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13 December 2012


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The beaver

Breaking news:

Susan Rice is NOT in the running for S.O.State:


If you want to be the secretary of State and influence the the P3+1 @ UNSC, you don't "pee-off" the ambassador of France or UK on Mali


That will be a particularly ugly thud. I still don't rule out her succeeding to the post, though.


Sir, do you hold out any hope that an Obama Factor will kick in? A wise Solomon behaving judiciously?



I no longer have any faith in Obama's judgment in foreign policy or in the administraton of justice at the federal level. pl


Africa is a logical proxy choice in light of the Chinese colonialism ocurring there.


Oh, dear, she's wrapped around the axle.

Clifford Kiracofe

Mass psychosis sounds about right.

Some years ago, Irving Janis developed the concept of "group think":

"To make groupthink testable, Irving Janis devised eight symptoms indicative of groupthink.

Type I: Overestimations of the group—its power and morality
1.Illusions of invulnerability creating excessive optimism and encouraging risk taking.
2.Unquestioned belief in the morality of the group, causing members to ignore the consequences of their actions.

Type II: Closed-mindedness
1.Rationalizing warnings that might challenge the group's assumptions.
2.Stereotyping those who are opposed to the group as weak, evil, biased, spiteful, impotent, or stupid.

Type III: Pressures toward uniformity
1.Self-censorship of ideas that deviate from the apparent group consensus.
2.Illusions of unanimity among group members, silence is viewed as agreement.
3.Direct pressure to conform placed on any member who questions the group, couched in terms of "disloyalty"
4.Mind guards — self-appointed members who shield the group from dissenting information.

Groupthink, resulting from the symptoms listed above, results in defective decision-making. That is, consensus-driven decisions are the result of the following practices of groupthinking[11]
1.Incomplete survey of alternatives
2.Incomplete survey of objectives
3.Failure to examine risks of preferred choice
4.Failure to reevaluate previously rejected alternatives
5.Poor information search
6.Selection bias in collecting information
7.Failure to work out contingency "

It certainly appears that mass psychosis/group think is indicated among the dominant faction of the foreign policy establishment. A glance at the Council on Foreign Relations and the DC think tanks is revealing.

Historians use a concept of "mentalite" (from the French) to try to characterize an outlook or as other academics might say a "mindset."

What the mindset is and what exactly explains it is an open question. To some extent, it appears that the players belive they are engaged in a cosmic geopolitical game on some "Grand Chessboard" on which they will put it to Russia and China during the window of the next decade or so. Middle East, Central Asia, color revolutions, Arab Spring all part of the new post Cold War "Great Game."

Too clever by half, IMO. We can see the results which are weakening, not strengthening, our country. If our rivals-competitors-enemies are patient our foreign policy establishment will do us in.


"What the mindset is and what exactly explains it is an open question. To some extent, it appears that the players belive they are engaged in a cosmic geopolitical game on some "Grand Chessboard" on which they will put it to Russia and China during the window of the next decade or so."

With our disintegrating social culture leading to the increasing incidence of sociopathic megalomaniacs in pursuit of power and money, we can expect this trend to escalate.


Have you purchased any health insurance lately? Or had to pay any college tuition? Or looked at the quantity in a cereal box recently?

Do you actually believe in the price signals from a bond market with such massive government intervention? What happened to the traders who were long CDOs, ABS and mortgage credit in 2007? Did you bet with them? Of course, it did not matter since many of those losses were transferred to the taxpayer bagholder.

You should be worried about an investment crisis as capital spending weakens. And a jobs crisis as the labor force participation rate continues to decline. All the more reason why those with the least should not have their savings eviscerated nor have their real wages continue to decline.

You really believe that printing dollar bills out of thin air is the elixir for our financial ailments?

Clifford Kiracofe

David Habbakuk,

Yes, very unpredictable.

I have spent over a month in China this year meeting with academic colleagues in various think tanks as well as with diplomatic, military, and party officials.

My sense is that while they would like to work out a modus vivendi with the US, the "Asia pivot"/US hegemonism is a stumbling block and is beginning to poison the atmosphere in the region.

The pivot is a bi-partisan policy consensus it should be emphasized, not simply a Democratic Party policy of Obama. The pivot policy was formulated between 2004 and 2007 within the dominant faction of the foreign policy establishment in time for whoever won the 2008 election. That is the fact of the matter.

IMO we are handling our affairs in Asia with the same effect as we are handling our affairs in the Middle East. The clouds already are not as far off as the horizen.

The Diaoyu issue is a fundamental issue for China. Beijing is not striking a pose for effect. My impression is that it is more important than the Taiwan issue in the long run.

On this topic, I wrote this for the Global Times/Beijing in October:


Well austerity in Spain and Greece is working to the tune of 25% unemployment. I'm sure just a little more austerity will improve capital spending which will stimulate businesses hiring all the unemployed. Just like it did before in the last round of austerity cuts made when facing even lower rate of unemployment.

Clifford Kiracofe

Yes indeed.

A late friend of mine told me a story of when she was a child in Germany during the hyperinflation. Her mother sent her to the store with a large box stuffed with currency. Her mission which she accomplished was to buy one bar of soap with the box of currency.


Will Reks

What changed since 11/06?



I hope that train hasn't left the station yet, but I too am getting increasingly depressed by the transparency of it all. I still believe the American public will not be fooled again when the incredible 'success' of Iraq is still in plain view. But I admit to have called that wrong as well since I thought it obvious attacking and occupying Iraq would very quickly be seen as one giant self inflicted wound. Then again, maybe that was by design and Syria is also part of the same blueprint. I doubt it very much though and increasingly see those pushing for greater militarization as enemies of the United States. They cannot pretend to not know.


Terrorist unit with FSA and AQ in Iraq flag burning down a shiite mosque.


I suspect the American public is also opposed to a war against Syria. Will that stop it? No.

Then again, the Turkish government might be more responsive to public opinion than the US government.


I think to a great extent, those price increases you are referring to result from commodities trading practices and monopoly trading far more than from monetary policy.


In the Weimar Republic, Germany was required to use its currency to purchase large amounts of British pounds and French francs to pay war reparations. When the German government stopped that, inflation stopped.

That was the cause of that hyperinflation.


'who ya gonna believe, me? Or those lying statistics?' Look, the statistics that make up the metrics for measuring inflation are varied. Some have gone up...as you note. Some have gone down, as you, surprise, surprise, fail to note. In sum, the rate is near negligible. The Fed stated, yesterday, that if the inflation rate goes up above a set number, 2.5%, interest rates will go up.

You are a General fighting--furiously--the last war. The problem now----I don't know what the next ten weeks, never mind the next ten years holds---is deflation and lack of jobs.

You think you are smarter than all the smart boys on Wall St buying up those long term security devices at a low yield? Maybe you are. But I ain't buying that premise. I'm borrowing and investing. And building. And happy with the low rates.


I'm beginning to wonder if the rockets were fired as a warning against the Patriots being used to shoot down Syrian aircraft over Syrian territory. Patriots deployed close up to the Syrian border could be used to create a roughly 100 mile deep no-fly-zone within Syria which could have a considerable impact on Syrian air force activity. Pushing those batteries back 100 miles would be important to the Syrians without impacting NATO's ability to protect Turkish sovereignty and the cost of a few antiquated Frogs would be nothing compared to their benefit as a reminder of Syria's SS-21s. The Germans and Dutch who are providing the batteries, I believe, are naturally cautious and would go along with this.

As for the threat to Syrian air operations from MANPADs, what is to stop the Syrian aircraft flying above the operational altitude of SA-18s (about 11,000 ft) and dropping Russian manufactured laser guided bombs onto their target. With the United States having just resupplied the Israelis, it would be hypocritical of Washington to complain about the Russians doing the same.....

Bill H

I find it odd that all of this is going on while Russia is admitting that Assad is in danger of losing and is making preparation to withdraw their people from Syria. Are we really getting ready to enter the war only after we have determined that we are entering on the winning side? Do we think the insurgents aren't going to figure that out?


your comment about other 'freedomising' reminds me of the truly astonishing far - seeing vision of Oswald Spengler in his "Years of Decision" (Jahre der Entscheidung)- which was published in 1933, when he predicted wars over "Imperium Mundi" in the 20th and 21st centuries. Spengler was not a fan of Hitler and was very much afraid that Germany will be the greeat loser in the coming world war - which he saw coming.

Alba Etie

Perhaps unlike when the hysteria from 9-11 allowed the neocons to bully us into Irak - we will not trod this illegal occupation road once again . I do really believe the American Public will not allow us to intervene in Syria .


The burning of the mosque is blocked, just as the beheading and other atrocities by the Syrian rebels on the web were blocked. These videos can not all be proprietary, if any since they are all rebel propaganda, but must be taken off by the government.

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