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24 June 2017

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Lemur

Spengler predicted the destiny of the West was technocratic global imperium - man enslaved to the machine, and Western man in particular become 'machine'.

For Spengler there was no way out; all that could be done was to 'hold the lost positions', because nothing is more important than doing one's duty in life.

The painful truth is our civilization is corrupted from the inside out. It's not just a question of 'those bad elites doing their thing over there'. They're a symptom. The fact they're in power is a testament to systematic malfunction.

But we can search for a new beginning. Amidst the ruins of our decaying cultural and political order, we must find a new numen, a new point of genesis for another civilization. Whatever form it takes (one cannot rationally parse the numinous in a positive sense), it certainly won't adopt the false gods of this current epoch - humanism, materialism, oligarchy, irony, the destruction of nature, the desacralization of the world, and the primacy of desire over honour.

aleksandar

" Quos vult perdere, Jupiter dementat"
Rien de nouveau.

aleksandar

I apologize for this french sentence, forgot to translate.

OIFVet

I have said it for a while, that Slavophobia reigns supreme amongst the Anglo-Saxon elites. It has since it first reared its ugly head in the 19th century British Empire, and while the US resisted going down that path at first, it has now embraced it with gusto. The National Review excerpt does nothing to disabuse me of my belief.

Yellow Dog

Holy shit! Dick Cheney?

I was right there with you, Publius, right up to the point where you rolled out Dick Cheney as an exemplar of "honest objectivity". I recognize that I'm right on the limit of civility here, but did you just wake up in 2008?

I've got to say that this makes me reconsider your previous posts bewailing the maltreatment of poor, sweet Donald Trump.

A. Pols

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

I see this essential reality as the primary driver underlying the smokescreen of self righteous rhetoric surrounding the centuries of western nipping at Russia's heels during the interludes between wars of attempted conquest. They do sort of sit on some prime real estate after all and much salivating has been going on about what "we" could do with it if only we possessed it.
Of course it would be impolite to express this openly, though Hitler got close, but even he had to resort to veiling it with talk of preserving western civilization. I'm only talking about history here. Please don't infer that I'm playing the Nazi card. That is not my intent.

Sylvia 1

I write to say how much I appreciate this blog. There are so few sites on the web where you can read articles by highly qualified people who are honest enough to say what needs to be said. Yes, I agree, it's likely that we are in a heap of trouble as we alienate much of the world with our actions and policies, meanwhile, our "economy" here at home seems less than optimal.
Here are a few additional thoughts; can the word of the USA be trusted? Can we adopt a policy and stick with it? One President enters into an agreement, the next President refuses to abide by it. Maybe the problem is that we have allowed money and undue influence to guide many of our actions and the national security interests of the USA often seems to be a secondary consideration?
We also seem to spend too much and get too little for it. The cost of the national security state goes far beyond the current military budget. If you sit down and include all the elements, including the contribution to the national debt and it's ongoing interest expense--you can come up with a figure well north of $1 trillion a year. Many of the elements of this structure appear to be bloated, unaccountable, inefficient, and, frankly, out of control. Attempts to audit the DOD have failed and maybe as much as $6 trillion in spending can't be accounted for.
But it's not just the National Security State--large sections of the rest of the US "economy" seem to rest on fragile foundations. Take health care--the USA spends at least 50% more that the rest of the developed world on health care, doesn't cover everyone, and achieves worst results. Again, here's a huge infrastructure that is boated, unaccountable, inefficient, and out of control. Then you have the prison industrial complex, much of it private, where the USA incarcerates a larger % of our population than even countries like North Korea, usually for non-violent crimes.
Don't even get me started on the financial system where "rent seeking" is rampant, or the tech companies gobbling violating our privacy.
It's a disturbing picture all around.

Publius Tacitus

What are you reading? Who offered up Cheney as an exemplar? You're being obtuse. Please re-read the piece. I simply quoted a Wall Street Journal op-ed that Cheney wrote with his daughter.

Bill H

Just yesterday the San Diego Union-Tribune had an article about how the Navy "struggles with a shortage of aircraft carriers."
You can read it here for yourself, but put down your coffee cup first.

Babak Makkinejad

PT:
Do you understand why Americans like China?

Old Microbiologist

Kudos to you for writing this. I am married to a Russian who left the Soviet Union to come to the US only to find it was worse. She bought into all that propaganda during the cold war and regrets believing any of it. However, I have learned a great deal about Russian history and their viewpoints and it has been very eye opening. You have more or less summarized it but it goes far beyond what you mentioned. For example, Russia hasn't invaded any country (except in retaliation) since Sweden in 1708. World War II was virtually entirely won by the Soviet Union at great cost. The numbers of Nazi dead and wounded are a log difference between what the US and it's allies achieved. Of course we worked in partnership and the Soviet Union badly needed US assistance so it is not a straightforward win but in terms of effort the lion's share was done by the Soviets. The US hasn't been invaded by anyone since 1812 and we haven't fought a war to defend the homeland since. Russia has centuries of attacks and invasions all of which they have won, sometimes at great cost. There is an old joke in the military about stupidity. There is stupid and really stupid then invading Russia. We could go on and discuss the role the US had to play in the horrible years after perestroika and the subsequent raping of the country. It goes on and on and the propaganda still goes on perhaps even worse today. The nutcases in Washington seem to believe that Russia will back down in the face of aggression by the US. I guess they don't understand history at all. They also seem to believe their own BS that our weapons systems are so superior we could win a first strike nuclear confrontation against Russia. Their madness is frightening. I had hoped Trump would normalize things but it is business as usual and maybe worse. However, I firmly believe we all would already be dead if Hillary was President. Trump may be a bumbling idiot but she is a monster.

BraveNewWorld

You could have added in that article the fact that despite the level of spending on the US military the % of all that equipment that is combat ready is very low. Maintenance isn't being performed on every thing from aircraft to ships to tanks. The front line stuff of course gets maintenance, but when an organization with the resources of the US military is cancelling training for lack of equipment some thing is very wrong.

One of the twitter feeds I follow posted a comment a couple of days ago. "The US had $500M to train and arm a handful of terrorists in Syria but no money for water treatment in Flint." That is the most stark analysis I have heard so far.

Bill H

Economists are obsessed with relating everything to GDP; a practice I decry, since the spending is made from federal revenue, not from the national cash flow. What are the amounts of revenue involved? The US spends something like 17% of federal revenue on defense.

I don't think that the following refutes anything that you say at all, but the numbers work out that Russia spends 4.5% of GDP on defense, while the US spends a lesser 3.3% of GDP. The actual amounts spent are so wildly at variance that the percentage of GDP seems meaningless, no matter how much the economists tout it. It seems to me that the percent of GDP is actually misleading; as, in fact, I suspect it is intended to be.

SmoothieX12

Russia, with a GDP of $1.3 Trillion dollars, only has a national debt of $157 billion dollars.

This is a grave misrepresentation of the actual size of economy of Russia. The only (still inaccurate but still better)official index which could be used here is a PPP (Purchase Power Parity). Just to illustrate how it works, here is the quote from one of my articles:

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.

Actual size of Russian economy is that of Germany and with industries which Germany (as an example) simply doesn't have. It is also a very complex and advanced economy which contains a huge number of enclosed technological cycles from extraction of raw materials to R&D to procurement of very advanced finished products. As an example, Germany may be producing expensive (and over-engineered cars, but Russia, while still producing own, not as fancy, cars produces the whole spectrum of aerospace products ranging from state of the art combat aircraft, to advanced civilian commercial aircraft, to space navigation and surveillance systems--all from scratch. For Germany's economy to be able to do so--well, the bottom will fall off if it tries. It is my academic contention for years now, that most of the data which has circulation in the West, especially military one, on Russia is mostly unusable and dangerous, since creates false or grossly distorted assumptions. Empirical evidence to support such claim is overwhelming.

fanto

A.Pols,
thanks for the link to Pivot of History. There I found a Mackinder statement about the control of the world; his statement about who rules the world is similar to what is attributed to Lenin (sorry, I have no link) who allegedly said: "who rules Berlin controls Germany, who rules Germany - controls Europe, who rules Europe -controls the whole world". So, either Lenin took a cue from Mackinder or vice versa.

aleksandar

@old
maybe this also
Montgomery’s rules of war

1. Don’t march on Moscow.

2. Don’t go fighting with your land army on the mainland of Asia.

AK

He was using Cheney's op-ed as an example of how we still cling to fallacious and ultimately detrimental modes of thinking vis a vis our standing in the world, and how we continue to give credence to people whose opinions should long ago have been swept away with the sewage that is their legacy. You completely missed the point on that one.

VietnamVet

PT

I couldn’t agree with you more. This is simply crazy. The Cold War with Russia has restarted for no good reason with all the risks of destroying the world that were present during the first go around. NATO is about to get into a shooting war with Shiite militias supported by Iran over a patch of desert in Eastern Syria in order to prevent Iran from having a landline to Lebanon. This could easily escalate into a shooting war with Iran and then Russia. The President has delegated civilian command and control to the Pentagon. Meanwhile, infrastructure is falling apart. Americans are dying at an earlier age and piling up personal debt that they can never pay off.

Yellow Dog

My apologies for my poor reading comprehension. I will endeavor to read more carefully in the future before I hit "Post".

Babak Makkinejad

Russia invaded Iran - a declared neutral country - in 1914 and 1941.

Sylvia 1

Please correct me if I am wrong--but I also understand that Russia manufactures all of the component parts of it's weapons systems including computer chips and other electronic parts. The US does not do this and, paradoxically, depends on chips made in China. In the book--Ghost Wars--China had programed the chips to stop working if bathed with a certain frequency. fact, the US no longer manufactures much of In anything we would need should a major war break out.
We may be more weaker and more vulnerable than we think we are.

mauisurfer

exactly right
Juan Cole is among the lost experts suffering this delusion
furthermore, the true cost of USA military is actually $1.1 Trillion/year (not just $600B) if you include the nukes in budget of Energy Dept, and the secret costs of CIA, etc
also, the true costs of USA warmongering is far more if you include the lifetime disabilities of the wounded and the lost earnings of the dead, some economists say over $6 Trillion on Afghanistan/Iraq, Watson Institute estimates $4.79 Trillion and counting
and none of these costs will put Humpty Dumpty back together again, they are merely the costs of plaster and paint over the immeasurable extent of the true damage

J

PT,

Speak of hubris, from 2016 Hillary Emails pointed to NATO's reason for eliminating Libya's Qaddafi planned to create a gold backed African currency to compete with the U.S. Dollar and the Euro.

https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2016/01/06/new-hillary-emails-reveal-true-motive-for-libya-intervention/

Now we have a quagmire in Libya because of it.

What will be the ulterior motive behind U.S. intervention in Syria besides the Natural Gas pipeline imbroglio?

SmoothieX12

1. Russia does produce all or most of components, including microelectronics, domestically. It is especially true, of course, for defense industry.

2. Per US electronics. I don't think US depends on China but there is a problem--the problem is a counterfeit (restored from discarded US radio-electronics "junk"), which floats into US industry. There were number of reports on this threat and how to counter it. I heard there was progress.

Thirdeye

IIRC Madeleine Albright made some comment during the late 1990s as to how the west was on the brink of gaining control of the resources of northern Eurasia and how they would be "better allocated."

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