemony" prevents the exporting nations, such as the Asian Tigers, from spending domestically the dollars they earn from the US trade deficit and forces them to fund the US capital account surplus, shipping real wealth to the US in exchange for the privilege of financing further growth of the US debt economy.

Not only do these exporting nations have to compete by keeping their domestic wages down and by prostituting their environment, the dollars that they earn cannot be spent at home without causing a monetary crisis in their own currencies because the dollars they earn have to be exchanged into local currencies before they can be spent domestically, causing an excessive rise in their domestic money supply which in turn causes domestic inflation-pushed bubbles. While the trade-surplus nations are forced to lend their export earnings back to the US, these same nations are starved for capital, as global capital denominated in dollars will only invest in their export sectors to earn more dollars. The domestic sector with local currency earnings remains of little interest to global capital denominated in dollars. As a result, domestic development stagnates for lack of capital.

Dollar hegemony permits the US to transform itself from a competitor in world markets to earn hard money, to a fiat-money-making monopoly with fiat dollars that only it can print at will. Every other trading nation has to exchange low-wage goods for dollars that the US alone can print freely and that can be spent only in the dollar economy without monetary penalty.

The victimization of Japan and China

Japan is a classic victim of monetary imperialism. In 1990, as a result of Japanese export prowess, the Industrial Bank of Japan was the largest bank in the world, with a market capitalization of $57 billion. The top nine of the 10 largest banks then were all Japanese, trailed by Canadian Alliance in 10th place. No US bank made the top-10 list. By 2001, the effects of dollar hegemony have pushed Citigroup into first place with a market capitalization of $260 billion. Seven of the top 10 largest financial institutions in the world in 2001 were US-based, with descending ranking in market capitalization: Citigroup ($260 billion), AIG ($209 billion), HSBC (British-$110 billion), Berkshire Hathaway ($100 billion), Bank of America ($99 billion), Fanny Mae ($80 billion), Wells Fargo ($74 billion), JP Morgan Chase ($72 billion), RBS (British-$70 billion) and UBS (Swiss-$67 billion). No Japanese bank survived on the list.

China is a neoclassic case of dollar hegemony victimization even though its domestic financial markets are still not open and the yuan is still not freely convertible. With over $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves earned at a previously lower fixed exchange rate of 8.2 to a dollar set in 1985, now growing at the rate of $1 billion a day at a narrow-range floating exchange rate of around 7.5 since July 2005, China cannot spend much of it dollar holdings on domestic development without domestic inflation caused by excessive expansion of its yuan money supply. The Chinese economy is overheating because the bulk of its surplus revenue is in dollars from exports that cannot be spent inside China without monetary penalty. Chinese wages are too low to absorb sudden expansion of yuan money supply to develop the domestic economy. And with over $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, equal to its annual GDP, China cannot even divest from the dollar without having the market effect of a falling dollar moving against its remaining holdings.

The People's Bank of China announced on July 20, 2005 that effective immediately the yuan exchange rate would go up by 2.1% to 8.11 yuan to the US dollar and that China would drop the dollar peg to its currency. In its place, China would move to a "managed float" of the yuan, pegging the currency's exchange value to an undisclosed basket of currencies linked to its global trade. In an effort to limit the amount of volatility, China would not allow the currency to fluctuate by more than 0.3% in any one trading day. Linking the yuan to a basket of currencies means China's currency is relatively free from market forces acting on the dollar, shifting to market forces acting on a basket of currencies of China's key trading partners. The basket is composed of the euro, yen and other Asian currencies as well as the dollar. Though the precise composition of the basket was not disclosed, it can nevertheless be deduced by China's trade volume with key trading partners and by mathematical calculation from the set-daily exchange rate.

Thus China is trapped in a trade regime operating on an international monetary architecture in which it must continue to export real wealth in the form of underpaid labor and polluted environment in exchange for dollars that it must reinvest in the US. Ironically, the recent rise of anti-trade sentiment in US domestic politics offers China a convenient, opportune escape from dollar hegemony to reduce its dependence on export to concentrate on domestic development. Chinese domestic special interest groups in the export sector would otherwise oppose any policy to slow the growth in export if not for the rise of US protectionism which causes shot-term pain for China but long-term benefit in China's need to restructure its economy toward domestic development. Further trade surplus denominated in dollar is of no advantage to China.

Emerging markets are new colonies of monetary imperialism

Even as the domestic US economy declined after the onset of globalization in the early 1990s, US dominance in global finance has continued to this day on account of dollar hegemony. It should not be surprising that the nation that can print at will the world's reserve currency for international trade should come up on top in deregulated global financial markets. The so-called emerging markets around the world are the new colonies of monetary imperialism in a global neo-liberal trading regime operating under dollar hegemony geopolitically dominated by the US as the world's sole remaining superpower.

Denial of corporate social responsibility

In Supercapitalism, Reich identifies corporate social responsibility as a diversion from economic efficiency and an un-capitalistic illusion. Of course the late Milton Friedman had asserted that the only social responsibility of corporations is to maximize profit, rather than to generate economic well-being and balanced growth through fair profits. There is ample evidence to suggest that a single-minded quest for maximizing global corporate profit can lead to domestic economic decline in even the world's sole remaining superpower. The US public is encouraged to blame such decline on the misbehaving trading partners of the US rather than US trade policy that permits US transnational corporation to exploit workers in all trading nations, including those in the US. It is a policy that devalues work by over-rewarding financial manipulation.

Yet to Reich, the US corporate income tax is regressive and inequitable and should be abolished so that after-tax corporate profit can be even further enhanced. This pro-profit position is at odds with even rising US Republican sentiment against transnational corporations and their global trade strategies. Reich also thinks the concept of corporate criminal liability is based on an "anthropomorphic fallacy" that ends up hurting innocent people. Reich sees as inevitable an evolutionary path towards an allegedly perfect new world of a super-energetic capitalism responding to the dictate of all-powerful consumer preference through market democracy.

Reich argues that corporations cannot be expected to be more "socially responsible" than their shareholders or even their consumers, and he implies that consumer preference and behavior are the proper and effective police forces that supersede the need for market regulation. He sees corporations, while viewed by law as "legal persons", as merely value-neutral institutional respondents of consumer preferences in global markets. Reich claims that corporate policies, strategies and behavior in market capitalism are effectively governed by consumer preferences and need no regulation by government. This is essentially the ideology of neo-liberalism.

Yet US transnational corporations derive profit from global operations serving global consumers to maximize return on global capital. These transnational corporations will seek to shift production to where labor is cheapest and environmental standards are lowest and to market their products where prices are highest and consumer purchasing power the strongest. Often, these corporations find it more profitable to sell products they themselves do not make, controlling only design and marketing, leaving the dirty side of manufacturing to others with underdeveloped market power. This means if the US wants a trade surplus under the current terms of trade, it must lower it wages. The decoupling of consumers from producers weakens the conventional effects of market pressure on corporate social responsibility. Transnational corporations have no home community loyalty. Consumers generally do not care about sweat shop conditions overseas while overseas workers do not care about product safety on goods they produce but cannot afford to buy. Products may be made in China, but they are not made by China, but by US transnational corporations which are responsible for the quality and safety of their products.

Further, it is well recognized that corporations routinely and effectively manipulate consumer preference and market acceptance often through if not false, at least misleading advertising, not for the benefit of consumers, but to maximize return on faceless capital raised from global capital markets. The subliminal emphasis by the corporate culture on addictive acquisition of material things, coupled with a structural deprivation of adequate income to satisfy the manipulated desires, has made consumers less satisfied than in previous times of less material abundance. Corporations have been allowed to imbed consumption-urging messages into every aspect of modern life. The result is a disposable culture with packaged waste, an obesity crisis for all age groups, skyrocketing consumer debt, the privatization of public utilities that demand the same fee for basic services from rich and poor alike, causing a sharp disparity in affordability. It is a phenomenon described by Karl Marx as "Fetishism of Commodities".

Marx's concept of Fetishism of Commodities

Marx wrote in Das Kapital:[1]

The relation of the producers to the sum total of their own labor is presented to them as a social relation, existing not between themselves, but between the products of their labor. This is the reason why the products of labor become commodities, social things whose qualities are at the same time perceptible and imperceptible by the senses … The existence of the things qua commodities, and the value relation between the products of labor which stamps them as commodities, have absolutely no connection with their physical properties and with the material relations arising therefrom. It is a definite social relation between men that assumes, in their eyes, the fantastic form of a relation between things. In order, therefore, to find an analogy, we must have recourse to the mist-enveloped regions of the religious world. In that world, the productions of the human brain appear as independent beings endowed with life, and entering into relation both with one another and the human race. So it is in the world of commodities with the products of men's hands. This I call the Fetishism which attaches itself to the products of labor, as soon as they are produced as commodities, and which is therefore inseparable from the production of commodities. This Fetishism of Commodities has its origin … in the peculiar social character of the labor that produces them.
Marx asserts that "the mystical character of commodities does not originate in their use-value" (Section 1, p 71). Market value is derived from social relations, not from use-value which is a material phenomenon. Thus Marx critiques the Marginal Utility Theory by pointing out that market value is affected by social relationships. For example, the marginal utility of door locks is a function of the burglary rate in a neighborhood which in turn is a function of the unemployment rate. Unregulated free markets are a regime of uninhibited price gouging by monopolies and cartels.

Thus the nature of money cannot be adequately explained even in terms of the material-technical properties of gold, but only in terms of the factors behind man's desire and need for gold. Similarly, it is not possible to fully understand the price of capital from the technical nature of the means of production, but only from the social institution of private ownership and the terms of exchange imposed by uneven market power. Market capitalism is a social institution based on the fetishism of commodities.

Democracy threatened by the corporate state

While Reich is on target in warning about the danger to democracy posed by the corporate state, and in claiming that only people can be citizens, and only citizens should participate in democratic decision making, he misses the point that transnational corporations have transcended national boundaries. Yet in each community that these transnational corporations operate, they have the congenital incentive, the financial means and the legal mandate to manipulate the fetishism of commodities even in distant lands.

Moreover, representative democracy as practiced in the US is increasingly manipulated by corporate lobbying funded from high-profit-driven corporate financial resources derived from foreign sources controlled by management. Corporate governance is notoriously abusive of minority shareholder rights on the part of management. Notwithstanding Reich's rationalization of excessive CEO compensation, CEOs as a class are the most vocal proponents of corporate statehood. Modern corporations are securely insulated from any serious threats from consumer revolt. Inter-corporate competition presents only superficial and trivial choices for consumers. Motorists have never been offered any real choice on gasoline by oil companies or alternatives on the gasoline-guzzling internal combustion engine by car-makers.

High pay for CEOs

Reich asserts in his Wall Street Journal piece that modern CEOs in finance capitalism nowadays deserve their high pay because they have to be superstars, unlike their bureaucrat-like predecessors during industrial capitalism. Notwithstanding that one would expect a former labor secretary to argue that workers deserve higher pay, the challenge to corporate leadership in market capitalism has always been and will always remain management's ruthless pursuit of market leadership power, a euphemism for monopoly, by skirting the rule of law and regulations, framing legislative regimes through political lobbying, pushing down wages and worker benefits, increasing productivity by downsizing in an expanding market and manipulating consumer attitude through advertising. At the end of the day, the bottom line for corporate profit is a factor of lowering wage and benefit levels.

Reich seems to have forgotten that the captains of industry of 19th century free-wheeling capitalism were all superstars who evoked public admiration by manipulating the awed public into accepting the Horatio Alger myth of success through hard work, honesty and fairness. The derogatory term "robber barons" was first coined by protest pamphlets circulated by victimized Kansas farmers against ruthless railroad tycoons during the Great Depression.

The manipulation of the public will by moneyed interests is the most problematic vulnerability of US economic and political democracy. In an era when class warfare has taken on new sophistication, the accusation of resorting to class warfare argument is widely used to silence legitimate socio-economic protests. The US media is essentially owned by the moneyed interests. The decline of unionism in the US has been largely the result of anti-labor propaganda campaigns funded by corporations and government policies influenced by corporate lobbyists. The infiltration of organized crime was exploited to fan public anti-union sentiments while widespread corporate white collar crimes were dismissed as mere anomalies. (See Capitalism's bad apples: It's the barrel that's rotten)

Superman capitalism

As promoted by his permissive opinion piece, a more apt title for Reich's new book would be Superman Capitalism, in praise of the super-heroic qualities of successful corporate CEOs who deserve superstar pay. This view goes beyond even fascist superman ideology. The compensation of corporate CEOs in Nazi Germany never reached such obscene levels as those in US corporate land today.

Reich argues that CEOs deserve their super-high compensation, which has increased 600% in two decades, because corporate profits have also risen 600% in the same period. The former secretary of labor did not point out that wages rose only 30% in the same period. The profit/wage disparity is a growing cancer in the US-dominated global economy, causing over-production resulting from stagnant demand caused by inadequate wages. A true spokesman for labor would point out that enlightened modern management recognizes that the performance of a corporation is the sum total of effective team work between management and labor.

System analysis has long shown that collective effort on the part of the entire work force is indispensable to success in any complex organism. Further, a healthy consumer market depends on a balance between corporate earnings and worker earnings. Reich's point would be valid if US wages had risen by the same multiple as CEO pay and corporate profit, but he apparently thought that it would be poor etiquette to raise embarrassing issues as a guest writer in an innately anti-labor journal of Wall Street. Even then, unless real growth also rose 600% in two decades, the rise in corporate earning may be just an inflation bubble.

An introduction to economic populism

To be fair, Reich did address the income gap issue eight months earlier in another article, "An Introduction to Economic Populism" in the Jan-Feb, 2007 issue of The American Prospect, a magazine that bills itself as devoted to "liberal ideas". In that article, Reich relates a "philosophical" discussion he had with fellow neo-liberal cabinet member Robert Rubin, then treasury secretary under Bill Clinton, on two "simple questions".

The first question was: Suppose a proposed policy will increase the incomes of some people without decreasing the incomes of any others. Of course Reich must know that it is a question of welfare economics long ago answered by the "pareto optimum", which asserts that resources are optimally distributed when an individual cannot move into a better position without putting someone else into a worse position. In an unjust society, the pareto optimum will perpetuate injustice in the name of optimum resource allocation. "Should it be implemented? Bob and I agreed it should," writes Reich. Not exactly an earth-shaking liberal position. Rather, it is a classic neo-liberal posture.

And the second question: But suppose the people whose incomes will rise are already wealthier than everyone else. Although no one will lose ground, inequality will widen. Should it still be implemented? "I won't tell you where he and I came out on that second question," writes Reich without explaining why. He allows that "we agreed that people who don't share in such gains feel relatively poorer. Widening inequality also further tips the balance of political power in favor of the wealthy."

Of course, clear thinking would have left the second question mute because it would have invalidated the first question, as the real income of those whose nominal income has not fallen has indeed fallen relative to those whose nominal income has risen. In a macro monetary sense, it is not possible to raise the nominal income of some without lowering the real income of others. All incomes must rise together proportionally or inequality in after-inflation real income will increase.

Inequality only a new worry?

But for the sake of argument, let's go along with Reich's parable on welfare economics and financial equality. That conversation occurred a decade ago. Reich says in his January 2007 article that "inequality is far more worrisome now", as if it had not been or that the policies he and his colleagues in the Clinton administration, as evidenced by their answer to their own first question, did not cause the now "more worrisome" inequality. "The incomes of the bottom 90% of Americans have increased about 2% in real terms since then, while that of the top 1% has increased over 50%," Reich wrote in the matter of fact tone of an innocent bystander.

It is surprising that a former labor secretary would err even on the record on worker income. The US Internal Revenue Service reports that while incomes have been rising since 2002, the average income in 2005 was $55,238, nearly 1% less than in 2000 after adjusting for inflation. Hourly wage costs (including mandatory welfare contributions and benefits) grew more slowly than hourly productivity from 1993 to late 1997, the years of Reich's tenure as labor secretary. Corporate profit rose until 1997 before declining, meaning what should have gone to workers from productivity improvements went instead to corporate profits. And corporate profit declined after 1997 because of the Asian financial crisis, which reduced offshore income for all transnational companies, while domestic purchasing power remained weak because of sub-par worker income growth.

The break in trends in wages occurred when the unemployment rate sank to 5%, below the 6% threshold of NAIRU (non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment) as job creation was robust from 1993 onwards. The "reserve army of labor" in the war against inflation disappeared after the 1997 Asian crisis when the Federal Reserve injected liquidity into the US banking system to launch the debt bubble. According to NAIRU, when more than 94% of the labor force is employed, the war on wage-pushed inflation will be on the defensive. Yet while US inflation was held down by low-price imports from low-wage economies, US domestic wages fell behind productivity growth from 1993 onward. US wages could have risen without inflationary effects but did not because of the threat of further outsourcing of US jobs overseas. This caused corporate profit to rise at the expense of labor income during the low-inflation debt bubble years.

Income inequality in the US today has reached extremes not seen since the 1920s, but the trend started three decades earlier. More than $1 trillion a year in relative income is now being shifted annually from roughly 90,000,000 middle and working class families to the wealthiest households and corporations via corporate profits earned from low-wage workers overseas. This is why nearly 60% of Republicans polled support more taxes on the rich.

Carter the granddaddy of deregulation

The policies and practices responsible for today's widening income gap date back to the 1977-1981 period of the Carter administration which is justly known as the administration of deregulation. Carter's deregulation was done in the name of populism but the results were largely anti-populist. Starting with Carter, policies and practices by both corporations and government underwent a fundamental shift to restructure the US economy with an overhaul of job markets. This was achieved through widespread de-unionization, breakup of industry-wide collective bargaining which enabled management to exploit a new international division of labor at the expense of domestic workers.

The frontal assault on worker collective bargaining power was accompanied by a realigning of the progressive federal tax structure to cut taxes on the rich, a brutal neo-liberal global free-trade offensive by transnational corporations and anti-labor government trade policies. The cost shifting of health care and pension plans from corporations to workers was condoned by government policy. A wave of government-assisted compression of wages and overtime pay narrowed the wage gap between the lowest and highest paid workers (which will occur when lower-paid workers receive a relatively larger wage increase than the higher-paid workers with all workers receiving lower pay increases than managers). There was a recurring diversion of inflation-driven social security fund surpluses to the US fiscal budget to offset recurring inflation-adjusted federal deficits. This was accompanied by wholesale anti-trust deregulation and privatization of public sectors; and most egregious of all, financial market deregulation.

Carter deregulated the US oil industry four years after the 1973 oil crisis in the name of national security. His Democratic challenger, Senator Ted Kennedy, advocated outright nationalization. The Carter administration also deregulated the airlines, favoring profitable hub traffic at the expense of traffic to smaller cities. Air fares fell but service fell further. Delays became routine, frequently tripling door-to-door travel time. What consumers save in airfare, they pay dearly in time lost in delay and in in-flight discomfort. The Carter administration also deregulated trucking, which caused the Teamsters Union to support Ronald Reagan in exchange for a promise to delay trucking deregulation.

Railroads were also deregulated by Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 which eased regulations on rates, line abandonment, and mergers to allow the industry to compete with truck and barge transportation that had caused a financial and physical deterioration of the national rail network railroads. Four years later, Congress followed up with the Staggers Rail Act of 1980 which provided the railroads with greater pricing freedom, streamlined merger timetables, expedited the line abandonment process, and allowed confidential contracts with shippers. Although railroads, like other modes of transportation, must purchase and maintain their own rolling stock and locomotives, they must also, unlike competing modes, construct and maintain their own roadbed, tracks, terminals, and related facilities. Highway construction and maintenance are paid for by gasoline taxes. In the regulated environment, recovering these fixed costs hindered profitability for the rail industry.

After deregulation, the railroads sought to enhance their financial situation and improve their operational efficiency with a mix of strategies to reduce cost and maximize profit, rather than providing needed service to passengers around the nation. These strategies included network rationalization by shedding unprofitable capacity, raising equipment and operational efficiencies by new work rules that reduced safety margins and union power, using differential pricing to favor big shippers, and pursuing consolidation, reducing the number of rail companies from 65 to 5 today. The consequence was a significant increase of market power for the merged rail companies, decreasing transportation options for consumers and increasing rates for remote, less dense areas.

In the agricultural sector, rail network rationalization has forced shippers to truck their bulk commodity products greater distances to mainline elevators, resulting in greater pressure on and damage to rural road systems. For inter-modal shippers, profit-based network rationalization has meant reduced access - physically and economically - to Container on Flat Car (COFC) and Trailer on Flat Car (TOFC) facilities and services. Rail deregulation, as is true with most transportation and communication deregulation, produces sector sub-optimization with dubious benefits for the national economy by distorting distributional balance, causing congestion and inefficient use of land, network and lines.

Carter's Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) approach to radio and television regulation began in the mid-1970s as a search for relatively minor "regulatory underbrush" that could be cleared away for more efficient and cost-effective administration of the important rules that would remain. Congress largely went along with this updating trend, and initiated a few deregulatory moves of its own to make regulation more effective and responsive to contemporary conditions.

Reagan's anti-government fixation

The Reagan administration under Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Mark Fowler in 1981 shifted deregulation to a fundamental and ideologically-driven reappraisal of regulations away from long-held principles central to national broadcasting policy appropriate for a democratic society. The result was removal of many longstanding rules to permit an overall reduction in FCC oversight of station ownership concentration and network operations. Congress grew increasingly wary of the pace of deregulation, however, and began to slow the pace of FCC deregulation by the late 1980s.

Specific deregulatory moves included (a) extending television licenses to five years from three in 1981; (b) expanding the number of television stations any single entity could own from seven in 1981 to 12 in 1985, with further changes in 1995; (c) abolishing guidelines for minimal amounts of non-entertainment programming in 1985; (d) elimination of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987; (e) dropping, in 1985, FCC license guidelines for how much advertising could be carried; (f) leaving technical standards increasingly in the hands of licensees rather than FCC mandates; and (g) deregulation of television's competition, especially cable which went through several regulatory changes in the decade after 1983.

The 1996 Telecommunications Act eliminated the 40-station ownership cap on radio stations. Since then, the radio industry has experienced unprecedented consolidation. In June 2003, the FCC voted to overhaul limits on media ownership. Despite having held only one hearing on the complex issue of media consolidation over a 20-month review period, the FCC, in a party-line vote, voted 3-2 to overhaul limits on media concentration. The rule would (1) increase the aggregate television ownership cap to enable one company to own stations reaching 45% of our nation's homes (from 35%), (2) lift the ban on newspaper-television cross-ownership, and (3) allow a single company to own three television stations in large media markets and two in medium ones. In the largest markets, the rule would allow a single company to own up to three television stations, eight radio stations, the cable television system, cable television stations, and a daily newspaper. A wide range of public-interest groups filed an appeal with the Third Circuit, which stayed the effective date of the new rules.

According to a BIA Financial Network report released in July 2006, a total of 88 television stations had been sold in the first six months of 2006, generating a transaction value of $15.7 billion. In 2005, the same period saw the sale of just 21 stations at a value of $244 million, with total year transactions of $2.86 billion.

Congress passed a law in 2004 that forbids any network to own a group of stations that reaches more than 39% of the national television audience. That is lower than the 45% limit set in 2003, but more than the original cap of 35% set in 1996 under the Clinton administration - leading public interest groups to argue that the proposed limits lead to a stifling of local voices.

Newspaper-television cross-ownership remains a contentious issue. Currently prohibited, it refers to the "common ownership of a full-service broadcast station and a daily newspaper when the broadcast station's area of coverage (or "contour") encompasses the newspaper's city of publication".

Capping of local radio and television ownership is another issue. While the original rule prohibited it, currently a company can own at least one television and one radio station in a market. In larger markets, "a single entity may own additional radio stations depending on the number of other independently owned media outlets in the market".

Most broadcasters and newspaper publishers are lobbying to ease or end restrictions on cross-ownership; they say it has to be the future of the news business. It allows newsgathering costs to be spread across platforms, and delivers multiple revenue streams in turn. Their argument is also tied to a rapidly changing media consumption market, and to the diversity of opinions available to the consumer with the rise of the Internet and other digital platforms.

The arguments against relaxing media ownership regulations are put forth by consumer unions and other interest groups on the ground that consolidation in any form inevitably leads to a lack of diversity of opinion. Cross-ownership limits the choices for consumers, inhibits localism and gives excessive media power to one entity.

Professional and workers' guilds of the communication industry (the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of TV and Radio Artists among others) would like the FCC to keep in mind the independent voice, and want a quarter of all prime-time programming to come from independent producers. The Children's Media Policy Coalition suggested that the FCC limit local broadcasters to a single license per market, so that there is enough original programming for children. Other interest groups like the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters are worried about what impact the rules might have on station ownership by minorities.

Deregulatory proponents see station licensees not as "public trustees" of the public airwaves requiring the provision of a wide variety of services to many different listening groups. Instead, broadcasting has been increasingly seen as just another business operating in a commercial marketplace which did not need its management decisions questioned by government overseers, even though they are granted permission to use public airways. Opponents argue that deregulation violates a key mandate of the Communications Act of 1934 which requires licensees to operate in the public interest. Deregulation allows broadcasters to seek profits with little public service programming.

Clinton and telecommunications deregulation

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was the first major overhaul of US telecommunications law in nearly 62 years, amending the Communications Act of 1934, and leading to media consolidation. It was approved by Congress on January 3, 1996 and signed into law on February 8, 1996 by President Clinton, a Democrat whom some have labeled as the best president the Republicans ever had. The act claimed to foster competition, but instead it continued the historic industry consolidation begun by Reagan, whose actions reduced the number of major media companies from around 50 in 1983 to 10 in 1996 and 6 in 2005.

Regulation Q

The Carter administration increased the power of the Federal Reserve through the Depository Institutions and Monetary Control Act (DIDMCA) of 1980 which was a necessary first step in ending the New Deal restrictions placed upon financial institutions, such as Regulation Q put in place by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 and other restrictions on banks and financial institutions. The populist Regulation Q imposed limits and ceilings on bank and savings-and-loan (S&L) interest rates to provide funds for low-risk home mortgages. But with financial market deregulation, Regulation Q created incentives for US banks to do business outside the reach of US law, launching finance globalization. London came to dominate this offshore dollar business.

The populist Regulation Q, which regulated for several decades limits and ceilings on bank and S&L interest to serve the home mortgage sector, was phased out completely in March 1986. Banks were allowed to pay interest on checking account - the NOW accounts - to lure depositors back from the money markets. The traditional interest-rate advantage of the S&Ls was removed, to provide a "level playing field", forcing them to take the same risks as commercial banks to survive. Congress also lifted restrictions on S&Ls' commercial lending, which promptly got the whole industry into trouble that would soon required an unprecedented government bailout of depositors, with tax money. But the developers who made billions from easy credit were allowed to keep their profits. State usury laws were unilaterally suspended by an act of Congress in a flagrant intrusion on state rights. Carter, the well-intentioned populist, left a legacy of anti-populist policies. To this day, Greenspan continues to argue disingenuously that subprime mortgages helped the poor toward home ownership, instead of generating obscene profit for the debt securitization industry.

The party of Lincoln taken over by corporate interests

During the Reagan administration, corporate lobbying and electoral strategies allowed the corporate elite to wrest control of the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, from conservative populists. In the late 1980s, supply-side economics was promoted to allow corporate interests to dominate US politics at the expense of labor by arguing that the only way labor can prosper is to let capital achieve high returns, notwithstanding the contradiction that high returns on capital must come from low wages.

New legislation and laws, executive orders, federal government rule-making, federal agency decisions, and think-tank propaganda, etc, subsequently followed the new political landscape, assisting the implementation of new corporate policies and practices emerging from corporate headquarters rather than from the shop floor. Economists and analysts who challenged this voodoo theory were largely shut out of the media. Workers by the million were persuaded to abandon their institutional collective defender to fend for themselves individually in the name of freedom. It was a freedom to see their job security eroded and wages and benefits fall with no recourse.

Note
1. Das Kapital, Volume One, Part I: Commodities and Money, Chapter One: Commodities, Section I.

Next: PART 2: Global war on labor

Henry C K Liu is chairman of a New York-based private investment group. His website is at http://www.henryckliu.com.

Copyright 2007, Henry C K Liu

Super Imperialism - New Edition: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance [Paperback]

William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Hudson is a Wall Street economist who used to work at the Chase Manhattan Bank.

In Part One, he describes the rise of the American empire.

Part Two describes its institutions: the US-controlled World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, which all benefit the USA. The US has the sole veto power in all three.

Part Three describes what Herman Kahn called `the greatest rip-off ever achieved', the way the US's ruling class levies us all to pay for its aggressive wars, just as the Roman Empire levied tribute to pay for its constant wars. Similarly Britain, Germany and Japan all pay for the US's military bases in their countries.

In 1945, as in 1918, Britain led Europe's capitulation to the USA's debt demands. The British ruling class chose dependency on the US ruling class. The USA insisted that Britain ended the sterling bloc, accepted IMF controls, did not impose exchange controls, and did not devalue. As Hudson writes, "The Anglo-American Loan Agreement spelled the end of Britain as a Great Power."

The 1945-51 Labour government's huge spending on unnecessary imperial, counter-revolutionary wars robbed our industry of investment. This excessive military spending meant that we had constantly to borrow from the IMF, increasing our dependence on the USA. Now Britain is the USA's Trojan horse in Europe, against Britain's interests.

Hudson immodestly claims that his analysis supersedes Lenin. He says that the US national government's interests, not the private interests of the capitalist class, drive the system. He claims that the US government subordinates `the interests of its national bourgeoisie to the autonomous interests of the national government'. But is the US government really independent of the capitalist class? How `autonomous' are these interests?...

Joshua Malle (Seattle, WA USA)

Difficult and rewarding, Hudson is the real deal, May 24, 2006

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This review is from: Super Imperialism - New Edition: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominanc (Paperback)

Super-Imperialism is better viewed as a radical alternative to common undergraduate textbooks such as Joan Edelman Spero's, "The Politics of International Economic Relations" than as an update to the theories of Lenin or Hobson. (His background and prose style are similar to Spero's and his book covers similar ground.)

It has three sections, each which could have been a separate book.

The 2003 Edition has a new introduction and two new chapters at the end. The rest of the book has occasional new material, but does not appear to have been extensively re-written.

It's a difficult and rewarding book. The difficulty lies partly in the subject matter itself, partly in Hudson's convoluted prose and partly in the numerous typographical errors that mar the 2003 Pluto Press edition.

The book is rewarding because it's honest. Readers educated in the U.S. will initially regard Hudson's account with some skepticism. We can't help it; We've been systematically miseducated by pro-U.S. polemics presented in an "objective" tone.

In contrast Hudson is a strident critic of the U.S. management of the global economy. But so is any reasonably objective person who is apprized of the facts. I much prefer an author who honestly tells you the real story as he understands it to one who conceals the awful truth behind an ostensibly impartial facade. But a "revisionist" has to work twice as hard to make his case, and that is why the book contains the detailed explication of what reviewer Myers calls the "intricacies of events and negotiations that gave rise to the present order."

I think an open-minded reader will be won over by Hudson's thoughtful use of contemporaneous sources (e.g. government publications and articles in the business press) and also biographical sources to illuminate how key decision makers understood the alternatives, and their motives for pursuing the policies that they did when forging the post-war economic order. As he places these choices in context it quickly becomes evident that the motives on the U.S. side have been consistently aggressive and that U.S. policy makers have all along viewed multilateral economic institutions as instruments of national policy--to the world's detriment.

Hudson also has a keen sense of the painfully narrow horizon of human foresight. The historical sections sometimes read like a conspiracy theory in which the conspirators are not very smart. E.g., Franklin Roosevelt's stubborn insistence that World War I debts be repaid prolonged the Great Depression; When J. M. Keynes was negotiating Bretton Woods for the newly elected Labour government, he got them a terrible deal; The U.S. transition to "super-imperialism" which is the main story of the book (chapters 11 through 14) was originally an unintended consequence of the huge budget and trade deficits caused by the Vietnam War.

If you are interested in "globalization" this book is an important piece of the puzzle, but it really only covers up through 1973, and it spends more time on the relationship between the U.S. and Europe than on "North-South" relations. Having said that, Ch. 8 "The Imperialism of U.S. Foreign Aid" is very good, esp. how foreign aid benefits the U.S. balance of payments and the harmful effects of U.S. agricultural exports. China is hardly mentioned.

If you are an economics student and you sense that they aren't telling you the whole story, or just a thoughtful citizen who wants to sharpen your conceptual tools for understanding and resisting the strategies of U.S. imperialism, this book is for you.

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Salty Saltillo (from the road, USA)

An awkward argument with moments of brilliance, November 3, 2004

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Hudson's historical argument in this book is both brilliant and sometimes a bit rough.

Hudson has always had a great talent for interpreting and sketching out for weaker minds like us what the US government's abandonment of the gold-standard really means. When Hudson came forward with his thesis in the mid 1970's, his thesis was outrageous among orthodox economists: to suggest that the US should be worried about the long-term consequences of running balance of payments deficits year after year, decade after decade was crazy leftist nonsense in the 1970s. As long as people continue to need the US markets more than the US needs any other one country's markets (and people still have faith in the good credit of the US government) there is no reason US could not run balance of payment deficits forever, according to the conventional wisdom.

What amazes me is that now, after having done exactly what Hudson warned the US government not to do in the 1970s, many otherwise relatively orthodox economists are beginning to worry about this. Hudson may be on the more "sky-is-falling" end of things, but his analysis was right on the nail in 1972 and is still there today: worst case scenario - massive recession and massive devaluation of the dollar (by massive I mean, unprecedented). Former US Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin was quoted in March 16, 2006 WSJ as saying that "The probabilities are extremely high that if we don't address these imbalances, then at some point, and it could be years down the road, we'll pay a very big price." We are in a limbo world where no one really knows how this problem is going to play out, but Hudson should be credited for being one of the first, and longest-running, advocates for addressing this problem. Too bad it has taken so many decades for people to recognize what he has been telling us all along about balance of payments deficits.

The rest of the argument Hudson makes in this book is a bit tough to follow, though. Essentially, Hudson attempts to show how the US has, during this century but especially since WWII, systematically sought to manipulate all of the great economic institution-building opportunities following WWII to advance the interests of the US over other countries. Coming off the gold standard and running up a balance of payments deficit was just one of many ways in which this occurred. The US largely succeeded. The GATT (now WTO), World Bank, IMF, all bear American "fingerprints".

I agree that the mega-institutions of the contemporary world economic and political machine are largely the unilateral creation of the US, imposed on the other great nations at a time when the other nations were particularly vulnerable to US force of will and not particular inclined to be heterodox visionaries. I also agree that the US in general has probably used as much leverage as it could in negotiating all of the defining institutions in which it had any hand in constructing.

And yet, how could it have been any different? National governments pursue their self-interest and the interest of their citizens, often at the expense of other national governments and their citizens. The nation-state system is set up to work that way. But is the problem really one of US bad behavior, as Hudson suggests? Isn't the problem really structural? In the nation-state world, wherein the world is divided up into pseudo-autonomous political monopolies, each individually endowed with particular strengths and weaknesses, and all pitted against each other in a laissez-faire system where the only things that keep nation-states from raping and killing each other to oblivion are, good faith and the fact that the balance of power among the nation-states is enough to keep each monopoly contained in its behavior towards the other monopolies, what sort of behavior could we have expected from the US, a nation-state that, at a series of pivotal moments in 20th century history, found itself with "golden opportunities" to take advantage of other nations' weaknesses and advance its own power? Would the French, or the Brits, or the Japanese, or the Italians, or the Germans, or the Russians have behaved any different if they found themselves holding all the cards in 1945 instead of the US?

My point is, the facts Hudson lays out are correct -- there clearly is a problem in the way in which our current world order has been put together and the US is at the middle of that problem. The conclusions Hudson draws from those facts do not go deep enough in understanding what those facts mean, however.

It isn't that the Americans behave or behaved "bad" by the standard of good behavior implicit in the nation-state system, it is that the nation-state system itself to a certain extent reflects 19th century laissez-faire values of autonomy and individuality that pit nation-states against each other in a world where each is out to improve its lot through trade and, when possible and tolerable, violence.

The system itself breaks down when one player becomes too powerful. To blame the US for the systemic problem of massive power imbalances between nation states is simply pushing any hope for correction in the wrong direction.

Samuel Brittan: The wrong kind of Third Way

FT.com / Columnists / Samuel Brittan - The wrong kind of Third Way: When a book entitled Supercapitalism: the Battle for Democracy in an Age of Big Business (Icon Books) landed on my desk I took it for just another of the many anti-capitalist diatribes so beloved by publishers. Its author was Robert Reich, a former US secretary of labour who parted company from the Clinton administration on the grounds that it was not interventionist enough. But I was glad I persevered. For it turned out to be one of the most interesting books on political economy to appear for a long time.

During the postwar decades up to the early 1970s, the Bretton Woods system of semi-fixed exchange rates worked, after a fashion; and countries seemed able to combine full employment with low inflation and historically rapid growth and diminishing income differences. Reich calls them a "not quite golden age". It was "not quite" because of the treatment of women and minorities and the prevailing conformist and authoritarian atmosphere.

It has been succeeded by what Reich calls supercapitalism, in which the cult of the bottom line has replaced the cosy oligopolies of postwar decades, once-dominant companies shrink or disappear, new ones spring up overnight and the financial sector is (or was until recently) in the driving seat. He rightly dismisses many of the popular scapegoats – or heroes – of the process. The changeover began well before Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher could influence anything. Free-market economists have been preaching essentially the same message since the 18th century. It is extremely unlikely that there has been a radical change in the psychology or morality of business operators. His own candidate is the technologies that have empowered consumers and investors to get ever better deals.

Unfortunately, many of these same consumers have lost in their capacity as citizens. He cites the failure of the political process even to attempt to correct the increasing skewness of US income distribution. In later pronouncements he has attributed the subprime loan disaster in part to the failure of supercapitalism to raise the incomes of the mass of wage earners who have been impelled to resort to borrowing as a substitute. Moreover, Congress has performed abysmally in correcting market failures in environmental and other areas. He has a non-partisan explanation: the staggering increase in business lobbying expenditures affecting Democrats as well as Republicans, as a result of which the political process, far from correcting the distortions of unbridled capitalism, has made them worse.

But for me the novel point of the book is his utter dismissal of the prevailing idea of appealing to the "social responsibility" of business to improve matters. This is a notion that particularly appeals to soft centre politicians such as David Cameron's Conservatives in Britain as a new kind of Third Way. Reich argues that it is the job of the democratic political process by laws, taxes and other interventions to harmonise the pursuit of money-making with the public good. "The job of the businessman is to make profits." He is completely unabashed by the charge that he sounds like Milton Friedman and indeed quotes the late Chicago professor approvingly several times. He argues that the so-called stakeholders who insist on being consulted before legislation is drafted are increasingly companies whose interests might be affected. One result is the "corruption of knowledge". We should beware of claims that a company is doing something for the public good. Corporate executives may donate some of their shareholders' money to a genuinely good cause or forbear from polluting the atmosphere to forestall a greater legal or fiscal burden. But in that case such actions are likely to be limited and temporary, "extending only insofar as the conditions that made such voluntary action pay off continue".

Similarly we should beware of a politician who blames a company for doing something that is legal. Such words are all too often a cover "for taking no action to change the rules of the game". Above all, "corporations are not people. They are legal fictions, nothing more than bundles of contractual agreements ... A company cannot know right from wrong ... Only people know right from wrong and only people act." One example of the "anthropomorphic fallacy" is when companies are held criminally liable for the misdeeds of their executives. Not only are the genuinely guilty let off too lightly but many innocent people get hurt. For instance, "the vast majority of Andersen employees had nothing to do with Enron but lost their jobs nonetheless".

I have two reservations. One is that I cannot share Reich's confidence that a revived and effective "democracy" would be a cure-all. You only have to see where democratic pressures are driving US energy policy. Second, there is a danger that the Friedman-Reich position could inadvertently give sustenance to the "I was only doing my job" defence for evil actions. You do not have to hold shares in a company selling arms to Saudi Arabia, or work for it. But do not deceive yourself that such individual gestures can be a substitute for a change in policy.

Supercapitalism The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life by Robert B. Reich

Amazon.com

The Balance of Capitalism and Democracy, September 17, 2007

By Izaak VanGaalen (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)

This review is from: Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life (Hardcover)

According to Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, there was a time when capitalism and democracy where almost perfectly balanced. This was the period of 1945 to 1975, which he calls the "Not Quite Golden Age." During this period there was a three-way social contract among big business, big labor, and big government. Each made sure that they as well as the other two received a fair share of the pie. Unions recieved their wages and benefits, business their profits, and regulatory agencies had their power. It was also a time when the gap between the rich and the poor was the narrowest in our history. It was not quite the golden age because women and minorities were still second class citizens, but at least there was hope.

Fast forward to 2007, capitalism is thriving and democracy is sputtering. Why has capitlism become supercapitalism and democracy become enfeebled? Reich explains that it was a combination of things: deregulation, globe spanning computer networks, better transportation, etc. The changes were mainly a result of technological breakthroughs; unlike many leftists, he is not conspiratorial thinker. The winner of this great transformation was the consumer/investor and the loser was the citizen/wage earner. The consumer has more choices than ever before and at reasonable prices. The investor has unprecedented opportunities to make profits. The citzen, however, is not doing well. The average citizen does not have much voice - other than voting - in the body politic. And on the wage earner has been stagnating for many years. The most salient illustration of this trend is Walmart. Walmart delivers the goods at low prices, but the trade-off is low wages for their employees. We justify this dilemma, as Reich nicely puts it, because "The awkward truth is that most of us are of two minds."

As a left-leaning author, Reich makes some startling pronouncements. One, stop treating corporations as human beings. They are neither moral or immoral, they are merely "bundles of contracts." I couldn't agree more. Stop expecting corporations to be socially responsible, see them for what they are: profit-seeking organizations. Any socially responsible action is a ruse to bolster the bottom line anyway. Don't even encourage them to be socially responsible because it will wrongly lead us to believe that they are solving problems when they are not. Corporations play by the rules that they are given and it is up to citizens and their elected representatives to change the rules.

This is no easy task in the age of supercapitalism. There are currently 38,000 registered lobbyists in Washington DC in a virtual arms race of spending with each other to buy favors from our so-called representatives. The only way citizens can compete with this is not by hiring more lobbyists but advocating through new media outlets such as the internet and cable tv. This, according to Reich, is currently to most effective way to make government more responsive.

The question that remains, after reading this book, is will consumers be willing to sacrifice their low prices to achieve their goals as citizens. If the answer is yes, we can possibly rebalance the equation between democracy and capitalism; if not, we are left to the not so tender mercies of supercapitalism.

Robert Reich makes a compelling argument that supercapitalism has robbed democracy of much of its power. Supercapitalism by the definition presented in the book is simple--the consumer is king and prices ALWAYS go down. What Reich looks at is the cost of low prices to companies, society, the individual and its impact on the workings of democracy. So how is democracy compromised? Reich also points out that the rise of different lobbying groups, the cost of politics and globalization as contributing to this process. This isn't a surprise. It has just become more pronounced with time.

It's not due to some large conspiracy or any hidden political agenda as much as it is driven by consumption. Ultimately Reich argues that it robs the common citizen of any control over democracy. It's not surprising that this is a highly charged issue because the economics of what benefits society (or "the common good" as Reich calls it)often gets tangled up in the web of politics. Reich also points out that the cost of supercompetitiveness, constantly falling prices is a loss to the economic and social health of America. Reich points out that everyone wants to get the lowest price possible but he also suggests that we must balance that with our desire to have decent wages and benefits. He also points out that the move towards regulation was initiated by government and that corporations went along because it kept out competition and guaranteed a top and bottom for prices allowing companies to get a profit without fear of cutting prices so low that it would put them out of business.

I should point out that this is an oversimplification of Reich's points but it does capture some of the concepts. He also makes some suggestions that would help keep the free market afloat without undermining democracy and allowing consumers to still benefit from competitive pricing. Since this is economics we are discussing politics is mixed in and might color whether or not you agree with his points.

Reich's style is breezy for a book that looks at economics, democracy and the erosion of wages, benefits. Reich comes across as fair balanced and thoughtful even as he sells his take on what is undermining American society. Ultimately it's a worthwhile book to read simply because it opens up dialogue on the social cost of constantly lowering prices and how it impacts those who live next door to us

Aftershock The Next Economy and America's Future by Robert B. Reich

Amazon.com

Every middle class American should read this book. Many observations about income disparities have been written up lately but Reich pulls the important points together in a powerful and accessible way.

Reich's main thesis is that the current transition the US economy is under is misunderstood. Many of the policy elite (Geithner, Volcker) have repeated the familiar claim that Americans are living beyond their means. Personally I don't discount that completely but Reich's insight goes much deeper and rings truer:

"The problem was not that American spent beyond their means but that their means had not kept up with what the larger economy could and should have been able to provide them."

"We cannot have a sustained recovery until we address it. ... Until this transformation is made, our economy will continue to experience phantom recoveries and speculative bubbles, each more distressing than the one before."

Anyone looking at the unemployment data since WWII has to wonder why the unemployment component of the last three recessions is so prolonged. Instead of a sharp trend up, there are long slopes of delayed returns to peak employment. (Google "calculated risk blog" and look at Dec. 2010 articles.) I believe Reich has demonstrated the main culprit this. To be clear, he is not describing the detailed mechanics of what triggered the Great Recession. (Nouriel Roubini has a good book that I would recommend for more on the financial fraud, leverage and credit risks involved - Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance. ) But Reich is taking a long term view and exposes a dysfunctional trait of the US economy that no one can afford to ignore. It is this weakness that will delay the current recovery and continue to create greater risks in the future.

Reich draws the parallels between the Great Depression and the Great Recession, particularly the imbalance of wealth concentrated in fewer hands and middle class workers with less income to convert into consumer demand. One of the fascinating devices he found to do this was the writings of Marriner Eccles (Fed chair between '34 to '48):

"As mass production has to be accompanied by mass consumption, mass consumption, in turn, implies a distribution of wealth - not of existing wealth, but of wealth as it is currently produced - to provide men with buying power equal to the amount of goods and services offered by the nation's economic machinery. Instead of achieving that kind of distribution, a giant suction pump had by 1929-1930 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth. This served them as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied to themselves the kind of effective demand for their products that would justify a reinvestment of their capital accumulations in new plants. In consequence as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped."

Reich also shares a couple of powerful and disturbing graphs that show how the middle class has been squeezed and also how since the late 70s, hourly wages have not only not kept up with the rise in productivity but have remained essentially flat.

Another driving theme Reich presents is the "basic bargain" and he evokes Henry Ford, the man that took mass production to new heights and paid his workers well:

"[Henry] Ford understood the basic economic bargain that lay at the heart of a modern, highly productive economy. Workers are also consumers. Their earnings are continuously recycled to buy the goods and services other workers produce. But if earnings are inadequate and this basic bargain is broken, an economy produces more goods and services than its people are capable of purchasing."

I was concerned early in the book that Reich would leave out some of the important complexities of the topic but he covered related finances, politics and even consumer/voter psychology in a succinct yet informative way. His summary of changes to the labor market in the last 30+ years was very good.

His ideas for correcting this were interesting if perhaps difficult to implement politically. My take away however was that this is a strong indicator of how bad he thinks the situation really is. Many Americans may be yearning to return to "normal". Reich is the first to thoroughly convince me that it is not going to happen.

This is a very quick read of 144 pages and is well worth the time.

Finance is a form of imperial warfare

As Michael Hudson aptly noted in Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011)

Finance is a form of warfare. Like military conquest, its aim is to gain control of land, public infrastructure, and to impose tribute. This involves dictating laws to its subjects, and concentrating social as well as economic planning in centralized hands. This is what now is being done by financial means, without the cost to the aggressor of fielding an army. But the economies under attacked may be devastated as deeply by financial stringency as by military attack when it comes to demographic shrinkage, shortened life spans, emigration and capital flight.

This attack is being mounted not by nation states as such, but by a cosmopolitan financial class. Finance always has been cosmopolitan more than nationalistic – and always has sought to impose its priorities and lawmaking power over those of parliamentary democracies.

Like any monopoly or vested interest, the financial strategy seeks to block government power to regulate or tax it. From the financial vantage point, the ideal function of government is to enhance and protect finance capital and "the miracle of compound interest" that keeps fortunes multiplying exponentially, faster than the economy can grow, until they eat into the economic substance and do to the economy what predatory creditors and rentiers did to the Roman Empire.

Simon Johnson, former IMF Chief Economist, is coming out in May's 2009 edition of The Atlantic with a fascinating, highly provocative piece, on the collusion between the US' "financial oligarchy" and the US government and how its persistence will contribute to prolonging the economic crisis. Here is the summary (hat tip to Global Conditions):

One thing you learn rather quickly when working at the International Monetary Fund is that no one is ever very happy to see you (…)

The reason, of course, is that the IMF specializes in telling its clients what they don't want to hear.(…)

No, the real concern of the fund's senior staff, and the biggest obstacle to recovery, is almost invariably the politics of countries in crisis. (…)

Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason-the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. Emerging-market governments and their private-sector allies commonly form a tight-knit-and, most of the time, genteel-oligarchy, running the country rather like a profit-seeking company in which they are the controlling shareholders (…)

Many IMF programs "go off track" (a euphemism) precisely because the government can't stay tough on erstwhile cronies, and the consequences are massive inflation or other disasters. A program "goes back on track" once the government prevails or powerful oligarchs sort out among themselves who will govern-and thus win or lose-under the IMF-supported plan. (…)

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (…).

(…) elite business interests-financiers, in the case of the U.S.-played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

Top investment bankers and government officials like to lay the blame for the current crisis on the lowering of U.S. interest rates after the dotcom bust or, even better-in a "buck stops somewhere else" sort of way-on the flow of savings out of China. Some on the right like to complain about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even about longer-standing efforts to promote broader homeownership. And, of course, it is axiomatic to everyone that the regulators responsible for "safety and soundness" were fast asleep at the wheel.

But these various policies-lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership-had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector's profits-such as Brooksley Born's now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998-were ignored or swept aside.

The financial industry has not always enjoyed such favored treatment. But for the past 25 years or so, finance has boomed, becoming ever more powerful. The boom began with the Reagan years, and it only gained strength with the deregulatory policies of the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

(…) the American financial industry gained political power by amassing a kind of cultural capital-a belief system. Once, perhaps, what was good for General Motors was good for the country. Over the past decade, the attitude took hold that what was good for Wall Street was good for the country. (…)

One channel of influence was, of course, the flow of individuals between Wall Street and Washington. Robert Rubin, once the co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, served in Washington as Treasury secretary under Clinton, and later became chairman of Citigroup's executive committee. Henry Paulson, CEO of Goldman Sachs during the long boom, became Treasury secretary under George W.Bush. John Snow, Paulson's predecessor, left to become chairman of Cerberus Capital Management, a large private-equity firm that also counts Dan Quayle among its executives. Alan Greenspan, after leaving the Federal Reserve, became a consultant to Pimco, perhaps the biggest player in international bond markets.

A whole generation of policy makers has been mesmerized by Wall Street, always and utterly convinced that whatever the banks said was true (…).

By now, the princes of the financial world have of course been stripped naked as leaders and strategists-at least in the eyes of most Americans. But as the months have rolled by, financial elites have continued to assume that their position as the economy's favored children is safe, despite the wreckage they have caused (…)

Throughout the crisis, the government has taken extreme care not to upset the interests of the financial institutions, or to question the basic outlines of the system that got us here. In September 2008, Henry Paulson asked Congress for $700 billion to buy toxic assets from banks, with no strings attached and no judicial review of his purchase decisions. Many observers suspected that the purpose was to overpay for those assets and thereby take the problem off the banks' hands-indeed, that is the only way that buying toxic assets would have helped anything. Perhaps because there was no way to make such a blatant subsidy politically acceptable, that plan was shelved.

Instead, the money was used to recapitalize banks, buying shares in them on terms that were grossly favorable to the banks themselves. As the crisis has deepened and financial institutions have needed more help, the government has gotten more and more creative in figuring out ways to provide banks with subsidies that are too complex for the general public to understand (…)

The challenges the United States faces are familiar territory to the people at the IMF. If you hid the name of the country and just showed them the numbers, there is no doubt what old IMF hands would say: nationalize troubled banks and break them up as necessary (…)

In some ways, of course, the government has already taken control of the banking system. It has essentially guaranteed the liabilities of the biggest banks, and it is their only plausible source of capital today.

Ideally, big banks should be sold in medium-size pieces, divided regionally or by type of business. Where this proves impractical-since we'll want to sell the banks quickly-they could be sold whole, but with the requirement of being broken up within a short time. Banks that remain in private hands should also be subject to size limitations.

This may seem like a crude and arbitrary step, but it is the best way to limit the power of individual institutions in a sector that is essential to the economy as a whole. Of course, some people will complain about the "efficiency costs" of a more fragmented banking system, and these costs are real. But so are the costs when a bank that is too big to fail-a financial weapon of mass self-destruction-explodes. Anything that is too big to fail is too big to exist.

To ensure systematic bank breakup, and to prevent the eventual reemergence of dangerous behemoths, we also need to overhaul our antitrust legislation (…)

Caps on executive compensation, while redolent of populism, might help restore the political balance of power and deter the emergence of a new oligarchy. (…)

(…) Over time, though, the largest part may involve more transparency and competition, which would bring financial-industry fees down. To those who say this would drive financial activities to other countries, we can now safely say: fine".

The nature of financial oligarchy is such that the government's capacity to take control of an entire financial system, and to clean, slice it up and re-privatize it impartially is almost non-existent. Instead we have growing, potentially corrupt, collusion between financial elites and government officials which is hall mark of corporatism in this more modern form on neoliberalism.

The Great Deception

In 1998 Mark Curtis wrote The Great Deception: Anglo-American Power and World Order, a work whose stated goal was to shed light on various myths of Anglo-American power in the post-Cold War era.

Curtis attempts to demonstrate how the United Kingdom remained a key partner of the United States' effort to enforce their hegemony in the world. He analyzes what he refers to as a special relationship between the two countries and concludes that quite serious consequences exist for both states.

Trade for life

Trade for Life: Making Trade Work for Poor People is a work published in 2001. It is a strong critique of the function of international organizations, especially the World Trade Organization (WTO). Curtis analyzes the decisions taken by the WTO in developing states and concludes that these decisions were seldom without bias against the poor countries; he claims that certain of these decisions, notably certain structural adjustments, caused their intended benefactors more harm than good. Further, Curtis regrets that some rules are lacking when their need is called for, noting the relative lack of regulation checking the growth of power of multinational companies. A partner of Christian Aid in Zimbabwe has said that "the manner in which the WTO functions, is like placing an adult against a child in a boxing ring, like Manchester United against a local Zimbabwean team.

The WTO judges all countries on the same level, while they are not the same. The WTO must help create a situation where countries are more equal." This is a quotation that Mark Curtis recycles throughout his book.

Curtis concludes by saying that market forces can be used in a different, more egalitarian, manner than the one currently employed by the WTO. He believes that it could benefit developing nations if this goal was pursued.

His book was edited by ChristianAid while Mark Curtis was "Policy and Politics" Director and is freely available.

Web of Deceit

In 2003 Mark Curtis published Web of Deceit: Britain's Real Role in the World. This book has been his most successful to date. It offers a new academic approach to the role of the United Kingdom in the post 1945 world until the current the War on Terrorism. It further criticizes the foreign policy of Tony Blair. Curtis, defending the idea that Britain is a rogue state, describes various relations the United Kingdom undertook with repressive regimes and how he thinks these actions made the world less just.

Moreover, the book analyzes various recent actions of the British Army in the world, describing not only what he characterizes as the immorality of the War in Iraq, but also of the War in Afghanistan, and the Kosovo War. Curtis denounces equally strongly Britain's alliances with states he categorizes as repressive, such as Israel, Russia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Additionally, he details and criticizes the non-intervention of Britain in the Rwandan Genocide.

Curtis draws most of his research from recently declassified documents by the British secret service. He notably claims to demonstrate the role and complicity of the British in the massacre of millions of Indonesians in 1965, the toppling of the governments of Iran and British Guyana, and what he describes as repressive colonial policies in the former colonies of Kenya, Oman, and Malaysia.

Unpeople

In 2004, Mark Curtis published Unpeople: Britain's Secret Human Rights Abuses. This book followed a similar line of thought begun in Web of Deceit. Unpeople is based on various declassified documents from the British secret service.

Among the declassified secret service reports, Curtis asserts that the United Kingdom had given aid to Saddam Hussein in 1963 in order that he rised to power in Iraq; he further posits that the Western Powers, notably the UK, performed various arms deals with the Iraqi government while the Iraqi government was involved in the brutal aggression against the Kurdish community. Curtis asserts that these documents further indict the British government in their role played in the Vietnam War, the coup d'État against Idi Amin in 1971, the coup d'État against Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973, and coups in Indonesia and Guyana.

Mark Curtis estimates that approximately ten million deaths throughout the world since 1945 have been caused by the United Kingdom's foreign policy.

Alliance of transnational elites

From Amazon review of Blowback The Costs and Consequences of American Empire Chalmers Johnson

But Johnson is relying on the idea that "America" is a unitary entity, so that the hollowing out of industry hurts "America", not specific social groups within the country. In reality, US foreign policymakers work to advance the interests not of "America", but of those same business elites that have benefited from turning Asia into the world's sweatshop and undermining the unions that built their strength on American industry. American economic imperialism is not a failed conspiracy against the people of Asia, but an alliance between American elites and their Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, and Chinese counterparts - against the potential power of the working majority in all those countries.

But it's more complex than that, too, since the US seeks to prevent the emergence of an independent military challenge (especially China, but also Japan) to its Asia hegemony while seeking to expand the power of American commercial interests in the region, even as it tries to keep Asian elites happy enough with the status quo to prevent their rebellion against it.

In other words, the US system in Asia is more complicated than Johnson conveys, and defending America's mythical "national interests" will never address its fundamental injustices.

While Johnson seems to have abundant sympathy for the people of Asia, his nationalist framework prevents his from proposing the only real challenge to American hegemony: a popular anti-imperialist movement that crosses the barriers of nation-states.

Imperialism 101 by Micjael Parenti

Imperialism 101 By Michael Parenti

By Michael Parenti

24 June, 2011
Michaelparenti.org

Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders. When not ignored outright, the subject of imperialism has been sanitized, so that empires become "commonwealths," and colonies become "territories" or "dominions" (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, "commonwealths" too). Imperialist military interventions become matters of "national defense," "national security," and maintaining "stability" in one or another region. In this book I want to look at imperialism for what it really is.

Across the Entire Globe

By "imperialism" I mean the process whereby the dominant politico-economic interests of one nation expropriate for their own enrichment the land, labor, raw materials, and markets of another people.The earliest victims of Western European imperialism were other Europeans. Some 800 years ago, Ireland became the first colony of what later became known as the British empire. A part of Ireland still remains under British occupation. Other early Caucasian victims included the Eastern Europeans. The people Charlemagne worked to death in his mines in the early part of the ninth century were Slavs. So frequent and prolonged was the enslavement of Eastern Europeans that "Slav" became synonymous with servitude. Indeed, the word "slave" derives from "Slav." Eastern Europe was an early source of capital accumulation, having become wholly dependent upon Western manufactures by the seventeenth century.

A particularly pernicious example of intra-European imperialism was the Nazi aggression during World War II, which gave the German business cartels and the Nazi state an opportunity to plunder the resources and exploit the labor of occupied Europe, including the slave labor of concentration camps.

The preponderant thrust of the European, North American, and Japanese imperial powers has been directed against Africa, Asia, and Latin America. By the nineteenth century, they saw the Third World as not only a source of raw materials and slaves but a market for manufactured goods. By the twentieth century, the industrial nations were exporting not only goods but capital, in the form of machinery, technology, investments, and loans. To say that we have entered the stage of capital export and investment is not to imply that the plunder of natural resources has ceased. If anything, the despoliation has accelerated.

Of the various notions about imperialism circulating today in the United States, the dominant view is that it does not exist. Imperialism is not recognized as a legitimate concept, certainly not in regard to the United States. One may speak of "Soviet imperialism" or "nineteenth-century British imperialism" but not of U.S. imperialism. A graduate student in political science at most universities in this country would not be granted the opportunity to research U.S. imperialism, on the grounds that such an undertaking would not be scholarly. While many people throughout the world charge the United States with being an imperialist power, in this country persons who talk of U.S. imperialism are usually judged to be mouthing ideological blather.

The Dynamic of Capital Expansion

Imperialism is older than capitalism. The Persian, Macedonian, Roman, and Mongol empires all existed centuries before the Rothschilds and Rockefellers. Emperors and conquistadors were interested mostly in plunder and tribute, gold and glory. Capitalist imperialism differs from these earlier forms in the way it systematically accumulates capital through the organized exploitation of labor and the penetration of overseas markets. Capitalist imperialism invests in other countries, transforming and dominating their economies, cultures, and political life, integrating their financial and productive structures into an international system of capital accumulation.A central imperative of capitalism is expansion. Investors will not put their money into business ventures unless they can extract more than they invest. Increased earnings come only with a growth in the enterprise. The capitalist ceaselessly searches for ways of making more money in order to make still more money. One must always invest to realize profits, gathering as much strength as possible in the face of competing forces and unpredictable markets.

Given its expansionist nature, capitalism has little inclination to stay home. Almost 150 years ago, Marx and Engels described a bourgeoisie that "chases over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere. . . . It creates a world after its own image." The expansionists destroy whole societies. Self-sufficient peoples are forcibly transformed into disfranchised wage workers. Indigenous communities and folk cultures are replaced by mass-market, mass-media, consumer societies. Cooperative lands are supplanted by agribusiness factory farms, villages by desolate shanty towns, autonomous regions by centralized autocracies.

Consider one of a thousand such instances. A few years ago the Los Angeles Times carried a special report on the rainforests of Borneo in the South Pacific. By their own testimony, the people there lived contented lives. They hunted, fished, and raised food in their jungle orchards and groves. But their entire way of life was ruthlessly wiped out by a few giant companies that destroyed the rainforest in order to harvest the hardwood for quick profits. Their lands were turned into ecological disaster areas and they themselves were transformed into disfranchised shantytown dwellers, forced to work for subsistence wages-when fortunate enough to find employment.

North American and European corporations have acquired control of more than three-fourths of the known mineral resources of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. But the pursuit of natural resources is not the only reason for capitalist overseas expansion. There is the additional need to cut production costs and maximize profits by investing in countries with cheaper labor markets. U.S. corporate foreign investment grew 84 percent from 1985 to 1990, the most dramatic increase being in cheap-labor countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Spain, and Singapore.

Because of low wages, low taxes, nonexistent work benefits, weak labor unions, and nonexistent occupational and environmental protections, U.S. corporate profit rates in the Third World are 50 percent greater than in developed countries. Citibank, one of the largest U.S. firms, earns about 75 percent of its profits from overseas operations. While profit margins at home sometimes have had a sluggish growth, earnings abroad have continued to rise dramatically, fostering the development of what has become known as the multinational or transnational corporation. Today some four hundred transnational companies control about 80 percent of the capital assets of the global free market and are extending their grasp into the ex-communist countries of Eastern Europe.

Transnationals have developed a global production line. General Motors has factories that produce cars, trucks and a wide range of auto components in Canada, Brazil, Venezuela, Spain, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Nigeria, Singapore, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea and a dozen other countries. Such "multiple sourcing" enables GM to ride out strikes in one country by stepping up production in another, playing workers of various nations against each other in order to discourage wage and benefit demands and undermine labor union strategies.

Not Necessary, Just Compelling

Some writers question whether imperialism is a necessary condition for capitalism, pointing out that most Western capital is invested in Western nations, not in the Third World. If corporations lost all their Third World investments, they argue, many of them could still survive on their European and North American markets. In response, one should note that capitalism might be able to survive without imperialism-but it shows no inclination to do so. It manifests no desire to discard its enormously profitable Third World enterprises. Imperialism may not be a necessary condition for investor survival but it seems to be an inherent tendency and a natural outgrowth of advanced capitalism. Imperial relations may not be the only way to pursue profits, but they are the most lucrative way.Whether imperialism is necessary for capitalism is really not the question. Many things that are not absolutely necessary are still highly desirable, therefore strongly preferred and vigorously pursued. Overseas investors find the Third World's cheap labor, vital natural resources, and various other highly profitable conditions to be compellingly attractive. Superprofits may not be necessary for capitalism's survival but survival is not all that capitalists are interested in. Superprofits are strongly preferred to more modest earnings. That there may be no necessity between capitalism and imperialism does not mean there is no compelling linkage.

The same is true of other social dynamics. For instance, wealth does not necessarily have to lead to luxurious living. A higher portion of an owning class's riches could be used for investment rather personal consumption. The very wealthy could survive on more modest sums but that is not how most of them prefer to live. Throughout history, wealthy classes generally have shown a preference for getting the best of everything. After all, the whole purpose of getting rich off other people's labor is to live well, avoiding all forms of thankless toil and drudgery, enjoying superior opportunities for lavish life-styles, medical care, education, travel, recreation, security, leisure, and opportunities for power and prestige. While none of these things are really "necessary," they are fervently clung to by those who possess them-as witnessed by the violent measures endorsed by advantaged classes whenever they feel the threat of an equalizing or leveling democratic force.

Myths of Underdevelopment

The impoverished lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America are known to us as the "Third World," to distinguish them from the "First World" of industrialized Europe and North America and the now largely defunct "Second World" of communist states. Third World poverty, called "underdevelopment," is treated by most Western observers as an original historic condition. We are asked to believe that it always existed, that poor countries are poor because their lands have always been infertile or their people unproductive. In fact, the lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America have long produced great treasures of foods, minerals and other natural resources. That is why the Europeans went through all the trouble to steal and plunder them. One does not go to poor places for self-enrichment. The Third World is rich. Only its people are poor-and it is because of the pillage they have endured.

The process of expropriating the natural resources of the Third World began centuries ago and continues to this day. First, the colonizers extracted gold, silver, furs, silks, and spices, then flax, hemp, timber, molasses, sugar, rum, rubber, tobacco, calico, cocoa, coffee, cotton, copper, coal, palm oil, tin, iron, ivory, ebony, and later on, oil, zinc, manganese, mercury, platinum, cobalt, bauxite, aluminum, and uranium. Not to be overlooked is that most hellish of all expropriations: the abduction of millions of human beings into slave labor.

Through the centuries of colonization, many self-serving imperialist theories have been spun. I was taught in school that people in tropical lands are slothful and do not work as hard as we denizens of the temperate zone. In fact, the inhabitants of warm climates have performed remarkably productive feats, building magnificent civilizations well before Europe emerged from the Dark Ages. And today they often work long, hard hours for meager sums. Yet the early stereotype of the "lazy native" is still with us. In every capitalist society, the poor-both domestic and overseas-regularly are blamed for their own condition.

We hear that Third World peoples are culturally retarded in their attitudes, customs, and technical abilities. It is a convenient notion embraced by those who want to depict Western investments as a rescue operation designed to help backward peoples help themselves. This myth of "cultural backwardness" goes back to ancient times, when conquerors used it to justify enslaving indigenous peoples. It was used by European colonizers over the last five centuries for the same purpose.

What cultural supremacy could by claimed by the Europeans of yore? From the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries Europe was "ahead" in a variety of things, such as the number of hangings, murders, and other violent crimes; instances of venereal disease, smallpox, typhoid, tuberculosis, plagues, and other bodily afflictions; social inequality and poverty (both urban and rural); mistreatment of women and children; and frequency of famines, slavery, prostitution, piracy, religious massacres, and inquisitional torture. Those who claim the West has been the most advanced civilization should keep such "achievements" in mind.

More seriously, we might note that Europe enjoyed a telling advantage in navigation and armaments. Muskets and cannon, Gatling guns and gunboats, and today missiles, helicopter gunships, and fighter bombers have been the deciding factors when West meets East and North meets South. Superior firepower, not superior culture, has brought the Europeans and Euro-North Americans to positions of supremacy that today are still maintained by force, though not by force alone.

It was said that colonized peoples were biologically backward and less evolved than their colonizers. Their "savagery" and "lower" level of cultural evolution were emblematic of their inferior genetic evolution. But were they culturally inferior? In many parts of what is now considered the Third World, people developed impressive skills in architecture, horticulture, crafts, hunting, fishing, midwifery, medicine, and other such things. Their social customs were often far more gracious and humane and less autocratic and repressive than anything found in Europe at that time. Of course we must not romanticize these indigenous societies, some of which had a number of cruel and unusual practices of their own. But generally, their peoples enjoyed healthier, happier lives, with more leisure time, than did most of Europe's inhabitants.

Other theories enjoy wide currency. We hear that Third World poverty is due to overpopulation, too many people having too many children to feed. Actually, over the last several centuries, many Third World lands have been less densely populated than certain parts of Europe. India has fewer people per acre-but more poverty-than Holland, Wales, England, Japan, Italy, and a few other industrial countries. Furthermore, it is the industrialized nations of the First World, not the poor ones of the Third, that devour some 80 percent of the world's resources and pose the greatest threat to the planet's ecology.

This is not to deny that overpopulation is a real problem for the planet's ecosphere. Limiting population growth in all nations would help the global environment but it would not solve the problems of the poor-because overpopulation in itself is not the cause of poverty but one of its effects. The poor tend to have large families because children are a source of family labor and income and a support during old age.

Frances Moore Lappe and Rachel Schurman found that of seventy Third World countries, there were six-China, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Chile, Burma, and Cuba-and the state of Kerala in India that had managed to lower their birth rates by one third. They enjoyed neither dramatic industrial expansion nor high per capita incomes nor extensive family planning programs. The factors they had in common were public education and health care, a reduction of economic inequality, improvements in women's rights, food subsidies, and in some cases land reform. In other words, fertility rates were lowered not by capitalist investments and economic growth as such but by socio-economic betterment, even of a modest scale, accompanied by the emergence of women's rights.

Artificially Converted to Poverty

What is called "underdevelopment" is a set of social relations that has been forcefully imposed on countries. With the advent of the Western colonizers, the peoples of the Third World were actually set back in their development sometimes for centuries. British imperialism in India provides an instructive example. In 1810, India was exporting more textiles to England than England was exporting to India. By 1830, the trade flow was reversed. The British had put up prohibitive tariff barriers to shut out Indian finished goods and were dumping their commodities in India, a practice backed by British gunboats and military force. Within a matter of years, the great textile centers of Dacca and Madras were turned into ghost towns. The Indians were sent back to the land to raise the cotton used in British textile factories. In effect, India was reduced to being a cow milked by British financiers. By 1850, India's debt had grown to 53 million pounds. From 1850 to 1900, its per capita income dropped by almost two-thirds. The value of the raw materials and commodities the Indians were obliged to send to Britain during most of the nineteenth century amounted yearly to more than the total income of the sixty million Indian agricultural and industrial workers. The massive poverty we associate with India was not that country's original historical condition. British imperialism did two things: first, it ended India's development, then it forcibly underdeveloped that country.

Similar bleeding processes occurred throughout the Third World. The enormous wealth extracted should remind us that there originally were few really poor nations. Countries like Brazil, Indonesia, Chile, Bolivia, Zaire, Mexico, Malaysia, and the Philippines were and sometimes still are rich in resources. Some lands have been so thoroughly plundered as to be desolate in all respects. However, most of the Third World is not "underdeveloped" but overexploited. Western colonization and investments have created a lower rather than a higher living standard.

Referring to what the English colonizers did to the Irish, Frederick Engels wrote in 1856: "How often have the Irish started out to achieve something, and every time they have been crushed politically and industrially. By consistent oppression they have been artificially converted into an utterly impoverished nation." So with most of the Third World. The Mayan Indians in Guatemala had a more nutritious and varied diet and better conditions of health in the early 16th century before the Europeans arrived than they have today. They had more craftspeople, architects, artisans, and horticulturists than today. What is called underdevelopment is not an original historical condition but a product of imperialism's superexploitation. Underdevelopment is itself a development.

Imperialism has created what I have termed "maldevelopment": modern office buildings and luxury hotels in the capital city instead of housing for the poor, cosmetic surgery clinics for the affluent instead of hospitals for workers, cash export crops for agribusiness instead of food for local markets, highways that go from the mines and latifundios to the refineries and ports instead of roads in the back country for those who might hope to see a doctor or a teacher.

Wealth is transferred from Third World peoples to the economic elites of Europe and North America (and more recently Japan) by direct plunder, by the expropriation of natural resources, the imposition of ruinous taxes and land rents, the payment of poverty wages, and the forced importation of finished goods at highly inflated prices. The colonized country is denied the freedom of trade and the opportunity to develop its own natural resources, markets, and industrial capacity. Self-sustenance and self-employment gives way to wage labor. From 1970 to 1980, the number of wage workers in the Third World grew from 72 million to 120 million, and the rate is accelerating.

Hundreds of millions of Third World peoples now live in destitution in remote villages and congested urban slums, suffering hunger, disease, and illiteracy, often because the land they once tilled is now controlled by agribusiness firms who use it for mining or for commercial export crops such as coffee, sugar, and beef, instead of growing beans, rice, and corn for home consumption. A study of twenty of the poorest countries, compiled from official statistics, found that the number of people living in what is called "absolute poverty" or rockbottom destitution, the poorest of the poor, is rising 70,000 a day and should reach 1.5 billion by the year 2000 (San Francisco Examiner, June 8, 1994).

Imperialism forces millions of children around the world to live nightmarish lives, their mental and physical health severely damaged by endless exploitation. A documentary film on the Discovery Channel (April 24, 1994) reported that in countries like Russia, Thailand, and the Philippines, large numbers of minors are sold into prostitution to help their desperate families survive. In countries like Mexico, India, Colombia, and Egypt, children are dragooned into health-shattering, dawn-to-dusk labor on farms and in factories and mines for pennies an hour, with no opportunity for play, schooling, or medical care.

In India, 55 million children are pressed into the work force. Tens of thousands labor in glass factories in temperatures as high as 100 degrees. In one plant, four-year-olds toil from 5 o'clock in the morning until the dead of night, inhaling fumes and contracting emphysema, tuberculosis, and other respiratory diseases. In the Philippines and Malaysia corporations have lobbied to drop age restrictions for labor recruitment. The pursuit of profit becomes a pursuit of evil.

Development Theory

When we say a country is "underdeveloped," we are implying that it is backward and retarded in some way, that its people have shown little capacity to achieve and evolve. The negative connotations of "underdeveloped" has caused the United Nations, the Wall Street Journal, and parties of various political persuasion to refer to Third World countries as "developing" nations, a term somewhat less insulting than "underdeveloped" but equally misleading. I prefer to use "Third World" because "developing" seems to be just a euphemistic way of saying "underdeveloped but belatedly starting to do something about it." It still implies that poverty was an original historic condition and not something imposed by the imperialists. It also falsely suggests that these countries are developing when actually their economic conditions are usually worsening.The dominant theory of the last half century, enunciated repeatedly by writers like Barbara Ward and W. W. Rostow and afforded wide currency in the United States and other parts of the Western world, maintains that it is up to the rich nations of the North to help uplift the "backward" nations of the South, bringing them technology and teaching them proper work habits. This is an updated version of "the White man's burden," a favorite imperialist fantasy.

According to the development scenario, with the introduction of Western investments, the backward economic sectors of the poor nations will release their workers, who then will find more productive employment in the modern sector at higher wages. As capital accumulates, business will reinvest its profits, thus creating still more products, jobs, buying power, and markets. Eventually a more prosperous economy evolves.

This "development theory" or "modernization theory," as it is sometimes called, bears little relation to reality. What has emerged in the Third World is an intensely exploitive form of dependent capitalism. Economic conditions have worsened drastically with the growth of transnational corporate investment. The problem is not poor lands or unproductive populations but foreign exploitation and class inequality. Investors go into a country not to uplift it but to enrich themselves.

People in these countries do not need to be taught how to farm. They need the land and the implements to farm. They do not need to be taught how to fish. They need the boats and the nets and access to shore frontage, bays, and oceans. They need industrial plants to cease dumping toxic effusions into the waters. They do not need to be convinced that they should use hygienic standards. They do not need a Peace Corps Volunteer to tell them to boil their water, especially when they cannot afford fuel or have no access to firewood. They need the conditions that will allow them to have clean drinking water and clean clothes and homes. They do not need advice about balanced diets from North Americans. They usually know what foods best serve their nutritional requirements. They need to be given back their land and labor so that they might work for themselves and grow food for their own consumption.

The legacy of imperial domination is not only misery and strife, but an economic structure dominated by a network of international corporations which themselves are beholden to parent companies based in North America, Europe and Japan. If there is any harmonization or integration, it occurs among the global investor classes, not among the indigenous economies of these countries. Third World economies remain fragmented and unintegrated both between each other and within themselves, both in the flow of capital and goods and in technology and organization. In sum, what we have is a world economy that has little to do with the economic needs of the world's people.

Neoimperialism: Skimming the Cream

Sometimes imperial domination is explained as arising from an innate desire for domination and expansion, a "territorial imperative." In fact, territorial imperialism is no longer the prevailing mode. Compared to the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when the European powers carved up the world among themselves, today there is almost no colonial dominion left. Colonel Blimp is dead and buried, replaced by men in business suits. Rather than being directly colonized by the imperial power, the weaker countries have been granted the trappings of sovereignty-while Western finance capital retains control of the lion's share of their profitable resources. This relationship has gone under various names: "informal empire," "colonialism without colonies," "neocolonialism," and "neoimperialism. "U.S. political and business leaders were among the earliest practitioners of this new kind of empire, most notably in Cuba at the beginning of the twentieth century. Having forcibly wrested the island from Spain in the war of 1898, they eventually gave Cuba its formal independence. The Cubans now had their own government, constitution, flag, currency, and security force. But major foreign policy decisions remained in U.S. hands as did the island's wealth, including its sugar, tobacco, and tourist industries, and major imports and exports.

Historically U.S. capitalist interests have been less interested in acquiring more colonies than in acquiring more wealth, preferring to make off with the treasure of other nations without bothering to own and administer the nations themselves. Under neoimperialism, the flag stays home, while the dollar goes everywhere - frequently assisted by the sword.

After World War II, European powers like Britain and France adopted a strategy of neoimperialism. Left financially depleted by years of warfare, and facing intensified popular resistance from within the Third World itself, they reluctantly decided that indirect economic hegemony was less costly and politically more expedient than outright colonial rule. They discovered that the removal of a conspicuously intrusive colonial rule made it more difficult for nationalist elements within the previously colonized countries to mobilize anti-imperialist sentiments.

Though the newly established government might be far from completely independent, it usually enjoyed more legitimacy in the eyes of its populace than a colonial administration controlled by the imperial power. Furthermore, under neoimperialism the native government takes up the costs of administering the country while the imperialist interests are free to concentrate on accumulating capital-which is all they really want to do.

After years of colonialism, the Third World country finds it extremely difficult to extricate itself from the unequal relationship with its former colonizer and impossible to depart from the global capitalist sphere. Those countries that try to make a break are subjected to punishing economic and military treatment by one or another major power, nowadays usually the United States.

The leaders of the new nations may voice revolutionary slogans, yet they find themselves locked into the global capitalist orbit, cooperating perforce with the First World nations for investment, trade, and aid. So we witnessed the curious phenomenon of leaders of newly independent Third World nations denouncing imperialism as the source of their countries' ills, while dissidents in these countries denounced these same leaders as collaborators of imperialism.

In many instances a comprador class emerged or was installed as a first condition for independence. A comprador class is one that cooperates in turning its own country into a client state for foreign interests. A client state is one that is open to investments on terms that are decidedly favorable to the foreign investors. In a client state, corporate investors enjoy direct subsidies and land grants, access to raw materials and cheap labor, light or nonexistent taxes, few effective labor unions, no minimum wage or child labor or occupational safety laws, and no consumer or environmental protections to speak of. The protective laws that do exist go largely unenforced.

In all, the Third World is something of a capitalist paradise, offering life as it was in Europe and the United States during the nineteenth century, with a rate of profit vastly higher than what might be earned today in a country with strong economic regulations. The comprador class is well recompensed for its cooperation. Its leaders enjoy opportunities to line their pockets with the foreign aid sent by the U.S. government. Stability is assured with the establishment of security forces, armed and trained by the United States in the latest technologies of terror and repression. Still, neoimperialism carries risks. The achievement of de jure independence eventually fosters expectations of de facto independence. The forms of self rule incite a desire for the fruits of self rule. Sometimes a national leader emerges who is a patriot and reformer rather than a comprador collaborator. Therefore, the changeover from colonialism to neocolonialism is not without risks for the imperialists and represents a net gain for popular forces in the world.

Chapter 1 of Against Empire by Michael Parenti

Michael Parenti is an internationally known award-winning author and lecturer. He is one of the nation's leading progressive political analysts. His highly informative and entertaining books and talks have reached a wide range of audiences in North America and abroad. http://www.michaelparenti.org/


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[Aug 15, 2018] Deciphering The New Caspian Agreemen

Aug 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Viktor Katona via Oilprice.com,

It took more than 20 years for littoral states of the Caspian Sea to reach an agreement that would lay the legal foundations for the full utilization of the region's resources. The Fifth Caspian Summit in Aktau, Kazakhstan, brought the long-sought breakthrough after leaders of Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Iran signed the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea – a remarkable feat considering that heretofore, barring bilateral deals, the Caspian has been governed by an obsolete 1940 convention between the Soviet Union (of which four current littoral states were a part) and Iran.

As the current Convention incorporates a plethora of tradeoffs between countries, let's look at them in greater detail so as to grasp the implications of the deal.

The Convention stipulates that relations between littoral states shall be based on principles of national sovereignty, territorial integrity, equality among members, non-use of threat of force (it was only 17 years ago that Azerbaijan and Iran almost started a full-blown naval war over contested fields) and non-intervention.

The military-related clauses of the document can be considered a net diplomatic success for the Russian Federation as it prohibits the physical presence of any third-party armed forces, along with banning the provision of a member state's territory to acts of aggression against any other littoral state. Since Russia is by far the most power nation in terms of both general military clout and military presence around the Caspian, this will placate Russian fears about any potential US (or other) encroachment in the area.

Then there's energy... Although the Convention establishes a general legal framework for territorial disputes to be solved, it refrains from any particularities. Therefore prolonged negotiations are to be expected with regard to many disputed oilfields, stemming predominantly from Irani and Azerbaijani claims . Iran advocated throughout the entire negotiation process an egalitarian approach to delimiting the seabed (each nation would get 20% of the coast), running counter the other countries' aspirations. The things is that when Russia concluded its seabed delimitation agreements with Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan in 2001 and 2003, respectively, the parties split their parts using the median line. Point 8.1. effectively keeps the delimitation task in the hands of relevant governments, thereby providing a very modest boost to the demarcation of the Southern Caspian (the Northern part is fully delimited).

There are two main territorial conflicts to be settled – the Irani-Azerbaijani and the Azerbaijani-Turkmen disputes. The row between Baku and Teheran revolves around the Araz-Alov-Sharg field (discovered in 1985-1987 by Soviet geologists), the reserves of which are estimated at 300 million tons of oil and 395 BCm of natural gas. Even though the field is only 90 kilometers away from Baku and should seemingly be under Azerbaijan's grip, if one is to draw a straight line from the Azerbaijani-Irani border most of the field ought to be allotted to Iran (the median would keep most of it in Azerbaijan). As those old enough to remember the 2001 naval ship hostilities would attest, it does matter at what angle the final line is drawn.

The Serdar/Kapaz field (estimated to contain 50 million tons of oil) is the bone of contention between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. Considered to be an extension of Azerbaijan's main oil-producing unit, the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli field, Baku sees it as an indispensable element in its quest to mitigate decreasing oil output numbers. Geographically, Serdar/Kapaz is closer to Turkmenistan, yet here too Azerbaijan might come out the ultimate winner. The Apsheron peninsula stretches out some 60km into the Caspian Sea, in effect extending Azerbaijan's geographical reach. Absent previous demarcation agreements between Baku and Ashgabat, the settlement will once again boil down to getting the angles right, as in the case of Araz-Alov-Sharg. However, it must be said that a resolution might come about as a by-product of new gas endeavors.

Clause 14, dealing with laying subsea pipelines and cables, is the one most coveted by energy analysts , since it has the potential to significantly alter Europe's gas supply options.

According to point 14.2., all parties have the right to construct subsea pipelines given that they comply with environmental standards (which are particularly strict in the Caspian Sea). With no further caveat included, some analysts might be tempted to think that Russia will inevitably use the "environmental protection" card when trying to stop the construction of the Trans-Caspian pipeline (TCP) from Turkmenistan, a pipeline it spent many years to halt . Under current circumstances, when US-Russian relations falling ever deeper into an insurmountable ditch, Moscow's decision to allow for the construction of the mightily Washington-backed TCP to take place might be perceived as a massive omission.

Since the Turkmen gas is unlikely to find demand in Azerbaijan or Turkey, it would need to take the whole route via the South Caucasus Pipeline, TANAP and TAP. Merely the transportation tariffs from these pipelines would render any transportation economically unviable unless European gas prices rise substantially to levels above $300/MCm. Moreover, the estimated cost of building the subsea TCP of $2 billion is a disabling burden for either Türkmengaz or SOCAR. Thus, allowing the construction of Trans Caspian gas pipelines might be a brilliant ruse from the Russians – cognizant of all the deficiencies above, they can wield it as a sign of good will in their never-ending negotiations with the European the economics for supplying gas to Europe via the Southern Gas Corridor are far from being Union.

This being said, there are natural impediments to see the TCP implemented anytime soon. Azerbaijan might be interested in getting transit fees for Turkmen natural gas, yet it lacks the required infrastructure to include the above volumes in its traditional conduit via Turkey.

All in all, the Caspian convention is a good basis for further negotiations, even though it falls short of being an all-encompassing legal framework. Territorial disputes will most likely remain frozen for quite some time and no new gas pipeline projects will see the light of day unless market conditions change.

[Aug 15, 2018] Imperial brainwashing works very well: Many US citizents were willing to kill 2 million Iranian civilians to save 20,000 U.S. soldiers.

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star says: August 6, 2018 at 1:28 pm

https://www.youtube.com/embed/3wxWNAM8Cso?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2018/8/6/17655256/hiroshima-anniversary-73-nuclear-weapons-proliferation-arms-control

Like Like Reply

  1. Patient Observer says: August 6, 2018 at 1:46 pm Public opinion polling suggests that many Americans would not think twice if there were a great many casualties against evildoers. For example, a 2017 survey found that 60 percent of Americans would support a nuclear attack on Iran that would kill 20 million civilians, to prevent an invasion that might kill 20,000 American soldiers.

    Yup, exceptional people of an exceptional nation.

    Like Like Reply

    1. Northern Star says: August 6, 2018 at 2:22 pm Yes the psychos were planning mass murder a decade ago under Bush.

      https://original.antiwar.com/jorge-hirsch/2006/07/06/nuking-iran-is-not-off-the-table/

      https://original.antiwar.com/jorge-hirsch/2006/10/16/nuclear-strike-on-iran-is-still-on-the-agenda/

      A more detailed analysis of some of the background material relating to your comment:
      https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/ISEC_a_00284

      "We were not surprised by the finding that most Americans place a higher
      value on the life of an American soldier than the life of a foreign noncombatant.
      What was surprising, however, was the radical extent of that preference.
      Our experiments suggest that the majority of Americans find a 1:100 risk ratio
      to be morally acceptable. They were willing to kill 2 million Iranian civilians to
      save 20,000 U.S. soldiers. One respondent who approved of the conventional
      air strike that killed 100,000 Iranian civilians candidly expressed even more extreme
      preferences regarding proportionality and risk ratios, while displacing
      U.S. responsibility for the attack onto the Iranian people: "I would sacrifice
      1 million enemies versus 1 of our military. Their choice, their death."

[Aug 15, 2018] China's retaliation will hit America's energy industry particularly hard

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

But the state of American 'journalism' is such that the media must portray America as winning, and will not acknowledge catastrophe until major damage has already been done, because it is patriotic to report on American success.

Patient Observer August 6, 2018 at 12:22 pm

FYI
Officials from three leading US groups that support increased exports of US LNG separately addressed concerns on Aug. 3 over the Chinese Ministry of Commerce's announcement that tariffs ranging 5-25% will be imposed on US LNG.

"China's retaliation will hit America's energy industry particularly hard," said American Petroleum Institute Vice-Pres. for Regulatory and Economic Policy Kyle Isakower. "American oil and gas already hit by US tariffs on industrial products and specialty steel essential to our industry will now be faced with Chinese tariffs on critical US exports, affecting American jobs that rely directly and indirectly on the energy industry."

https://www.ogj.com/articles/2018/08/us-groups-express-concerns-about-china-plans-to-impose-lng-tariffs.html?cmpid=enl_ogj_ogj_daily_update_2018-08-06&pwhid=893d521578abd67c7c1f2e0a59badfa53c05bf4701daba6f7a15095c797ff1cfb5e197eb4a367ebf6d74c0bead3e4836e2e5763a138164741673f9a08d508cc3&eid=397564233&bid=2197384

[Aug 15, 2018] Mark Chapman

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

August 5, 2018 at 7:17 pm Oh, look; Ukraine already is down to about half the gas in storage that it will need for winter. Turning to the west certainly made it 'energy-independent' at least to the extent that the west must 'lend' it money to buy gas which is reverse-flowed from eastern-European countries so that all the Russian is squeezed out of it, and it becomes European freedom gas. Nice work if you can get it, and since Ukraine will not be able to pay it back, it becomes a gift! Why worry, as long as Uncle Sugar is paying the bills?

https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSL5N1US27X

Speaking of gas, once-bitten-twice-shy Bulgaria is eager to get a piece of the action, signifying up front its willingness to tap into Turkish Stream for transit to Europe.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-6023431/Bulgaria-expands-pipeline-Turkey-bid-Russian-gas.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490

And that's another route through Ukraine which is pretty likely to go dry next year.

[Aug 15, 2018] US production of natural gas for export might well be a wishful thinking

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman August 1, 2018 at 9:14 am

There seems to be a tremendously broad American – and western – assumption that US production is going to 'soar' and continue to ramp ever upward. Is it? Bear in mind that the USA's own consumption of natural gas is growing steadily, at least partly based on this assumption that natural-gas bounty will just continue to increase. What if it doesn't? Then America will have refashioned itself as another huge natural-gas market which has insufficient domestic supply to sustain itself.

[Aug 15, 2018] Dezinformation from Euractive intended to block North Stream II

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al August 6, 2018 at 12:55 pm

Two pieces by Euractive with Neuters, though curiously no byline or attribution is given . Why so shy?

BS1: Friendship no more: How Russian gas is a problem for Germany
https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/friendship-no-more-how-russian-gas-is-a-problem-for-germany/

####

The headline is pure tabloid and not supported in the body of the article apart from 'opinions' by certain people or through use of qualifiers. This is not journalism . Only further proof in my opinion that Euractiv has become part of the EU's unofficial channels of hybrid warfare . Euractiv/Neuters has also expanded in to the Balkans to provide 'services' in Croatia/Serbia etc. which just so happens to coincide with all the shrill headlines about Russia 'influencing the Balkans' – which are of course BS. Just look at the map. Short of Macedonia (not for long) and Serbia, they are all NATO states . Russia only helps states who want to help themselves (Syria/Serbia – more or less).

Not a shred of proof, nay evidence, that Germany is shifting away from NordStream II. FAKE NUDES!

bs2 with Neuters & crAP: https://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/russia-used-lessons-from-georgia-war-in-ukraine-conflict/
https://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/russia-used-lessons-from-georgia-war-in-ukraine-conflict/

Languages: Slovak

Ten years ago, in August 2008, Russia and Georgia went to war over South Ossetia, a small separatist Georgian region which Moscow would later controversially recognise as independent, in the face of international criticism.

Ten years later, Moscow has still not softened its position towards its neighbours and its rift with the West has only deepened.

Russia launched armed action against Georgia to come to the rescue of South Ossetia, a small pro-Russian separatist region where Tbilisi had begun a military operation. The Russian army rapidly outnumbered the Georgian forces and threatened to take the country's capital.

A peace treaty was finally hammered out by then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy that led to the withdrawal of Russian forces. But Moscow recognised as independent the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, where it has stationed a large military presence ever since.

Russia demonstrated its military might over the five days and showed its readiness to defend – by force, if necessary – its interests in the region it considers its sphere of influence .
####

Well shove that in your pipe and smoke it!

Yet again, no attribution, no name. It smacks of a thinktank piece peddled through their Slovak branch.

But this is how things work in the West. No-on is ordered on pain of death to produce certain items, but is is made very clear that it is in their interests to do so, from without & from within, but remember kids, it is voluntary ! Neither self-censorship exists. Those in positions of influence may convince themselves, but for the rest of the great unwashed, no so much. We've already seen the system fail and produce not only BREXIT, but other referendums contrary to EU dogma. The evidence is all around us and plain to see, but still the structures persist in the same old ways, which only bodes ill. Apparently they still think the sheeple are too stupid to notice let alone act.

[Aug 15, 2018] Mastercard and Visa can be hit by Russian sanctions; the US financial sector can be eliminated in Russia

Notable quotes:
"... Regarding the Russian characterization of America as their "friend", I believe that Russia is simply playing with us. The US wants Russia to come across as an angry, belligerent and shoe-waving peasant. The intent is to keep alive the Cold War image of Russia as uncivilized and crass. The best response is to do exactly what they are doing. It makes the US look like the petulant bully that it is. Call it judo-politics . ..."
Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman August 10, 2018 at 7:58 am

It's time for everyone to come off Twitter – it is like writing your message on your buttocks with a black sharpie and dropping your trousers. Tweets are the kind of stupid thing you send out at the end of work after you've had a bastard of a day, and something you read or hear pushes you over the edge. People in diplomatic posts should not be allowed to use Twitter at all, and should be punished for doing so – reporters now avidly follow the Twitter feed of anyone who is anyone, and pounce on anything that has not been thought through before it can be deleted: an attempt to delete it is just the icing on the cake, an admission that you shouldn't have said it.

Time was, diplomats ran everything they said in writing in an official capacity through a review before it was released, it was parsed six ways from Sunday to see how it might be spun, twisted or misinterpreted. Diplomats speaking in a live interview were careful to remain vague and say nothing which might not have meant several different things. You did not get countries straining to get at one another because of something the minister of agriculture said. But now everybody feels they can speak for the government on Twitter. It's hard to imagine how the various countries of the world could come to be represented by their stupidest citizens.

I hope America does formally sanction the Russian finance and banking sector. They're already doing it under the radar, and going formal would give Russia an excuse to dump SWIFT and stop using it, as well as the US dollar. Mastercard and Visa would be gonzo, taillights, possibly in China as well. America sanctioning the Russian financial sector would remove its last ability to keep an eye on it easily.

Patient Observer August 10, 2018 at 3:29 am
Regarding the Russian characterization of America as their "friend", I believe that Russia is simply playing with us. The US wants Russia to come across as an angry, belligerent and shoe-waving peasant. The intent is to keep alive the Cold War image of Russia as uncivilized and crass. The best response is to do exactly what they are doing. It makes the US look like the petulant bully that it is. Call it judo-politics .
Mark Chapman August 10, 2018 at 7:42 am
It's just diplo-speak, to mark the speaker as a civilized man and not a thug. That is beginning to become a bit of a sore point – is there anyone left who actually believes that because Russian diplomats say "our American friends" or "our American colleagues", that they labour under a delusion that this is just a temporary spat and under it all they still have brotherly connections? If so, let me disabuse all those people of that notion; the Russian government and all its operatives are well aware that America is a self-declared and thus committed enemy. But saying, "the Americans, our enemies" would make for tiresome commentary in the western papers, in which ideologues would assess that this practice proved the Russians are the aggressors while westerners are just trying to work it out. Alternatively, they could lower themselves to the vernacular and instruct, "Listen up, motherfuckers".

Russia understands that America is an enemy and not a friend of any description, just as it understands the United Nations is an American-dominated body and that it is next to useless to expect the UN to back any Russian initiative. It continues to go through the motions in both cases, merely to underline who is following the rules and protocols set up by a better and more aware global civilization than currently prevails, and who is just kicking sand in the other's face and trying to get him to swing for the chin.

Moscow Exile August 13, 2018 at 12:41 am
I feel that I should add that by saying that Americans are not Russia's friends, I mean "deep-state" Americans and others of like mind.

I am sure that most American citizens just want to live their lives in peace and do not feel threatened by "Vlad" and his Evil Empire.

Not long back from the country and head off there again this afternoon for the rest of the week.

And no, I am not building my nuclear fall-out bunker there!

Patient Observer August 13, 2018 at 1:16 pm
Very true. Poll after poll fails to show any concern by American citizens over Russian "meddling" or Russian "assertiveness". Sure, questions can be posed such as "Should the US resist the Russian invasion of xxxxx?". Naturally, the answer would likely be yes. But when asked, without prompting, what concerns them, Russia does not register as a concern at any level. I find this remarkable as anti-Russian news is often the lead on every network evening news show. I can not recall a news broadcast for many months that did not include a Russian-bashing story. The tipping point on media credibility may have been reached

[Aug 15, 2018] Sanctions that Russia can implement

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Patient Observer says: August 12, 2018 at 6:23 pm

https://www.rt.com/business/435760-russia-response-us-sanctions/

In short:

  1. Cut off titanium metals and fabrications to the West – Boeing shutdowns as well as many other US aerospace operations;
  2. Close off air space or charge much higher tariffs to US carriers using Russian airspace. US airlines become non-competitive in many Asian and European markets;
  3. Stop exporting LNG and other energy products to the US;
  4. Raise taxes or shutdown US companies in Russia;
  5. Stop exports of the RD-180 and 181 rocket engines.

Action 1 would have a devastating impact on US aerospace manufacturing. The US has little ability to replace with domestic or foreign supplies. This action should be reserved in the event of extremely aggressive US actions such as a direct military attack on Syria;

Perhaps the sequence should be 2, 3, 5, 4, 1.

Cortes says: August 12, 2018 at 10:44 pm I propose a 6.

Call a presser at the UN and have the Ambassador confirm that Obama and HRC are wholly paid-up RF assets and watch Civil War II unfold.

[Aug 15, 2018] Countermove in Caspian see: no NATO allowed

Notable quotes:
"... It looks as if Zuckerman's 'nightmare situation' has come about. I don't know that these were ever proven reserves, and in fact I have the impression that the supposed energy bounty of the Caspian did not turn out quite as imagined, but Washington once thought – not long ago, either – that it was imperative America controlled the Caspian region because it was about 'America's energy security'. Which is another way of saying 'America must have control over and access to every oil-producing region on the planet.' ..."
"... Richardson was correct, though, that Russia 'does not share America's values'. In fact, Americans do not share America's values, in the sense that most Americans by far would not support the actions of the Saudi military in Yemen, the clever false-flag operations of the White Helmets in Syria, the deliberate destabilization of Venezuela, regime-change operations to the right and left in order to obtain governments who will facilitate American commercial and political control, and many other things that official America considers just important tools in the American Global Dominance Toolbox. ..."
"... Washington has long nurtured the dream of being Europe's primary, if not only, energy supplier, and owning the Caspian (had the reserves expectations played out) would have brought them closer to their dream. ..."
Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

yalensis August 13, 2018 at 2:06 am

Apologies if somebody already posted, the legal partitioning of the Caspian Sea is finally complete and constitutes good news for Russia:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-says-deal-to-settle-status-of-caspian-sea-reached-a8486311.html

yalensis August 13, 2018 at 2:10 am
The other backstory being that NATO wanted to stick its nose in the Caspian Sea, but has been pushed out. Not sure exactly what the pretext was. I have a piece in VZGLIAD that explains the whole thing, but I haven't worked through it yet, will probably do a piece on my own blog in the near future. But I have a couple of other projects in the queue first.
Mark Chapman August 13, 2018 at 8:39 am
Dick Cheney, among others, was convinced that the Caspian Basin holds massive deposits of oil and gas and is strategically significant for that reason.

http://coat.ncf.ca/our_magazine/links/issue46/articles/real_reasons_quotes.htm

"Central Asian resources may revert back to the control of Russia or to a Russian led alliance. This would be a nightmare situation. We had better wake up to the dangers or one day the certainties on which we base our prosperity will be certainties no more. The potential prize in oil and gas riches in the Caspian sea, valued up to $4 trillion, would give Russia both wealth and strategic dominance. The potential economic rewards of Caspian energy will draw in their train Western military forces to protect our investment if necessary."

Mortimer Zuckerman
Editor, U.S. News and World Report

"This is about America's energy security. Its also about preventing strategic inroads by those who don't share our values. We are trying to move these newly independent countries toward the West. We would like to see them reliant on Western commercial and political interests. We've made a substantial political investment in the Caspian and it's important that both the pipeline map and the politics come out right."

Bill Richardson
Then-U.S. Secretary Energy (1998-2000)

It looks as if Zuckerman's 'nightmare situation' has come about. I don't know that these were ever proven reserves, and in fact I have the impression that the supposed energy bounty of the Caspian did not turn out quite as imagined, but Washington once thought – not long ago, either – that it was imperative America controlled the Caspian region because it was about 'America's energy security'. Which is another way of saying 'America must have control over and access to every oil-producing region on the planet.'

Richardson was correct, though, that Russia 'does not share America's values'. In fact, Americans do not share America's values, in the sense that most Americans by far would not support the actions of the Saudi military in Yemen, the clever false-flag operations of the White Helmets in Syria, the deliberate destabilization of Venezuela, regime-change operations to the right and left in order to obtain governments who will facilitate American commercial and political control, and many other things that official America considers just important tools in the American Global Dominance Toolbox.

Washington has long nurtured the dream of being Europe's primary, if not only, energy supplier, and owning the Caspian (had the reserves expectations played out) would have brought them closer to their dream. A pipeline network would have carried Caspian oil and gas to Europe. Agreement among the Caspian nations was most definitely not in American interests, and if you dig you will probably find American interventions to prevent that from coming about.

[Aug 15, 2018] Russia need to preserve normalcy for its own population despite US sanctions, so overreacting might be counterproductive as some goods produced by West can't be easily replaced

Notable quotes:
"... Russia is simply trying to preserve an impression of normalcy for its own population, and trade is normal – Russia replaces those goods it cannot buy from the west with those from other markets, but completely shutting off the purchase of all western goods would subject Russians to unnecessary privations for the sake of pride. ..."
"... Russia has many arrows in its quiver. Best not to use them until needed. Big ones like turning off the gas to the EU would only makes sense if there is imminent war which is clearly not the case. In fact, it would be in Russia's best strategic interest to continue to the the main supplier of energy to the EU as it inhibits them from doing things that are potentially stupid dangerous. ..."
"... I would like to see Russian stop supply of the RD-180 and 181 as it is ultra-high tech which would be a nice reminder to the West regarding Russia's science and technology edge as well as delivering a serious blow to the US presence in space – military and civilian. Trump's "Space Force" would be DOA. ..."
"... Western sanctions have done Russia enormous good. It provided an escape from WTO restrictions and unfair trade practices. Good that they are taking full advantage of this opportunity. I suppose that Paul Craig Roberts means well but he needs to take a step back and see the bigger picture ..."
"... I agree that Russia should start cutting the United States off from things it needs from Russia – like the RD-180 and titanium – which would be expensive for the USA to get elsewhere. ..."
"... The implemented economic measures may have a seemingly abstract or sterile quality about them: banning electronic exports to Russia, rattling financial markets, stock prices falling. But the material consequence is that American officials are intending to inflict physical damage on Russian society and Russian people. ..."
"... It's economic warfare on a sliding scale to military warfare, as the Prussian General Karl von Clausewitz would no doubt appreciate. ..."
Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman August 12, 2018 at 10:43 am

Russia is simply trying to preserve an impression of normalcy for its own population, and trade is normal – Russia replaces those goods it cannot buy from the west with those from other markets, but completely shutting off the purchase of all western goods would subject Russians to unnecessary privations for the sake of pride.

Mr. Putin's popularity with the Russian people rests largely on their confidence that he is looking out for them, and always carefully balancing risk with reward. If Russia were run by somebody like Erdogan, the west would have succeeded in overthrowing him ages ago.

Russia is in a good position to resist sanctions, because Washington dares not impose restrictions on its trade in oil and gas. While it would be wrong to assume Russia has nothing else, these are core industries and in the other sectors where Russia is strong, the west does not buy much from it anyway except for steel and raw materials. Russia can easily replace those markets. But western brands who spent decades building up their market in Russia slowly and carefully have lost it almost overnight. And they will be a long, long time getting it back.

Jen August 12, 2018 at 3:20 pm
PCR's sources of information probably focus too much on the doings of the Central Bank of Russia and not enough on other sources of advice that the Russian government might rely on. You wonder whether PCR or his researchers are aware that the Russians and the Chinese might be mocking the US in the statements and policies they choose to make public.
Patient Observer August 12, 2018 at 4:41 pm
Russia has many arrows in its quiver. Best not to use them until needed. Big ones like turning off the gas to the EU would only makes sense if there is imminent war which is clearly not the case. In fact, it would be in Russia's best strategic interest to continue to the the main supplier of energy to the EU as it inhibits them from doing things that are potentially stupid dangerous.

I would like to see Russian stop supply of the RD-180 and 181 as it is ultra-high tech which would be a nice reminder to the West regarding Russia's science and technology edge as well as delivering a serious blow to the US presence in space – military and civilian. Trump's "Space Force" would be DOA.

Western sanctions have done Russia enormous good. It provided an escape from WTO restrictions and unfair trade practices. Good that they are taking full advantage of this opportunity. I suppose that Paul Craig Roberts means well but he needs to take a step back and see the bigger picture.

Mark Chapman August 12, 2018 at 10:23 pm
I agree that Russia should start cutting the United States off from things it needs from Russia – like the RD-180 and titanium – which would be expensive for the USA to get elsewhere.

I also agree Russia should keep on supplying the EU with energy, for a couple of reasons. One, any interruption in the supply is just what Washington and its Atlanticist Eurobuddies are looking for so they can label Russia an unreliable partner, and start that whole alternative-sources conversation again: it's why they want to keep Ukraine in the loop – to initiate disruptions and promote uncertainty about the reliability of Russian gas.

Two, Russia has a good chance of splitting factions in Europe off from the USA, as the latter is more and more perceived to be trying to boss the European energy market so as to secure a captive customer for its own exports. The last thing Russia needs is to create the impression that Washington is saving Europe instead of dicking it around.

James lake August 12, 2018 at 7:16 am
https://www.strategic-culture.org/authors/finian-cunningham.html

US Sanctions Are Pushing Russia to War

"The new round of sanctions this week unleashed by the United States on Russia has only one meaning: the US rulers want to crush Russia's economy. By any definition, Washington is, in effect, declaring war on Russia.

The implemented economic measures may have a seemingly abstract or sterile quality about them: banning electronic exports to Russia, rattling financial markets, stock prices falling. But the material consequence is that American officials are intending to inflict physical damage on Russian society and Russian people.

It's economic warfare on a sliding scale to military warfare, as the Prussian General Karl von Clausewitz would no doubt appreciate."

kirill August 12, 2018 at 10:14 am
All these articles are hysterical pap. The events after 2014 have demonstrated that Russia is immune to western sanctions and actually massively benefits from them. It has also shown that it can rapidly react to changing financial conditions as seen in the offloading of $230 billion in foreign debt in 2015. The current round of "the mother of all sanctions" trash talk from Washington is desperate and pathetic failure.

Russia has no reason or incentive for war. It is NATzO that wants to take Russia out. Russia will adjust to the new sanctions by become fully independent of any western financial or economic links. Russia has the critical economic mass to by an autarchy. But it does not need to be since it will keep on trading with most of the planet. NATzO accounts for 11% of the global population (but thinks it is 100%). The congenital retards who run NATzO are helping China to become the next premier financial power. The Yuan will replace the dollar by necessity if not by choice.

I want to see the writers of this scaremongering garbage list the actual economic impacts on Russia. Starting with the financial ones. Russia does not depend on foreign currencies. It also does not depend on foreign loans like some banana republic. The current claims by the chimps in Congress that they will bring Russia's economy to its knees are the same BS as during the post Banderite Kiev coup sanctions which Obama was sure were going to cut Russia down.

Enough already!

davidt August 12, 2018 at 3:49 pm
There is some truth in what you say but nevertheless I think you quite underestimate the threat of US sanctions. One doesn't have to be an unabashed fan of Ben Aris to accept some of the points that he makes in the following article.
http://www.intellinews.com/moscow-blog-us-declares-economic-war-on-russia-146707/?source=blogs
In any case, I am a fan of Eric Kraus and he has serious concerns- check out some of his comments here, say, for example, 7 minutes in.
kirill August 12, 2018 at 4:29 pm
Eric Kraus apparently thinks that Russian enterprises need to borrow dollars or euro from the west. He is dead wrong. Russia can get all the dollars and euro it needs via the exports of oil and gas, minerals, military equipment, nuclear power plants and assorted other exports over $400 billion US per year. That was the point of my post: Uncle Scumbag's sanctions on financial transactions do not cut Russia off, they cut the US and the EU off from the Russian market. We are back to 2014 and these new "mother of all sanctions" will be as useless as the previous round.

As for Japan, it is a useless comparison. Pearl Harbour was triggered by the US trying to cut Japan off from vital resources. Non financial ones. Nobody can cut Russia either from natural resources or the financing it needs. But Russia can f*ck the EU over big time by cutting off natural gas exports. As the rabid mutt in Washington tries to go for broke, Russia should keep diverting natural gas eastward. Let Uncle Scumbag save the EU with the spare LNG he doesn't have.

Patient Observer August 12, 2018 at 5:20 pm
Yes, the analogy between prewar Japan and Russia is false. It can be argued that it is exactly the opposite. Russia has the resources that the West needs and if Russia were to cut those off, the West could be induced to launch a war of desperation as Japan did. If Russia is "walking on eggs" that is why.
Mark Chapman August 12, 2018 at 10:15 pm
Russia also can borrow whatever money it needs to from China. China probably has more than enough to lend of its own, but if it does not, it is under no restrictions against borrowing from western banks, and those banks have no control over how that money is reallocated.
davidt August 13, 2018 at 2:19 pm
I commented on the Pearl Harbour episode simply to make the point that the proposed sanctions are a very aggressive move- this is clearly how the Russian government sees them, and rightly so. If these sanctions clip a percent or so of Russian GDP growth for the foreseeable future then they are very damaging for the country. Frankly, I would not be very sanguine about Russia's long term future if it were not for China, and I continue to back Kraus's opinion over Kirill's This earlier article by Aris sets the stage reasonably well- it's obvious weakness is that the role of China is not taken into account
. http://www.intellinews.com/moscow-blog-russio-delenda-est-140787/?source=blogs
A further point. No matter how creative Russia's scientists and engineers might be, it beggars belief to imagine that any country can compete technologically long term if largely isolated by the rest of the World. Again, this further emphasizes how critical China is likely to be for Russia's well being.
Patient Observer August 13, 2018 at 3:01 pm
Russia needs China and China needs Russia if it wants to remain a sovereign nation.

I would add that the US is in a very fragile state burdened by a stagnate economy despite massive deficit spending in addition to a crumbling global empire. Russia may simply need to ride out the storm and let nature takes it course relative to the US.

kirill August 13, 2018 at 6:24 pm
The chimps in Congress can't see past their own noses and think that borrowing and debt is what sustains the Russian economy. Their bubble of delusion has no bearing on Russian reality. They are currently engaged in "the definition of insanity is to repeat the same failed approach over and over and expect a different result". You can't cut Russia off from western banks more than once and there is obviously no cumulative impact from such sanctions.
kirill August 13, 2018 at 6:20 pm
On what basis do you estimate 1% GDP growth reduction (or contraction?) for the foreseeable future? Kraus needs to make a case and not just engage in proof by assertion. How can we have the same restrictions to banking access that were imposed in 2014 all of the sudden starting to matter now? That is just ludicrous. Cutting off access to NATzO banks in 2014 was the limit of what NATzO could do. It can't go into Russia and shut down Russian banks to prevent Russian companies from financing themselves there or from the Russian government.

Anyway, too much obscure mush and utter lack of details. These "mother of all sanctions" are a joke because the 2014 sanctions did most of the "damage".

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/12/russia-sanctions-us-eu-banks-sberbank-oil-gazprom

LOL.

Mark Chapman August 13, 2018 at 11:18 pm
But for how long can the rest of the world (meaning, I suppose, the United States and western Europe, which seem together to think they are The World) keep it up? Long enough to bring Russia down? I frankly doubt it. America needs trade for its corporations to flourish and expand market share, and it is not achieving that through sanctions and tariffs. The USA is not just taking on Russia; it is making enemies everywhere. The global economy is so interwoven now that it is very difficult to sanction a country to death unless you can block all its major moneymakers. And Washington can't do that (to Russia) without hurting Europe.

The present sanctions are lame and do not really do anything but get journalists excited and use up paper. The sting is in the ones set to automatically go into effect in three months, because to avoid them Russia must admit that it has a secret chemical-weapons program, agree to shut it down and allow UN inspectors into the country to verify it has been done. Perhaps Trump and his cabal gamble that Russia will cop to something it actually doesn't have, just to avoid sanctions, as Gadaffi did. But Russia will not, while the American attempt to bring more inconvenience and problems to the Russian people in an effort to use them to bludgeon the government into doing Washington's bidding is about as shitty a thing as America has ever done without involving weapons, since it offers no proof at all of its conclusions. It is simply imposing collective punishment in order to get ts own way, and would be the first to squeal if Russia did it.

Northern Star August 14, 2018 at 3:06 pm
"The global economy is so interwoven now that it is very difficult to sanction a country to death unless you can block all its major moneymakers. And Washington can't do that (to Russia) without hurting Europe."

The entire sanctions discussion in a nutshell.

Northern Star August 14, 2018 at 3:48 pm
From the Ben Aris link:

"Like the Romans, the US has built a military-industrial economy that can massively out-resource all its opponents' and so is impossible to defeat – a legacy of the rapid militarisation during WWII when it simply out produced first the Nazis and then the Soviet Union, the only other country on the planet at the time with any chance of matching the US's industrial might"

Unlike the Reich the USA industrial base wasn't hampered by round the clock bombing from the Eighth AirForce and the RAF , which also involved the diversion on billions of Reichsmarks for thousands of planes and the Luftwaffe manpower in an attempt to stop or at least mitigate the air attacks.

Likewise the USA industrial base was not hampered by having to -in a massive undertaking-uproot its core manufacturing facilities and move them thousands of kilometers to where they could be reassembled and resume production of machinery , armor and weaponry in general.

Furthermore:

These are just a couple reasons for the fall of Rome, but what is perhaps most terrifying about the fall are the corollaries to today. The Unites States of America has a Gini coefficient of .45, and 40% of the wealth is controlled by the top 1% of the population.[5] By every metric, the United States is even more divided and unfair than Rome before its fall. The effects are perfectly evident as well as there is increasing inclination from the rich to build fallout bunkers and withdraw from civilization and politics just as the roman elites did centuries before. Worsening matters is the evidence of extreme racism towards migrant workers who like slaves in Rome "take the labor from the hardworking middle class". Increasingly the middle class shrinks as social unrest and bigotry grows. It is a scary combination that, if we aren't careful, could spell the end of civilization as we know it, just like it did for the Romans centuries before.

https://pages.vassar.edu/realarchaeology/2017/11/05/how-socialincome-inequality-and-the-fall-of-rome-is-relevant-today/
AND the five links therein.

Therefore the Aris notion that USA can simply bide its time and wait for Russia to collapse is suspect. If anything there may well be be a collapse but not Russia.

Patient Observer August 14, 2018 at 4:58 pm
Agree with the sentiment but the Soviet Union outproduced the US in every industrial category that mattered. Its military was much stronger than the US on land and in the air. On the sea, the US probably had the edge.

The Soviet Union fell because its ideology provided no means to deal with psychos and sociopaths. Religion, with all of its shortcomings, at least tried to address sociopathic behaviors with such terms as sin, evil, etc. When religion left the building, there was nothing left to stop the psychos and its kissing cousins, the Randites.

The West is immune from such dangers as it embraces sociopathyy. Russia, I believe, is seeking a society that can withstand such assaults without heavy handed purges which only provide temporary relief. The Orthodox Church ascendancy in modern Russia is helping to provide that moral anchor to keep socciopathy from becoming the dominant world view. I think even atheists can agree on the importance of its role in providing a stable and humane society.

[Aug 15, 2018] Russia is one of only 7 nation states to have verifiably dismantled and destroyed their chemical weapon stockpiles as ratified by the OPCW and in compliance to the CWC. After Skripal false flag they probably have a second thought.

Notable quotes:
"... What can I say – perhaps now Russia will batten down the hatches and stop all this pandering to western partners. ..."
Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

James lake August 8, 2018 at 12:21 pm

Breaking news here in the UK.

USA say that Russia did poison the Skripals in Salisbury.

"The US blamed the attack on Vladimir Putin and said they would be issuing fresh sanctions in response to the deadly attack.

The state department says Wednesday the sanctions will be imposed on Russia because it used a chemical weapon in violation of international law.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said: "The United States determined under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) that the government of the Russian Federation has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law, or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals."

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned by Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, in the British town of Salisbury in March."

What can I say – perhaps now Russia will batten down the hatches and stop all this pandering to western partners.

kirill August 8, 2018 at 3:28 pm
No need to batten down the hatches. Just ignore the yapping NATzO chihuahuas. We have not even had a proper trial to determine guilt. The US leadership is not some ultimate judicial body. They can make as many political judgements as they want, but that will do Jack to Russia.

At this point all the hysterical US-driven sanctions against Russia are totally self defeating. The monkeys in Washington clearly think that Russia is a banana republic and that it needs to have access to foreign money and technology to function. They are cleared fucked in the head.

Patient Observer August 8, 2018 at 3:56 pm
More on the above per RT:

It would reportedly include more drastic measures, such as downgrading diplomatic relations, banning the Russian airline Aeroflot from flying to the US and cutting off nearly all exports and imports.

So, are we talking about RD-180 rocket engines and Americans traveling to the ISS on Russian rockets? Are we talking about titanium fabrications that Boeing needs for its aircraft manufacturing?

This Russian hysteria is masking something, something big. My one-track mind suggests fixated on the idea of an approaching economic collapse and subsequent imposition of martial law and/or massive levels of censorship; all to be blamed on Russia. The increasingly frenetic pace of Russian hysteria suggests a near-term sh!t-storm is on the way.

James lake August 8, 2018 at 4:18 pm
The Russian hysteria is scary as so many citizens over there believe in the Russiagate nonsense and have been manipulated to feel they have been attacked.

It means therefore that conditions have been created whereby the USA has the support to attack back.

Putin should never have gone to Helsinki as that escalated the madness.

Trump is emasculated just as obama was and has no power to do anything to block this pathway to outright confrontation

The Europeans will sit by and watch – Russia has no allies there.,

Patient Observer August 8, 2018 at 5:27 pm
Europe will stay on the porch and let the big boys duke it out. In the red corner, we have Vlad – the Terminator. In the other corner, we have Donald – the Orange Haystack. In another corner we have Bruce – the Red Dragon.

Haystack lumbers out of his corner before the bell rings, makes some nasty gestures and starts his victory dance. The Terminator stands in his corner, muscular arms folded across his chest with a wry smile across his face. The Red Dragon is closely studying Haystack with an inscrutable stare. Haystack exhausts himself and collapses mid-ring. The Terminator and Red Dragon leave the arena as the Haystack fans seek their autographs. Something like that.

Mark Chapman August 8, 2018 at 4:41 pm
Perhaps a boxed piano will fall from a ninth-floor balcony and crush Nauert to a rectangular pizza. I'd pay to see that.

Define 'pandering'. Can you name some concessions the United States has wrung from Russia in the last two years? I seem to recall the British investigators said there was no proof that anyone in the Russian government was involved – they simply speculated that because Novichok could only be made in a state facility, there must be state involvement. Does the USA have some evidence that the British have not seen yet? Perhaps they found it in the same place they filed their satellite photography of the Buk missile taking out MH17.

Murdock August 9, 2018 at 1:05 pm
You mean the same Russia that is one of only 7 nation states to have verifiably dismantled and destroyed their chemical weapon stockpiles as ratified by the OPCW and in compliance to the CWC? That Russia?

I can't wait for this determination to be made public along with the coinciding evidence as released by an official judiciary body wielding the requisite jurisdiction and authority under official auspices of the UN. That's what is meant by determined right? Pretty unambiguous terminology there.

This entire charade has gone so far beyond farce it's not even comical anymore, just depressing.

Mark Chapman August 9, 2018 at 3:51 pm
That's an interesting point, because a likely consequence of the continued hysterical hostility from the west will be opacity where there once was transparency; ie: if the United States wants to know something about Russian unconventional weapons programs, it will have to go to extensive and complicated labour to insert a deep-cover spy or persuade an asset that it can trust to find out the information, never knowing if it is being fed disinformation deliberately by a double agent, where once it could simply have asked and been invited to verify the truth itself. International organizations controlled by Washington will be less and less likely to have a free pass to come in and poke about as they see fit.

[Aug 15, 2018] Medvedev: if they introduce something like a ban on banking operations or the use of any currency, we will treat it as a declaration of economic war. And we'll have to respond to it accordingly economically, politically, or in any other way, if required

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile August 10, 2018 at 12:38 am

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned the US that any sanctions targeting Russian banking operations and currency trade will be treated as a declaration of economic war and retaliated against by any means necessary.
" If they introduce something like a ban on banking operations or the use of any currency, we will treat it as a declaration of economic war. And we'll have to respond to it accordingly – economically, politically, or in any other way, if required ," Medvedev said during a trip to the Kamchatka region.

" Our American friends should make no mistake about it ," he emphasized.

Source RT: Russia to treat further US sanctions as an open declaration of economic war – PM
Published time: 10 Aug, 2018 04:42
Edited time: 10 Aug, 2018 08:25

Why does that prick of a Russian PM speak about "our American friends"?

I wish Medvedev would just fuck off out of it.

FFS! They are not your friends, idiot!!!!!

James lake August 10, 2018 at 2:39 am
Why is Medvedev even discussing the areas that would cause Russia harm in public?

It is like pointing a big arrow at the banking and finance sector with "Sanction this"" written on it in big red letters

There is a time for silence. And he needs to come off twitter as well.

[Aug 15, 2018] Trump policies are all over the place first the hard-ass who will never back off, then conciliatory and talking international unity

Notable quotes:
"... Interestingly, the USA is increasingly going it alone in such actions, and the EU – remarkably, for such a spineless outfit – has actually imposed a 'blocking statute' which allegedly will protect European companies from being sanctioned by the USA, while Brussels has taken the unprecedented step of instructing European firms not to comply with demands by the White House that they cease doing business with Iran. Even more astonishing, if that were possible, EU companies who opt to pull out of business with Iranian contacts must first obtain authorization from the European Commission to do so. Without such authorization, they may be sued by EU member states, while a mechanism has been created to allow EU businesses impacted by the sanctions to sue the US administration in the national courts of member states. Who could have forecast that would happen, as recently as a year ago? ..."
Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman August 6, 2018 at 5:21 pm

I suppose few were under any apprehension that Trump would not sign the sanctions bill reimposing American sanctions on Iran. Consequently, most will be unsurprised that he did so.

http://www.intellinews.com/trump-triggers-iran-sanctions-eu-unveils-updated-blocking-statute-146376/?source=iran

Interestingly, the USA is increasingly going it alone in such actions, and the EU – remarkably, for such a spineless outfit – has actually imposed a 'blocking statute' which allegedly will protect European companies from being sanctioned by the USA, while Brussels has taken the unprecedented step of instructing European firms not to comply with demands by the White House that they cease doing business with Iran. Even more astonishing, if that were possible, EU companies who opt to pull out of business with Iranian contacts must first obtain authorization from the European Commission to do so. Without such authorization, they may be sued by EU member states, while a mechanism has been created to allow EU businesses impacted by the sanctions to sue the US administration in the national courts of member states. Who could have forecast that would happen, as recently as a year ago?

I need hardly draw attention to the unmitigated and brazen arrogance of the stated US aim: to "force the Iranians to the table for a renegotiation of their role in the Middle East". They fucking live there, for God's sake, but the intent of the sanctions is to force them to bow to American will, and accept the plans for them of a state which is more than 6,000 miles away – yet insists on its right to direct and order regional affairs to its own strategic and economic benefit.

Once upon a time, America's meddling in the Middle East could count on the support of all the major western powers. For the time being, that practice is in abeyance, as the major western allies try to bring about American failure. Goodwill toward the United States has more or less evaporated completely, and America is increasingly regarded as an enemy by former allies. I can't see any possibility of it prevailing, unless it starts a major war and drags everyone into it. I can, however, see irreparable economic damage being inflicted on the American economy.

Patient Observer August 6, 2018 at 5:56 pm
If the EU will actually protect European companies from US enforcement/retaliation and compel European companies to honor contracts with Iranian companies or government, that is big. But why would they do such?

I speculate the US plan is to take Iranian oil off the market thereby driving up crude prices. The downside is that it helps Russia (perhaps not a major concern for Trump) and hurts China but it will be a boon for US oil frackers to the point of avoiding mass default of loans and collapse of major US operations. If Nord Stream II can be stopped, US LNG may surge as well assuming gas frackers can ramp up. And when Iran capitulates (in US dreams) US companies will be granted special concessions to soak up Iranian oil revenues and the EU left of the sidelines.

So the above could be some of the reasons for the EU's stiffening. Putin is probably breaking out the popcorn.

Mark Chapman August 6, 2018 at 7:06 pm
The US has suddenly recollected that if it wants to take on China, it will actually need the support of its traditional allies, and is supposedly launching a make-up effort, especially where Europe is concerned.

https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2018/08/02/the-associated-press-us-mends-ties-with-allies-prepares-for-trade-war-with-china.html

Trump is such a boob; his policies are all over the place – first the hard-ass who will never back off, then conciliatory and talking international unity. Anyone who would willingly help that country achieve its goals needs their head examined, as it clearly will turn on its traditional friends the instant it is unhappy with the relationship. Trump brags that trade hardball is 'his thing', but that's just more of his stupid ego, and he appears to not grasp many of its implications.

American farmers understand, though, all too well. It does not take a genius to figure that a $12 Billion bailout fund suggests an assessment of a potential $12 Billion in damage to the sector, which seems like a lot of money. But as agricultural economists correctly deduce, the real damage is to long-term trade relationships, as customers repelled by America's thug tactics turn to other suppliers. I already mentioned the new prominence in Canadian supermarkets of identifying symbols to highlight Canadian products, and Canada is the biggest export market by a considerable margin for American agricultural products. Canada could not win in a trade war against the USA, but it could inflict serious damage on the agricultural sector. Much of Canada is farm country just like south of the border, and all the USA really has going for it in the way of growing-season advantage is California and Florida. Products from there which are out of season in Canada can be purchased from Mexico. Otherwise, pretty much anything you can grow in the USA, you can grow in Canada.

https://theconversation.com/american-farmers-want-trade-partners-not-handouts-an-agricultural-economist-explains-100795

[Aug 15, 2018] While the west is gradually leaning toward dumping Ukraine and hoping Russia will solve the financial problems it faces, Russia might decline this offer

Ukraine has huge problems because far right nationalists while hate corruption, do not control economics and oligarchs who control it do not intent to share their profits with the population, who is on the edge of starvation.
Breaking economic ties with Russia helped to relegate Ukraine to semi-colonial status as without cooperation with Russian industries and access to Russian market (which they know very well) many Ukrainian manufacturing industries are less viable..
Ukraine was already converted into debt-slave, and it is extremely difficult to climb out of this hole without default. At the same time it serves are powerful anti-Russian force in the region and as such will be semi-supported by both the USA and EU. for example attacks on Ukrainian currency probably will be avoided.
This is a variant of " don't cry for me Argentina" situation.
Notable quotes:
"... Notably that while the west is gradually leaning toward dumping Ukraine and hoping Russia will solve the problem, the warning signs are there that Russia has no intention of bailing out an exhausted Ukraine, and that this time it is going to be allowed to fail all the way down. The west should be warned that nobody is riding to the rescue and pouring their resources into stabilizing Ukraine – if the west cannot do it, the alternative is collapse and draining emergency work to keep the population from starvation. Prosperity is an impossible dream now, and the people – I think – would be pretty happy to be back where they were before the glorious Maidan. ..."
"... Interestingly, something that was not touched upon in the 'Necessary' section was the elimination of the oligarchy in Kiev and other major cities. I will declare frankly that I have no idea how this might be achieved – as discussed before several times, the Ukrainian oligarchs control something in the order of 70% of Ukrainian GDP, and are not about to gift any of it back to the Ukrainian state. ..."
"... You'll know there's no more money in Ukraine when the oligarchs leave, and I see no sign of that so far, while it is evident they intend to be a big part of any future rebuilding. They've already successfully stolen most of the IMF money, and plainly think an even bigger payday is still in the offing. ..."
"... Eventually, if the USA is unsuccessful in forcing the outbreak of another world war, the west will get around to either asking Russia to help, or trying to dump Ukraine on Russia. ..."
"... Whatever happens, the dream of Ukrainian nationalists to forge a great and powerful ... nation of Ukraine is always going to remain that – a dream. They're happy enough at present scampering about in the ruins and glorying in their imagination of great power, but they are kings of the dungheap without any clue of nation-building. ..."
"... The few who both hated Russia and honestly aspired to a Great Ukraine – free of corruption and able to pay its way through judicious management of its undeniable resources and casting off the peasant mentality – have no influence, and operate at the pleasure of the power-brokers; they are allowed to dabble at anti-corruption until their probing becomes uncomfortable, and then they are discredited and fired, if not charged with the crimes they say they are investigating. ..."
Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Cortes August 10, 2018 at 9:02 pm

Last post time, but a goodie (I think):

http://thesaker.is/whats-destructive-constructive-and-necessary-in-ukrainian-politics/

No intention to comment- read for yourselves.

Mark Chapman August 11, 2018 at 6:41 am
That is indeed an interesting piece – generally speaking, we most enjoy writing with which we agree, and I mostly agree with it and feel the ring of familiarity, because some of it is what we have been saying here for a couple of years. Notably that while the west is gradually leaning toward dumping Ukraine and hoping Russia will solve the problem, the warning signs are there that Russia has no intention of bailing out an exhausted Ukraine, and that this time it is going to be allowed to fail all the way down. The west should be warned that nobody is riding to the rescue and pouring their resources into stabilizing Ukraine – if the west cannot do it, the alternative is collapse and draining emergency work to keep the population from starvation. Prosperity is an impossible dream now, and the people – I think – would be pretty happy to be back where they were before the glorious Maidan.

Interestingly, something that was not touched upon in the 'Necessary' section was the elimination of the oligarchy in Kiev and other major cities. I will declare frankly that I have no idea how this might be achieved – as discussed before several times, the Ukrainian oligarchs control something in the order of 70% of Ukrainian GDP, and are not about to gift any of it back to the Ukrainian state.

But for so long as Ukraine continues to elect one oligarch after another to the office of President, the oligarch of the moment will be far more occupied with increasing his/her personal wealth and power, and settling scores with rivals, than with governance and accountability. At the same time, there is no use hoping the President will be a poor man or woman, because they generally do not have the worldly education to grasp the problem and envision solutions while being simultaneously beset from all sides by the oligarchy, seeking to retain its power and influence.

You'll know there's no more money in Ukraine when the oligarchs leave, and I see no sign of that so far, while it is evident they intend to be a big part of any future rebuilding. They've already successfully stolen most of the IMF money, and plainly think an even bigger payday is still in the offing.

The United States has largely forgotten Ukraine, as it was only ever a pretext for a full-court press against Russia anyway, and it now has enough Russophobia sustainment in its ditzy population to press forward without the need to invoke sympathy for Ukraine. Europe is still quite interested in a resolution, but only because of its fear that it is going to get stuck with the booby prize, and be made to assume responsibility for getting Ukraine on its feet somehow, perhaps even absorbing it. Eventually, if the USA is unsuccessful in forcing the outbreak of another world war, the west will get around to either asking Russia to help, or trying to dump Ukraine on Russia.

Whatever happens, the dream of Ukrainian nationalists to forge a great and powerful ... nation of Ukraine is always going to remain that – a dream. They're happy enough at present scampering about in the ruins and glorying in their imagination of great power, but they are kings of the dungheap without any clue of nation-building.

The few who both hated Russia and honestly aspired to a Great Ukraine – free of corruption and able to pay its way through judicious management of its undeniable resources and casting off the peasant mentality – have no influence, and operate at the pleasure of the power-brokers; they are allowed to dabble at anti-corruption until their probing becomes uncomfortable, and then they are discredited and fired, if not charged with the crimes they say they are investigating.

Patient Observer August 11, 2018 at 8:17 am
Well said. Presumably, the Donbass will pull away from Ukraine and vote to joint Russia and Russia will approve for any number of reasons but certainly including humanitarian, ethnic/cultural connections and military considerations. Other regions such as Odessa could jump aboard as well.

There may be a mass exodus from what is left – the grifter to the West and those seeking a better life to the east. The Nazis will remain behind and may serve some purpose such as providing a pool of mercenaries for CIA projects.

I, for one, do not think the Donbass will be an overwhelming economic burden in the long run. The population has shown resolve and resilience. Given leadership and material aid, they can rebuild fairly quickly I think.

[Aug 15, 2018] Canadian sniper rifles expected to be in the hands of Ukrainian military by fall, MP says

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al August 8, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Well Canada has rather upset the apple cart, hasn't it? On the one hand, western moralizing and sermonizing other states about what they should do used to be only restricted to mostly enemy states, preferably much less rich ones, on the other hand values only mean something if you actually are willing to pay a literal price in either money, blood or both.

The financial papers are saying that this will damage SA's the confidence of foreign investors, precisely those SA is trying to attract so that it can start to diversify its economy away from petroleum based products, but we have yet to see if this will have a noticeable effect, rather than just a wish effect.

The US has said Sweet FA, along with the rest of the sermonizing weapon selling west, so Canada has very little support from its allies. So far. Germany should be an obvious supporter but if pissing of the Saudis makes it more dependent on Russia ergo there are plenty of reasons that can be wheeled out to keep treading lightly.

It looks to me as just another sign of the existing order breaking down, whether or not Canada back tracks or not. Things fall apart, the center cannot hold.

As for the so-called free and democratic media, well they only further discredit themselves publicly.

Meanwhile, I just checked out the Canada headlines and this jumped out:

National Post: Canadian sniper rifles expected to be in the hands of Ukrainian military by fall, MP says
https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-sniper-rifles-expected-to-be-in-the-hands-of-ukrainian-military-by-fall-mp-says

Global Affairs Canada would not say whether Canadian taxpayers are financing the sale, and would not provide any other details about the arms deal

Few details are available about the proposed sale of weapons, as the Canadian government says such information is commercially sensitive. It has declined to name the company selling the guns or indicate how many rifles would be sent to Ukraine. However Conservative MP James Bezan, who has been in contact with the Canadian company that has the agreement to supply the rifles to Ukraine, confirmed the deal's likely timeline. He declined to name the firm since the sale still has to be finalized.

Nicolas Moquin, a spokesman for the Canadian Joint Operations Command Headquarters, said the Canadian military has been providing sniper and counter-sniper training to Ukraine's security forces since September 2015. He said Canada is not looking at this time of providing additional sniper training to coincide with the delivery of new weapons .
####

Freeland will be doing her grandfather justice!

Canadian sniper rifle manufacturers:

PGW Defense Technologies – C14 Timberwolf (CAF current rifle)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C14_Timberwolf

Parker-Hale C3, C3A1 and M82

Where as this old NP article fingers Colt Canada chasing sales to the Ukraine, though this seems to be for assault rifles rather than sniper rifles:

https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-arms-manufacturer-hopes-to-sell-assault-rifles-to-ukraine-military

OR, is this just Canada selling sniper rifles that are not necessarily of Canadian origin?

According the the video below with Canadian MP James Barazan, he says there are large numbers of weapons such as assault rifles, sniper systems, mortar systems, counter battery radar etc. sitting in warehouses in Jordan (& Toronto) that were supposed to go to Kurdistan.

Patient Observer August 8, 2018 at 3:48 pm
Yes,, the world order is falling apart. For some reason, this state of affairs reminds me of the observation that married couples who are heading toward divorce are on that path not because of a lack of communications but because they are now communicating for the first time.
Mark Chapman August 8, 2018 at 4:48 pm
Ukraine is awash in small arms – they could give them out with a box of tea at the supermarket as a promotion, and it would still take months to work through their supply. The last thing they need is more rifles. On the other hand, new ones will probably fetch a good price on e-Bay.
Hor August 8, 2018 at 7:44 pm
Maybe the hryvnia no longer holds any value and the new currency is sniper rifles.

[Aug 15, 2018] Ukraine has more or less lost its case before the WTO, in which it wept that Russia s unfair imposition of an embargo on its railway cars and rolling stock constituted a violation which caused a former $3.2 Billion in annual sales

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman August 1, 2018 at 5:27 pm

Oh, dear; Ukraine has more or less lost its case before the WTO, in which it wept that Russia's unfair imposition of an embargo on its railway cars and rolling stock constituted a violation which caused a former $3.2 Billion in annual sales – more than it realizes from transit fees for carrying Russian gas to Europe – to collapse to $150 Million. The WTO bought the Russian rationale that Russian inspectors going to Ukraine to ensure the product conformed to Russian standards would be in fear of their lives.

But the WTO ruled that the security situation was such that Russian inspectors sent to check that Ukraine's exports complied with Russian standards would have been risking their lives, and Russia was therefore justified in not sending them to Ukraine.

"The panel fully agreed with Russia's position and recognized that there was no systematic restriction of imports of Ukrainian equipment by Russia," Russia's Ministry of Trade and Economy said in a statement.

The WTO did go on to say Russia could have carried out the inspections outside Ukraine, but therein lies a sandbag to the head that Ukraine probably spotted already – if Russian inspectors found shoddy work or any other reason to refuse the offered goods, to say nothing of the probability that no contracting position between the two countries even exists any more, then Ukraine would be out the sale plus whatever costs it incurred to ship the goods outside Ukraine.

https://m.investing.com/news/economy-news/wto-ruling-derails-bulk-of-ukrainian-trade-dispute-against-russia-1551279?ampMode=1

Gosh! Is Ukraine's Russophobia beginning to blow up in its face?

[Aug 15, 2018] Some suggestions about contra sanctions that Russia can implement

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Cortes says: August 12, 2018 at 10:44 pm

...Call a presser at the UN and have the Ambassador confirm that Obama and HRC are wholly paid-up RF assets and watch Civil War II unfold.

[Aug 14, 2018] A blockade is an act of war. A much more lively August than any of us expected. The devil is never idle.

Aug 14, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Uncoy , Aug 12, 2018 5:33:18 PM | 21

A very busy week indeed. It looks like the world is dividing into two alliances: those who will follow the dictates on Iran and Russian sanctions and those who won't. We're in the prelude to a long winter of a cold war or a very hot one, depending on how the USA chooses to enforce those sanctions. Effectively at this point the upcoming sanctions would serve as the equivalent of a blockade. A blockade is an act of war. A much more lively August than any of us expected. The devil is never idle.

Miserable fat scheming twats like Karl Rove have nothing to look forward to on vacation and so delight in poisoning everyone else's. There's a whole warren of similar rats in the Trump administration and over at Langley which is why I mention Rove. While he's not in the current administration, he's a very visceral representation of what the world is up against until we put the neocons and PNACers out of business for good.

PS. I see nhs continues to post tracking links instead of direct links @7. b, I'd really appreciate it (and the rest of the tech savvy audience here would too) if you'd ban tracking links or more positively insist on direct links. Technically speaking all of nhs's posts should be held as he's a serial offender. You can either clean his links for him (sounds like as much fun as fixing his toilet for free) or just delete the comments which contain URL shorteners (tracking links). The latter would make encourage him to clean up his act fast. You'd be surprised how quickly inconsiderate, spying, spamming types like nhs would learn how to post direct links.

[Aug 14, 2018] Russia of today is in a comparatively much weaker position overall than the USSR due to powerful fifth column

Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

Parbes , August 14, 2018 at 1:45 am GMT

@reiner Tor

" I don't quite get what their endgame is here .Why are they pushing a propaganda war which awfully looks like psychological preparation for a real hot war, when they must know that there cannot ever be a real hot war?"

Most probably, because they are calculating that under various forms of psychological and economic pressure Russia will crumble from within and surrender, just like in the times of Gorbachev-Yeltsin, without having to fight a real, risk-filled war. Surrender and subjugation without firing a shot – THAT'S their imagined endgame. "Why wouldn't what worked within living memory, a mere 30 years ago, work again now in updated form?", they think – especially since the Russia of today is in a comparatively much weaker position overall than the USSR of back then and the Russian rulers and society are not really too much different psychologically from what they were back then, and are even mostly COMPOSED OF THE SAME INDIVIDUALS? Is it really surprising that they think that way, given the continued existence and thriving inside Russia of a powerful, openly seditious Fifth Column which is not seriously combatted by either the Putin government or the stupid mass of the Russian populace (who stand to lose the most, suffer terribly, and be reduced to colonized virtual serfs or exterminated if the Fifth Columnists and their foreign masters succeed in crashing Russia)?

Of course, IF this is a miscalculation (and I'm not sure that it is, given the current weak, appeasing mentality of the Russian government and population), and the psychopathic Western ruling elites don't manage to get a hold of their oversized lunatic egos and rein in their arrogant hubristic belligerence – well, then the whole situation could devolve pretty quick into a massive, WW I/WW II/Iraq/Serbia combination-type hot war scenario. Except, this time, with the real probability of stepwise escalation from conventional hostilities to Thermonuclear Holocaust.

Vidi , August 14, 2018 at 1:14 am GMT
@Felix Keverich

Realistically, what action Russia could take that would potentially match the disruptive power of American sanctions on Russia?

Russia may have struck a heavy blow already, when she dumped her holdings of U.S. treasuries. The relatively small amount ($100 to $200 billion) may not have been significant, but as a signal to the rest of the world it may have been loud. The new sanctions may be an attempt to punish Russia for that. They won't work, of course, but the noise they generate may help to obscure the import of Russia's recent action.

Si1ver1ock , August 14, 2018 at 12:57 am GMT
What I don't understand is why the US thinks Russia and China will continue to sanction North Korea. It seems like the US is handing out straight razors to everybody and asking them to slit each others throats. Except for Erdogan, they all seem to be saying, "Sure why not?"

Maybe they are simply accustomed to taking orders.

[Aug 14, 2018] Creating problems in Ukriane is one of the few ways Russia could impose tangible costs on USA

Looks like the aim of US sanctions is to ratchet the hostility up with Russia to the level of a full blown cold war. Ukraine can be a victim.
Notable quotes:
"... Meanwhile, you'll get bogged down in Ukraine. You'll face tough choices (sanctions will get North Korea-style quickly, and even Chinese sympathy will get questionable), like should you spend your scarce resources on modern weaponry or a large security force to keep Ukraine pacified? ..."
"... Very few people in Russia would want Ukraine now. The consensus is: "good riddance". In Ukraine, on the other hand, there are people who want Russia to invade. Some are waiting for someone else to liberate them from Nazis (they apparently are not familiar with Protestant wisdom that God helps those who help themselves), some pray for a pretext to invite NATO/US (as if anyone is willing to die for them). ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

@reiner Tor


We'll need an anti-sanctions law regardless of whether or not we are going to invade.
Well, I'd say it's a precondition to invading Ukraine. If you're incapable of making such a simple law, you're sure as hell incapable of invading Ukraine. And you do need the law if you want to avoid the sanctions creating the perverse incentives inside Russia, like the biggest banks not having branches in the Crimea. Decoupling from the US dollar is no help, since US sanctions are extraterritorial, if you didn't notice, so they affect euro or even Chinese yuan denominated transactions, too.
Eastern Europeans will never mobilise. What would mass mobilisation even look like in a country like Hungary? Instead, they'll petition USA to station more of its troops in Eastern Europe. A lot more, like hundreds of thousands more.
Within living memory, Hungary had armed forces of 150,000 troops and 1,500 main battle tanks (admittedly, the majority were somewhat obsolete), with hundreds of fighter and light bomber jets (MiG-21s and Su-22s etc.), and we were the slackers in the Eastern Bloc, not spending on defense as much as other neighbors of us. Increasing defense spending to 2% of GDP is what's the plan. If you invaded and occupied the whole of Ukraine, it could easily go up to 4-5%.

Of course, the Americans might come in numbers, too. But you're delusional here:

Doing so will impose costs on the USA. Actually, this is one of the few ways Russia could impose tangible costs on USA: by stoking tensions in Eastern Europe.
We have no military industry to speak of. Most of our neighbors do have some, but even they are nowhere near self-sufficiency. You can guess who we'll buy our weapons from. Poland recently offered to pay for an American base on its soil. So it won't be much of a cost for the US, it might actually be quite beneficial.

Meanwhile, you'll get bogged down in Ukraine. You'll face tough choices (sanctions will get North Korea-style quickly, and even Chinese sympathy will get questionable), like should you spend your scarce resources on modern weaponry or a large security force to keep Ukraine pacified?

Mass deportations is the best part about occupying the Ukraine!
Stalin's USSR at the height of its power only deported much smaller populations. You'd need a lot of people to achieve that. But let's assume you'll manage to do that. It will, of course, create a huge backlash against Russia: popular opinion will get united against Russians. (Defense spending quickly up to 5% of GDP or higher.) The Ukrainians in our countries will of course enter the workforce and join anti-Russian ragtag militias to control the border.
Instead they would have to contend with an insurgency in Eastern Poland
So the people ethnically cleansed from their homes will rise up against NATO in support of Russia. This is a seriously dumb idea.

AnonFromTN , August 13, 2018 at 7:04 pm GMT

Very few people in Russia would want Ukraine now. The consensus is: "good riddance". In Ukraine, on the other hand, there are people who want Russia to invade. Some are waiting for someone else to liberate them from Nazis (they apparently are not familiar with Protestant wisdom that God helps those who help themselves), some pray for a pretext to invite NATO/US (as if anyone is willing to die for them).

This reminds me of an old Russian joke.

An old hag sits on the bench and screams: "Help! They are raping me!"
Another one passes by and asks: "Have you gone completely mad?"
The first one answers: "Everyone is entitled to a pleasant dream!"

Cyrano , August 13, 2018 at 6:15 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

Don't worry about my IQ woes – they are non-existent. I am a stable genius – just like Donald Trump. Your IQ issues are – on the other hand – very easy to fix. All you have to do is admit that you are Russian and you immediately gain 20-30 IQ points. Of course, this will come at the expense of Russia, but then again. everything you've ever done in your history came at the expense of Russia. All the Russians ever wanted was to have a brotherly nation in Ukraine. They have a brother all right, unfortunately that brother has a Down syndrome.

AnonFromTN , August 13, 2018 at 5:46 pm GMT
@Okechukwu

Any Russian ruler who tries to return Crimea will be overthrown in no time. As Russia gradually disengages from the US-dominated financial system, the costs will go down. Russia has already created its own payment system similar to that of Visa and Mastercard, as well as its own money transfer system similar to SWIFT. On the other hand, if Russia fails to disengage from dollar-dominated system, the losses would be much greater than Crimea. It might even turn into a shithole, like Ukraine.

Insurance is more often a scam than not: Lehman Brothers enjoyed pretty high ratings until their crash. What's more, banks were insured against the risks of sub-prime mortgages they held. Remember what happened in 2008?

As to the future, nobody has the crystal ball. Can you tell how much a Big Mac will cost in the US five or ten years from now? $4? $40? $400? $4,000? Your guess is as good as mine. Ponzi schemes have a habit of crashing and nobody worked out a way of predicting when exactly the crash will occur.

AnonFromTN , August 13, 2018 at 5:15 pm GMT
@DaveE

This might be in the cards. The US sanctions actually squeezed Russian comprador (5th column) oligarchs, who were always subservient to the West, sent their families there, and are siphoning off their money offshore, more than anything. If Putin uses this to expropriate their stolen riches, which he might do (98% of Russian population would be cheering; they'd cheer even more if Putin hangs those bastards, but that's unlikely), these sanctions would be yet another example of the US shooting itself in the foot. The US is getting pretty good at that lately, always screaming that it hurts afterwards.

[Aug 14, 2018] Our Despicable, Indefensible Policy in Yemen by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... So will a good Christian like Mike Pompeo reconcile these obvious falsehoods, self deception. With every letter, he will be denying the very God he professes to believe in. ..."
"... Trump and his administration are the reveal of the true nature of modern American political Christianity. This is what it always was ..."
"... But The People are not exactly conscientious objector on the issue of Yemen and the crimes committed in our name either. The Republic might rot from the head, but the rot has certainly spread far and wide. ..."
Aug 13, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The pathetic U.S. response to last week's massacre of students in Yemen continues :

A senior general urged Saudi officials to conduct a thorough investigation into an airstrike that killed at least 40 children in Yemen, the Pentagon said Monday, an indication of U.S. concern about allied nations' air operations against Houthi militants.

The general's request actually shows how little concern the U.S. has for how the Saudi coalition conducts its war effort. If the U.S. were concerned with how the war was being fought, our officials wouldn't be asking the perpetrators of atrocities to investigate their own crimes. It is pointless to urge the Saudis to conduct an investigation into their own war crime when we already know that they will find that they did nothing wrong. As the Post article notes later on, the coalition's investigations predictably excuse their actions:

According to Andrea Prasow, deputy Washington director for Human Rights Watch, Saudi investigators had cleared coalition military officials of legal responsibility in virtually all investigations the JIAT had conducted.

The pattern of Saudi coalition conduct over the last three years is clear. Their forces commit numerous documented war crimes, and then when they "investigate" those crimes they determine that their forces are guilty of nothing. It would have been laughable to ask the Saudis to investigate themselves back in 2015, and to do the same over three years later is inexcusable. It is an invitation to whitewashing heinous, illegal acts. The U.S. will not honestly call out the coalition members for their crimes against Yemeni civilians because our government is deeply complicit in those crimes, and so we are treated to this pantomime farce where we send officers to call for investigations whose results have been predetermined even before the crimes were committed. The entire policy is a disgrace, and it brings dishonor on everyone ordered to participate in it.

There needs to be an independent, international inquiry into war crimes committed by all sides in Yemen. All parties to the conflict are assuredly guilty of war crimes, and all parties should be held accountable for what they have done to Yemen's civilians. As long as the U.S. enables Saudi coalition crimes and then shields them from scrutiny, our government is implicated in both the crime and the cover-up. Congress could put a stop to this if they were willing to do their jobs and assume their proper responsibilities, but for more than three years they have shirked their duties and acquiesced in a despicable and indefensible policy in Yemen.


Other Costs August 14, 2018 at 1:34 am

"The entire policy is a disgrace, and it brings dishonor on everyone ordered to participate in it."

For all that they're doing it at the order of even more disgusting civilians, this has got a be a low point in the history of the American military. The word "Yemen" on a resume or CV will make military people stink for the rest of their lives. Like "My Lai" or "Dishonorable Discharge".

Christian Chuba , says: August 14, 2018 at 7:41 am
We are getting a preview of the letters Mike Pompeo will be signing off on to Congress.

So will a good Christian like Mike Pompeo reconcile these obvious falsehoods, self deception. With every letter, he will be denying the very God he professes to believe in.

rayray , says: August 14, 2018 at 10:33 am
@Christian Chuba
Trump and his administration are the reveal of the true nature of modern American political Christianity. This is what it always was
b. , says: August 14, 2018 at 3:39 pm
"The entire policy is a disgrace, and it brings dishonor on everyone ordered to participate in it."

Conduct unbecoming.

The higher the rank of the officers involving themselves in this – in following unconstitutional orders to participate in an illegal campaign of aggressive war and collective punishment – the worse it gets. It would be a heroic act for a private – or even the officer piloting a refueling tanker – to speak out against this, a general has much less of a claim to honor and acquiescence both.

If The People really supported those who serve, they would rally to every conscientious objector – even the misguided ones – because anybody who has the honor and integrity to question orders is preferable to those that pay no heed to the meaning of their oath.

But The People are not exactly conscientious objector on the issue of Yemen and the crimes committed in our name either. The Republic might rot from the head, but the rot has certainly spread far and wide.

[Aug 14, 2018] It was Neocons who pushed the USA to invade Iraa, but, as Greenspan said, the goals of USA were about oil not so much about Israeli interests in the region

Notable quotes:
"... Besides, just look at how much the Iraq War benefited Israel. You see, Israel wants to pursue a strategy of destabilizing the region, so it cleverly pulled off a false flag attack on 9/11; I'm not quite sure why Mossad didn't frame one of Israel's actual enemies, like the Palestinians or Iranians, or even Saddam for that matter, as the perpetrators of the attacks, but I'm sure it's all part of the plan. ..."
"... Anyway, Israel got the United States to invade Iraq, which destabilized the region and created chaos, predictably leading to a massive increase in Iranian influence in Iraq and likely enabling more Iranian intervention in the Syrian Civil War, which benefited Israel because uh chaos and destabilization. ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

Anonymous [679] Disclaimer , August 14, 2018 at 4:50 am GMT

. The decision to go to war on false pretenses against Iraq, largely promoted by a cabal of prominent American Jews in the Pentagon and in the media, killed 4,424 Americans as well as hundreds of thousands Iraqis and will wind up costing the American taxpayer $7 trillion dollars when all the bills are paid. That same group of mostly Jewish neocons more-or-less is now agitating to go to war with Iran using a game plan for escalation prepared by Israel which will, if anything, prove even more catastrophic.

Oh right, who can forget the cabal of Jews controlling the US government and military at the time of the Iraq invasion, such as President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers, CIA director George Tenet, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice Every.Single.Time, am I right, folks?

Oh wait, they aren't Jewish? Well, I blame the Jews away. Just look at uh Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Doug Feith, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Woflowitz and journalist Bill Kristol. That sounds like an extremely powerful cabal easily capable of commanding such trivial figures as the President, CIA director, Secretary of State, et cetera, to do their bidding.

Besides, just look at how much the Iraq War benefited Israel. You see, Israel wants to pursue a strategy of destabilizing the region, so it cleverly pulled off a false flag attack on 9/11; I'm not quite sure why Mossad didn't frame one of Israel's actual enemies, like the Palestinians or Iranians, or even Saddam for that matter, as the perpetrators of the attacks, but I'm sure it's all part of the plan.

Anyway, Israel got the United States to invade Iraq, which destabilized the region and created chaos, predictably leading to a massive increase in Iranian influence in Iraq and likely enabling more Iranian intervention in the Syrian Civil War, which benefited Israel because uh chaos and destabilization.

And if you doubt that neocons totally control the US government, just look at how we're at war with Iran! Well we're not technically at war yet, a decade after neoconservatives began promoting the war and President Obama did somehow manage to sign a nuclear deal with Iran that infuriated his neocon and Israeli puppetmasters but I'm sure that President Trump, famously beloved by Jews and neocons everywhere, will soon go to war with Iran.

Colin Wright , Website August 14, 2018 at 7:25 am GMT

@Ben_C

' I'm not entirely sure why you keep hanging on to this tired and false narrative that US politicians are some sort of stooges and puppets of Israel '

Maybe because they are stooges and puppets? In extreme cases, they even boast of it. When Romney was running for president, he promised he would check with Israel on any action we took in the Middle East. When Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State was promoting civil war in Syria, she explained that this was necessary because Israel wished it.

It goes on, and on. If someone is considering a run for Congress, he gets a nice little packet from AIPAC. Among other things, he's asked to write an essay expressing his feelings about Israel.

If the essay isn't satisfactory, AIPAC backs his opponent.

Not surprisingly, when Netanyahu -- the premier of a tiny state on the other side of the planet -- spoke to Congress he was interrupted with standing ovations seventeen times. The display put me in mind of the sort of frenzied adulation Communist delegates used to display towards Stalin.

and the motives, of course, would be similar, even if actual death isn't in prospect. For most in Congress, displease Israel, and your political career just ended.

Colin Wright , Website August 14, 2018 at 7:29 am GMT
@NoseytheDuke

"Many in the intelligence and law enforcement communities suspect that it (Israel) had considerable prior intelligence regarding the 9/11 plot but did not share it with Washington."

It's certainly difficult to explain how else Mossad came to be filming the attack.

Colin Wright , Website August 14, 2018 at 7:52 am GMT
I think it needs to be emphasized that it's not merely a matter of practical politics.

Israel is evil -- she brings misery to millions, actual happiness to almost no one, and engages in behavior with no defensible moral foundation at all. She has attacked every single one of her neighbors, compulsively seeks out further conflict to paper over the shortcomings in her own national identity, and treats her Palestinian subjects with a morality about like that of a nasty little boy pulling the wings off a fly.

Arguably, others are as bad. However, unlike the others, Israel could not have come into being without our support, and could not continue to exist today without our continued moral, economic, diplomatic, and military support. If we pulled the plug, Israel would cease to exist as a Jewish supremacist state within -- at most -- a decade.

We are, in fact, responsible for Israel, and hence responsible for Israel's crimes. Other people's teenaged sons may well be out there stealing cars and raping girls. This happens to be our son doing it. We're responsible.

We pursue many policies I regard as futile, short-sighted, deluded, or self-destructive. My personal list would include 'come one come all' immigration, global warming denial, maintaining a massive military establishment, condoning 'Black Lives Matter,' and probably some other things.

No doubt the reader has his own list. However, that's not the point. The point is that essentially, these policies are merely stupid rather than actually evil. It's not evil to think we should just let whoever wants come into the US. It's dumb -- but it isn't evil. In fact, I'll willingly credit people who vote for 'sanctuary cities' et al with the most laudable sentiments. I merely question their intelligence.

Israel is different. Israel is evil, and hence our support for it is as well. It is the most fundamentally wrong act we are engaged in.

There is a moral dimension to life. There is a distinction between striving to do good -- however unsuccessfully -- and willingly participating in evil.

We need to stop supporting Israel.

The Alarmist , August 14, 2018 at 8:59 am GMT

"A well-funded massive lobbying effort involving hundreds of groups and thousands of individuals in the U.S. has worked to the detriment of actual American interests, in part by creating a permanent annual gift of billions of dollars to Israel for no other reason but that it is Israel and can get anything it wants from a servile Congress and White House without any objection from a controlled media."

Kind of begs the question, why are we giving any aid to a first-world country with a GDP growth rate in the 3% to 4% rate for years (even while we were stuck below 2%) and an unemployment rate below 4%?

The Israeli economy is in better shape than the US economy; they should be giving us aid.

"Baron Cohen, who confronted several GOP notables in the guise of Colonel Erran Morad, an Israeli security specialist, provided a number of clues that his interview was a sham but none of the victims were smart enough to pick up on them."

Yes, it is truly amazing what our "Best & Brightest" will do to stay on-side. Following Mr. Giraldi's earlier post regarding the gubernatorial run of Israeli puppet Ron DeSantis and the Big Sugar connections of Adam Putnam, it would seem a Floridian's least worst choice is Bob White.

skrik , August 14, 2018 at 9:31 am GMT

Israel is nothing but trouble. It has the right to defend itself

1st part: Absolutely, indubitably correct.

2nd part: ¿Qué? Why do people say/write this? Under what corrupt arrangement does an oh, so obvious outlaw have any such right?

Consider: A gang of out-of-towners turns up at a block of flats, breaks the doors down and occupies the building, killing some erstwhile owner/occupiers and ejecting most of the rest on the way in, thereafter whooping it up big, and ignoring [obviously too feeble] orders to RoR+R*3 [= Right of Return + Revest, Reparations and Reconciliation.] Since when can such outlaws dictate anything, thumb their noses at the Law?

Property, especially here land, is alienable – but this does not mean ' subject to seizure by aliens .'

Kindly consider: "A fair exchange is no robbery." A fair exchange means willing seller, interested buyer, and a freely and fairly agreed price. No such thing exists vis-à-vis the forcible colonisation of Palestine. Some proof may be seen here [my bolding]:

By 1949, some 700,000 Palestinians had fled or been expelled from their lands and villages. Israel was now in control of some 20.5 million dunams (approx. 20,500 km²) or 78% of lands in what had been Mandatory Palestine

Land laws were passed to legalize changes to land ownership.[5]

5. Ruling Palestine, A History of the Legally Sanctioned Jewish-Israeli Seizure of Land and Housing in Palestine. Publishers: COHRE & BADIL, May 2005, p. 37.

Especially in reference to the illegitimate entity which terms itself Israel, wiki is not reliable, being, like the US Congress, Israeli-occupied territory. So it is noteworthy that they write "in control of" as opposed to 'own.' They can't ever own it due to not having purchased it, and Palestinians may not surrender it, due to the UDHR which specifies *inalienable* rights:

Article 3.
• Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Article 17.
• (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
• (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Also, see the Washington Consensus:

10.Legal security for property rights.

Further, there is UNSC242: inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war, plus only just law may earn respect, and/or be respected. A law dispossessing erstwhile legal owner/occupiers is an utter travesty.

Me; comment: Its illegitimacy is all so howlingly obvious!

Fazit: Apart from the ~6% of 'pre-Herzl Palestine' which 'invading by stealth' alien, mostly European Jews managed to purchase, the illegitimate entity does not own nor can they ever own the land/property they squat upon, which still belongs to the erstwhile owner/occupiers, specifically the 'native' pre-Nakba Palestinians [now including heirs & successors]. Then, the illegitimate entity does not declare borders for two reasons 1) any such declaration would be [probably successfully] challenged and 2) the illegitimate entity expresses the desire to expand to 'from the Nile to the Euphrates.' Q: Just how ghastly is that? A: Could hardly be worse.

Closing the loop: How can land-thieves have any 'right to defend' such improperly alienated land/property? It doesn't compute! rgds

mark green , August 14, 2018 at 10:03 am GMT
Thank you, Mr. Giraldi, for another forceful rebuke of Zionist criminality and US culpability.

The supremacist kosher state is a cancer on America. Just survey the wreckage. Count the bodies. Who benefits from this?

The Zionist project is a plague on humanity. It entertains no compromise. It will stop at virtually nothing. Examine the blood-soaked damage from Soviet Russia to Germany to Palestine and beyond. It moves Washington around via remote control.

The situation has become very grave. Speech deemed 'anti-Semitic' is rapidly being criminalized worldwide.

Right wing political expression (that Jews don't like) on Twitter, Facebook and the web is being de-platformed for speech infractions that involve 'hate'. But it's only 'hate' of a certain stripe.

After all, hatred is ubiquitous in America. It cuts in every direction. So why is the focus so intense on just one spectrum of hatred?

Might it have something to do with the political preferences of those in power?

Oh maybe.

Principles be damned. Whose ox is being gored?

With that in mind, consider this: who might actually be the biggest hater of all?–and killer? (Hint: it's certainly not the powerless Alt-right 'deplorables'.)

Might it instead be the world's foremost victims?

After all, incendiary speech–even 'hate speech'–does not kill. It takes bombs, drones, tanks and missiles to accomplish that.

So where's the uproar over routine sorties which needlessly dispense death and destruction?

It's gone missing.

Incredibly, it is rough speech and acute political criticism–not failed, horrific wars–that are being criminalized. Pro-Zionist 'wars of choice' still get a pass in our corporate board rooms, TV studios, news rooms, and in most of Official Washington.

This entrenched distortion allows neocons and their underlings to jawbone and plot their next preemptive war. The Big Squeeze is on. Beware Russia, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Iran. Zionism is an 'unshakable' Washington value. So get ready.

How distant wars advance the interests of average Americans remains a mystery.

Despite this puzzle, America's MSM offers little resistance and no straightforward criticism of Zio-Washington's ceaseless war efforts on behalf of a certain 'democratic ally'. In similar fashion, the Fourth Estate has also been compromised.

It's worth remembering that, according to the UN Charter, a state-sponsored 'First Strike' against another sovereign state is the most serious war crime. This elementary moral precept however matters not–at least not when Israel is pulling the strings. Quiet, children. Listen. Obey.

What we have here is a pattern of vast serial criminality.

Zio-Washington has become Israel's war vessel. We regular folk are just along for the ride.

So don't forget to cheer for the good guys!

Incredibly, US-enabled, Israeli ruthlessness has gotten even worse under 'America First' Trump. After all, Trump needlessly tore up Obama's hard-fought peace deal with Iran.

Why would Trump make such a move? (As a candidate, he was far less hawkish).

Our weakened and despised President needs desperately to please America's foremost lobby. Trump cannot govern without their support. This peculiar situation however requires additional blood-letting on behalf of the Zionist state. Foreign wars that benefit Israel are the unwritten price that the goyim leadership in America must pay. Sorry folks!

(Are you listening, Tehran?)

Jewish power corrupts. Overwhelming Jewish power corrupts in overwhelming fashion.

[Aug 14, 2018] Did Omarosa break the law by secretly recording Trump and Kelly?

She violated NDA. This is a crime.
Aug 14, 2018 | www.theguardian.com
s this a security risk?

Moss also told the Guardian that Manigault Newman's use of a recording device presented counterintelligence risks. "All it takes is one foreign agency hacking [the recording device], and setting it to passive record mode," said Moss. The result would mean all conversations, not just those Manigault Newman chose to record, would be "accessible to foreign entities".

This concern was shared by Kayyem. "There might be the perception, particularly by our enemies, that the entire White House might be compromised, and that's kind of scary," she said, adding: "The audience isn't just us and Omarosa and Trump. It's the Chinese and the Russians."

Is recording in the Situation Room a crime?

Moss said, however, that just because the conversation occurred in the Situation Room, which is actually a secured series of connected rooms, there is "no real obvious criminal liability". All staffers entering the area must lock away their cell phones and other insecure electronic devices. But he noted the violation would likely be enough to deny Manigault Newman a security clearance if she ever wishes to work for the federal government in the future.

What has the White House said?

"The very idea a staff member would sneak a recording device into the White House Situation Room shows a blatant disregard for our national security," said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. She added: "Then to brag about it on national television further proves the lack of character and integrity of this disgruntled former White House employee."

[Aug 14, 2018] From the point of view of UN law the sate of Israel is an outlaw.

The term "Jews" probably should be strictly avoided. Zionists or Likudniks is a better term for Jewish Supremacists.
Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

skrik , August 14, 2018 at 1:51 pm GMT

@Anonymouse

let the US give itself back to the Indians, and then ask Israel to act the same way

Give the US back to the amerindians! Give Aus back to the abos! This does not work; it's called 'moral relativism' and/or the 'tu quoque' [appeal to hypocrisy] fallacy.

Then ask Israel to act err, hello? Israel has been 'asked,' over 100 times by some counts, to 'get legal' under UN resolutions. Israel is an outlaw.

Kindly consider the I/J/Z-plex's 10 steps to utter, criminal ignominy:

  1. Herzl; coveting, expropriation (1897+)
  2. Balfour; aid Zs, no consult Ps
  3. Jabotinsky; colonise by force
  4. Ben-Gurion: "we are the attackers and the Arabs own the land" [points 1 - 4 all pre-WW2]
  5. UNGA181: "an area shall be evacuated" (invalid + no UNSC action = not law)
  6. Meir; $US50mio for arms + Plan Dalet&Co = premeditated, murdering to steal aggression
  7. When immigrants (=aliens) attack natives, it's *not* civil war but Nuremberg-class crime
  8. Z-terrorism; down to today; alien invaders' highest-tech vs. besieged & blockaded, basically unarmed natives
  9. US-support incl. UNSC vetoes; also down to 'current moment'
  10. Z-hasbarah = mostly lies, designed and deployed to deceive

More: Post-WW2, Nuremberg trials, hanging perpetrators for murdering invasions for Lebensraum predate King David Hotel bombing, Plan Dalet with outrages like the Deir Yassin massacre, etc.. Similar outrages continue to be perpetrated by the illegitimate entity, into 'the current moment.'

Lemma: At any crime-scene, there are one or more perpetrators, possibly accessories, apologists and/or 'idle' bystanders. It is incumbent upon *all* witnesses to attempt to a) restrain malefactors and where possible b) rescue victims from harm. *All* present and not in active resistance to the crime attract proportional guilt.

Addendum: Any person profiting from crime also makes him/herself an accessory, like all residents in the 'illegitimate entity,' say.

Also post WW2, we got the post-colonial era; the illegitimate entity fulfils the 'premeditated supreme international crime' criteria. RoR+R*3 NOW! QED

PS Showing 'support' for criminals adopts part guilt for those criminals' crimes via the accessory process; why would anyone in their 'right' = correct mind do that?

anarchyst , August 14, 2018 at 1:59 pm GMT
If a nuclear device is "lit off" in an American or European city, it will have Israel's fingerprints all over it. Israel is desperate to keep the American money spigot running, as well as sabotaging the Palestinian "peace process" that the world wants it to take seriously.

In fact, if a nuclear device is "lit off" anywhere in the world, it will have come from Israel's secret nuclear "stockpile".

The "power outage" in Atlanta was a convenient excuse for Israel to perform a logistical "sleight of hand", as an Israeli plane was allowed to land and take off during the "power outage" without receiving customs clearance or inspection. This is one of many Israeli companies that possesses a "special exemption" granted by the U S government that frees it from customs inspections. Just maybe another one of Israel's nukes was just being pre-positioned or nuclear triggers (tritium) were being renewed, getting ready for "the big one". As most Americans are tired of all of the foreign wars being fought for Israel's benefit, another "incident" on American soil would be enough to galvanize the American public, once again, (just like WTC 9-11) to support another war for Israel's benefit. Israel's "samson option" is a real threat to "light one off" in a European or American city, if Israel's interests are not taken seriously.

Israel refuses to abide by IAEA guidelines concerning its nukes as they are already distributed around the world. Israel would not be able to produce all of them as most of them are not in Israel, proper. No delivery systems are needed as Israel's nukes are already "in place". Look for another "false flag" operation with the blame being put on Iran or Syria. You can bet that some Iranian or Syrian passports will be found in the rubble.

Israel also threatens to detonate nuclear devices in several US cities. Talk about total INSANITY; the so-called "Samson Option" is it.

As an aside, American "foreign aid" is prohibited from being given to any country that has not signed the "Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty" or refuses to abide by "International Atomic Energy Agency" (IAEA) guidelines regarding its nuclear devices. Guess what?? Israel does not abide by EITHER and still gets the majority of American "foreign aid". This prohibition also applies to countries that do not register their "agents of a foreign government" with the U S State Department. Guess what?? Israel (again) with its "American Israel Political Action Committee" (AIPAC) still gets "foreign aid" in contravention of American law..

There are forty or so congressmen, senators and thousands of high-level policy "wonks" infecting the U S government who hold "dual citizenship" with Israel. Such dual citizenship must be strictly prohibited. Those holding dual citizenship must be required to renounce said foreign citizenship. Refusal to do so should result in immediate deportation with loss of American citizenship. Present and former holders of dual citizenship should never be allowed to serve in any American governmental capacity.

When Netanyahu addressed both houses of congress, it was sickening to see our politicians slobber all over themselves to PROVE that they were unconditional supporters of Israel just who the hell do they work for? Certainly not for the interests of the American people and the United States they should renounce their United States citizenship and be deported to Israel

Bardon Kaldian , August 14, 2018 at 2:17 pm GMT
Giraldi is here-unlike in most of his regularly anti-Semitic texts- right about one crucial thing: American Gentile cow-towing to (real or imagined) Jewish power in the US, as illustrated by absurd Baron Cohen's episode.

However, I don't blame most of US Jews for that. Jewish ethnocentrists are to be suspect, sure, but the main question for US gentile politicians & public figures remains: why are you such suckers, anyway?

Sam Shama , August 14, 2018 at 2:35 pm GMT
Between Jessica at #23, and Anon at #45 lay two paramount pieces of instruction which Phil Giraldi ought to heed.

Ordinary Jews are no more required to register their objections over AIPAC's actions than are Christians over the actions of their top leaders including the POTUS, domestic MIC lobbies, the Gun Lobby and the Oil lobby; no more that is, beyond what each citizen expresses through her vote. Individuals may choose; to go beyond, into political activism; yet choice is the operative notion.

And no, Geokat, Power isn't listening to Phil over the sound of crickets for the simple reason that Power does not read the UR, couldn't care less if they did, as the Review quite rapidly degenerates to the station of an unrelenting hate rag frequented by dubious IQ cultists, antisemites and White Nationalism apologists.

Felicity , August 14, 2018 at 3:14 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke

"Many in the intelligence and law enforcement communities suspect that it (Israel) had considerable prior intelligence regarding the 9/11 plot but did not share it with Washington."

And according to Jimmy Carter Israeli intelligence had advance information of the suicide attack on the US barracks in Beirut in 1983 that killed 243 US servicemen (one of whom was a member of my family). The Israelis decided to not inform US intelligence in the hope that a major attack on US personnel would precipitate a commitment of US troops and arms into the region. So much for our Israeli "ally".

JessicaR , August 14, 2018 at 4:10 pm GMT
@Anonymouse

You are, of course, correct that the US committed either genocide or near-genocide (depending on your definition of the term) against Native Americans. However, NOW, in the 21st century, any Native American who is a US citizen is free to buy property in any part of America and live where he chooses. Native Americans are no longer confined to reservations. While poverty is a fact of life for many Native Americans, some tribes have profited substantially from gambling. In Florida, Seminoles may receive upward of 40,000 a year (each man, woman, and child) as their share of the gambling revenues. They can certainly afford to buy property just about anywhere.

(Note that I am not denying that much discrimination and inequality still persist and that most reservations with gambling offer very little to tribal members.)

In Israel, however, Palestinians cannot return to their home towns and buy property. They are not free to live where they choose. Many are still confined to refugee camps. Housing discrimination continues to persist for Israeli Arabs. Yes, the High Court ruled it illegal, but few remedies are in place, which means the practice continues largely unabated.

If you want to use historical analogies, I believe you should use them in full.

utu , August 14, 2018 at 4:39 pm GMT

Cohen's performance is instructive. A man shows up in Israeli uniform, claims to be a terrorism expert or even a Mossad agent, and he gains access to powerful Americans who are willing to do anything he says.

It is very telling about the human material on the right in America. Complete morons. Now think about it. It was a prank, right? But I can imagine that real negotiations with Israelis are very similar and produce similar positive outcomes for Israelis. Israelis play Americans anyway they want on all levels of federal and local administrations. They have the same attitude towards Americans as Jack Abramoff had towards his counterparts at Indian reservations. Why shouldn't they? It works.

he called his Indian clients "troglodytes" and "morons" and "monkeys," "the stupidest idiots in the land." In one particularly damning e-mail he counseled Scanlon, "The key thing to remember with all these clients is that they are annoying, but that the annoying losers are the only ones which have this kind of money and part with it so quickly . So, we have to put up with this stuff."

At best American are annoying losers who part with their money quickly.

Mr. Giraldi, why do you bother with your articles? You still have illusions that you can educate the monkeys?

Anon [270] Disclaimer , Website August 14, 2018 at 4:44 pm GMT
"special relationship"

It smacks of supremacism, doesn't it? It means the US must favor Zionist occupiers in West Bank over Palestinians, the very people who are being occupied.

It means the US must favor Israel, a nation that stole uranium from US and has 300 nukes, over Iran, a nation that passed all inspections and has no nukes.

This special relationship is a form of worship. It is never discussed rationally WHY Israel is so crucial to us. Instead, politicians and pundits gush about it with fanatical devotion, as if it's a sacred truth. Anyone who questions it even slightly is marginalized or destroyed. Some might Giraldi has been too strident, but even mild criticism of Israel or Zionism can get you banned from media or politics.

I find it odd that Jews always remind us that Old America was 'racist' because it favored Europeans over non-whites, especially in immigration and foreign policy. After all, the US often sided with European imperialists over non-white subjects of colonialism.

In New America, there is supposed to no Special Treatment for any group, but Jews and Israel get it all the time. In asylum(Save Soviet Jews), in immigration, in college admission, in foreign policy -- not just in supporting Israel at every turn but in waging Wars for Israel and hating on any nation hated by Jews, esp Russia, Iran, and Syria.

[Aug 14, 2018] Iran s Supreme Leader No War Nor Negotiations Ever With This White House

Aug 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

In near simultaneous statements addressed to the Iranian public in a speech aired on state TV, the supreme leader who has the final word over all affairs in the Islamic republic, issued the directive: "I ban holding any talks with America... America never remains loyal to its promises in talks."

"America's withdrawal from the nuclear deal is a clear proof that America cannot be trusted," state TV quoted Khamenei further.

As part of his series of tweets, some of which mocked Trump's policy in the Middle East, Khamenei published an infographic presenting his position on ratcheting tensions with the U.S.

He also slammed the idea that this was the first such offer of talks, saying that Iran has proudly resisted unfair and imbalanced U.S. offers of negotiations for decades, and even cited President Ronald Reagan's sending his national security advisor, Robert McFarlane to Tehran for failed negotiations.

Notably, he appeared to troll Trump personally as well as his cabinet in the following:

A stupid man tells the Iranian nation that 'your government spends your money on Syria'. This is while his boss-- the U.S. president-- has admitted he spent 7 trillion dollars in the Middle East without gaining anything in return!

The top Iranian cleric also briefly referenced Iran's domestic crisis, which has included sporadic protests and clashes with the police throughout the summer in response to a plummeting rial and inability of people to access imported goods, stating "Today's livelihood problems do not emerge from outside; they are internal."

He urged the country to resist sanctions and erect "prudent" ways shielding from their effects.

It will be interesting to see if Trump responds to this directly in a tweet, or if any official reaction will be forthcoming from the White House.

But in the meantime it appears the possibility of any renegotiation after Trump's official pullout of the JCPOA last May has just had to the door slammed on it.


truthseeker47 -> vvaleria692 Mon, 08/13/2018 - 13:41 Permalink

Of course Iranian leaders do not want to negotiate with Trump, they know they cannot walk all over him like they did with Obummer.

peddling-fiction -> truthseeker47 Mon, 08/13/2018 - 13:50 Permalink

No war? Chuckle.

TBT or not TBT -> peddling-fiction Mon, 08/13/2018 - 13:57 Permalink

The mullahs are going to be quite the whiny bitches for a while. The anti-American pro Islam President Obama, Commie CIA director, for sale Sec of State, gay agenda Pentagon director and Ben Rhodes and ValJar, Rice and their ill will not be returning. Islamic socialism will be performing the economic wonders you can expect, putting a strong clamp on you their foreign subversion and domestic payrolls too. Meanwhile, they've got a middle class that hates them and views Islam as foreign dirty Arabs' inhuman sect. Good luck with that.

[Aug 14, 2018] Paradoxically it is not in best inteersts of Russia to rock the boat of international economy despite sanctions

Aug 14, 2018 | russia-insider.com

All attempt to limit their effectiveness are OK. Attempts to undermine the USA economy or dollar status as the reserve currency are not.

[Aug 14, 2018] New US Sanctions. Bring Them on and Let's See Whose Side God Is On!

Russia pays the [huge] cost of remaining a nation, a civilization and a state ~Vladimir Putin.
Putin Slams US: "The Biggest Mistake Russia Ever Made Was To Trust You"
This is a clear attempt top abuse the dominant position of the USA in the world. For Russian this is powerful blow in the torso, Will it be knockdown remains to be seen. Also as a weaker party Russia can's afford a powerful counterstrike.
Notable quotes:
"... "Skulduggery instead of diplomacy, lies instead of truth, hairdresser-saloon hearsay against facts and truth, anything goes in the attempt to derail the one nation with the guts, gumption, grit and wherewithal to counter the evil hegemonistic plans of Washington and its chihuahuas" ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | russia-insider.com
"Skulduggery instead of diplomacy, lies instead of truth, hairdresser-saloon hearsay against facts and truth, anything goes in the attempt to derail the one nation with the guts, gumption, grit and wherewithal to counter the evil hegemonistic plans of Washington and its chihuahuas" Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey 14 hours ago | 2,909 85 More sanctions from the USA using the Skripal affair as an excuse without a shred of evidence, based on hype, hysteria and hearsay. Back-door economic warfare.

Surprise, surprise. The USA invokes a law from the 1990s claiming that it has to impose sanctions when a country crosses a chemical or biological line, in this case an invisible one with no proof, no law case, no due legal process, just an allegation from wonderful British intelligence that the Kremlin was involved in the Skripal case. Proof? None actually...none at all. Just a vague blanket statement along the lines of "They have done it before and they have said they will take out traitors and in the absence of any plausible alternative, they must be guilty". For Washington, after months of vacillating, stating the obvious that it is very complicated to apportion the blame when nobody knows which novichok was used, where it was produced and in the total absence of any trail linking it to the Kremlin, we get the idea that we are looking yet again at the wonderful British intelligence of the type that Colin Powell used to justify the USA's illegal and murderous act of butchery against Iraq. The type of intelligence which resembles a decade-old doctoral thesis copied and pasted from the net and sexed up by Downing Street.

And here they are again, the dynamic duo. Skulduggery instead of diplomacy, lies instead of truth, hairdresser-saloon hearsay against facts and truth, anything goes in the attempt to derail the one nation with the guts, gumption, grit and wherewithal to counter the evil hegemonistic plans of Washington and its chihuahuas.

Drawing the time line at the beginning, let us analyze what is happening and let us see the movie developing from a distance. The political system in vogue at present is the corporatist model controlled by the $inister $ix $isters which control the policies of Washington and its chihuahuas, namely the BARFFS (Banking, Arms, eneRgy, Finance, Food, Pharma/DrugS Lobbies). The BARFFS live off resources and as history has shown us when they have none themselves, they invade countries and steal them. Ask Africa, the victim of a silent Holocaust which claimed seventy million lives.

Russia for them is kosher when it is ruled by something that bends over when told to and allows foreigners to steal the country's resources. Russia for them is not kosher when someone like Putin comes along, slams his fist on the table and says loud and clear that Russian resources are for Russians, managed by Russians. What the BARFFS want is to see Russia divided up into, say, one hundred micro-states each one with a BARFFS-friendly government allowing foreigners to syphon off the vast resources of this country.

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The game starts with promises made to the then-USSR about friendly relations, about NATO not encroaching eastwards, about a new world order based on partnership. It then quickly morphs out of control with the help of the media, using buzz-words and expressions such as "collapse of the Soviet Union" (absolute nonsense, it did not collapse, it transformed from the Union to the Commonwealth as per the terms of the Third Soviet Constitution, without consulting the people, or has everyone forgotten that?). There then ensued acts of provocation in the Balkans, and then in Russia itself (Chechnya), then on Russia's frontiers.

Before Georgia in 2008 we had a spectacular example of war crimes and an illegal invasion of Iraq to test the waters, where military hardware was deployed against civilian structures, where fields of cereals were strafed by NATO aircraft to starve families, where Depleted Uranium was deployed leaving swathes of territory poisonous; beforte this we had the illegal interference in the Republic of Serbia, backing terrorists (Ushtria Çlirimtare ë Kosovës, UÇK or KLA) and the illegal act of kidnapping and subsequent manslaughter/murder of Slobodan Milosevich, who died in custody while being held illegally and without being found guilty of any of the crimes leveled against him.

With Georgia we had another act of provocation in which Georgian forces attacked Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia and were building up to do the same in Abkhazia, territories which under the Soviet Constitution had necessarily to have status referendums on which way the people wanted to go and into which Republic they should integrate. Georgia refused to hold these referendums.

And since Georgia we had Libya, a shocking act of barbarity in which NATO interfered in the internal affairs of a sovereign state, sending the country with the highest Human Development Index back into the dark ages, fragmented and crawling with terrorists. Not to mention Afghanistan, started in 2001 and ongoing, where "allied" troops are photographed guarding opium fields, where opium production has risen and where Talebaan fighters are seen escorting NATO convoys, paid, like WTF?... and not to mention Syria, in which the same side once again allied itself with terrorists as it did in Libya, terrorists which raped little girls before and after they were beheaded, which raped nuns savagely in every orifice of their bodies, which impaled little boys on stakes and which ripped the hearts out of Syrian soldiers and bit into them.

So we see what we are up against. And if all that were not enough today we have the idiotic acts of provocation in the Baltic where a handful of NATO soldiers are cavorting around like toy soldiers claiming to keep their countries safe. From what? Jupiter? Ah and yes, we have Ukraine as the latest act of provocation.

It started off well before the so-called protests in Independence Square, Kiev with subversion and organization of protesters who took to the streets in November 2013 and in late February 2014, shots were fired from the sixth floor of Hotel Ukraine on the protesters in the square below to create a "cause", the democratically elected President was ousted in an illegal coup, massacres were perpetrated against Russian-speaking Ukrainians (this story seems to have disappeared from the Western media) and Fascists shouted slogans such as "Death to Russians and Jews". As a reaction, Russian-speaking Ukrainians defended themselves in South-East Ukraine and in the absence of the due legal force in the Republic of Crimea, the Legislative Assembly, now the organism with due legal force, organized a referendum on status and over ninety per cent of the population (Russians) voted to reintegrate Russia. It's called Democracy. Maybe Washington and its chihuahuas should try it some time.

What the BARFFS wanted Russia to do was to roll over, drop its pants and say "sock it to me, babe". With another leader, that might have happened. Not with Putin. So now we have instead, economic warfare with sanctions, more sanctions and increased sanctions, trying to tie a knot around Russia's throat and tightening it, now linking Crimea to Abkhazia to South Ossetia, to state-sponsored terrorism without a shred of respect for the law and the facts. It is by now crystal clear what the West wants.

It wants to strangle the Russian economy to create unrest in Russia and create political movements against Putin. It then wants to instal a west-friendly government which will see Russia fragmented, sooner or later, into a myriad of republics, each one with their resources controlled by foreigners.

That is what the sanctions are about. Let us see whose side God is on.


Source: Pravda.ru

[Aug 14, 2018] US Intelligence Community is Tearing the Country Apart from the Inside by Dmitry Orlov

Highly recommended!
This is an interesting analysis shedding some light on how the US intelligence services have gone rogue...
Notable quotes:
"... Most recently, British "special services," which are a sort of Mini-Me to the to the Dr. Evil that is the US intelligence apparatus, saw it fit to interfere with one of their own spies, Sergei Skripal, a double agent whom they sprung from a Russian jail in a spy swap. They poisoned him using an exotic chemical and then tried to pin the blame on Russia based on no evidence. ..."
"... the Americans are doing their best to break the unwritten rule against dragging spies through the courts, but their best is nowhere near good enough. ..."
"... That said, there is no reason to believe that the Russian spies couldn't have hacked into the DNC mail server. It was probably running Microsoft Windows, and that operating system has more holes in it than a building in downtown Raqqa, Syria after the Americans got done bombing that city to rubble, lots of civilians included. When questioned about this alleged hacking by Fox News, Putin (who had worked as a spy in his previous career) had trouble keeping a straight face and clearly enjoyed the moment. ..."
"... He pointed out that the hacked/leaked emails showed a clear pattern of wrongdoing: DNC officials conspired to steal the electoral victory in the Democratic Primary from Bernie Sanders, and after this information had been leaked they were forced to resign. If the Russian hack did happen, then it was the Russians working to save American democracy from itself. So, where's the gratitude? Where's the love? Oh, and why are the DNC perps not in jail? ..."
"... The logic of US officials may be hard to follow, but only if we adhere to the traditional definitions of espionage and counterespionage -- "intelligence" in US parlance -- which is to provide validated information for the purpose of making informed decisions on best ways of defending the country. But it all makes perfect sense if we disabuse ourselves of such quaint notions and accept the reality of what we can actually observe: the purpose of US "intelligence" is not to come up with or to work with facts but to simply "make shit up." ..."
"... The objective of US intelligence is to suck all remaining wealth out of the US and its allies and pocket as much of it as possible while pretending to defend it from phantom aggressors by squandering nonexistent (borrowed) financial resources on ineffective and overpriced military operations and weapons systems. Where the aggressors are not phantom, they are specially organized for the purpose of having someone to fight: "moderate" terrorists and so on. ..."
"... "What sort of idiot are you to ask me such a stupid question? Of course they are lying! They were caught lying more than once, and therefore they can never be trusted again. In order to claim that they are not currently lying, you have to determine when it was that they stopped lying, and that they haven't lied since. And that, based on the information that is available, is an impossible task." ..."
"... "The US intelligence agencies made an outrageous claim: that I colluded with Russia to rig the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The burden of proof is on them. They are yet to prove their case in a court of law, which is the only place where the matter can legitimately be settled, if it can be settled at all. Until that happens, we must treat their claim as conspiracy theory, not as fact." ..."
"... But no such reality-based, down-to-earth dialogue seems possible. All that we hear are fake answers to fake questions, and the outcome is a series of faulty decisions. Based on fake intelligence, the US has spent almost all of this century embroiled in very expensive and ultimately futile conflicts. ..."
"... Thanks to their efforts, Iran, Iraq and Syria have now formed a continuous crescent of religiously and geopolitically aligned states friendly toward Russia while in Afghanistan the Taliban is resurgent and battling ISIS -- an organization that came together thanks to American efforts in Iraq and Syria. ..."
"... Another hypothesis, and a far more plausible one, is that the US intelligence community has been doing a wonderful job of bankrupting the country and driving it toward financial, economic and political collapse by forcing it to engage in an endless series of expensive and futile conflicts -- the largest single continuous act of grand larceny the world has ever known. How that can possibly be an intelligent thing to do to your own country, for any conceivable definition of "intelligence," I will leave for you to work out for yourself. While you are at it, you might also want to come up with an improved definition of "treason": something better than "a skeptical attitude toward preposterous, unproven claims made by those known to be perpetual liars. ..."
Jul 28, 2018 | russia-insider.com
In today's United States, the term "espionage" doesn't get too much use outside of some specific contexts. There is still sporadic talk of industrial espionage, but with regard to Americans' own efforts to understand the world beyond their borders, they prefer the term "intelligence." This may be an intelligent choice, or not, depending on how you look at things.

First of all, US "intelligence" is only vaguely related to the game of espionage as it has been traditionally played, and as it is still being played by countries such as Russia and China. Espionage involves collecting and validating strategically vital information and conveying it to just the pertinent decision-makers on your side while keeping the fact that you are collecting and validating it hidden from everyone else.

In eras past, a spy, if discovered, would try to bite down on a cyanide capsule; these days torture is considered ungentlemanly, and spies that get caught patiently wait to be exchanged in a spy swap. An unwritten, commonsense rule about spy swaps is that they are done quietly and that those released are never interfered with again because doing so would complicate negotiating future spy swaps.

In recent years, the US intelligence agencies have decided that torturing prisoners is a good idea, but they have mostly been torturing innocent bystanders, not professional spies, sometimes forcing them to invent things, such as "Al Qaeda." There was no such thing before US intelligence popularized it as a brand among Islamic terrorists.

Most recently, British "special services," which are a sort of Mini-Me to the to the Dr. Evil that is the US intelligence apparatus, saw it fit to interfere with one of their own spies, Sergei Skripal, a double agent whom they sprung from a Russian jail in a spy swap. They poisoned him using an exotic chemical and then tried to pin the blame on Russia based on no evidence.

There are unlikely to be any more British spy swaps with Russia, and British spies working in Russia should probably be issued good old-fashioned cyanide capsules (since that supposedly super-powerful Novichok stuff the British keep at their "secret" lab in Porton Down doesn't work right and is only fatal 20% of the time).

There is another unwritten, commonsense rule about spying in general: whatever happens, it needs to be kept out of the courts, because the discovery process of any trial would force the prosecution to divulge sources and methods, making them part of the public record. An alternative is to hold secret tribunals, but since these cannot be independently verified to be following due process and rules of evidence, they don't add much value.

A different standard applies to traitors; here, sending them through the courts is acceptable and serves a high moral purpose, since here the source is the person on trial and the method -- treason -- can be divulged without harm. But this logic does not apply to proper, professional spies who are simply doing their jobs, even if they turn out to be double agents. In fact, when counterintelligence discovers a spy, the professional thing to do is to try to recruit him as a double agent or, failing that, to try to use the spy as a channel for injecting disinformation.

Americans have been doing their best to break this rule. Recently, special counsel Robert Mueller indicted a dozen Russian operatives working in Russia for hacking into the DNC mail server and sending the emails to Wikileaks. Meanwhile, said server is nowhere to be found (it's been misplaced) while the time stamps on the files that were published on Wikileaks show that they were obtained by copying to a thumb drive rather than sending them over the internet. Thus, this was a leak, not a hack, and couldn't have been done by anyone working remotely from Russia.

Furthermore, it is an exercise in futility for a US official to indict Russian citizens in Russia. They will never stand trial in a US court because of the following clause in the Russian Constitution: "61.1 A citizen of the Russian Federation may not be deported out of Russia or extradited to another state."

Mueller may summon a panel of constitutional scholars to interpret this sentence, or he can just read it and weep. Yes, the Americans are doing their best to break the unwritten rule against dragging spies through the courts, but their best is nowhere near good enough.

That said, there is no reason to believe that the Russian spies couldn't have hacked into the DNC mail server. It was probably running Microsoft Windows, and that operating system has more holes in it than a building in downtown Raqqa, Syria after the Americans got done bombing that city to rubble, lots of civilians included. When questioned about this alleged hacking by Fox News, Putin (who had worked as a spy in his previous career) had trouble keeping a straight face and clearly enjoyed the moment.

He pointed out that the hacked/leaked emails showed a clear pattern of wrongdoing: DNC officials conspired to steal the electoral victory in the Democratic Primary from Bernie Sanders, and after this information had been leaked they were forced to resign. If the Russian hack did happen, then it was the Russians working to save American democracy from itself. So, where's the gratitude? Where's the love? Oh, and why are the DNC perps not in jail?

Since there exists an agreement between the US and Russia to cooperate on criminal investigations, Putin offered to question the spies indicted by Mueller. He even offered to have Mueller sit in on the proceedings. But in return he wanted to question US officials who may have aided and abetted a convicted felon by the name of William Browder, who is due to begin serving a nine-year sentence in Russia any time now and who, by the way, donated copious amounts of his ill-gotten money to the Hillary Clinton election campaign.

In response, the US Senate passed a resolution to forbid Russians from questioning US officials. And instead of issuing a valid request to have the twelve Russian spies interviewed, at least one US official made the startlingly inane request to have them come to the US instead. Again, which part of 61.1 don't they understand?

The logic of US officials may be hard to follow, but only if we adhere to the traditional definitions of espionage and counterespionage -- "intelligence" in US parlance -- which is to provide validated information for the purpose of making informed decisions on best ways of defending the country. But it all makes perfect sense if we disabuse ourselves of such quaint notions and accept the reality of what we can actually observe: the purpose of US "intelligence" is not to come up with or to work with facts but to simply "make shit up."

The "intelligence" the US intelligence agencies provide can be anything but; in fact, the stupider it is the better, because its purpose is allow unintelligent people to make unintelligent decisions. In fact, they consider facts harmful -- be they about Syrian chemical weapons, or conspiring to steal the primary from Bernie Sanders, or Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, or the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden -- because facts require accuracy and rigor while they prefer to dwell in the realm of pure fantasy and whimsy. In this, their actual objective is easily discernible.

The objective of US intelligence is to suck all remaining wealth out of the US and its allies and pocket as much of it as possible while pretending to defend it from phantom aggressors by squandering nonexistent (borrowed) financial resources on ineffective and overpriced military operations and weapons systems. Where the aggressors are not phantom, they are specially organized for the purpose of having someone to fight: "moderate" terrorists and so on.

One major advancement in their state of the art has been in moving from real false flag operations, à la 9/11, to fake false flag operations, à la fake East Gouta chemical attack in Syria (since fully discredited). The Russian election meddling story is perhaps the final step in this evolution: no New York skyscrapers or Syrian children were harmed in the process of concocting this fake narrative, and it can be kept alive seemingly forever purely through the furious effort of numerous flapping lips. It is now a pure confidence scam. If you are less then impressed with their invented narratives, then you are a conspiracy theorist or, in the latest revision, a traitor.

Trump was recently questioned as to whether he trusted US intelligence. He waffled. A light-hearted answer would have been:

"What sort of idiot are you to ask me such a stupid question? Of course they are lying! They were caught lying more than once, and therefore they can never be trusted again. In order to claim that they are not currently lying, you have to determine when it was that they stopped lying, and that they haven't lied since. And that, based on the information that is available, is an impossible task."

A more serious, matter-of-fact answer would have been:

"The US intelligence agencies made an outrageous claim: that I colluded with Russia to rig the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The burden of proof is on them. They are yet to prove their case in a court of law, which is the only place where the matter can legitimately be settled, if it can be settled at all. Until that happens, we must treat their claim as conspiracy theory, not as fact."

And a hardcore, deadpan answer would have been:

"The US intelligence services swore an oath to uphold the US Constitution, according to which I am their Commander in Chief. They report to me, not I to them. They must be loyal to me, not I to them. If they are disloyal to me, then that is sufficient reason for their dismissal."

But no such reality-based, down-to-earth dialogue seems possible. All that we hear are fake answers to fake questions, and the outcome is a series of faulty decisions. Based on fake intelligence, the US has spent almost all of this century embroiled in very expensive and ultimately futile conflicts.

Thanks to their efforts, Iran, Iraq and Syria have now formed a continuous crescent of religiously and geopolitically aligned states friendly toward Russia while in Afghanistan the Taliban is resurgent and battling ISIS -- an organization that came together thanks to American efforts in Iraq and Syria.

The total cost of wars so far this century for the US is reported to be $4,575,610,429,593. Divided by the 138,313,155 Americans who file tax returns (whether they actually pay any tax is too subtle a question), it works out to just over $33,000 per taxpayer. If you pay taxes in the US, that's your bill so far for the various US intelligence "oopsies."

The 16 US intelligence agencies have a combined budget of $66.8 billion, and that seems like a lot until you realize how supremely efficient they are: their "mistakes" have cost the country close to 70 times their budget. At a staffing level of over 200,000 employees, each of them has cost the US taxpayer close to $23 million, on average. That number is totally out of the ballpark! The energy sector has the highest earnings per employee, at around $1.8 million per. Valero Energy stands out at $7.6 million per. At $23 million per, the US intelligence community has been doing three times better than Valero. Hats off! This makes the US intelligence community by far the best, most efficient collapse driver imaginable.

There are two possible hypotheses for why this is so.

First, we might venture to guess that these 200,000 people are grossly incompetent and that the fiascos they precipitate are accidental. But it is hard to imagine a situation where grossly incompetent people nevertheless manage to funnel $23 million apiece, on average, toward an assortment of futile undertakings of their choosing. It is even harder to imagine that such incompetents would be allowed to blunder along decade after decade without being called out for their mistakes.

Another hypothesis, and a far more plausible one, is that the US intelligence community has been doing a wonderful job of bankrupting the country and driving it toward financial, economic and political collapse by forcing it to engage in an endless series of expensive and futile conflicts -- the largest single continuous act of grand larceny the world has ever known. How that can possibly be an intelligent thing to do to your own country, for any conceivable definition of "intelligence," I will leave for you to work out for yourself. While you are at it, you might also want to come up with an improved definition of "treason": something better than "a skeptical attitude toward preposterous, unproven claims made by those known to be perpetual liars."

[Aug 14, 2018] Latest Sanctions Against Russia Show Trump Not in Control of His Administration by F. Michael Maloof

It could be the Trump was already deposed as a President by Pompeo.
I never understood appointment of Haley and appointment of Bolton if we assume that Trump is not a neocon and does not want to continue previous administration policies. Haley is kind of Sikh variant of Samantha Power. Bolton is probably as bad as Wolfowitz. Pompeo also can be viewed as Hillary 2.0.
Notable quotes:
"... In addition, the US has delivered an ultimatum, saying that if Russia does not give assurances within 90 days that it will no longer use chemical weapons and allow international inspectors to inspect its production facilities, further sanctions will be implemented. But Russia denies it used chemical weapons. Unlike the US, it destroyed its chemical weapons stockpile in accordance with international treaties. ..."
"... The legislation gave a 60-day window to begin implementation of sanctions after the Trump administration determined that the now-British citizen Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned by a strain of the Novichok nerve-agent. The US came to that conclusion following an initial determination by the British government. ..."
"... However, the US administration missed the deadline by more than a month. That prompted Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, to write a letter to Trump some two weeks ago slamming the president for ignoring the deadline. ..."
"... Strangely, a government research facility at Porton Down in Amesbury, not far from Salisbury where the alleged March poisoning took place, examined the strain of Novichok. Porton Down lab does work for British Defense Science and Technology Laboratory, run by the Ministry of Defense, and the Public Health England. ..."
"... All of this makes makes the issue as to why Britain, and even the US, never wanted to share samples taken from the poisoning of the Skripals with Moscow more concerning. Yet, they all went ahead in lock-step to condemn Moscow for the poisoning, without any evidence, suggesting a more sinister reason for lobbying increased sanctions against Russia with the goal of further isolating the country. ..."
"... It reflects the need especially by the US to have a demon in an effort to justify its defense spending to bolster NATO up to the border of the Russian Federation in the form of a new containment policy that launched the Cold War in the first place. ..."
"... With even further sanctions against Russia in the recently passed Defense Department Authorization Bill about to go into effect, it is becoming apparent that the allegations against Russia are politically-motivated, false flag allegations to be used as an excuse for a greater geostrategic reason -- to contain Russia just as the Trump administration is increasingly finding its US-led unilateral world order being challenged more than ever. ..."
"... Trump talks about better relations with Russia, but the actions of his own administration in demonizing Moscow dictate otherwise. ..."
Aug 10, 2018 | russia-insider.com
Forget about running the Empire or the American state. Trump isn't even in control of his team US President Donald Trump is not in control of his own administration, as evidenced by the latest round of sanctions imposed against Russia for the alleged involvement in the poisoning of the Skripals in the UK in March.

The sanctions came the same day that US Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced on a trip to Moscow that he had handed over a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin from Trump calling for better relations between the two countries. For that reason, the timing appears to be suspect, suggesting strongly that Trump has his own foreign policy while the Trump administration, comprised mainly of bureaucrats referred to as the Deep State, have their own. Right now, they appear to be in control, not President Trump, over his own administration, and it is having the adverse effect of further alienating Washington and Moscow.

The neocons, led by National Security Advisor John Bolton, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, comprise the Trump " war cabinet " ostensibly aimed at directing a harder line toward Syria, North Korea, Iran but also Russia. Bolton, in particular, has been outspoken in calling for regime change in some of these countries. Trump not so much so. In fact, he has said just the opposite. Nevertheless, their anti-Russian flair in Washington has breathed new life into the neocons who, along with the Democrats, Deep State and much of the mainstream media, have pushed the false narrative of collusion between Russia and Trump.

This persistent anti-Russian rant and repeated sanctions which have been imposed have had the effect of leading to further threats of sanctions for questionable reasons, raising the potential prospect of suspension of diplomatic ties.

Even at the height of the Cold War, relations between the US and Russia never reached such low depths as they have now. The latest sanctions affect primarily dual-use technologies which are civilian products with potential military applications. They include gas turbine engines, electronics and integrated circuits which will now be denied. Previous sanctions going back to the Obama administration, however, already imposed bans on many of these dual-use technologies.

In addition, the US has delivered an ultimatum, saying that if Russia does not give assurances within 90 days that it will no longer use chemical weapons and allow international inspectors to inspect its production facilities, further sanctions will be implemented. But Russia denies it used chemical weapons. Unlike the US, it destroyed its chemical weapons stockpile in accordance with international treaties.

Implementation of the sanctions stem from provisions of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991.

The legislation gave a 60-day window to begin implementation of sanctions after the Trump administration determined that the now-British citizen Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned by a strain of the Novichok nerve-agent. The US came to that conclusion following an initial determination by the British government.

However, the US administration missed the deadline by more than a month. That prompted Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, to write a letter to Trump some two weeks ago slamming the president for ignoring the deadline.

Curiously, the British government hasn't implemented similar sanctions, although the US has. It may reflect the continued uncertainty among some British politicians and experts over the origin of the Novichok and concern with Britain's trade dependency on Russia. But since the Americans opted to implement sanctions due to existing legislation, there was apparently no objection from London even though it initially implemented sanctions by kicking out Russian diplomats from the country.

Moscow, however, vehemently denied that it was involved in the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter. Novichok was created by Russian scientists during the Cold War but never used on the battlefield. Russian officials asked Britain for evidence of Russian involvement and called for a joint investigation to be conducted by the Kremlin and British governments.

The British government repeatedly turned down the offer, as did other Western members of the United Nations Security Council, the US and France, when Moscow sought such a joint investigation.

The US claimed that the information linking the poison to Russia was " classified ."

Strangely, a government research facility at Porton Down in Amesbury, not far from Salisbury where the alleged March poisoning took place, examined the strain of Novichok. Porton Down lab does work for British Defense Science and Technology Laboratory, run by the Ministry of Defense, and the Public Health England.

Results from the examination confirmed the poison was a form of Novichok but – importantly – could not determine where the poison had been created or who had used it. This development created further confusion and prompted disputes among politicians.

It is known that samples of Novichok have been in the hands of many NATO countries for years after the German foreign intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, or BND, had reportedly obtained a sample from a Russian defector in the 1990s.

The formula was later shared with Britain, the US, France, Canada and the Netherlands, where small quantities of Novichok reportedly were produced in an effort to develop countermeasures. Porton Down labs similarly had received samples to study. Czech President Milos Zeman recently admitted that his country synthesized and tested a form of Novichok. Sweden and Slovakia also have the technical capability to produce the nerve agent, according to Russian officials.

All of this makes makes the issue as to why Britain, and even the US, never wanted to share samples taken from the poisoning of the Skripals with Moscow more concerning. Yet, they all went ahead in lock-step to condemn Moscow for the poisoning, without any evidence, suggesting a more sinister reason for lobbying increased sanctions against Russia with the goal of further isolating the country.

It reflects the need especially by the US to have a demon in an effort to justify its defense spending to bolster NATO up to the border of the Russian Federation in the form of a new containment policy that launched the Cold War in the first place.

With even further sanctions against Russia in the recently passed Defense Department Authorization Bill about to go into effect, it is becoming apparent that the allegations against Russia are politically-motivated, false flag allegations to be used as an excuse for a greater geostrategic reason -- to contain Russia just as the Trump administration is increasingly finding its US-led unilateral world order being challenged more than ever.

The reason, however, isn't due to anything that Moscow initiated but by Trump himself who isn't in control of his own administration, and maybe never has been. Many of his campaign promises such as dropping out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or Iranian nuclear agreement, the threat of sanctions against any company that trades with Iran, his tariff war with US allies are in conflict with each other, leading to increased world instability. At the same time, Trump talks about better relations with Russia, but the actions of his own administration in demonizing Moscow dictate otherwise.

F. Michael Maloof is a former Pentagon security analyst.

[Aug 13, 2018] Sergey Lavrov SLAMS new US sanctions over Skripal case

Aug 13, 2018 | theduran.com

Sergey Lavrov SLAMS new US sanctions over Skripal case

Ruble continues to tank under the spectre of looming American sanctions imposed on the basis of circumstantial evidence and insinuation.

Published

9 hours ago

on

August 13, 2018 By

Seraphim Hanisch 1,639 Views ,

[Aug 13, 2018] Like Iran, the Russians know the USA. Is about as reliable as a third hand condom and just as classy.

Aug 13, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Beibdnn. , Aug 13, 2018 4:33:04 PM | 59

@spudski.

I believe Russia sees the sanctions for what they are. A crude attempt to provoke them into a hasty reaction. It is virtually certain they won't react in a childish or inconsidered way.

Paul Craig Roberts is well behind the curve when it comes to what is believed about the west in Russia politics.

A clue might be in the fact they have just reduced their $ reserves to 14 billion, down from nearly 200 4 or so years ago.

Like Iran, the Russians know the U.S.A. Is about as reliable as a third hand condom and just as classy.

[Aug 13, 2018] New US Sanctions vs. Russia by Anatoly Karlin

Notable quotes:
"... Proposed new "sanctions" on Russia essentially amount to a declaration of war. ..."
"... The US is spelling out the conditions that have no chance of being met. Let's hope that the result will be further Russian alignment with China, rather than nuclear war. I'd hate to be killed by Russian missiles hitting the US just because bought by MIC and paid for American "leadership" has gone completely insane. Hope springs eternal. ..."
"... They are constantly talking about the "hybrid warfare" and the Russian "attack" on America, but it means that the US (both its politicians and its population) get psychologically prepared for an actual war, and it is precisely their actions which keep drifting towards actual war. ..."
"... I don't think the Israel lobby alone should be blamed for these "sanctions". Insanity is more widespread in the US "leadership" than Jewish shekels. This looks like the death throes of the Empire. Let's hope it does not take the humanity with it to its grave. ..."
"... Interesting looks like the inevitable Turkish financial crisis has begun, Europe has reasonable exposure there, further disruption to economic ties to Russia would be seen as a hostile act by Europe. ..."
"... Any compromise with the US is unlikely to give anything than shattered delusions. Who could be partners in such a system? Aside from the obvious candidate, China, perhaps even India. Modi has in recent months distanced himself from the US and warmed up to China again. ..."
"... Unless the EU finally shows some spine – which is very unlikely – then the Western system will be exposed to be at the mercy of whoever controls the US. Such a system is hegemonic and it will be in the best interest of not just the non-Western world but even for those of us in Europe to see a breakdown in that world order. ..."
"... Turkey's implicit bet was that it could continue to rely on Western money flows while pursuing an agenda contrary to Western interests has been conclusively shattered. When I say Western interests, I do not mean the propaganda about human rights, which the West manifestly doesn't give two hoots about. ..."
Aug 13, 2018 | www.unz.com

* NBC: Trump administration to hit Russia with new sanctions for Skripal poisoning

The Trump administration is hitting Russia with new sanctions punishing President Vladimir Putin's government for using a chemical weapon against an ex-spy in Britain, U.S. officials told NBC News Wednesday.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed off on a determination that Russia violated international law by poisoning the former spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter in March, officials said, a decision that was announced Wednesday afternoon by State Department.

The biggest impact from the initial sanctions is expected to come from a ban on granting licenses to export sensitive national security goods to Russia, which in the past have included items like electronic devices and components, along with test and calibration equipment for avionics. Prior to the sanctions, such exports were allowed on a case-by-case basis.

A second, more painful round kicks in three months later unless Russia provides "reliable assurances" that it won't use chemical weapons in the future and agrees to "on-site inspections" by the U.N. -- conditions unlikely to be met. The second round of sanctions could include downgrading diplomatic relations, suspending state airline Aeroflot's ability to fly to the U.S, and cutting off nearly all exports and imports.

The sanctions are directly based on H.R.3409 – Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 .

Section 7 covers the sanctions that are to be imposed, which consist of initial sanctions, and further sanctions to be imposed after 90 days if there is no compliance on the country's part.

Initial sanctions : Ban on foreign assistance, arms sales, denial of US credit, and exporting national security sensitive goods. (Most of this is already functionally in place with respect to Russia).

Further sanctions : Ban on multilateral bank assistance [e.g. IMF, World Bank, the EBRD, etc], ban on US bank loans, a near total export ban (except food and agricultural commodities) and import ban, downgrade or suspension of US diplomatic relations, revocation of landing rights to air carriers controlled by the government of the sanctioned country.

Reuters has a US State Department official saying that the sanctions would not apply to Aeroflot, which some commenters have qualified as backtracking. But I think that the official was merely talking of the initial sanctions.

How does Russia go about removing the sanctions? The President will need to "certify" to Congress that the country in question: (1) Has made "reliable assurances", and is not making preparations, to use chemical/biological weapons in violation of international law, or against its own citizens; (2) is willing to allow on-site inspections by UN observers to confirm the above; (3) is making restitutions to the victims of its chemical/biological weapons usage.

This would basically require Russia to admit guilt for the Skripal poisoning and subject itself to the inspections regimes that the US typically tries to force on "rogue states." In other words, it is out of the question.

Moreover, even in the theoretical possibility that this goes through, it's not like President Trump's "certification" will be worth anything amidst the Russiagate hysteria.

Another possibility to avoid the near cessation of trade between the US and Russia is to have the President "waiver" the application of individual sanctions, if he can determine and certify to Congress that doing so is necessary for the national security interests of the US; or that there has been "a fundamental change in the leadership and policies" of the sanctioned country. In either case, the President needs to provide a report to Congress explaining his detailed rationale for the waiver, and listing steps the sanctioned country is taking to satisfy the "removal of sanctions" clause.

This isn't near the end of it, though.

***

* Meduza: Russian newspaper leaks draft text of U.S. Senate's Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act

The newspaper Kommersant has published a full draft of the proposed "Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act," which demands a U.S. investigation into Vladimir Putin's personal wealth and whether Russia sponsors terrorism, and would impose a ban on U.S. citizens buying Russian sovereign debt, though the U.S. Treasury publicly opposed this idea in February, warning that it would disrupt the market broadly. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the initiative's sponsors, says one of the draft legislation's goals is to impose "crushing sanctions."

[Sanctions to include:]

* Banning the banks . The draft bill proposes banning Russia's biggest state banks -- Sberbank, VTB Bank, Gazprombank, Rosselkhozbank, Promsvyazbank, or Vnesheconombank -- from operating inside the United States, which would effectively prevent these institutions from conducting dollar settlements.

* Oil and gas . In the energy sector, the legislation would impose sanctions on investment in any projects by the Russian government or government-affiliated companies outside Russia worth more than $250 million. Businesses would also incur penalties for any participation (funding or supplying equipment or technology) in new oil projects inside Russia valued above $1 million.

* Lists and research . If the bill is submitted in its current form and adopted, the U.S. president would have 180 days to begin implementing its provisions; within 60 days of adoption, the White House would need to provide a new list of Russian individuals suspected of cyber-attacks against the United States; the Treasury Department would have 180 days to update its "Kremlin list" of Russian state officials and oligarchs; the director of national intelligence would be tasked with completing a "detailed report on the personal net worth and assets" of Vladimir Putin and his family; and the State Department would have 90 days to determine whether Russia should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism.

* A new Sanctions Office . In order to shore up the 2017 Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, the draft legislation would also create an "Office of Sanctions Coordination" within the State Department to coordinate work with the Treasury.

Here is the original Kommersant article: Комплекс мер по сдерживанию Дональда Трампа

Here is the text of the draft bill: https://www.kommersant.ru/docs/2018/_2018d140-Menendez-Russia-Sanctions-Bill.pdf

It contains many more interesting details.

(1) The bill's sponsors, which include Lindsey Graham, Robert Menendez, and Ben Cardin, preface their text with a call for President Trump to demand Russia stop interference in US "democratic processes", return Crimea to the Ukraine, stop supporting the separatists in East Ukraine, as well the "occupation and support of separatists" in the territories of Georgia and Moldova, and support for Bashar Assad, who continues to commit "war crimes."

(2) They note that the general drift of the document is towards a consolidation of separate anti-Russian sanctions, from the "Ukrainian" to the "cyber" ones, into a "single mechanism."

(3) Subject to a 2/3 vote in the Senate, the bill also includes a ban on financing "direct or indirect" steps, that have as their goal to support the attempts of "any US government official" to take the country out of NATO. Every 90 days, the US Secretary of State, in coordination with the Defense Minister, would be required to present a report to the relevant committees in Congress about "threats to NATO", which would include attempts to weaken US commitments to the alliance. Considering Trump's ambiguous feelings on NATO, this part is primarily aimed at Trump himself.

(4) There are calls to "pressure" Russia from interfering with UN and the OPCW attempts to investigate chemical weapons usage, as well as to "punish" Russia for producing and using chemical weapons. This directly syncs this sanctions bill to the previous one.

The report concludes that it's not yet clear how to interpret this. In the worse case, it could be a "preliminary application" for a UN campaign to exclude Russia from the Security Council; alternatively, it could just be a "pragmatic" run-up to merely invoking great sanctions, as with Iran in 1983.

***

I suppose we now also know why Russia has been selling Treasuries for the past three months, which plummeted from their typical level of $100 billion in March to just $15 billion from June (i.e. just enough to guarantee USD-denominated trade).

For comparison, the last time such a drawback happened (but which only lasted three weeks) was in the immediate aftermath of Crimea.

The last time Russia pulled such a large sum out of the U.S. was just after the annexation of Crimea in 2014, when the central bank withdrew about $115 billion from the New York Fed, Reuters reported last year, citing two former Fed officials. Most of that money was returned a few weeks later, after it became clear that the scope of initial U.S. sanctions would be narrower than the Kremlin expected, according to the news service.

But I suppose this drawdown would now be permanent, since it is increasingly evident that Iran-tier sanctions on Russia are now on the horizon.

These sanctions are either going to steadily creep in – or rush in like a tsunami if there is a Blue Wave in 90 days, or if Trump was to be removed.

However, as I have pointed out, the ultimate ability of the US to directly punish Russia is limited; it has twice as many people as Iran, after all, and many times the economic output. Trade between Russia and the US is very limited.

Moreover, as I have pointed out , Russia has plenty of surprising ways to hurt the US as well. For instance, banning Aeroflot from flying to the US has a simple response – banning US air carriers from overflying North Eurasia, period. It can resurrect a bill – first raised this May, since sunken in the legislature – to impose fines and prison time on individuals and entities who support Western sanctions by refusing to do business with Russian citizens or entities on America's SDN list. It can throw out the American-dominated copyrights regimen out of the window.

Some questions we should now be asking include:

1. Precisely how far is the US prepared to go? Cutting off its own trade with Russia is one thing – penalizing foreign companies that do business with Russia is something else. As Ben Aris notes , the US Treasury Department has been ratcheting back on its sanctions against Oleg Deripaska and Rusal, after the chaos it has caused in the international metals market. The ideological Russiagaters need to balance their PDS/TDS against the pecuniary practicalities of catering to finance and oil & gas interests and their lobbies.

2. To what extent will the EU join in, passively acquiesce to, or resist the US sanctions against Russia? The answer to this question will to a large extent determine precisely how deeply Russia falls into China's orbit in the next couple of decades.


reiner Tor , August 10, 2018 at 3:38 pm GMT

Putin and his regime are weak on the USA, but Uncle Sam seems intent on making even Medvedev-style weak comprador liberals enemies.

I think unrequited love often turns to hate, and so there's some chance that these weaklings become anti-American nationalists.

The Scalpel , Website August 10, 2018 at 3:40 pm GMT
This sounds very close to a declaration of war. USA is beginning to throw everything it has behind economic warfare and go "all in" forcing even its closest allies to either suffer serious sanctions for not joining the economic attacks or to inflict self-harm by limiting trade with Russia, Iran, and anyone else the US chooses to declare economic warfare upon.

I don't believe that this set of circumstances can continue indefinitely without a serious realignment or a degeneration into "kinetic" warfare.

Mitleser , August 10, 2018 at 3:47 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Putin and his regime are weak on the USA, but Uncle Sam seems intent on making even Medvedev-style weak comprador liberals enemies.

Twit:

Maxim A. Suchkov @MSuchkov_ALM

Russia's PM @MedvedevRussiaE now: #Moscow to treat
:urther #US sanctions as an open declaration of economic war.
1:54 AM-Aug 10, 2018

AnonFromTN , August 10, 2018 at 3:48 pm GMT
Proposed new "sanctions" on Russia essentially amount to a declaration of war. Lunatic asylum is the most appropriate place for the whole American "leadership", down to the last man/woman/tranny. The only thing that stands between us and WWIII, which would be a suicide of humanity, is unbelievably cool and reasonable position of Putin and the rest of Russian leadership.

It is clear to anyone with a brain that the US "sanctions" on Russia have zero chance of changing Russia's stance on any international issues of consequence. Crimea is a good example: it will return to Ukraine the day after the Hell freezes over. On the same date Georgia gets South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and US-sponsored Islamic bandits win over Assad in Syria. Thus, The US is spelling out the conditions that have no chance of being met. Let's hope that the result will be further Russian alignment with China, rather than nuclear war. I'd hate to be killed by Russian missiles hitting the US just because bought by MIC and paid for American "leadership" has gone completely insane. Hope springs eternal.

reiner Tor , August 10, 2018 at 3:56 pm GMT
@The Scalpel

I agree. They are constantly talking about the "hybrid warfare" and the Russian "attack" on America, but it means that the US (both its politicians and its population) get psychologically prepared for an actual war, and it is precisely their actions which keep drifting towards actual war.

There is also a lot of projection going on here: the Americans obviously perceive their own election meddling as war by other means, and so they accuse their enemies with the very same thing.

reiner Tor , August 10, 2018 at 3:56 pm GMT
@Mitleser

Maybe we'll see unrequited love turning into hatred.

LondonBob , August 10, 2018 at 3:59 pm GMT
Russia is far too integrated in to the wider European economy, and Russia is too stronk for sanctions to do anything. See Nord Stream II. Ignore the Israel lobby sanctions, not even the corrupt congress critters could vote for those.

I have no idea why these new meaningless sanctions have been conjured up, maybe the Rand Paul letter has the answer, maybe not. I think we may have some answers after the midterms.

AnonFromTN , August 10, 2018 at 4:05 pm GMT
@LondonBob

I don't think the Israel lobby alone should be blamed for these "sanctions". Insanity is more widespread in the US "leadership" than Jewish shekels. This looks like the death throes of the Empire. Let's hope it does not take the humanity with it to its grave.

neutral , August 10, 2018 at 4:13 pm GMT
Now that it is within the realms of reasonable debate, if there were a nuclear war between the USA and Russia what targets would be hit? Would Russia hit puppet regimes such the UK, France or Poland? Would the USA hit Iran (because if they are going to hit Russia they might as well get Iran in there as well).

If say only Russian and USA were hit, how much of the nuclear fallout would affect Europe?

LondonBob , August 10, 2018 at 4:14 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

Why, if Putin threatened Netanyahu to call off his dogs, he would have to? Actions of AIPAC should be accountable.

Interesting looks like the inevitable Turkish financial crisis has begun, Europe has reasonable exposure there, further disruption to economic ties to Russia would be seen as a hostile act by Europe.

Polish Perspective , August 10, 2018 at 4:18 pm GMT
Russia today is in a much better position to withstand sanctions. Global oil investments have been lagging for half a decade due to low prices, and this will inevitably show up in the coming years. Russia in 2014 was battered by a twin storm, of which the oil price collapse was in fact far worse. That factor is now gone.

Furthermore, a planned VAT rise next year will mean that the break-even oil price for the Russian budget will fall to $50 after $60 this year and $67 last year, according to Alfa Bank's analysis . Steady, impressive improvement. So even in an event of an unexpected oil price decline, Russia is far more prepared this time around.

Additionally, over the last 4 years, Russia's economy has indigenised to a much greater extent than before. This is especially the case in the financial markets. Russia is simply a lot less reliant on foreign funding. Bershidsky wrote about how more and more Russian companies are leaving UK capital markets and returning to Russia. This process will continue but it has already yielded results. As a country with a large current account surplus, tamed inflation, an incredibly strong fiscal state, there is indeed very little that the US can do, which is probably why they are reaching with ever-greater desperation.

I think the ultimate endgame can only be to completely run a parallel system. Any compromise with the US is unlikely to give anything than shattered delusions. Who could be partners in such a system? Aside from the obvious candidate, China, perhaps even India. Modi has in recent months distanced himself from the US and warmed up to China again.

India has always bristled at being treated as a close ally rather as a 'partner'. It has cherished it's non-aligned movement legacy and its historically close relations to Russia. It is unlikely to want to give up on that in order to become a subservient lapdog to US interests in the manner that the EU has degraded itself.

China's AIIB is a good start, but the full range of new institutions must bear fruit. Some of the BRICS ideas are good but ultimately both Brazil and South Africa are too unimportant. It should be borne by the big powers (Russia, India and China) together with an Asian coalition like the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and others who are not in the US orbit yet have a bright future ahead of them.

Turning to Europe. Unless the EU finally shows some spine – which is very unlikely – then the Western system will be exposed to be at the mercy of whoever controls the US. Such a system is hegemonic and it will be in the best interest of not just the non-Western world but even for those of us in Europe to see a breakdown in that world order.

Dmitry , August 10, 2018 at 4:37 pm GMT
America now has a "good cop, bad cop" with Trump and Congress. Congress puts in more sanctions, but there is constraint responding too much because Trump seems friendly, and you don't want to alienate him. Trump himself doesn't care about the sanctions, because he thinks it is leverage that he can lift them later.

There was an article a few months ago that Trump is actually worse than Obama – even in Obama did not supply direct weapons to Ukraine.

I think Trump plans to remove the sanctions in the next year and improve the relations – but without any kind of timetable (his meeting with Putin is delayed already to next year).

Polish Perspective , August 10, 2018 at 4:43 pm GMT
OT: The Turkish lira is now the worst-performing currency this year, bar none.

Turkey's implicit bet was that it could continue to rely on Western money flows while pursuing an agenda contrary to Western interests has been conclusively shattered. When I say Western interests, I do not mean the propaganda about human rights, which the West manifestly doesn't give two hoots about.

Turkey was not entirely foolish to believe this strategy could work. Pakistan during the reign of Islamist military dictator Zia ul-Haq, used a similar strategy during the 1980s. He empowered the mullahs and moved Pakistan decidedly to the hard-right in religious/cultural terms while massively opening up the economy to speculative finance, thereby pleasing Washington. Saudi Arabia has used this policy for a long time. For those who knew this, the revelation that the US funded some of the most extremist "moderate" rebels in Syria came as no shock.

So perhaps it isn't the Islamism in of itself which is the problem in Erdogan's case. What could it be? Well, one clue is the case of Pastor Brunson. The good pastor, who under house arrest in Turkey, is accused to be close to the Gülen cult. The official line in the Western MSM is that Trump is trying to appease evangelicals before the midterms. I don't buy that. He has them in the bag regardless. Gülen himself, some of you might recall, still lives in the US despite repeated pleas from Turkey to give him back. Which is the unreliable ally here? Curiously, Gülen's religious bent is even more Islamist than Erdogan's. He's also even more of a neoliberal. Notice a pattern?

At any rate, the demand from the US has been for Turkey to release Brunson unconditionally. Erdogan's media has speculated that Brunson was slated to become CIA chief in Turkey had the 2016 coup come to pass. Obviously, Turkey does not want to release him unconditionally: it makes them look extremely weak. Well, they now got hit where it hurts. Indeed, Trump even tweeted out new sanctions news today even as Erdogan was delivering a speech. I don't happen to believe in coincidences. The result is that the lira lost close to a quarter of its value in a single day. I haven't even mentioned Turkey's apparent interest in the S-400 missile system among other matters. This, I think, is what truly irked D.C. rather than Erdogan's human rights record or "authoritarianism", which is just the pretext.

Make no mistake: the decline of the lira was structural from the beginning. Turkey's large CAD made it extremely vulnerable to financial speculation from the getgo. It has now paid that price. But this does not preclude the fact that countries which are overtly reliant on Western financial flows to fund large current account deficits should forgo the lesson that there is no free lunch. Erdogan made this cardinal error. Poland is not nearly as vulnerable, but we're also in the same orbit. This is why I always laugh at the Poland Stronk memes. It's also why I dismiss the criticism against Orban that he plays all sides, including taking money from the EU, as politically naïve. Very few countries in this world can reliably be called truly independent. Russia is in the process of becoming one. So is China. India is not quite there, but it has the potential. The rest of us will simply have to balance hegemons, while reminding ourselves of our inherent vulnerability. If we forget that, then we just had a textbook example of what happens when we overestimate our hand, playing out in front of our very eyes today.

AnonFromTN , August 10, 2018 at 4:46 pm GMT
@Polish Perspective

Good to hear something sensible from Polish Perspective (in every sense of this expression). I know some Poles, who tend to be reasonable people, so the policies of Polish government always amazed me. Then again, if Polish democracy is similar to the US, the opinions of the people don't matter at all.

There is still a long way to go before Russia, China, or any other country frees itself from the clutches of dollar-based financial system. However, an alternative might look parallel at the beginning, but it won't be parallel for long. Thing is, the US dollar and the US sovereign debt have become essentially Ponzi schemes. If Russia, China, and a few others create a "parallel" system, dollar-based Ponzi scheme folds, as the US does not have sufficient assets to support the dollar or pay off its debt. The fall of the Empire will likely be violent. The only thing we can hope for is that the humanity survives it.

As to EU, it missed every chance of becoming something with a spine. Too late now. In fact, what French president once said about Arafat (he never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity) applies to the EU with a vengeance.

Felix Keverich , August 10, 2018 at 4:47 pm GMT

I suppose we now also now why Russia has been selling Treasuries for the past three months, which plummeted from their typical level of $100 billion in March to just $15 billion from June (i.e. just enough to guarantee USD-denominated trade).

You're making the Kremlins look smarter than they actually are. They should have done this 4 years ago. What I want to know is what happened to the proceeds from the sale? CBR data shows that value of "foreign exchange" held by the CBR hasn't declined:

https://www.cbr.ru/eng/hd_base/mrrf/mrrf_m/

Did they convert the dollars into other currencies, or are they keeping it in cash on a bank account somewhere, where it could be easily "frozen"?

notanon , August 10, 2018 at 4:49 pm GMT
@LondonBob

Why, if Putin threatened Netanyahu to call off his dogs, he would have to? Actions of AIPAC should be accountable.

i don't this is just AIPAC driven – partly yes but the banking mafia have their own reasons for trying to bring Russia to heel.

Thorfinnsson , August 10, 2018 at 4:54 pm GMT
Great.

Now I can't use the Export-Import Bank insure the export of American-made products from a swing state to Russia. Really Making America Great Again! Can we please replace Pompeo with Rohrabacher already?

Felix Keverich , August 10, 2018 at 5:04 pm GMT
@Polish Perspective

Regarding India, they are asking America for a permission to keep buying Russian weapons. Asking for a sanctions "waiver" – this is just sad. India also agreed to reduce imports of Iranian oil. So, perhaps, not so independent anymore.

There is no way to sugarcoat it: in the short to medium term sanctions will suppress Russian economic growth. But unless they find a way to somehow stop Russia's exports of oil, our economy will shrug off whatever sanction packages US can throw at it.

Cagey Beast , August 10, 2018 at 5:07 pm GMT
@Thorfinnsson

Can we please replace Pompeo with Rohrabacher already?

Rohrabacher is a flake and blowhard as well. If he were in the running for Secretary of State, he could just as easily flip and become militantly anti-Russian in order to impress people in Washington. Appearing tough on foreigners in front of one's peers in Washington is their prime motive. They've been like this since before the Vietnam War era.

Kimppis , August 10, 2018 at 5:09 pm GMT
Anatoly, I read your Russian "Whitepill" article through Google Translate recently:

http://akarlin.ru/2018/08/whitepill/

Obviously a good read overall, but there was this one part that I found particularly well, interesting, and actually quite surprising:

"Moreover, the mid-2020s will also see a massive influx of electric vehicles into the global car fleet, which could lead to a final collapse in oil prices. There was practically no real diversification: the number of industrial robots per worker in Russia is at the level of Iran and India. Meanwhile, "effective managers" like Sechin turned out to be so effective that Rosneft's debts exceed the value of the company itself from this year. An acute economic crisis in a few years is almost inevitable. "

So I'm clearly not even entirely sure whether that translation is accurate, but it really seems like you're kind of suddenly much more pessimistic on the Russian economy. Or is that just the "best-case" scenario for Russian nationalists?

Didn't you rate Putin's "economic management" reasonably highly not a long time ago, just before the Presidential elections? Of course compared to the situation in 2000, but still.

You've also pointed out several times that Russia's oil dependency has been considerably exaggerated. Also, Russia's federal budget is already based on low oil prices. Then there's Jon Hellevig's research and numbers as well (GDP share of oil & gas, the consolidated budget, etc). And Polish Perspective's comment above.

So shouldn't the repeat of 2014 be kind of unlikely, if not impossible? At this rate, Russia's remaining oil dependency should already be considerably lower by the mid-20s, despite all those technological limitations.

You don't believe in an annual growth of 3% anymore? You seriously think there will be an "acute crisis" in a few years?

I actually just read that even the always (or atleast recently) conservative/pessimistic Russian authorities (in this case, the Economic Development Ministry) forecast a growth rate of atleast around 3% beginning from 2021, after the VAT hike, some other "reforms" and increasing spending.

Cagey Beast , August 10, 2018 at 5:23 pm GMT
At the same time, Trump his helping to push the Turkish economy off a cliff with his Twitter account. Russia and Turkey find themselves in the same boat. So?
Dmitry , August 10, 2018 at 5:40 pm GMT
@LondonBob

Israel and Netanyahu responsible for American sanctions on Russia, conspiracy makes less sense to me than the others I read here (Israel responsible for killing Kennedy, etc). Why do Israel want to impose American sanctions on Russia?

This week's sanctions mainly targeting Russian airlines. Aeroflot is about to buy 30 Boeing 737s from America – and now this is in danger.

In Israel, Aeroflot is the third airline, and Israeli government pays it direct subsidies to reduce the ticket prices for places like Eilat. They allow Aeroflot to put giant Aeroflot commercial posters along the roads and skyscrapers.

According to the news earlier in the year, Israel is negotiating to join a customs union with the Eurasian Economic Union. How will they reconcile their own actions, with being the one responsible for America to sanction Russia? It would be very competent 4 dimensional chess, from people who cannot even count their illegal immigrants or deport a single illegal immigrant, or coordinate their nationality policy with a few thousand druze. While making America sanction Russia has no benefit for them, deporting illegal immigrants, or coordinating with Druze has important benefits for them (yet supposedly they can do the former, but not the latter).

At the same time, they do the opposite of sanctioning themselves.

Also if this is the case, how in Russia, nobody in the expert community is aware Israel is responsible for the sanctions. Instead the media celebrate when it still wants to export carrots. And if any of the Kremlin top think relations with Israel are bad, then why is Israel allowed to operate freely in Russia.

If explanation is to do with Syria – it also does not fit. Intervention in Syria was presented as something which would encourage West to remove its sanctions.

For Israel, Russian-American alliance would improve the situation in the region. And also probably for Turkey and the Arabs.

Israel is terrified with an increase of Iran in Syria. The reality is that is that both Russia and America is going to reduce presence in Syria, and Iran is going to increase it. The problem of Russia in Syria for Israel, is that Russia's presence is only minimal, and will allow Iran on the ground to take over the same territories that Russia helps secure for Assad. In the current equation and stage of the war, they will be hoping Russia increases its presence and reduces the need for Iranian forces. Problem of Assad for them is his only to the extent of his relation with Iran, not with Russia.

Mikhail , Website August 10, 2018 at 5:43 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Before the Trump-Putin summit, the Mueller involved FBI indicted 12 Russians, knowing full well that they'd not be turned over to the US. This latest round of sanctions comes right after Rand Paul's trip to Moscow, for the purpose of seeking closer US-Russian relations.

As noted in this below piece, these sanctions are crock based: https://www.rt.com/news/435576-russia-us-sanctions-reactions/

On CNN, the establishment alternative academic Robert English hypothesized that elements in the Russian government might've poisoned the Skripals without Putin's prior knowledge. He leaves out another possibility, in line with US mass media restrictions. In the UK, there're Russian ex pats, who quarrel among themselves, in addition to not liking the Russian government. The poisoning of the Skripals could very well be a matter of trying to kill two birds (so to speak) in one shot.

Of course we don't know for sure. Likewise, with the bogus suggestion as fact that the Russian government poisoned the Skripals. Given the ongoing lack of UK government disclosure on this incident, there's very good reason to doubt the claim against the Russian government.

Mitleser , August 10, 2018 at 5:51 pm GMT
@Polish Perspective

I think the ultimate endgame can only be to completely run a parallel system. Any compromise with the US is unlikely to give anything than shattered delusions.

Seconded. Washington is too much in love with their sanctions.

It should be borne by the big powers (Russia, India and China) together with an Asian coalition like the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and others who are not in the US orbit yet have a bright future ahead of them.

What about Turkey?

Dmitry , August 10, 2018 at 5:58 pm GMT
@Kimppis

Also, Russia's federal budget is already based on low oil prices. Then there's

It's up to 50% of the federal budget in recent years, is funded by oil and gas revenue, although in low oil price years the proportion can fall (to lower 40s%).

When the proportion falls, then you are by definition financing a federal budget in other ways, which are usually less politically popular.

You can see unpopularity of announcements to raise VAT or pension age.

Raising pension age (as needs to often be repeated to people) is necessary and reasonable, but raising VAT is a bad thing as in most countries.

Karlin is probably too pessimistic about oil price demand peaking in 2020s (demand for oil probably peaking in the 2030s).

Either way, it's known there need to be economic reforms, reduction of size of government sector, increase in proportion of private sector in many areas, investment in education for future industries.

Mitleser , August 10, 2018 at 6:05 pm GMT
@Dmitry

Aeroflot is about to buy 30 Boeing 737s from America – and now this is in danger.

Aeroflot should cancel the orders and buy the Airbus 320s Iran was supposed to get.

AnonFromTN , August 10, 2018 at 6:07 pm GMT
@Cagey Beast

But they fail to produce the next generation of consumer-citizens. Or is the Western elite so shortsighted? To the level of "après moi le déluge"?

AnonFromTN , August 10, 2018 at 6:09 pm GMT
@Mitleser

Agree. Aeroflot should not buy anything American. Neither should Iran or Syria. The most sensitive part of the US anatomy is the wallet.

Lars Porsena , August 10, 2018 at 6:48 pm GMT
Having Russia go pirate on US copy-rite laws could be interesting. Do you think the US would build a giant firewall and ban it's citizens from viewing Russian content, and could they actually enforce it, or would the internet be just like back in the good old 90′s days with Napsternik?

Russia might even make some headway with Pirate Party types. Information belongs to the people, comrades! Also Russia switching to Linux would probably lead to an increased development of Linux.

g2k , August 10, 2018 at 7:00 pm GMT
@Thorfinnsson

Looks like these sanctions will force their hand: their new narrowbody airliner was going to have pratt and witney engines with the aviadvigatel ones only for government planes. Not sure what the exact reasons for this were: p&w ones have a slightly higher bypass ratio, it allows international buyers to utilise existing service infrastructure or aviadvigatel's ability to mass produce might be crap. If the us imposes a complete export ban they'll all have to have them.

Russia's current widebody airliner is pretty much obsolete though.

Dmitry , August 10, 2018 at 7:03 pm GMT
Aeroflot had benefited from collapse of Transaero. They're getting 35 planes (all Airbus and Boeing models) from the Transaero fleet and are putting them into Aeroflot fleet this year.

With Boeing, they also had an order of Dreamliners, which they cancelled a few years ago. Although that was just because there was a downturn in long-haul flights. New Boeing 737 orders are for building up their lowcoster "Pobeda".

AnonFromTN , August 10, 2018 at 7:03 pm GMT
@Thorfinnsson

For that, Russia needs to produce all types of civilian aircraft, like the USSR did. That's hard after the 1990s, when the traitors destroyed Russian aircraft industry. There are moves in the direction of restoring it, in cooperation with China. However, they both need to be able to build aircraft w/o any parts from the US and its vassals. That would take 5-10 years. In fact, US sanctions pushed Russia and China in the direction of self-sufficiency very hard. In Russian it is called "sawing off the bough you sit on". The West is really good at that lately.

reiner Tor , August 10, 2018 at 7:03 pm GMT
@g2k

These sanctions might be a net positive for Russia in the long term, forcing them to develop indigenous industries instead of just importing everything from the oil revenue.

reiner Tor , August 10, 2018 at 7:17 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

Probably working together with China is the easier way, and more feasible economically.

Daniel Chieh , August 10, 2018 at 7:23 pm GMT
@Lars Porsena

Do you think the US would build a giant firewall and ban it's citizens from viewing Russian content, and could they actually enforce it, or would the internet be just like back in the good old 90′s days with Napsternik?

The "free market" of Facebook, Apple, Google and Spotify will protect good Americans from fake news.

El Dato , August 10, 2018 at 7:24 pm GMT
@Lars Porsena

Also Russia switching to Linux would probably lead to an increased development of Linux.

I would finally have a good reason to learn me some Russian.

Thorfinnsson , August 10, 2018 at 7:31 pm GMT
@g2k

Presumably they can still source from Rolls Royce. The UK is a smaller economic power than America and presumably less interested in sabotaging one of its crown jewels (never rule it out with the UK ofc).

Russia's aerospace technology is inferior to the West, but that's irrelevant since Russia can simply force Russian carriers to purchase Russian aircraft. Higher operating costs relative to foreign carriers can be addressed with subsidies (or tariffs).

Prioritizing your own technology also creates the option of charting an independent technological course. For instance, instead of building swept-wing jets with low bypass turbofan engines optimized for transonic cruise, you could build straight-wing aircraft with propfans optimized for low fuel consumption. You can also build supersonic aircraft and experiment with different planforms than the boring one established by the Boeing 707.

Thorfinnsson , August 10, 2018 at 7:34 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

This is already in the works with the CRAIC CR929. Engineering in Moscow, assembly in Shanghai. Will be in service around a decade from now.

German_reader , August 10, 2018 at 7:38 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

It's kind of funny how many Americans feel threatened by Iran. Regarding Russia as a threat at least makes a certain sense given Russia's nuclear arsenal and ability to destroy the US.

Felix Keverich , August 10, 2018 at 7:45 pm GMT
@Mitleser

Every time Medvedev opens his mouth, he makes me cringe. Seriously, if you're going to proclaim an "economic war", against USA no less, then you better explain how Russia is going to fight back and win. Smart Russians will be heading to currency exchange ( обменный пункт ) after hearing this statement.

reiner Tor , August 10, 2018 at 7:58 pm GMT
@The Scalpel

More fuel consumption than is usual with modern aircraft, noisier passenger cabin, more external noise (also important for some airports with regulations restricting noisy aircraft), less safety, etc.

It's just not competitive to operate them. Airlines have very low margins anyway, you cannot make a profit with obsolete aircrafts.

Mitleser , August 10, 2018 at 8:50 pm GMT
@German_reader

On the other hand, the Islamic Republic of Iran is ideologically far more committed to anti-Americanism than the RF.

Mitleser , August 10, 2018 at 8:53 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

if you're going to proclaim an "economic war", against USA no less, then you better explain how Russia is going to fight back and win.

Sun Tzu would disagree. Why let the enemy know what you are planning to do?

Dmitry , August 10, 2018 at 9:50 pm GMT
@The Scalpel

There are a couple of new planes which Aeroflot is going to buy/buying for shorthaul – Superjet 100 and MC-21. Karlin was blogging about these planes a few weeks ago.

Airtickets are a freemarket, and most passengers don't want to fly in unsafe old planes like Tu-154

A single crash can be even fatal for an airline – crash of an An-148 has earlier this year, destroyed Saratov Airlines

As a customer, I don't think there is any disgrace in buying Boeing and Airbus. All major airlines now, and around the world, are using mainly Airbus and Boeing, and have now retired the Tu-154.

Gerard2 , August 10, 2018 at 9:52 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

There is no way to sugarcoat it: in the short to medium term sanctions will suppress Russian economic growth

AND also Ukraine's, Moldova's, Georgia's, the Baltics and the friendly countries like Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan etcetera. If anything the US's moron, scumbag policy towards Russia ends up doing the exact opposite of what it intends to do Ukraine, Moldova, Gerogia and Baltics then become more financially interlinked and even dependent on Russia than they were before.

But in the circumstances ..is guaranteed 1% or 1.5% GDP growth per year for the next decade even that bad considering the circumstances? Every social/infrastructure element is improving in Russia

Felix Keverich , August 10, 2018 at 10:08 pm GMT
@Mitleser

The enemy is probably laughing his ass off at Medvedev. One simply should NOT be making such statements as a prime-minister of Russia. Here is another fool, who doesn't understand currency markets:

Gerard2 , August 10, 2018 at 10:13 pm GMT
@Dmitry

You can see unpopularity of announcements to raise VAT or pension age.

It's fake outrage and fake unpopularity on these two issues. 18% increased to 20% is a non-issue ( the budget is being spent significantly better than ever to offset this increase in VAT)

A lot of nonsense about "long overdue" get's said about pension reform but this is total BS. Yes Russia has 48 million out of 146 million as pensioners, but the most important thing is the unexpected , way above average increase in life expectancy . that has actually instigated this move by the authorities.

Those approaching retirement won't suddenly have to work 1-5 years longer they can still opt-in to the current arrangements in the overlapping period.. and with guarantees pension increased much further to corresponding inflation levels than now.

Either way, it's known there need to be economic reforms

Disagree with this .the same patterns that have been shown in the last 4 years need to continue, no radical "reform" is necessary. Small and medium sized business have gone from 10 million to 20 million people and should easily reach the target in afew years time that the President wished for in May,credit behavior and availability is becoming more and more western,

Instead of saying "reduction in size of government sector" you must specify exactly which areas of state control should be privatised .too often from liberasts their focus is solely on getting state control off critically important energy resources and distribution .nothing else.

Cyrano , August 10, 2018 at 10:45 pm GMT
Americans see the Russians as greatness deniers. Their European lackeys are their greatness-acknowledgers – even when it's detrimental to their own survival.

If the world was a theater, Americans see themselves as the only performers – the role of the rest of the world is to applaud their performance.

Russia is not a part of the audience, it's not even a heckler. It's a performer, it has always been, and a very talented one too. To try to demote them to the role of spectators, or to try to usher them out of the concert hall can be suicidal, they have enough musical instruments to put on a remarkable concert – even if afterwards no one is left to applaud.

Mitleser , August 10, 2018 at 10:58 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

One simply should NOT be making such statements as a prime-minister of Russia.

What statements should the PM make?

Anonymous [899] Disclaimer , August 10, 2018 at 11:12 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

Yes we can.

https://www.businessinsider.com/mouse-grown-from-its-mothers-skin-cells-2016-10

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2109305-eggs-made-from-skin-cells-in-lab-could-herald-end-of-infertility/

Daniel Chieh , August 10, 2018 at 11:31 pm GMT
@Anonymous

Mice and humans are quite different, results applying to mice apply to humans less than 50% of the time. The loss rates on this, at any rate, are insane:

Of the 1348 embryos they made, eight pups were born.

Anonymous [931] Disclaimer , August 11, 2018 at 12:16 am GMT
@Daniel Chieh

Every beginning is hard. Considering that all the cutting edge research in fertility/cloning/artificial wombs is done on shoestring budgets, the progress is amazing. Imagine what could be done with sufficient funding.

Our esteemed host have the right idea – the only chance for Russia to achieve its rightful number one place in the world is through new Manhattan project to develop better Russians.
The West is stymied by the "pro-lifers" of the right and "bioethicists" of the left, and this is Russia's chance. Unlike the origial M project, Russians can keep things secret, and even if the West will suspect something, what can they do? Impose sanctions?

In the thirties, ignorant Caucasian moustacheoid gangster picked the Lysenkoists over the scientifically correct Darwinist transhumanist eugenicists. Time to undo this mistake.

utu , August 11, 2018 at 12:37 am GMT
@Anonymous

Our esteemed host have the right idea – the only chance for Russia to achieve its rightful number one place in the world is through new Manhattan project to develop better Russians.

And it will have as much impact on the outcome of the looming confrontation as the Mengele's research had on the outcome of the WWII.

utu , August 11, 2018 at 2:01 am GMT
@Polish Perspective

He's also even more of a neoliberal. Notice a pattern?

The west has no qualms about using Islamist. Radical Islam has been used in 1950s against Nasser's regime in Egypt. Islamist were used against secular pro Soviet regime of Afghanistan and then against Assad's Syria, Hussain's Iraq and Gaddafi's Libya. The equation is complicate: on one side you have Israel's Yinon Plan and global neoliberal and Islamists and on the other side you have secular national countries that try to build greater sovereignty and stronger state.

Majority of Islamist are just useful idiots while some among the leadership are operatives of western security services. Sometimes they break off the leash like Hamas which it does not seem to be controlled by Mossad anymore but it still does everything from the wish list of Israel's hard-liners.

My pet theory is that Islamist of Iran who destroyed the fast growing and developing Iran of Shah were also used by some foreign interests in the west and/or Israel. Shah himself believed it was the British.

You should look at history of your own country in 19 and 20 century. To what extent all those patriots responsible for numerous and hopeless uprisings were useful idiots, dupes or operatives of foreign interests?

Mr. XYZ , August 11, 2018 at 2:09 am GMT
Question about the Skripal poisoning–if it wasn't the Russians, then who did it?

Also, it's interesting that Sergei Skripal's poisoning has resulted in much more Western action than Alexander Litvinenko's poisoning back in 2006 did.

Colin Wright , Website August 11, 2018 at 3:00 am GMT
' The biggest impact from the initial sanctions is expected to come from a ban on granting licenses to export sensitive national security goods to Russia, which in the past have included items like electronic devices and components, along with test and calibration equipment for avionics. Prior to the sanctions, such exports were allowed on a case-by-case basis. '

Now they'll have to pay the Israelis to get it for them. Does this count as aid to Israel?

Colin Wright , Website August 11, 2018 at 3:04 am GMT
If, without admitting guilt, Russia expressed her regret for the fact that Donald Trump won the election, would that open the door to a settlement?
Colin Wright , Website August 11, 2018 at 3:07 am GMT
@Felix Keverich

' Americans view Russia as a greater threat than Iran '

I can go along with that. Russia's a greater threat than Togo as well.

Anon [813] Disclaimer , August 11, 2018 at 3:39 am GMT
@German_reader

I am always puzzled to hear that lesbians require artificial insemination. I had a couple of friends who were a bit behind schedule, and were trying hard to conceive just before the last eggs would wither. Whatever they were doing, taking days off from work when the thermometer said so, shoving it at any price, and so on – it could not be described as pleasurable. So why would the lesbians not bear it if they so much need children?

On a more general note, I am puzzled as to how USSR survived between 1945 and 1989 without fainting at the thought that Americans would not recognize annexation of the Baltic jokes, that Russians would not be allowed to use dollars, or that Pokemon Go could be blocked in the Russian app store. Surely, if you have a population of idiots, like USSR circa 1989, who would think that it's their ow government blocking the dollar and Pikachu, it may gnaw at the roots of the state. But today's Russians can guess that with Putin or without him, with Crimea or without it, they are still seen as enemies of America, and will be treated accordingly.

utu , August 11, 2018 at 4:08 am GMT
@Anon

New state provision would cover fertility services for lower income women

https://nypost.com/2017/04/16/new-state-provision-would-cover-fertility-services-for-lower-income-women/

Conservatives pilloried the program, which sources said is a gift to an Orthodox Jewish community that has pressed for government-paid fertility services for 15 years.

Orthodox leaders called the budget measure a "significant victory" for women struggling to have kids in a community that traditionally values large families.

"This amendment will make it easier for women who would like to have children to do so," said Jeff Leb, a top lobbyist for Jewish nonprofits.

anonymous coward , August 11, 2018 at 7:25 am GMT
@Anonymous

scientifically correct Darwinist

Darwinism violates basic laws of probability theory and the observed fossil record.

It's a nice just-so story for the innumerate (most biologists are innumerate), but not in any way, shape or form science.

anonymous coward , August 11, 2018 at 7:28 am GMT
@Mr. XYZ

if it wasn't the Russians, then who did it?

Guilty until proven innocent? Don't open that Pandora's box. You're gleefully piling on the Russians now, but give a few years and the same gang might apply that principle to you in turn. Just because they hate Russians at this moment doesn't mean they hold any love for the rest of humanity.

Bukephalos , August 11, 2018 at 8:28 am GMT
@Polish Perspective

Brunson's captivity had dragged for quite long already, and we heard negotiations for his release made some progress before. However, Trump ramped up the rhetoric at a precise moment: when Turkey announced they would not only shirk new Iran sanctions (like they did in the past) but also were being vocal about this.

Seeing what ensued, again yes the S-400 was an irritant for a while already and certainly cumulate with other factors but the timeline is interesting. God forbid we conclude those who should not be named are ultimately setting the agenda here, not really the pastor's plight under islamist thugs.

Mikhail , Website August 11, 2018 at 8:45 am GMT
@Mr. XYZ

You could do a better job at reading this thread. See:

http://www.unz.com/akarlin/russia-sanctions/#comment-2458139

Excerpt –

On CNN, the establishment alternative academic Robert English hypothesized that elements in the Russian government might've poisoned the Skripals without Putin's prior knowledge. He leaves out another possibility, in line with US mass media restrictions. In the UK, there're Russian ex pats, who quarrel among themselves, in addition to not liking the Russian government. The poisoning of the Skripals could very well be a matter of trying to kill two birds (so to speak) in one shot.

Of course we don't know for sure. Likewise, with the bogus suggestion as fact that the Russian government poisoned the Skripals. Given the ongoing lack of UK government disclosure on this incident, there's very good reason to doubt the claim against the Russian government.

As for the Litvinenko matter you bring up, there's good reason to believe that he somehow got poisoned by a source other than a Russian government act. His Italian friend got arrested for arms smuggling and was also infected with polonium. Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism. These factors and his links to the likes of Goldfarb and Berezovsky suggest a source other than the Russian government.

reiner Tor , August 11, 2018 at 9:05 am GMT
@anonymous coward

That's wrong, except about the innumeracy of the majority of biologists. Evolutionary biologists are less innumerate than the rest, and in any event, enough of them are numerate (like Greg Cochran with a physics PhD).

anonymous coward , August 11, 2018 at 9:29 am GMT
@reiner Tor

[MORE]

That's wrong

It isn't. I'm a professional, trust me.

Evolutionary biologists are less innumerate than the rest, and in any event, enough of them are numerate (like Greg Cochran with a physics PhD).

Physicists are trained in integrals and analysis, they know nothing about probability theory, statistics and theoretical computer science. These are the fields required to form a semblance of a mathematical theory of evolution.

(A theory that will never be formed, because Darwinism violates the very basic theorems of probability and computation.)

anon [170] Disclaimer , August 11, 2018 at 9:40 am GMT
Sanctions are more or less equivalent to Neo Mercantilism. Currency devalued, imports surpassed, etc.

Last round led to Russian agriculture boom.

The US would not tolerate a sanctions equivalent industrial policy, Nr would the Russian people.

Just call it better than tariffs,

Never before have unintended consequences been so obvious.

utu , August 11, 2018 at 9:49 am GMT
@anonymous coward

[MORE]

Could you give an example of some probabilities? How do you calculate them and with what assumptions?

At resent article by Fred Reed the commenter "j2″ produced some numbers but I was too lazy and not certain that his starting assumptions were correct to verify it.

The Scalpel , Website August 11, 2018 at 10:22 am GMT
@Mr. XYZ

If it wasn't the British, or ISIS, or the Martians, who did it?

Jaakko Raipala , August 11, 2018 at 10:55 am GMT
@anonymous coward

Physicists are trained in integrals and analysis, they know nothing about probability theory, statistics and theoretical computer science. These are the fields required to form a semblance of a mathematical theory of evolution.

Such complete bullshit. Probability and statistics are absolutely key for modern physics and an education in theoretical physics is definitely the best route to train in the practical applications, better than going to the mathematics department where they mainly deal with abstract theory. You clearly know nothing beyond high school level physics (or anything else for that matter).

Some fields of modern physics like thermodynamics ARE basically just pure probability theory applied to physical phenomena. If you take a random sample of research physicists from your local university, they're much more likely to be doing statistical mechanics rather than trying to find analytical solutions for their n-body problem and some application of probability is usually the most important field of mathematics for working physicists.

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 11:11 am GMT
@Mikhail

You're right again about the Litvinenko conspiracy, Mickey. The notion that the Russian government would want to eliminate somebody who had betrayed its secret service, written books denouncing Vladimir Putin for giving the order to murder the likes of Boris Bereszvsky, Anna Polikovskaya and others, accused the secret service of being behind the bombings of the Russian apartment buildings, just doesn't add up or make any sense. The fact that Litvinenko, while lying on his death bed directly accused Putin for being responsible for his death also didn't lend any value that it was indeed Putin behind his poisoning. It just goes to show you the lengths to which the enemies of Russia and Vladimir Putin will go to try and besmearch Putin's honorable name. But they'll never be able to fool somebody with your veracity and skillul analysis – keep up the great 'independent foreign analysis'!

Anatoly Karlin , Website August 11, 2018 at 11:20 am GMT
@Jaakko Raipala

anonymous coward makes it a point of pride to be as consistently wrong as possible.

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 11:27 am GMT
@Mr. Hack

Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism.

I wasn't aware of this and am glad that you pointed this out. Another incredibly strong reason not to believe that the Russian government was behind the Litvinenko poisoning. Isn't it time that you wrote a book, Mickey? I know that other book authors regularly rely on your input to write their own monographs, isn't it time that you put it all together and shared more of your thoughts with the world? Perhaps, Karlin might let you write a chapter in his forthcoming book 'The Dark Lord of the Kremlin'?

APilgrim , August 11, 2018 at 11:33 am GMT
'Russia-Sanctions' are pitiful ' Double-Standards ', written by ' Frustrated Globalists '.
Felix Keverich , August 11, 2018 at 1:30 pm GMT
Anyone wants to comment on this bizarre diplomatic spat, that Greece and Russia are having?

The abrupt deterioration in relations between Greece and Russia has intensified after Athens publicly accused Moscow of attempting to bribe state officials and meddle in the country's internal affairs.

Athens also rejected requests for entry visas from Russian Orthodox clerics heading for northern Greece's all-male monastic republic of Mount Athos.

The community is alleged to be a "den of spies" , with reports that Moscow has turned the Holy Mount – widely seen as the spiritual centre of Orthodoxy – into an intelligence-gathering operation with extensive funding of monasteries across the peninsula.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/11/greece-accuses-russia-bribery-meddling-macedonia-deal

Personally, I'm not sure what to make of it. Greece could be trying to secure some debt relief by manufacturing a pointless row with Russia. Their PM Tsipras did come to Russia in 2015, asking for money. Left with nothing.

anonymous coward , August 11, 2018 at 1:59 pm GMT
@Jaakko Raipala

[MORE]

Probability and statistics are absolutely key for modern physics and an education in theoretical physics is definitely the best route to train in the practical applications, better than going to the mathematics department where they mainly deal with abstract theory.

Untighten your panties. That was my point, which you managed to miss by blindly charging to M'Lady Science's defense.

Any scientific theory of evolution will have to be about information entropy, computational complexity and asymptotic properties of stochastic processes. That's exactly the "abstract theory" you're deriding.

The practical stuff physicists are using for solving practical, well-defined problems is useless here.

anonymous coward , August 11, 2018 at 2:20 pm GMT
@utu

[MORE]

Some quick back-of-the-napkin calculations:

* Age of the universe is about 10^18 seconds.
* The "Planck time" gives us the smallest possible unit of time, about 10^-45 seconds.
* There are about 10^82 atoms in the Universe.

Now assume an ideal computer. Let each atom of the Universe be a CPU, operating as fast as physics allows.

That gives us an upper bound of 10^(18+45+82) = 10^145 CPU cycles for computation.

Now take Shakespeare's sonnet #27. It is 458 letters long. (Let's ignore punctuation.)

If we take 458 random letters of the English alphabet, there are 26^458 random combinations.

So if our ideal Universe-sized computer was randomly picking letters and hoping to compose a Shakespeare sonnet, it would need about 10^300 Universes to do so.

How much more complex is an E. Coli cell compared to a sonnet?

P.S. This is obvious, freshman-tier stuff unless you're blinded by ideology.

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 2:34 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

What' s to make of it? The article that you cite clearly explains what the row is all about:

Moscow announced the move weeks after Athens banned four Russian diplomats after accusing them of fomenting opposition to a landmark deal between Greece and macedonia, opening up the possibility of eventual Nato membership for Skopje.

Your own bizarre explanation betrays your own Russian reasoning:

Personally, I'm not sure what to make of it. Greece could be trying to secure some debt relief by manufacturing a pointless row with Russia. Their PM Tsipras did come to Russia in 2015, asking for money. Left with nothing.

Mitleser , August 11, 2018 at 2:51 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

My guess is that the Greek government wants to gain a powerful backer against Brüssel.

In Greece, he very often appears in public alongside Kammenos and spreads his political views on what is going on in the country via his Twitter account.

The influence goes so far that Pyatt unchallengedly criticizes the Greek judiciary and demands measures against anti-American demonstrators. Tsipras administration, arguing anti-Americanly itself at opposition times, on the other hand, fulfils every wish of the USA. While on the other side of the Bosphorus NATO partner Turkey is pushing its dispute with the US to the top, Greece's government is the most US-friendly since the overthrow of military rule in July 1974: NATO interests, gas pipelines and the regional influence of the North Atlantic defence alliance.

The coalition government of SYRIZA and the Independent Greeks agreed to the expansion of American military bases in Greece, including the stationing of nuclear weapons. This was not initially communicated to the public by the government, but only became known when the Secretary General of the Communist Party, Dimitris Koutsoubas, criticized it during public performances.

Secret diplomacy, as in the case of NATO, is also a characteristic of the Tsipras government in resolving the name dispute with northern Macedonia and in ongoing negotiations on border corrections with Albania. All negotiations are held in secrecy, with reference to the protection of state interests. There is no detailed information and no transparency regarding the reasons for the decision.

Athens is now providing NATO with the infrastructure for military bases in the event that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan withdraws his country from the North Atlantic Defence Alliance.

https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Russland-weist-griechische-Diplomaten-aus-4130628.html

Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator

Yes, that's is the infamous Pyatt who was ambassador in Kiev during the Maidan Coup.
He has been in Athen since 2016.

The case brings to the forefront the tension that seems to have been brewing between Athens and Moscow over the last two years, for reasons that have to do with regional security.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/230551/article/ekathimerini/news/greece-decides-to-expel-russian-diplomats

reiner Tor , August 11, 2018 at 3:04 pm GMT
@Mitleser

As late as this April Tsipras was still skeptical of the Skripal case.

But yes, probably they want America's friendship.

Sean , August 11, 2018 at 3:12 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

Yeltsin was president when the bombings happened. Putin was only prime minister for a couple of weeks before the tower block bombings happened. Boris Bereszvsky killed himself (exiles are often miserable, Skripal wanted to go back) after Litvinenko, they were a couple of losers. No, Putin is a proud man, he sent the anti terror police to arrest Gusinsky not because of investigation into the apartment massacres of hundreds, but because that puppet show Dolls of Gusinsky's NTV portrayed Putin in a way he hated.

Who wouldn't want to inflict a horrible death on someone who accused them of being a paedophile? Litvinenko accused Putin of being a child molester and so Putin immediately issued orders for him to be sadistically murdered and a month he was poisoned (like apartment bombings, these things take a while to set up).

Felix Keverich , August 11, 2018 at 3:30 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

This brings me back to my point about Hitler & weak, foolish Eastern Europeans. Greek government is only behaving this way because it sees no risks in antagonising Russians whatsoever. Slapping sanctions on Greece (by banning tourism for example) might get them thinking.

Anatoly Karlin , Website August 11, 2018 at 3:42 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

One thing I saw is that they dislike Russia's support for replacing Greeks with Palestinians in the Orthodox Church in Israel.

https://www.facebook.com/pakopov/posts/1975263482518921

Israel Shamir had an article on that, interestingly enough: http://www.unz.com/ishamir/the-greek-occupation/

Mitleser , August 11, 2018 at 3:44 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

No sanctions, just encourage the tourism branch to redirect Russian tourists to Turkey which can offer them more for less.

https://www.xe.com/de/currencycharts/?from=RUB&to=TRY&view=5Y

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 3:49 pm GMT
@Sean

Look, I'm not passing judgement on the veracity of these accusations, that Litvinenko made against Putler. I see that you've added another one to the list, that Litvinenko accused Putler of being a pedophile too. All I was pointing out was that there were many reasons why Litvinenko was a target for unfriendly Rusian actions, not like our resident 'Independent foreign Policy Analyst' Mike Averko who claims:

As for the Litvinenko matter you bring up, there's good reason to believe that he somehow got poisoned by a source other than a Russian government act.

Of course, he's a professional analytical type that always knows what he's talking about?

Sean , August 11, 2018 at 4:05 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Greece was told it had to join NATO to be allowed into the EU.

German_reader , August 11, 2018 at 4:11 pm GMT
@Sean

Greece has been a member of NATO since 1952, it joined the European Community in 1981.
It's odd though that a Greek leftist like Tsipras is pro-American, given the strong anti-American traditions of Greek left-wingers. But Tsipras seems to be an all-around scumbag anyway.

JudyBlumeSussman , August 11, 2018 at 4:19 pm GMT

how deeply Russia falls into China's orbit in the next couple of decades

Russia can start taking China's side on an ad hoc basis, e.g. sending ships to the disputed sea and hassling US ships and planes. Russia could hassle them on the Northern half and China on the Southern half, a nice division of labor and multiplication of hassle for the US Navy.

Dmitry , August 11, 2018 at 4:20 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

You can read statements of their foreign ministry.

His statements to do with paranoia about Russian-Turkey relations – statement from Greece was claiming Russia is a "comrade in arms with Turkey".

If Greece is angry about something, it is usually related to Turkey.

As Russia becomes friendly with Turkey – they will find an excuse to be angry, and vice-versa.

Think about Trump is this week criticizing Turkey – so he is probably now a hero in Greece this week.

Greeks are also angry because they think Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society is trying to de-Hellenize Middle Eastern patriarchates .

Philip Owen , August 11, 2018 at 4:22 pm GMT
Russia has enough chicken legs of its own now. They are not washed in chlorine.

Disengagement will simply remove what little influence the US has on Russia. Russia's exports are utterly dominated by primary production which is entirely fungible. The US exports little of high added to Russia and the EU and Switzerland, Korea and increasingly China can replace that. Japan probably won't. Russia has been trying to play a softer game with Japan but both sides true imperialist nature keeps on re-emerging. Like the US, Japan has remarkably low levels of trade with Russia given the size of its economy. Switzerland does a lot of high end complex electromechanical systems, like the Germans. The Germans are good; The Swiss are perfect.

Dmitry , August 11, 2018 at 4:59 pm GMT
@Mitleser

I'm not really sure how low prices for Turkey can become lower. It's already very cheap.

Maybe further devaluation can contribute to the tourist market diverging more between Greece and Turkey. More and more poorer people will go on holiday to Turkey, as it becomes almost as cheap to go on holiday in Turkey, as it is to stay at home.

Maybe Greece can focus more on middle segment of the tourist market.

Sean , August 11, 2018 at 5:07 pm GMT
@German_reader

Greece had withdrawn from the NATO military structure after the invasion of Cyprus by fellow member Turkey. If I remember rightly it was their own PM who told Greeks they had to go back into NATO to be allowed to join the EC.

Jaakko Raipala , August 11, 2018 at 5:24 pm GMT
@anonymous coward

Any scientific theory of evolution will have to be about information entropy, computational complexity and asymptotic properties of stochastic processes. That's exactly the "abstract theory" you're deriding.

Bullshit. I have a pretty good education in probability theory both from the theoretical physics and mathematics departments so feel free to explain whatever point you think you have in as technical terms and with as much abstract math as you like.

I'm just going to claim that you're trying an "it doesn't work because of fancy words X, Y, Z" bluff without any actual technical argument behind the big fancy words. Prove me wrong.

anon [170] Disclaimer , August 11, 2018 at 5:41 pm GMT
@anon

It will have a negative impact on domestic Russian consumption short term. It's stupid, short sighted, and hard to reverse. Sanctions work best when used least.

German_reader , August 11, 2018 at 5:44 pm GMT
@Sean

I hadn't known about Greece's withdrawal from NATO in the 1970s, interesting, thanks.

Jaakko Raipala , August 11, 2018 at 5:48 pm GMT
@anonymous coward

* Age of the universe is about 10^18 seconds.

"Age of the universe" is a pop sci concept. In the standard model of cosmology it is estimated that the universe has developed from a massively dense state to the current state in roughly 13 billion years. We can backtrack the development over that time with current theories of physics and then we hit a wall as matter is so dense that we'd need a quantum theory of gravity to go further back in time but we don't have that. We don't know how long the universe existed before that, actually we don't even know if time existed in the same manner. The earliest known state of the universe was NOT informationless (there were variations in mass distribution etc) so your assumption that patterns would emerge only in the following 13 billion years is false.

[MORE]

If you watch some pop sci documentary, they will explain all sorts of stuff about how the universe was at first some tiny point and there was a big explosion that spread it all over. This is all nonsense that was made up so that pop sci documentaries could have CGI graphics.

* The "Planck time" gives us the smallest possible unit of time, about 10^-45 seconds.

There is no such thing as the "smallest possible unit of time". This is complete nonsense. You seem to get your knowledge of physics from science fiction movies.

There is an expectation that current theories of physics are not accurate at very small time scales (which have not been reached by experiment). This is not the same thing as postulating that there is some "smallest possible unit of time". Current theories of physics simply do not include such a thing.

* There are about 10^82 atoms in the Universe.

We don't even know if the universe is finite or infinite. This is just a claim that you pulled out of your ass. There may even be an infinite number of atoms.

AnonFromTN , August 11, 2018 at 5:51 pm GMT
@Dmitry

Turks are a lot more orderly and competent than Greeks. In fact, I was surprised how much more organized Turks are: we rented a car in Ankara near railway station and returned it in another city near airport, and they delivered the car where we wanted it and then took it off my hands, without car rental agency at either point.

For Russians, there are two additional advantages: no visa is required (you just pay $20 at the airport, and they stick what they call "visa" in your passport), and the same services are cheaper than in Greece.

ploni almoni , August 11, 2018 at 6:10 pm GMT
@anonymous coward

"Any scientific theory of evolution will have to be about information entropy, computational complexity and asymptotic properties of stochastic processes. That's exactly the "abstract theory" you're deriding."

Phony Baloney.

Mikhail , Website August 11, 2018 at 6:18 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

Empty calories sarcasm on your part.

The US went thru a period of noticeable politically motivated violence (in one form or another), that among other things included the murders of the Kennedy brothers, King, X, black children in a church, fatal Kent State shootings and the Manson involved murders.

There was absolutely no need for the Russian government to orchestrate the Moscow apartment bombings. The evidence is non-existent, with the so-called evidence being a put mildly creative stretch. On par with the idea that the US government sought and was involved in planning 9/11. Terrorism from Chechnya was a clear reality before the Moscow apartment bombings.

Mikhail , Website August 11, 2018 at 6:28 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

A disingenuous cherry pick on your part, along with empty calories sarcasm. It wasn't only his (as has been said) sympathy for Chechen separatism, but a combination of factors, in conjunction with that aspect.

What I said in full on this matter:

As for the Litvinenko matter you bring up, there's good reason to believe that he somehow got poisoned by a source other than a Russian government act. His Italian friend got arrested for arms smuggling and was also infected with polonium. Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism. These factors and his links to the likes of Goldfarb and Berezovsky suggest a source other than the Russian government.

Mikhail , Website August 11, 2018 at 6:33 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

Much unlike your svido trolling ways, which include mis-informative cherry picks, designed to spin an otherwise faulty impression.

In comparison, there's better reason to be critical of the Kiev regime's stunt with Babchenko.

Spisarevski , August 11, 2018 at 6:39 pm GMT
It's a pity that the good things Macedonia is doing (like fixing its relations with Bulgaria and Greece and starting to slowly accept the real history as opposed to the shit made up by the Serbs, the communists and Tito) are all done for such a shitty reason like entering the EU and NATO.
Simpleguest , August 11, 2018 at 6:42 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

"Turks are a lot more orderly and competent than Greeks."

Hear, hear.

Mitleser , August 11, 2018 at 6:46 pm GMT
@Dmitry

Greece has an inferior tourist industry and plenty of great European competition (Spain, Italy, Croatia etc.)
Thanks to Cyprus, you don't even to travel to Greece if you want to be on vacation in a Greek-speaking country.

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 7:40 pm GMT
@Mikhail

'Svido cherry picking'?

Stick to the facts and do not reply back with your monotonous drum of often recited BS when you don't have a credible reply, Mickey!

I was specifically pointing out the paucity of information that you provided regarding your alternative suggestion that somebody other than Russian backed was responsible for Livinenko's demise. As I've already pointed out, I do not pass judgments on any of the aspersions that Litvinenko made against Putler, only that the smoking gun clearly points towards Moscow. If you've got something better, then present it I'd try something more clever than indicating that Litvinenko was in favor of Chechen separatists.

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 7:52 pm GMT
@Mikhail

Much unlike your svido trolling ways, which include mis-informative cherry picks, designed to spin an otherwise faulty impression.

Whoa, what do we have here? Another genuine ' Averkoism '??

You indicate that I ' include mis-informative cherry picks' to spin an otherwise faulty impression. Why yes, I guess that's what I can be contrued doing. Most impressions that you make are faulty' ' and deserve to be rebuked, don't you think? I think that what you meant to say was that:

Much unlike your svido trolling ways, which include mis-informative cherry picks, designed to spin an otherwise accurate impression.

Mickey, you don't really want to be remembered for making 'faulty impressions ' now do you?

Cyrano , August 11, 2018 at 8:37 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

I have to agree with Mikhail here. I think that Litvinenko affair was like a dress-rehearsal for the most famous, daring and successful spy operation in history – the Babchenko affair.

You see, such a stunning operation like that takes years to perfect and for the Ukrainians Litvinenko was just a guinea pig on whom they tested their secret intelligence (OK, intelligence might be a stretch) operations skills.

And Litvinenko was an easy choice, the Ukrainians were sure that because of his background – it will be blamed on the Russians.

Nevertheless, this doesn't take anything away from the professionalism and mastery that Ukrainians displayed when they designed the Babchenko hoax. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Babchenko success story launches a new series of spy novels – maybe about agent 008 – where 008 is the IQ of the agent.

ThreeCranes , August 11, 2018 at 8:49 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

My take too rT. Economic warfare will not play out against Russia today as it did against Japan and Germany in the 1930′s; because while they were energy dependent, Russia has an abundance of oil and can and will–as you say–bootstrap its own industries inso far as they are able. They don't have to develop a surplus to trade since, like the USA 100 years ago, their population is sufficiently large to support a robust internal market.

Also, this entire analysis (and the Saker's discussions of weapons as well) ignores Russia's bigger concern, 1.2 billion Chinese wielding state of the art weaponry, who would love to bite off some big chunks of a weakened Russia for lebensraum.

Felix Keverich , August 11, 2018 at 9:59 pm GMT
@Dmitry

You can read statements of their foreign ministry.

His statements to do with paranoia about Russian-Turkey relations – statement from Greece was claiming Russia is a "comrade in arms with Turkey".

As Russia becomes friendly with Turkey – they will find an excuse to be angry, and vice-versa.

I feel that this is one of those situations, when you need to read between the lines. Turkey, religion and "meddling" ARE excuses for Greece. Trying to please Greece's creditors is the real issue here. It's a literal crackwhore of a nation, living from one tranche to another.

Hyperborean , August 11, 2018 at 10:02 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

Also, this entire analysis (and the Saker's discussions of weapons as well) ignores Russia's bigger concern, 1.2 billion Chinese wielding state of the art weaponry, who would love to bite off some big chunks of a weakened Russia for lebensraum.

This is implausible, for reasons that have been discussed multiple times here, including recently.

Thorfinnsson , August 11, 2018 at 10:03 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

China isn't a threat to Russia at present for many reasons.

See my comment on this: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/kissinger-sees-sense-but-its-far-too-late/#comment-2456313

The idea that the Chinese will move to seize Siberia is a ridiculous fantasy.

China and Russia already in the 1990s peacefully resolved all of their outstanding border issues.

China suffers from below replacement fertility and solved its food security issues in the 1980s, so the era of "Yellow Peril" population pressure belongs to the distant past. And in any case the Russian Far East is useless for agricultural purposes.

There are indeed some minerals in Siberia, but let's review some economic facts about China:

#1 exporter
#1 forex reserve holder
#2 creditor nation
#6 gold reserve holder

China can buy all the resources it needs. The main threat to China's economic security are the naval and air forces of the United States and Japan, and to a lesser extent the US Treasury and Commerce Departments. Expanding into Siberia does exactly zero to counter any of these threats, unless you think the Port of Vladivostok somehow enables the PLA-N to break out into the open Pacific.

Instead it multiplies these threats by pointlessly adding Russia to its enemies and eliminating the possibility of overland trade substituting for seaborne trade.

China is a security threat to Siberia only once the following are true:

1 – USA abandons Western Pacific in favor of hemispheric security
2 – China secures dominance over Second Island Chain
3 – China replaces USA as lynch pin of global financial (as opposed to just economic) system

And given China's cautious attitude, that might not be enough. For instance, a USA focused on hemispheric security would still be viewed as potentially dangerous by China owing to its blue water navy and dominance of the "Third Island Chain".

If China displaces the USA as the world's preeminent power, then there might be some cause for concern. But even then I'm not so sure–Russia would be Canada to China's America. The USA and Canada have had very good relations since the 1930s.

Lebensraum with Chinese Characteristics is not going to happen.

That's not to say everything will be hunky dory in Russian-Chinese relations. There are areas of friction like:

• Influence in Central Asia
• Chinese IP theft
• North Korea
• Japan
• Near Abroad
• Competition for defense and nuclear exports

The CRAIC CR929 project looks great for now, but the gist of it is that while it's designed in Russia it will be made in China. Once China matches Russia in aerospace technology, what is Russia's role in this partnership? Seems like the most likely outcome is that Russian industry is reduced from producing aircraft to merely being a Tier One supplier and, perhaps, an engine supplier.

Will Russia be happy with that? I don't know. The UK decided to accept being reduced to this status after the commercial failure of its innovative but flawed postwar airliners cheerfully enough I suppose. Japan considered but decided against developing a complete aerospace-industrial base, though this may be changing (MHI Regional Jet, Kawasaki P1, MHI X-2 Shinden).

Mikhail , Website August 11, 2018 at 10:05 pm GMT
@Cyrano

He's a svido troll as evidenced by his ongoing distortions and omissions, which include not having a good comeback to the following:

As for the Litvinenko matter you bring up, there's good reason to believe that he somehow got poisoned by a source other than a Russian government act. His Italian friend got arrested for arms smuggling and was also infected with polonium. Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism. These factors and his links to the likes of Goldfarb and Berezovsky suggest a source other than the Russian government.

Never mind the impracticality of the Russian government using something like polonium to bump someone off, when there're effectively cheaper ways of doing such.

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 10:08 pm GMT
@Cyrano

So, do you have even one shred of any evidence linking the poisoning of Litvinenko with the Ukrainian secret service? If not, I wouldn't spend too much time writing your novel about 008 and Babchenko, unless you intend it for an audience of only one gullible reader, Michael Averko!

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 10:19 pm GMT
@Mikhail

His ' Italian friend '? Were they fishing buddies where somebody got jealous of their 'friendship' and decided to take the Italian out? Could've been another Russian job too?

Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism.

Now, this is really stupid, I think that even you'll have to admit Mickey. Are we to believe that because Litvinenko was sympathetic to Chechen separatism, that this somehow made him impervious to any sort of Russian assault? Please explain this one to me!

Never mind the impracticality of the Russian government using something like polonium to bump someone off, when there're effectively cheaper ways of doing such.

Well, somebody was responsible for this ill advised murder, and did so in this grotesque and over the top manner. Why not the Russians, are they somehow smarter than the rest? If Russia wasn't full of fools, why are they circumvented by the world community with unnecessary and embarrasing sanctions, anyway? Besides, as I've already pointed out, there were many reasons why the Kremlin wanted Litvinenko gone.

Mikhail , Website August 11, 2018 at 10:37 pm GMT

Well, somebody was responsible for this ill advised murder, and did so in this grotesque and over the top manner. Why not the Russians, are they somehow smarter than the rest?

Why Litvinenko himself, albeit (if true) in a possible unintended way. No proof that the Rusisan government did him in. No need to reply anymore to your rehashed trolling tripe.

Still no good answer to:

As for the Litvinenko matter you bring up, there's good reason to believe that he somehow got poisoned by a source other than a Russian government act. His Italian friend got arrested for arms smuggling and was also infected with polonium. Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism. These factors and his links to the likes of Goldfarb and Berezovsky suggest a source other than the Russian government.

Dmitry , August 11, 2018 at 10:42 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

Theory that it is to do with creditors, doesn't make much sense.

Creditors (troika) are European fund – mainly Germany, France and Italy, in order. Followed by IMF and ECB.

Criteria for release of funds is economic criteria, that imply they might one day get their money back.

Greece's foreign policy is not of interest to anyone much (Turkey care about them), especially not accountants.

-

Reason for tensions with Greece, are the new relations with Turkey.

An alternative world, with a solvent Greece, they would be more angry, than currently weak, insolvent one – considering sale of S-400 to Turkey, construction of Akkuyu for Turkey, and recent decision for Turkstream.

Turkstream was always supposed to go to Greece, but two months ago, finally announced it's going to Bulgaria (with no mention of Greece).

https://www.reuters.com/article/russia-gas-bulgaria/update-1-bulgaria-says-will-be-entry-point-for-russian-turkstream-gas-link-idUSL5N1T16DI

For Turkstream it's now option if it needs to go to Greece at all – it could also reach Italy, via the Balkans.

In a Northern option that gets to Hungary and Italy over Serbia. (With no need of Greece).

At the same time, Israel, Cyprus and Greece are probably building a rival pipeline (probably not very economically rational), after Cyprus has discovered a gas field.

https://business.financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/cyprus-israel-greece-push-east-med-gas-pipeline-to-europe

Dmitry , August 11, 2018 at 11:02 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

Well orderliness is not the only reason for holiday choice.

And Schengen visa is not a big deal for middle class tourists (35 euros).

Greece already has almost "too many" tourists (from around the world), for size of the country.

Greece receives 32 million tourists this year (while Turkey receives around 40 million a year tourism – and is six times larger than Greece in land area).

Perhaps Greece can even raise prices and market more for middle class tourists?

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 11:03 pm GMT
@Mikhail

You missed my reply in #143 with plenty of decent replies. I don't mind reprinting them for you, I know how prone you are to missing information that is contrary to your myopic belief system:

His 'Italian friend' ? Were they fishing buddies where somebody got jealous of their 'friendship' and decided to take the Italian out? Could've been another Russian job too?

Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism.

Now, this is really stupid, I think that even you'll have to admit Mickey. Are we to believe that because Litvinenko was sympathetic to Chechen separatism, that this somehow made him impervious to any sort of Russian assault? Please explain this one to me!

Never mind the impracticality of the Russian government using something like polonium to bump someone off, when there're effectively cheaper ways of doing such.

Well, somebody was responsible for this ill advised murder, and did so in this grotesque and over the top manner. Why not the Russians, are they somehow smarter than the rest? If Russia wasn't full of fools, why are they circumvented by the world community with unnecessary and embarrasing sanctions, anyway? Besides, as I've already pointed out, there were many reasons why the Kremlin wanted Litvinenko gone.

Anatoly Karlin , Website August 11, 2018 at 11:18 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

Has been discussed to death on this blog, both in general, and recently.

Anatoly Karlin , Website August 11, 2018 at 11:30 pm GMT
@Thorfinnsson

• Influence in Central Asia

I believe Russia's loss of influence there is inevitable. China has $$$; Turkey/Islamic world has ethno/religious draw; USA has its hegemonic culture.

Russia has some fading sovok relicts, such as old political ties and the Victory Day cult.

However, China is displacing it gently, as opposed to batting it away as the US and EU are wont to do. This naturally makes Russia much better disposed than it otherwise would be.

• Chinese IP theft

Will become less of an issue as China converges with and overtakes Russia in many technological areas. For instance, the realization that China's MIC is progressing far faster than expected – without significant Russian tech transfer – has contributed to Russia dropping its inhibitions on selling the S-400 and advanced fighters to China in recent years. (An HBD realist could have told them as much, earlier).

• North Korea
• Japan
• Near Abroad

The equitable arrangement would be for Russia to defer to China on North Korea and the Far East in general (though economic relations with Japan should be broadened), and to require that China do the same for Russia wrt to its Near Abroad.

But certainly a much more dominant China may no longer feel the need to honor such an arrangement.

• Competition for defense and nuclear exports

This will certainly be an issue.

Russia's nuclear technology is much further advanced than China's (the gap is much bigger than the rapidly dwindling one in the military sphere), and it doesn't appear to me that China is making a major R&D push in that area. I think Russia will continue to dominate global nuclear tech exports for at least 2-3 more decades.

AaronB , August 11, 2018 at 11:55 pm GMT
@Dmitry

Lol, NYC received 62.8 million visitors last year. One city.

Thorfinnsson , August 12, 2018 at 12:07 am GMT
@Anatoly Karlin

Russia's current dominance of global nuclear exports is something of a fluke.

The West crippled its nuclear industry owing to pathological atomophobia. Design expertise didn't atrophy, but construction experience did. Result was massive cost overruns and endless delays on the few Western Gen III reactor projects. Now effectively priced out of the world market.

Japan suffered from the double whammy of Fukushima and Toshiba getting dragged down by the collapse of Westinghouse. Even though it's somewhat unfair, no one will now order Japanese reactors in the near future. The Japanese elite, once truly impressive in its atomophilia and determination to resist popular atomophobia, is no longer united on the issue either. Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koisumi has for instance called for Japan to shut down all nuclear power plants.

Emerging competitor is South Korea. The Koreans successfully won the project in the United Arab Emirates, and within South Korea they have an excellent record of efficient construction. Fortunately for Russia, the very weak President Moon is a disgraceful atomophobe.

ThreeCranes , August 12, 2018 at 12:11 am GMT
@ThreeCranes

Thanks for your comments. I really wasn't referring to today, more to a tomorrow when China is the world's leading economy and the USA is struggling to enforce dollar supremacy.

Daniel Chieh , August 12, 2018 at 12:55 am GMT
@ThreeCranes

It's a big world to the south without powers with nuclear weapons.

Cyrano , August 12, 2018 at 12:59 am GMT
@Mr. Hack

You are looking at it from a wrong perspective, pal. I was simply expressing pride and admiration for the competence of the Ukrainian Secret Services. Why can't a fellow – even though admittedly phony – Slav like me feel proud of the accomplishments of a Slavic country that I look upon to for inspiration and guidance?

utu , August 12, 2018 at 1:10 am GMT
@anonymous coward

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Interesting argument but it hinges on something that is not a part of it, i.e, what is special about the 458 letter sonnet? Your argument only demonstrates that if another world began 10^18 seconds ago it most likely would not produce the same 458 letter sonnet but it would produce some other sonnet which could have a meaning in this different world.

You could create similarly fallacious argument 'proving' that you cannot possibly exist. Assign probabilities p<<1 of an event that two of your ancestors met and procreated. What was a chance that your parent met and then go back to grandparents and so on. And soon you will obtain cumulative probability close to zero stating exactly what? That your life could not have happened?

I think it is east to be confused and tricked by probabilities. And this happens when we are sloppy in defining the space of events on which the probability function must be defined. When you are heating up water at some point there will me one molecule of H2O that will break free and evaporate. If this molecule asked the Nancy Kerrigan's question "Why me?" and began calculating the probability of this event soon it would have to conclude the even was impossible. The problem is with the question "Why me?"

Mr. Hack , August 12, 2018 at 1:38 am GMT
@Cyrano

Sounds like you're making some real progress – keep it up!

Cyrano , August 12, 2018 at 2:26 am GMT
@Mr. Hack

Thanks man, I am really trying. If I may confide in you, you know what I find the most admiring about the Ukrainians? Your keen sense of democracy.

I mean, it took you what – barely 4 years to figure out that Yanukovych was not democratic enough – and then boom – revolution. I mean you guys are sharp. Look at the Russians, they have been electing Putin since 2000 and they still haven't figured out that he is not democratic enough. You are way ahead of the game.

You know what I think? I think that one good coup is worth at least 5-6 regular elections. So if you guys were to stage another coup within – let's say the next couple of years – it's like you've gone through 12 regular elections of 4 years each. You know what – if I was you I wouldn't even bother with elections, elections are for dummies, just stick with coups and soon you'll overtake even Western Europe – democracy and economic development wise, so you won't even need their stinking EU.

Mikhail , Website August 12, 2018 at 2:32 am GMT
@Mr. Hack

You're still shooting blanks to this:

As for the Litvinenko matter you bring up, there's good reason to believe that he somehow got poisoned by a source other than a Russian government act. His Italian friend got arrested for arms smuggling and was also infected with polonium. Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism. These factors and his links to the likes of Goldfarb and Berezovsky suggest a source other than the Russian government.

Never mind the impracticality of the Russian government using something like polonium to bump someone off, when there're effectively cheaper ways of doing such.

I can't help it if you don't know the specifics about Litrvinenko's aforementioned Italian friend. Stupid people have a way of babbling on because they don't realize just how stupid they are. Then again, part of you might recognize that, seeing your cowardly anonymous empty calories insults.

Opposite to your shooting blanks is this precision reply:

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/07/29/an-unhealthy-trump-putin-summit-fallout.html

Mikhail , Website August 12, 2018 at 2:35 am GMT
@Cyrano

In case you missed it:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/08/10/cold-war-in-the-sauna-notes-from-a-russian-american/

Thek ind of Russian-American views not getting propped in US mass media. Similar to the PC Ukrainian views getting the nod over Ukrainians thinking differently.

Mr. Hack , August 12, 2018 at 3:00 am GMT
@Cyrano

You're on the right track, buddy! I don't know why AP tries to continually put you in place by pointing out that you're not really a Slav, but some sort of Balkanized Turk. Who cares? Your last two comments indicate that you're capable of evolving your thinking patterns much higher that the typical 97 or 98. Heck, I'd guess that you're a solid 99! Keep it up!

Mr. Hack , August 12, 2018 at 3:08 am GMT
@Mikhail

[MORE]

Stupid people have a way of babbling on because they don't realize just how stupid they are.

I see that you're still babbling on Mickey. Isn't it time for you to do a few rounds of kumbaya in front of your icon of Herr Putler and go to sleep yet?

As La Russophobe imagines it, Averko then sits down in the lotus position, the room lit by a single candle beneath a large photo of Stalin, and intones his mantra several thousand times: "I am a journalist I am a journalist I am a journalist " until he falls asleep. When he wakes up, he heads out to his day job flipping hamburgers at Wendy's

Chainsaw1 , August 12, 2018 at 5:05 am GMT
@anonymous coward

[MORE]

"Now take Shakespeare's sonnet #27. It is 458 letters long. (Let's ignore punctuation.) If we take 458 random letters of the English alphabet, there are 26^458 random combinations. So if our ideal Universe-sized computer was randomly picking letters and hoping to compose a Shakespeare sonnet, it would need about 10^300 Universes to do so."

The above just shows that the author is just completely ignorant of scientific, statistics and computing principles.

First in English the occurance of letters do not have random frequencies, the frequencies range from 0.074% for letter z to 12.702% for letter e. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_frequency

Next the letters are not combined randomly, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alphabetic_principle Next there are pattern the letters are used to form phonetics. The English language only has 40 sounds (English orthography) the combination of which form the words. Then there is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonemic_orthography

Incidentally sonnet 27 only has 80 unique words, many of which are not random but closely related, e.g. blind, old, sight, tired, sightless, see, ghastly, shadow, darkness, expired, eyelids, drooping, weary, bed, toil, view, night, etc. A task simple enough for markov text sonnet generators,

http://www.devjason.com/2010/12/28/shakespeare-sonnet-sourced-markov-text-generation/

https://www.prism.gatech.edu/~bnichols8/projects/markovchains/main.shtml "Shakespeare Sonnets Training Set"

and the more sophisticated that the word frequency will be generated from the 154 Shakespeare sonnets and will preserve the classic ABAB CDCD EFEF GG rhyme scheme of the sonnets, https://medium.com/@SherlockHumus/creating-markov-chain-based-sonnets-9609d77a2635

By trying to shuffle 26^458 random letters by brute force into sonnet showed that the author is only good at shuffling shits.

utu , August 12, 2018 at 5:19 am GMT
@Chainsaw1

[MORE]

After showing off that you know statistics of character string in English language try to explain what is your point.

RadicalCenter , August 12, 2018 at 5:41 am GMT
@Mr. XYZ

If it wasn't a setup by formerly-great formerly-Britain, who was it?

Mikhail , Website August 12, 2018 at 5:57 am GMT
@Mr. Hack

[MORE]

Your uncritically citing LR is indicative of one stupid anonymous coward referencing another.

anonymous coward , August 12, 2018 at 6:24 am GMT
@Jaakko Raipala

[MORE]

I'm just going to claim that you're trying an "it doesn't work because of fancy words X, Y, Z" bluff without any actual technical argument behind the big fancy words. Prove me wrong.

What's the "it" in your post, exactly? Darwinism? The problem with Darwinism is that it's not a scientific theory. It's not even formulated correctly. The problem itself is framed by biologists in handwavey terms on a "monkeys and typewriters" level.

When one tries putting some sort of numbers to the idea, the whole thing falls apart. See my post above, for example, where it turns out you need a Universe about 10^300 larger than ours to make random selection work.

And before you charge to M'Lady Science's defense: note this isn't a "disproof", it's just a demonstration that nobody bothered to frame the question properly yet. There's nothing there that can be proved or disproved.

anonymous coward , August 12, 2018 at 6:34 am GMT
@Jaakko Raipala

[MORE]

Congratulations, you missed the point again.

The actual point is that biologists framed a problem in a way that doesn't match the scale of our Universe as we observe it.

Feel free to correct the numbers I made; maybe the correct factor is 10^100 instead of 10^300. So what? The processes biologists postulate are so asymptotic that they require an infinite Universe, which doesn't exist in real life.

There is an expectation that current theories of physics are not accurate at very small time scales (which have not been reached by experiment).

We don't even know if the universe is finite or infinite. This is just a claim that you pulled out of your ass. There may even be an infinite number of atoms.

Good point, but no. You missed the point again.

Any theory that requires time or space outside of a conventional Newtonian understanding of physics isn't Darwinism. It wouldn't even be biology, because biologists don't (and can't) deal with stuff like that.

anonymous coward , August 12, 2018 at 6:39 am GMT
@utu

[MORE]

I never assigned any special meaning to a sonnet. I merely demonstrated that the size of the probability spaces we're traversing are unimaginable orders of magnitude larger than the Universe we observe.

Formulating the probability spaces and functions should be step one of any biological theory of evolution. Only then we can start talking about meanings and other philosophy.

anonymous coward , August 12, 2018 at 6:43 am GMT
@Chainsaw1

[MORE]

Good point, but unfortunately Markov chains (and evolutionary algorithms) are intelligent design, not random evolution.

They are tools for getting an answer when you know the result you want, but don't know the steps to get it. The better you understand the result you want, the faster you arrive at a solution.

That's a framework postulated by 'intelligent design' proponents, and rejected by conventional Darwinist biologists.

utu , August 12, 2018 at 7:38 am GMT
@anonymous coward

[MORE]

I never assigned any special meaning to a sonnet.

OK, so what is the big deal about generating random string of 458 letters? Any such string can be easily generated with the same probability from a bag full of letters. Each string is equivalent.

utu , August 12, 2018 at 8:20 am GMT
Important speech of Victor Orban

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's speech at the 29th Bálványos Summer Open University and Student Camp

http://www.kormany.hu/en/the-prime-minister/the-prime-minister-s-speeches/prime-minister-viktor-orban-s-speech-at-the-29th-balvanyos-summer-open-university-and-student-camp

AquariusAnon , August 12, 2018 at 8:42 am GMT
Continuing on AKarlin's conclusion how Russia's future economic and foreign policy orientation lies on the EU's response to the US's inevitable Iran-style sanctions against Russia, I'll walk through some situations, and also state that once sanctions and adversaries with unfriendly relations escalate to embargo and enemies with no relations on the US side, the EU's decision at that point will be able to determine its fate for a long time to come.

1. EU caves in, and like a good vassal state with no independent policy of its own whatsoever, follows US policy. This is more likely to happen if the US threatens third party trade ties with Russia. This means that EU imposes Iran-style sanctions, and gradually turns to more expensive US LNG for energy. This would put the EU under incredible strain, and a large amount of state coffers would be shaved off due to these purchases; the citizens disposable income would plunge too. On the other hand, Europe won't really collapse if the US agrees to subsidize gas sales to the EU in exchange for joining the ideological crusade against Russia.

In the Kissinger thread where I mentioned how a blackpilled possibility of Russia's future lies as a vassal state, or junior partner, of China, while I may have exaggerated a little regarding permanent PLA bases on Russia soil, it still is a slight possibility if the oligarchs become more powerful again and also get a little desperate. However, PLA bases aside, if the EU joins in the US on an embargo against Russia, Russia would still be cut off from trade and other ties to its west, and inevitably having to completely rely on its east for trade and political ties. Since even Japan/Korea trade can be a little difficult due to their strong US ties and India doesn't really offer Russia much, except as a place to export some goods, this leaves us with China, rendering Russia's future as China's largest and most important vassal state.

This would also enable the EU branch of neoliberalism.txt to show their true colors as an American vassal. Outside of Poland and the Baltics, attitudes towards Russia vary directly on how neoliberal they feel, so in order to prevent the people from voting in non-neoliberal parties, some "checks and balances" aka non-democracy has to be implemented to make sure neoliberalism.txt stays via "voting". In this case, shave off a good at least 10% to EU's white percentage in the long run also; while its unlikely for Britain and France to ever dip below 60% white but stabilize around that point instead, a quasi-neoliberal dictatorship would mean Eastern and Southern Europe bearing a lot of this brunt, e.g. ghettos in Warsaw might go from a fear to actual reality. And expect the EU's economic growth to be highly stagnant, and China, with Russia as not just a friendly state but a vassal state, would take advantage of this to end up becoming the other pole in a bipolar world along with the US.

Unless China changes the way it conducts trade and foreign policy, this means that Russia will likely get taken advantage of and not get too much in return, especially with non-patriotic and greedy oligarchs still having significant power. In this case, Russia-China relations will resemble a more predatory version of UK/Canada-US relations and Russia will find itself to be a largely China-oriented, with Chinese tourism, businesses, language, and other ties etc. having a very broad, visible, and dominating presence.

Chance of this happening? 30% given Europe's rhetoric on Iran. China will gladly take advantage of the situation.

2. The EU doesn't cave in and continues to maintain trade and political ties with Russia. This is the better result for not just Russia, but also the entire world. A Europe that's able to stand up to American foreign policy, especially if its more ideological hysteria than based on realpolitik in the case with Russia, is one that would have taken its first step towards significantly reasserting their sovereignties. This would've also been a huge blow to the American establishment, if not THE nail in the coffin ending American unipolarity. And China also needs more competitors instead of a bipolar world with just China and America.

2a). Europe continues to be ruled by neoliberalism.txt as America enforces the embargo. Sanctions won't be lifted and the status quo remains. As China gets more powerful and European relations still cold, Russia and China will end up in a full-blown alliance, but its status quo trade and personal ties with Europe would ensure that Russia can continue to maintain a somewhat multi-vectored approach instead of complete subservience to Beijing. And Russia won't be as much of a "hot potato" if not embargoed by the EU, ties with countries like Japan and South Korea will continue unabated if not upgraded. In this case, the EU can still be a more sovereign entity, albeit just ruled by the neoliberalism.txt ideology; demographically, slightly better than, but no significant differences from the EU caving to US embargo case. In this case, Russia-China relations will resemble Japan-US relations, albeit without the military bases.

Chance of this happening? 40%.

2b). Europe undergoing a right-wing wave as America enforces the embargo. Europe in this case will lift sanctions against Russia and ties likely even upgrade to a strategic partnership. While Russia will not become enemies with China since it is in its best interest to not pick a fight with the world's #1 or #2 power, its relationship will stabilize as non-adversarial but non-aligned, a renewed strategic partnership with Europe can stimulate Russia's economy and will ensure a multipolar world emerges in the 21st century, with Russia as a powerful 3rd or 4th most powerful country on good terms with everybody (minus the US and parts of Eastern Europe). Such close ties to Russia will also be a boon for Europe's economy, and the possibility to regain their sovereignties after a century-long occupation post-WW2. America becomes more isolated and loses its unipolarity in this case.

An unrelated side effect of this tactic is that the nonwhite percentages of Europe will probably stabilize at or just above or below (in the case of southern Europe) current values.

In this case, Russia-China relations won't be any special, with close trade relations, some military cooperation, and neutral détente but inevitable minor beefs that spring up every once in a while, like a closer and better version US-China relations pre-Trump. Russia in this case will truly be one of the smaller poles in a multipolar world.

Chance of this happening? 30%, but this is by far the best outcome for the entire world.

Mitleser , August 12, 2018 at 9:24 am GMT
@Dmitry

Perhaps Greece can even raise prices and market more for middle class tourists?

And encourage tourists to travel to other countries?

anonymous coward , August 12, 2018 at 9:36 am GMT
@utu

[MORE]

Good point. If 1/2 of all random strings of letters are sonnets, then the probability of generating one is 50%. Let's test that hypothesis.

Take a dictionary of English words: https://github.com/dwyl/english-words

* There are 27 words of one letter and 26 letters.
* There are 635 words of two letters and 676 two-letter combinations.
* There are 4710 words of three letters and 17576 three-letter combinations.
* There are 11169 four-letter words and 456976 four-letter combinations.
* There are 22950 words of five letters and 11 million five-letter combinations. (Oops.)

* There are 61018 words of 8 letters, but 208 billion 8-letter combinations.

Now, these are words, not texts, but you get the idea. Letter combinations grow as c^n, while the number of English texts clearly doesn't.

Mitleser , August 12, 2018 at 9:41 am GMT
@AquariusAnon

1. EU caves in, and like a good vassal state with no independent policy of its own whatsoever, follows US policy.

Chance of this happening? 30% given Europe's rhetoric on Iran.

Eh, what? It is not EUropean rhetoric that suggests that, but the gap between their rhetoric and reality.
Europeans talk about defending JCPOA yet European big business ditches Iran and European banks stab Iran in the back.

In recent weeks, U.S. and European intelligence agencies flagged a European-Iranian Trade Bank request to withdraw 300 million euros from the Deutsche Bundesbank. Iran claimed the cash is necessary so that Iranian citizens can use foreign currency when they travel, but Western governments warned that the cash would be used to fund Iran's terrorist proxies.

Fearing repercussions from the U.S. Treasury, the German bank decided last week to introduce the new rules to prevent the withdrawal. This move was likely coordinated with the German government.

In recent months, the E.U. has said that it will try to salvage the Iranian nuclear deal, despite the U.S. withdrawal and renewed sanctions.

Initially, the E.U. explored the possibility of compensating European firms that would be affected by the new sanctions, using the European Investment Bank.

This effort was torpedoed by the EIB, which said it might be blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury of it was part of a scheme to offset the sanctions. EIB President Werner Hoyer said two weeks ago that "doing business in Iran is something that we cannot be actively engaged in."

https://www.jns.org/wary-of-repercussions-eu-unlikely-to-defy-us-sanctions-on-iran/

AquariusAnon , August 12, 2018 at 9:47 am GMT
@Mitleser

Didn't know that. I'll keep that as a note.

So my 3 predictions are essentially, Iran-style western embargo, status quo with embargo only on US side, and normalization of relations with Europe. How would you recalibrate the likelihoods?

Felix Keverich , August 12, 2018 at 10:21 am GMT
@Dmitry

Theory that it is to do with creditors, doesn't make much sense.

Creditors (troika) are European fund – mainly Germany, France and Italy, in order. Followed by IMF and ECB.

Criteria for release of funds is economic criteria, that imply they might one day get their money back.

Greece's foreign policy is not of interest to anyone much (Turkey care about them), especially not accountants.

You assume that Greece is the rational actor in this situation. It's a stupid crackwhore, desperate for a bit of debt relief.

It is also fair to say that Western decisions on financial aid are not made by accountants, ultimately they are made by politicians, who do consider geopolitics.

Surely Greece can see that IMF is dumping billions of dollars into the Ukraine for no other reason than geopolitics. Ukrainian regime also got a nice debt relief a couple of years back – to better resist "Russian aggression".

utu , August 12, 2018 at 10:25 am GMT
@anonymous coward

[MORE]

So it comes down to the meaning after all. You look for words that have meaning. But why? Every word out of 208 billions may have a mining in some other language that you do not know of. Why you insist that the disproof of evolution or the random Universe must be based on what has meaning in English language? There are some believers in the intelligent design like yourself in Pentecostal church who speak all kind of tongues nobody heard of them but to them they have some meaning. There are patients in psychiatric wards who write 458 letter sonnets that have meaning only to them. So why did you pick up this particular Shakespeare sonnet to calculate a number that suppose to prove something?

Do you begin to understand where is the flaw in your argument?

utu , August 12, 2018 at 10:29 am GMT
@Mitleser

Interesting. It looks really bad.

Miro23 , August 12, 2018 at 10:57 am GMT

2. To what extent will the EU join in, passively acquiesce to, or resist the US sanctions against Russia? The answer to this question will to a large extent determine precisely how deeply Russia falls into China's orbit in the next couple of decades.

This looks like a fine opportunity for the EU to 1) develop its own international settlements system based on a Euro reserve currency 2) redirect trade and investment towards the ROW (rest of the world), if necessary, excluding the US 3) become a reliable non-political trade partner to these countries 4) make a unilateral decision to terminate NATO and detach itself from US lies, subversion and military adventurism.

The place to start would be the termination of NATO, but it would be better to implement the policies simultaneously. It would initially be very costly to European corporations, but ultimately worth it, with new more predictable international relationships.

AquariusAnon , August 12, 2018 at 11:23 am GMT
@Miro23

This is exactly what I meant by my response. Not only will EU's response to the upcoming US embargo be instrumental in writing Russia's role and development in the 21st century world, but also if the EU ever wants to transform from a neoliberalism.txt US vassal experiment to either an independent "Great Power" quasi-federation (essentially USSR 2.0 after the revolutionary phase died down, Communism replaced by neoliberalism.txt), or to break up as wholly sovereign states, a continuation if not strengthening of relations with Russia will be a pivotal first step for that to happen.

Jaakko Raipala , August 12, 2018 at 11:35 am GMT
@anonymous coward

Feel free to correct the numbers I made;

There is no reason to look at any further steps in your calculations when you begin with false premises.

[MORE]

Again, you are under the false impression that the universe "began" 13 billion years ago as some informationless entity and that all patterns and complexity emerged after it. No. The earliest known state of the universe had patterns and complexity. Even if you somehow managed to argue that the complexity of life on earth is too high to emerge in 13 billion years, it would still be of no consequence to Darwinism since we don't need it to emerge in that time – 13 billion years ago is not some patternless zero state of complexity.

In fact, for all we know the emergence of life on earth could have already been determined in the earlier state of the universe 13 billion years ago. That's implausible to me but a lot of people believe in an intelligent creator and you can easily just postulate that he baked the emergence of man in the design of the early universe and then you're in no contradiction with modern science whatsoever.

Where did the patterns and complexity in the early universe come from? We don't know since the current theories of physics can't probe that far. In fact, as I said before, the whole "age of the universe" thing is a false notion that unfortunately some physicists peddle as a simplification of cosmology. What we can do is trace back the development of the universe from this point in time and we can go back 13 billion years and conclude that the universe back then was a very different place, in a very dense state that gradually "expanded" into the current one.

However in this process we run into a dead end as to study such dense states we'd need to make the theories of gravity and quantum mechanics work together and we can't do that currently. Hence, everything "earlier" than that is pure speculation, in fact we don't even know for sure whether there was a "before". This state beyond current theories has been dubbed the "big bang", "the beginning" and such but that's all just popularization. This has the unfortunate side effect that some people now believe physics to somehow have proven that the universe emerged from "nothing" 13 billion years ago and that's just not true.

And an "understanding of time and space outside of a conventional Newtonian understanding of physics" is definitely required for cosmology like claims that "universe is X seconds old". You are the one who began with assumptions that require physics well beyond Newtonian mechanics.

Mitleser , August 12, 2018 at 11:38 am GMT
@AquariusAnon

Most likely is "status quo with embargo only on US side" with limited shift towards "Iran-style western embargo". EUropean elites do not show much willingness to oppose Russophobia, but on the other hand Russia is much more integrated in the EU economy than the Iran.

For instance, the value of the trade in 2017 between Russia and Germany was 57,3 billion Euro (rank 14th), the number for the Iran-Germany trade was only 3,4 billion Euro (rank 58th).

https://www.destatis.de/DE/ZahlenFakten/GesamtwirtschaftUmwelt/Aussenhandel/Tabellen/RangfolgeHandelspartner.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

That reduces their willingness to follow American sanctions.

Mitleser , August 12, 2018 at 12:01 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

Don't bash Greece so much.

They are still making right decisions.

From 2009 to 2011, Syria supplied almost a fifth of EU imports of phosphate, but those sales collapsed during the war.

Official EU import data shows that phosphate shipments to Europe -- heading almost exclusively to Greece -- are resuming and more than tripled between December 2017 to April 2018. The volumes remain small compared to the pre-war heyday, but Syria is making a clear push to return to the EU market and its giant farm sector.

Syrian data show that total phosphate exports were more than $200 million in 2010.

Three people either working in the phosphate industry or involved with trading the commodity said Syria is able to export again because Russian investors have resurrected the Palmyra mines, which Islamic State militia captured in 2015. Assad awarded these reserves to the Russians last year after Moscow helped him turn the tide against ISIS.

anonymous coward , August 12, 2018 at 12:54 pm GMT
@utu

[MORE]

So it comes down to the meaning after all.

No, it actually doesn't. The probabilities grow as c^n, while the Universe doesn't. No matter how big it is, it's still a fixed size due to the laws of conservation of mass and energy.

Every word out of 208 billions may have a mining in some other language that you do not know of.

Even if every atom in the observable Universe had its own language, the number of possible letter combinations would still be vastly bigger.

Why you insist that the disproof of evolution or the random Universe must be based on what has meaning in English language?

I'm not "disproving" anything. I'm demonstrating that the "monkeys and typewriters" argument used by biologists (and its variants "the universe is really big" and "the Earth is really old" arguments) violate basic mathematical logic.

The Universe isn't really big. In fact, it is infinitesimal compared to the probabilities we're dealing with here.

Once biologists acknowledge this obvious fact, then we can formulate some sort of theory, and maybe then there will be something to prove or disprove.

Do you begin to understand where is the flaw in your argument

Do you? The point is that we're traversing probability spaces here that grow exponentially, and yet nothing in nature can be exponential indefinitely. Somewhere in your assumptions is a grave error.

Mr. Hack , August 12, 2018 at 1:21 pm GMT
@Mikhail

[MORE]

What do you mean uncritically? I think that the citation is very critical of you. If you're looking for something even more critical, just let me know?

anonymous coward , August 12, 2018 at 1:25 pm GMT
@Jaakko Raipala

[MORE]

Again, you are under the false impression that the universe "began" 13 billion years ago as some informationless entity and that all patterns and complexity emerged after it. No. The earliest known state of the universe had patterns and complexity.

Very good point, and one I agree with. However, this is a variant of the Intelligent Design hypothesis, and is considered to be pseudoscience by biologists.

Like I said, I'm not "disproving" anything, merely pointing out that the way Darwinian evolution is framed by biologists is not science.

Maybe it can be reformulated in a way that makes sense, but don't hold your breath -- the biologists don't even understand the objections and fall back to the "Earth is, like, really old" argument.

And an "understanding of time and space outside of a conventional Newtonian understanding of physics" is definitely required for cosmology like claims that "universe is X seconds old".

Again, the actual figure is irrelevant. The point is that we've posited an exponentially exploding probability space, and yet nothing in nature is infinite and exponential. (I know about the cosmology arguments about the finite/infinite universe, spare me. In any case, the observable Universe is definitely finite, and science only deals with the observable.)

AquariusAnon , August 12, 2018 at 1:26 pm GMT
@Mitleser

Now that Syria has all but won the war, I wonder when will rebuilding and eventually re-emerging as a stable country good enough for FDI and tourism will start. By then, I also wonder how it will be sanctioned.

My guess is that it will rebuild under Iran-style conditions back to more or less where it was in the early 2000s politically, economically, socially, and sanctions-wise starting around 2020 or so.

Anon [536] Disclaimer , August 12, 2018 at 1:34 pm GMT
"For instance, banning Aeroflot from flying to the US has a simple response – banning US air carriers from overflying North Eurasia, period. It can resurrect a bill – first raised this May, since sunken in the legislature – to impose fines and prison time on individuals and entities who support Western sanctions by refusing to do business with Russian citizens or entities on America's SDN list. It can throw out the American-dominated copyrights regimen out of the window."

As an American, I think Russia should do this and for good reason: the people who run this country are idiots; if this is allowed to stand, they'll continue to push this until we get a war. Best to head it off now by making the US Ruling Class pay the price. I especially like the last part. Russia should just host all Hollywood movies, books, and video games on a server accessible to American pirates (hey, Red States won't have problem with this these scum just voted to remove Trump's star on the walk of fame anyway).

Anon [360] Disclaimer , August 12, 2018 at 1:52 pm GMT
"This looks like a fine opportunity for the EU to make a unilateral decision to terminate NATO and detach itself from US lies, subversion and military adventurism."

Not going to happen for a variety of reasons. NATO is a good way to keep an incompetent, belligerent U.S. bogged down so that it doesn't cause any serious trouble for advanced nations. Take Germany for instance. The number of US troops there is quite small in an absolute sense, not enough to cause trouble, but combined with troops all over the place, the all-volunteer US military can't really marshall the numbers necessary to invade anyone without support from Europe. NATO is actually a clever way to control the aggressive tendencies of the United States; without it, there is no telling what the U.S. could do.

Europe also gets high-tech weapon systems in the process – and sold at a premium considering the enormous R&D costs involved. That's why German industrialists were stupid to provoke Trump and go around telling Europeans to not buy American weapons (those weapons are in some cases FAR superior to what the Europeans have and someone is definitely going to buy them considering the cost spent to develop them, either you or a potential enemy so it might as well be you). In all, it's good deal for them. They aren't going to chunk that for anything.

The real key here is for Russia to strike back in a way that doesn't galvanize the American public against them. My suggestion: cancel all American copyright protections and start hosting American movies and television programs. Conservative republicans won't oppose this as these programs are made in Trump-hating California – a place that just voted to remove Trump's star on the walk of fame.

Uebersetzer , August 12, 2018 at 1:53 pm GMT
@German_reader

In fact, his "conservative" predecessor Samaras was more pro-German than pro-American. Tsipras is pro-American. He is leftist like Tony Blair is leftist.

Hyperborean , August 12, 2018 at 2:00 pm GMT
@Anon

Europe also gets high-tech weapon systems in the process – and sold at a premium considering the enormous R&D costs involved.

Right, which is why Denmark bought the F-35. The one which even Americans were criticising.

Buying American weaponry is often a combination of tribute, corruption and paying protection money.

dfordoom , Website August 12, 2018 at 2:28 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

But unless they find a way to somehow stop Russia's exports of oil, our economy will shrug off whatever sanction packages US can throw at it.

It still makes Russia look pathetically weak. The U.S. actions are essentially an act of war. If Russia just rolls over allows itself to get kicked then the U.S. is just going to keep on kicking. Cowardice is rarely a good policy.

reiner Tor , August 12, 2018 at 2:46 pm GMT
@Hyperborean

the F-35. The one which even Americans were criticising.

I bought into much of the criticism, and probably a somewhat better plane could've been made cheaper, but all in all I think it'll be a fine enough weapon, and probably better than any currently deployed Russian fighters. The Su-57 is not yet ready (and it's recently got questioned if it ever will), so you cannot meaningfully compare it to it.

Altogether if you want the very best fighter jet available in the market, then you should choose it, unless the costs are prohibitive for you. It's actually no longer much more expensive than 4+ generation planes. I think Boeing is trying to market the F-15X, which would be a newly produced version of the F-15 with all possible technologies (except stealth which is impossible for this frame), and it's not going to be meaningfully cheaper than the latest (and cheapest) F-35.

If buying Russian is politically possible for you, then the Su-35 might be a good cheaper alternative, though countries which are allowed to buy it are usually not sold the F-35. Maybe India (and perhaps soon Turkey?) is the only country where both could even be considered.

If the Su-57 were ready, then maybe we could talk about whether it was better than the F-35 (the answer would probably depend on a number of issues, e.g. the rest of the equipment used by the military in question, and of course politics, which is to say, if there was a chance of a political conflict with the supplier, because if yes, then obviously you'd need to buy from the other).

For most (but not all) roles the F-35 is at least as good as any other American fighter jet (except maybe the F-22, and maybe not even that).

Mitleser , August 12, 2018 at 3:18 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Altogether if you want the very best fighter jet available in the market, then you should choose it, unless the costs are prohibitive for you.

Or you do not want Lockheed use your combat jets to spy on you.

reiner Tor , August 12, 2018 at 3:25 pm GMT
@Mitleser

Yes, that's another risk.

Maybe that's why Israel uses its own software? (At least they rewrote part of the software, or so I read.)

Anyway, I don't think it's a bad fighter jet for the job of fighting America's enemies. Probably even against neutrals. It might be useless against America's friends, or America itself, but no one buys it for that. And actually it's probably useful against America, too, or else why is the US so reluctant to sell it to Turkey?

And probably the American idea that the Russians might use their S-400 to spy on other Turkish weapon systems (including the F-35), when in fact it's the Americans who use weapons they sell to do that. The Russians are probably too afraid to lose their reputations.

reiner Tor , August 12, 2018 at 3:32 pm GMT
@Mitleser

Interestingly, when I searched for it, besides RT, I only found an Israeli and an Australian site. It's not a widely reported news.

Thorfinnsson , August 12, 2018 at 3:37 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

F-35 has inferior kinematic performance to most, if not all, of the Generation 4 fighters it's supposed to replace or oppose. Lack of a bubble canopy is also a major step backwards. Quite a dubious distinction for a new aircraft.

That leaves its stealth and its supposedly wiz-bang sensors.

Stealth is nice, but it drives up operating costs and reduces sortie rates. And on a small aircraft, you can't carry large war loads without sacrificing your stealth. F-35 stealth is in the frontal area only, optimized for the X-band. It will be easily detected by long wavelength radars. In air to air combat it would rely upon detecting intercepting aircraft and firing AMRAAMs before they can lock on or, heaven forbid, close to visual range (where the F-35 will be dogmeat).

The Air Force has long said that the F-35 isn't optimized for air combat. I suppose the idea was that F-22s and legacy fighters would handle air superiority missions. F-35s, with frontal stealth, would be able to get close to targets and attack them with PGMs.

As for its allegedly wonderful sensors, I am skeptical. Lots of air forces continuously modernize old designs with AESA radars, glass cockpits, etc. Why exactly is a new airframe needed for any of this?

That said it's not like the F-35 is awful , and as usual pilot skill and other factors can overcome inappropriate technology.

The F-35 also now costs less to buy than the Eurofighter Typhoon and Rafale, which is an important advantage. Gripen is much cheaper, but Sweden has no geopolitical clout and has a very bad habit of finding moralistic reasons not to export armaments.

If you have to buy from Western suppliers, a mix of F-15X and Gripen NGs seems ideal. If you can't afford two classes of fighter, the Rafale is a very good compromise. France is also a reliable supplier. Worst choice is the Super Hornet. The F-16, while now quite an old design, is still a very capable aircraft at a reasonable price as well.

Japan now has a stealth fighter technology demonstrator in the MHI X-2 Shinden. They somehow built it, including with indigenous turbofans, for $360m. The airframe is very interesting in that it's built of new materials which eliminate the need for RAM, which should keep operating costs down and increase sortie rates. But this is only a technology demonstrator at this time, probably as proof-of-concept for the new materials and an indigenous low-bypass afterburning turbofan engine.

As for the Su-57, it's somewhat like the F-35 in its limited stealth. But it's also like the Su-27 family in having superb kinematic performance. Russia's official reason for delaying entry into service is that the Su-35 is adequate for existing threats, which is probably true.

Who knows what the real reason is. Budgetary pressures perhaps? Russia wants to double capital spending in rouble terms in 2024, and to do so without increasing debt. At the same time it's continuing its import substitution efforts, and there are no moves to soaking the rich. So the money has to come from somewhere, and presumably that makes mass production of the Su-57 and T-14 Armata less attractive.

Mitleser , August 12, 2018 at 3:44 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

And actually it's probably useful against America, too, or else why is the US so reluctant to sell it to Turkey?

>study F-35 and its data
> get better at detecting/fighting F-35

It is probably one of the main reasons why the RoC (Taiwan) won't get this jet despite needing more than most. The risk that pro-PRC agents would have access to the F-35 is not small.

Felix Keverich , August 12, 2018 at 3:46 pm GMT
@dfordoom

Cowardice is rarely a good policy.

I agree. However, let's not forget that Russia and USA have very different weight and role in the international economy. USA effectively owns the system of international finance. That is to say "international finance" is but an extention of US financial system. They can exclude Russia, we can't exclude them (from the system they created and own).

If Russia is going to impose meaningful costs on the US, I think it can only be done through non-economic means. Realistically, what action Russia could take that would potentially match the disruptive power of American sanctions on Russia? Arm the Central American drug cartels?

Thorfinnsson , August 12, 2018 at 3:51 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Using your own software is common for technologically advanced powers concerned about their sovereignty and their own military-industrial capabilities. Japan for instance (after being bullied out of building its own indigenous fighter in the 80s) built its own upgraded version of the F-16 which, among other things, included Japanese software. Like Israel, Japan also fields its own air-to-air missiles which on paper are in the first rank.

The UK took a different route of becoming a Level 1 Partner on the F-35 program, so they received privileged access to the source code which is not available to other powers.

The F-35 is not very useful for fighting Russia or China, but fine for fighting most anyone else. It actually could have some utility against America since America lags Russia and China in low-frequency radar and infrared search and track, but probably the real reluctance is safeguarding technology. In particular materials (e.g. the new RAM panels instead of finicky coatings) and the engines.

anon [356] Disclaimer , August 12, 2018 at 4:38 pm GMT
LOL. Not only the usual Russo-Ukro shitstorm that takes over every thread longer than 100 replies, but evolution-creation debate is there too.

This thread is officially over. RIP.

LondonBob , August 12, 2018 at 4:50 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

Sun Tzu say avoid combat with superior force, bide time and wait till you are stronger. Of course doesn't take Sun Tzu to work that out, even if he did say it.

Dmitry , August 12, 2018 at 5:14 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

IMF funded by a lot of countries though – Russia now one of the top ten important creditors and more influential owners of the IMF (although it's proportion of ownership is still multiples times smaller compared to US).

Russia is 8th largest shareholder of the IMF (out of 189 countries). US is largest share-holder, and then Japan and China.

Decisions are based on member voting which is based on share in the organization, so Russia has 8th largest vote in IMF, but behind USA, Japan, China, etc.

Part of the Greek debt is owned by Russia through the IMF, probably relative to Russian ownership of IMF and the debt relief packages partly also funded from Russian loans.

Fortunately, IMF ownership of Greek debt is several times smaller than the eurozone countries. But Russia's government share of Greece debt will probably be some billions of dollars. That's how Greece can basically continue receiving money – so many countries are owed money on their debt.

Felix Keverich , August 12, 2018 at 5:31 pm GMT
@LondonBob

Not really applicable in Russia's situation. We are already at war, it's entirely one-way for now, but that doesn't make it less of a war.

Cyrano , August 12, 2018 at 5:37 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

Thanks man, that's what I have been craving all my life – an approval from a Ukrainian hick. You keep it up too buddy, your encouragement means the world to me.

Dmitry , August 12, 2018 at 6:50 pm GMT
@Gerard2

VAT is not a "non-issue". When you raise from 18% to 20%, then you are taking significantly more money from the whole population (including poor people) who want to buy things in private sector, and transferring this money to state sector, where not all extra money (to be "polite") is going to be used "wisely".

At the same time, a problem now is to have up to 50% of the federal budget from oil/gas revenues – which is a volatile priced resource.

So it's typical dilemma with neither option looking good.

Of course, the solution to both, is to reduce unnecessary government expenditure, which continues to grow all the time in many useless areas, to the extent that you can see expressed in even unhidden ways of the luxurious buildings being constructed for all kinds of different government offices who could really do their job just as well (or incompetently) in a warehouse or a polyester and nylon tent.

Mikhail , Website August 12, 2018 at 6:53 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

[MORE]

Your reading comprehension sucks.

You uncritically referenced an anonymous, lying coward (not too much different from yourself BTW), who ducked a live one hours BBC World Service radio panel discussion, much unlike the person who you've an obsession with.

Mikhail , Website August 12, 2018 at 7:15 pm GMT
@Mikhail

[MORE]

That's: a live one hour .

Thorfinnsson , August 12, 2018 at 7:34 pm GMT
@Dmitry

Increasing taxation reduces private consumption, but I'm skeptical that it creates a long-term output gap (short term is a different matter). The OECD has prosperous economies with taxation at a share of GDP ranging from about one-third to three-fifths. Such a wide divergence suggests that high taxes and prosperity are not incompatible. Money spent by the state is still spent, and even if it's spent dubiously it continues to circulate.

Russia's official economic plan (besides import substitution) is to increase capital spending. It intends to do with while retaining fiscal discipline and limiting offshore borrowing. If you are unable or unwilling to borrow to finance investment, you must suppress consumption.

Suppressing consumption to finance investment has a track record of success in East Asia and for that matter Russia itself (~1928-1970).

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-12/putin-s-wealth-shift-takes-aim-at-russian-economy-s-idled-engine

The intent is to increase capital spending from one-fifth of GDP to one-quarter. A reasonable goal.

The real issue here of course is that the intent is for this increase in investment to come from the state and state-controlled companies, whose track records are dubious.

Still, perhaps something good could be done. Russia's nuclear industry is one bright spot, and shifting to a more nuclear power mix would allow for more hydrocarbon exports and improve public health. Russia is a growing agricultural exporter, and somehow I doubt Russia has the ubiquitous farm roads like we have here in the American Midwest.

Perhaps it would be wiser to reduce Rouble borrowing costs for the business sector by suppressing consumer credit and promoting higher household savings. Household savings rate in Russia is only 8%. China is 38%.

Anon [204] Disclaimer , August 12, 2018 at 7:44 pm GMT
"F-35 has inferior kinematic performance to most, if not all, of the Generation 4 fighters it's supposed to replace or oppose. Lack of a bubble canopy is also a major step backwards. Quite a dubious distinction for a new aircraft."

The F-35 will have an over-the-horizon A2A capability that will result in virtually any other aircraft being annihilated long before it closes distance on it. The bubble canopy is really only useful in dogfights; the F-35, scheduled to be built by the thousands, likely won't get into one-on-one engagements without serious air support. The bubble canopy reduces stealth, so it was removed. That was the right decision.

"That leaves its stealth and its supposedly wiz-bang sensors."

Its sensors have already been tested against the F-22 – a proven aircraft – and are almost certainly far and away superior to anything fielded by the Russians. There is no "supposedly" here as the US has already built aircraft with similarly impressive sensor suites. There is no reason to believe the F-35′s sensors won't be just as good, and probably far superior, to what it has already been able to produce. Any belief to the contrary is wishful thinking.

"Stealth is nice, but it drives up operating costs and reduces sortie rates."

The US can easily afford it.

"And on a small aircraft, you can't carry large war loads without sacrificing your stealth."

Doesn't matter. The F-35 will be operating with many other F-35s. Combined, it will be a formidable foe.

"F-35 stealth is in the frontal area only, optimized for the X-band."

No, it's not. The F-35 is simply more stealthy frontal but still stealthy over all. Further, X-band is the frequency required for a weapons lock. All stealth aircraft are specialized for this radar band.

"It will be easily detected by long wavelength radars."

Radars not capable of generating a weapon's grade lock, so they're useless in combat. Further, long wavelength radars – weather radars, basically – can already detect stealth aircraft; that's always been true. Didn't do Iraq any good back in the 90s.

"In air to air combat it would rely upon detecting intercepting aircraft and firing AMRAAMs before they can lock on or, heaven forbid, close to visual range (where the F-35 will be dogmeat)."

Which they will do very effectively. 100 F-35s vs. 100 Russian Su-27s, both closing on each other = 100 piles of wreckage and 100 F-35s.

"The Air Force has long said that the F-35 isn't optimized for air combat. I suppose the idea was that F-22s and legacy fighters would handle air superiority missions. F-35s, with frontal stealth, would be able to get close to targets and attack them with PGMs."

F-35 + F-22 is a potent combination. Even a squadron of F-35s alone would crush anything the Russians have. If necessary, the air force will likely just dogpile a large number of F-35s to make up for any perceived weakness. Considering the numbers scheduled to be produced, that should work fine.

"As for its allegedly wonderful sensors, I am skeptical."

You have no reason to be skeptical. The US has continually fielded next generation weapons that have worked quite well in combat. There is no reason to believe this will be any different. Further, your qualifications seem to be essentially nill in this area as you have displayed very limited knowledge of the subject. Your skepticism doesn't seem to be based on anything concrete, just wishful thinking.

"Lots of air forces continuously modernize old designs with AESA radars, glass cockpits, etc. Why exactly is a new airframe needed for any of this?"

This one statement qualifies you as an amateur that should be ignored.

"That said it's not like the F-35 is awful, and as usual pilot skill and other factors can overcome inappropriate technology."

The technology on the F-35 will crush its competition.

"If you have to buy from Western suppliers, a mix of F-15X and Gripen NGs seems ideal. If you can't afford two classes of fighter, the Rafale is a very good compromise."

Sure, if you're poor and want to lose against countries fielding 5th generation fighter aircraft.

"As for the Su-57, it's somewhat like the F-35 in its limited stealth. But it's also like the Su-27 family in having superb kinematic performance."

Having superb kinematic performance doesn't count for much if your opponent is flying in an aircraft that can shoot you down long before you close to within visual range.

"Russia's official reason for delaying entry into service is that the Su-35 is adequate for existing threats, which is probably true."

Russia is delaying because 1. they can't afford to buy the aircraft 2. they are having trouble constructing the aircraft as designed and in the quantity required 3. it probably isn't as good as the F-35 anyway, so they don't see a point in building it.

Sean , August 12, 2018 at 7:53 pm GMT
@Thorfinnsson

The F-35 is for transferring US technology to Israel

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/israels-air-force-might-have-the-ultimate-weapon-custom-25983
Lockheed-Martin has mostly refused to allow major country-specific modifications to the F-35, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars foreign F-35 operators contributed to the aircraft's development. Israel, however, managed to carve out an exception. Though not an investor in the F-35's development, Tel Aviv was nonetheless quick to sign on to the program with an initial order of fifty. It also negotiated a favorable deal in which billions of dollars worth of F-35 wings and sophisticated helmet sets would be manufactured in Israel, paid for with U.S. military aid. Furthermore, depot-level maintenance will occur in a facility operated by Israeli Aeronautics Industries rather than at a Lockheed facility abroad.

The Lightning's sophisticated flight computer and ground-based logistics system has become a matter of contention with many F-35 operators. Foreign air forces would like to have greater access to the F-35's computer source codes to upgrade and modify them as they see fit without needing to involve external parties -- but Lockheed doesn't want to hand over full access for both commercial and security-based reasons. Israeli F-35Is uniquely will have an overriding Israeli-built C4 program that runs "on top" of Lockheed's operating system.

Anon [121] Disclaimer , August 12, 2018 at 7:56 pm GMT
"Right, which is why Denmark bought the F-35. The one which even Americans were criticising. Buying American weaponry is often a combination of tribute, corruption and paying protection money."

Please. They bought the F-35 because it is the best aircraft they could get, and they don't trust the Russians. If they wanted to offer tribute, they'd just write a check and buy another aircraft.

Further, much of the so-called criticism of the F-35 came from non-experts in the subject or older guys who worked with the now-outdated F-14. The F-35 has made enough progress for me to believe that it will likely crush anything the Russians have now or in the future. Even if the Russians could build the Su-57, the F-35 would still win in most contests because 1. its sensor suite and over the horizon A2A capability + electronic warfare capability will be appreciably superior 2. it will be built in far larger numbers.

"The F-35 is not very useful for fighting Russia or China, but fine for fighting most anyone else."

The F-35 will be quite effective against any aircraft those countries currently field. Any belief to the contrary is either ignorance or delusion. The US isn't spending a trillion dollars on this thing to fight Trinidad and Tobago.

Thorfinnsson , August 12, 2018 at 8:25 pm GMT
@Anon

The F-35 will have an over-the-horizon A2A capability that will result in virtually any other aircraft being annihilated long before it closes distance on it. The bubble canopy is really only useful in dogfights; the F-35, scheduled to be built by the thousands, likely won't get into one-on-one engagements without serious air support. The bubble canopy reduces stealth, so it was removed. That was the right decision.

"Over-the-horizon A2A capability" has existed for half a century. Previously structuring our airpower around this concept resulted in high losses in Vietnam.

The real reason for the bubble canopy's elimination (note that the stealthier F-22 and YF-23 both have bubble canopies) is the ridiculous insistence on the same platform being used for a STOVL aircraft with a lift fan placed right in the middle of the fuselage.

If your goal is to maximize stealth and only fight BVR engagements, the F-35′s design is entirely inappropriate. After all, its stealth is in the front area only and it can't carry a large missile load.

Optimizing exclusively for BVR combat would entail a large tailless aircraft (perhaps a flying wing) with all-aspect stealth, large internal volumes of missiles, and far more powerful radar.

The F-35′s design is based on political and economic considerations, not military ones.

Its sensors have already been tested against the F-22 – a proven aircraft – and are almost certainly far and away superior to anything fielded by the Russians. There is no "supposedly" here as the US has already built aircraft with similarly impressive sensor suites. There is no reason to believe the F-35′s sensors won't be just as good, and probably far superior, to what it has already been able to produce. Any belief to the contrary is wishful thinking.

I have no doubt in the capability to produce and field top-class avionics. What I do doubt is the idea that we produce (and always will produce) superior avionics to anyone else. Europe, Russia, China, Japan, and even tiny Israel all produce AESA radars. The US lagged Russia (and Europe) in IRST for decades. The US is far behind on low-frequency radar.

The US can easily afford it.

You'll note that this was originally about F-35 exports . A solution with high operating costs and low sortie rates is problematic for anyone, but especially undesirable for a small power.

Radars not capable of generating a weapon's grade lock, so they're useless in combat. Further, long wavelength radars – weather radars, basically – can already detect stealth aircraft; that's always been true. Didn't do Iraq any good back in the 90s.

Detection is not useless. It allows you to vector interceptors until they get close enough for a radar lock or can identify the target with IRST or visual tracking.

Incompetent Arabalonians. Norman Scwhartzkopf stated that if you'd reversed the weapons on each side but kept the personnel and training the same, the Allied coalition would've still handily won. Serbia incidentally did successfully shoot down an F-117, which largely owed itself to the skill of the operator in question and poor tactics on the part of NATO.

Which they will do very effectively. 100 F-35s vs. 100 Russian Su-27s, both closing on each other = 100 piles of wreckage and 100 F-35s.

The RAND Corporation disagreed and projected one Su-35 lost for each 2.4 F-35s.

F-35 + F-22 is a potent combination. Even a squadron of F-35s alone would crush anything the Russians have. If necessary, the air force will likely just dogpile a large number of F-35s to make up for any perceived weakness. Considering the numbers scheduled to be produced, that should work fine.

F-22 production capped at 187 units, and none were exported to other countries (despite persistent requests from Japan).

You have no reason to be skeptical. The US has continually fielded next generation weapons that have worked quite well in combat. There is no reason to believe this will be any different. Further, your qualifications seem to be essentially nill in this area as you have displayed very limited knowledge of the subject. Your skepticism doesn't seem to be based on anything concrete, just wishful thinking.
[...]
This one statement qualifies you as an amateur that should be ignored.
[...]
The technology on the F-35 will crush its competition.

This is what is known as projection. Identifying in others the sins that you yourself are guilty of.

Sure, if you're poor and want to lose against countries fielding 5th generation fighter aircraft.

Many countries are poor. Others are small or have limited defense budgets. Though I contend thee aircraft in question are in fact superior to the F-35 which makes this moot.

Having superb kinematic performance doesn't count for much if your opponent is flying in an aircraft that can shoot you down long before you close to within visual range.

Superb kinematic performance enables earlier missile shots, makes it easier to defeat incoming missile shots, allows for faster transit in and out of combat zones, and gives a decisive edge in WVR combat.

The F-35 program developed a first-class powerplant and avionics, but then mated then to an inferior airframe in order to fulfill a commonality fantasy driven by a silly Marine Corps STOVL requirement.

Sean , August 12, 2018 at 8:49 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

The Kremlin would have killed the organ grinder (Boris Abramovich Berezovsky) not the monkey. Litvinenko virtually committed suicide. People become depressed when they are exiles.. Litvinenko publicly accused Putin of the apartment bombings by Chechens that killed hundreds of Russians so he must have had some inkling that Putin could be dangerous.

If you publicly call someone a child molester they will at least fantasize about killing you, and if they have the means and opportunity then it is not the biggest surprise in the world if you give them the motive and you are killed by a method that is as good as a signed confession they did it. Putin wanted Litvinenko to know who had put an end to him. That was the whole point of using alpha radiation; nice and slow all the while knowing who did it. Putin is very like another famous Vlad.

https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/vampirediaries/images/0/08/Vlad-The-Impaler-dracula-untold-37680708-854-347.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20141217165742

reiner Tor , August 12, 2018 at 9:27 pm GMT
@Sean

If you publicly call someone a child molester they will at least fantasize about killing you

I have fantasized about killing people who had seriously harmed me or the public. But I have never fantasized about killing a clown, nor can I ever imagine fantasizing about it. I cannot imagine anyone who is not a psychopath fantasizing about killing a clown. By accusing Putin of the house explosions and converting to Islam etc. Litvinenko totally jumped the shark. He was a clown, a tool used by others.

Now it's not impossible that Putin nevertheless wanted to murder Litvinenko, but you have just assumed how Putin would think and then proceeded to jump to a conclusion based on that assumption.

Litvinenko was a poor devil, incapable of harming Putin. If anyone harmed Putin, it's Berezovsky or the western media which gave a platform to poor devils like Litvinenko. Do you think Putin is so stupid that he hates the tools instead of the powerful people wielding them?

Mr. Hack , August 12, 2018 at 10:05 pm GMT
@Mikhail

[MORE]

That is pretty incredible, however, because of your reputation perhaps she was afraid of some sort of retribution for being critical of you? I notice that you often like to taunt me on by calling me a 'coward' for using a moniker instead of presenting you with my true identity. Whether deserved or not, many feel that you're some sort of a Kremlin Stooge nutcase, Mickey. From Srebrenica Genocide Denier to this:

friend of mike averko | April 12, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Reply
I have known mike averko for a very long time and wish to warn all of you who feel safe mocking him and his rants this is not someone you want to get angry . HE IS INSANE!!! I have seen how this man lives and it is not that of a healthy person, it is that of someone insane. Make your comments but don't ever let this man into yuour life in any way or you will end up being sorry.

This is why I choose to shield my true identity from you, Mickey. Who needs any grief from a Kremlin Stooge wacko?

utu , August 12, 2018 at 10:12 pm GMT
@anonymous coward

[MORE]

So it comes down to the meaning after all.

No, it actually doesn't.

No, it does.

The machine that draws the numbers for a lottery manages to pick 7 winning numbers every week. It never fails to pick the winning numbers. Is this an amazing feat? The numbers it picks are the winning numbers while millions of lottery players have great difficulty to pick the winning numbers and spend millions of dollar on it while the cost to the machine is just few bucks.

Shakespeare picked 458 'winning' letters but if you would try to reproduce them in the same sequence by random selections it becomes probabilistically impossible task.

Finding a winning sonnet by Shakespeare for the Universe was not a probabilistic feat just as it is not for the lottery machine to pick the winning numbers. It all comes down to the meaning and when that meaning is assigned. You assigned a special meaning to this particular sequence of 458 letters just like lottery players assign special meaning to 7 numbers picked by a machine.

Mr. Hack , August 12, 2018 at 10:13 pm GMT
@Cyrano

Although you show a lot of promise, unfortunately there are still a few rough edges. Don't concentrate so much on your less than honorable pedigree, but work on improving your emotional dilemmas. AP is a medical doctor, and has diagnosed some of your ailments. Listen to him, for he's a pure blood Slav. And you know how great the Slavic race is. (I know that you can overcome!).

g2k , August 12, 2018 at 10:31 pm GMT
@Thorfinnsson

On the subject of of agriculture, it should be noted that Rostelmash has done ok for a big sovok behemoth and has had at least some success exporting west. It's combines are competitive with the American makes but not Claas, they've also been able to buy up varsatile. This is quite surprising given the fact that rostov has a reputation for being a rough and corrupt place. Ak, any thoughts?

APilgrim , August 12, 2018 at 10:33 pm GMT
The US Congress, has popularity & confidence levels in the toilet.

Congress, in defiance of public opinion has MANDATED 'Russia-Sanctions', in the law.

Congress has done this overwhelmingly & repeatedly, without VISIBLE public support.

There is no evidence available to the American Public which justifies 'Russia-Sanctions'.

Sadly, the USA Public regards Vladimir Putin more highly than they regard congress.

Vladimir Putin has consistently high favorable ratings with the US Public.

Congress is rated below treatable venereal diseases, but above Ebola.

APilgrim , August 12, 2018 at 10:41 pm GMT
Sadly, the USA Public regards Vladimir Putin more highly than they regard congress.

Vladimir Putin has consistently high favorable ratings with the US Public.

Congress is rated below treatable venereal diseases, but above Ebola.

Cyrano , August 12, 2018 at 11:08 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

You make it sound like being a Slav is like being a member of an exclusive club. How exclusive can it be if you – the Ukrainians are in it? I would say that that is setting the standards pretty low. Don't worry about my "emotional" dilemmas. I am happy with who I am, which can't be said about you people. You seem quite torn between your Western European heritage and your humble Slavic origin that gets in the way of being recognized as one of the nations that are pillars of western civilization which everybody agrees that you are.

Thorfinnsson , August 12, 2018 at 11:20 pm GMT
@g2k

USSR engaged in intensive agricultural motorization earlier than any country other than the USA and Canada. It was also fairly early to intensive chemicalization, mainly beaten out by Germany and America.

In the postwar period the share of capital investment devoted to agriculture varied from 11.8% in 1946-1950 to a peak of 20.1% in 1971-1975.

Not surprising there is something of a positive legacy. Main failures of postwar Soviet agriculture were distribution and processing. Not enough roads or trucks, inadequate cold chain, too few food processing plants, etc.

Belarus also has a successful agricultural machinery sector as well.

Heavy transportation machinery was generally a Soviet success story, probably because not only are they producer goods but they also require routine replacement. Thus unlike other capital goods in centrally-planned economies they weren't kept in service long past the time they ceased to be efficient. The irrational "development" of Siberia also increased the size of this sector and the quality of its output.

Lastly, worth noting Rostelmash has been privately owned since 2000.

utu , August 12, 2018 at 11:24 pm GMT
@Anon

The F-35 will have an over-the-horizon A2A capability that will result in virtually any other aircraft being annihilated long before it closes distance on it.

If this is the case then obviously its 'kinematic performance' is secondary. If you can see the enemy before it can see you and you have weapons to engage the enemy then obviously your top speed and acceleration are not that important. The missile you launch is faster than your top speed and your enemy's top speed.

But there are doubts. How much the stealth technology is a hype? Is information about radar cross sections of various planes credible?

Sean , August 12, 2018 at 11:25 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

I thought like you before Skripal, but after the second in a row I understood this was either Western intelligence or Putin's orders. Western intelligence simply would not dare frame Putin because the Russians would become too jumpy. Yeltsin almost started WW3 in 1995, there is no telling what could happen if the West was framing Putin repeatedly and he responded by putting Russian forces on red alert, then something like the Black Brant scare occurred.

Litvinenko was a poor devil.

I don't think he was a happy man.

Now it's not impossible that Putin nevertheless wanted to murder Litvinenko, but you have just assumed how Putin would think and then proceeded to jump to a conclusion based on that assumption.

I happen to believe that Putin is deliberately trying to alienate the West with these assassinations because he wants Russia to remain proudly independent after he is gone. Yet he has to justify that policy to his close associates many of whom who love the Western lifestyle and making money. It is like Hitler having to explain his attack on the USSR to his generals and Goebbels by saying it was necessary to remove that threat from the east before moving against Britain. Obviously Hitler really longed to conquer Russia, and it seems likely to me that Putin wants to initiate schismogenesis with the West. He probably is not telling his cronies that though, there will be some security pretext.

Do you think Putin is so stupid that he hates the tools instead of the powerful people wielding them?

Putin has more power than anyone else on Earth, I should have thought that was obvious by now. He wants to exert control when he is no longer there, and that means setting Russia on a course that cannot be altered, and consulting/implicating the entire future leadership cadre.

Philip Owen , August 12, 2018 at 11:27 pm GMT
@g2k

John Deere does very well in Russia because they own a local factory. They seem to be the combine of choice because they have faster parts distribution than Class. Rostelmash does better than it used to but the really big commercial farms and associated contractors buy the best machines. The operators on the ex cooperatives, usually farmed under (corrupt) rental arrangements tend to use Rostelmash, insofar as they buy new.

Mikhail , Website August 12, 2018 at 11:41 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

[MORE]

No, you're a cowardly anonymous troll, who uncritically references such people. Much different from yours truly.

Thorfinnsson , August 13, 2018 at 12:13 am GMT
@utu

In BVR combat kinematic performance is indeed secondary to the performance of sensors, electronic warfare equipment, and missiles.

But not irrelevant. Higher top speed allows for longer-ranged missile shots. Faster acceleration (and, for that matter, turning performance) allows for faster escape from the combat zone.

Note how BVR optimized interceptors like the F-102/106, MiG-25/31, F-4, F-111B, English Electric Lightning, and so forth had great top speeds and excellent acceleration. They were however lacking in maneuverability as it was not intended for them to dogfight (hence the bad air combat performance over North Vietnam).

China's Chengdu J-20 is a modern stealth aircraft designed for this role. The F-35 is not. It's basically a tactical strike fighter. Historical analogues would be the F-100, F-105, SEPECAT Jaguar, Su-24, and so forth.

Tactical strike fighters of the classic style are dubious today since multi-mode radars and PGMs have made fighters very capable of ground attack.

Stealth isn't hype unless you believe the maximalist fanboy nonsense from the 1990s.

utu , August 13, 2018 at 1:24 am GMT
@Thorfinnsson

If indeed F-22 and F-35 have several orders of magnitude smaller cross-sections (RCS) than other jet fighters then obviously it is a huge advantage that if utilized will render small differences (±10%) in speed and acceleration completely unimportant.

F-22 RCS=0.0001 sqm
F-35 RCS=0.005 sqm

F16 RCS= 5 sqm
SU-35s RCS= 1-3 sqm
PAK-FA (T-50) RCS=0.5 sqm

Providing that one can trust this blogger:

http://mil-embedded.com/guest-blogs/radar-cross-section-the-measure-of-stealth/

Mr. Hack , August 13, 2018 at 1:28 am GMT
@Cyrano

being recognized as one of the nations that are pillars of western civilization which everybody agrees that you are.

Like I said, you're showing some progress. It's hard an takes some time, don't get discouraged.

Mr. Hack , August 13, 2018 at 1:33 am GMT
@Mikhail

Much different from yours truly.

You're right about that, and I'm glad to be different from you. At least people aren't leaving messages about me at blogs warning them that I might be dangerous to deal with. 'Sbrebrenica Genocide Denier' is nothing to be proud about, Mickey.

dfordoom , Website August 13, 2018 at 1:38 am GMT
@Felix Keverich

Realistically, what action Russia could take that would potentially match the disruptive power of American sanctions on Russia? Arm the Central American drug cartels?

I quite like that idea!

Provide sophisticated arms to everybody (no matter how crazy) with an ability to cause grief to the U.S.

The U.S. objective is not to punish Russia or weaken Russia. The U.S. objective is to destroy Russia as a sovereign nation. This is war to the death. There can be no negotiation with the U.S. The only hope of forcing the Americans to adopt a sane policy is to make the costs of their current policy catastrophically high.

The U.S. is obviously stronger but a strong man will usually back down if faced with someone crazy and unpredictable. Putin needs to be crazy and unpredictable.

And Russia needs to target America's lapdogs, like the British. Perhaps let them know that if it ever came to nuclear war London would be a priority target.

AnonFromTN , August 13, 2018 at 1:39 am GMT
@Mikhail

[MORE]

Svidomism is a mental disorder, incurable like the rest of them. You are violating the first rule of psychiatry: never argue with patients.

Parbes , August 13, 2018 at 2:28 am GMT
@Felix Keverich

U.S. "public opinion" is literally the collective opinion of dumbed-down, amoral idiots. In fact, the word "opinion" is too dignified for this – "braindead recantation of MSM-fed government propaganda" would be a better description.

Thorfinnsson , August 13, 2018 at 2:41 am GMT
@utu

Stealth is definitely an advantage.

But it's not an invisibility cloak.

It's optimized for certain wavelengths and expected receiver locations.

Thus stealth aircraft can for instance be readily detected by low frequency radars. Stealth is still useful as low frequency radars are too bulky to fly, and they indicate a general location rather than a precise location.

Stealth aircraft can also be detected visually, acoustically, through their own electronic emissions, and through their heat signatures. Employment of weapons, obviously, compromises stealth as well.

There are also degrees of stealth. The F-22 for instance is considered an all-aspect stealth design, at least in the higher frequency bands. The Have Blue, MBB Lampyridae, F-117, B-2, and YF-23 were as well.

The F-35 however is not–it's only stealth optimized in the frontal area. This of course reflects the fact that it was never intended to be an air superiority fighter, but incompetent American force planning is now pressing it into that role.

Lastly, while stealth is obviously a good capability (hence why everyone is following America's lead on it), it's not without trade-offs. Stealth is lost if weapons are carried externally. Radar absorbing materials are costly and maintenance intensive (though the Japanese may have solved this problem). Because stealth requires precision shaping of the airframe, it is difficult to modify the airframe for future requirements.

Mikhail , Website August 13, 2018 at 3:00 am GMT
@Mr. Hack

[MORE]

A few cranks out of many more thinking quite differently.

You of course can take pride in being a cowardly anonymous troll.

Mikhail , Website August 13, 2018 at 3:02 am GMT
@AnonFromTN

[MORE]

Yes, I've been told that.

utu , August 13, 2018 at 3:20 am GMT
@Thorfinnsson

"But it's not an invisibility cloak." – Nobody talks about invisibility. RCS matters. You detect enemy plane before it detects you. Period.

"The F-35 however is not–it's only stealth optimized in the frontal area. " – Presumably it will show its rear to its enemy only when the enemy will be already falling down after being hit.

"Stealth aircraft can also be detected visually " – Nobody argues invisibility.

"it was never intended to be an air superiority fighter". – It all depend on superiority over whom. Anyway this is a vague and pompous term.

"Stealth is lost if weapons are carried externally." – What good are those weapons for if you are shot before you see your stealthy enemy?

"Radar absorbing materials are costly and maintenance intensive". – Yes. That's why Russians do not have it.

Listen. I do not really care about this issue and I do not know much about it. I just responded to your arguments which are mostly rhetorical in nature among at diminishing importance of the orders of magnitude lower RCS of F-22 and F-35 comparing to that of their potential opponents.

Mr. Hack , August 13, 2018 at 3:36 am GMT
@AnonFromTN

[MORE]

Do you remember Ukraine? remember your Ukrainian mother? you're a sorry excuse for a human being, a modern day janissary.

reiner Tor , August 13, 2018 at 3:44 am GMT
@Sean

I thought like you before Skripal, but after the second in a row I understood this was either Western intelligence or Putin's orders.

Or something else neither of us thought of. It's a false dichotomy when we have no information at all about the whole thing, the only thing we know is that the British are lying.

Western intelligence simply would not dare frame Putin because the Russians would become too jumpy.

But that's just your model. Maybe they wouldn't become jumpy, or maybe the Western intelligence services would dare frame him anyway.

By the way it's interesting that you managed to draw a psychological profile of Putin based on just two cases a decade apart, and Putin only did it twice in his whole reign. Sure if he enjoyed torturing his critics he'd do it more, wouldn't he?

Yeltsin almost started WW3 in 1995, there is no telling what could happen if the West was framing Putin repeatedly and he responded by putting Russian forces on red alert, then something like the Black Brant scare occurred.

Risk management is my job. People don't think about risks that way. They assign a very low probability to events like the Black Brant scare, and anyway probably Putin would just realize it was only one rocket. There's no reason to believe he'd be any more likely to launch than Yeltsin.

Daniel Chieh , August 13, 2018 at 4:26 am GMT
@utu

Stealth is of limited use in an air-to-air role to take down enemy fighters(air superiority fighter) since missiles are not "stealth" and their guidance systems very, very obviously telegraph their intentions: thus "missile lock" warning. The longer range just telegraphs their intentions earlier, which gives the targeted plane more options to employ countermeasures.

However, ground sites lack many countermeasures against incoming missile launches and cannot lock onto low-visibility planes from the front, so even if its general location is known, there's not much that a SAM site can do to it in theory. Thus, it has a very effective, but limited role.

This is of questionable utility against a peer competitor since they will not be using ground to air systems in isolation, although it probably means that the US can destroy any number of third world countries.

Mikhail , Website August 13, 2018 at 4:27 am GMT
@Mr. Hack

[MORE]

On your warped world, cranks like La Russophobe and pro-Bosnian Muslim extremists are okay.

Mr. Hack , August 13, 2018 at 4:34 am GMT
@Mikhail

[MORE]

Nah, not really. In my world, only cranks like you are special. Don't worry, your status as #1 Kremlin Stooge remains intact.

Cyrano , August 13, 2018 at 4:37 am GMT
@Mr. Hack

Like I said, you're showing some progress

I wish I could say the same thing about the Ukrainians. You are showing nothing but regress since 1991, but I don't expect that you'll agree with that. It's one of the side effects of having a thick head.

You know how the Ukrainians got their name? It's from the Latin Cranium for scull. Basically, what it means is that when any new idea (or old one for that matter) tries to penetrate the thick Ukrainian sculls – it has to make a U turn when it reaches their fortified cranial structures – U Cranium – therefore Ukraine. Get it? It's pretty discouraging actually.

reiner Tor , August 13, 2018 at 4:55 am GMT
@utu

A good case could be made that we don't know how these jets would perform under the conditions of a real world war. But I think it's always the best bet that it will be the American weapons which perform the best. That's simply the way to bet.

It's possible that many of their weapons systems wouldn't perform as advertised. Some would perform better than thought or for roles they weren't designed for.

It's a very safe decision to buy the F-35, which is now not even that expensive. It's possible that it won't be worth much in a real war against comparable opponents, but this could be true of any other platform: these weapons are only tried out against vastly inferior opponents.

You detect enemy plane before it detects you. Period.

He will usually have a vague idea where you are. Currently it's not possible to launch a missile based on that vague knowledge, but will it stay like that forever? A lot depends on other systems like air defense and AWACS.

Anyway, my original point was that probably buying the F-35 is not based on politics, it's a safe decision for those with deep enough pockets to buy the best available fighter jet. Even if under the circumstances of a real war it turned out to be bad: it could happen to a number of other weapons systems anyway, and you cannot really tell in advance which ones.

reiner Tor , August 13, 2018 at 5:12 am GMT
@Daniel Chieh

The longer range just telegraphs their intentions earlier

But wouldn't the idea be that you get closer to the enemy without being detected? Your argument might work against BVR combat in general, but more against non-stealth BVR combat than against stealth: stealthy planes will probably employ their BVR weapons from closer range than non-stealthy planes.

If BVR air-to-air missiles work at all, they work much better with stealthy planes. Regardless of whether against peer or non-peer opponents.

utu , August 13, 2018 at 5:13 am GMT
@Daniel Chieh

Stealth is of limited use in an air-to-air role to take down enemy fighters(air superiority fighter) since missiles are not "stealth" and their guidance systems very, very obviously telegraph their intentions: thus "missile lock" warning. The longer range just telegraphs their intentions earlier, which gives the targeted plane more options to employ countermeasures.

If your argument states that it is actually bad to deploy weapons far away (which I do not understand) I would say that the stealth will allow you to get much closer to the enemy w/o being detected and makes it possible to launch the missile when there will be not less time for the enemy to deploy countermeasures.

I realize this is a complex game with many possible strategies and tactics with many parameters involved. For each strategy there are decision regions where the different parameters dominate what will be the optimal tactic. Furthermore we really do not know how effective various countermeasures are but I suspect that they might be decisive. But if they fail and planes get close to each other within the visual range then obvious completely different parameters might be decisive including the human factor.

I won't argue with you on this subject because I know you were raised by video games so you now better at least in the realm of video games model. I would not argue with Mowgli about the purpose and efficacy of howling at the moon. Perhaps it was a sophisticated countermeasure.

utu , August 13, 2018 at 5:16 am GMT
@reiner Tor

Exactly!

Daniel Chieh , August 13, 2018 at 6:39 am GMT
@utu

I actually have never played a flight simulator within recent memory. As far as I'm aware, none of them really calculate the issues of missile flight with any degree of accuracy and treat guidance systems like some sort of magic. My comments are actually speculations from conversations with military pilots.

If your argument states that it is actually bad to deploy weapons far away (which I do not understand)

Missiles have extremely limited flight times and their flight characteristics degrade after launch. Disrupting either their guidance or their flight negates the kill chain.

I would say that the stealth will allow you to get much closer to the enemy w/o being detected and makes it possible to launch the missile when there will be not less time for the enemy to deploy countermeasures.

This is possible, but ever-increasingly decreases the window of attack that is beyond visual range. Its possible that this is the idea, coupled with the Block III Sidewinders which are designed against a number of countermeasures, but that seems to have been cancelled for some reason.

reiner Tor , August 13, 2018 at 6:42 am GMT
@utu

Though the first comment there:

If you don't know the composite materials used, you can not give a correct RCS, and you can not tell just by looking, the physics don't work like that!

So at least we have the word of the US Air Force and Lockheed regarding the stealthiness of their planes (these are probably not outright lies, but might differ from reality in either direction: they might be modest to hide their true capabilities, or, more likely, exaggerate and give a number only true under ideal conditions for a specific type of radar etc. ), but regarding the supposedly 5th generation Chinese or Russian jets we have just very rough estimates based on the shape and some assumptions about their coating.

Imperial Menopause , August 13, 2018 at 7:29 am GMT
How hard is Imperial Menopause

Nowadays USA is Sactionistan ,sanctions !! sanctions !! sanctions !!

I read that the USA is considering sanctions to Russia because she thinks Russia insulted Mickey Mouse .

Kairos , August 13, 2018 at 7:47 am GMT
So many US sanctions and interdictions , to friends and foes alike , will end up isolating the US .

The US pressure to the EU not to trade with Russia , Iran and other countries has provoked a deep resentment in the EU and has turned the US into a very unreliable partner , and even a dangerous " friend " .

The Alarmist , August 13, 2018 at 8:13 am GMT
The better part of four decades ago, President Reagan made a joke about outlawing the Soviet Union and the press and the left went apeshit. Now Congress seriously proposes legislation that would essentially outlaw Russia, and the press and the left are all for it.
reiner Tor , August 13, 2018 at 8:42 am GMT
@Daniel Chieh

ever-increasingly decreases the window of attack that is beyond visual range

How many seconds will the stealth pilot have to identify the target and fire its missiles? Sixty? Hundred-twenty? Thirty? Even thirty seconds must be enough for a well enough trained pilot.

There might be issues with how to leave the scene after having killed an opponent, if other enemies are still there, because it's less stealthy from other angles. I guess we're not the first to think about it, so probably there's some solution. At the very least, I wouldn't expect them to perform worse than the 4th gen planes.

reiner Tor , August 13, 2018 at 8:47 am GMT
@Thorfinnsson

I think even the production of the F-16 is about to end.

Yes, the Gripen is a good and cheap alternative, but it's not the best available in the western ecosystem. The F-35 would probably destroy an equal number of Gripens, though that's not saying much, considering the price differential.

Hungary also has Gripens, though we didn't fully equip them until recently, and I don't think we spend enough on training the pilots.

Anonymous [333] Disclaimer , August 13, 2018 at 8:57 am GMT
@reiner Tor

These demands on Russia are about as sincere and plausible as the ultimata given to Serbia after Sarajevo. They are not credible but meant only as a prelude to war. The whole slow-motion drama, with all its attendant false flags (MH17, the Skripals, gassings in Syria, etc), numerous rounds of sanctions and specious rhetoric including accusations of "stealing the election" from Hillary, since Putin checked Obama's attempt to seize Russia's Crimean base and recruit another hostile NATO member on that country's frontier has been meant to convince the American public that Russia is our country's blood enemy, that it is run by an insane dictator the equal of Hitler, and that the consequent world war will have been all Putin's fault in spite of America bending over backwards to make peace with those vicious mongrels from the steppes.

As a commentor above said, I'd hate to be killed by a Russian nuke directed at my city only because of an insane American leadership, but I'd equally hate for tens of millions of Russians (and others) to be exterminated by our weapons simply to further an agenda being promoted by the likes of Jeff Bezos, Sheldon Adelson and the other plutocrats who really pull all the strings in Washington to benefit themselves plus their Saudi and Israeli co-conspirators in some great game to rule the world. I'd say that Washington is about poised to commit the greatest crime in the history of the human race, and chances are good that it will be the last.

Anon [332] Disclaimer , August 13, 2018 at 9:42 am GMT
"Stealth is of limited use in an air-to-air role to take down enemy fighters(air superiority fighter) since missiles are not "stealth" and their guidance systems very, very obviously telegraph their intentions: thus "missile lock" warning. The longer range just telegraphs their intentions earlier, which gives the targeted plane more options to employ countermeasures."

That's not quite true. The ability to shoot a barrage of sophisticated missiles at an opponent that can't shoot back beyond visual range should be quite useful in combat; these missiles will also close the gap much sooner than you would think, so it's not like an enemy is going to have all day to deal with incoming threats. Further, electronic countermeasures won't be perfect as most A2A missiles fielded by the US will have systems designed to defeat them. The F-35 will also be fielded in large enough numbers such that they'll just overwhelm opponents with their stealth ability. Combine the F-35 with the F-18 or F-22, and you'll have a very effective air dominance force.

"This is of questionable utility against a peer competitor since they will not be using ground to air systems in isolation, although it probably means that the US can destroy any number of third world countries."

I expect the F-35 to do quite well against both Russia and China in helping to establish air dominance. The F-35 will additionally have utility against surface S2A units. The navy could overwhelm Russian and Chinese air defenses – even assuming they are quite effective – by coordinating strikes with F-22s and F-35s. Those air defenses will go active, and the F-35 will then be able to hit many of them with a degree of survivability + coordinate with surface ships to smoke them out, mobile or not.

APilgrim , August 13, 2018 at 9:46 am GMT
George Soros (AKA György Schwartz) is a bigger threat to the USA, than Vladimir Putin.
APilgrim , August 13, 2018 at 9:47 am GMT
Ex-Pat William Felix Browder is a bigger threat to the USA, than Vladimir Putin.
APilgrim , August 13, 2018 at 9:48 am GMT
The lying MSM is a bigger threat to the USA, than Vladimir Putin.
APilgrim , August 13, 2018 at 9:49 am GMT
The ChiCOMS are a bigger threat to the USA, than Vladimir Putin.
APilgrim , August 13, 2018 at 9:49 am GMT
Muhammadans are a bigger threat to the USA, than Vladimir Putin.
APilgrim , August 13, 2018 at 9:51 am GMT
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a bigger threat, than Vladimir Putin.
reiner Tor , August 13, 2018 at 9:53 am GMT
@Anonymous

These demands on Russia are about as sincere and plausible as the ultimata given to Serbia after Sarajevo. They are not credible but meant only as a prelude to war.

That's the most frightening part.

utu , August 13, 2018 at 9:53 am GMT
@Daniel Chieh

I have never put much thought into these issues. But now after reading comments and some articles I realized that this is a fascinating topic and that there are many people somewhere who study it, write simulations and developed optimal algorithms for all possible situations where they have input data on all plane and missile characteristics except with only partial knowledge of enemy characteristics and efficacy of countermeasures. So I think that everything has been already calculated. When and what to shoot and when and where to turn and when to retreat and so on. And as new data are flowing in with the outcome of the first missile or the arrival of another enemy plane the master program is just bringing in pre-calculated solutions for each new situations. And then every geometric configuration must have been analyzed and optimal actions has been found. Furthermore optimal configuration were found about how to fly , in what formations, with what speeds and so on. Mathematically this problem might not be harder than a chess game on multiple boards and thus I think a completely autonomous AI system must exist where pilot is really not needed. The only big unknown are countermeasures. You do not have them in chess. Can pilot be better in making some decisions in the present of countermeasure than computer? I doubt it.

Now the question is who is better in this game? Russians or Americans? It all comes down to money. How many good mathematicians, computer programmers and physicists I can employ? In USSR at secret sites like Arzamas-16 they had departments where 1000 or so PhDs in math (many, many women) worked. In Yeltsin times and probably before they mostly drank tea and coffee, organized birthday celebrations and send designated ones to stand in lines to do shopping. And it all fell apart. But in the US DARPA and Aerospace R&D continued w/o a break. So I would not hesitate to bet on Americans that they have significantly better systems. Another question is about spying. Jews are not as numerous as they were in R&D and no longer enamored with the Soviet Union, so it is more likely that India and China has know more about it and obviously Israel but through more official channels. But the fact that F-22 was not donated to Israel yet may suggest that there are still some boundaries within American MIC that are off limits even to our beloved Jews.

No future , August 13, 2018 at 9:57 am GMT
@Anon

Sounds like you want a war of the US against Russia and China , do you really ?

And even sounds that you think that the US could win it , and the atomic long range missiles ?

Mitleser , August 13, 2018 at 10:01 am GMT
@reiner Tor

Yes, the Gripen is a good and cheap alternative, but it's not the best available in the western ecosystem. The F-35 would probably destroy an equal number of Gripens, though that's not saying much, considering the price differential.

You don't ask for the "best", you ask for the right system.
Unless you need a stealth strike fighter (and don't mind Lockheed's involvement), the F-35 does not have to be the right one.
In Hungary's case, it is more important to have enough jets for air patrol duty.

reiner Tor , August 13, 2018 at 10:12 am GMT
@utu

Can pilot be better in making some decisions in the present of countermeasure than computer? I doubt it.

I doubt it. It's open ended, and the number of variations practically infinite. The computer can do most things way better than a human, but then could succumb to stupidity in some unknown situation, like the Tesla charging at full speed into the firetruck. Is the Tesla autopilot better than a well trained professional human, like a rally race driver? I don't think so, especially in unexpected (for the computer) situations, where the human would just do the easy and sensible thing, but not the computer.

Anyway, the US warplanes are still flown by human pilots. Of course, most things which could be automated are automated, and the logical conclusion is fully autonomous drones flying without much input from their handlers in underground bunkers.

Jews are not as numerous as they were in R&D and no longer enamored with the Soviet Union, so it is more likely that India and China has know more about it and obviously Israel but through more official channels.

Do you think that one of the things Israel pays Putin for being so friendly to him is US military tech? They did sell Russia some drones back in the Medvedev days, but nothing more recent can be found. But I'd be surprised if Putin didn't think about it. I also think it's not above Netanyahu to sell Russia American secrets. They gave such secrets to the USSR, and they also helped China more recently. I'm sure that if there's anything going on, the MSM wouldn't be reporting much on it. They also rarely wrote about the extent of the Israel-South Africa arms trade, and things only got worse recently.

But maybe it's not happening.

reiner Tor , August 13, 2018 at 10:13 am GMT
@Mitleser

The F-35 would cost so much that we couldn't operate it. We can at least operate the Gripens. Having Gripens is better than having nothing.

reiner Tor , August 13, 2018 at 10:16 am GMT
@No future

I think you can write about American military tech being better than Russian military tech without wanting a war between the two.

utu , August 13, 2018 at 10:33 am GMT
@reiner Tor

Whatever is going on within the triangle Trump-Netnayahu-Putin is the most puzzling and the most interesting.

Anon [123] Disclaimer , August 13, 2018 at 10:37 am GMT
"The RAND Corporation disagreed and projected one Su-35 lost for each 2.4 F-35s."

I believe that study was conducted under the assumption of within visual range, which artificially presented a situation where the F-35 was at a disadvantage from the get go. In a real world situation, the Su-35 would probably be shot down before it knew what hit it, especially considering that American pilots tend to be among the best in the world.

"F-22 production capped at 187 units, and none were exported to other countries (despite persistent requests from Japan)."

That's irrelevant for three reasons:

1) 187 is still a number far greater than the number of Su-57s the Russians wanted to produce in the near term.

2) the F-22 is often stationed at bases around the world, so the US does not need to sell the aircraft to anyone to bring it to a theater of combat.

3) the F-22 would dominate any Russian or Chinese aircraft currently fielded; an appreciable number of F-22s (or any US fourth generation aircraft) along with the F-35 should be a potent combination. US pilots are also very well trained, easily matching any other country save perhaps Israel.

"This is what is known as projection. Identifying in others the sins that you yourself are guilty of."

Please. Extrapolation from a set of known facts and historical precedent is hardly projection. What you've done is classic deflection.

"Many countries are poor. Others are small or have limited defense budgets. Though I contend thee aircraft in question are in fact superior to the F-35 which makes this moot."

The aircraft you quoted are certainly not superior, so the issue is hardly moot.

"Superb kinematic performance enables earlier missile shots, makes it easier to defeat incoming missile shots, allows for faster transit in and out of combat zones, and gives a decisive edge in WVR combat."

Kinematic performance doesn't cont for much when you are overwhelmed by aircraft that you can't shoot back at effectively while they are shooting at you from a distance. Kinematic performance isn't nothing, but it isn't everything either. The F-35 will have a decisive advantage over all Russian aircraft fielded now and over the next decade, and any issues with the design will be made up for by fielding large numbers of them to overwhelm opponents + combining the aircraft with the F-22 or F-18.

"The F-35 program developed a first-class powerplant and avionics, but then mated then to an inferior airframe in order to fulfill a commonality fantasy driven by a silly Marine Corps STOVL requirement."

That's not really the right way to phrase it. "Inferior" in this case only means "less than what the US could have otherwise done but still quite good compared to most other aircraft."

Further, the philosophy you quoted will allow the US to field huge numbers of these craft – thousands – at an affordable price, so I'm not so sure it was a bad idea after all. That's much better than the SU-57, which is a dumpster fire of a program.

I'm also not sold on the idea that the B model was a bad idea for the Asian theater. In any conflict, the Chinese will attempt to destroy our bases and landing strips. Having a larger number of fighters capable of short vertical takeoffs might prove to be quite the asset in organizing a counter offensive/stationing the craft in various locations that are hard to hit or detect.

"If your goal is to maximize stealth and only fight BVR engagements, the F-35′s design is entirely inappropriate. After all, its stealth is in the front area "

That's not correct. The F-35 will have a reduced radar cross section across much of the craft compared with any other non-stealth aircraft. Nearly the entire surface is covered in radar absorbent material and the engine itself is designed to reflect away radar waves. It also has IR reduction measures.

"Small number of missiles."

Made up for by building 2000+ F-35s. How many SU-57s is Russia making?

"Optimizing exclusively for BVR combat would entail a large tailless aircraft (perhaps a flying wing) with all-aspect stealth, large internal volumes of missiles, and far more powerful radar."

No, it wouldn't. Something doesn't have to be theoretically perfect for it to work quite well in the real world. The F-35 will perform BVR combat much better than any non-American aircraft.

"Flying wing."

1. We already have that. It's called the B2 and we are also working on a flying wing stealth drone that does exactly that already: shoot a barrage of missiles at BVR in coordination with the F-35.

2. Wrong. Just wrong. There are huge disadvantages to your flying wing idea. Stability and maneuverability being just two, so they wouldn't be much use in visual range combat or in a variety of other missions for which the F-35 was designed; the F-35 is a multi-role fighter. It will do BVR just fine.

"The F-35′s design is based on political and economic considerations, not military ones."

The military design of the F-35 is pretty good. You're trying to cover this up by pointing out an irrelevant fact – that there were economic considerations when building the craft which applies to every military project ever conceived.

Felix Keverich , August 13, 2018 at 10:39 am GMT
@dfordoom

There can be no negotiation with the U.S.

You don't need to convince me. You'll need to convince Russian kleptocrats, who've been sending their kids to live in the West since 1991, and who have kept their (stolen) money in the West.

And reiner Tor , you are a funny guy, liking these militant comments from dfordoom, but getting your panties in a bunch, when I suggest occupying the Ukraine. I wonder why?

The fact is asserting dominance in Eastern Europe will be a lot easier for Russia to accomplish, than confronting USA directly, and it is something I would probably do before I started threatening New York and London with nuclear devastation. You gotta make your threats credible you know. Credibility doesn't come from making scary faces and shouting loudly, it's earned.

Mitleser , August 13, 2018 at 10:41 am GMT
@reiner Tor

Your Croatian neighbors are still operating Mig-21 and will get second-hand ((((F-16)))).
And your Austrian neighbors are unhappy with their Eurofighters.
Gripens are better than alternatives and nothing.

Anon [123] Disclaimer , August 13, 2018 at 10:45 am GMT
"Sounds like you want a war "

No, I don't. In fact, I think the American Deep State is nuts. I have great respect for Russians and their military. I am simply pointing out facts: the F-35 isn't the chump some think it is; do not believe any random internet poster when he says this thing won't work. I've seen enough to know that it will and that you should be afraid of what it can do in large numbers.

As I said earlier, the Russians should just dump all Hollywood movies and video games onto a server and call it MegaUpload 2. Hurt an industry most Trump voters despise anyway and you might be able to turn republicans against their warmongering representatives in congress who are pushing for sanctions, etc.

Non Future , August 13, 2018 at 10:46 am GMT
@reiner Tor

Reiner Tor = Pure Door in german , not so pure , the door opens to wars .

APilgrim , August 13, 2018 at 10:56 am GMT
Hillary Clinton is an existential threat to The: Republic & Constitutional Rule of Law.

Obama is an existential threat to The: Republic & Constitutional Rule of Law.

Michael Anthony McFaul may be a greater threat to America, than Vladimir Putin.

Samantha Jane (Sunstein) Power may be a greater USA threat, than Vladimir Putin.

Robert Mueller may be a greater USA threat than Vladimir Putin.

reiner Tor , August 13, 2018 at 10:58 am GMT
@Non Future

Actually, it means "pure fool," "reines Tor" would be "pure gate" (not door), and it comes from the Wagner opera Parsifal, where the protagonist is a pure fool, enlightened by compassion. I'd probably choose a funnier handle today, but ultimately it doesn't matter.

I.M , August 13, 2018 at 11:00 am GMT
@reiner Tor

This point of false dichotomy is very important. Everything at this point, points to the fact that there was no nerve agent employed against the Skripals and that they were simply knocked out by some chloroform like substance. The fact that they survived, and recovered without any problems, is irrefutable proof of this.

Therefore a false dichotomy is employed in order to, we can say mentally sodomise people into believing that the only option is that the Kremlin did it.

I see people stating in comments sections in British newspapers that the official story is bullshit but that they simply can't believe that their own government would disperse CWs throughout their country, however this is a mute point as it has been disproven that CWs were used at all and that the obvious conclusion is that they were simply drugged and held against their will while their oh so benevolent government spun an endlessly shifting fairytale, growing ever more convoluted and self contradictory by the day.

reiner Tor , August 13, 2018 at 11:07 am GMT
@Mitleser

Even if both NATO and the EU collapsed, and a war broke out with one or some of our neighbors, neither Austria nor Croatia would be likely enemies. Of our NATO allies, both Romania and Slovakia were more likely enemies. I hope it won't happen, because both are seriously stronger than us.

The F-16 is no longer in production (though maybe a restart is planned?), but most operators are happy enough with it.

utu , August 13, 2018 at 11:13 am GMT
@I.M

mentally sodomise people into believing

Here, locally, I find it interesting that the commenter "Sean" got sodomized himself or is just trying to sodomize us. There is one recurring almost below the radar theme in his comments: war with Iran and the opportunity of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians it will bring. He might be right about it though I still hope this will be prevented while he seems to be welcoming it. And for some reason he seems to need Putin dead or compromised for this scenario to happen.

Felix Keverich , August 13, 2018 at 11:20 am GMT
@Parbes

Public opinion in Russia is a lot like this actually. It seems that state-tv interrupted its anti-Western programming during World Cup, which caused approval of both US and EU to spike into positive territory for the first time since 2014.

Tom Van Meurs , Website August 13, 2018 at 11:23 am GMT
America is gradually isolating itself from the rest of the world. A beast driven into a corner is a dangerous one.
APilgrim , August 13, 2018 at 11:25 am GMT
Somebody SHOULD investigate: Michael McFaul, Samantha Power, Robert Mueller, Peter Strzok, George Soros, William Browder, Hillary Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal, Christopher Steele, John Podesta, Barack Obama, and John Brennan.

Congress has done a SHlTTY Job of it. Perhaps Vladimir Putin SHOULD be allowed to publicly question these traitors, in the USA.

We would probably learn a LOT!

Contraviews , Website August 13, 2018 at 11:28 am GMT
America is isolating itself increasingly more from the rest of the world, A beast driven into a corner is a dangerous beast.
Mitleser , August 13, 2018 at 11:29 am GMT

Of our NATO allies, both Romania and Slovakia were more likely enemies. I hope it won't happen, because both are seriously stronger than us.

They are?

reiner Tor , August 13, 2018 at 11:30 am GMT
@Felix Keverich

And reiner Tor, you are a funny guy, liking these militant comments from dfordoom, but getting your panties in a bunch, when I suggest occupying the Ukraine. I wonder why?

I don't fear it much, it'd simply be a stupid policy. I also don't like ethnic cleansing and mass deportations and the like. Which would be a requirement if you were to occupy Ukraine.

The predictable result would be a state of emergency in Central Europe and a strong mobilization against Russia. Military expenditures would quickly rise to 5% of GDP in Central Europe, but it'd rise around Europe.

But actually some kind of military action in Ukraine as a direct response to American sanctions might make sense. Just don't expect Ukrainians or neighboring peoples to greet you with flowers. So you might bomb some military targets recently installed by the Americans.

But before that, you'd need to make the anti-sanctions law. Actually, you'd need to make it pretty strong. Until you cannot even do that, you shouldn't even fantasize about conquest.

There are several steps you could take before starting an actual war of conquest. Which you wouldn't even be able to finish.

APilgrim , August 13, 2018 at 11:42 am GMT
The notion of modern WVR 'Dogfighting' is as hokey as this photo.
APilgrim , August 13, 2018 at 11:56 am GMT
AK: In the future, please unite your multiple low effort one-sentence posts into one. Since they aren't very high quality, fill up valuable screen real estate, and splicing them together takes too much time on my part, I will otherwise have to just start deleting them.

Captain Albert Ball, VC, DSO & Two Bars, MC (14 August 1896 – 7 May 1917) was an English fighter pilot during the First World War. At the time of his death he was the United Kingdom's leading flying ace, with 44 victories.

Those days are gone.

Forrestal , August 13, 2018 at 12:02 pm GMT
@APilgrim

and Mc Cain ??? , he hero of the Isis desert , pardon the hero of Vietnam , Victoria Nuland the F the EU " lady " .. Geoffrey Pyatt .

neutral , August 13, 2018 at 12:24 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

That's the most frightening part.

The thing is that if say Serbia, Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, etc had nuclear weapons in 1914 then WW1 would likely not have broken out.

Ilyana_Rozumova , August 13, 2018 at 12:33 pm GMT
These sanctions are complex, well thought out, most probably not by Goyim.
Now We can see that Scripal affair was definitely false flag.
These sanctions are obviously not a punishment.
..
These sanctions are telling Mother Russia to get on her knees, or die.
.
These are not really sanctions. This is Ultimatum.
.
Everybody should understand that.
Sean , August 13, 2018 at 12:50 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Putin cannot be read like a book, but we can be confident that he is capable of deceiving even his closest confidants, for he got his current job by completely fooling Yeltsin .

There's no reason to believe he'd be any more likely to launch than Yeltsin.

All other things being equal, but Yeltsin was never framed for murder by the West even once, so he never had Russian forces on red alert; never had the safety catches off . Yet in the Black Brant scare Yeltsin actually activated the nuclear keys , something that never happened even in the Cuban Missile crisis. In circumstances where there was already a hair trigger because of some misunderstanding and Yeltsin had a too much of a hangover to think clearly and recognize bad advice, he might well have launched. Putin would never knowingly launch first, but the opening of move of a nuclear first strike would be a high altitude air burst to blind the victim's radar so waiting for the first nuclear detonation would not be an option.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/how-nato-military-exercise-freaked-out-russia-nearly-started-25864?page=0%2C2
As these reports filtered in to Western intelligence agencies, there initially was little alarm. Analysts and experts who examined the information simply could not believe that the Soviets seriously thought that NATO was preparing a nuclear first strike. At this point, the West did not have any real clue just how dangerous the situation had become.

If he and his country had been framed for murder twice in a row, Putin would take the some of the safeties off of the Russian nuclear deterrent because it was not working at the normal settings. All it would then take is someone, possibly at a low level, to get careless and we are in the danger zone. The Russians do not think America is likely to attack them out of the blue, but they do not rule out the possibility (Reagan said that was what most surprised him about the Soviet leadership once he came to know them).

Wealthy Russians put their money in offshore British accounts, you seriously think anyone in their right mind would do that if the British Deep State was capable of deliberately framing Russia for assassinations. Dirty money from all over the world comes to offshore British accounts because Britain has the rule of law and the ill gotten gains are safe. It simply would not pay Britain to behave like a banana republic in the way you are suggesting. What you are suggesting is like MI5 & 6 stealing the gold out of the Bank of England, except it would be more plausible because there would be something in it for them. South Korean had the death penalty for capital flight. Putin is less crude, he is using the British sanctions against his circle (and you must be associated with circle to get rich in Russia) to force dodgy Russians and their money to stay put .

Putin's long term objective is to nullify foreign influences, which boils down to Western soft power and money. The Russian and Western elite were growing together before he started the high profile assassinations, now the divergence is gaining a momentum of its own. The more the West retaliates the better Putin likes it, hence arrest of Maria Butina and the heavy boots of the bots are grist to Putin's mill, the more amateurish the espionage against the West, the better. That is why the OPSEC–oblivious GRU suit his purpose so much

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/06/the-gru-the-russian-intelligence-agency-behind-the-headlines
"The GRU regards itself as a war-fighting instrument. Yes, it gathers conventional intelligence but its culture is much more military," said Mark Galeotti, an expert on Russian security issues and the country's intelligence agencies. "Although only a minority of GRU officers are Spetsnaz, it has an impact when part of your service are commandos."

Putin sacked the vast majority of the old GRU; the new commander Sergun was low ranking (although he was to be promoted to Colonel General after he designed the Donbass uprising) and was keen on contacts with the US, but died mysteriously in 2016, and the ones left know better than to ask questions about the ultimate purpose or ulterior motive of goading the US. Anyway, Putins's objectives in all this are not to get away with anything, he wants the bad public relations, he wants the West to reject Russia and all its works, all the better to keep Russian away from Western influence. I just think the idea of the West deliberately pushing a proud nuclear armed power into confusion such as Andropov was in during Able Archer would be foolhardy beyond belief.

Mr. Hack , August 13, 2018 at 12:54 pm GMT
@Cyrano

Ukrainian = U Cranium

Brilliant. And I like how you are able to weave in your almost non-existent knowledge of Latin too! This definitely proves that your IQ is in the 99* range. Like I say, you're showing real progress each and every day. Soon, I suspect that readers of this blog will be giving you 'agreements' each and every time you write something here, like your buddy Janissary !

reiner Tor , August 13, 2018 at 12:55 pm GMT
@neutral

Probably.

On the other hand, the more such crises there will be between nuclear armed states, the more likely that one of those will result in a nuclear war. Humans (or machines, for that matter) will inevitably miscalculate once in a while, and those might result in one side believing it's about to be obliterated, so that it can "use it or lose it." All kinds of stupid (or seemingly stupid) factors might get into this, like sleep deprivation, extreme stress, fear of shame or loss of face, etc. People have committed murder-suicide under all kinds of circumstances, starting a nuclear war as an act of final desperation is certainly not out of the realm of possibilities.

So while nuclear weapons greatly diminish the likelihood of a world war, it certainly doesn't make it impossible, and, on a long enough timeline, its likelihood will approach 1.

reiner Tor , August 13, 2018 at 1:03 pm GMT
@Mitleser

Their armies are certainly much stronger, in terms of artillery or armored forces for example. Their air forces are not, but with the very low number of planes, it wouldn't be decisive anyway. And they're both in the process of buying F-16s, unless I'm mistaken. I think once these are over, the Slovakian Air Force will be roughly as strong as the Hungarian one, or somewhat stronger, while the Romanian will be multiple times stronger.

The Slovak military is somewhat smaller on paper (in terms of troop numbers) than the Hungarian, but even that might be just a paper advantage. At least Slovakia is a smaller country (roughly half the size of Hungary), but Romania is vastly bigger, and its military is even larger than would be proportional.

Anyway, I don't think any Hungarian government would have the appetite to wage war against either of these.

reiner Tor , August 13, 2018 at 1:05 pm GMT
@Sean

Cool story, but where's the evidence that you read Putin's mind correctly?

Michael Kenny , August 13, 2018 at 1:09 pm GMT
This is probably the consequence of Trump's blunder in grovelling in front of Putin (and the world's TV cameras!). He now has to inflict a defeat on Putin so unequivocal that even Putin's American supporters cannot hype it into a victory. I don't see EU Member States raising any objection to further sanctions. Quite the contrary, in fact. The EU is the principal victim of Putin's actions and is therefore the principal beneficiary of sanctions. Don't forget that the fight with Putin began over an attempt by him to prevent Ukraine signing an association agreement with the EU. The idea that the EU Member States are just dying to resume trade with Russia is a US internet myth (like so much else about Europe!).
Sean , August 13, 2018 at 1:27 pm GMT
@I.M

OK the GRU did not use deadly nerve gas on the traitor Skripal because he survived, but by the same token the GRU did not use knockout gas in the Dubrovka Theater because they killed hundreds of innocent Russian hostages. At least we can agree GRU did use flamethrowers and heavy machine guns in the Beslan school, because they shot and burned hundreds of Ossetian children to death.

Mitleser , August 13, 2018 at 1:38 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

The EU is the principal victim of Putin's actions and is therefore the principal beneficiary of sanctions.

What? How are we the "principal benficiary of sanctions"?
It is our trade that suffers.

It is the Anglophone world that is obsessed with "fighting" the guy who is soon going to visit Berlin.

neutral , August 13, 2018 at 1:38 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

This is probably the consequence of Trump's blunder in grovelling in front of Putin (and the world's TV cameras!). He now has to inflict a defeat on Putin so unequivocal that even Putin's American supporters cannot hype it into a victory.

Look I know you are another dim witted Ukrainian pretending to be an Anglo Saxon, but even for you this logic is beyond ridiculous.

APilgrim , August 13, 2018 at 1:42 pm GMT
The best idea out there, for exploring a better relationship with the Russian Federation.

'Michael McFaul and the Astonishment of American Life Under Trump', By David Remnick, News Desk, July 19, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/michael-mcfaul-and-the-astonishment-of-american-life-under-trump

President Trump has not dismissed the idea that Russian investigators meet with, and question, the former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul. President Trump has said that Vladimir Putin tendered him an "incredible offer": that, in exchange for letting Robert Mueller's team question the twelve indicted Russian intelligence officers thought to have participated in the cyber-meddling in the 2016 election, Russian counterparts would get the chance to question McFaul, the U.S. Ambassador to Russia during the Obama years. Rather than dismiss this idea out of hand, Trump, according to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is "going to work with his team, and we'll let you know if there's an announcement on this front."

APilgrim , August 13, 2018 at 1:44 pm GMT
Why should the crimes & tyrannies of Obama, Hillary, Soros, & McFall remain secret?
pyrrhus , August 13, 2018 at 1:45 pm GMT
@Mitleser

This economic "war", if implemented, will cause an economic collapse in Europe, and subsequently in North America These Senators are lunatics

APilgrim , August 13, 2018 at 1:47 pm GMT
The USA, UK & USSR tried, convicted & hanged NAZI War Criminals.

'What you need to know about Michael McFaul, the ex-U.S. envoy drawn into the center of another Trump-Russia flap', By LAURA KING and SABRA AYRES, WASHINGTON, WORLD, JUL 19, 2018 | 3:15 PM, http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-russia-mcfaul-20180719-story.html

At a summit in Helsinki, Finland, with President Trump, Putin floated the idea of inviting U.S. special counsel investigators to Russia for the questioning of a dozen Russian intelligence officials indicted last week as part of the special counsel's inquiry into Kremlin interference in the 2016 election. In return, Putin wanted Russian authorities to be allowed to interrogate a roughly equal number of Americans, including McFaul, for supposed illicit activities. At Monday's post-summit news conference with Putin at his side, Trump -- sounding intrigued rather than indignant -- called that an "incredible" offer.

What is the problem with a joint investigation of Michael McFALL, on American Soil.

Sean , August 13, 2018 at 1:49 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

I have no idea what is going on in Putin's mind, but I can see what he is doing and if he wants closer relations with the West, his way of showing it seems odd. Do I need to read Dostoevsky to understand Putin?

Felix Keverich , August 13, 2018 at 1:52 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

But before that, you'd need to make the anti-sanctions law. Actually, you'd need to make it pretty strong. Until you cannot even do that, you shouldn't even fantasize about conquest.

There are several steps you could take before starting an actual war of conquest. Which you wouldn't even be able to finish.

But the sanctions are happening anyway. We'll need an anti-sanctions law regardless of whether or not we are going to invade. Actually, as an economist, I don't think we need a law. What we need is to make sure that the vital sectors of the economy do not rely on US financial system, by converting oil trade into non-dollar currencies for example.

Eastern Europeans will never mobilise. What would mass mobilisation even look like in a country like Hungary? Instead, they'll petition USA to station more of its troops in Eastern Europe. A lot more, like hundreds of thousands more. Doing so will impose costs on the USA. Actually, this is one of the few ways Russia could impose tangible costs on USA: by stoking tensions in Eastern Europe.

And if USA suddenly grows a brain and declines to play along, Eastern NATO members will begin re-orienting their foreign relations towards appeasement of Russia instead. That's what weak people do.

I also don't like ethnic cleansing and mass deportations and the like. Which would be a requirement if you were to occupy Ukraine.

Mass deportations is the best part about occupying the Ukraine! I would drive Galicia population into Poland and other neighboring countries. There would be millions of refugees. This by itself will seriously destabilise NATO's "Eastern flank". There could be Russian agents among the refugees, allowing us to seamlessly move from the invasion of the Ukraine to a campaign of hybrid warfare against Eastern NATO members.

NATO will react to invasion of the Ukraine by positioning to support an insurgency in the Western part of the country. Instead they would have to contend with an insurgency in Eastern Poland – wouldn't that be fun?

utu , August 13, 2018 at 2:03 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Czechs if I remember correctly did everything to not blow money on any jet fighters while being pressured.

neutral , August 13, 2018 at 2:04 pm GMT
@Sean

Do I need to read Dostoevsky to understand Putin?

Probably better than trying to understand things by reading comic books (Hollywood movies are the same), which is pretty much what the US establishment uses for their thinking.

APilgrim , August 13, 2018 at 2:05 pm GMT
Congress did not do their job, when Barack Hussein Obama drone-killed Americans.

Hell no, we don't trust the traitors in congress.

Why would we, trust those Oath-Breaking POS?

anon [374] Disclaimer , August 13, 2018 at 2:23 pm GMT
@Sean

for he got his current job by completely fooling Yeltsin "

Doesn't that apply to Obama? Will that not apply to future presidents? Doesn't it apply to the sitting US senators and congress ? Doesn't this "fooling" apply every time US senators and congress apply more sanction on Iran and justify their earlier "fooling" when they failed to stop Trump get out of JCPOA?
It does because majority of Americans supported the deal and wanted to keep the deal.

"fooling" is a little more complex in America that it is in Papua NewGuinea . But fooling it is.

It is like cries against "fake news ' charges leveled against Facebook infowar or intercept or antiwar or common dreams by WaPo and NYT and FOX/CNN – being bad because those lead to violences.

The violences perpetrated against Iraq ,Libya, Somalia, and Syria are based on lies and been made possible by Fake News of CNN NYT . The latest servile and sinsiter attempt by NYT to start talking of banned CW use by Syrians to kill more Syrians is nothing but 'fooling and lying" fakery of news what they accuse Putin and Russian bot of but without proof.

APilgrim , August 13, 2018 at 2:27 pm GMT
Congress did not do their job when the CIA, DOJ & FBI ILLEGALLY:

Surveiled citizens.
Investigated the Trump Presidential Campaign.
Paid Christopher Steele to fabricate a pack of God Damned Lies.
Told the FISA Court a pack of God Damned Lies.
Obstructed a congressional investigation, into that pack of God Damned Lies.
Fabricated ANOTHER pack of lies about Civil-Wars in Georgia & Ukraine.
Fabricated YET ANOTHER pack of lies about the Syrian Civil War & ISIS.
Fabricated STILL ANOTHER pack of lies about Russia President Putin.

So, there's that.

AnonFromTN , August 13, 2018 at 2:29 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

Even though I am not a psychiatrist, I had enough MD/PhD students to respect the first rule of psychiatry: never argue with patients.

AnonFromTN , August 13, 2018 at 2:32 pm GMT
@Cyrano

Don't confuse Ukrainians with Ukies. Ukrainians are humans, with their stronger and weaker points, like all humans, whereas Ukies are the scum of the Earth.

Z-man , August 13, 2018 at 2:35 pm GMT
Trump has to thread a fine line with the Neocons and outright JOO firsters in his cabinet who HATE Putin and the Russians. Push back against these vermin would be good but he probably wont do it until after the mid terms, we shall see.
Thorfinnsson , August 13, 2018 at 2:38 pm GMT
@Anon

I believe that study was conducted under the assumption of within visual range, which artificially presented a situation where the F-35 was at a disadvantage from the get go. In a real world situation, the Su-35 would probably be shot down before it knew what hit it, especially considering that American pilots tend to be among the best in the world.

Here's a discussion of the matter in the Australian parliament: http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/verbatim/4/133273/f_35-fares-worse-in-rand-wargame.html

The basic assumption is that over the horizon UHF radar (like Australia's Jindalee system) detects the F-35, allowing Flankers to use their IRST.

Of course some have disputed the study, as well they should. A major problem with IRST is its very limited field of view, though pairing this with low frequency radar mitigates that.

In a real world situation the Su-35 would detect the AMRAAMs before impact rather than be surprised. Whether or not the AMRAAMs destroy the Su-35 would depend on many factors such as:

• Number of AMRAAMs fired
• Distance from which AMRAAMs are fired
• Quality of Su-35 countermeasures
• Pilot skill (duh)

Should also be pointed out that the Russians are now fielding L-band AESA radars embedded in wingtips specifically for counter-VLO purposes. See here: http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-2009-06.html

That's irrelevant for three reasons:

1) 187 is still a number far greater than the number of Su-57s the Russians wanted to produce in the near term.

2) the F-22 is often stationed at bases around the world, so the US does not need to sell the aircraft to anyone to bring it to a theater of combat.

3) the F-22 would dominate any Russian or Chinese aircraft currently fielded; an appreciable number of F-22s (or any US fourth generation aircraft) along with the F-35 should be a potent combination. US pilots are also very well trained, easily matching any other country save perhaps Israel.

Chengdu J-20 and J-31 units will most certainly not be capped at 187 units. Fifth generation fighters will almost certainly proliferate beyond China and Russia as well.

No, the US didn't "need" to sell the F-22 to Japan. But the sale would've strengthened Allied forces in the Pacific theater, kept the F-22 production line open and cut unit costs, reduced the American trade deficit, and provided jobs and profits to Americans. The F-22 export ban was an own goal.

Kinematic performance doesn't cont for much when you are overwhelmed by aircraft that you can't shoot back at effectively while they are shooting at you from a distance. Kinematic performance isn't nothing, but it isn't everything either. The F-35 will have a decisive advantage over all Russian aircraft fielded now and over the next decade, and any issues with the design will be made up for by fielding large numbers of them to overwhelm opponents + combining the aircraft with the F-22 or F-18.

This decisive advantage depends on two assumptions:

• Counter-VLO sensors will not be effective (or fielded in adequate numbers), or at least won't be enough to vector interceptors (whether aircraft or missiles) to the target
• Kill probability of BVR missile shots has improved by two orders of magnitude since the last air war against a near peer

Obviously, overwhelming the opponent with numbers is always a war winning strategy. NATO can thus be expected to prevail in any air war against Russia, though not without a bloody nose.

That's not really the right way to phrase it. "Inferior" in this case only means "less than what the US could have otherwise done but still quite good compared to most other aircraft."

Further, the philosophy you quoted will allow the US to field huge numbers of these craft – thousands – at an affordable price, so I'm not so sure it was a bad idea after all. That's much better than the SU-57, which is a dumpster fire of a program.

I'm also not sold on the idea that the B model was a bad idea for the Asian theater. In any conflict, the Chinese will attempt to destroy our bases and landing strips. Having a larger number of fighters capable of short vertical takeoffs might prove to be quite the asset in organizing a counter offensive/stationing the craft in various locations that are hard to hit or detect.

The airframe is inferior to what the US could have done otherwise, and is inferior to contemporary aircraft. This inferiority was not driven by the stealth does requirement and thus counts as an own goal.

The B model stems from the Marine Corps remember some battle in the Pacific War where Navy air support didn't show up. Therefore they must have their own fighters, a logic which strangely wouldn't apply to the Army.

If our doctrine or experience dictates that a STOVL aircraft is desirable, fine. But given the limitations of STOVL aircraft, it ought to be a separate design.

Dealing with Chinese strikes at Pacific bases is probably better dealt with by buying more heavy equipment and training more Seabees. You can patch holes pretty quickly.

That's not correct. The F-35 will have a reduced radar cross section across much of the craft compared with any other non-stealth aircraft. Nearly the entire surface is covered in radar absorbent material and the engine itself is designed to reflect away radar waves. It also has IR reduction measures.

Here's a thermal image of an F-35 from a modern IR camera:

No IR reduction in the world is going to disguise 45,000 pounds of thrust from a single nozzle.

Yes, the F-35 has substantially reduced RCS compared to non-VLO aircraft. News at 11. It has, however, inferior stealth compared to the F-22 (let alone the YF-23).

RAM is useful, but the largest reductions in RCS come from airframe shaping. F-35 is not optimized in the lower or aft areas. The original X-35 is quite decent here, but this was changed for the F-35 in order to increase internal weapons load out. Given the original intention of employing it as a tactical strike fighter, this wasn't unreasonable.

Made up for by building 2000+ F-35s. How many SU-57s is Russia making?

This originally concerned exports. Any damn fool can tell you that numerical superiority is very powerful.

No, it wouldn't. Something doesn't have to be theoretically perfect for it to work quite well in the real world. The F-35 will perform BVR combat much better than any non-American aircraft.

In a 1v1 engagement with no supporting elements where the rival fighters approach each other head on, I agree. But this isn't reflective of actual combat.

1. We already have that. It's called the B2 and we are also working on a flying wing stealth drone that does exactly that already: shoot a barrage of missiles at BVR in coordination with the F-35.

B-2 is unsuitable for this role owing to the location of its radar:

That said it has been proposed to use the B-1 for this role, which I think is a good idea.

Drone idea is worth trying, though I'm skeptical of the ability to retain datalinks in an electromagnetically challenged environment. And drones autonomously launching missiles could be dubious–but this could be solved by wargaming (if its proven autonomous drones ID targets better than human pilots, have at it).

2. Wrong. Just wrong. There are huge disadvantages to your flying wing idea. Stability and maneuverability being just two, so they wouldn't be much use in visual range combat or in a variety of other missions for which the F-35 was designed; the F-35 is a multi-role fighter. It will do BVR just fine.

Stability not a concern with fly-by-wire and thrust vectoring (which the B-2 doesn't have incidentally, yet is a stable bombing platform).

There is incidentally a trade-off between stability and maneuverability, hence why fighters from the F-16 on have been designed to be inherently unstable.

But in any case you've been pooh poohing maneuverability here, citing the superiority of BVR combat. If BVR is your goal, then you want a larger missile load, more powerful/sensitive sensors, and increased stealth. A flying wing eliminates the issue with resonant effects (if a vertical surface is less than eight times the size of a radar wavelength, it produces a resonant effect).

The military design of the F-35 is pretty good. You're trying to cover this up by pointing out an irrelevant fact – that there were economic considerations when building the craft which applies to every military project ever conceived.

Well I suppose that's true, but whole JSF program would've been better if:

1 – STOVL had been left out
2 – Kinematic performance had been considered important

AnonFromTN , August 13, 2018 at 2:38 pm GMT
@APilgrim

Have to agree with you: Soros, Browder, MSM owners, Pentagon contractors, and all other sorts of scum are much bigger threat to the US than Putin, Un, Iranian Ayatollahs, Assad, and many others. The enemy within is always more dangerous. Especially when that enemy has only one loyalty: to his/her/its money.

Z-man , August 13, 2018 at 2:40 pm GMT
@Mitleser

Interesting, a few years ago Algeria had to have Russia redo the electronics in the Su 30′s that it bought because there was some Izraeli electronics in it.

AnonFromTN , August 13, 2018 at 2:42 pm GMT
@utu

You are forgetting thievery and corruption that provides cover for that thievery. Out of every dollar spent in the U on "defense", at least 90 cents are stolen, some of the money is used to buy "patriotic" politicians who pretend not to see the thievery.

anon [374] Disclaimer , August 13, 2018 at 2:45 pm GMT
@neutral

No they don't pluck books off shelf . They watch the snippet cribbed from some internet site on Fox TV /CNN and use it as evidence. That were the sources of evidences they offered on Syrian using sarin gas.

Thorfinnsson , August 13, 2018 at 2:47 pm GMT
@APilgrim

Last air war between near peers was Vietnam. BVR combat was a total failure.

Radars and missiles have improved a lot since then of course, but so have countermeasures.

There were BVR kills in Operation Mole Cricket 19 and Desert Storm, but fighting incompetent Arabalonians doesn't count as near peer. And there were still WVR kills in those campaigns.

Depending on ROE in a conflict or confused airspace, there will be a need to visually ID targets on occasion.

The main thing that's changed about dogfighting is that heat seeking missiles can now lock onto an aircraft from any angle (instead of just behind) and launch from high off boresight. This makes instantaneous turning performance more importance than sustained turning performance.

But like I said, if BVR missiles are now truly as miraculous as you think, then the F-35 is an improper design. In fact, so is the F-22 and more or less all other existing fighters. The idea "fighter" of existing aircraft would be the Airbus A380 launching thousands of missiles at once

BVR missiles also work just as well from the ground as the air (with some kinematic disadvantages, and of course can't deal with attackers on the deck). Magical BVR missiles suggest we should be building a lot more SAM systems.

I bring you the air superiority force of the future:

anon [317] Disclaimer , August 13, 2018 at 2:48 pm GMT
@Mr. XYZ

who did it.. answered right here go no further

https://www.rt.com/usa/435824-us-midterms-hacking-children/

AnonFromTN , August 13, 2018 at 2:49 pm GMT
@pyrrhus

These senators may or may not be lunatics themselves. This does not change the fact that they are bought and paid for puppets of lunatics, the US moneyed elites that dangerously degenerated after 1991. The US used to be a decent country. Not anymore.

AnonFromTN , August 13, 2018 at 2:52 pm GMT
@utu

There was a joke about Czechoslovakia in the USSR: Czechoslovakia is the most peaceful country on Earth, it does not interfere even in its own internal affairs. Puppet masters change (Hitler, USSR, the US), but the policy stands.

dryhole dutton , August 13, 2018 at 3:09 pm GMT
i lived in the russian federation for several years (yuzhno sakhalinsk, 2011-2012). i don't claim to be a russian expert, however, i did not detect any virulent comintern intent amongst the russians with whom i was privileged to interact. for the most part, they seemed like everyone else i have come across in my travels on this pitiable orb; they were simply trying to get by, and were as capitalistic as any crony capitalist in america.

maybe someone with more foreign relations erudition, and experience than i could pen an expositive on why there exists such animosity betwixt our nations, other than the all to well known need for a bogeyman so as to facilitate u.s. world hegemony.

for a country which is broke, and which depends upon martial, and venal, intimidation to achieve/sustain its aims, the impending comeuppance could be very humbling, and decisive.

Okechukwu , August 13, 2018 at 3:11 pm GMT

As Ben Aris notes, the US Treasury Department has been ratcheting back on its sanctions against Oleg Deripaska and Rusal, after the chaos it has caused in the international metals market.

Aluminum has a unique market dynamic which other products with more fungible supply chains don't share. Sanctions are a work in progress. Treasury has learned from the Rusal matter. Henceforth it can collapse even bigger Russian companies like Gazprom, Rosneft and Lukoil without much fear of a concomitant contagion. Oil and gas are the ultimate fungible commodities.

However, as I have pointed out, the ultimate ability of the US to directly punish Russia is limited; it has twice as many people as Iran, after all, and many times the economic output

This is delusional. Russia is vastly more exposed than Iran, as it is more tightly wound up in the western financial structures that the US created and controls. Russia's economic output, measured in GDP, is the same size as New York City's. It has always been a question of how far the US was willing to go to punish Russia. There are nuclear options in the US quiver that can pretty much destroy the Russian economy. But so far the US has been applying relatively trivial sanctions in the hopes that Russia would reform its conduct (I'm not making a value judgement). But the perception that Trump has somehow been captured by Russian intelligence has ratcheted things up.

Trade between Russia and the US is very limited.

It's not a question of trade between Russian and the US. It's a question of trade between Russia and the world since the US controls the global economy.

Maudits , August 13, 2018 at 3:32 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

[MORE]

Mr Fack , your ukraruina , your jojolistan , is the black hole of Europe , you want to set Europe on ( atomic ) fire fot the benefit of the usa , and of your corrupted oligarcs .

No real country in Europe respects ukraruina , a very inmoral and stupid pseudocountry . Ukraruina could have been a golden bridge between the EU and Russia ,and choosed instead to be a blood trench for the benefit of the oligarcs of the usa . You are a cursed land .

Daniel Chieh , August 13, 2018 at 3:36 pm GMT
@Anon

Swarms of missiles? What? With the F-35 capacity of 4 AMRAAM? The ones that haven't been upgraded, have been unreliable since at least 2016, and would be vulnerable to manuever anyway? The twenty five plus year old missiles?

Stealth is only stealth to high fidelity radar, as in versus missile locks. That's great, but low frequency radar will still reveal the location of aircraft for the purpose of general location. So it's not really a "bolt from blue," which is much more of a ground to air concept since IR missiles don't telegraph themselves like radar locks do.

Gerard2 , August 13, 2018 at 3:50 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

[MORE]

Goodness, you are one thick POS.
As I have said before Cyrano is a serious intellectual .you on the other hand are a serious cretin.

Seeing as it's that part of your menstruation cycle, I thought I would add another proof of how fake "Ukrainian" history and language is. From a company yet again threatening the collapse of Ukrainian infrastructure due to an oligarchic dispute:

Russian version:

http://www.azot.com.ua/ru/company/activity/

Ukrop version

http://www.azot.com.ua/uk/company/activity/

As you can see the Ukrainian version is a waste of time, when the Russian version exists ..the whole fake language is a fabrication by lowlife scum Banderite tossers who escaped bestiality charges in the 1940′s/50′s and fled to America/Canada

Virgile , August 13, 2018 at 3:55 pm GMT
If Putin wants to retaliate by creating a destabilizing crisis in the USA, he could simply admit that he has proofs that Trump COLLUDED with Russians operatives to affect the election.
Trump will be removed and Mike Pence will take over throwing the USA in a deeper crisis.
Is Trump aware of this Damocles sword if he does not stop the Congress for escalating sanctions?
Daniel Chieh , August 13, 2018 at 3:57 pm GMT
@utu

There are theories, but the mass bueaucracy made some really strange results. In Vietnam, ROE required visual confirmation of targets to use beyond visual range weapons. Weapons that homed into flares because they produced "heat."

Well, that worked about as well as could be expected.

awry , August 13, 2018 at 4:03 pm GMT
@Anonymous

Well, no, Austria-Hungary gave an ultimatum: "do these in 48 hours or we'll go to war". These demands are also unrealistic, but they are just pretext for new sanctions. It is very unlikely that the US wil