Friday, October 16, 2015

More Eurasian/Middle-East Geo-Politics and More

- some people see a lot of downsides to Putin's intervention in Syria (economic stress of multiple conflicts while under sanction, others who find his intervention unpallatable, etc...). However, there are a lot of arguments to the contrary. It is a demonstration that he will back his allies no matter the circumstances, it's a good opportunity to test military equipment and demonstrate their effectiveness in a 'real world' environment (possible sales and marketing which is why I'm not so sure about the cruise missiles landing in Iran may being down to machine malfunction (would want to see telemetry). They could simply be a weapons test in preperation for sales to Iran), geo-political reasons, to protect the 'homeland', to reduce impact of sanctions (by having a greater say in controlling oil prices), etc... As long as he's not silly he has more to gain than lose. Many of these terrorists declared war on Russia a while back...
- the obvious question is if Russia and the Syrian military are able to repel the terrorists/rebels and they do have genuinely fair elections would the world respect the result of the election? If Assad were to go would he go to Russia?
- after reading a while it becomes pretty obvious what is happening in some US policy. It's basically funding both sides of the equation. I want to believe that the US has the world's best intentions at heart but everytime you do research you have evidence that they are playing both sides of the field. Even in Syria, a former US General said that there were plans to do encourage destablisation in the Middle East in the immediate aftermath of September 11. The irony is that there may not have even been a coherent strategy in the aftermath of September 11... Imagine, if your supposed friend is funding terrorist acts against you. Why keep on doing it? The only real obvious reason for me is to fund the other side of the equation for weapons sales... It's insanity and yet it forms the basis for a lot arms trade world wide
Chomsky: 9/11 - was there an alternative?
The Time George Bush Accidentally Told The Truth
General Wesley Clark speaks to Democracy Now! (March 2, 2007)
- for a long time now proxy/hyrid warfare (the other term is 'State Sponsored Terrorism') has been in common use. Backing proxies and engaging in geo-politics incredibly complex and difficult no though. Reminds me of terrorists in Africa of kidnapping Western citizens and then ransoming them, the funds of which are then used to fund further terrorist acts, of supposed Syrian rebels being trained by the CIA only to join extremist terrorist groups, etc... It's as much a game of you using them as them using you now
- for some people, they believe that WikiLeaks posed a national security threat (some have even stated that they believe that it waas a front for Russian Intelligence). I'm of mixed minds with regards to this. Based on what I've heard (from decent sources) few assets have been directly compromised, most of what has been said we implicity know anyhow, and it gives people who are considering working in this field a better idea of what thay are going to face
- the irony of round the clock surveillance of everyone is that if the nations involved have 'pure intentions' then basically our safety is guaranteed through the surveillance itself (as long as it is distributed to everyone). It's a bit like weapons/communications inspections for everyone...
- notion of mission objective complete is very different in the West as opposed in Russian and Middle Eastern mentality. They're much more willing to accept casualties and engage in continuous, rolling combat
- the problem with Russia, China, and others challenging the US and it's Western allies is that the only real narrative that they have is that in the new world the West would no longer have as much control over global affairs. The problem is just that most people want a better future, a better alternative. Unless they can supply that I can't see enough of the world wanting change for this to occur in the short term...
- I think at the end of the day, the thing that a lot of people don't realise is that Western democracy and alternative social systems can be just as unfair as one another. I'd be careful in thinking about social system change without examing all the ins and outs of each system in question. Moreover, it is clear that in the Middle East 'democracy' does not automatically mean a better life. Technically, the US has greater poverty than Russia, China, and many other counties you wouldn't expect. Moreover, wealth distribution is actually better in Russia and China than in the US. Some former states of the USSR thought that it would be a lot better under a new system, not always so...
- I think the biggest flaw of any social system is that if it doesn't have enough checks and balances to reduce the indicence of corruption. As stated by others the primary difference between capitlism and communism/socialism is that the corruption/power is dispersed into the private sector rather than the by the government. There is also one other very big difference. The way dissent is cracked down upon. In communism/socialism/dicatatorships you can go to jail for simply having an alternate view. The irony is that this can breed complete stupidity at times in democratic societies though especially by those wishing to create trouble. For those who think that Islam is problematic and use their 'freedom' to incite hatred of Muslims I have one question. Why do you use your freedom to incite trouble among an entire group of people when you're supposedly so willing to follow the rules of your faith?
- the split between the balance between collectivism versus individualism is one of the more obvious flaws with more authorian rule. If you have a wise ruler then you have enormous luck, if you don't you have to suffer until he is overthrown or at least
- I think that even if Russia were to immediately switch over to 'US style' democratic principles it could cause chaos/collapse. If there is a to be change it has to be slow, progressive, to allow those in power and the population to understand the new system and to adapt to it. They've grown used to a different way of living, a different way of thinking... it may be irresponsible to throw everything at them at once
Empire - Putin's Russia
It's for this I also think I think they're going to struggle with one thing. They may struggle to get the best out of their people. By sacrificing the needs of the few for the many (the general opposite of the West), the best views, and perspectives may never be able to get their chance. Something I think they understand but am not quite certain how to implement in a way that will maintain stability though. This makes experiments of 'authoritarian capitalism' so much more interesting (think about China with regards to their experiments with carbon pricing programs)
CIS summit: Russia to bolster Central Asia military
- this leads me to another point. Due to this core flaw, the Soviet Union was never able to diversify enough. By not allowing for this the needs of the many were actually unmet which led to stagnation in economic growth and ultimately collapse of the Soviet Union once a chance was given towards revolution. Of course, with an expansion of the Eurasian Union into the Middle East and Asia proper this will help to deal with flaw more easily providing it with
- capitalism has one enormous flaw. It's about greed no matter whether you're at the top or the bottom of the pile. I feel that's also the primary difference between our interpretation about how wealth should be distributed. When you hear some of what the Chinese/Russians have said they're basically seeking to re-distribute by remedying those at the bottom of the pile and moving in to the middle class. Ironically, this is the same flaw which has infected a lot of countries which have had strong Western influence. They're seeking to fix a flaw in a system which is often considered to be 'perfect' even though the reality is is that it isn't
- I think the main reason why growth is stagnating in many countries is that they are losing sight of the difference between 'value' and 'price'. In some economies it's essentially a case of creating one asset bubble after another
- if you look at some of the media regarding the fall of the USSR out there you realise that to some of them it was a tragedy. This in spite of the brutality of the regime at times
Perestroika - From Re-Building to Collapse
Stabbing the Empire - Last Day of Soviet Union
Discovery Channel - End of the USSR
Why did we get the collapse of the USSR so wrong?
- it isn't about getting nuclear capability. It's about 'who' acquires nuclear capability. Something someone once said makes more sense now though. Once you get a nuclear capability the whole ball game changes
- 'national interest/security' can literally mean anything now. It's not related to pure security issues alone
- even if you can't believe Putin on face value you just have to look at his history and his judgement (or that of the Russian security services) just seems to be better. With regards to defense this can ultimately make a huge difference. Think about the lives lost and money saved if your intelligence or decision making were simply better and more accurate
- due to the connectivity of many of the world's industries (including economics and finance) one wonders if the world were to suddenly realise that they don't need Western leadership whether the whole thing would come crashing down? Would it be even worth it?
- the game isn't about peace. It's about peace on their own terms. Think about Jewish people and Muslims in the West. Has it been proven that they can co-exist relatively peacefully. Yes. They could achieve peace tomorrow if it weren't for their fervent belief that peace has to come with certain conditions and in direct accordance with the prophecies of the Holy Scriptures
- a lot of analysis that I read keeps on making the assumption that both sides will fight fair in a confrontation. If you of you have tracked this space both the US and Russia have what are seemingly crazy systems to ensure that Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) means MAD
Russian missiles 'hit IS in Syria from Caspian Sea'
- I always made the assumption that profit margins were fairly strong in the defense area. Hence, the desire for more advanced economies to pursue greater involvement in that industry (not just for security purposes). They're similar to other businesses and often operate in the double digit percentage region
Lockheed CEO Hewson: F-35 Performance Will Drive Profits
- politics often severely impact what would otherwise be good decision making. There are often warnings provided by the public service of impending issues but can often be ignored for political reasons
- a lot of politicians and public servants come across as very limited in the media. Sometimes this is a horrible caricuture of their true nature. It's interesting how much more intelligent they actually appear to be. They're often doing their best in difficult circumstances
- the irony is that both sides pursue similar policies such as media censorship... The core problem is that both sides are pursuing seemingly expansionist policies in spite of what they may be saying
Putin: Who Created ISIS?
Putin Crushes BBC Smartass
- some of the recent speeches from the UNGA. If you're multi-lingual you'll realise that a lot of nuance is lost in translation
‘Iran will not forget imposed war & sanctions': Iranian President Rouhani UNGA FULL SPEECH
Chinese President Xi Jinping full speech at UNGA 70th session
Obama: U.S. willing to work with Russia, Iran on Syria crisis
- watching propaganda vs biased vs balanced media can be a hilarious at times. Listen to feeds from all over the world. The interpretaion of one from another can often be drastically very different especially if you listen to propoganda from two rivals one after another. Propaganda is as much about what you hear as about what you don't hear. So much information can be lost when media don't keep to their remit and report properly what is happening
UK "must prepare for war with Russia" Philip Hammond Rory Stewart Sir John Sawers Henry Kissinger
This House Believes Putin is a Serious Threat to Global Stability _ The Cambridge Union
The Ramsay Murray Lecture 2015
Masha Gessen_ Putin's War - Against the West
Documentary - Litvinenko, Russian Mafia, Vladimir Putin, Chechnya
Panorama - How to poison a spy
- some Putin, Obama, Yeltsin, and Abramovich comedy relief
Obama & Putin Phone Conversation on "Tonight Show"
Putin & Obama Go On "Dr. Phil" Show
President Boris Yeltsin dancing
Jose Mourinho "I'm on Setanta Sports"
Vladimir Putin tells Russian American spy kgb anecdote joke
A Dog's Heart: Pet lover Putin needs name for fluffy puppy

- Russia understands itself to be a “Great Power” – a key global decision-maker, number eight on the list of economies, possessing the third largest sovereign wealth fund and backed by the nuclear triad of air, land and sea launch which secures its strategic autonomy. For Russia, the West is no longer the unquestioned bearer of geopolitical order, economic power and military supremacy; one that, in Putin’s words, seeks to “sweep us into a corner because we have an independent position”.
- “We think the stealth protection will be good for 5-10 years, but the aircraft will be in service for 30-40 years, so we need EW capabilities [on the F-35] that can be rapidly improved,” a senior Israeli air force (IAF) official tells Aviation Week. “The basic F-35 design is OK. We can make do with adding integrated software.”
- "To anyone looking for signs that things are getting a lot worse, there are plenty of them out there," Hultquist said. "Everyone seems a lot less timid about using methods other than just intelligence collection now. They are simply more aggressive and less restrained."
- Here’s the problem — highly-competitive, patriarchal societies still produce tons of losers, because not everyone can be a winner. The most extreme patriarchal societies, which are by nature elitist hierarchies, produce a lot of existentially lonely, depressed young men. Saudi Arabia, perhaps the most patriarchal society on the planet, contributes more suicide bombers to the Middle East’s wars than any other.
- “We need to have a conversation about how much we care about this place,” said Douglas Ollivant, a senior fellow at The New America Foundation in Washington.

“Are we willing to spend — the numbers are fuzzy — but somewhere between $10 and $20 billion per year in perpetuity for the privilege of Afghanistan not totally collapsing,” said Mr. Ollivant, who previously who worked in the National Security Council for Mr. Obama and Mr. Bush. “And we’re not talking about it being Xanadu — we’re talking about not collapsing.”
- A reckless US operation in the South China Sea could trigger a military confrontation with China with far-reaching consequences. If Beijing simply submitted, its historical sovereignty claims would be effectively rendered worthless. If Washington backed away in the face of Chinese demands that its vessels or aircraft leave “Chinese territory,” its hubris that the US Navy “will go anywhere” would suffer a shipwreck. Even a minor engagement could rapidly escalate into a full-scale conflict between nuclear armed powers.

Preparation for war with China has been the unstated axis of the US-Australia military alliance since Obama announced the “pivot” and it was fully endorsed by the Labor Party government of prime minister Julia Gillard in November 2011.

This year’s Ausmin talks included further commitments to more frequent “training and exercises”—euphemisms for short-term basing—of US troops, ships and aircraft in Australia. While not mentioned explicitly in the communiqué, discussions are ongoing between the US and Australian governments on the possibility of basing an entire aircraft carrier battle group in an Australian port and “rotating” long-range bombers out of northern Australian airfields.

In the event of war with China, US military planners envisage Australian bases being used to maintain a naval blockade of the key sea lanes between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and cut off Chinese imports of oil, raw materials and other commodities.
- A number of analysts have observed that although bin Laden was finally killed, he won some major successes in his war against the US. "He repeatedly asserted that the only way to drive the US from the Muslim world and defeat its satraps was by drawing Americans into a series of small but expensive wars that would ultimately bankrupt them," Eric Margolis writes. "'Bleeding the US,' in his words.
- Russians accept the Kremlin narrative not because it is more convincing but to demonstrate their allegiance to the system.

No amount of empirical evidence will convince the average Russian because the very concept of empirical evidence has become meaningless to them. What matters to them is emotional content and political loyalty, not the truth.

This is what gives an epistemological dimension to the conflict between the West and Russia. Ultimately, it is a battle for truth.

The Kremlin’s best allies in the West are those who treat Russian propaganda and theories based on facts equally. By succumbing to the Russian narratives, the West risks being infected with the same madness as the one spread by Kremlin propaganda.

To retain its sanity, the West should not mince words and must call a spade a spade. The Dutch have been reluctant to state the obvious, but Mr. Joustra found the courage to say that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down from separatist territory.

Similarly, the proper name for the conflict in Donbas is Russia’s war against Ukraine, not a civil war or anti-terrorist operation. And Russian regular troops and mercenaries sent to Ukraine are not “rebels” (though there is indeed some percentage of local separatists).

The recipe for defeating Putin is to stick to logic and facts.