Softpanorama
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)

Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

US Presidential Elections of 2016:

Transitional period as a fight between Trump and the attempts of Deep State to enslave him (and remind him about JFK destiny)  

Neocons want to counterattack and possibly enslave Trump by promoting birds of a feather for key Trump administration positions

Version 5.2 (Nov 25, 2016)

News Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Recommended Links Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Hillary Clinton email scandal New American Militarism Anti-Russian hysteria Anti Trump Hysteria Two Party System as Polyarchy
Donald Trump Trump foreign policy platform DNC emails leak Bernie Sanders: A turncoat socialist, who betrayed his voters US Presidential Elections of 2016: Primaries US Presidential Elections: from primaries to election day Is Hillary Clinton a war criminal, the killer of women and children in Syria and Libya? Trump vs. Deep State The Deep State
Bill sexapades and Hillary "Clinton Cash" Scandal: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry "Fuck the EU": neocons show EU its real place Hillary wet kiss with neocons Obama: a yet another Neocon Hillary role in Libya disaster Questions about Huma Abedin email forwarding Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Hillary health issues
Monday morning quarterbacking Understanding Hillary Clinton email scandal Hillary as a pathological liar Lock her up movement Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Non-Interventionism Is Hillary Clinton a toxic manager? Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Trump economic platform
Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neoconservatism Demonization of Putin  American Exceptionalism New American Militarism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Perjury Investigation of Hillary Clinton
The Iron Law of Oligarchy Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Myth about intelligent voter Pluralism as a myth Libertarian Philosophy Nation under attack meme   Trump on immigration
Principal-agent problem Corporatist Corruption Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Ethno-linguistic Nationalism Corporatism National Security State Predator state Machiavellism Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few
Betrayal by Bernie Sanders of his supporters Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Jeb "Wolfowitz Stooge" Bush US Presidential Elections of 2012  Mayberry Machiavellians Politically Incorrect Humor Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

Note: due to the size introduction was moved to a separate page November 2016 as a referendum on neoliberal globalization

This election is about the backlash against neoliberalism that became the dominant ideology of the ruling elite in the USA since 1980th. At this point blue color workers became sick of Demorats (aka Neoliberal Democrats) who are betraying them after each elections ("Change we can believe in" in worlds of the king of "bait and switch" Obama) and expecting still they will vote for Democratic as they have nowhere to go (Clinton strategy). They want to show middle finger to Clinton and other neoliberal criminals who deprived them of work, of dignity, of health (heroine epidemic is hitting the USA really hard). It's a class war all over again. Note how neoliberal media tried to misrepresent it accusing Trump supporters of racism, bigotry, and all other sins to mask anti-neoliberal backlash of the US population, and the revolutionary situation in the county, when the elite lost the control of the population. Which really somewhat reminds me the last days of the USSR when communist propaganda stopped working and people start seeing the "Politburo" as "naked king" -- a bunch of corrupt priests of obscure religion, who do not believe in the ideology they promote for "shmucks", only with their own and their families well-being. that their sons and daughters attend Western universities and their wives are shopping in Paris.

It is not an exaggeration to see in 2016 Presidential election as a referendum on neoliberal globalization. But the political power still belongs to  Neoliberals, which dominates both the government and the economy (transnationals are the cornerstone of neoliberal world order). It's a big question if the American people will be able to change neoliberal dogma, the official civil religion of the USA without a violent revolution...

The great Trump political breakthrough was consolidating the white working class and white middle class vote. At last "clintonization" (sellout of the Party to Wall Street whichwas initialed by Bill Clinton, converting it into the party of "soft neoliberalism" which at times was undistinguishable from "hard neoliberalism" )  of Democratic Party backfired.  Demexit -- abandoning of Demorats by white working and middle class is now a reality.

Writing in Politico, Georgetown political scientist Joshua Mitchell has a long, important take on the deep meaning of Trump — and it’s probably not what you think:

If you listen closely to Trump, you’ll hear a direct repudiation of the system of globalization and identity politics that has defined the world order since the Cold War. There are, in fact, six specific ideas that he has either blurted out or thinly buried in his rhetoric: (1) borders matter; (2) immigration policy matters; (3) national interests, not so-called universal interests, matter; (4) entrepreneurship matters; (5) decentralization matters; (6) PC speech—without which identity politics is inconceivable—must be repudiated.

These six ideas together point to an end to the unstable experiment with supra- and sub-national sovereignty that many of our elites have guided us toward, siren-like, since 1989.

 That is what the Trump campaign, ghastly though it may at times be, leads us toward: A future where states matter. A future where people are citizens, working together toward (bourgeois) improvement of their lot. His ideas do not yet fully cohere. They are a bit too much like mental dust that has yet to come together. But they can come together. And Trump is the first American candidate to bring some coherence to them, however raucous his formulations have been.

This is a clear repudiation of neoliberalism (aka "casino capitalism" or  Trotskyism for the rich) -- the secular religion to both Republican and Democratic parties adhere (while the term is prohibited from mass media -- can you imagine the Communist Party of the USSR would prohibit its members under the threat of purge to utter the word "communism" or call themselves "communists").  And that means that Trump is a threat to Washington neoliberal elite, the threat to neoliberal  Washington_Consensus, which  since 1980 (or even earlier) rules the place. That's why they fight and demonization of Trump is conducted by neoliberal media with such a fierce determination. That's why such a tremendous efforts and money are spend on propelling sick and unprincipled establishment candidate -- Hillary Clinton. A warmonger neoconservative, who is a staunch neoliberal (like her husband Bill Clinton).

The US neoliberal elite ("creator class" or "Masters of the Universe" in neoliberal jargon) have successfully revolted against the political and economic constraints on their wealth and power put by "enlightened corporatism" of the New Deal, and for 36 years managed to redistribute wealth up to the level that has no historical presidents. As a result social stability is in danger and "the rest" (or Untermensch, or "takers"/"welfare queen" in neoliberal jargon) are rebelling in the only way left open to them: voting for anyone who claims to be an outsider. (Romney-Ryan 'makers vs. takers' rhetoric helped spawn Donald Trump Washington Examiner)

This idea of low-income "takers" lay beneath Mitt Romney's view that the 47 percent of adults in the U.S. who owed no federal income tax were therefore "dependent upon government" and "who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them…."

...

But "taker" is a slur also when aimed at recipients of government benefits. Millions of "takers" are people who work 40 hours, but at low wages, and thus receive the earned-income tax credit. Will you blame their low wages on them? Perhaps they got horrible education thanks to incompetent government, or were just never blessed with marketable skills.

Some percentage of the 47 percent are World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam Veterans, who after serving their country, put in decades of work, and now live off the Social Security they paid into, without earning enough to owe federal income tax.

The "takers" include widows receiving food stamps, the ill being kept alive by Medicaid, and people drawing on unemployment because their employer got up and moved to Mexico.

More importantly, many of those on welfare or disability hate that they are dependent. They want to be working.

Are there "welfare queens," lazy able-bodied moochers, and people scamming disability? Yes. But lumping in 47 percent of the country with these scoundrels is as illegitimate lumping all businessmen in with the failed bankers who depend on bailouts.

This wasn't just Ryan's mistake. Conservatives broadly have equated low income with dependency. The conservative belief that the market tends to reward skill and diligence often mutates into a belief that poverty reflects some sort of turpitude.

That view helped give birth to Donald Trump, who has tapped into the working class that Ryan and Romney had pushed away.

Globalization and free trade are fast becoming dirty words. That’s because they were  culprits for major  shocks — like the 2008 financial crisis. In the United States alone, median household income has been practically stagnant for about three decades, the labor market continues to be anemic, manufacturing jobs have been lost, and many have experienced a significant deterioration in living standards.

Much of the post-Brexit and primary election conventional wisdom seems to be stuck in a political narrative in which the Brexit vote and the rise of Trumpism in the United States are seen as symbols of the populist revolution. These symbols are combined with a nationalist tide has been sweeping not only the United Kingdom and the United States, but also many other parts of Europe, including Poland, Hungary, France, The Netherlands and Scandinavia, not to mention, Russia, Turkey, India and Israel.

According to this narrative, economic insecurity and cultural anxiety that reflect sociodemographic trends have given momentum to ethnonationalism and religious separatism in both the United States and the United Kingdom. The Rust Belt is pitted against New York City, and the Midlands against London.

All this means that the crisis of neoliberalism, which started in 2008 now obtained political dimension, when the institutions created by neoliberalism are under attacks from the disgruntled population. The power of neoliberal propaganda, the power of brainwashing and indoctrination of population via MSM, schools and universities to push forward neoliberal globalization started to evaporate. And the fight against neoliberal globalization is not easy and it is not accidentally Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee and neoliberal MSM unlashed unprecedented campaign of blackmail against Trump.  The fact is, Sheldon Wolin not accidentally calls neoliberalism "inverted totalitarianism" . It's a system where corporate power has seized all of political  levers of control. In fact, under neoliberalism, there is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil or Raytheon. We also have lost our privacy. And under Obama, an assault against civil liberties has outstripped what George W. Bush carried out.

This is about the crisis of neoliberal ideology and especially Trotskyism part of it (neoliberalism can be viewed as Trotskyism for the rich). The following integral elements of this ideology no longer work well and are starting to cause the backlash:

  1. High level of inequality as the explicit, desirable goal (which raises the productivity). "Greed is good" or "Trickle down economics" -- redistribution of wealth up will create (via higher productivity) enough scrapes for the lower classes, lifting all boats.
  2. "Neoliberal rationality" when everything is a commodity that should be traded at specific market. Human beings also are viewed as market actors with every field of activity seen as a specialized market. Every entity (public or private, person, business, state) should be governed as a firm. "Neoliberalism construes even non-wealth generating spheres-such as learning, dating, or exercising-in market terms, submits them to market metrics, and governs them with market techniques and practices." People are just " human capital" who must constantly tend to their own present and future market value.
  3. Extreme financialization or converting the economy into "casino capitalism" (under neoliberalism everything is a marketable good, that is traded on explicit or implicit exchanges.)
  4. The idea of the global, USA dominated neoliberal empire and related "Permanent war for permanent peace" -- wars for enlarging global neoliberal empire via crushing non-compliant regimes either via color revolutions or via open military intervention.
  5. Downgrading ordinary people to the role of commodity and creating three classes of citizens (moochers, or Untermensch, "creative class" and top 0.1%), with the upper class (0.1% or "Masters of the Universe") being above the law like the top level of "nomenklatura" was in the USSR.
  6. "Downsizing" sovereignty of nations via international treaties like TPP, and making transnational corporations the key political players, "the deciders" as W aptly said. Who decide about the level of immigration flows, minimal wages, tariffs, and other matters that previously were prerogative of the state.

So after 36 (or more) years of dominance (which started with triumphal march of neoliberalism in early 90th) the ideology entered "zombie state". That does not make it less dangerous but its power over minds of the population started to evaporate. Far right ideologies now are filling the vacuum, as ith the discreditation of socialist ideology and decimation of "enlightened corporatism" of the New Deal in the USA there is no other viable alternatives.

The same happened in late 1960th with the Communist ideology. It took 20 years for the USSR to crash after that with the resulting splash of nationalism (which was the force that blow up the USSR) and far right ideologies.

It remains to be seen whether the neoliberal US elite will fare better then Soviet nomenklatura as challenges facing the USA are now far greater then challenges which the USSR faced at the time. Among them is oil depletion which might be the final nail into the coffin of neoliberalism and, specifically, the neoliberal globalization.

This has been a bipartisan effort, because they've both been captured by corporate power. We have undergone what John Ralston Saul correctly calls a corporate coup d'état in slow motion, and it's over.

Neoliberal poison destroys a society and lifts the politicians with nationalistic bend like Trump. First, neoliberalism dislocated the working class, de-industrialized the country. Then, in the name of austerity, it destroyed public institutions, education, public broadcasting. And then it poisoned the political system.

I would argue that in terms of megalomania and narcissism, Hillary Clinton is not far behind Trump. But the point is, we've got to break away from-which is exactly the narrative neoliberal MSM want us to focus on.

 We've got to break away from political personalities and understand and examine and critique the structures of power. And, in fact, the Democratic Party, especially beginning under Bill Clinton, has carried water for corporate entities as assiduously as the Republican Party.

We need to be aware of neoliberal brainwashing. I mean, this whole debate over the DNC WikiLeaks emails disclosure is insane. The key question here is not who leaked emails, but whether they are authentic or not. They are. As well as DNC dirty laundry exposed those long emails -- you should read them. They're really appalling, and exposes the way the Democratic primaries were rigged. Tricks used included the mechanism of the superdelegates (which unlawfully declared their allegiance very early creating pro-Clinton pressure of voters) , the stealing of the caucus in Nevada, and the huge amounts of corporate money and money of super PACs that flowed into the Clinton campaign. This faux feminism on which Hillary Clinton based her campaign is another propaganda trick. She si hostile to both women and children. Cold like any sociopath.  The fact is, Clinton has a track record of hurting US children: she and her husband destroyed welfare as we know it, and 70% of the original recipients were children.

If is important to understand that the rise of nationalism, the phenomenal success of Trump is just a form of backlash against neoliberalism. 

Continued...


Top updates

Softpanorama Switchboard
Softpanorama Search


NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

US Presidential Elections of 2016 from primaries to election day US Presidential Elections of 2016: Primaries US Presidential Elections of 2016: 2015 part of the campaign US Presidential Elections of 2012

[Apr 21, 2017] Donald Trump Ruling Class President

Notable quotes:
"... One of the many irritating things about the dominant United States corporate media is the way it repeatedly discovers anew things that are not remotely novel. Take its recent discovery that Donald Trump isn't really the swamp-draining populist working class champion he pretended to be on the campaign trail. ..."
"... Christopher Hitchens usefully described the "essence of American politics" as "the manipulation of populism by elitism. That elite is most successful," Hitchens noted: ..."
"... "which can claim the heartiest allegiance of the fickle crowd; can present itself as most 'in touch' with popular concerns; can anticipate the tides and pulses of public opinion; can, in short, be the least apparently 'elitist.' It is no great distance from Huey Long's robust cry of 'Every man a king' to the insipid 'inclusiveness' of [Bill Clinton's slogan] 'Putting People First,' but the smarter elite managers have learned in the interlude that solid, measurable pledges have to be distinguished by a reserve' tag that earmarks them for the bankrollers and backers." ..."
"... Dressing elite class and economic interests in popular garb has always been a core function of the U.S. electoral and party system in its various iterations. Its first assignment was to rally ordinary citizens as voters for different factions of the developing nation's bourgeois class in its recurrent intra-capitalist policy struggles. ..."
"... American capitalism has an equally evil Siamese twin called imperialism , progenitor of the giant "national security" and "foreign apparatus" that eats up the lion's share of U.S. federal discretionary spending – at no small cost to social and environmental health even as it provides s rich revenue stream for the nation's unelected dictatorship of money. "The costs of empire," Chomsky wrote nearly half a century ago , "are in general distributed over the whole of society, white its profits revert to a few within." ..."
"... stop giving the American capitalist ruling class a free pass on Donald Trump, hoping for the neoliberal deep state" to bring about his demise from the top down ..."
"... Trump was never really an anti-establishment candidate beyond the deceptive rhetoric he cynically employed – consistent with the longstanding fake-populist "essence of American [and bourgeois] politics" – to win enough white working class and rural votes to prevail over dismal, dollar-drenched Hillary Clinton. And you don't have to join the right-wing conspiracy mongers at Zero Hedge to agree with them that " Trump is where the elites want him" and "serves the establishment." ..."
"... teleSur English ..."
"... "Here there is a convergence around the system's political need for social control and its economic need to perpetuate accumulation. Unprecedented global inequalities can only be sustained by ever more repressive and ubiquitous systems of social control and repression. Yet quite apart from political considerations, the TCC has acquired a vested interest in war, conflict, and repression as a means of accumulation. CIT has revolutionized warfare and the modalities of state-organized militarized accumulation, including the military application of vast new technologies and the further fusion of private accumulation with state militarization ." ..."
"... Trump, his team of politicized generals, and his call for a 10 percent increase in the already hyper-bloated Pentagon budget are a perfect match for the militarized accumulation strategy, with its "built-in war drive." ..."
"... Waiting for supposedly enlightened and decent elites atop the "deep state" to dump Trump is a fool's game. As Robinson says, "Only a worldwide push back from below, and ultimately a program to redistribute wealth and power downward, can counter the upward spiral of international conflagration." Join the debate on Facebook ..."
Apr 21, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org
The Ruling Class Reserve Tag

One of the many irritating things about the dominant United States corporate media is the way it repeatedly discovers anew things that are not remotely novel. Take its recent discovery that Donald Trump isn't really the swamp-draining populist working class champion he pretended to be on the campaign trail.

The evidence for this "news" is solid enough. His cabinet and top advisor circle has been chock full of ruling class swamp creatures like former Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn (top economic adviser), longtime top Goldman Sachs partner and top executive Steve Mnuchin (Secretary of the Treasury), and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross (Secretary of Commerce). Trump has surrounded himself with super-opulent and planetarily invested financial gatekeepers – the very club he criticized Hillary Clinton for representing.

Trump meets regularly with top corporate and financial CEOs, who have been assured that he will govern in accord with their wishes. He receives applause from business elites for his agenda of significant large scale tax cuts and deregulation for wealthy individuals and for the giant, hyper-parasitic, and largely transnational corporations they milk for obscene profits

Trump's political strategist Steve Bannon is by numerous reports being pushed aside by Cohn and by Trump's hedge-fund financier son-in-law Jared Kushner – a longtime neoliberal Democrat – when it comes to holding the president's ear. Bannon has been reduced to bitterly cursing Kushner as a "globalist cuckservative."

Bannon's white-nationalist "populist" bluster was of great electoral use to Trump on his path to the White House. In the real world of world capitalist power, however, the Beast of Breitbart is a liability. His self-declared nationalism does not jibe with the deeply rooted Open Door policy preferences of an American corporate and financial ruling class that has long been deeply invested across national boundaries in the world capitalist system.

Trump, it turns out, is not the worker-friendly populist he posed as while running for president. He's not the great anti-establishment outsider determined to return "power to the people" he claimed to be in his Inauguration Address. His economic program amounts to neo-liberalism on steroids.

You don't say! Gee, who knew? Anyone who's paid serious attention to American electoral politics and policy over the course of history, that's who. Seventeen years ago, the then still left Christopher Hitchens usefully described the "essence of American politics" as "the manipulation of populism by elitism. That elite is most successful," Hitchens noted:

"which can claim the heartiest allegiance of the fickle crowd; can present itself as most 'in touch' with popular concerns; can anticipate the tides and pulses of public opinion; can, in short, be the least apparently 'elitist.' It is no great distance from Huey Long's robust cry of 'Every man a king' to the insipid 'inclusiveness' of [Bill Clinton's slogan] 'Putting People First,' but the smarter elite managers have learned in the interlude that solid, measurable pledges have to be distinguished by a reserve' tag that earmarks them for the bankrollers and backers."

Democracy Imprisoned by Capitalism

In a recent New York Times Magazine reflection on the chilling extent to which Trump's rise is consistent with dodgy, fascist-like tendencies in the long history of the American right, the prolific liberal historian Rick Perlstein notes that the irony of a "populist" president who has "placed so many bankers and billionaires in his cabinet, and has relentlessly pursued so many 1-percent-friendly policies" is "far from unique." The Orange-Tinted Beast is the latest version of what Perlstein calls "The often-cynical negotiation between populist electioneering and plutocratic governance on the right."

Perlstein is right to note the unoriginality of the phenomenon. But why does Perlstein seem to think the "cynical negotiation" is just a Republican phenomenon? It was no less evident in the presidencies of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama than it was during the Reagan and Bush presidencies and under Trump today. That is no small part of how and why the ugly Republican right that Perlstein understandably fears gets its recurrent trips into national and state-level power.

And just how mysterious is the tension between "populist electioneering and plutocratic governance"? From Karl Marx's time and before to the present day, bourgeois "constitutional" states practicing a strictly limited and deceptive form of "democracy" have been torn by a fundamental contradiction. On one hand, victorious candidates have to win enough popular votes to prevail in elections. They can hardly do that by proclaiming their commitment to the rule of the wealthy capitalist Few. On the other hand, they cannot garner the resources to win elections and govern effectively without the backing and cooperation of the investor/capitalist class, whose control of money and the means of production is critical to political power and policymaking.

Thirty-three years ago, the left political scientist Charles Lindblom penned a convincing take on American power, likening the capitalist marketplace to a prison. Lindblom's analysis is aptly summarized in a recent critique of "deep state" discourse by Anthony DiMaggio :

"U.S. corporations exercised power over communities, much like Kings do over feudal serfs, by exercising ownership over the means of production in the U.S. economy. They command worker loyalty due to their ability to hire and fire Americans and provide basic benefits such as health care or 401k and pension benefits. But corporations also possess the power to destroy people's lives via capital flight. Simply by threatening to leave a community and move factories abroad in pursuit of higher profits and weaker environmental regulations, corporations hold citizens hostage The marketplace is a prison, Lindblom warned, because these corporations ultimately control the levers of the U.S. economy, and control the life outcomes of American workers."

Beyond the ownership and investment/disinvestment levers, concentrated capital achieves policy, cultural, and societal outcomes it prefers in numerous other ways : the buying of candidates and election through campaign donations; the flooding of government with armies of well-heeled lobbyists; the drafting and dissemination of Big Business-friendly legislation; massive investment in public relations and propaganda to influence the beliefs and values of citizens, politicians, and other "opinion-shapers"; direct "revolving door" capture of key government positions; the offer of private sector positions to public officials who reasonably expect significantly increased compensation once they exit government; the "cognitive [ideological] capture" (every bit as corrupting as bribery) of state officials, politicians, media personnel, educators, nonprofit managers, and other "influential;" the destruction and undermining of organizations (i.e., labor unions) that might offer some countervailing power to that of big business; the granting of jobs, corporate board memberships, internships, and other perks and payments to public officials' family members; the control of education and publishing; the ownership, management, and monitoring of mass media (including "entertainment" as well as public affairs news and commentary).

The American philosopher John Dewey put things very well in 1931. He wrote that "politics is the shadow cast on society by big business" and rightly prophesized that U.S. politics would stay that way as long as power resided in "business for private profit through private control of banking, land, industry, reinforced by command of the press, press agents, and other means of publicity and propaganda."

Ten years later, the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis made the elementary Aristotelian observation that Americans "must make our choice. We may have democracy," Brandeis wrote, "or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." That was an unwitting call for the abolition of capitalism, which is marked among other things by an inherent tendency towards the upward concentration of wealth and power.

Let the People Be Taught

The fundamental contradiction between bottom-up democratic pretense and top-down class-rule reality is nothing new in American history. The New England clergyman Jeremy Belknap captured the fundamental idea behind the U.S. Founders' curious notion of what they liked to call "popular government." "Let it stand as a principle," Belknap wrote to an associate in the late 1780s, "that government originates from the people, but let the people be taught that they are unable to govern themselves."

Consistent with Belknap's advice, the U.S. Constitution was structured precisely and quite brilliantly to encode and enforce the impossibility of the Founders' ultimate nightmare: popular sovereignty . American history remains haunted by the darkly democidal enshrinement of the "first new nation's" crippling charter. The document invokes "We the people" and "the general welfare" only to set up a government dedicated to the hegemony of the propertied Few .

A Common Masquerade

Dressing elite class and economic interests in popular garb has always been a core function of the U.S. electoral and party system in its various iterations. Its first assignment was to rally ordinary citizens as voters for different factions of the developing nation's bourgeois class in its recurrent intra-capitalist policy struggles. Across much of the 19th century, some leading U.S. investors sought to advance their interests in the development of the domestic U.S. market and a manufacturing economy by pushing through an "American System" of government-subsidized internal improvements (transportation infrastructure above all), government central banks, and tariffs on imports. These capitalists tended to align with and fund the Whig Party and its anti-slavery successor the Republican Party. More export-, agricultural-, and free trade-oriented investors aligned with the Democratic Party.

These not insignificant differences aside, all these bourgeois parties made feverish electoral appeals to mass constituencies in the name of "the common man" to win votes in a republic with comparatively wide (universal white male across most of the nation by the eve of the Civil War) suffrage. The competing parties needed to "masquerade as commoners" (in the words of the late and great U.S. historian Alfred F. Young ) to elected politicians pledged to the "bankrollers and backers" preferred path of capitalist development. The Hitchensian game – the "manipulation of populism by elitism" – first came into own not during the time of Huey Long but a century before in the Andrew Jacksonian so-called "age of the common man."

"No Way to Vote Against Goldman Sachs" .

Policy specifics and party alignments have since shifted more than once in accord with underlying political-economic and demographic factors. Still, the basic manipulative reality captured in Left political scientist Thomas Ferguson's "investment theory of [U.S. two-] party competition" has continued throughout. During the 1930s and 1940s, Ferguson has shown, the labor-allied New Deal (Franklin Roosevelt) Democratic Party rose to power with critical support from highly capital intensive multinational corporations and internationally oriented investment banks who were less concerned about wage bills than the more nationally oriented, anti-union, and protectionist industrial firms that dominated the reigning (Teddy Roosevelt, William McKinley and Howard Taft) Republican Party at the turn of the 20th century.

The end of rapid growth and of the United States' short-lived and near-absolute post-World War II global economic hegemony during the late 1960s produced inflation and growing fiscal and trade deficits, leading to sharply raised interest rates, a strengthened dollar, and an unprecedented flow of surplus capital from industry to finance. The resulting new finance capital explosion transformed the American party system, which stabilized around 1980 with high finance atop the "hegemonic bloc" of political (as well as economic) investors. With the arch-neoliberal Clinton presidency of the 1990s , big finance capital had clearly taken over the Democratic Party as well as the Republicans, along with most of the nation's nonfinancial corporations.

There have been differences in the investor class profiles of the two dominant parties through this century. "Defense" (military) and oil and other Big Carbon firms have tended to tilt towards the Republicans. Silicon Valley and Hollywood lean Democratic. Beneath such differences, the 1% is united in neoliberal consensus across both parties around Wall Street-led globalization and a huge Pentagon System to expand and protect global finance capitalism. Both the Republicans and the Democrats are committed to the neoliberal world-capitalist and imperial order, with big finance calling the shots while unions, the working class, and the poor are relegated to the margins.

The two major parties have different historical, demographic, ethno-cultural, religious, and geographic profiles that matter. Still, they are united at the end of the day in their shared manipulations of carefully calibrated populist rhetoric and voter and partisan identity on behalf of the bipartisan super-rich and their global empire. As the Left author Chris Hedges noted four years ago :

"Both sides of the political spectrum are manipulated by the same forces. If you're some right-wing Christian zealot in Georgia, then it's homosexuals and abortion and all these, you know, wedge issues that are used to whip you up emotionally. If you are a liberal in Manhattan, it's – you know, they'll be teaching creationism in your schools or whatever Yet in fact it's just a game, because whether it's Bush or whether it's Obama, Goldman Sachs always wins. There is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs."

or (Earlier) J.P. Morgan

The Machiavellian ruling class exploitation of what is today called "identity politics" is also less than novel in the American historical experience. Fierce class conflict fueled by intense class consciousness roiled the industrializing United States across the late 19th and early 20th centuries, creating the most violent labor history in the world during those years. But great working class and farmer rebellions against the emergent new corporate plutocracy never translated into national politics thanks to the prior existence of a constitutionally mandated winner-take-all two party and elections system that channeled ballots into one of two reigning capitalist parties – aptly described by Upton Sinclair in 1904 as "two wings of the same bird of prey" – and in accord with differences of race, ethnicity, religion, and region. State and national politics and "voting behavior" were structured around ethnocultural and related geographic (sectional) factors. It's not for nothing that the Marxist American historian Alan Dawley once referred to the American ballot box as "the coffin of class consciousness." With all due respect to Eugene Debs' high water mark returns in 1912 (a mere 6% of the popular vote), there was little way to meaningfully vote against the interests of J.P. Morgan, Averill Harriman, and John Rockefeller.

No Free Pass

It's become fashionable on both left and right in recent years to think of Wall Street's untouchable power (along with that of Silicon Valley and the military industrial complex) as a reflection of the rule of the permanent "deep state." In its more measured and workable (non-conspiratorial) usage, the term refers to the embedded corporate and financial profit and power sectors that co-exist and merge with entrenched government institutions prominently including but not restricted to the ever-mushrooming national security state (we should include the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve alongside the Pentagon, the CIA, and the FBI) to govern the nation behind the electoral and parliamentary "marionette theater" (Mike Lofgren) of the visible state and its pseudo-democratic election rituals.

But, with all due respect for the chilling expansion of the intertwined military, police, and surveillance states, it is hard not to sense behind the notion of the "deep state" the simple and less-than-secretive persistence of the class rule regime called capitalism. The harsh authoritarian reality of what Noam Chomsky has wryly called "really existing capitalist democracy or RECD, pronounced as 'wrecked'" lives on today as long before. .

American capitalism has an equally evil Siamese twin called imperialism , progenitor of the giant "national security" and "foreign apparatus" that eats up the lion's share of U.S. federal discretionary spending – at no small cost to social and environmental health even as it provides s rich revenue stream for the nation's unelected dictatorship of money. "The costs of empire," Chomsky wrote nearly half a century ago , "are in general distributed over the whole of society, white its profits revert to a few within."

It is long past time for left thinkers to stop giving the American capitalist ruling class a free pass on Donald Trump, hoping for the neoliberal deep state" to bring about his demise from the top down . Yes, the elite financial campaign finance and speech royalty data suggest that Hillary Clinton was Wall Street's preferred candidate last year. Still, Trump was never really an anti-establishment candidate beyond the deceptive rhetoric he cynically employed – consistent with the longstanding fake-populist "essence of American [and bourgeois] politics" – to win enough white working class and rural votes to prevail over dismal, dollar-drenched Hillary Clinton. And you don't have to join the right-wing conspiracy mongers at Zero Hedge to agree with them that " Trump is where the elites want him" and "serves the establishment."

Militarized Accumulation

A recent teleSur English reflection by the brilliant Marxian sociologist William I. Robinson notes that the transnational capitalist class (TCC) has turned to military investment as a solution to its drastic over-accumulation of capital in an increasingly unequal and poverty-ridden world. As Robinson notes :

"Here there is a convergence around the system's political need for social control and its economic need to perpetuate accumulation. Unprecedented global inequalities can only be sustained by ever more repressive and ubiquitous systems of social control and repression. Yet quite apart from political considerations, the TCC has acquired a vested interest in war, conflict, and repression as a means of accumulation. CIT has revolutionized warfare and the modalities of state-organized militarized accumulation, including the military application of vast new technologies and the further fusion of private accumulation with state militarization ."

" The so-called wars on drugs, terrorism, and immigrants; the construction of border walls, immigrant detention centers, and ever-growing prisons; the installation of mass surveillance systems, and the spread of private security guard and mercenary companies, have all become major sources of profit-making The class interests of the TCC, geo-politics, and economics come together around militarized accumulation. The more the global economy comes to depend on militarization and conflict the greater the drive to war and the higher the stakes for humanity after Trump's .victory, the stock price of Corrections Corporation of America soared 40 percent, given Trump's promise to deport millions Raytheon and Lockheed Martin reports spikes each time there is a new flare up in the Middle East Within an hour of the April 6 th Tomahawk missile bombardment of Syria, Raytheon's stock increased by $1 billion. Hundreds of private firms from around the world have put in bids to construct Trump's infamous border wall."

Trump, his team of politicized generals, and his call for a 10 percent increase in the already hyper-bloated Pentagon budget are a perfect match for the militarized accumulation strategy, with its "built-in war drive."

Waiting for supposedly enlightened and decent elites atop the "deep state" to dump Trump is a fool's game. As Robinson says, "Only a worldwide push back from below, and ultimately a program to redistribute wealth and power downward, can counter the upward spiral of international conflagration." Join the debate on Facebook

Paul Street's latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014)

[Apr 21, 2017] The Watergate Style Break In That Covered Up Shocking Wave Of Clinton State Department Scandals Zero Hedge

Apr 21, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
The Watergate Style Break In That Covered Up Shocking Wave Of Clinton State Department Scandals by William Craddick Apr 20, 2017

Via Disobedient Media

In 2013, it was first reported that the Clinton State Department had called off eight separate internal investigations into alleged misconduct by the diplomatic corps. When whistleblowers attempted to highlight the wave of coverups, they were subjected to a harassment campaign by the State Department. The law firm representing the former State Department employee who publicized the misconduct was broken into and key evidence stolen in an apparent effort to further obfuscate efforts to ensure a proper investigation into the crimes was carried out. The event was not given widespread attention by the media when it first emerged.

I. The U.S. Government Failed To Appoint An Inspector General For Five Years

Hillary Clinton was appointed to her position as Secretary of State on January 21, 2009, serving until February 1, 2013. From January 16, 2008 to September 30, 2013, the Obama administration had failed to appoint an Inspector General for the Department of State (DS). This led some lawmakers to question DS as to why the agency's top watchdog position, tasked with investigating the practices of roughly 260 embassies worldwide, had been left empty for more than five years, creating the longest such vacancy in the history of any federal agency. This led Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and ranking member Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) to write a letter to then Secretary of State John Kerry requesting that he urge the President to nominate a permanent Inspector General for the Department of State as soon as possible. Because DS lacked an Inspector General, Harold W. Geisel, the Deputy Inspector General, was appointed the interim Inspector General of the State Department. Geisel would remain in this position for the next five years, until June 2013 .

In 2013, it was first reported that the Clinton State Department had called off eight separate internal investigations into alleged misconduct by the diplomatic corps during the time that there was no appointed inspector general. Of these eight quashed investigations, the one which has found its way back into the limelight, as a result of the media's complete blackout of President Trump's human trafficking busts, is that of the former U.S. Ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman . MSNBC's Chuck Todd detailed these allegations in a video report from early June of 2013.

II. Ambassador Gutman Was Shielded From Criminal Charges By The State Department

Howard W. Gutman was sworn in as the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium on August 14, 2009 . Before being sworn into his role as Ambassador, Gutman was known to be one of President Obama's top donors, raising a staggering $775,000 for the 2008 campaign and inauguration committee. In 2016, hacker Guccifer2.0 began releasing documents from the DNC and DCCC. According to these documents, Gutman is said to have raised a total of $816,550 for Obama For America (OFA) and $724,500 for the DNC. The donations are part of what was a culture of pay to play politics in the Obama administration. Four years later, Gutman would again be find himself in the public eye, after the release of a 'damning' internal memo.

According to this memo, the Department of State assigned an agent to conduct an investigation into possible criminal behavior involving the ambassador to Belgium. The agent reported that Ambassador Gutman would regularly leave his protective security detail, in order to solicit sexual favors from both prostitutes and minors. However, after only two days of preliminary inquiry, the agent was directed to stop any further investigation into the matter, because of a decision by senior Department officials to treat the matter as a " management issue ." In June of 2011, in response to the allegations and information obtained by the agent, Ambassador Gutman was recalled to Washington D.C., where he met with Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick F. Kennedy , and then Chief of Staff and Counselor to the Secretary of State, Cheryl Mills . During the meeting, the Ambassador denied all allegations of wrongdoing, and was then permitted to return to his post, with no further action being sought.

Despite the decision to terminate the investigation after only two days, DS Management argued to OIG that the decision was proper, as "no further investigation was possible". However, in its findings, OIG concluded that DS was wrong, and that further evidence could have in fact been recovered. According to the memo, OIG found that over the course of the two-day investigation, "only one of multiple potential witnesses on the embassy's security staff had been interviewed." OIG further found that not only did DS fail to interview Ambassador Gutman, but DS did not follow its normal, established investigative procedures of assigning an investigative case number to the matter or opening. Lastly, OIG found that DS failed to even keep investigative case files on the matter.

Patrick Kennedy told OIG that he decided to handle the incident as a "management issue", based on disciplinary provision 3 FAM 4322.2 of the Foreign Affairs Manual. According to this provision, when " exceptional circumstances " exist, the Under Secretary need not refer the suspected misconduct to OIG or DS for further investigation. Kennedy went on to explain that he cited as "exceptional circumstances" the fact that the Ambassador worked overseas . When questioned about his determination to terminate the investigation and characterize the explosive allegations as a "management issue", Kennedy responded that he has, "always acted to honor the brave men and women I serve, while also holding accountable anyone guilty of wrongdoing. In my current position, it is my responsibility to make sure the Department and all of our employees-no matter their rank-are held to the highest standard, and I have never once interfered, nor would I condone interfering, in any investigation."

On January 23, 2017, amid rumors that he would be replaced , Kennedy left the State Department, ending a career which began in 1973 . This was the same day Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made his first trip to the State Department, in order to introduce himself.

III. State Department Memos Were Edited To Prevent Scandal, Cover Up Embarrassing Details

Earlier drafts of the memo provided to the Washington Examiner , showed DS interim Inspector General, Harold W. Geisel, along with other state officials, editing out passages of the memo, that would have been extremely embarrassing to Hillary Clinton just days before she stepped down from her post.

According to a draft dated November 16, senior officials in the State Department would actively influence the progress and results of internal investigations, as well as to shield "rising stars" from criminal charges or embarrassment that could potentially harm their career. One case, which triggered outraged comment from several special investigations division sources, related to allegations that a Regional Security Officer engaged in serious criminal conduct including sexual abuse of local embassy staff during a series of embassy postings. Sources also stated that a senior diplomatic security official successfully protected some agents on the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's security detail from investigations into misbehavior while on official trips. The Examiner reported that no explanation was given as to why this text was removed from the final OIG report published in February 2013.

Another passage that was removed from the February 2013 report indicates that officials from the State Department's "7th Floor Group" shielded Ambassador Gutman from an investigation into alleged pedophilia. In a separate draft from November 27, next to the passage detailing the investigation into the pedophilia allegations against Ambassador Gutman, someone had typed : "[T]hese allegations must be deleted." However, this comment was removed from the November 28 draft.

However, the case against Ambassador Gutman is just one of many State Department cover-ups outlined in the memo. Some of the other alleged cover-ups include:

  • Justine Sincavage , Director of Diplomatic Security Service, closing an investigation into former DS regional security officer in Beirut, Chuck Lisenbee, after he was accused of multiple sexual assaults on guards in Baghdad, Khartoum and Monrovia. Sincavage declared the allegations a "witch hunt" and gave agents "only three days" to investigate before closing the investigation.
  • Details about an " underground drug ring " operating near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad which supplied State Department security contractors with drugs, causing one individual to die of a methadone overdose , which he was taking to counteract his addiction to oxycodone. DS regional security officer prevented a special investigation into these matters.
  • One passage , completely redacted in the final memo, which revealed that many bureau of diplomatic security officials whom were the subject of investigations, would often come to work with their firearms, leading some investigators to do the same.
  • William Brownfield , assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs allegedly " gave the impression " to the Diplomatic Security Service that a probe into the deaths of four Hondurans involving the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) should not be pursued. At the time the memo was written, the case reportedly remained open, as the DEA refused to cooperate.
  • Clinton's Chief of Staff, Cheryl Mills' intervention into an investigation into an affair between then-Iraq Ambassador-designee, Brett McGurk and Wall Street Journal reporter Gina Chon, after his emails were leaked .
  • The ' endemic ' hiring of prostitutes among agents belonging to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's security detail. According to the memo, seven security agents were accused of paying for sex while they were traveling overseas with Secretary Clinton. Two of these agents would confessed to the allegations, while a third stated that he 'paid for services that were ultimately not received'. Despite these confessions, senior State Department personnel allowed one of the offending agents to continue his role in securing a Moscow hotel , 'despite obvious counterintelligence issues.' Investigators would later uncover evidence against four more agents, however, senior officials would halt any further investigation into the remaining agents, 'despite the possibility of counterintelligence issues.'
  • IV. The State Department Harassed Whistleblowers Who Made The Scandals Public

    The Examiner obtained these earlier drafts from Richard Higbie, a senior criminal investigator at the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, after he had disclosed the documents to several members of Congress, as well as multiple congressional committees, under federal whistleblower protections. In a live interview with The Blaze , Higbie provides further insight into the alleged State Department cover-ups. Many of these documents were provided by whistleblower, Aurelia Fedenisn , through a subpoena issued by Higbie's legal team.

    Fedenisn, a former investigator for the State Department Inspector General for 26 years, stated that she wanted to share the original memo with the media, in order to show how internal investigations were being influenced by officials in the State Department. In an interview with CBS , Fedenisn stated that investigators, "uncovered several allegations of criminal wrongdoing in cases, some of which never became cases." Fedenisn explained that agents were very upset with the pushback they received from senior State Department officials: "We were very upset. We expect to see influence, but the degree to which that influence existed and how high up it went, was very disturbing." According to Fedenisn, when a high-ranking State Department security official was shown a draft of their findings, detailing how investigations were being interfered with by senior State Department officials, he said , "This is going to kill us."

    However, once the final report was released, all references to these specific cases had been removed . Regarding how investigators felt after receiving so much pushback for simply doing their jobs, Fedenisn stated, "I mean my heart really went out to the agents in that office, because they really want to do the right thing, they want to investigate the cases fully, correctly, accurately ... and they can't." Cary Schulman, Fedenisn's lawyer, told NBC that her client felt it was important that Congress get this information. Schulman went on to state, "It's a coverup The whole agency is impaired. Undue influence . . . is coming from political appointees. It's coming from above the criminal investigation unit."

    Fedenisn claimed that in response to bringing this information to light, she has been the subject of an intimidation campaign by the Department of State. In an interview with The Cable , Fedenisn's attorney stated that the Department of State had law enforcement officers camp out in front of Fedenisn's house, harass her children and attempt to incriminate her. Schulman said after Fedenisn's interview with CBS, investigators from the State Department's Inspector General, arrived at Fedenisn's residence and went to the door where they talked to both of her children and never identified themselves. Investigators talked to the " older brother and then the younger daughter, a minor, asking for their mom's place of work and cell phone number They camped out for four to five hours." According to Schulman, the purpose of the investigators visit was to have Fedenisn sign a document admitting that she stole State Department materials. However, Fedenisn's separation agreement with the State Department includes a provision , which legally allows disclosures of misconduct. Schulman further stated that none of this material was classified.

    V. Intruders Broke Into The Firm Representing Whistleblowers To Steal Evidence

    On June 29, 2013 , the firm representing both Higbie and Fedenisn, Schulman & Mathias, was broken into multiple times. The entire incident was captured on camera and reported by the local Fox affiliate. The report states that after kicking the glass of the door in, the two burglars sawed a hole through the wall from an adjoining office and stole three computers, leaving behind other valuables . The firm was the only suite burglarized in the high-rise office building, while all other offices were left untouched .

    Security camera footage showing break in at Schulman & Mathias

    In a statement to The Cable , Schulman noted that the break-in was, " a crazy, strange and suspicious situation It's clear to me that it was somebody looking for information and not money. My most high-profile case right now is the Aurelia Fedenisn case, and I can't think of any other case where someone would go to these great lengths to get our information."

    The break-in came shortly after it was reported that Higbie's email account had been hacked. According to Schulman, the hack targeted Higbie's Gmail account and the perpetrators, deleted four years of emails, some detailing alleged wrongdoing at the State Department. As reported by the New York Post the deleted e-mails included evidence of misconduct by top officials at the department, communications with other potential whistleblowers there, correspondence with members of Congress who were investigating the allegations, and correspondence between Higbie and Schulman regarding legal strategy. Schulman, calling the hacking job "sophisticated" and the targeting of his client is "alarming", noted , "Obviously, somebody is not happy with something he's doing and wanted to get that information and also cause him an inability in the future to have ready access to that."

    Although it's been nearly four years since this story broke, Disobedient Media was able to contact Damon Mathias, formerly of the Schulman & Mathias law firm. When asked about the circumstances surrounding the break-in, Mathias noted that he was "fresh out of law school", and that they were a very small firm.

    "I was a very young attorney and I partnered with an older attorney and we had a very small, humble office, it was just us two. We weren't exactly a prime target. I flew to Washington that same week the story broke [and] gave testimony before Congressional committees. And then 15 days later all the computers are taken"

    When asked if they ever heard back from members of Congress after giving testimony before committees, Mathias confirmed a disappointing truth: that these Congressional hearings are simply just for show. While Congressmen enjoy getting their names in an article in relation to the topic, the subject is usually dropped soon afterwards. "It's all a show, it's all a show. And right after I met with them, you saw the OIG meeting with Royce's committee and after that it was crickets. It was over" Mathias said. Recounting his experience with the information he was able to see, Mathias stated, "At the end of the day the glimpse that I saw going through those documents, and going through everything was just, wow, you know, in our name? We are citizens and they go abroad in our name. The stuff that they're doing It definitely needs to be brought to light."

    The final thought Mathias left us with was a sad, bleak picture regarding the fears held by many other governmental officials who have seen wrongdoing throughout their time in government, and why they either wait until the end of their careers or instead, choose to never whistleblow at all, "I'll tell you this the one thing with Aurelia, where it was kind of the perfect storm, is that she was on her way out. There are a lot of people up there who will not say anything I'm not gonna judge them, but, you know, it's very tough to do that when you still have a lot riding on the line. And the thing with Aurelia is she was out, so she had that freedom to speak out and the retaliation wasn't really there there's a lot out there, but a lot of people are just way too afraid to speak out, unfortunately. We haven't really helped whistleblowers in that regard."

    gdpetti , Apr 20, 2017 8:18 PM

    Remember that the Watergate break-in was an attack on Nixon by the Agency, as Nixon was doing a Kennedy by not following their orders/recommendations on policy issues regarding China etc... so this Clinton issue is just more in-house activity as usual... protect fellow club members and assets... so this isn't special...

    here's a look at a current player called Krushner in Trump's house... these guys are all vetted long ago... birds of a feather.

    http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/04/17/jared-kushner-suspected...

    [Apr 21, 2017] Americans got Republican Obama -- another master of bait and switch.

    Apr 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    Fred C. Dobbs -> jonny bakho... , April 20, 2017 at 05:58 AM
    In some ironic way, 2016 was highly
    reminiscent of LBJ's decision to quit,
    Gene McCarthy's obstreperousness, and
    Hubert Humphrey's ill-fated anointment
    as LBJ's designated successor.

    Politically, LBJ was hugely unpopular,
    whereas Obama was at his peak.

    Obama approval hits 60% as end of term
    approaches @CNNPolitics
    http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2017/01/16/barack-obama-legacy-jones-pkg-lead.cnn/video/playlists/obamas-best-month/

    pgl -> Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2017 at 06:26 AM
    Interesting way to think of it. In 1968 - we got Nixon. I thought we could never do worse but we did in 2016.
    RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> pgl... , April 20, 2017 at 06:39 AM
    Interesting peculiar maybe, but way to think of it - not.
    Fred C. Dobbs -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , April 20, 2017 at 07:40 AM
    Well, history repeats,

    sometimes as tragedy, sometimes as farce.

    And then, in 2016, we get Tom Dewey's Revenge.

    RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2017 at 06:38 AM
    So, in your vernacular does reminiscent mean the same thing as opposite?
    libezkova -> Fred C. Dobbs... , April 21, 2017 at 05:44 AM
    Fred,

    "Obama approval hits 60% as end of term
    approaches @CNNPolitics "

    With 50+ approval ratings according to some polls Trump is not far. Raining Tomahawks on some ME country is "slam dunk" for approval ratings in the USA. Notwithstanding the fact that this is a war crime.

    You got what you wanted: "Republican Obama" -- another master of "bait and switch." Hell-bent of the preservation of the US neoliberal empire at the expense of American people. But who cares about American people. Let them eat cakes.

    At least in foreign policy you now actually got Hillary. all campaign promises are firmly forgotten. War drums beat is deafening. It's her policies that Trump is implementing. Why are you complaining ?

    Here is a nice touch on the recent Trump gender transformation:

    http://www.unz.com/freed/first-transgender-president-trump-becomes-hillary/

    ;-)

    [Apr 21, 2017] Since Obama appointed Derugulating Larry , Tax-evading Timmy and Too-big-to-jail Eric , maybe those appointments were not that good

    Apr 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    reason , April 20, 2017 at 02:31 AM
    It seems Paul Krugman isn't the economist who doesn't necessarily agree with Sanders all the time.

    http://conversableeconomist.blogspot.de/2017/04/personnel-is-policy-presidential.html

    Still, all this really shows is how incredibly dysfunctional the ancient US system is. Time for a constitutional renewal process.

    Fred C. Dobbs -> reason ... , April 20, 2017 at 03:54 AM
    (Shocking stuff, no?)

    'For example, late in the Obama administration the board that is supposed to oversee the US Postal Service had zero members out of the nine possible appointments. The reported reason is that Senator Bernie Sanders put a hold on all possible appointees, as a show of solidarity with postal workers. If it isn't obvious to you how Sanders preventing President Obama from appointing new board members would influence the US Postal Service in the directions that Sanders would prefer, given that President Trump could presumably appoint all nine members of the board, you are not alone.'

    Timothy Taylor
    conversableeconomist@gmail.com

    RGC -> Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2017 at 07:25 AM
    Since Obama appointed "Derugulatin' Larry", "Tax-evadin' Timmy" and "Too-big-to-jail Eric", maybe those appointments weren't very good.

    [Apr 21, 2017] Shattered Charts Hillary Clintons Course Into the Iceberg

    Apr 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    anne , April 20, 2017 at 06:17 AM
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/17/books/shattered-charts-hillary-clintons-course-into-the-iceberg.html

    April 16, 2017

    'Shattered' Charts Hillary Clinton's Course Into the Iceberg
    By MICHIKO KAKUTANI

    Donald J. Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton in November came as a shock to the world. Polls, news reports and everything the Clinton campaign was hearing in the final days pointed to her becoming the first female president in American history.

    In their compelling new book, "Shattered," the journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes write that Clinton's loss suddenly made sense of all the reporting they had been doing for a year and a half - reporting that had turned up all sorts of "foreboding signs" that often seemed at odds, in real time, with indications that Clinton was the favorite to win. Although the Clinton campaign was widely covered, and many autopsies have been conducted in the last several months, the blow-by-blow details in "Shattered" - and the observations made here by campaign and Democratic Party insiders - are nothing less than devastating, sure to dismay not just her supporters but also everyone who cares about the outcome and momentous consequences of the election.

    In fact, the portrait of the Clinton campaign that emerges from these pages is that of a Titanic-like disaster: an epic fail made up of a series of perverse and often avoidable missteps by an out-of-touch candidate and her strife-ridden staff that turned "a winnable race" into "another iceberg-seeking campaign ship."

    It's the story of a wildly dysfunctional and "spirit-crushing" campaign that embraced a flawed strategy (based on flawed data) and that failed, repeatedly, to correct course. A passive-aggressive campaign that neglected to act on warning flares sent up by Democratic operatives on the ground in crucial swing states, and that ignored the advice of the candidate's husband, former President Bill Clinton, and other Democratic Party elders, who argued that the campaign needed to work harder to persuade undecided and ambivalent voters (like working-class whites and millennials), instead of focusing so insistently on turning out core supporters.

    "Our failure to reach out to white voters, like literally from the New Hampshire primary on, it never changed," one campaign official is quoted as saying.

    There was a perfect storm of other factors, of course, that contributed to Clinton's loss, including Russian meddling in the election to help elect Trump; the controversial decision by the F.B.I. director, James Comey, to send a letter to Congress about Clinton's emails less than two weeks before Election Day; and the global wave of populist discontent with the status quo (signaled earlier in the year by the British "Brexit" vote) that helped fuel the rise of both Trump and Bernie Sanders. In a recent interview, Clinton added that she believed "misogyny played a role" in her loss.

    The authors of "Shattered," however, write that even some of her close friends and advisers think that Clinton "bears the blame for her defeat," arguing that her actions before the campaign (setting up a private email server, becoming entangled in the Clinton Foundation, giving speeches to Wall Street banks) "hamstrung her own chances so badly that she couldn't recover," ensuring that she could not "cast herself as anything but a lifelong insider when so much of the country had lost faith in its institutions."

    Allen and Parnes are the authors of a 2014 book, "H R C," a largely sympathetic portrait of Clinton's years as secretary of state, and this book reflects their access to longtime residents of Clinton's circle. They interviewed more than a hundred sources on background - with the promise that none of the material they gathered would appear before the election - and while it's clear that some of these people are spinning blame retroactively, many are surprisingly candid about the frustrations they experienced during the campaign.

    "Shattered" underscores Clinton's difficulty in articulating a rationale for her campaign (other than that she was not Donald Trump). And it suggests that a tendency to value loyalty over competence resulted in a lumbering, bureaucratic operation in which staff members were reluctant to speak truth to power, and competing tribes sowed "confusion, angst and infighting."

    Despite years of post-mortems, the authors observe, Clinton's management style hadn't really changed since her 2008 loss of the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama: Her team's convoluted power structure "encouraged the denizens of Hillaryland to care more about their standing with her, or their future job opportunities, than getting her elected." ...

    [Apr 21, 2017] First Transgender President Trump Becomes Hillary

    Apr 20, 2017 | unz.com

    Oh Lord, it's happening–the remanufacture of Trump by the Establishment. During the campaign, Trump and the Basilisk had nothing in common but their hair dye. Now, almost daily, he looks more like her.

    He gets embarrassing. Regarding the alleged gassing in Syria, quoth Donald:

    "When you kill innocent children, innocent babies - babies, little babies - with a chemical gas that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line. And I will tell you, that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much."

    God almighty. Who wrote this–a middle school girl with C's in English, or the President of the United States? Did he retire to his bedroom for a good cry?

    Apparently he ordered his missile strike without bothering to find out what happened. The usual suspects are driving him like a sports car.

    The election was a choice between fetor and a lunatic. We chose the lunatic. Whether this was better than the alternative, we will never know, but Trump is going from bad to worse, or as the Mexicans say, de Guatemala a Guatepeor.

    Does he believe this stuff? Is he naive enough to think that there was something unusually horrible about the attack? Horrible, yes, but not in the least unusual. Do you know what everyday, boring artillery does to children? Five-hundred-pound bombs? Hellfire rockets? Daily Mr. Trump's military and his allies daily drop shrapnel-producing explosives on people, cities, towns, adults, children, weddings and goatherds in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Good draft-dodger that he was, he probably has never seen any of this. Good psychopath that he may be, he may not care.

    This whole gas-attack business smells to high heaven. It looks nicely calculated to force him to attack Assad. Gas was important: Killing babies, little babies with explosives is so routine that no one cares, but we have been programmed to shudder at the thought of Gas!

    Actually artillery has killed several orders of magnitude more people, but never mind.

    Targeting children was a nice touch. Definitely a PR bonus. So Donald goes into his Poor-widdle-fings weep, while Americans weekly kill more children in three to seven countries, depending on the date.

    Is the man consciously a liar? Hasn't got sense enough to think before operating his mouth? Actually believes what he says when he says it?

    Glance at a small part of the record and focus on his changing his tune, not on whether you agree with a particular policy. Erratic, erratic, erratic. He was going to run out the illegals within two years, absurd but he said it. Going to put high tariffs on Mexican goods. Didn't. On Chinese goods. Isn't. Tear up the Iran treaty. Didn't. Declare China a currency-manipulator. Isn't. Ban Muslims. Hasn't. Promote good relations with Russia. Isn't. Get the US out of Syria. Ha. Make NATO pay for itself. Isn't. The man has the steely determination one associates with bean curd. You cannot trust anything the man says.

    Having been reprogrammed as a good neocon, bombing places he promised to get out of, looking for a fight with Russia, he is now butting heads with Fat Thing in North Korea. He his said things closely resembling, "We have run out of strategic patience with the North. If nobody else will take care of it, we will." Grrrr. Bowwow. Woof.

    The problem with growly ultimata made for television is that somebody has to back down–that is, lose face and credibility. If Trump had quietly told Fat Thing, "If you crazy bastards scrap your nuke program, we will drop the sanctions," it might have worked. But no. Negotiations would imply weakness. Thus an ultimatum.

    So now either (a) Fat Thing knuckles under, humiliating himself and possibly endangering his grasp on power or (b) Trump blinks in a humiliating display of the Empire's impotence, possibly endangering his grasp on power.

    Kim Jong Il, or Il Sung Jong, or whatever the the hell the latest one of them is called, shows not the slightest sign of backing down. So does the Donald start an utterly unpredictable war, as usual in somebody else's country, or does he weasel off, muttering, and hope nobody notices?

    Fred's Third Law of International Relations: Never butt heads with a country that has a missile named the No Dong.

    Many of us favored Trump, slightly daft though he was, because he wasn't yet Hillary, wasn't yet a neocon robot, and didn't want war with every country he had heard of, apparently meaning a good half dozen. At least he said he didn't, not yet having been told that he did. In particular, he didn't want war with Russia. But when the neocons control the media and Congress, they can convince a naive public of anything and, apparently, the President.

    Why is the Hillarification of Trump important? The necessary prior question: What is the greatest threat to the neocons' American Empire? Answer: The ongoing integration of Eurasia under Chinese hegemony. The key countries in this are China, Iran, and Russia. (Isn't it curious that, apart from the momentary distraction of North Korea, these countries have been the focus of New York's hostility?) In particular if Russia and, through it, China develop large and very profitable trade with Europe, there goes NATO and with it the Empire.

    Oops.

    Thus the eeeeeeeeeeek! furor about Russia as existential threat and so on. Thus sending a few troops to Baltic countries to "deter" Russia. This was theater. The idea that a thousand garrison troops can stop the Russian army, which hasn't gone silly as ours has, on its doorstep is loony.

    Hillary was on board with the Russia hysteria and the globalization and the immigration and so on. Trump could have screwed the whole pooch by getting along with Russia, so he had to be reconfigured. And was. A work in progress, but going well.

    ORDER IT NOW

    Too much is being asked of him. One man cannot overcome the combined hostility of the media, the political establishment, the neocons, the myriad other special interests that he has threatened. Mass immigration is a done deal. China develops and America, already developed, cannot keep up. The country disintegrates socially. Washington, always depending on war and its threat, faces a new world in which trade is the weapon, and doesn't know what to do. The culture courses. The world changes.

    Yet if only Trump showed some sign of knowing what he is doing, and could remember from day to day, if only he realized that wars are more easily started than predicted, if only he were not becoming an unbalanced Hillary.

    Yet, apparently, he is.

    (Reprinted from Fred on Everything by permission of author or representative)

    [Apr 20, 2017] The Problem is Washington, Not North Korea - The Unz Review

    Apr 20, 2017 | www.unz.com
    Washington has never made any effort to conceal its contempt for North Korea. In the 64 years since the war ended, the US has done everything in its power to punish, humiliate and inflict pain on the Communist country. Washington has subjected the DPRK to starvation, prevented its government from accessing foreign capital and markets, strangled its economy with crippling economic sanctions, and installed lethal missile systems and military bases on their doorstep.

    Negotiations aren't possible because Washington refuses to sit down with a country which it sees as its inferior. Instead, the US has strong-armed China to do its bidding by using their diplomats as interlocutors who are expected to convey Washington's ultimatums as threateningly as possible. The hope, of course, is that Pyongyang will cave in to Uncle Sam's bullying and do what they are told.

    But the North has never succumbed to US intimidation and there's no sign that it will. Instead, they have developed a small arsenal of nuclear weapons to defend themselves in the event that the US tries to assert its dominance by launching another war.
    There's no country in the world that needs nuclear weapons more than North Korea. Brainwashed Americans, who get their news from FOX or CNN, may differ on this point, but if a hostile nation deployed carrier strike-groups off the coast of California while conducting massive war games on the Mexican border (with the express intention of scaring the shit of people) then they might see things differently. They might see the value of having a few nuclear weapons to deter that hostile nation from doing something really stupid.

    And let's be honest, the only reason Kim Jong Un hasn't joined Saddam and Gadhafi in the great hereafter, is because (a)– The North does not sit on an ocean of oil, and (b)– The North has the capacity to reduce Seoul, Okinawa and Tokyo into smoldering debris-fields. Absent Kim's WMDs, Pyongyang would have faced a preemptive attack long ago and Kim would have faced a fate similar to Gadhafi's. Nuclear weapons are the only known antidote to US adventurism.

    The American people –whose grasp of history does not extend beyond the events of 9-11 - have no idea of the way the US fights its wars or the horrific carnage and destruction it unleashed on the North. Here's a short refresher that helps clarify why the North is still wary of the US more than 60 years after the armistice was signed. The excerpt is from an article titled "Americans have forgotten what we did to North Korea", at Vox World:

    "In the early 1950s, during the Korean War, the US dropped more bombs on North Korea than it had dropped in the entire Pacific theater during World War II. This carpet bombing, which included 32,000 tons of napalm, often deliberately targeted civilian as well as military targets, devastating the country far beyond what was necessary to fight the war. Whole cities were destroyed, with many thousands of innocent civilians killed and many more left homeless and hungry .

    According to US journalist Blaine Harden: "Over a period of three years or so, we killed off - what - 20 percent of the population," Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay, head of the Strategic Air Command during the Korean War, told the Office of Air Force History in 1984. Dean Rusk, a supporter of the war and later secretary of state, said the United States bombed "everything that moved in North Korea, every brick standing on top of another." After running low on urban targets, U.S. bombers destroyed hydroelectric and irrigation dams in the later stages of the war, flooding farmland and destroying crops

    "On January 3 at 10:30 AM an armada of 82 flying fortresses loosed their death-dealing load on the city of Pyongyang Hundreds of tons of bombs and incendiary compound were simultaneously dropped throughout the city, causing annihilating fires, the transatlantic barbarians bombed the city with delayed-action high-explosive bombs which exploded at intervals for a whole day making it impossible for the people to come out onto the streets. The entire city has now been burning, enveloped in flames, for two days. By the second day, 7,812 civilians houses had been burnt down. The Americans were well aware that there were no military targets left in Pyongyang

    The number of inhabitants of Pyongyang killed by bomb splinters, burnt alive and suffocated by smoke is incalculable Some 50,000 inhabitants remain in the city which before the war had a population of 500,000." ("Americans have forgotten what we did to North Korea", Vox World)

    The United States killed over 2 million people in a country that posed no threat to US national security. Like Vietnam, the Korean War was just another muscle-flexing exercise the US periodically engages in whenever it gets bored or needs some far-flung location to try out its new weapons systems. The US had nothing to gain in its aggression on the Korean peninsula, it was mix of imperial overreach and pure unalloyed viciousness the likes of which we've seen many times in the past. According to the Asia-Pacific Journal:

    "By the fall of 1952, there were no effective targets left for US planes to hit. Every significant town, city and industrial area in North Korea had already been bombed. In the spring of 1953, the Air Force targeted irrigation dams on the Yalu River, both to destroy the North Korean rice crop and to pressure the Chinese, who would have to supply more food aid to the North. Five reservoirs were hit, flooding thousands of acres of farmland, inundating whole towns and laying waste to the essential food source for millions of North Koreans.10 Only emergency assistance from China, the USSR, and other socialist countries prevented widespread famine." ("The Destruction and Reconstruction of North Korea, 1950 – 1960", The Asia-Pacific Journal, Japan Focus)

    ORDER IT NOW

    Repeat: "Reservoirs, irrigation dams, rice crops, hydroelectric dams, population centers" all napalmed, all carpet bombed, all razed to the ground. Nothing was spared. If it moved it was shot, if it didn't move, it was bombed. The US couldn't win, so they turned the country into an uninhabitable wastelands. "Let them starve. Let them freeze.. Let them eat weeds and roots and rodents to survive. Let them sleep in the ditches and find shelter in the rubble. What do we care? We're the greatest country on earth. God bless America."

    This is how Washington does business, and it hasn't changed since the Seventh Cavalry wiped out 150 men, women and children at Wounded Knee more than century ago. The Lakota Sioux at Pine Ridge got the same basic treatment as the North Koreans, or the Vietnamese, or the Nicaraguans, or the Iraqis and on and on and on and on. Anyone else who gets in Uncle Sam's way, winds up in a world of hurt. End of story.

    The savagery of America's war against the North left an indelible mark on the psyche of the people. Whatever the cost, the North cannot allow a similar scenario to take place in the future. Whatever the cost, they must be prepared to defend themselves. If that means nukes, then so be it. Self preservation is the top priority.

    Is there a way to end this pointless standoff between Pyongyang and Washington, a way to mend fences and build trust?

    Of course there is. The US just needs to start treating the DPRK with respect and follow through on their promises. What promises?

    The promise to built the North two light-water reactors to provide heat and light to their people in exchange for an end to its nuclear weapons program. You won't read about this deal in the media because the media is just the propaganda wing of the Pentagon. They have no interest in promoting peaceful solutions. Their stock-in-trade is war, war and more war.

    The North wants the US to honor its obligations under the 1994 Agreed Framework. That's it. Just keep up your end of the goddamn deal. How hard can that be? Here's how Jimmy Carter summed it up in a Washington Post op-ed (November 24, 2010):

    " in September 2005, an agreement reaffirmed the basic premises of the 1994 accord. (The Agreed Framework) Its text included denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, a pledge of non-aggression by the United States and steps to evolve a permanent peace agreement to replace the U.S.-North Korean-Chinese cease-fire that has been in effect since July 1953 . Unfortunately, no substantive progress has been made since 2005

    "This past July I was invited to return to Pyongyang to secure the release of an American, Aijalon Gomes, with the proviso that my visit would last long enough for substantive talks with top North Korean officials. They spelled out in detail their desire to develop a denuclearized Korean Peninsula and a permanent cease-fire, based on the 1994 agreements and the terms adopted by the six powers in September 2005 .

    "North Korean officials have given the same message to other recent American visitors and have permitted access by nuclear experts to an advanced facility for purifying uranium. The same officials had made it clear to me that this array of centrifuges would be 'on the table' for discussions with the United States, although uranium purification – a very slow process – was not covered in the 1994 agreements.

    " Pyongyang has sent a consistent message that during direct talks with the United States, it is ready to conclude an agreement to end its nuclear programs, put them all under IAEA inspection and conclude a permanent peace treaty to replace the 'temporary' cease-fire of 1953 . We should consider responding to this offer. The unfortunate alternative is for North Koreans to take whatever actions they consider necessary to defend themselves from what they claim to fear most: a military attack supported by the United States, along with efforts to change the political regime."

    ("North Korea's consistent message to the U.S.", President Jimmy Carter, Washington Post)

    Most people think the problem lies with North Korea, but it doesn't. The problem lies with the United States; it's unwillingness to negotiate an end to the war, its unwillingness to provide basic security guarantees to the North, its unwillingness to even sit down with the people who –through Washington's own stubborn ignorance– are now developing long-range ballistic missiles that will be capable of hitting American cities.

    How dumb is that?

    The Trump team is sticking with a policy that has failed for 63 years and which clearly undermines US national security by putting American citizens directly at risk. AND FOR WHAT?

    To preserve the image of "tough guy", to convince people that the US doesn't negotiate with weaker countries, to prove to the world that "whatever the US says, goes"? Is that it? Is image more important than a potential nuclear disaster?

    Relations with the North can be normalized, economic ties can be strengthened, trust can be restored, and the nuclear threat can be defused. The situation with the North does not have to be a crisis, it can be fixed. It just takes a change in policy, a bit of give-and-take, and leaders that genuinely want peace more than war.

    MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition . He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com .

    [Apr 20, 2017] Libya - More War And Reconciliation

    Notable quotes:
    "... A Libyan military solution to the civil war is fast becoming the only option however a Mandela type Truth and Reconciliation Commission following straight after such military victory is also a top priority. ..."
    Apr 19, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

    The West retains it's out of touch Libyan policies when in Luca, Italy last week the G7 'warned and commanded' that the fractious warring Libyan parties 'must' work with the dying UN appointed and recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), situated only in a small naval base in Tripoli and its so called Presidency Council (PC). And further ordered Libyans to work together to fix the economic crisis by recognising that the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) need to only collaborate with the GNA/PC, so out of touch with the real issues on the ground in Libya are the G7 Countries. Their language almost expressed in colonial terms!

    Other global interference in Libya continues. Most recently also the GNA and Presidency Council (PC) leader Fayez Serraj was seeing the head, at his HQ in Stuttgart, of the United Stated Africa Command (AFRICOM) General Thomas Waldhauser. I didn't know Stuttgart was in Africa?

    Other pronouncements of one kind or another backing the phantom GNA appear almost weekly.

    All a waste of time, as UN and EU efforts have proven these past years. As far as Serraj is concerned he is unelected by Libyans but chosen by the foreigners. That's never going to achieve forward progress for Libya's future.

    The one year anniversary of the General National Accord (GNA) created by the UN and headed by Serraj was on the 30th March just two weeks ago. But the GNA doesn't function. To compound the GNA's inability to govern, an acute emergency has emerged in the last 7 days revolving around further direct sales by Cyrenaica (East Libya) of oil bypassing Tripoli and the West. If this issue remains unresolved the country may split into two or three pieces. There is now tremendous in-fighting between National Oil Company (NOC) and a variety of diverse interests. The West's reactions to these realities remain puzzling and totally unrealistic to say the least.

    A Libyan military solution to the civil war is fast becoming the only option however a Mandela type Truth and Reconciliation Commission following straight after such military victory is also a top priority.

    These developments are part of a new dynamic that is entering the Libyan Civil War that is another trend that may satisfy weary Libyans themselves. The re-entry of two of Gaddafis children who are seeking a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, similar to South Africa's, in order to bring unity to the country. Specific Libyan tribes are starting to back the Gaddafi clan a new and hopefully peaceful attempt at country unification may appear that ousts the GNA and other Tripoli militias and extremists for good from the political scene. This is becoming a realistic proposition.

    It is to this point that national reconciliation must be addressed. South Africa's process helped to unify the country after decades of apartheid.

    The LNA's Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar is close to Elders of Warfalla tribe that give him their support in the war against terrorism. Warfalla tribe is the biggest tribe in Libya located in Bani Walid and Sirte area, the Warshfana tribe is second located to the South West of Tripoli. Both tribes are from the west of Libya and both are against extremists and very sympathetic to the Gaddafis. Importantly, the tribes believe that the Gaddafis can reach an accommodation with Libyan parties to one another forgive crimes committed before and after the revolt of 2011. Already, evidence can be seen of this trend: In the past week, Libyan authorities have released some Gaddafi era nobles from prison. The involvement of the former AQ-LIFG fighters to take credit for these releases is a vain attempt to try to align themselves with Gaddifites which will never succeed.

    While the limelight is on Saif, who still is believed to suffer from physical and mental injuries sustained during his capture, his sister Aisha Gaddafi is fast becoming the most important member of the family. She is generating a good deal of attention and she may well be very influential in future. Aisha is a pragmatic and sensible Libyan with acute political acumen and a sharp wit and intellect. She has a dynamic personality and is the most well educated of the Colonel's siblings. There is an argument that she needs to return to the political scene. Whether she wants to, no one knows due to her low profile so far.

    However with Aisha's victory last week in the European Court of Justice against the UN Security Council-sponsored sanctions this may very well be the first indicator. She has also had her travel ban lifted. A major achievement. Together with her brother, when he achieves 100 percent fitness, both Gaddafi's can begin to work together with all Libyans to rescue the country from its dreadful plight as part of a team never a return to dictatorship.

    This tandem approach -Gaddafi siblings and the Tribes- is the possible solution to Libya's civil war. Haftar recognizes the values of tribes and the Libyan Field Marshall is now using all his might to solidify and unify all Libyans whilst continuing to fight terrorists. As stated earlier, South Africa's dismantling of decades of apartheid serves as the example, the model for Libya.

    The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was set up to help deal with what awful things happened under apartheid, much worse than Gaddafi's crimes ever were. The remnants of conflict during this post-apartheid period resulted in still some limited violence and human rights abuses from all sides but no section of society escaped exposure or punishment.

    Libya is suffering under a system of constant outside international interference in a Libyan decision about their own future. Self-reflection is an important part of reconciliation and it is thought that if the Gaddafis assistance in such an effort will help in a "cleansing" to build a new Libyan future, this would be a good thing. Of course, Libya is not South Africa, and the issues completely different, yet it is the process of reconciliation and forgiveness itself which has its primordial roots in today's modern Libyan tribes.

    Russia involvement with Egypt is essential. Also African countries must unite to help Libya through this process, not US's AFRICOM, UN or even the EU. The only other country that appears to be a true friend to Libya is the UAE who also have the advantage of being anti-Muslim Brotherhood, a dangerous sect that has influence in the West of Libya.

    If body language is anything to go by, this picture (of Mohamed bin Zayed, the powerful Crown Prince of the UAE with Haftar) taken last week in Abu Dhabi speaks volumes!


    bigger

    Let us hope finally for a peaceful conclusion to the tragedy that has been Libya for these past six years.

    Thomas Bargatzky | Apr 19, 2017 5:38:53 AM | 2
    AFRICOM headquarters are in Stuttgart, because Gaddafi was adamantly against its location on Africa's soil. One of the reasons for NATO's war against Libya and the killing of Gaddafi.
    Jeff | Apr 19, 2017 5:40:38 AM | 3
    If only we could get a similar update for Yemen, where only continued famine and bombing seem on the agenda.
    And Somalia is such a black hole that not even its despair and deaths reach the MSM or social networks.
    guidoamm | Apr 19, 2017 7:02:37 AM | 4
    Only tangentially relevant to this post, but Libya is a good example of the power we have allowed our politicians to confer to central banks.

    Few will remember that whilst the war in Libya was raging, somehow, some faction found it both relevant and a priority to announce the creation of the central bank of Libya. This piece of news was reported far and wide by the international press too.

    jfl | Apr 19, 2017 7:49:10 AM | 5
    i hope the libyans can rally round aisha gaddafi and put their country back together. they need to keep the us/eu out of the country. sue for damages - at least, and bigtime - in international court if they are unable to prosecute the war criminals themselves. show the iraqis and the syrians and the afghans and the ukrainians and everyone else how war criminals must be treated.
    Alieu | Apr 19, 2017 7:51:35 AM | 6
    Libya deserves far more attention than it gets. The war is still going on there but receives no attention because the deaths there are not politically useful anymore. That's why after 2011 all the media coverage shifted to Syria. If the Israel/Nato alliance had their way, Syria would now be in the same situation Libya is - a failed state. This is what they mean when they refer to "bringing democracy" to the Middle East.

    Only Russia's intervention in August 2013 prevented that, which explains why they decided to punish Russia by organising the "regime change" in Ukraine and spreading the chaos to Russia's doorstep. Ukraine is now also a failed state with two different governments embroiled in a civil war. Funny how that always seems to be the result of the Israel/Nato alliance bringing "freedom and democracy" to countries - it's almost as if that was their plan all along...

    Mina | Apr 19, 2017 8:05:48 AM | 7
    The colonial language used by the EU and others is precisely what fuels people to join Djihadists movements. Is it on purpose?
    Eugene | Apr 19, 2017 8:52:29 AM | 8
    Perhaps Libya will be brought together again, the world can hope. Will that old saying: "what goes around, comes around" ring true on this? Colonialism is alive still, but there are those who just don't see the light. One fact is certain, the "war on terror" birthing after 9-11, if anything, created the mother of all C-F's to date. One might get the impression that the end game is to destroy the U.S./western ways?
    Curtis | Apr 19, 2017 9:53:15 AM | 9
    Alieu 6

    We don't hear much of US (Hillary, Obama, etc) "successes" in Libya from the US MSM. It's shameful that the UN tries to force govt from above (with outsiders) on these people like the US does in places like Iraq. What happened to the other two govts in Tripoli and Tobruk? I doubt any govt in the east will go along due to extremist influences and greed to dominate oil in that area. I wish Gaddhafis all the luck and success in fixing the wrong done to them and bringing this to the world. It's bad enough the US and especially western media participation in the death, destruction, pain, and suffering.

    Curtis | Apr 19, 2017 9:56:08 AM | 10
    Re: the photo
    Haftar had better hope Zayed's left hand does not contain a knife. The emirates and saudis are not known to be trustworthy fans of others in the ME neighborhood who do not conform.
    Greenbean950 | Apr 19, 2017 10:20:02 AM | 11
    AFRICOM is in Stuttgart because it was created out of the staff from US EUCOM (European Command). At first, the staff sections did both areas of operations (Europe & Africa). Once additional staff officers and NCOs were sent to EUCOM, AFRICOM was separated from EUCOM, but stayed in Stuttgart. AFRICOM was moved to another base in Stuttgart, Kelly Barracks. EUCOM is on Patch Barracks - a few miles away. The German government was quite displeased at the addition of a major US headquarters in their country, but had little power or courage to do anything except grumble. The US DoD wanted to put AFRICOM in Africa, but there were no countries willing to accept it that were in any way safe for families. When no options in Africa were viable, the US simply created the new headquarters in Stuttgart.

    I am a retired US Army officer that was assigned to US EUCOM from 2008-2009.

    jawbone | Apr 19, 2017 10:26:49 AM | 12
    How to understand the MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media) and its love of lies.

    The MCM will report factual truths, but usually buried somewhere in a long article, bracketed by the acceptable lies. Or, if the inconvenient truths do get an article of their own, those facts are subsequently ignored by the MCM with the lies being repeated over and over.

    And, then, even the lies become the conventional wisdom.

    Such as has happened with the lies about the August 2013 chemical attack in Syria. The MCM did note that the proof was not there to accuse the Syrian government, BUT it was buried and ignored and now, in 2017, it is accepted history that the Assad government did attack their own supporters with sarin.

    It's enough to make one never trust anything the MCM puts out.

    Which is probably the whole point.

    canuck | Apr 19, 2017 11:12:43 AM | 13
    Again b is mistakenly describing the attack on Libya as a civil war. A civil war is a war between different factions of a country; the war against Libya was carried out al most entirely external forces, by NATO and mercenaries. This constant reference to the attack on Libya, and indeed the attack on Syria, as civil wars, is the language of propaganda.

    Massive bombing by NATO led to the death and wounding of at least many tens of thousands of Libyans, and the destruction of much infrastructure, followed by hell on earth via head choppers and mass murdering and raping mercenaries.

    Libya in 2010 was leading the UN human development index for Africa, with a high standard of living, high literacy rate, largely happy and healthy people, with free education and health care, and generous financial presents for marriage and birth, and wonderful development projects. Blacks were doing well there. When Gaddafi took over, Libya was a colonized, wretchedly poor basket case.

    Libya had built up large gold reserves on the basis of its high quality oil and was attempting to implement a pan African alternative to the parasitic and criminal western banking system and its debt enslavement of much of Africa.

    Lurid lies were used to 'justify' a 'no fly zone' via the UNSC and this was then used to commit the ultimate crime according to Nuremberg trials, a war of aggression, by NATO and their useful mercenary monsters.

    The Stephen Miller Band | Apr 19, 2017 11:24:58 AM | 14
    What's interesting is the lack of interest in JASTA. I brought it up yesterday and there was nothing but silence. Hmmmm. One would think it would be ripe for critical dissection at this venue considering the revelatory implications that could possibly emanate from it. Unless. That's it. I think it's the unless. I'll let you guess what the unless is. Let me just say, it's what I've always known to be true.

    Where do Trump & Sessions stand on JASTA? If Trump truly is a patriot and believes his jingoistic "America First" rhetoric, then he has to support the integrity of this legislation and direct his DOJ and all the alphabet agencies to comply and let the chips fall where they may and act accordingly to the facts. Or he can be a Saudi chump and continue to bomb Yemen and Syria for the Saudi pricks.

    Needless to say, this is getting hardly any coverage in the press. Gee, I wonder why? But I expected different at this venue. Not really.

    9/11 Families File Complaint with Department of Justice

    On March 29, 2016, the 9/11 Families & Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism organization filed a letter with the Department of Justice to request the DOJ commence an immediate national security investigation into potential widespread criminal violations of the Foreign Regisration Act ("FARA"), by foreign agents retained to conduct what we view as an unprecedented foreign influence campaign on behalf of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    The apparent goal of the massive Saudi-funded foreign agent offensive is to delude Congress into passing unprincipled and unwarranted amendments to the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrrorism Act ("JASTA").

    In service of this dangerous effort to influence Congress into passing legislative text promoted by a foreign power, the Kingdom and its foreign agents have targeted U.S. veterans nationwide through a campaign that deeply mischaracterizes JASTA, and even more importantly has been conducted in ways that conceal the fact that the influence and propaganda onslaught has been and continues to be orchestrated and financed by the Saudi government and foreign agents working on its behalf. Read full complaint here: http://passjasta.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/FARA-COMPLAINT-20170329.pdf

    james | Apr 19, 2017 11:57:08 AM | 17
    thanks richard for these periodic updates..

    i 2nd @5 jfls comments and hope they can move forward with the children of gaddaffi in forming a gov't and coalition.

    @7 mina.. i think you have the answer - yes.. every time the usa state dept mention libya it is in the context of everyone working with the gna.. i guess that will give the required structure for continued abuse from the west - bend over and take this..

    Curtis | Apr 19, 2017 12:05:54 PM | 18
    Among the west's successes in Libya is the return of slavery. That's not in the US MSM news even though it has made it to DW/Guardian.
    Mike Maloney | Apr 19, 2017 12:11:21 PM | 19
    Libya is hard to read. France, Russia, Egypt, and UAE are supposed to be supporting Haftar. Then France issues a statement yesterday supporting Serraj and the GNA in the wake of Haftar's Libyan National Army attack on Tamenhant air base in the south. Italian troops were reported to be stationed at Tamenhant working with the pro-GNA militias there.
    AtaBrit | Apr 19, 2017 2:34:51 PM | 20
    Fascinating article.
    Inspiring in that the T&R process allows the Libyans to take their future into their own hands - A fundemental right!
    But that the Gadaffis might actually be the key to the future of Libya is a resoundingly damning indictment of the West's actions!
    It also occurs to me how very imbalanced is the media coverage of the ME conflicts.
    Thanks, b, for providing the forum for such writing. And look forward to more articles, Richard.

    ProPeace | Apr 19, 2017 6:54:49 PM | 21

    Good news! Yemenis shoot down Saudi Black Hawk, at least 12 Saudi troops killed
    smuks | Apr 19, 2017 7:07:54 PM | 22
    Looks like they got rid of ISIS for good, even if some of its former fighters are probably still in the country. Good. Without major external assistance (as in 'massive air strikes and special forces'), no side is strong enough to conquer the entire country. This being obvious, there should be a good chance that they'll come to some sort of national unity agreement.

    Which is pretty much what I predicted in an article in early 2016.

    telescope | Apr 19, 2017 8:17:58 PM | 24
    Why would anyone even care about what the West thinks or wants? Clearly, it's a troubled, fast-declining polity that is desperately trying to cling to the glory days that are long gone, and will never return. It'll be getting weaker with every passing year.

    As soon as Trump becomes serious about tackling the US trade deficit, the globalization will stop and then kick into ferocious reverse, as the whole thing is sustained solely by the US' willingness to endure the unrelenting economic punishment for purely ideological reasons. Globalization in its present form is devastating America's core, and its patience is nearly exhausted. Give it a year, or two at the most, then lashing out begins.

    Once it's over, everything that globalization had birthed - the EU, the Singapores and Dubais of the world, the Israel - the end of globalization will bring to an inevitable denouement.

    Libya will be taken over by a neighboring country that is becoming hideously overpopulated and is in a dire need of additional living space and inexpensive energy. Egypt simply has no other options, other than a national implosion.

    jfl | Apr 19, 2017 9:18:47 PM | 25
    @24 telescope, '... the whole thing is sustained solely by the US' willingness to endure the unrelenting economic punishment for purely ideological reasons ...'

    the whole thing is sustained by the globalized 1%'s willingness to inflict unrelenting economic punishment purely for their own economic 'well-being' ... 'profit', at any rate. they've made a joke of money as 'a store of value' and - i agree - 'Globalization in its present form is devastating America's (all the west's) core, and its patience is nearly exhausted. Give it a year, or two at the most, then lashing out begins.'

    as for egypt - overpopulated - taking over libya - 'underpopulated' ... they'll certainly have to do that without russia's help ... think of the precedent that would set vis-à-vis russia-china! or do you envision a takeover of russia by china as being in the cards ... that china, too, simply has no other options, other than a national implosion.

    ProPeace | Apr 19, 2017 9:32:45 PM | 26
    Any news on the Great Man Made River?
    Pft | Apr 20, 2017 12:06:57 AM | 27
    Libya has a central bank now and no longer exports as much oil to China as it once did. The people no longer get free health care and education. Why does anyone believe that the powers that be care much about anything else.
    jfl | Apr 20, 2017 12:27:05 AM | 28
    @26 pp

    no news. i have these links if anyone is unfamiliar ...

    Libya's "Water Wars" and Gaddafi's Great Man-Made River Project
    War Crime: NATO Deliberately Destroyed Libya's Water Infrastructure

    Mina | Apr 20, 2017 2:11:57 AM | 29
    #27: they DO care a lot. you see the positive results of their military campaign, when people have none of these. like in Egypt, KSA, Jordan and all the major allies.

    As of today, 40 mass graves have been discovered in Kassai (Congo Kinshasa=DRC) and 2 UN inspectors sent to enquire there were killed ten days ago. But who cares?

    Mina | Apr 20, 2017 2:18:23 AM | 30
    Mike, in Libya France has had a hand in two camps: with Haftar when in relation with some military deals with the Gulf but from the start, when it comes to their MB business plan, with the Benghazi militias
    http://international.minbarlibya.com/2016/11/06/french-emirati-airbase-in-libya-supporting-khalifa-haftar-operations/
    http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2016/07/21/u-n-sanctioned-libyan-military-helicopter-containing-french-troops-crashes-in-libya/
    claudio | Apr 20, 2017 2:50:12 PM | 31
    b, the name of the italian city is LUCCA
    Curtis | Apr 20, 2017 2:53:09 PM | 32
    Mina 30
    I believe the initial oil deals the NTC signed were with France. But according to this, Qatar played a part, too.

    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2011/aug/25/libya-oil-deals-transparent-scrutiny

    In that article, it's funny to think of the NTC wanting to bring back foreign oil workers after how they treated them especially the blacks from neighboring countries. Foreigners like that couple who sold Libya cleaning products had to face al Qaeda so they might not be eager to return. But that was 2011. The current status sounds mixed.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/15/libya-national-army-oil-ports-sidra-ras-lanuf-russia-us

    In one of the books I read, there was a Libyan plan with the Chinese (and Russians?) to build a railway connecting Tripoli, Sirte, and Tobruk. But that ended with Gaddhafi gone.

    Sabotage | Apr 20, 2017 3:03:51 PM | 33
    It seems WWIII has just started. Sorry boys, no Pax Germana for you. Again.
    #Crymeariver.
    Tudaloo!

    [Apr 20, 2017] Bill Binney explodes the Russia witchhunt

    Mar 04, 2017 | www.youtube.com

    He also exposes the NSA penchant for "swindles", such as preventing the plugging of holes in software around the world, to preserve their spying access.

    Frank Oak 3 weeks ago Big Mike's boat 200 tons coke bust n Hussien on the run as cosmic Camelots​ crimes going viral

    Marija Djuric 3 weeks ago Bill Binney should be head of the NSA

    Nancy M 3 weeks ago The Clinton campaign to divert attention to Russia instead of her myriad of crimes that were revealed during the election must be stopped and the alt media needs to start talking about her and Obama's crimes again and demand justice...control the dialogue

    John 3 weeks ago It's almost comical to hear that they lie to each other. No wonder why these retards in the mid-east and every other third world country gets the better of us.

    [Apr 19, 2017] Assessing Russias Military Strength

    Notable quotes:
    "... In layman's lingo, the United States lacks geographic, historic, cultural, economic and technological pressures to develop and have a coherent defensive military doctrine and weapons which would help to implement it. As Michael Lind writes: ..."
    "... At this point, the only locality where the US can hope to "defeat" Russia is in Syria, to reassert, even if for a little while longer, itself as "greatest military in history". But even there the window of opportunities is closing fast since the Russian conventional response in Europe would be devastating. ..."
    "... As Colonel Pat Lang's blog noted : "If Russia decides to call our bluff and escalate things Trump will likely preside over a public humiliation that will explode America's military delusions of grandeur". ..."
    "... US Naval Institute Proceedings ..."
    "... [AKA "SmoothieX12"] ..."
    "... [AKA "SmoothieX12"] ..."
    "... [AKA "SmoothieX12"] ..."
    "... [AKA "SmoothieX12"] ..."
    "... [AKA "SmoothieX12"] ..."
    "... [AKA "SmoothieX12"] ..."
    "... [AKA "SmoothieX12"] ..."
    "... [AKA "SmoothieX12"] ..."
    Apr 19, 2017 | www.unz.com
    There is a popular point of view in some of Russia's political circles, especially among those who profess monarchist views and cling to a famous meme of 1913 Tsarist Russia development statistics, that WW I was started by Germany to forestall Russia's industrial development which would inevitably challenge Germany's plans on domination of Europe. A somewhat similar argument could be made for the WW II, but, in general, preventive wars are nothing new in human history. While "preventive" argument may or may not be a valid one regarding WW I, there is no doubt that it could be used, among others, when explaining the origins of a war.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    United States military in future conflicts will have to deal, in case of conventional conflict against near-peer, let alone peer, with adversary who will have C4ISR capability either approaching that or on par with that of the US. This adversary will have the ability to counter US military decision cycles (OODA loop) with equal frequency and will be able to produce better tactical, operational and strategic decisions. US real and perceived advantage in electronic means of warfare (EW) will be greatly reduced or completely suppressed by present and future EW means of adversary thus forcing US forces fight under the conditions of partial or complete electronic blindness and with partially or completely suppressed communications and computer networks. US will encounter combat technologies not only on par but often better designed and used , from armor to artillery, to hyper-sonic anti-shipping missiles, than US military ever encountered. Modern air-forces and complex advanced air defense systems will make the main pillar of US military power-its Air Force-much less effective. Last but not least, today the US military will have to deal with a grim reality of its staging areas, rear supply facilities, lines of communications being the target of massive salvos of long-range high subsonic, supersonic and hyper-sonic missiles . The US military has never encountered such paradigm in its history. Moreover, already today, US lower 48 are not immune to a conventional massive missile strike.

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

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

    At this point, the only locality where the US can hope to "defeat" Russia is in Syria, to reassert, even if for a little while longer, itself as "greatest military in history". But even there the window of opportunities is closing fast since the Russian conventional response in Europe would be devastating.

    As Colonel Pat Lang's blog noted : "If Russia decides to call our bluff and escalate things Trump will likely preside over a public humiliation that will explode America's military delusions of grandeur".

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

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

    Anonymous , April 17, 2017 at 5:31 am GMT

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

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

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

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

    Intelligent Dasein , • Website April 17, 2017 at 5:40 am GMT
    • 400 Words I've come to the conclusion that it is the probable consensus among America's Deep State elites, as exemplified by the truly evil Hillary Clinton, that an all-out war with Russia which totally devastates Russia but leaves America just barely standing, would, notwithstanding the rivers of blood and the chaos unleashed, be an acceptable outcome as long as the blasted rump of America, namely the Deep State itself, gets to subsequently enthrone itself as the unchallenged world hegemon. The Deep State views the entirety of America's economic and military might, as well as the lives of its citizens, as merely a means to this end.

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

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

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

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

    • Agree: Amanda , bluedog , Seamus Padraig •
    anon , April 17, 2017 at 5:57 am GMT
    • 100 Words "The US lacks a coherent defensive military doctrine"..

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

    • Agree: Randal •
    Art , April 17, 2017 at 7:30 am GMT
    • 100 Words Russia said it was going to bolster Syria's air defenses.

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

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

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

    Peace - Art

    animalogic , April 17, 2017 at 7:48 am GMT
    • 100 Words The US – with its NATO dogs contributing their yaps – has driven Russia & China into an economic & strategic partnership. Such a foreign policy must rate in the top ten of historical blunders. Essentially they have given a very helpful shove towards Eurasian unity - not yet, but forseeable, perhaps probable.
    Russia & China's continuing military advances are just one side of a coin: economic integration & advance is the other.
    If or when the US loses this struggle it need look no futher than classic Greek tragedy for the first causes of its decline: HUBRIS. Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    Z-man , April 17, 2017 at 9:27 am GMT
    Hey 'Neocon Cabal' is my phrase!!!!! (wink)
    The S400 is a great example of Russian simplicity that scares the Americans and the Jews to death. I hope the Iranians get as many of those SAM's as they need to defend against the Zionist threat! •
    mp , April 17, 2017 at 9:52 am GMT
    • 100 Words It is one thing to let a woman "man" a game console in order to fire a missile, or pilot a killer drone, hundreds (or even thousands) of miles away from the action. But it's another when "boots" hit the ground. I wonder how effective our Americanized, feminized, transgendered, gay friendly, diversified Army and Navy will be when they actually have to storm a beach, somewhere, against a real army–and not some third world outpost. •
    Verymuchalive , April 17, 2017 at 9:57 am GMT
    • 200 Words This is a situation that should never have permitted to arise. The US Federal Deficit is approaching $20 trillion, 2016′s Trade Deficit is $0.5 trillion and the Accumulated Trade Deficit over the last 30 years about $10 trillion. The US is to all intents bankrupt, and bankrupt states quickly lose their empires.
    Of course, America's creditors – China, Japan etc – have rigged the financial sector so that America is still able to afford their goods. Herein, lies the solution. The US dollar is a fiat currency and will collapse sooner or later. It is in Russia and China's interests that they precipitate such a collapse ASAP, even if they themselves suffer negative economic consequences.
    Faced with an imploding economy, and a choice between minimum social welfare measures and a grotesquely expansive military, there can only be one outcome for America. The Neocons will be defanged.
    This form of economic warfare has got to be a lot safer and more effective in achieving its aims than actual warfare. I sincerely hope that the Russians and Chinese have some such plan formulated.
    The era of military confrontation should have been over with the end of the Soviet Union. The Neocons have stolen the Peace, and helped themselves to the Peace Dividend. Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    reiner Tor , • Website April 17, 2017 at 9:58 am GMT
    I think that while it's a grave mistake for Americans to underestimate Russians, it's also a grave mistake for Russians to underestimate Americans.

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

    LondonBob , April 17, 2017 at 10:09 am GMT
    • 100 Words Trump's isolationism and embrace of realpolitik is just a recognition of realities, interestingly this is a viewpoint shared in many European capitals, despite their fulminating over Trump. If Trump isn't co-opted he deserves congratulations for stymieing the traditional imperial overstretch, that is unless recent events in Syria and the Ukraine, perhaps analogous to the Boer War, don't already represent the high points of US power before inevitable decline. Avoiding a WWI type general conflagration will be achievement enough.

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

    Anatoly Karlin , • Website April 17, 2017 at 10:28 am GMT
    • 400 WordsNEW! Excellent article – and congratulations on your first article here.

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

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

    More skeptical about:

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

    NoseytheDuke, April 17, 2017 at 11:06 am GMT
    Having read many, many of SmoothieX12′s knowledgable comments and now this article, I would imagine that his many critics have enough egg on their faces to have their eggs any way they want them, except sunny side up of course.

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

    AP , April 17, 2017 at 12:06 pm GMT
    @Anonymous Russia spent almost 5.4% of GDP on military spending. The US last year spent 3.3% and with Trump's proposed increase this number will increase by a few decimal points.

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

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

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

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

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

    Randal , April 17, 2017 at 12:22 pm GMT
    @anon "The US lacks a coherent defensive military doctrine"..

    Which is hardly surprising since its only two bordering countries are very weak and zero military threat. It is also moated by two huge oceans. The USA could spend virtually nothing on its military and (with a sound immigration policy and secure borders) be perfectly safe. But the American political establishment are not content with this. They seek hegemony. It all started with Woodrow Wilson who refused to mind his business and stay out of war in 1917. I agreed with the main thrust of your comment, but I would just note that I don't agree with the last sentence:

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

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

    It's just the nature of the beast.

    Lewl42, April 17, 2017 at 12:31 pm GMT
    @Anonymous Russia spent almost 5.4% of GDP on military spending. The US last year spent 3.3% and with Trump's proposed increase this number will increase by a few decimal points.

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

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

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures Russia is a middle income country while the US is a rich country, in the top 10 of GDP per capita.

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

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

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

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

    reiner Tor, Website April 17, 2017 at 12:33 pm GMT
    @mp It is one thing to let a woman "man" a game console in order to fire a missile, or pilot a killer drone, hundreds (or even thousands) of miles away from the action. But it's another when "boots" hit the ground. I wonder how effective our Americanized, feminized, transgendered, gay friendly, diversified Army and Navy will be when they actually have to storm a beach, somewhere, against a real army--and not some third world outpost. Don't worry, when the going gets tough, suddenly the US military will only send straight white men to die for LGBT and black "equality". •
    alexander, April 17, 2017 at 12:36 pm GMT
    Thank you Mr Martyanov, for a highly informative article.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Erebus, April 17, 2017 at 12:39 pm GMT
    Yes, thank you for an excellent summation of the situation.

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

    Unlike Dasein, I have no doubt that any dreams of Global Hegemony will come crashing to ground if any sort of a war breaks out. Putin has made it perfectly plain. Russia will never allow itself to be invaded again. That means something, and what it means is that Russia will take the fight to the enemy when it sees its red lines crossed.

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

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

    reiner Tor, Website April 17, 2017 at 12:42 pm GMT
    @Anatoly Karlin Excellent article - and congratulations on your first article here.

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

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

    More skeptical about:

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

    * "The same argumentation goes for Russia's microelectronics industry ... with the exception of US and China, and then on bulk, not quality, only." Russia is a consistent 5-10 years behind in semiconductor process technology (only recently began to produce 28nm, whereas state of the art is now 10nm).

    * It's lagging in the most "futuristic" aspects. It had a huge lag in drones, though it has made that up somewhat with purchases from Israel. Railguns, and associated naval EM systems. In robotics, Boston Dynamics has far more impressive exponents than anything Russia has publicly demonstrated. To be sure this is all pretty irrelevant right now and most likely in 10 years, but not in 20-30 years time.

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

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

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

    AP, April 17, 2017 at 12:50 pm GMT
    @Anatoly Karlin Excellent article - and congratulations on your first article here.

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

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

    More skeptical about:

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

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

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

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

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

    iffen, April 17, 2017 at 1:07 pm GMT
    This is an interesting and informative article.

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

    Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] , • Website April 17, 2017 at 1:14 pm GMT

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

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

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

    More skeptical about:

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

    Excellent article – and congratulations on your first article here.

    Thank you.

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

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

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

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

    Railguns, and associated naval EM systems

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

    reiner Tor,Website April 17, 2017 at 1:18 pm GMT
    @AP I generally agree both with Andrei's article and with your responses. But -
    You can't say much about US (or Israeli) military effectiveness on the basis of their performance in fighting Arabs
    Or Russian, on the basis of performance in fighting Georgians or Arabs in Syria. Neither side has really been tested, but a real test would reflect some sort of disaster. US would have a real test in North Korea or Iran, Russia in a war against Turkey.
    "but Germany cannot design and build from scratch a state of the art fighter jet, Russia can" – Russia spends 5% of its GDP on the military (esp. once adjusted for hidden spending), Germany just a bit more than 1%. If Germany was to effectively quadruple its real military spending, I have no doubt that the world's second most complex economy would be up to the task. I am sure it will also be able to build world-class nuclear subs (it already has excellent AIP ones) and a global positioning system with that kind of investment
    But how long would it take? I suspect, at least two decades.

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

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

    Avery, April 17, 2017 at 1:24 pm GMT
    @reiner Tor Don't worry, when the going gets tough, suddenly the US military will only send straight white men to die for LGBT and black "equality". { suddenly the US military will only send straight white men to die .}

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

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

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

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

    Carlton Meyer, • Website April 17, 2017 at 1:28 pm GMT
    @Anonymous Russia spent almost 5.4% of GDP on military spending. The US last year spent 3.3% and with Trump's proposed increase this number will increase by a few decimal points.

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

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

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

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

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

    Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] , • Website April 17, 2017 at 1:45 pm GMT
    @Z-man Hey 'Neocon Cabal' is my phrase!!!!! (wink)
    The S400 is a great example of Russian simplicity that scares the Americans and the Jews to death. I hope the Iranians get as many of those SAM's as they need to defend against the Zionist threat!

    The S400 is a great example of Russian simplicity

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

    Randal , April 17, 2017 at 1:48 pm GMT
    An excellent and very useful piece, thanks, even if I don't agree with all of it. Certainly many good and important points are made. I would share most of Anatoly Karlin's points above, both in terms of points of agreement and disagreement.

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

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

    Share of world gdp, ppp:

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

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

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

    Source IMF per economywatch.com

    Population (2017):

    China: 1,388,232,693

    US: 326,474,013

    Russia: 143,375,006

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

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

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

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

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

    mushroom, April 17, 2017 at 2:02 pm GMT
    When folks discuss Russia's capabilities they often forget what's blatantly obvious – which is what's not obvious, i.e. what the bear has created and is in it's hidden caves. What happened to that U.S. destroyer in the Black Sea was just a teasing mini-harbinger of this reality!

    So is the genius to create a cavity to eavesdrop, &c If you want to enjoy happy days don't mess with the bear!

    5371, April 17, 2017 at 2:42 pm GMT
    @Anonymous Russia spent almost 5.4% of GDP on military spending. The US last year spent 3.3% and with Trump's proposed increase this number will increase by a few decimal points.

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

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

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures Stupid beyond belief. Countries can't go broke doing something, if they control the natural and human resources they need to accomplish it. In addition, you apparently did not read Smoothie's explanation of why just comparing the sums spent is silly. Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

    anon , April 17, 2017 at 2:45 pm GMT
    @Randal I agreed with the main thrust of your comment, but I would just note that I don't agree with the last sentence:

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

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

    It's just the nature of the beast. Yes but up until 1898 – the war against Spain – the US actually got something out of its wars. Wars with countries BEYOND the Americas have gained nothing for America. Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

    5371 , April 17, 2017 at 2:45 pm GMT
    @reiner Tor

    US would have a real test in North Korea or Iran, Russia in a war against Turkey.
    I think Turkey's military is stronger than either Iran's or North Korea's, so it would be a tougher test for Russia to fight Turkey than for the US to fight North Korea or Iran. Turkey's military has a decent reputation, but I'm not sure that the reputation corresponds with reality any longer. •
    Agent76 , April 17, 2017 at 2:46 pm GMT
    • 100 Words March 19, 2017 Putin Prepares For Invasion of Europe With Massive Cuts to Military Spending

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

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

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

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

    Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    ANOSPH , April 17, 2017 at 2:47 pm GMT
    @Andrei Martyanov

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

    Re: the S400, for those interested, TASS developed an excellent and visually appealing overview on the system in Russian:

    Just keep scrolling down.

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    anon , April 17, 2017 at 2:51 pm GMT
    @reiner Tor

    US would have a real test in North Korea or Iran, Russia in a war against Turkey.
    I think Turkey's military is stronger than either Iran's or North Korea's, so it would be a tougher test for Russia to fight Turkey than for the US to fight North Korea or Iran. The real point is that Russia and Turkey are almost neighbors while N.K. is about 8,000 miles from the US. In other words the US could ignore Korea. Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    5371 , April 17, 2017 at 2:55 pm GMT
    • 100 Words @reiner Tor

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

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

    Neither France nor Germany could have stayed out once Russia was in, but then both of them had given their respective allies every encouragement to bring matters to a head. The French had a great increase in self-confidence just in the last two or three years. You are right that Serbia didn't even decide to reject the ultimatum until they heard Russia was already going ahead with pre-mobilisation. Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    anon , April 17, 2017 at 2:56 pm GMT
    @reiner Tor Don't worry, when the going gets tough, suddenly the US military will only send straight white men to die for LGBT and black "equality". Hopefully at least some of those straight white males will know better. Hopefully.

    Then again people often act contrary to their best interests.

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Hunsdon , April 17, 2017 at 2:56 pm GMT
    Thank you, sir. Great article. Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] , • Website April 17, 2017 at 3:02 pm GMT
    • 300 WordsNEW! @Randal An excellent and very useful piece, thanks, even if I don't agree with all of it. Certainly many good and important points are made. I would share most of Anatoly Karlin's points above, both in terms of points of agreement and disagreement.

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

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

    Share of world gdp, ppp:

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

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


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

    Source IMF per economywatch.com

    Population (2017):

    China: 1,388,232,693

    US: 326,474,013

    Russia: 143,375,006

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    anon , April 17, 2017 at 3:10 pm GMT
    • 200 Words @reiner Tor

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

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

    That is a point I have often tried to make. Had the Tsar just told the Serbs flat out, "You guys are on your own. Comply. Or fight the Central Powers by yourself. We are out of it.",' there would never have been a 'Great' war (WW1). At most the 'war' would have been a minor brawl between Serbia and Austria-Hungary. History would have recorded it as just another Balkan skirmish. It would have been virtually forgotten today. This was the initial assumption of the Kaiser when he issued his 'blank check' of support. The Tsar would have saved millions of lives, including his own and his family too. Just nine years earlier the Tsar had fought and lost a disastrous war with Japan. That defeat led to a revolution that came within a hair of deposing him. He SHOULD have learned his lesson and avoided any future conflict like the plague. Tsar Nicolas was an incredibly stupid man. He deserves far more vilification then the Kaiser does. •
    TG , April 17, 2017 at 3:10 pm GMT
    • 300 Words An interesting article. A few random thoughts.

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

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

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

    Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    Anonymouse , April 17, 2017 at 3:12 pm GMT
    @Art Russia said it was going to bolster Syria's air defenses.

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

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

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

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

    Vendetta , April 17, 2017 at 3:16 pm GMT
    • 200 Words @reiner Tor

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

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

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

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

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

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    5371 , April 17, 2017 at 3:18 pm GMT
    • 100 Words @Anatoly Karlin Excellent article - and congratulations on your first article here.

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

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

    More skeptical about:

    * " but Germany cannot design and build from scratch a state of the art fighter jet, Russia can " - Russia spends 5% of its GDP on the military (esp. once adjusted for hidden spending), Germany just a bit more than 1%. If Germany was to effectively quadruple its real military spending, I have no doubt that the world's second most complex economy would be up to the task. I am sure it will also be able to build world-class nuclear subs (it already has excellent AIP ones) and a global positioning system with that kind of investment.
    * "The same argumentation goes for Russia's microelectronics industry ... with the exception of US and China, and then on bulk, not quality, only." Russia is a consistent 5-10 years behind in semiconductor process technology (only recently began to produce 28nm, whereas state of the art is now 10nm).
    * It's lagging in the most "futuristic" aspects. It had a huge lag in drones, though it has made that up somewhat with purchases from Israel. Railguns, and associated naval EM systems. In robotics, Boston Dynamics has far more impressive exponents than anything Russia has publicly demonstrated. To be sure this is all pretty irrelevant right now and most likely in 10 years, but not in 20-30 years time. WW1, unlike Barbarossa, didn't start with a German attack on Russia, although in each case the argument was made by some (stronger in retrospective for 1941 than 1914) that Russia would be too strong to take on in a couple of years. The difference is that a number of factors – the ideological conflict, the success of "blitzkrieg", the weak Soviet performance at the start of the Finnish war – created an illusory hope of easy victory for the Germans along with the fear of later defeat. That tipped the balance in favour of attack.
    As I understand it, the claimed regular progress to smaller and smaller chip feature sizes has for some time been a matter of marketing, not reality. Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

    DannyMarcus , April 17, 2017 at 3:19 pm GMT
    • 200 Words @Intelligent Dasein I've come to the conclusion that it is the probable consensus among America's Deep State elites, as exemplified by the truly evil Hillary Clinton, that an all-out war with Russia which totally devastates Russia but leaves America just barely standing, would, notwithstanding the rivers of blood and the chaos unleashed, be an acceptable outcome as long as the blasted rump of America, namely the Deep State itself, gets to subsequently enthrone itself as the unchallenged world hegemon. The Deep State views the entirety of America's economic and military might, as well as the lives of its citizens, as merely a means to this end.

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

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

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

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

    There is a very important and perhaps most decisive aspect of possible US war with Russia or China, which is completely missing in Andrei Martyanov piece and the related comments.
    Don't you think European NATO countries, as well as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan will loudly resist, when their very well-being and existences is utterly jeopardized by American ambitions for hegemony well beyond its shores?
    I imagine and hope that well before a shooting war breaks out with Russia or China, US' present subservient allies will show enough courage to put the brakes on American designs long before any future global wars involving their vital interest is invoked.
    The South Koreans, over 10 million of whom are living in Seoul, are most likely right now pressing the Trump Administration hard to avoid any foolhardy military adventures in North Korea.
    The Europeans, Japanese, South Koreans and the Taiwanese are the best hope of stopping American adventurism because in the final analysis they will refuse to be the sheep marching willingly to the slaughterhouse of a WWIII. •
    Randal , April 17, 2017 at 3:25 pm GMT
    • 200 Words @AP I generally agree both with Andrei's article and with your responses. But -

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    gwynedd1 , April 17, 2017 at 3:30 pm GMT
    The US is not worried about Russia. They were worried about the EU and Russia with economic links to China. Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    Vendetta , April 17, 2017 at 3:34 pm GMT
    • 200 Words @5371 Turkey's military has a decent reputation, but I'm not sure that the reputation corresponds with reality any longer. Their recent mishaps in Syria certainly cast some doubts on their formidable reputation. However I would hesitate to go so far as to say that Turkey has become a paper tiger.

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

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

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

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

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Anon , April 17, 2017 at 3:43 pm GMT
    http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/this-cold-war-is-even-crazier-than-the-last/19689#.WPTiK9QrK4Q Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    Astuteobservor II , April 17, 2017 at 3:45 pm GMT
    excellent first article on unz. looking forward to more. Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    inertial , April 17, 2017 at 3:54 pm GMT
    • 100 Words A good informative article. Unfortunately it suffers from the typical poor understanding of the economic and financial realities.

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

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

    • Agree: Kiza •
    Ondrej , April 17, 2017 at 4:10 pm GMT
    • 100 Words

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

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

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

    reiner Tor , • Website April 17, 2017 at 4:55 pm GMT
    @Ondrej

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

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

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

    When was it?

    Ondrej , April 17, 2017 at 5:01 pm GMT
    • 100 Words @inertial A good informative article. Unfortunately it suffers from the typical poor understanding of the economic and financial realities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Ondrej , April 17, 2017 at 5:28 pm GMT
    @reiner Tor

    Mannerheim (Finish Commander in Chief) was stressing how fast Soviet Army learned from their experience, trying to counter claim H. Göring who claimed Winter War as biggest military bluf in history.
    When was it? according to book 4. March 1943

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

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    bluedog , April 17, 2017 at 5:36 pm GMT
    @Andrei Martyanov

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

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

    Kiza , April 17, 2017 at 6:18 pm GMT
    • 600 Words Congratulations on the article Andrei. As another commenter said – I do not agree with everything in the article, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] , • Website April 17, 2017 at 6:19 pm GMT
    • 300 WordsNEW! @inertial A good informative article. Unfortunately it suffers from the typical poor understanding of the economic and financial realities.

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

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

    Hopefully it will grow to its proper dimensions.

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

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

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

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

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

    Jonathan Revusky , • Website April 17, 2017 at 6:40 pm GMT
    • 200 Words I think this is a good article. I say "I think so" because the truth of the matter is that I lack the detailed domain knowledge to be able to evaluate it very well.

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

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

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

    Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    carlos22 , April 17, 2017 at 6:46 pm GMT
    • 100 Words Russia is in the position to be king maker out of China & US.

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

    Or

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

    Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    Ondrej , April 17, 2017 at 6:52 pm GMT
    • 100 Words @Kiza Congratulations on the article Andrei. As another commenter said - I do not agree with everything in the article, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Kiza , April 17, 2017 at 7:07 pm GMT
    • 300 Words @reiner Tor

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sergey Krieger , April 17, 2017 at 7:35 pm GMT
    @Randal An excellent and very useful piece, thanks, even if I don't agree with all of it. Certainly many good and important points are made. I would share most of Anatoly Karlin's points above, both in terms of points of agreement and disagreement.

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

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

    Share of world gdp, ppp:

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

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


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

    Source IMF per economywatch.com

    Population (2017):

    China: 1,388,232,693

    US: 326,474,013

    Russia: 143,375,006

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

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

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

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

    The figures however make it perfectly clear that the only plausible peer rival to the US in the medium term is China, and not Russia, regardless of current military capabilities. Randal, what do you think happens if neutron star approaches red giant? US GDP contains a lot of things that are irrelevant to fighting wars. Is US going to hit Russia with nice shoes, highly apprised real estate or S&P500? Creative accounting is another thing that makes US GDP larger than it really is. •

    AP , April 17, 2017 at 7:50 pm GMT
    @Andrei Martyanov

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Agree: Andrei Martyanov •
    syd.bgd , April 17, 2017 at 7:53 pm GMT
    Great article. Thanks. Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    Joe Wong , April 17, 2017 at 7:56 pm GMT
    • 200 Words @Anonymous Russia spent almost 5.4% of GDP on military spending. The US last year spent 3.3% and with Trump's proposed increase this number will increase by a few decimal points.

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

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

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

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

    Art , April 17, 2017 at 8:02 pm GMT
    • 100 Words @Anonymouse You're gloating, Art. Many jews have been leaving Israel for many years for fear of their personal safety. Others remain. Gloating this way reflects a mean spirit. You're gloating, Art. Many jews have been leaving Israel for many years for fear of their personal safety. Others remain. Gloating this way reflects a mean spirit.

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

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

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

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

    Peace - Art

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

    Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] , • Website April 17, 2017 at 8:15 pm GMT
    • 100 WordsNEW! @AP

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

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

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

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

    • Agree: AP Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Wally , April 17, 2017 at 8:17 pm GMT
    • 100 Words I seriously doubt the author's statement:

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

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

    Laughable.

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

    Diversity Heretic , April 17, 2017 at 8:25 pm GMT
    @anon "The US lacks a coherent defensive military doctrine"..

    Which is hardly surprising since its only two bordering countries are very weak and zero military threat. It is also moated by two huge oceans. The USA could spend virtually nothing on its military and (with a sound immigration policy and secure borders) be perfectly safe. But the American political establishment are not content with this. They seek hegemony. It all started with Woodrow Wilson who refused to mind his business and stay out of war in 1917. The Spanish-American War was completely unnecessary for U.S. security. The acquisition of the Phillipines put us on a collision course with Japan and even today we suffer the burden of strategically useless economic parasite of Puerto Rico. •

    Art , April 17, 2017 at 8:31 pm GMT
    • 100 Words @DannyMarcus There is a very important and perhaps most decisive aspect of possible US war with Russia or China, which is completely missing in Andrei Martyanov piece and the related comments.
    Don't you think European NATO countries, as well as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan will loudly resist, when their very well-being and existences is utterly jeopardized by American ambitions for hegemony well beyond its shores?
    I imagine and hope that well before a shooting war breaks out with Russia or China, US' present subservient allies will show enough courage to put the brakes on American designs long before any future global wars involving their vital interest is invoked.
    The South Koreans, over 10 million of whom are living in Seoul, are most likely right now pressing the Trump Administration hard to avoid any foolhardy military adventures in North Korea.
    The Europeans, Japanese, South Koreans and the Taiwanese are the best hope of stopping American adventurism because in the final analysis they will refuse to be the sheep marching willingly to the slaughterhouse of a WWIII. The South Koreans, over 10 million of whom are living in Seoul, are most likely right now pressing the Trump Administration hard to avoid any foolhardy military adventures in North Korea.

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

    US Deploys Two More Aircraft Carriers Toward Korean Peninsula: Yonhap

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

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

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

    Congress must stop this!

    Peace - Art

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] , • Website April 17, 2017 at 8:35 pm GMT
    • 400 WordsNEW! @Kiza Congratulations on the article Andrei. As another commenter said - I do not agree with everything in the article, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] , • Website April 17, 2017 at 8:36 pm GMT
    NEW! @Ondrej

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

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

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

    You simply can not take classes of ergonomic design and design even hammer correctly as it is often case with different innovative gadgets nowadays:-) Some very good points you made. •

    Sam Shama , April 17, 2017 at 8:39 pm GMT
    • 400 Words @Andrei Martyanov

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

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

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

    Hey Smoothie,
    Loved this informative piece.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    AtomAnt , April 17, 2017 at 8:43 pm GMT
    @inertial A good informative article. Unfortunately it suffers from the typical poor understanding of the economic and financial realities.

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

    Incidentally, Putin and his government seem to understand these things, even if many others don't. That's just bankster propaganda. In truth, anything past 5% (generously) for the financial sector is just parasitism. The US S&P 500 hovers around 30% financial sector. That's just elites extracting resources from productive people. Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

    anonHUN , April 17, 2017 at 8:47 pm GMT
    • 200 Words @Intelligent Dasein I've come to the conclusion that it is the probable consensus among America's Deep State elites, as exemplified by the truly evil Hillary Clinton, that an all-out war with Russia which totally devastates Russia but leaves America just barely standing, would, notwithstanding the rivers of blood and the chaos unleashed, be an acceptable outcome as long as the blasted rump of America, namely the Deep State itself, gets to subsequently enthrone itself as the unchallenged world hegemon. The Deep State views the entirety of America's economic and military might, as well as the lives of its citizens, as merely a means to this end.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Verymuchalive , April 17, 2017 at 8:49 pm GMT
    • 100 Words @Andrei Martyanov

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

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

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

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

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

    Here is a dilemma. Gazprom extracts and delivers energy without which Eurasia can not exist. Facebook? Turn it off tomorrow and bar some impressionable teenagers committing suicide, the world will continue on living just fine. But that is just one example. You will not find, however, such a hi-tech monster as Rostec on any financial market. For a corporate giant which employs half-a-million people and produces state of the art weapon systems and civilian products--ask yourself a question whose "capitalization" is more important for economy--of useless Facebook or of the corporation which produces civilian jet engines. But let me add insult to injury. While Facebook "capitalizes" on almost half-trillion, a gem of the American industry, aerospace giant Boeing barely makes it to 109 billion. Most US economic indices are fraud, the same as most of US economy is virtual--a collection of virtual transactions with virtual money and virtual services. i am not talking, of course, about stock buybacks. As I already stated, nobody of any serious expertise in actual things that matter, treats this whole US "economic" data seriously. The problem here is that many in US establishment do and that is a clear and present danger to both US and world at large because constant and grotesque overestimation of own capabilities becomes a matter of policy, not a one-off accident. The financialisation of the economy has been a disaster in most Western countries, especially for manufacturing companies. I had personal dealings with Pilkingtons, a World-leading British glass company. At the first opportunity, the Banks and other corporate investors sold it to a Japanese competitor. Pilkingtons is now a branch operation and has lost its research base.
    Mr Putin seems to realise the importance of indigenous manufacturing industry- and not only for defence- related purposes. So the capitalisation of such companies has been treated with great caution, e g Gazprom. I could be wrong, of course.
    So I must ask if you think Mr Putin has an Advanced Manufacturing Strategy in place, like Eamonn Fingleton sees in Japan, Korea, Germany etc. Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

    Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] , • Website April 17, 2017 at 8:52 pm GMT
    • 200 WordsNEW! @Wally I seriously doubt the author's statement:

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

    Laughable.

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

    Germany did the heavy lifting.

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

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

    Actually:

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

    Timur The Lame , April 17, 2017 at 9:08 pm GMT
    • 100 Words ,

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

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

    Cheers-

    Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    Ondrej , April 17, 2017 at 9:14 pm GMT
    • 100 Words @Andrei Martyanov Some very good points you made. Having recent experience in teaching in former socialist country and remembering and comparing with past I must say

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

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

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

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    bluedog , April 17, 2017 at 9:33 pm GMT
    • 100 Words @Sam Shama

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Hmm first we would have to rebuild our manufacturing sector seeing most of our goods including military are outsourced out, and I question the raw economics endowment what ever they are, and then you have to retrain the workers for the old class is gone and the new isn't all that inclined to work, and who would want to invest in a hallowed out economy, trillions in debt more trillions in future liabilities trillions in derivitives little to no natural resources left military projects milked to the bone months years overdue I'm afraid your caught in the light on the hill we are exceptional bit but I presume that's to be expected.. Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    anon , April 17, 2017 at 9:35 pm GMT
    @DannyMarcus There is a very important and perhaps most decisive aspect of possible US war with Russia or China, which is completely missing in Andrei Martyanov piece and the related comments.
    Don't you think European NATO countries, as well as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan will loudly resist, when their very well-being and existences is utterly jeopardized by American ambitions for hegemony well beyond its shores?
    I imagine and hope that well before a shooting war breaks out with Russia or China, US' present subservient allies will show enough courage to put the brakes on American designs long before any future global wars involving their vital interest is invoked.
    The South Koreans, over 10 million of whom are living in Seoul, are most likely right now pressing the Trump Administration hard to avoid any foolhardy military adventures in North Korea.
    The Europeans, Japanese, South Koreans and the Taiwanese are the best hope of stopping American adventurism because in the final analysis they will refuse to be the sheep marching willingly to the slaughterhouse of a WWIII. If these countries really wanted to stop the USA, why not make the American troops leave their countries? Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Corvinus , April 17, 2017 at 9:35 pm GMT
    @Diversity Heretic The Spanish-American War was completely unnecessary for U.S. security. The acquisition of the Phillipines put us on a collision course with Japan and even today we suffer the burden of strategically useless economic parasite of Puerto Rico. "The Spanish-American War was completely unnecessary for U.S. security."

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

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

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

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    colm , April 17, 2017 at 9:36 pm GMT
    @Intelligent Dasein I've come to the conclusion that it is the probable consensus among America's Deep State elites, as exemplified by the truly evil Hillary Clinton, that an all-out war with Russia which totally devastates Russia but leaves America just barely standing, would, notwithstanding the rivers of blood and the chaos unleashed, be an acceptable outcome as long as the blasted rump of America, namely the Deep State itself, gets to subsequently enthrone itself as the unchallenged world hegemon. The Deep State views the entirety of America's economic and military might, as well as the lives of its citizens, as merely a means to this end.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    anon , April 17, 2017 at 9:43 pm GMT
    • 100 Words @Diversity Heretic The Spanish-American War was completely unnecessary for U.S. security. The acquisition of the Phillipines put us on a collision course with Japan and even today we suffer the burden of strategically useless economic parasite of Puerto Rico. Yes of course, you are right. The 1898 war with Spain was 100% a war of choice for America. Without it, it was certainly possible war with Japan could have been avoided. Also agree that Puerto Rico has proven to be utterly worthless to America. Should be given its independence ASAP. Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    martino from barcelona , April 17, 2017 at 9:45 pm GMT
    • 100 Words @DannyMarcus There is a very important and perhaps most decisive aspect of possible US war with Russia or China, which is completely missing in Andrei Martyanov piece and the related comments.
    Don't you think European NATO countries, as well as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan will loudly resist, when their very well-being and existences is utterly jeopardized by American ambitions for hegemony well beyond its shores?
    I imagine and hope that well before a shooting war breaks out with Russia or China, US' present subservient allies will show enough courage to put the brakes on American designs long before any future global wars involving their vital interest is invoked.
    The South Koreans, over 10 million of whom are living in Seoul, are most likely right now pressing the Trump Administration hard to avoid any foolhardy military adventures in North Korea.
    The Europeans, Japanese, South Koreans and the Taiwanese are the best hope of stopping American adventurism because in the final analysis they will refuse to be the sheep marching willingly to the slaughterhouse of a WWIII. Eu, japan, taiwaneses, south koreans Their governements are all puppets, whores of washington, the people doesnt matter, we (I am european) have no voice- All westerns politics are the same whores. Countrys and people have no value. Only globalists are going for bussines. Rusia is the great premium: The major land in the world- Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Timur The Lame , April 17, 2017 at 9:46 pm GMT
    • 300 Words @SmoothieX12

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

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

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

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

    Cheers-

    The Alarmist , April 17, 2017 at 9:51 pm GMT
    • 100 Words @Erebus Yes, thank you for an excellent summation of the situation.

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

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

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

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

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

    Timur The Lame , April 17, 2017 at 9:54 pm GMT
    My WW1 post was for Kiza. Somehow that got scrubbed Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    Ondrej , April 17, 2017 at 10:14 pm GMT
    • 200 Words @Sam Shama

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    I will add bit of Central Europe perspective:-)

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

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

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

    inertial , April 17, 2017 at 10:22 pm GMT
    • 300 Words @Andrei Martyanov

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Z-man , April 17, 2017 at 10:23 pm GMT
    @Andrei Martyanov

    The S400 is a great example of Russian simplicity
    It is a very complex weapon system, whose actual combat potential is highly classified. From people who serve on it, and I quote:"mind boggling capabilities". Latest modifications of S-300 seem almost tame in comparison and S-300 (PMU, Favorit) is a superb complex. Once S-500 comes online, well--it is a different game altogether from there. Well, it shouldn't be that complicated because it has to be used rapidly. Hopefully it is easy for the user to operate it.
    Thanks for the reply. Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Sergey Krieger , April 17, 2017 at 10:28 pm GMT
    @Ondrej

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

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

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

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

    You are coming as a very pragmatic sort of a man •
    Cyrano , April 17, 2017 at 10:31 pm GMT
    • 300 Words Any military conflict between Russia and US is bound to degenerate into nuclear war. That's because only degenerates can plan such event and even try to predict "survivability" of such war. I believe only recently US funded a study to explore the outcome of such conflict. You don't have to be military genius to realize that the odds are in Russia's favor.

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

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

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

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

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

    Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    inertial , April 17, 2017 at 10:32 pm GMT
    @Sergey Krieger Randal, what do you think happens if neutron star approaches red giant? US GDP contains a lot of things that are irrelevant to fighting wars. Is US going to hit Russia with nice shoes, highly apprised real estate or S&P500? Creative accounting is another thing that makes US GDP larger than it really is.

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

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

    Z-man , April 17, 2017 at 10:33 pm GMT
    @Art You're gloating, Art. Many jews have been leaving Israel for many years for fear of their personal safety. Others remain. Gloating this way reflects a mean spirit.

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

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

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

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

    Peace --- Art

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

    Korea?, no big deal as far as I'm concerned. Let's bomb that fat boy to submission. It's when we blindly support that dirty little country occupying the Holy Land, that's when I get my blood pressure up! •
    Today,s Thought , April 17, 2017 at 10:42 pm GMT
    [ ] • 3,200 WORDS • 93 COMMENTS • REPLY [ ]
    Z-man , April 17, 2017 at 10:43 pm GMT
    • 100 Words @Andrei Martyanov

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

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

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

    Just as the matter of general education, but here is the deal: Chinese invented gun powder, so what? When and if Germany will be able to produce something comparable to MiG-29SMT, forget about SU-35, not to speak of T-50, then we may start looking into German "genius". In order for you to understand what I am trying to convey to you, one has to have understanding of what enclosed technological cycle is. But I am sure, if MTU will be asked they will come up immediately with the fifth generation jet engine, right? After all, it is so simple and I am not talking about such things as designing the air-frames. US has expertise on that on several orders of magnitude than Germany and look where it got US with F-35;) This reminds me of the line from 'Ice Station Zebra' by the Patrick McGoohan played character 'David Jones of MI6′, "The Russians put our (Brits) camera made by *our* German scientists and your (US) film made by *your* German scientists into their satellite made by *their* German scientists." LOL! Exaggeration of course but funny and somewhat true. Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

    Joe Wong , April 17, 2017 at 10:53 pm GMT
    • 100 Words @DannyMarcus There is a very important and perhaps most decisive aspect of possible US war with Russia or China, which is completely missing in Andrei Martyanov piece and the related comments.
    Don't you think European NATO countries, as well as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan will loudly resist, when their very well-being and existences is utterly jeopardized by American ambitions for hegemony well beyond its shores?
    I imagine and hope that well before a shooting war breaks out with Russia or China, US' present subservient allies will show enough courage to put the brakes on American designs long before any future global wars involving their vital interest is invoked.
    The South Koreans, over 10 million of whom are living in Seoul, are most likely right now pressing the Trump Administration hard to avoid any foolhardy military adventures in North Korea.
    The Europeans, Japanese, South Koreans and the Taiwanese are the best hope of stopping American adventurism because in the final analysis they will refuse to be the sheep marching willingly to the slaughterhouse of a WWIII. There are a lot of nations wanting wars between USA, Russia and China, from top of the list is Japan, India, UK, They believe they will be the next global hegemons standing on the ashes of USA, Russia and China.

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

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Sergey Krieger , April 17, 2017 at 10:58 pm GMT
    • 100 Words @inertial

    US GDP contains a lot of things that are irrelevant to fighting wars.
    You say it as though it's a bad thing. No, I am just trying to look at it from the point of view currently discussed. Namely Russian GDP is being mocked as an inadequate to stand up to USA in military terms.
    I am just pointing that what GDP consists of is far more important that nominal size of it.
    Namely, Italy might have a large share of GDP coming from tourist industry and designers shoes and other garments. . How is it relevant to military power?
    US GDP also is full of basically fraudulent valuations. Tesla as it was pointed is just one example and Facebook and others are another. •
    Joe Wong , April 17, 2017 at 11:06 pm GMT
    • 100 Words @anonHUN I think the military and intelligence guys (and the big contractors) need Russia as the enemy, the bogeyman, probably many of them were secretly disappointed back then when the Soviet Union collapsed. The Deep State wants an endless race, a race where America is always leading but not by too much. A Cold War with a worthy opponent, not with tinpot third world dictatorships. Many of them don't even hate Russia, even respects it to some extent. Now they are probably happy that the old days are back.

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

    Regarding Russian military they are still 20 years behind on average, the gap didn't close since Soviet times, if anything, it widened in many respects.
    US military might is still unique and unrivaled, on the long run China has the most chance to challenge it. Russia is simply too poor, an economic dwarf compared to China (China is the workshop of the world, Russia mostly exports raw materials), also it's population is probably too small. "still 20 years behind on average?" since you are fabricating thru the thin air, why did you stop at 20 years? Why didn't you say 30 years behind, 40 years behind, ? You should know fake news is always fake new regardless it is a small fake news or a big fake news. •

    martino from barcelona , April 17, 2017 at 11:08 pm GMT
    • 200 Words good post smooty. And good coments also.I have three issues I am thinking some time ago. First: The soviet Union not colapsed, Gorbachev vas not a moron or a traitor. It was 50 years chess-game- The west is in turmoil already. Gorbachev did not do nothing without the approbation of the hundreds of specialists .The same with Trump, as USA has about more than 5 milions of people working in intel or something about. Second misread: Usa did not lost the war in Irak or Afganistan., as is said by journalists. Bush (W) said it in clair: I´ll bring the caos to irak, to stoneage.
    In Afganistan they are for 16 years for run the caos meantime. If they left , te country could go normaly, They cant afford this. Is for future desestabilization of central asia. Three: In the future war, you can see that the europeens are too sweet for go to war against Russia (Don´t talk about the gays, trans and woman of de USA Army) : What about theese 2 milions of refugees (arabs mens in militar age, all men?) All in Germany. This is not an Army for go to fight with russia? Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    Anatoly Karlin , • Website April 17, 2017 at 11:17 pm GMT
    • 100 WordsNEW! @Intelligent Dasein I've come to the conclusion that it is the probable consensus among America's Deep State elites, as exemplified by the truly evil Hillary Clinton, that an all-out war with Russia which totally devastates Russia but leaves America just barely standing, would, notwithstanding the rivers of blood and the chaos unleashed, be an acceptable outcome as long as the blasted rump of America, namely the Deep State itself, gets to subsequently enthrone itself as the unchallenged world hegemon. The Deep State views the entirety of America's economic and military might, as well as the lives of its citizens, as merely a means to this end.

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

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

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

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

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

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Joe Wong , April 17, 2017 at 11:23 pm GMT
    @reiner Tor Don't worry, when the going gets tough, suddenly the US military will only send straight white men to die for LGBT and black "equality".

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

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

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    DanC , April 17, 2017 at 11:27 pm GMT
    If anyone is interested in the perverse incentives in place in the US military development system, which result in such spectacular failures and misallocation of resources, you could read this:

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

    Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    martino from barcelona , April 17, 2017 at 11:29 pm GMT
    • 100 Words The westerns politics, that works against their own people (starting with Merkel), and are absolute whores or the globalists of washington and elsewere .. (city of London, Rotschilds, Jews,Vatican, , etc) Have learned the trick of the proxys, as they are now in Siria. And conciousness that the european people are against else war, (and dont talk about the gay-trans-woman army of the EEUU) The criminals europeans politics are getting milions of future proxy warriors from muslim countrys. Their job will be the war we are not going. They, the "refugees" will get money, drugs, guns, slave women, alcohol, and will go to war against rusia, and in europe inf they are said. cheers.
    Ahh!.. They give him the blue pill, also, (Are not than macho men?) Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    Wally , April 17, 2017 at 11:43 pm GMT
    @Andrei Martyanov

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

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

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

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

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

    About "Lyulka"?

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

    Hoisted by your own petard.

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Zzz , April 17, 2017 at 11:44 pm GMT
    @Kiza You and your responders are obviously not Russian, because you exhibit a terribly superficial knowledge of the pre WW1 Europe and Russia. You must have learned your history in US or British schools.

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

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

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

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

    Russian who are blaming the Serbs for WW1

    Are the same people.

    inertial , April 17, 2017 at 11:47 pm GMT
    @Sergey Krieger No, I am just trying to look at it from the point of view currently discussed. Namely Russian GDP is being mocked as an inadequate to stand up to USA in military terms.
    I am just pointing that what GDP consists of is far more important that nominal size of it.
    Namely, Italy might have a large share of GDP coming from tourist industry and designers shoes and other garments. . How is it relevant to military power?
    US GDP also is full of basically fraudulent valuations. Tesla as it was pointed is just one example and Facebook and others are another. I agree with you. I just wish that Russian GDP had a lot more of those non-military components.

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

    DanC , April 17, 2017 at 11:48 pm GMT
    • 100 Words One of the most spectacular misallocation of resources has been the US Navy's insistence on building ever-more surface ships of ever-increasing complexity, while allowing their submarine fleet to languish, and neglecting missile & torpedo technology.

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

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

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

    Sergey Krieger , April 18, 2017 at 12:18 am GMT
    • 100 Words @inertial I agree with you. I just wish that Russian GDP had a lot more of those non-military components.

    Incidentally, market cap has nothing to do with GDP. I'm pretty sure that Facebook's contribution to GDP is minuscule. For this I believe nationalization of what was "privatized" in 90′s is needed and new industrialization drive to become more self sufficient and less dependent upon outsiders. Finances also is a matter of concern. Russia has very good experience in how to do it. Political power will is needed though. Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

    Mark Chapman , • Website April 18, 2017 at 12:18 am GMT
    • 200 Words Agreed; the US Navy only continues to pursue railgun technology to use up budget dollars – a peculiarity of western defense budgeting is that if you show efficiency by using less than the full amount allocated for your operations, maintenance and R&D, your budget is likely to be cut by that much next cycle. The USN has gone back to the drawing-board on railgun development, but absent a power-supply breakthrough it is unrealistic except as a vanity project.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Avery , April 18, 2017 at 12:22 am GMT
    • 200 Words @Andrei Martyanov

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

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

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

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

    AtomAnt , April 18, 2017 at 12:24 am GMT
    • 200 Words @anonHUN I think the military and intelligence guys (and the big contractors) need Russia as the enemy, the bogeyman, probably many of them were secretly disappointed back then when the Soviet Union collapsed. The Deep State wants an endless race, a race where America is always leading but not by too much. A Cold War with a worthy opponent, not with tinpot third world dictatorships. Many of them don't even hate Russia, even respects it to some extent. Now they are probably happy that the old days are back.

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

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

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

    • Agree: Kiza •
    wayfarer , April 18, 2017 at 12:32 am GMT
    SAR (search and rescue) versus SAD (search and destroy)

    "Disaster of the Kursk"

    Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    NoseytheDuke , April 18, 2017 at 12:53 am GMT
    • 200 Words @Sam Shama

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    NoseytheDuke , April 18, 2017 at 12:58 am GMT
    @anonHUN I think the military and intelligence guys (and the big contractors) need Russia as the enemy, the bogeyman, probably many of them were secretly disappointed back then when the Soviet Union collapsed. The Deep State wants an endless race, a race where America is always leading but not by too much. A Cold War with a worthy opponent, not with tinpot third world dictatorships. Many of them don't even hate Russia, even respects it to some extent. Now they are probably happy that the old days are back.

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

    Regarding Russian military they are still 20 years behind on average, the gap didn't close since Soviet times, if anything, it widened in many respects.
    US military might is still unique and unrivaled, on the long run China has the most chance to challenge it. Russia is simply too poor, an economic dwarf compared to China (China is the workshop of the world, Russia mostly exports raw materials), also it's population is probably too small. Did you skip the article and go straight to comments? Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

    NoseytheDuke , April 18, 2017 at 1:08 am GMT
    • 100 Words @Z-man Korea?, no big deal as far as I'm concerned. Let's bomb that fat boy to submission. It's when we blindly support that dirty little country occupying the Holy Land, that's when I get my blood pressure up! What if the fat boy (and the NK people) feel that they need those weapons for defensive purposes? After all, it wasn't too long ago that Korea was invaded by the US (plus a few satraps) and millions of Koreans were killed. Who are we in the west to interfere with NK? •
    Erebus , April 18, 2017 at 1:27 am GMT
    • 200 Words @The Alarmist

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

    One can hope that we'll be rejoicing that America's owners follow ed their internationalistic instincts when that moment has passed.

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

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

    Kiza , April 18, 2017 at 1:38 am GMT
    • 100 Words @Zzz

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

    Russian who are blaming the Serbs for WW1
    Are the same people. I thought I explained that it is the Russian liberals who picked up the Western view of who to blame for WW1, just like they picked up everything else from their Western role models. The Russian nationalists do not blame the Serbs "for dragging them into WW1″ because this is principally a Western idea of how to push discord among Slavic relatives, not that it even matters that it is completely untrue. Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Kiza , April 18, 2017 at 1:48 am GMT
    @Z-man Korea?, no big deal as far as I'm concerned. Let's bomb that fat boy to submission. It's when we blindly support that dirty little country occupying the Holy Land, that's when I get my blood pressure up! You are stupid, are you not? •
    Kiza , April 18, 2017 at 2:04 am GMT
    • 100 Words @Avery {From people who serve on it, and I quote:"mind boggling capabilities".}

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

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

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

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

    The Russian MIRV ICBM Bullawa uses exactly the same approach of randomising trajectory of each vehicle intentionally, small but quick completely random maneuvers, which makes it virtually impossible to shootdown. The US would have to place supercooled computers on its interceptors to destroy those babies. Therefore, another relatively cheap but highly effective countermeasure to US ABMD, a beautiful response.

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Erebus , April 18, 2017 at 2:16 am GMT
    • 200 Words @Joe Wong "Russia is a middle income country while the US is a rich country, in the top 10 of GDP per capita." this is very funny, how about the 20 trillions of US national debt and it is skyrocketing fast? If you only count asset without counting liability US maybe in the top 10 GDP per capita, but if you count net asset the US is in the negative GDP per capita, a broke nation. Perhaps it is American Exceptionalism logic, claiming credit where credit is not due, living in a world detached from reality.

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

    Russian Central Bank can print Ruble thru the thin air just like the Fed

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

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

    You can read a rather lengthy, but eye opening treatise on this subject here:

    http://lit.md/files/nstarikov/rouble_nationalization-the_way_to_russia%27s_freedom.pdf

    Kiza , April 18, 2017 at 2:22 am GMT
    • 100 Words OT, here is some education about North Korea for the stupid people and those who are not stupid but lack information. This is truly worth a read, it will open your eyes. Particularly read the comments, and especially the three comments by "b", the zine owner:

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/04/the-reason-behind-north-koreas-nuclear-program-and-its-offer-to-end-it.html#more

    The reality about North Korea is that the South Korean US puppets apply the same technique on NK defectors that the British US puppets apply on Russian "KGB defectors". These poor defecting souls found themselves in a desperate situation in their new country to which they were attracted by stories of street paved in gold. Thus even just for food they have to invent more and more outrageous stories to feed the propaganda machines of their South Korean/British hosts.

    This is how Kim Jong Un threw his uncle to the 120 starving dogs and how Putin blew up some Russian apartments in Buynaksk, Moscow, and Volgodonsk, defector's honor!

    Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    Mark Chapman , • Website April 18, 2017 at 2:27 am GMT
    • 200 Words @Avery {From people who serve on it, and I quote:"mind boggling capabilities".}

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

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

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

    In fact, Russia often tests its systems under much more realistic conditions than does the USA and western powers. They want to know if it is going to fail when it is confronted with western jamming, for example, and try to make intercept difficult where the west is obsessed with collecting test data for evaluation, and as a consequence the launch site knows the release time of the target and its initial course and speed, rather than a 'black' release. Not always, but often.

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

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

    It is safe to say without further information that western air forces are very wary of the S-400, and confronting Russia's multilayered IADS would be nothing like taking on Gadaffi's eccentric and janky mismatched collection of air-defense weaponry.

    Carlton Meyer , • Website April 18, 2017 at 2:31 am GMT
    @DanC One of the most spectacular misallocation of resources has been the US Navy's insistence on building ever-more surface ships of ever-increasing complexity, while allowing their submarine fleet to languish, and neglecting missile & torpedo technology.

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

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

    Thousands of sailors and hundreds of billions of dollars worth of hardware will be headed to the bottom. If you care to read my detailed explanation of why carrier strike groups are obsolete against a modern navy:

    If you prefer to watch a 33 second example:

    Kiza , April 18, 2017 at 2:42 am GMT
    • 300 Words @Sam Shama

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    It [US] needs to come down hard on MIC waste, which if done successfully can change things around very quickly.

    Gee Sam, you are totally lost in your understanding of US problems.

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

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

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

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

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

    Kiza , April 18, 2017 at 3:04 am GMT
    • 200 Words @Andrei Martyanov

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

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

    Having criticised you too much, now I have to admit that I do not understand how Russia can get on average 5X more bang for the buck than US, sometimes more. Does Russian MIC operate some underground former mine facilities in which these engineering slaves design all these wonderful military toys and then build them at the cost of sustenance?
    I believe Ondrej made a good, albeit partial case, for you in his response. Let me put it this way--viewing Russia's public schools' 8-9th grade books on math and physics (and chemistry) may create a state of shock in many, even elite, US schools and not among students only I know. Ok. so the secret of Russian military project effectiveness is that there are no congressional districts and power plays to divvy up the military budget not based on merit and proven capability than based on the power of the district's Congressional and/or Senatorial whore. Then, there are no MIC billionaires to skim the pie. Then the engineers works for reasonable salaries with a highly respected bonus of patriotism. Then there is an excellent well established educational system (for the whites) which puts accent on physics, maths and real technical building skills, supported by mentorship by experienced engineers, instead of putting accent on lying, financial market wizardry (again manipulation), MBAs, whilst training blacks to become engineers and importing engineers from India. Finally, there is the accumulated project experience and cooperative networks from building good weaponry during the days of Soviet Union, in which Russia quickly and effectively replaced sometimes dysfunctional pieces of network which dropped out, especially the important ones from Ukraine. I am truly amazed how quickly the Russian military manufacturing network compensates and adjusts for the loss of any piece.

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

    Kiza , April 18, 2017 at 3:48 am GMT
    • 200 Words @Mark Chapman In fact, Russia often tests its systems under much more realistic conditions than does the USA and western powers. They want to know if it is going to fail when it is confronted with western jamming, for example, and try to make intercept difficult where the west is obsessed with collecting test data for evaluation, and as a consequence the launch site knows the release time of the target and its initial course and speed, rather than a 'black' release. Not always, but often.

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

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

    It is safe to say without further information that western air forces are very wary of the S-400, and confronting Russia's multilayered IADS would be nothing like taking on Gadaffi's eccentric and janky mismatched collection of air-defense weaponry. Very good and relevant explanation. I would only add that what Russia has in Syria and what Syria has in Syria are not IADS then stand-alone radars and missiles. What Russia has over Russia is IADS, especially with the new S500 (Russian ABMD). The Russians do not develop separate systems for air-defence and missile-defence, in Russia it is all one integrated multi-sensor system. What is completely unknown is the effectiveness of the Western stealth techniques and jammers against the Russian IADS over Russia. What if, what the Western airforces call the blue line, the entry space which allows you to destroy the airdefense before being detected and destroyed, keeps changing, becomes unpredictable or disappears altogether. What if you cannot overwhelm the airdefense with a barrage of 59 Tomahawks as in Syria, because you would need to fire several hundred or even thousand missiles simultaneously?

    If Russia implements IADS over Syria, which may be what was announced after the US cruise missile attack, then the "blue line" for US and Israeli jets and missiles may disappear.

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Bayan , April 18, 2017 at 3:51 am GMT
    • 100 Words America and Russia will not go for a direct war.

    The reason is simple: one is crazy the other is nuts. When crazy meets nuts sanity of both is restored. They 'll go for a drink and head home.

    I sort of drove this conclusion from a Russian poem I read years ago.

    Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    Kiza , April 18, 2017 at 4:09 am GMT
    • 200 Words @Mark Chapman Agreed; the US Navy only continues to pursue railgun technology to use up budget dollars - a peculiarity of western defense budgeting is that if you show efficiency by using less than the full amount allocated for your operations, maintenance and R&D, your budget is likely to be cut by that much next cycle. The USN has gone back to the drawing-board on railgun development, but absent a power-supply breakthrough it is unrealistic except as a vanity project.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Mark, sorry but I have to disagree on the F-35 project. You are right that

    any vision of what the F-35 was originally supposed to do has been lost in a blizzard of pork-barreling and design changes

    But it appears that even that original concept was a pie in the sky sold to the government by a ruthless military almost-monopolistic corporation.

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

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

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

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

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

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    2stateshmoostate , April 18, 2017 at 4:38 am GMT
    • 200 Words I could be wrong, but I am inclined to see a parallel between the US now and the Russian Empire pre-1904.
    After after the surprise attack by the Japanese navy against Port Arthur and ultimate victory by Japan in the Russian-Japanese war that followed back in 1904, the Czarist regime was doomed.
    The Russians were arrogantly confident that they could easily beat down the Japanese forces and got the shit kicked out of them.
    On paper the Russians should have had the advantage, but because there was so much corruption and incompetence in the Czarist military complex they were defeated.
    The result was a the revolution of 1905 and the Czars ultimate demise in 1917.
    I think everything about the US government is a lie and has been for a while. Even though billions are spent on the US military I suspect it is a "paper tiger" because of obvious corruption but also because of the traitorous activity of US government officials with allegiances to a foreign powers.
    Anyway I'd be surprised that the US would prevail (without destroying the entire world with nukes) in a conflict with a adversary like Russia.
    But, I certainly could be wrong. •
    Joe Franklin , April 18, 2017 at 4:42 am GMT
    • 300 Words @mushroom When folks discuss Russia's capabilities they often forget what's blatantly obvious - which is what's not obvious, i.e. what the bear has created and is in it's hidden caves.

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

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

    If you want to enjoy happy days don't mess with the bear! The USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) is a 4th generation guided missile destroyer whose key weapons are Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of up to 2,500 kilometers, and capable of carrying nuclear explosives. This ship carries 56 Tomahawk missiles in standard mode, and 96 missiles in attack mode.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    utu , April 18, 2017 at 4:52 am GMT
    • 400 Words The article is not backed up by numbers. There is zero specificity.

    How many S-300 and S-400 are actually deployed? How many missiles/fighter jets would it take to overwhelm this defensive force? Does US/NATO have that many missiles/fighter jets to do this job?

    How many Su-35 were deployed so far and how does this compare to the number of F-22 in service?

    How many submarines US and Russia have currently in the seas?

    What's wrong with Ohio class subs? They are just there to deliver the punch and are perfectly safe as Russia does not have enough killer subs.

    And now this:

    Moreover, already today, US lower 48 are not immune to a conventional massive missile strike.

    What would be the purpose of such a strike? Wasting expensive missile on delivering just singular 500kg explosive? Anybody seriously in Russia's military would consider such an idiocy?

    The bottom line is that Russia is a nuclear power that can annihilate the US. All strategies take this into account. This is the bottom line. Any response or aggression vis a vis Russia must take this into account.

    Russia has conventional defensive capabilities but has negligible ability of projecting its power beyond its borders. Circa 4 dozens of planes in Syria with half a dozen of fighter jets to protect them that all are defended by few dozens of S-300/400 tubes is not very impressive. This force could be overwhelmed in just few hours by Israel AF that has over 400 F-15/16 or Turkey AF that has over 200 F-16.

    I do not believe anybody really wants a war with Russia but certainly they want to conquer Russia to make it to submit to the Washington consensus. But this will not be done with foreign troops on Russian soil or with bombs falling or Russian cities. It will be done with a soft coup d'etat that will depose Putin and his semi-patriotic faction. It all will be done with Russian hands. The attack on Syria by Trump was perfectly timed with president Xi visit who is very familiar with the Chinese proverb: kill the chicken to scare the monkey. Putin was the chicken and Xi was the monkey in this case. Putin lost face and Xi lost face. With every incident of this nature there will be more and more resentment and plotting among various factions in Russia's Deep State. There is no other choice because certainly Russia will not go to the preemptive nuclear war and apart of nuclear war Russia will be humiliated in every conventional skirmish.

    I am taking bets if Putin will be out of power by the end of this summer.

    pogohere , • Website April 18, 2017 at 5:14 am GMT
    • 300 Words @Erebus

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

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

    You can read a rather lengthy, but eye opening treatise on this subject here:
    http://lit.md/files/nstarikov/rouble_nationalization-the_way_to_russia%27s_freedom.pdf What international treaties has the Russian Central Bank entered into, if any?

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

    Yours is an odd way of interpreting this provision of the Russian Constitution:

    The Constitution of the Russian Federation
    Article 75 (Chapter 3)

    1. The monetary unit in the Russian Federation shall be the rouble. Money issue shall be carried out exclusively by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation. Introduction and issue of other currencies in Russia shall not be allowed.
    2. The protection and ensuring the stability of the rouble shall be the major task of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, which it shall fulfil independently of the other bodies of state authority.
    3. The system of taxes paid to the federal budget and the general principles of taxation and dues in the Russian Federation shall be fixed by the federal law.
    4. State loans shall be issued according to the rules fixed by the federal law and shall be floated on a voluntary basis. [emphasis added]

    With reference to this @p36 of the treatise cited:

    "Laws need to be changed. That means that it is necessary to take the State
    Duma under control. That means that a parliamentary majority is required.
    And therefore, a party needs to be created that will win the general elections.
    A political structure which is currently rather popular starts being created.

    The majority party in the Duma now has representation sufficient to enable an amendment to the constitution to change the above provisions, not to mention the laws pursuant to same. Whether that is actually politically feasible is another matter.

    The treatise you cited appears to be somewhat dated with regard to the constraints, if any, on changes to central banking in Russia.

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Seraphim , April 18, 2017 at 5:44 am GMT
    • 200 Words @anon That is a point I have often tried to make. Had the Tsar just told the Serbs flat out, "You guys are on your own. Comply. Or fight the Central Powers by yourself. We are out of it.",' there would never have been a 'Great' war (WW1). At most the 'war' would have been a minor brawl between Serbia and Austria-Hungary. History would have recorded it as just another Balkan skirmish. It would have been virtually forgotten today. This was the initial assumption of the Kaiser when he issued his 'blank check' of support. The Tsar would have saved millions of lives, including his own and his family too. Just nine years earlier the Tsar had fought and lost a disastrous war with Japan. That defeat led to a revolution that came within a hair of deposing him. He SHOULD have learned his lesson and avoided any future conflict like the plague. Tsar Nicolas was an incredibly stupid man. He deserves far more vilification then the Kaiser does. Tsar Nicholas was not that stupid to not see that the aggression against Serbia was in fact directed at Russia. The Dual Alliance of 1879, coming immediately after the Berlin Congress was directed squarely against Russia. By the time of Nicholas it evolved in the Triple Alliance and I have no doubts that Russians knew that Romania had adhered in secret in 1882. He could not be unaware of the 'Drang nach Osten' mentality which gripped Germany by the end of the 19th century and that the plans for the partition of Russia were on the drawing board. He could not have been unaware that the rejection of his proposals for disarmament has induced Germany to believe that the proposal reflected the weakness of Russia. He could not been unaware of Moltke's proposal in 1912 for a preventive war against Russia. He could not have been unaware that an external war was a precondition of for the revolution.
    War was imposed on Russia. Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Blacktail , April 18, 2017 at 6:34 am GMT
    • 200 Words The Russian military is moving in the same direction as the US - toward state-of-the-art obsolescence. While they build tiny numbers of new weapons, many times that number of their predecessors are being retired faster than the new weapons can be built.

    That fancy T-14 Armata Russia started building a few years ago? It replaces over 20000 T-55s and T-62s built early in the Cold War, and 6000 T-64s that were all spontaneously retired in the early 2010s and shipped not to the tank graveyards, but straight to the cutting mills.

    The Borei class Ballistic Missile Submarines mentioned in the article currently number about 5 boats, most of which aren't finished yet. They replace not only the infinitely more powerful and infamous Typhoon class (retired not because of age, but because Russia couldn't afford them), but also some 50 other Cold War era "Boomers".

    And that Su-35 that's all the hype these days? It was back in the mid-1990s as well, and the Su-27 it was meant to replace is being retired faster than Su-35s can be built. The new T-50 isn't much of a threat either, because it's been in development almost as long as the F-35, and it's no closer to being combat-ready.

    These are a metaphor for what Russia has become; a nation so insecure about the wrong things (cutting-edge technology rather than enough weapons to defend itself) that they're over-spending to weakness.

    Ondrej , April 18, 2017 at 6:57 am GMT
    • 100 Words @Sergey Krieger You are coming as a very pragmatic sort of a man ;) Just for your warning – well, bit of cultural and genetical conditioning helps in this case.

    As one of my grandfathers was helping in early stages of establishing

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

    Unfortunately, depending on point view, I am not enough pragmatic for current ideologically driven socio-economical society

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    anonHUN , April 18, 2017 at 7:22 am GMT
    • 600 Words @Joe Wong "still 20 years behind on average?" since you are fabricating thru the thin air, why did you stop at 20 years? Why didn't you say 30 years behind, 40 years behind, ... ? You should know fake news is always fake new regardless it is a small fake news or a big fake news. It depends on the area, in some things they are 30 years behind, or even 40. The USSR collapsed in 1991 and for at least 10 years Russia had no money even to pay its soldiers. As the Chechen debacles had shown they were in shambles. Their new projects weren't going much forward, as you can see they resumed their 1980′s projects after 2000 when they had more oil income and Putin made the Russian state working again (well, kind of it is still hindered by corruption, disincentivizes citizens from being entrepreneurial (in a state where the rules can be changed overnight at the ruler's whim (no real rule of law) and you can be a billionaire oligarch but you can't be sure the state doesn't simple take everything from you and throw you in prison overnight, even arranging for your "accidental" death, except the money you siphoned to foreign accounts and real estate abroad etc.) It is mafia state, or a mafia (ex KGB) presenting itself as the state. Of course it is more ore less true everywhere (in the US too of course), deep under the veneer of democracy and rule of law, but in Russia it is almost open and blatant. Also the Russians don't have any traditions of enterpreneurship, private incentive, contrary to China, which is also a very corrupt country with a corrupt and totally nondemocratic regime (contrary to Russia which has token Western-style democratic institutions now), but thanks to the industriousness of the Chinese people they have risen to where they are now. Average Russians still seem to expect the state to provide for them as it was in the USSR, they need a "Father Tsar" which is now Putin, or they are just drinking too much and are in a rut, idk.

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

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    ondrej , April 18, 2017 at 7:25 am GMT
    • 200 Words @Kiza Ok. so the secret of Russian military project effectiveness is that there are no congressional districts and power plays to divvy up the military budget not based on merit and proven capability than based on the power of the district's Congressional and/or Senatorial whore. Then, there are no MIC billionaires to skim the pie. Then the engineers works for reasonable salaries with a highly respected bonus of patriotism. Then there is an excellent well established educational system (for the whites) which puts accent on physics, maths and real technical building skills, supported by mentorship by experienced engineers, instead of putting accent on lying, financial market wizardry (again manipulation), MBAs, whilst training blacks to become engineers and importing engineers from India. Finally, there is the accumulated project experience and cooperative networks from building good weaponry during the days of Soviet Union, in which Russia quickly and effectively replaced sometimes dysfunctional pieces of network which dropped out, especially the important ones from Ukraine. I am truly amazed how quickly the Russian military manufacturing network compensates and adjusts for the loss of any piece.

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

    Am I missing any other component of success?

    Just a possibility – or my hypothesis I am playing lately:-)

    It can be language according Sapir–Whorf hypothesis.
    The principle of linguistic relativity that the structure of a language affects its speakers' world view or cognition. Popularly known as the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, or Whorfianism, the principle is often defined to include two versions. The strong version says that language determines thought, and that linguistic categories limit and determine cognitive categories, whereas the weak version says that linguistic categories and usage only influence thought and decisions.

    and also due to fact that:

    Baltic and Slavic show the common trait of never having undergone in the course of their development any sudden systemic upheaval. [ ] there is no indication of a serious dislocation of any part of the linguistic system at any time. The sound structure has in general remained intact to the present. [ ] Baltic and Slavic are consequently the only languages in which certain modern word-forms resemble those reconstructed for Common Indo-European." ( The Indo-European Dialects [Eng. translation of Les dialectes indo-européens (1908)], University of Alabama Press, 1967, pp.
    59-60).

    Which could explain math skills of Russians and Indian:-) because languages are closely related.

    + learning other languages helps one for recognizing other points of view, if you look at current Russian elites Shoigu, Lavrov and others they speak usually one or more foreign languages fluently.

    anon , April 18, 2017 at 8:18 am GMT
    • 300 Words @Andrei Martyanov

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

    P.S. No serious analyst takes US GDP as 18 trillion dollars seriously. A huge part of it is a creative bookkeeping and most of it is financial and service sector. Out of very few good things Vitaly Shlykov left after himself was his "The General Staff And Economics", which addressed the issue of actual US military-industrial potential. Then come strategic, operational and technological dimensions. You want to see operational dimension--look no further than Mosul which is still, after 6 months, being "liberated". Comparisons to Aleppo are not only warranted but irresistible. In general, overall power of the state (nation) is not only in its "economic" indices. I use Barnett's definition of national power constantly, remarkably Lavrov's recent speech in the General Staff Academy uses virtually identical definition. Your main point is well taken. PPP instead of simply GDP captures lower costs in Russia and is a better starting point. Plus, the US military procurement is remarkably inefficient. The combination of the two plus tacit and institutional knowledge regarding spending on military hardware makes analysis based on US spending misleading.

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

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

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

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

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    DanC , April 18, 2017 at 8:41 am GMT
    • 400 Words @Carlton Meyer If you care to read my detailed explanation of why carrier strike groups are obsolete against a modern navy:

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

    If you prefer to watch a 33 second example:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ki2-uyCHOA Great article.

    Concerning wastage of resources, here's what John Patch of the USN had to say:

    The Soviets debated building a significant carrier fleet in the 1960s but determined that large carriers had no place in the nuclear age, partly because of their vulnerability to missiles with nuclear warheads.2 While later choosing to build larger carriers, Moscow always retained the view that carriers remained vulnerable.

    https://defence.pk/pdf/threads/the-carrier-invulnerability-myth.145678/

    It is surely significant that Russia sold or gave away all its cold war-era aircraft carriers and retains only the hybrid aircraft-capable cruiser, Kuznetsov.

    They "get" it that the role of capital surface ships is changing,, and diminishing. This is also indicative of why the Russians will shock the first fleet that tries to engage them. They keep their planners and developers focused on what actually matters, and serious war gaming, rather than rigging things to provide the answer they want for careerist reasons

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Challenge_2002

    Note that it took the attacking general about 5 minutes using a swarm of old-generation cruise missiles to sink enough craft to disable the fleet's networked defense and EW capacity, with crew amounting to 20,000 on the ships sunk alone. The remaining ships were sitting ducks for the follow up attacks.

    These were subsonic cruise missiles. A bunch of moskits would have wiped everything out.

    And still these fools keep spending money on carrier groups. it's noteworthy that they restarted the war game and ordered the opposing general to stop making effective attacks. That sums up exactly why the US keeps wasting money and doing stupid things.
    __________________

    As an aside, note that the CGI from the movie of an aircraft carrier attack is not realistic.

    Projectiles travelling at the speeds shown would easily be destroyed or diverted by fleet defense systems.

    The new BrahMos adaptation of the Onyx missile travels at 2,800 mph. By comparison a bullet fired from a high compression hunting rifle travels at 1,700 mph.

    The ballistic missiles such as the Dong feng being developed by the Chinese, will have incoming speeds as high as 5,000 mph.

    The human eye can't actually see objects moving that fast.

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Joey Zaza , April 18, 2017 at 9:48 am GMT
    @Anonymous Russia spent almost 5.4% of GDP on military spending. The US last year spent 3.3% and with Trump's proposed increase this number will increase by a few decimal points.

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

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

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures Hopefully the President of Russia will take on board your succinct and informed analysis. Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

    Max Steel , April 18, 2017 at 9:53 am GMT
    @reiner Tor I think that while it's a grave mistake for Americans to underestimate Russians, it's also a grave mistake for Russians to underestimate Americans.

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

    Underestimate Americans in what ? Stupidity ? Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Max Steel , April 18, 2017 at 9:57 am GMT
    @reiner Tor

    US would have a real test in North Korea or Iran, Russia in a war against Turkey.
    I think Turkey's military is stronger than either Iran's or North Korea's, so it would be a tougher test for Russia to fight Turkey than for the US to fight North Korea or Iran. Russians have already defeated Ottomans and Turkey is NOT a tough test for Russia given Turkey invades Russia otheriwse unlike US you don't expect Russia to go launch a war bravado against them. Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Seraphim , April 18, 2017 at 10:39 am GMT
    @2stateshmoostate I could be wrong, but I am inclined to see a parallel between the US now and the Russian Empire pre-1904.
    After after the surprise attack by the Japanese navy against Port Arthur and ultimate victory by Japan in the Russian-Japanese war that followed back in 1904, the Czarist regime was doomed.
    The Russians were arrogantly confident that they could easily beat down the Japanese forces and got the shit kicked out of them.
    On paper the Russians should have had the advantage, but because there was so much corruption and incompetence in the Czarist military complex they were defeated.
    The result was a the revolution of 1905 and the Czars ultimate demise in 1917.
    I think everything about the US government is a lie and has been for a while. Even though billions are spent on the US military I suspect it is a "paper tiger" because of obvious corruption but also because of the traitorous activity of US government officials with allegiances to a foreign powers.
    Anyway I'd be surprised that the US would prevail (without destroying the entire world with nukes) in a conflict with a adversary like Russia.
    But, I certainly could be wrong. The war that the Japanese started pushed by the Schiff banking cabal was ended in 1945 by the people they helped to overturn a friend of Japan, the Tsar Nicholas II. Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Max Steel , April 18, 2017 at 11:34 am GMT
    @utu The article is not backed up by numbers. There is zero specificity.

    How many S-300 and S-400 are actually deployed? How many missiles/fighter jets would it take to overwhelm this defensive force? Does US/NATO have that many missiles/fighter jets to do this job?

    How many Su-35 were deployed so far and how does this compare to the number of F-22 in service?

    How many submarines US and Russia have currently in the seas?

    What's wrong with Ohio class subs? They are just there to deliver the punch and are perfectly safe as Russia does not have enough killer subs.

    And now this:


    Moreover, already today, US lower 48 are not immune to a conventional massive missile strike.
    What would be the purpose of such a strike? Wasting expensive missile on delivering just singular 500kg explosive? Anybody seriously in Russia's military would consider such an idiocy?

    The bottom line is that Russia is a nuclear power that can annihilate the US. All strategies take this into account. This is the bottom line. Any response or aggression vis a vis Russia must take this into account.

    Russia has conventional defensive capabilities but has negligible ability of projecting its power beyond its borders. Circa 4 dozens of planes in Syria with half a dozen of fighter jets to protect them that all are defended by few dozens of S-300/400 tubes is not very impressive. This force could be overwhelmed in just few hours by Israel AF that has over 400 F-15/16 or Turkey AF that has over 200 F-16.

    I do not believe anybody really wants a war with Russia but certainly they want to conquer Russia to make it to submit to the Washington consensus. But this will not be done with foreign troops on Russian soil or with bombs falling or Russian cities. It will be done with a soft coup d'etat that will depose Putin and his semi-patriotic faction. It all will be done with Russian hands. The attack on Syria by Trump was perfectly timed with president Xi visit who is very familiar with the Chinese proverb: kill the chicken to scare the monkey. Putin was the chicken and Xi was the monkey in this case. Putin lost face and Xi lost face. With every incident of this nature there will be more and more resentment and plotting among various factions in Russia's Deep State. There is no other choice because certainly Russia will not go to the preemptive nuclear war and apart of nuclear war Russia will be humiliated in every conventional skirmish.

    I am taking bets if Putin will be out of power by the end of this summer. S-300 can destroy Israeli warplanes even before they leave their airfields for sky. Do you see Russians doing it ? Why ? Because Russia and Israel have friendly relations and Russia doesn't interfere in Hezbollah and Israelis conflict. Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

    Max Steel , April 18, 2017 at 11:48 am GMT
    • 300 Words @Kiza Congratulations on the article Andrei. As another commenter said - I do not agree with everything in the article, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    There is a slight flaw in your comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    It was the middle of the 1990s and money was nonexistent in Russia . They sold components of an S-300V battery to the US likely the oldest model they had that was incomplete.With the money they made they upgraded the whole system to S-300VM or Antei-2500.So in effect the US paid for the next generation to replace the generation that was compromised.And the S-300V was in service in most former Soviet republics so chances were eventually they would get their hands on it anyway at least this way they got their own funding to develop a replacement system.

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    bb. , April 18, 2017 at 12:01 pm GMT
    • 100 Words @inertial You just illustrated my point. Facebook vs. Gazprom market caps - all that shows is that Facebook has access to vastly larger amounts of capital than Gazprom. Well, duh.

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

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

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

    Finally, a tip. Any "expert" who doesn't treat US (or other) economic data seriously is an idiot. not treating US data seriously is obviously hyperbole, but incidentally a very on spot one in this case.
    all things being equal, you are right about market formation and capitalization. but these are not normal times. nobody really knows whats going to happen when the shit, which is the US stock market QE fueled ponzi scheme, hits the fan. it is very hard to take the subprime, derivative, QE, buyback economy of the last almost 20 years seriously.
    it is also false to say that zuckerbook is useless. it generates way too much money(compared to twitter or tesla) to make that statement. in general, it is hard to estimate the value and effectiveness of marketing expenses and facebook put a decent metric on it, better than google to some extent. Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

    AP , April 18, 2017 at 12:40 pm GMT
    • 200 Words @2stateshmoostate I could be wrong, but I am inclined to see a parallel between the US now and the Russian Empire pre-1904.
    After after the surprise attack by the Japanese navy against Port Arthur and ultimate victory by Japan in the Russian-Japanese war that followed back in 1904, the Czarist regime was doomed.
    The Russians were arrogantly confident that they could easily beat down the Japanese forces and got the shit kicked out of them.
    On paper the Russians should have had the advantage, but because there was so much corruption and incompetence in the Czarist military complex they were defeated.
    The result was a the revolution of 1905 and the Czars ultimate demise in 1917.
    I think everything about the US government is a lie and has been for a while. Even though billions are spent on the US military I suspect it is a "paper tiger" because of obvious corruption but also because of the traitorous activity of US government officials with allegiances to a foreign powers.
    Anyway I'd be surprised that the US would prevail (without destroying the entire world with nukes) in a conflict with a adversary like Russia.
    But, I certainly could be wrong.

    I could be wrong, but I am inclined to see a parallel between the US now and the Russian Empire pre-1904.

    Sorry, that's just completely wrong.

    The best rough analogy to Russia of pre-1904 would be China (though China is further along in its development, perhaps it would be Russia of 1914 or later, had Russia not stupidly gotten itself into World War I).

    The US would somehow be analogous to the British Empire in its decline. A key difference, however, is the US' massive population (more than double that of Russia), territory and natural resources compared to that of the British mainland. This probably provides some sort of floor to the American decline that Britain didn't have.

    Also, keep in mind that western Russophobes plus Bolsheviks exaggerated the Tsars' Russia's weakness and incompetence, while there was nobody to defend it. This makes the picture unrealistically negative. During World War I, Russia defeated two of the three Central Powers (compare Russian vs. British performance vs. the Ottoman Empire) and was able to maintain a stable front vs. the third.

    Andrei Martyanov , • Website April 18, 2017 at 12:47 pm GMT
    NEW!

    They sold components of an S-300V battery to the US

    Belarus sold the whole complex to the US, S-300V.

    Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    Andrei Martyanov , • Website April 18, 2017 at 12:54 pm GMT
    • 100 WordsNEW! @Blacktail The Russian military is moving in the same direction as the US --- toward state-of-the-art obsolescence. While they build tiny numbers of new weapons, many times that number of their predecessors are being retired faster than the new weapons can be built.

    That fancy T-14 Armata Russia started building a few years ago? It replaces over 20000 T-55s and T-62s built early in the Cold War, and 6000 T-64s that were all spontaneously retired in the early 2010s and shipped not to the tank graveyards, but straight to the cutting mills.

    The Borei class Ballistic Missile Submarines mentioned in the article currently number about 5 boats, most of which aren't finished yet. They replace not only the infinitely more powerful and infamous Typhoon class (retired not because of age, but because Russia couldn't afford them), but also some 50 other Cold War era "Boomers".

    And that Su-35 that's all the hype these days? It was back in the mid-1990s as well, and the Su-27 it was meant to replace is being retired faster than Su-35s can be built. The new T-50 isn't much of a threat either, because it's been in development almost as long as the F-35, and it's no closer to being combat-ready.

    These are a metaphor for what Russia has become; a nation so insecure about the wrong things (cutting-edge technology rather than enough weapons to defend itself) that they're over-spending to weakness.

    They replace not only the infinitely more powerful and infamous Typhoon class (retired not because of age,

    Sir, please, don't write things you don't know about. Pacific Fleet's Delta III (Project 667 BDR) SSBNs are in dire need of replacement, while Northern Fleet's SSBNs of Delta IV class (Project 667 BDRM) are nearing the end of life. Remaining Project 941 (Akula-class> not Typhoon) are not even consideration for Borey-class, serving out their lives as test platforms, mostly. Borey (Project 955 and 955A) was created to replace aging Deltas.

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Andrei Martyanov , • Website April 18, 2017 at 1:10 pm GMT
    • 200 WordsNEW! @Kiza Ok. so the secret of Russian military project effectiveness is that there are no congressional districts and power plays to divvy up the military budget not based on merit and proven capability than based on the power of the district's Congressional and/or Senatorial whore. Then, there are no MIC billionaires to skim the pie. Then the engineers works for reasonable salaries with a highly respected bonus of patriotism. Then there is an excellent well established educational system (for the whites) which puts accent on physics, maths and real technical building skills, supported by mentorship by experienced engineers, instead of putting accent on lying, financial market wizardry (again manipulation), MBAs, whilst training blacks to become engineers and importing engineers from India. Finally, there is the accumulated project experience and cooperative networks from building good weaponry during the days of Soviet Union, in which Russia quickly and effectively replaced sometimes dysfunctional pieces of network which dropped out, especially the important ones from Ukraine. I am truly amazed how quickly the Russian military manufacturing network compensates and adjusts for the loss of any piece.

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

    Then, there are no MIC billionaires to skim the pie.

    This is crucial. Sure, Chemezov's or Rahmanov's salaries are huge by Russian standards (well, by Western too) and allows the military-industrial elite to live very comfortably, to put it mildly but the answer is the state's ownership of the whole defense sphere, from industry to doctrinal development. Relationship between Russians and their state are dramatically different from what most Westerners ever experienced in their relations. It was inevitable in the nation with such military history as Russia. As I mentioned Arthur J. Alexander's "spread"–Russia does have this pressure applied to her institutes to, in the end, become this character from Russian anecdote, where he buys a crib for his toddler from one of the former MIC plants and after assembling it at home gets AK-47. Russia is bound to produce (at least mostly) weapons which have to work.

    Here is what Russians do, barn, of course, being a representation of Russian State;)

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Z-man , April 18, 2017 at 1:20 pm GMT
    @NoseytheDuke What if the fat boy (and the NK people) feel that they need those weapons for defensive purposes? After all, it wasn't too long ago that Korea was invaded by the US (plus a few satraps) and millions of Koreans were killed. Who are we in the west to interfere with NK? Fat boy is developing missiles that will hit the USA, nuff said.
    Ok a little more, he can sell those little nuclear bombs to some terrorist group, now 'nuff said!' Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Sam Shama , April 18, 2017 at 1:23 pm GMT
    • 100 Words @NoseytheDuke The troubles of the US of late have largely stemmed from having an insatiable parasite on its back sucking all that it can from the military and the economy in general whilst simultaneously plotting to undermine it.

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

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

    You sure have your finger on America's pulse Shammy and clearly want nothing but the best for the American people, right? What a tosser! I shall refrain from returning your predictably dumb insults.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    There is little you or I could do about it. Alea iacta est .

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Z-man , April 18, 2017 at 1:24 pm GMT
    @Kiza You are stupid, are you not? No, I am smarter than you, and probably better looking. Just a guess, but an educated one, lol! •
    Anon , April 18, 2017 at 2:07 pm GMT
    • 200 Words @Andrei Martyanov

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Here is a dilemma. Gazprom extracts and delivers energy without which Eurasia can not exist. Facebook? Turn it off tomorrow and bar some impressionable teenagers committing suicide, the world will continue on living just fine. But that is just one example. You will not find, however, such a hi-tech monster as Rostec on any financial market. For a corporate giant which employs half-a-million people and produces state of the art weapon systems and civilian products–ask yourself a question whose "capitalization" is more important for economy–of useless Facebook or of the corporation which produces civilian jet engines. But let me add insult to injury. While Facebook "capitalizes" on almost half-trillion, a gem of the American industry, aerospace giant Boeing barely makes it to 109 billion. Most US economic indices are fraud, the same as most of US economy is virtual–a collection of virtual transactions with virtual money and virtual services.

    The above is a classic example of elementalism. It is a flawed perspective. Humans do not need much more than clean air, clean shelter, food, water and perhaps some antibiotics to live perfectly well. Every desire is born of the limbic system, which includes the hippocampus and the amygdala.

    Don't speak so dismissively of Virtual Reality.

    Joe Wong , April 18, 2017 at 2:24 pm GMT
    • 200 Words @Erebus

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

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

    You can read a rather lengthy, but eye opening treatise on this subject here:
    http://lit.md/files/nstarikov/rouble_nationalization-the_way_to_russia%27s_freedom.pdf

    The Russian Central Bank, like all "emerging market" central banks are treaty bound to print local currency only in a prescribed ratio to their "hard currency" reserves.

    The above is your fabrication, the link is a write out by an over zealous nationalist with half baked truth, and the link is neither a treaty quoted by you to support your claim nor saying there is such IMF treaty.

    Most nations hardly have any hard currency reserves, yet the amount of local currency they printed proves your "prescribed ratio" a fake news. Even those nations have hard currency reserves, the amount of local currency they prints makes your "prescribed ratio" a Hollywood fantasy.

    Putin has begun de-dollarization Russian economy long time ago, Russian has signed currency SWAP with China, EU and Japan, so that Russian can trade without USD. China also has set up AIIB and Alt-SWIFT for rest of the world to bypass the USD as well. Time has changed, man.

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Andrei Martyanov , • Website April 18, 2017 at 2:34 pm GMT
    • 300 WordsNEW! @inertial You just illustrated my point. Facebook vs. Gazprom market caps - all that shows is that Facebook has access to vastly larger amounts of capital than Gazprom. Well, duh.

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

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

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

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

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

    Sure, and that is why a company which produces nothing of value "commands" the so called "investments" which are several times larger than those of Boeing who is de facto US national treasure and who, as you stated, has problems with raising "capital". That pretty much says it all. Again, I omit here the trick with stock buybacks. But in the end, you seem to miss completely the point–structure of GDP.

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

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

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

    • Agree: Sergey Krieger •
    Joe Wong , April 18, 2017 at 2:37 pm GMT
    • 100 Words @Anon

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

    Don't speak so dismissively of Virtual Reality. I guess what Andrei Martyanov was trying to say that virtual is not real, intrinsic or tangible, it is fabricated or created thru the thin air, hence the American economy is not real, intrinsic or tangible, it is fabricated or created thru the thin air. Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

    Ondrej , April 18, 2017 at 3:01 pm GMT
    • 100 Words @Anon

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

    Don't speak so dismissively of Virtual Reality.

    It is a flawed perspective. Humans do not need much more than clean air, clean shelter, food, water and perhaps some antibiotics to live perfectly well.

    Yes, valid argument which true for GB, Belgium, Holland, with their Gulf Stream protected stable clime, but I would prefer Mediterranean area such as Greece or Balkan for that matter.

    Hmm Olive oil, vine, fishing sounds nice, but anything east of Frankfurt and North of let say Berlin in Europe, will add different perspective. Heating for winter, and shorter summer. Just ask people in Archangelsk or Petersburg

    + Virtual reality need quite a lot of electrical power to run, not only on your computer but in cloud as well.

    Here you can find nice perspective as well..

    https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2015/09/you-call-this-progress/

    Reply More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
    Peripatetic commenter , April 18, 2017 at 3:15 pm GMT
    • 100 Words Strategy page thinks that the S400s in Syria are useless:

    https://strategypage.com/qnd/russia/articles/20170418.aspx

    In reading their article they seem to forget about the Mig-15 and Mig-17 in Korea and Vietnam, respectively, and about the effectiveness of those SAMs in Vietnam as well.

    Didn't that traitor, John McCain get downed by a SAM?

    https://infogalactic.com/info/Mikoyan-Gurevich_MiG-15

    Reply More... This Commenter Display All Comments
    The Alarmist, April 18, 2017 at 3:43 pm GMT
    @Erebus I understand that there would be great hue and cry to take revenge. That is why I wrote (with a correction in bold):
    One can hope that we'll be rejoicing that America's owners follow ed their internationalistic instincts when that moment has passed.
    America's owners aren't necessarily American. That the civilizational consequences of America's death be limited to the N. American continent is in their interest, and they would make that interest known.
    The geo-political consequences of an attack on the grid in response to a US/NATO attack on Russia would be that the US would instantly cease to be a military/economic power for at least several generations. The Great Game would be over. If the US came back with a nuclear response, they know well that Russia's counter-response would simply extend that timeline. Perhaps to infinity. IOW, other than suicidal madness, there is no geo-political reason to respond, and there'd be every reason to take the hit and try to rebuild.

    Likewise, Russia's politicians would be hard pressed to resist responding to an American nuclear attack in kind, but the fact is that there would be no military purpose to doing so. The US would be finished as a world power. Vaporizing 200M people would be of no military value. Better to keep what's left of your nuclear forces intact so you don't have to rebuild them. The more likely scenario is this: Sensing a number of strategic and tactical indicators of an impending attack, the US launches a bolt out of the blue attack to cripple the Russian forces before they can attack. Russian SLBMs and rail-based missiles get off a few MIRVs that take out DC and a few other major cities (counter-force targetting is pointless after the first-strike), but no-harm no-foul since the JEEP was executed at the time of the first-strike, so everybody who matters was saved from harm and that pesky problem of too many idle hands in the major urban centers was finally taken care of.

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

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

    lastnerve , April 18, 2017 at 3:44 pm GMT
    @Intelligent Dasein I've come to the conclusion that it is the probable consensus among America's Deep State elites, as exemplified by the truly evil Hillary Clinton, that an all-out war with Russia which totally devastates Russia but leaves America just barely standing, would, notwithstanding the rivers of blood and the chaos unleashed, be an acceptable outcome as long as the blasted rump of America, namely the Deep State itself, gets to subsequently enthrone itself as the unchallenged world hegemon. The Deep State views the entirety of America's economic and military might, as well as the lives of its citizens, as merely a means to this end.

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

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

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

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

    I agree with what you write except that the Deep State is but a part of the Globalist (NWO)
    plans for their future world.
    Sam Shama , April 18, 2017 at 3:46 pm GMT
    @Kiza
    It [US] needs to come down hard on MIC waste, which if done successfully can change things around very quickly.
    Gee Sam, you are totally lost in your understanding of US problems.

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

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

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

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

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

    Gee Sam, you are totally lost in your understanding of US problems.

    Hi Kiza,

    I admit I do get lost on occasion, so please feel free to correct me. Are you saying that accounting categorisation, which if reversed might lead to a 2% higher military spending, is an attempt to deceive international bond markets? You clearly think bond investors are stupid. That is an opinion based on what precisely? Experienced results of bond markets? Please enlighten me.

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

    "Hot", as in inflation? If so, the characterisation is a fail, since U.S. inflation and long bond yields have been doing the opposite.

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/IRLTLT01USM156N

    I have no idea what you mean by "what Trump is doing". Have you noticed the Fed had actually raised short rates? Yet the 10-year bond is at 2.2%?

    Please read what I wrote carefully. Nowhere did I recommend the U.S. pursue the path of yet another Reaganesque star wars race. What I said was, of all nations, she is the most capable of doing so, where an escalation would literally push her "competitors" to engage in little else in their economies. That is all. Yes, I understand that MIC waste ends up in the pockets of the least desirable elements. Do you mean to say that other nations are bereft of this virtue?

    Since Russia and China started replacing US$ as a reserve and exchange currency, the clock has been ticking for the money printers such as the Fed and Trump.

    Gee Kiza, exaggerate much? Replace the USD?

    CNY has been added to the SDR basket as a reserve currency, with very limited international use, as of 2016 BIS data, after having doubled over the last year (but currently moving lower), the Yuan comprises 4% of total international reserve currency use.

    The United States actually wants the Chinese currency to gain much greater acceptance to aid global growth and relieve the pressure on the U.S, but of late the massive capital flows out of China to the U.S. has badly hindered this objective.

    Here is what the Yuan has done: from a managed and swiftly devalued currency pursuant to China's decades-long mercantilist policies (to which the US had given the implicit nod), it rose in value during 2005-2013 as the US/ECB/BoJ/BoC worked in a co-ordinated fashion to modify global savings imbalances, to yet again devalue during 2014-present, mostly as capital outflows gathered force.

    The Rouble is not a reserve currency, so the AIB while a worthy development, does not give the Rouble reserve status, somehow "replacing" the USD/EUR/GBP/JPY/KRW. Can it achieve that status? I think it can, given the deep capabilities of the Russian population. International acceptance of such status requires a far more diversified economy.

    When the amount of US$ returning to US starts exceeding the amount bought by foreigners, then the inflation will explode to the German one of the 1920s.

    Reversing cause and effect. If hyperinflation ever arrives on the shores of the US, you'll have far greater problems globally than worrying about bonds. I've seen this trope play continuously since 2008. I need a date, even an approximate one, or I shall be forced to tell you that I know with certainty that "at some point in the future the Earth will cease to exist".

    Best

    Avery, April 18, 2017 at 3:56 pm GMT
    @Mark Chapman In fact, Russia often tests its systems under much more realistic conditions than does the USA and western powers. They want to know if it is going to fail when it is confronted with western jamming, for example, and try to make intercept difficult where the west is obsessed with collecting test data for evaluation, and as a consequence the launch site knows the release time of the target and its initial course and speed, rather than a 'black' release. Not always, but often.

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

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

    It is safe to say without further information that western air forces are very wary of the S-400, and confronting Russia's multilayered IADS would be nothing like taking on Gadaffi's eccentric and janky mismatched collection of air-defense weaponry. {I guess much of it boils down to how seriously you take Russian accounts of their own tests, but they specify here that the test took place under heavy jamming and yet all four missiles intercepted the target during the midcourse phase. }

    I don't doubt the veracity of the claim in the article. All I was commenting on was this sentence of the author of the article: {From people who serve on it, and I quote:" mind boggling capabilities".}

    Traditionally Soviets/Russians have do spend more of their resources on defense, particularly anti-air. Their anti-air missiles have a solid track record: the highly competent USAF – in personnel, and training, and technology – lost lots and lots of equipment to Soviet SAMs in Viet Nam. Even high-flying B52 were not safe.

    Also, Egyptians shot down lots of Israeli jets with Soviet AAs during the Yom Kippur war .

    So there is no doubt in my mind that S-300/S-400 are very capable systems. But the phrase 'mind boggling' is a bit of a hyperbole.
    What is it based on? engineering specifications and simulated tests.

    I have a bit of a technical background (commercial, not military).
    We'd simulate all sorts real-life conditions in testing the product, but as soon as it was sent out, humans managed to find some sequence that crashed the system. You just can't simulate the randomness of the real world.

    If and when the S-400 is used in anger, then we'll see if its capabilities are 'mind boggling' . Until then, it's just conjecture.

    Seamus Padraig, April 18, 2017 at 4:08 pm GMT
    @LondonBob Trump's isolationism and embrace of realpolitik is just a recognition of realities, interestingly this is a viewpoint shared in many European capitals, despite their fulminating over Trump. If Trump isn't co-opted he deserves congratulations for stymieing the traditional imperial overstretch, that is unless recent events in Syria and the Ukraine, perhaps analogous to the Boer War, don't already represent the high points of US power before inevitable decline. Avoiding a WWI type general conflagration will be achievement enough.

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

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

    True, but it can be effective as a propaganda technique nevertheless. Orwell referred to it as 'doublethink'.

    iffen, April 18, 2017 at 4:11 pm GMT
    @Sam Shama
    Gee Sam, you are totally lost in your understanding of US problems.
    Hi Kiza,

    I admit I do get lost on occasion, so please feel free to correct me. Are you saying that accounting categorisation, which if reversed might lead to a 2% higher military spending, is an attempt to deceive international bond markets? You clearly think bond investors are stupid. That is an opinion based on what precisely? Experienced results of bond markets? Please enlighten me.

    Secondly, if US were to bump up the military budget to 7-10% this could come only either at the expense of money printing machines running even hotter than super hot QE1,QE2,QE3 (what Trump is doing) or by increasing taxes on a quite depressed economy in which retail spending has almost collapsed. I cannot believe that you are suggesting this, maybe you are too close to your Fed buddies.
    "Hot", as in inflation? If so, the characterisation is a fail, since U.S. inflation and long bond yields have been doing the opposite.

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/IRLTLT01USM156N

    I have no idea what you mean by "what Trump is doing". Have you noticed the Fed had actually raised short rates? Yet the 10-year bond is at 2.2%?

    Please read what I wrote carefully. Nowhere did I recommend the U.S. pursue the path of yet another Reaganesque star wars race. What I said was, of all nations, she is the most capable of doing so, where an escalation would literally push her "competitors" to engage in little else in their economies. That is all. Yes, I understand that MIC waste ends up in the pockets of the least desirable elements. Do you mean to say that other nations are bereft of this virtue?

    Since Russia and China started replacing US$ as a reserve and exchange currency, the clock has been ticking for the money printers such as the Fed and Trump.
    Gee Kiza, exaggerate much? Replace the USD?

    CNY has been added to the SDR basket as a reserve currency, with very limited international use, as of 2016 BIS data, after having doubled over the last year (but currently moving lower), the Yuan comprises 4% of total international reserve currency use.

    The United States actually wants the Chinese currency to gain much greater acceptance to aid global growth and relieve the pressure on the U.S, but of late the massive capital flows out of China to the U.S. has badly hindered this objective.

    Here is what the Yuan has done: from a managed and swiftly devalued currency pursuant to China's decades-long mercantilist policies (to which the US had given the implicit nod), it rose in value during 2005-2013 as the US/ECB/BoJ/BoC worked in a co-ordinated fashion to modify global savings imbalances, to yet again devalue during 2014-present, mostly as capital outflows gathered force.

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DEXCHUS

    The Rouble is not a reserve currency, so the AIB while a worthy development, does not give the Rouble reserve status, somehow "replacing" the USD/EUR/GBP/JPY/KRW. Can it achieve that status? I think it can, given the deep capabilities of the Russian population. International acceptance of such status requires a far more diversified economy.


    When the amount of US$ returning to US starts exceeding the amount bought by foreigners, then the inflation will explode to the German one of the 1920s.
    Reversing cause and effect. If hyperinflation ever arrives on the shores of the US, you'll have far greater problems globally than worrying about bonds. I've seen this trope play continuously since 2008. I need a date, even an approximate one, or I shall be forced to tell you that I know with certainty that "at some point in the future the Earth will cease to exist".

    Best Yes, I understand that MIC waste ends up in the pockets of the least desirable elements.

    Who gets to define "least desirable"?

    I know that you are not talking about IAM members.

    A good defense industry is vital. In a capitalist economy, what other model for the MIC do you have in mind?

    ThatDamnGood , April 18, 2017 at 4:35 pm GMT
    @Timur The Lame @SmoothieX12

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

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

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

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

    Cheers- Kitty Hawk.

    http://mobile.wnd.com/2000/12/2254/

    in the middle, April 18, 2017 at 4:50 pm GMT
    @reiner Tor Don't worry, when the going gets tough, suddenly the US military will only send straight white men to die for LGBT and black "equality". Come on! While serving in Africa, I saw the US Marines, and, and, well, not many whites were visible! Mostly minorities, specially Hispanics, and Blacks, so there goes your argument; same for the Army. So Hush! (The AF is the only service with majority whites). The Navy, lots of Philippinos.
    Andrei Martyanov , • Website April 18, 2017 at 5:40 pm GMT
    @Timur The Lame @SmoothieX12

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

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

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

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

    Cheers- There were many cases of Russian SU-24, TU-142, Tu-22s flying over one of the US carriers. Here is one such case:

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

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

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

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

    http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2016/05/so-much-for-trumps-new-foreign-policy.html

    Z-man, April 18, 2017 at 6:26 pm GMT
    @iffen Nah, you are still the greatest idiot on unz

    And the field of competition is not that weak.

    And a weak sister chimes in. •
    Timur The Lame, April 18, 2017 at 6:52 pm GMT
    @ Smoothiex12,

    Thank you for the information. I shall look up your post regarding the Donald Cook incident. Your take on it would be news to me as it did seem to be disabled, though I only read relatively superficial accounts.

    As ThatDamnGood pointed out (thanks) it was indeed the Kitty Hawk incident that escaped my recollection. I know that these type incidents occur but it was something about the aforementioned case that stuck in my mind, the super low altitude I think.

    Time for a revisit and a memory tonic. But then again even Kasparov eventually lost to Deep Blue.

    Cheers-

    Seminumerical, April 18, 2017 at 9:59 pm GMT
    @AtomAnt "Regarding Russian military they are still 20 years behind on average"

    Dude, you're delusional. The US military is to a large extent a paper tiger. Example: Aircraft carriers are not survivable against Russian or Chinese missiles and subs. They are good for bombing 3rd world countries only, like 19th century gunboats (plus fattening MIC coffers). Example: A Rand report found the F-35 "can't turn, can't climb, isn't fast enough to run away".

    I would argue nothing is as important as missile technology. Russia may be leading in that.

    Furthermore, the US has lower income and less capital now than 20 years ago. Russia has a central bank focused on rational economics rather than milking the country for billionaires' sake. They insist on positive interest rates so savers get the benefit of their money. That's why Russia is growing albeit slowly while the US regresses.
    The US will find fighting Russia is not like fighting Arabs. (Remember what some Israeli general said about fighting Arabs.) The US hasn't fought without air superiority in over 74 years.

    Note the moral dimension, also. The US has to pay its military 2X the equivalent private sector wages, because no one wants to die for Lockheed Martin. Sure the Aircraft carriers are vulnerable. But the US have a disproportionate response prepared for any country that strikes one with a missile or torpedo. So the carriers get to project power despite their vulnerability. •

    inertial, April 18, 2017 at 11:03 pm GMT
    @Andrei Martyanov
    Market capitalization is determined mostly by institutional investors – mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, etc. – who pool private savings and channel them into various investments. There are massive amounts of such savings available in USA; in Russia, not so much.
    Sure, and that is why a company which produces nothing of value "commands" the so called "investments" which are several times larger than those of Boeing who is de facto US national treasure and who, as you stated, has problems with raising "capital". That pretty much says it all. Again, I omit here the trick with stock buybacks. But in the end, you seem to miss completely the point--structure of GDP.

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

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

    In general, we speak here different languages and I may only refer you back to Michael Lind's quote in my text. Judged in a larger, geopolitical framework, one can observe very clearly the process of US literally running out of resources and no amount of "raised capital" can change it. This is not to speak about the whole house of cards of Pax Americana which rested on US military imperial mythology. Once this mythology is debunked (the process which is ongoing as I type it) the house of cards folds. Years ago, I used to make fun of Amazon and later of Google. I learned my lesson. I personally don't have much use for Facebook; I don't have an account there. But I can see that Facebook provides a lot of value both to its users and to its customers (two distinct sets.)

    And then there is the potential. Lots of smart people are working at Facebook; they may well come up with a breakthrough in some unexpected area. Google started with search and now they are working on driverless cars, among other things. I doubt GM or Ford would've come up with driverless cars, as it is more of a software challenge than a car design one. So here is an example how an investment into a "virtual" company like Google worked out better than an investment into the "real" economy like GM.

    Now as for FIRE, and that brings me back to what I said about Facebook. Just because you personally don't need or don't understand a service it doesn't mean that it's "useless," or "virtual," or "fraudulent," or whatever other epithet is being used. Before you slam the FIRE sector you have to understand what services it provides, who needs these services, and why. Are there problems? Of course there are; there are always problems, that's human condition. Is FIRE sector too big? Perhaps, but with all due respect you are not a person to judge, as you have only the vaguest of ideas of what it actually does. The truth is, financial sector supports the "real" economy, which cannot exist without it. And this makes it as "real" as anything.

    Finally. The problem is that you listen to cranks. I used to be there 15-20 years but then I realized that the cranks are full of shit. Sometimes they accidentally may stumble upon a valid point but such cases are few and far between. Mostly they are one note Johnnies. Don't listen to cranks.

    Kiza, April 18, 2017 at 11:14 pm GMT
    @ondrej Am I missing any other component of success?

    Just a possibility - or my hypothesis I am playing lately:-)

    It can be language according Sapir–Whorf hypothesis.
    The principle of linguistic relativity that the structure of a language affects its speakers' world view or cognition. Popularly known as the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, or Whorfianism, the principle is often defined to include two versions. The strong version says that language determines thought, and that linguistic categories limit and determine cognitive categories, whereas the weak version says that linguistic categories and usage only influence thought and decisions.

    and also due to fact that:

    Baltic and Slavic show the common trait of never having undergone in the course of their development any sudden systemic upheaval. [ ] there is no indication of a serious dislocation of any part of the linguistic system at any time. The sound structure has in general remained intact to the present. [ ] Baltic and Slavic are consequently the only languages in which certain modern word-forms resemble those reconstructed for Common Indo-European." ( The Indo-European Dialects [Eng. translation of Les dialectes indo-européens (1908)], University of Alabama Press, 1967, pp.
    59-60).

    Which could explain math skills of Russians and Indian:-) because languages are closely related.

    + learning other languages helps one for recognizing other points of view, if you look at current Russian elites Shoigu, Lavrov and others they speak usually one or more foreign languages fluently.

    learning other languages helps one for recognizing other points of view

    I do not know if this has been scientifically established but I can certainly vouch for it personally because learning every new language gives you a different perspective on existing things. After starting to learn a new language I would think – I had no idea that lego could be arranged this way as well! Therefore, learning new languages broadens one's view of the world but whether it also helps recognize other points of view probably depends on the tolerance of the person. Maybe the key word in your statement is "helps".

    Kiza, April 18, 2017 at 11:27 pm GMT
    @Z-man And a weak sister chimes in. I provided a link about North Korea to a blog which could educate you about it. But you still persisted with your original bull. This is a clear characteristic of an idiot, because the uninformed inform and correct themselves. And yes, there is a strong competition here at unz for the title of King of All Idiots.

    Here it is again, one last time, The Reason for North Korea's Nuclear Program and Its Unrequited Offers to End It : http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/04/the-reason-behind-north-koreas-nuclear-program-and-its-offer-to-end-it.html#more

    On North Korea, the US chefs cook up their usual menu of bullshit and bombs , whilst the latest chef being the most prolific on both.

    Seraphim, April 19, 2017 at 12:11 am GMT
    @AP
    I could be wrong, but I am inclined to see a parallel between the US now and the Russian Empire pre-1904.
    Sorry, that's just completely wrong.

    The best rough analogy to Russia of pre-1904 would be China (though China is further along in its development, perhaps it would be Russia of 1914 or later, had Russia not stupidly gotten itself into World War I).

    The US would somehow be analogous to the British Empire in its decline. A key difference, however, is the US' massive population (more than double that of Russia), territory and natural resources compared to that of the British mainland. This probably provides some sort of floor to the American decline that Britain didn't have.

    Also, keep in mind that western Russophobes plus Bolsheviks exaggerated the Tsars' Russia's weakness and incompetence, while there was nobody to defend it. This makes the picture unrealistically negative. During World War I, Russia defeated two of the three Central Powers (compare Russian vs. British performance vs. the Ottoman Empire) and was able to maintain a stable front vs. the third.

    Do not forget that Germany made the first declarations of war. It declared war against Russia on the 1st of August 1914 and the next day invades Luxemburg. The declaration of war against France followed on the 3d of August, followed by the violation of Belgium neutrality.
    Russia was far from being defeated in 1916-17. •
    NoseytheDuke, April 19, 2017 at 12:28 am GMT
    @iffen Yes, I understand that MIC waste ends up in the pockets of the least desirable elements.

    Who gets to define "least desirable"?

    I know that you are not talking about IAM members.

    A good defense industry is vital. In a capitalist economy, what other model for the MIC do you have in mind?

    One that focuses on the defence of the nation?
    The Alarmist, April 19, 2017 at 2:51 am GMT
    @Sam Shama
    Gee Sam, you are totally lost in your understanding of US problems.
    Hi Kiza,

    I admit I do get lost on occasion, so please feel free to correct me. Are you saying that accounting categorisation, which if reversed might lead to a 2% higher military spending, is an attempt to deceive international bond markets? You clearly think bond investors are stupid. That is an opinion based on what precisely? Experienced results of bond markets? Please enlighten me.


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

    "Hot", as in inflation? If so, the characterisation is a fail, since U.S. inflation and long bond yields have been doing the opposite.

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/IRLTLT01USM156N

    I have no idea what you mean by "what Trump is doing". Have you noticed the Fed had actually raised short rates? Yet the 10-year bond is at 2.2%?

    Please read what I wrote carefully. Nowhere did I recommend the U.S. pursue the path of yet another Reaganesque star wars race. What I said was, of all nations, she is the most capable of doing so, where an escalation would literally push her "competitors" to engage in little else in their economies. That is all. Yes, I understand that MIC waste ends up in the pockets of the least desirable elements. Do you mean to say that other nations are bereft of this virtue?


    Since Russia and China started replacing US$ as a reserve and exchange currency, the clock has been ticking for the money printers such as the Fed and Trump.
    Gee Kiza, exaggerate much? Replace the USD?

    CNY has been added to the SDR basket as a reserve currency, with very limited international use, as of 2016 BIS data, after having doubled over the last year (but currently moving lower), the Yuan comprises 4% of total international reserve currency use.

    The United States actually wants the Chinese currency to gain much greater acceptance to aid global growth and relieve the pressure on the U.S, but of late the massive capital flows out of China to the U.S. has badly hindered this objective.

    Here is what the Yuan has done: from a managed and swiftly devalued currency pursuant to China's decades-long mercantilist policies (to which the US had given the implicit nod), it rose in value during 2005-2013 as the US/ECB/BoJ/BoC worked in a co-ordinated fashion to modify global savings imbalances, to yet again devalue during 2014-present, mostly as capital outflows gathered force.

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DEXCHUS

    The Rouble is not a reserve currency, so the AIB while a worthy development, does not give the Rouble reserve status, somehow "replacing" the USD/EUR/GBP/JPY/KRW. Can it achieve that status? I think it can, given the deep capabilities of the Russian population. International acceptance of such status requires a far more diversified economy.


    When the amount of US$ returning to US starts exceeding the amount bought by foreigners, then the inflation will explode to the German one of the 1920s.
    Reversing cause and effect. If hyperinflation ever arrives on the shores of the US, you'll have far greater problems globally than worrying about bonds. I've seen this trope play continuously since 2008. I need a date, even an approximate one, or I shall be forced to tell you that I know with certainty that "at some point in the future the Earth will cease to exist".

    Best

    ""Hot", as in inflation? If so, the characterisation is a fail, since U.S. inflation and long bond yields have been doing the opposite."

    US inflation as officially reported is significantly understated. Do a little shopping from time to time and tell me what kind of inflation you actually experience. I come back to the US every few months, and it is hard to not notice how expensive many things have become over the past couple of decades.

    As for bond yields, there is a bit of a vicious and not-so-virtuous cycle going on, as the borrowed money is used to ramp up military spending, which translates to further aggression abroad, which leads to further international destabilisation, which then leads to money flow into US Treasury bonds and other US assets as a so-called flight-to-safety play. Lather, rinse, repeat ad nauseum.

    Kiza, April 19, 2017 at 4:12 am GMT
    @The Alarmist
    ""Hot", as in inflation? If so, the characterisation is a fail, since U.S. inflation and long bond yields have been doing the opposite."
    US inflation as officially reported is significantly understated. Do a little shopping from time to time and tell me what kind of inflation you actually experience. I come back to the US every few months, and it is hard to not notice how expensive many things have become over the past couple of decades.

    As for bond yields, there is a bit of a vicious and not-so-virtuous cycle going on, as the borrowed money is used to ramp up military spending, which translates to further aggression abroad, which leads to further international destabilisation, which then leads to money flow into US Treasury bonds and other US assets as a so-called flight-to-safety play. Lather, rinse, repeat ... ad nauseum.

    As for bond yields, there is a bit of a vicious and not-so-virtuous cycle going on, as the borrowed money is used to ramp up military spending, which translates to further aggression abroad, which leads to further international destabilisation, which then leads to money flow into US Treasury bonds and other US assets as a so-called flight-to-safety play. Lather, rinse, repeat ad nauseum.

    "Ad nauseum" is only until the whole thing collapses. I have been saying for a long time that most markets in the US, and where they flow over into the international markets, are rigged. The number of people needed to rig a market is not large, because it is the same, about a dozen "banks" which dominate almost all markets. The Western Governments are in on the act and their official statistics on every economic measure are perverted jokes: inflation, unemployment, GDP, any and all.

    I lived under socialism/communism as an adult and I remember how my friends and I laughed at government's economic statistics. But this is much worse, this is an entire alternative reality moving on the inertia of the size of its lie .

    Sam asks for an approximate date of the collapse, which is almost like asking for the date when a nuclear war will end humanity. His is the principal fallacy that the past is a continuously good predictor of the future, that discrete events do not exist. Sam, imagine for a moment that Trump somehow manages to regime-change Russia and crush China (without causing a global nuclear war). Russia is the largest country on the planet, with vast unused land and resources, mainly because the technology for their exploitation did not exist in the past (inhospitable land). Now imagine adding this almost virgin land to the banking ledgers full of vapor-assets under the so called "mark-to-market". The market riggers and their governments could live happily ever after for another couple of generations of banksters. Like vampire needs blood, the sick system just needs a massive injection of real assets to survive another 100 years or longer. This is why they are so viciously attacking the Russian leadership. But this is a great example why the moment of collapse is unpredictable and it is unfair to ask for (an even approximate) date.

    Ondrej, April 19, 2017 at 5:19 am GMT
    @Kiza
    learning other languages helps one for recognizing other points of view
    I do not know if this has been scientifically established but I can certainly vouch for it personally because learning every new language gives you a different perspective on existing things. After starting to learn a new language I would think - I had no idea that lego could be arranged this way as well! Therefore, learning new languages broadens one's view of the world but whether it also helps recognize other points of view probably depends on the tolerance of the person. Maybe the key word in your statement is "helps". One could say that to certain degree it is disadvantage for English to be lingua-franca.

    In many ways it is also most abused language in world. All speakers bring to English their language frameworks.

    One could conclude that English native speakers became more accustomed – to be more tolerant for non-precise meanings or statements of others to certain degree – due to many non-native English speakers. Therefore it is not that obvious for them.

    I think, speakers of other languages would often not accept such improper usage of words or grammar in their language – (thinking) because by language we think.

    Combine that with euphemisms and political correctness and you have recepy for disaster in communication.

    Ondrej, April 19, 2017 at 7:40 am GMT
    @inertial Years ago, I used to make fun of Amazon and later of Google. I learned my lesson. I personally don't have much use for Facebook; I don't have an account there. But I can see that Facebook provides a lot of value both to its users and to its customers (two distinct sets.)

    And then there is the potential. Lots of smart people are working at Facebook; they may well come up with a breakthrough in some unexpected area. Google started with search and now they are working on driverless cars, among other things. I doubt GM or Ford would've come up with driverless cars, as it is more of a software challenge than a car design one. So here is an example how an investment into a "virtual" company like Google worked out better than an investment into the "real" economy like GM.

    Now as for FIRE, and that brings me back to what I said about Facebook. Just because you personally don't need or don't understand a service it doesn't mean that it's "useless," or "virtual," or "fraudulent," or whatever other epithet is being used. Before you slam the FIRE sector you have to understand what services it provides, who needs these services, and why. Are there problems? Of course there are; there are always problems, that's human condition. Is FIRE sector too big? Perhaps, but with all due respect you are not a person to judge, as you have only the vaguest of ideas of what it actually does. The truth is, financial sector supports the "real" economy, which cannot exist without it. And this makes it as "real" as anything.

    Finally. The problem is that you listen to cranks. I used to be there 15-20 years but then I realized that the cranks are full of shit. Sometimes they accidentally may stumble upon a valid point but such cases are few and far between. Mostly they are one note Johnnies. Don't listen to cranks.

    The truth is, financial sector supports the "real" economy, which cannot exist without it.

    Obviously false statement. You would need to at least some adjective such as mostly, probably, usually into sentence. Frame it in current prevailing socio-economical system.

    Just ask Soviets if they won ww2 due to strong financial system, or put Sputnik into space for that matter.

    So there is not at all any correlation in between financial sector and real economy;-)

    Kiza, April 19, 2017 at 9:04 am GMT
    @Ondrej
    The truth is, financial sector supports the "real" economy, which cannot exist without it.
    Obviously false statement. You would need to at least some adjective such as mostly, probably, usually into sentence. Frame it in current prevailing socio-economical system.

    Just ask Soviets if they won ww2 due to strong financial system, or put Sputnik into space for that matter.

    So there is not at all any correlation in between financial sector and real economy;-) In theory, the financial system is supposed to ensure the efficient allocation of investments, as opposed to central planning. This is how it us supposed to support the real economy. In reality, the Western financial system, and possibly the Chinese one, have turned into a leach draining blood out of the real economy, much worse than central planning. •

    Frederic Bastiat , April 19, 2017 at 10:52 am GMT
    @inertial Years ago, I used to make fun of Amazon and later of Google. I learned my lesson. I personally don't have much use for Facebook; I don't have an account there. But I can see that Facebook provides a lot of value both to its users and to its customers (two distinct sets.)

    And then there is the potential. Lots of smart people are working at Facebook; they may well come up with a breakthrough in some unexpected area. Google started with search and now they are working on driverless cars, among other things. I doubt GM or Ford would've come up with driverless cars, as it is more of a software challenge than a car design one. So here is an example how an investment into a "virtual" company like Google worked out better than an investment into the "real" economy like GM.

    Now as for FIRE, and that brings me back to what I said about Facebook. Just because you personally don't need or don't understand a service it doesn't mean that it's "useless," or "virtual," or "fraudulent," or whatever other epithet is being used. Before you slam the FIRE sector you have to understand what services it provides, who needs these services, and why. Are there problems? Of course there are; there are always problems, that's human condition. Is FIRE sector too big? Perhaps, but with all due respect you are not a person to judge, as you have only the vaguest of ideas of what it actually does. The truth is, financial sector supports the "real" economy, which cannot exist without it. And this makes it as "real" as anything.

    Finally. The problem is that you listen to cranks. I used to be there 15-20 years but then I realized that the cranks are full of shit. Sometimes they accidentally may stumble upon a valid point but such cases are few and far between. Mostly they are one note Johnnies. Don't listen to cranks.

    Just because you personally don't need or don't understand a service it doesn't mean that it's "useless," or "virtual," or "fraudulent," or whatever other epithet is being used. Before you slam the FIRE sector you have to understand what services it provides, who needs these services, and why.

    The financial sector is a fraud. It is a parasitic industry that only sucks tax payers money in the long run.

    Nassim Taleb is spot on regarding the financial industry:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/b/69813f49-27b1-431f-8edc-ea892aa96d8d

    Ondrej, April 19, 2017 at 11:36 am GMT
    @Kiza In theory, the financial system is supposed to ensure the efficient allocation of investments, as opposed to central planning. This is how it us supposed to support the real economy. In reality, the Western financial system, and possibly the Chinese one, have turned into a leach draining blood out of the real economy, much worse than central planning.

    In theory , the financial system is supposed to ensure the efficient allocation of investments, as opposed to central planning.

    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice; in practice there is.

    I know theory, but there is empirical evidence that it does not, see Taleb for that matter, or Schumpeter in my comment 165.

    Schumpeter is worth to read , as he argues, logically, in case of market equilibrium = fair prices interest would approach to zero, and it ceases to be incentive for financing innovation. And this leads us back to Marx`s theory of simple reproduction as his main argument in Kapital Volume I. which create a problem for system.

    As for Central economy, you would be probably surprised – at least I was surprised,
    that it was in fact J.V. Stalin who critiqued too much of Central planning. He was warning in 50. that it would block next development of system. in his book Economical problems of socialism.

    You mention your experience with socialistic system, in case you want to refresh your memory or get better than propagandistic (from right or left) view of Marx . I advise David Harwey lectures on youtube.

    Kiza , April 19, 2017 at 12:13 pm GMT
    @Kiza
    As for bond yields, there is a bit of a vicious and not-so-virtuous cycle going on, as the borrowed money is used to ramp up military spending, which translates to further aggression abroad, which leads to further international destabilisation, which then leads to money flow into US Treasury bonds and other US assets as a so-called flight-to-safety play. Lather, rinse, repeat ad nauseum.
    "Ad nauseum" is only until the whole thing collapses. I have been saying for a long time that most markets in the US, and where they flow over into the international markets, are rigged. The number of people needed to rig a market is not large, because it is the same, about a dozen "banks" which dominate almost all markets. The Western Governments are in on the act and their official statistics on every economic measure are perverted jokes: inflation, unemployment, GDP, any and all.

    I lived under socialism/communism as an adult and I remember how my friends and I laughed at government's economic statistics. But this is much worse, this is an entire alternative reality moving on the inertia of the size of its lie .

    Sam asks for an approximate date of the collapse, which is almost like asking for the date when a nuclear war will end humanity. His is the principal fallacy that the past is a continuously good predictor of the future, that discrete events do not exist. Sam, imagine for a moment that Trump somehow manages to regime-change Russia and crush China (without causing a global nuclear war). Russia is the largest country on the planet, with vast unused land and resources, mainly because the technology for their exploitation did not exist in the past (inhospitable land). Now imagine adding this almost virgin land to the banking ledgers full of vapor-assets under the so called "mark-to-market". The market riggers and their governments could live happily ever after for another couple of generations of banksters. Like vampire needs blood, the sick system just needs a massive injection of real assets to survive another 100 years or longer. This is why they are so viciously attacking the Russian leadership. But this is a great example why the moment of collapse is unpredictable and it is unfair to ask for (an even approximate) date.

    Here I quote a funny comment from a guy on zerohedge. This is how the Western economies have been operating:

    You have two cows.
    You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
    The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
    The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release.
    The public then buys your bull.

    AP, April 19, 2017 at 1:14 pm GMT
    @Seraphim Do not forget that Germany made the first declarations of war. It declared war against Russia on the 1st of August 1914 and the next day invades Luxemburg. The declaration of war against France followed on the 3d of August, followed by the violation of Belgium neutrality.
    Russia was far from being defeated in 1916-17.

    Do not forget that Germany made the first declarations of war. It declared war against Russia on the 1st of August 1914 and the next day invades Luxemburg.

    It declared war first, after Russia had mobilized and refused to turn back its mobilization. Germany would not and should not have waited until huge masses of Russian troops had actually crossed its border before declaring war.

    The sad events of the 20th century in some ways can be seen as a tragic, Old Testament style story of sin and brutal retribution. Serbia committed regicide, and lost 25% of its population in the ensuing war. Nicholas II, a decent but foolish man, supported the regicidal regime and was himself murdered, along with his family. The peoples of the Russian Empire didn't stop that crime, and suffered the millions dead under Bolshevism. Wilhelm sent Lenin to Russia and lost his own throne. The peoples of Central Europe abandoned the Habsburgs and suffered decades of Nazism, Communism and war. Such was the sad fate of the former Holy Alliance.

    ANOSPH , April 19, 2017 at 2:26 pm GMT
    @Andrei Martyanov There were many cases of Russian SU-24, TU-142, Tu-22s flying over one of the US carriers. Here is one such case:

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

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

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

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

    http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2016/05/so-much-for-trumps-new-foreign-policy.html Andrei,

    Off-topic, but what do you think about Igor Strelkov's opinion that the entire current Russian system is due for a collapse?

    Part 1: Part 2:

    I realize that he's been saying essentially the same thing for three years, but surely his words are worth at least some consideration given his "contacts in the elites."

    Andrei Martyanov, • Website April 19, 2017 at 2:37 pm GMT
    @Seminumerical Sure the Aircraft carriers are vulnerable. But the US have a disproportionate response prepared for any country that strikes one with a missile or torpedo. So the carriers get to project power despite their vulnerability.

    But the US have a disproportionate response prepared for any country that strikes one with a missile or torpedo

    Not against peer. Dynamics there is very different than it would have been with some adversary as Iran. Unless the "disproportionate" response becomes nuclear, what is a definition of "disproportionate". I can tell you what may happen if one of the CVNs sunk and this is not my idea but of former Chief Of Naval Operations late Admiral Elmo Zumwalt: the psychological demoralizing impact will be overwhelming and that is what may push a political (and suicidal) decision on nuclear response. In purely conventional framework–the game may become very different. To have some (however disagreeable from purely tactical point of view) primer on one of very many scenarios, you may try Naval War College Newport Papers, especially #20.

    https://www.usnwc.edu/Publications/Naval-War-College-Press/-Newport-Papers/Documents/20-pdf.aspx

    I am no fan of US military's war gaming but it will give you at least some general idea on how US Navy wanted to think about itself.

    Andrei Martyanov , • Website April 19, 2017 at 2:50 pm GMT
    @ANOSPH Andrei,

    Off-topic, but what do you think about Igor Strelkov's opinion that the entire current Russian system is due for a collapse?

    Part 1: http://strelkov-i-i.livejournal.com/26121.html
    Part 2: http://strelkov-i-i.livejournal.com/26458.html

    I realize that he's been saying essentially the same thing for three years, but surely his words are worth at least some consideration given his "contacts in the elites."

    Off-topic, but what do you think about Igor Strelkov's opinion that the entire current Russian system is due for a collapse?

    My attitude to Strelkov is similar to my attitude to clowns or not-adequate people. Having said all that, Russia does face some serious economic challenges which are of purely domestic origins and I never hid my reserved attitude to Putin (despite all his achievements) because of the fact him being an economic "liberal" and surrounding himself in economic block with a bunch of Gaidar-worshipping hacks. Medvedev's government is an affront to overwhelming majority of Russian people.

    Sam Shama, April 19, 2017 at 4:29 pm GMT
    @Kiza
    As for bond yields, there is a bit of a vicious and not-so-virtuous cycle going on, as the borrowed money is used to ramp up military spending, which translates to further aggression abroad, which leads to further international destabilisation, which then leads to money flow into US Treasury bonds and other US assets as a so-called flight-to-safety play. Lather, rinse, repeat ad nauseum.
    "Ad nauseum" is only until the whole thing collapses. I have been saying for a long time that most markets in the US, and where they flow over into the international markets, are rigged. The number of people needed to rig a market is not large, because it is the same, about a dozen "banks" which dominate almost all markets. The Western Governments are in on the act and their official statistics on every economic measure are perverted jokes: inflation, unemployment, GDP, any and all.

    I lived under socialism/communism as an adult and I remember how my friends and I laughed at government's economic statistics. But this is much worse, this is an entire alternative reality moving on the inertia of the size of its lie .

    Sam asks for an approximate date of the collapse, which is almost like asking for the date when a nuclear war will end humanity. His is the principal fallacy that the past is a continuously good predictor of the future, that discrete events do not exist. Sam, imagine for a moment that Trump somehow manages to regime-change Russia and crush China (without causing a global nuclear war). Russia is the largest country on the planet, with vast unused land and resources, mainly because the technology for their exploitation did not exist in the past (inhospitable land). Now imagine adding this almost virgin land to the banking ledgers full of vapor-assets under the so called "mark-to-market". The market riggers and their governments could live happily ever after for another couple of generations of banksters. Like vampire needs blood, the sick system just needs a massive injection of real assets to survive another 100 years or longer. This is why they are so viciously attacking the Russian leadership. But this is a great example why the moment of collapse is unpredictable and it is unfair to ask for (an even approximate) date.

    Hey Kiza,

    I base my views on data and economic theory generally accepted in the West. If one summarily dismisses these instruments of analyses then, of course, all conclusions derived are rejectable. Which is what you are doing. Fine.

    Simply deeming our system fraudulent and built on myth amounts to a meaningless unfalsifiable assertion. Unfalsifiable, since the collapse event dangles always in the undefined "future".

    His is the principal fallacy that the past is a continuously good predictor of the future, that discrete events do not exist.

    I thought you were using past experience to assert with high confidence that the West is headed for a repeat of Weimar Has there been a total destruction of productive capacity which eluded my reverie?

    Data for prediction [at least parameter estimation of any system] is always from the past. I am not aware of any data from the future, is anyone? I don't claim a system superior without subjecting it to out-of-sample and live outcomes. Some Western models have failed recently [pure Rational Expectations models, e.g.]while others have succeeded with flying colours [New Keynesian Models]. What good is any theory or claim without corroborating empirical evidence? To me, claims of our economies headed to a collapse, because because well BIG DEBT! WEIMAR! FALSE STATISTICS! etc are just emotional outbursts devoid of any internally consistent theory, let alone the utter absence of evidence since the whole trope started in 2008.

    Alarmist: you stated earlier that inflation stats are misleading. I am perfectly willing to accept that statement if it were supported by facts. If during your visits to supermarkets, shops, online purchases you found your favourite items costing more, that in itself is no reason to conclude inflation is at hand. I do shop, and a great deal in point of fact :-), and I've noticed that prices of computers, e.g. have fallen continuously and dramatically. What about rent inflation? Or transportation? Rent inflation stands at levels much lower than averages from the past 70 years and transportation costs have fallen greatly as well [Air travel as a percentage of median per capita income]. Do you deny these? Trouble arises when people take these things for granted, and only complain about (mostly) food items that have gone up in price ["I hate these prices for eggs! Back in my childhood, a dozen cost only a penny!"]

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CUUR0000SEHA#0 [change the graph to go from 1950 and pick the percentage change option]

    If you don't believe in official CPI/Core PCE, look at the MIT Billion Prices Index, which provides one with real-time inflation from literally a billion prices from online markets which operate globally. Those indices substantially tell the same story: inflation has been heading down!

    Sam, imagine for a moment that Trump somehow manages to regime-change Russia and crush China (without causing a global nuclear war).

    How is he going to regime change Russia? It's a pipe dream. Putin is immensely popular and in my reckoning, he is simply negotiating spheres of influence with USA.

    China, well they are joined to the US at the hip!. The U.S. is only looking for China to wean away from its mercantilist stance and start buying our goods and services.

    Russia is the largest country on the planet, with vast unused land and resources, mainly because the technology for their exploitation did not exist in the past (inhospitable land). Now imagine adding this almost virgin land to the banking ledgers full of vapor-assets under the so called "mark-to-market". The market riggers and their governments could live happily ever after for another couple of generations of banksters. Like vampire needs blood, the sick system just needs a massive injection of real assets to survive another 100 years or longer.

    Russia is a vastly endowed nation with a gifted population. The climate isn't all that balmy, shall we say. Her natural resources are the assets of her citizens to do with them as they deem optimal.

    I'll go along with your hypothetical scenario in which Putin is unseated and a new Yeltsin is installed. I would consider that outcome both undesirable and approaching a vanishingly low probability. You'll need to convince me of its plausibility and DT's desire to bring about such an outcome.

    [Apr 19, 2017] Preventive war is like committing suicide for fear of death

    Apr 17, 2017 | www.unz.com

    TG , April 17, 2017 at 3:10 pm GMT \n

    300 Words An interesting article. A few random thoughts.
    1. "Preventive war is like committing suicide for fear of death" – Otto von Bismarck.
    2. In general I agree and wish that the United States military would be more defensive and waste fewer resources attacking irrelevant nations on the other side of the world. But. It is nevertheless true that "defensive" Russia has been invaded and devastated multiple times, and the United States has not. Perhaps creating chaos on the other side of the world is long-term not quite so ineffective as sitting around waiting for an attack?
    3. The American elites are simply corrupt and insane/don't care about the long-term. At every level – companies taking out massive loans to buy back their stock to boost CEO bonuses, loading up college students with massive unplayable debt so that university administrators can get paid like CEOs, drug prices going through the roof, etc.etc. Military costs will never be as efficient as civilian, war is expensive, but the US has gotten to the point where there is no financial accountability, it's all about the right people grabbing as much money as possible.

      To make more money you just add another zero at the end of the price tag. At some point the costs will become so inflated and divorced from reality that we will be unable to afford anything And the right people will take their loot and move to New Zealand and wring their hands at how the lazy Americans were not worthy of their brilliant leadership

    [Apr 19, 2017] What Would Korean War II Look Like

    Apr 15, 2017 | www.unz.com

    So thundered President Donald Trump last week. Unfortunately, neither China nor North Korea appeared intimidated by this presidential bombast or Trump's Tweets.

    What would 'we will' actually entail? This clear threat makes us think seriously about what a second Korean War would be like. Memory of the bloody, indecisive first Koran War, 1950-53, which killed close to 3 million people, has faded. Few Americans have any idea how ferocious a conventional second Korean War could be. They are used to seeing Uncle Sam beat up small, nearly defenseless nations like Iraq, Libya or Syria that dare defy the Pax Americana.

    The US could literally blow North Korea off the map using tactical nuclear weapons based in Japan, South Korea and at sea with the 7th Fleet. Or delivered by B-52 and B-1 bombers and cruise missiles. But this would cause clouds of lethal radiation and radioactive dust to blanket Japan, South Korea and heavily industrialized northeast China, including the capital, Beijing.

    China would be expected to threaten retaliation against the United States, Japan and South Korea to deter a nuclear war in next door Korea. At the same time, if heavily attacked, a fight-to-the-end North Korea may fire off a number of nuclear-armed medium-range missiles at Tokyo, Osaka, Okinawa and South Korea. These missiles are hidden in caves in the mountains on wheeled transporters and hard to identify and knock out.

    This is a huge risk. Such a nuclear exchange would expose about a third of the world's economy to nuclear contamination, not to mention spreading nuclear winter around the globe.

    A conventional US attack on North Korea would be far more difficult. The North is a small nation of only 24.8 million. Its air and sea forces are obsolete and ineffective. They would be vaporized on the first day of a war. But North Korea's million-man army has been training and digging in for decades to resist a US invasion. Pyongyang's 88,000-man Special Forces are poised for suicide attacks on South Korea's political and military command and control and to cripple key US and South Korean air bases, notably Osan and Kunsan.

    North Korea may use chemical weapons such as VX and Sarin to knock out the US/South Korean and Japanese airbases, military depots, ports and communications hubs. Missile attacks would be launched against US bases in Guam and Okinawa.

    Short of using nuclear weapons, the US would be faced with mounting a major invasion of mountainous North Korea, something for which it is today unprepared. It took the US six months to assemble a land force in Saudi Arabia just to attack feeble Iraq. Taking on the tough North Korean army and militia in their mountain redoubts will prove a daunting challenge.

    US analysts have in the past estimated a US invasion of North Korea would cost some 250,000 American casualties and at least $10 billion, though I believe such a war would cost four times that much today. The Army, Air Force and Marines would have to mobilize reserves to wage a war in Korea. Already overstretched US forces would have to be withdrawn from Europe and the Mideast. Military conscription might have to be re-introduced.

    US war planners believe that an attempt to assassinate or isolate North Korean leader Kim Jung-un – known in the military as 'decapitation'- would cause the North Korean armed forces to scatter and give up. I don't think so.

    My visits to South and North Korea have shown me that soldiers of both nations are amazingly tough, patriotic and ready to fight. I've also been under the Demilitarized Zone in some of the warren of secret tunnels built by North Korea under South Korean fortifications. Hundreds of North Korean long-range 170mm guns and rocket batteries are buried into the hills facing the DMZ, all within range of the northern half of South Korea's capital, Seoul.

    North Korea is unlikely to be a pushover in a war. Even after US/South Korean forces occupy Pyongyang, the North has prepared for a long guerilla war in the mountains that could last for decades. They have been practicing for 30 years. Chaos in North Korea will invite Chinese military intervention, but not necessarily to the advantage of the US and its allies.

    Is Commander-in-Chief Trump, who somehow managed to avoid military service during the Vietnam War, really ready to launch a big war in Asia? Most Americans still can't locate Korea on a map. Will Congress tax every American taxpayer $20,000 to pay for a new Korean war? Will Russia sit by quietly while the US blows apart North Korea? Does anyone in the White House know that North Korea borders on Russia and is less than 200km from the key Russian port of Vladivostok?

    All this craziness would be ended if the US signed a peace treaty with North Korea ending the first Korean War and opened up diplomatic and commercial relations. No need for war or missile threats. North Korea is a horrid, brutal regime. But so is Egypt, whose tin pot dictator was wined and dined by Trump last week.

    But pounding the rostrum with your shoe is always much more fun than boring peace talks.

    Diversity Heretic , April 15, 2017 at 7:51 pm GMT \n

    100 Words Exactly what has North Korea done to move front and center to America's list of villains? The regime has had nuclear weapons and some ballistic missile capacity for some time. But they seem to me to be mostly oriented towards a garrison state. The Norks seem no nuttier now than any time I remember. If the U.S. simply left this regional actor to be managed by other regional powers (e.g., South Korea, Japan and China) a lot of the incentive on the part of North Korea to make threats and attract attention would diminish significantly.
    WorkingClass , April 15, 2017 at 8:28 pm GMT \n
    100 Words Turns out Trump is just another lying murdering piece of shit. At 72 I have seen a number of these ass holes come and go. But it took Trump to finally convince me that only a crushing and humiliating military defeat will stop Imperial aggression. Unless the dollar goes to zero before that happens. The FED's ability to counterfeit dollars in the trillions is the only source of Imperial power. When the dollar's reign has ended the U.S. will be just another big country in the Americas.
    bob sykes , April 16, 2017 at 12:07 pm GMT \n
    400 Words Any discussion of a new Korean War that does not emphasize China is asinine, like this one. China is the central, most important actor on the peninsula, and China controls whatever happens there.

    China will not permit an American ally on the Yalu River. Any state bordering China on the Yalu must be explicitly pro-Chinese. If a war does break out on the peninsula, China will intervene on the side of the North Koreans.

    To call the first Korean War inconclusive is tendentious: China decisively defeated the US/NATO forces, and did so with with a primitive WW I style army and no navy or air force to speak of. Human wave assaults sufficed then. They did not occupy the whole peninsula because their primitive army lacked the logistical capacity to do so.

    Today China has a large modern military with a full spectrum of capabilities, including tactical and strategic nuclear weapons and a large amphibious force. China would crush the US, Japanese and South Korean militaries, even assuming Russia stands aside. It didn't in Korea I and Vietnam. And China's strategic nuclear forces would prevent the US from using nuclear weapons on the peninsula. Anyway, the antique nuclear weapons we have today may not even work.

    America's main weakness is its utterly delusional political and military leadership. The military that invaded Iraq no longer exists, and it was smaller than the one that liberated Kuwait. The US military has been downsized to the point that it cannot meet our treaty commitments. Sequestration has stripped the remaining military of funds needed for training and maintenance. Only a third of our fighter/bombers are available for war, and the pilots get only half the hours needed to maintain their skills. We do not practice combined arms warfare any more.

    We have not fought a peer since 1945, and since 1945 we have a long record of failure. At present, we are fighting and losing to lightly armed Third World militias. The use of the MOAB against ISIS in Afghanistan was an indicator of panic in our military command there and at home. It is an open question as to whether we can defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and we certainly cannot unless we ally ourselves with Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and Assad.

    What we are watching today is the collapse of the American military and empire.

    [Apr 19, 2017] This guy is, was and always will be full of shit in other words nothing but a super salesman.

    Notable quotes:
    "... The Great Pumpkin cut his jib by beating up other businessmen in the vicious world of East coast real estate. In this world he had the MacArthur motto for there being 'no substitute for victory'. If he transmogrifies his business instincts onto the world stage, stock up on rice and beans (and iodine tablets). ..."
    "... To those interested in the Korean War, I highly recommend David Halberstam's posthumous book, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War. It is not a standard military chronicle instead a spellbinding journalistic read. Major theme, MacArthur's super ego, pomposity and geo-political ignorance resulting in catastrophe. ..."
    Apr 17, 2017 | www.unz.com

    Timur The Lame , April 16, 2017 at 12:21 pm GMT \n

    I picked up a batch of old Rollingstone magazines from my local library for pennies to use as bathroom/breakfast reading. One issue had Matt Taibbi following Trump on the campaign trail while still battling for the Republican party nomination. In this leg of his tour he talked about how big insurance conglomerates were setting the prices to their liking and how he as president would bust them up etc.. Then came the commentary from Duck Dynasty types on how they are sick and tired of paying high premiums and so on. It gave me a minor epiphany, namely that this guy is, was and always will be full of shit in other words nothing but a super salesman.

    While I was happy that he blew away the syphilitic structure of the mainstream parties and the press I now realize that the volatile and insane world now has a monkey with a machine gun in a major position of power. This can't end well.

    The Great Pumpkin cut his jib by beating up other businessmen in the vicious world of East coast real estate. In this world he had the MacArthur motto for there being 'no substitute for victory'. If he transmogrifies his business instincts onto the world stage, stock up on rice and beans (and iodine tablets).

    The simple scenario germane to this article is if Trump deploys a carrier fleet even closer to the proximity of the Norks. Who thinks fat boy Jong-Un is sane? Ivanka? Sending even just conventional missiles across the bow is well within his mental construct. With their faulty accuracy they could accidentally hit the target. A carrier sunk. What options does Trump have now? None really. It's show time and by probable extension, "overture, curtains, lights, this is it night of nights "

    To those interested in the Korean War, I highly recommend David Halberstam's posthumous book, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War. It is not a standard military chronicle instead a spellbinding journalistic read. Major theme, MacArthur's super ego, pomposity and geo-political ignorance resulting in catastrophe.

    American troops experienced the thrill of Stalingrad. In an eerie way, Trump now has a chance of becoming American Caesar 2.0 and in the very same playground. History repeats, rhymes whatever .

    Cheers-

    [Apr 19, 2017] I'm not saying Trump is a closeted atheist, but he's no evangelical.

    Notable quotes:
    "... Where evangelicals emphasize asking God for forgiveness, Trump says, "I am not sure I have. I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture. I don't." ..."
    "... This Sunday [Easter], tens of millions of American Christians will celebrate Easter, and thousands of children and their families will descend on the White House to take part in the annual Easter Egg Roll. ..."
    Apr 19, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    fresno dan , April 17, 2017 at 7:28 am

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/04/donald-trump-religion-215033

    This Sunday [Easter], tens of millions of American Christians will celebrate Easter, and thousands of children and their families will descend on the White House to take part in the annual Easter Egg Roll. As the festivities spill over the grounds of 1600 Penn., I wonder if anyone will stop to note the obvious irony: That President Donald J. Trump is very likely the least religious president to occupy the White House since Thomas Jefferson.

    I'm not saying Trump is a closeted atheist, but he's no evangelical. As a self-proclaimed Protestant, or Presbyterian, or something he describes as "a wonderful religion," Trump nominally attends the nondenominational Marble Collegiate Church in New York City.
    ..
    Where evangelicals emphasize asking God for forgiveness, Trump says, "I am not sure I have. I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture. I don't." Compare these remarks to the more earnest faith of President George W. Bush, who claimed divine consultation before invading Iraq, or the incessant God-talk of candidates like Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and Ben Carson .

    Since then, it's hard to see what benefit America's strong leaning toward theocracy has had. Comparing 17 first-world prosperous democracies on a number of societal health measures, social scientist Gregory S. Paul found that the most religious country of them all-the United States-had by far the worse measures on a number of criteria, including the highest rates of homicides, suicides, incarceration, STDs, teen pregnancies, abortions, divorce, alcohol consumption, corruption, poverty and income inequality. Correlation is not causation, of course. But if religion is suppose to be such a powerful force for societal health, then why is America-the most religious nation in the Western world-also the unhealthiest on all of these important social measures?***
    ===================================================
    I almost posted this yesterday, but I thought that would be churlish.
    I read Trump's "religious" remarks and find them extremely off putting. Than I read the religious remarks of other repubs, and I find them EVEN MORE off putting .

    ***Teen pregnancy – so much for the solemn pledges of abstinence made by teenagers .*** ***
    *** *** What is it with the US? How can anybody in hypersexualized America really believe American teens are gonna keep it in their pants?

    Linda , April 17, 2017 at 7:46 am

    This Sunday [Easter], tens of millions of American Christians will celebrate Easter, and thousands of children and their families will descend on the White House to take part in the annual Easter Egg Roll.

    The Egg Roll is today, not Sunday.

    It will be live streamed at Whitehouse.gov as well as other pages.

    Linda , April 17, 2017 at 7:59 am

    Good morning, dan. Didn't mean to seem to have only noticed the Egg Roll in your comment. It was the first sentence and the mistake caught my eye.

    Seems to me Donald has been doing a lot more God talk since taking office, than he did at the rallies.

    fresno dan , April 17, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Linda
    April 17, 2017 at 7:59 am

    "Seems to me Donald has been doing a lot more God talk since taking office, "
    I agree 1,000% – which just validates my view that Trump is all bullsh*ter. Elmer Gantry comes to mind.
    And another point – it strikes me that those saying Trump is a liar misses the point – Trump is more like a parrot in that Trump will say (parrot) whatever he believes is necessary to get the cracker (though I didn't intend "cracker" to mean racists, but merely a reward, I note one can interpret that as one wishes .).

    RWood , April 17, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Playing to the sanctity of slaughter:

    PAUL JAY: Under the protection of God, America, we'll use the Mother of All Bombs and fight without restraint. That's the message Donald wanted to send, and perhaps that's the message this bomb was meant to deliver in Afghanistan.
    https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/deadly-propaganda-events/

    NotTimothyGeithner , April 17, 2017 at 10:55 am

    From my experience with Catholic school and church, I've long since determined "god talk" isn't as relevant as "u