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Musings on the Growing Sterility of Suburbia: Apr 29, 2017

April 29, 2017 12 comments

Let me begin this post by telling you that I first considered writing it about 2-3 years ago. However for a number of reasons, it got bumped down the list of what I ended up actually posting. It is based on a peculiar observation I have made over the years. However to explain the context of those observations, I have to first tell you where I live- very vaguely.

I live (rent) in a pretty affluent and nice but somewhat established suburb built in the late-1960s and 1970s. The time of its construction is important for three reasons relevant to this post. Firstly, unlike many suburbs built later on which contain only detached houses, this one does actually have a decent number of condos and apartment buildings. Secondly, it is within walking distance of multiple malls which are still busy and profitable. Thirdly, it has a much more balanced age structure than many other suburbs which are either predominately young or old. It is also worth mentioning that I lived in that area for over a decade.

So, what changes did I notice over those years which led me write this post. Well.. it is an observation about long-term changes in the number (or percentage) of people in that area who have children. It is also about the demographic characteristics of people who still have children.

Ever since the suburb in question was built, it has been one of the more desirable and affordable residential areas of that city. Consequently, it always had a fair number of younger couples with children. I noticed that on moving there almost 12 years ago- largely because of the noise of kids playing outside their houses, which could be a bit too much sometimes. Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that younger couples with children had no problems being able to afford buying houses there from the time it was built up to 2007-2008.

Then something changed.. You see, house prices in that area increased by almost 300% in the 2006-2014 time span. Curiously, rents did not go by anything close to that percentage within the same time span. To make a long story short, it appears that many younger couples with children who owned their houses cashed out and moved further away from downtown. But houses can be sold only if somebody is willing to buy them and this brings me to issue of who bought them. Once again, to keep it brief, these houses were bought by somewhat older people and more affluent but often childless couples. The change in type of people buying houses in that area can account for a part of the decrease in percentage of people with kids in that area- but not most of it.

As I mentioned earlier, the area in question has a pretty decent number of renters- of both houses and condos. Also, many people renting houses and condos in that area had kids. So was there any change there? Well.. no and yes. The percentage of people renting in that area remained very constant, however the newer renters were far less likely to have kids in the first place. But why? Did they have less money than the previous groups of renters? As it turns out, that was not the case and the newer renters were just as affluent or more so than the group they gradually replaced. It is just that they did not have as many, if any, kids.

Curiously, there is an interesting exception to this general trend. It seems that younger non-white families (Asian, Indian, inter-racial etc) in that area still have kids. In other words, the general reduction in the number of kids per couple (if they have any in first place) is largely a white phenomena. To put it another way, over half the children in this relatively affluent and desirable area are now of non-white ancestry. Of course, nobody is having more than two kids but a majority who have any in that area are non-white. So what does that mean for the future? Well.. lets just say that it depends on what you consider desirable.

But coming back to the question of why the “majority” in that area now have far fewer kids than before- even when you adjust for age. In my opinion the answers are as follows: 1] The risk of getting ruined by divorce, alimony and child support is very relevant if you have enough money to lose. 2] Most people who lived in that area used to have stable and well-paying jobs. Now their jobs are just well-paying. 3] Perhaps it is getting even more expensive to raise children? I cannot be sure about that, but it appears to be the case. Let me know if you can think of any more reasons.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Desire of Democrats to Believe in Myth of Russian Interference

April 26, 2017 4 comments

While I would have preferred to not write about this topic, it is clear that the democratic elite and MSM are still flogging what is obviously still a very dead horse. As some of you might remember, my previous post on this topic was about how the narrative surrounding Russia hacking the 2016 election demonstrated the intellectual bankruptcy of the democratic establishment and their MSM lapdogs. At that time, I had hoped that the passage of a couple of months would lessen the desire of the democratic establishment to peddle this ridiculous narrative, especially since it was not gaining any traction among voters who were not already highly partisan democrats.

Well.. we are in late-April 2017, and the democratic establishment is still busy pushing this comical narrative, while simultaneously ignoring the many other unpopular actions taken by Trump since he assumed office on Jan 20. Consequently, the democratic establishment and party are now widely seen as an ineffectual opposition to Trump at best and an irrelevant, if entertaining, freak show at worst. It is therefore not surprising that all substantive and successful opposition to Trump’s many brain-farts have come from places other than the official opposition. For example, it was pressure from pissed-off voters rather than concerted actions by the democratic establishment which scuttled his first attempt to repeal ‘Obamacare’. Similarly, it was the judiciary rather than the democratic establishment has taken the lead in opposing Trump’s many executive orders.

Moreover, the democratic establishment has been more than eager to support Trump’s ill-advised saber-rattling against Syria, N.Korea and Iran. It is also establishment democrats who cheer the loudest when Trump breaks yet another one of his populist campaign promises. It is therefore not surprising that the democratic party brand has become less popular with voters since the election. It is also no secret that their massive and sustained loss of power at multiple levels of elected government over last 8 years has not helped the situation. You might have also noticed that the losses of 2016 and prior years have not resulted in any real change in the general direction or strategy (if they had either to begin with) of the democratic party. I should also add that the most popular politician in USA is Bernie Sanders, who still rightly calls himself an independent.

My point is the democratic establishment has more in common with a cult in terminal decline than a functional political party with a future- unless they want to be the nominal opposition in perpetuity. But what does any of this have to with the core reason behind the desire of the democratic party to continue believing in the myth of Russian interference in the 2016 election. As you will soon see.. a lot. Let us start by trying to list all the main reasons that most people give for the seeming obsession of the democratic establishment with finding some evidence, however weak and phony, to link Trump with Russia and Putin.

There are those who point out, quite correctly, that democrats obsession with finding a Russian “connection” to Trump have their roots in a modernized version of cynical red-bating such as that practiced by McCarthy in the 1950s. While that analysis is generally correct, I see it as a second order symptom of a much deeper systemic problem. Another possibility is that democrats are so desperate and short of ideas to get rid of Trump that they are literally grasping on straws and tweets of an unstable performance artist like Louise Mensch. Once again, there is a lot of truth in that view but it is at best a second order symptom rather than the root cause. Still others see the whole “Russian interference” sideshow as a way for the deep-state to control Trump, and they too have a point but not the root cause.

The root cause (in my opinion) stems from the fact that establishment democrats are still unable to understand, let alone come to terms with, the loss of HRC in the 2016 election. I am sure that, by now, some of you must have read or heard undeserved hagiographies of HRC by establishment liberals and wondered if the authors in question actually believed a single word of what they wrote or said. Here is what I think.. In most cases, all those “liberal” celebrities and intellectuals who peddled those HRC hagiographies did (and do) actually believe most of what they said or wrote. But why would that be the case? Why would supposedly smart and credentialed people be so blind to the many glaring flaws of HRC as a presidential candidate?

I think that is comes down to their professed religion aka neoliberalism. HRC was the perfect neoliberal candidate in that her public profile put a checkmark on every point in the neoliberal scoresheet. She was white, female, rich, from a well-known family, “credentialed”, had a full resume, center-right on all issues except a few social ones, fiscally conservative, hawkish on foreign policy, in favor of stealth privatizing everything, capable of endless empty platitudes. In other words, HRC was a neoliberal wet dream- even more so than Obama. Furthermore, she hired mostly ivy-league people for her campaign team, invested in big data and every other fashionable bullshit scam and presented a very “polished” and “professional” public image.

And yet she lost to a reality TV host with a bad comb who had the hots for his own daughter and a style of speaking that made more in common with pro-wrestling than “serious” politics. Her loss to Trump, you see, is totally baffling to all those who believe in the religion of neoliberalism. They are simply incapable of mentally processing the idea that there might be people who do not want to vote for this living breathing epitome of american neoliberalism. It is as if the greatest saint of their religion was defeated by an underling of the Devil before their very eyes. They are therefore doing what most people whose belief system has been thrashed and defeated do.. find a scapegoat and then blame it on the devil.

As far as establishment democrats are concerned, Bernie Sanders is the scapegoat and Putin is the Devil. Thinking in this manner is far easier than admitting that their belief system was defective and prone to failure. You might recall that in the middle-ages, Christians in Europe blamed Jews and the Devil for massive plague epidemics. Oddly enough, they were never able to come up with a convincing rational explanation for why either of the two alleged culprits might be the cause of their misfortunes. I guess it was just easier for them to think like that than consider alternate possibilities which would question their existent belief systems.

What do you think? Comments?

Why was USA Unable to Win Korean War in the 1950s: Apr 22, 2017

April 22, 2017 11 comments

Events in the previous few weeks have shown, with unusual clarity, that the conflict between N.Korea and USA which started in 1950 is still ongoing. While it is true that there has been no large-scale fighting between the N.Korea and USA (or its proxy S. Korea) since an armistice was signed in 1954, it is fair to say that things have never gone to back to normal in that part of the world. Between the annual military exercises by S. Korea and USA and counter mobilizations by N. Korea, the situation in that part of the world is still potentially volatile, and has been so for a long time. It certainly does not help that leaders of all countries involved have a habit of speaking past each other.

While it is highly unlikely that either N. Korea or S. Korea will ever resume that war on their own accord, persistent meddling by USA in that part of the world (as in many others) make it far more likely than otherwise. As many of you also know, such an event would be disastrous for both N. Korea, S. Korea and potentially Japan- basically all involved countries within the range of older and well-tested N. Korean nuclear tipped missiles. Even the USA would not be able to come out well, since any use of nukes by USA would ensure that every country capable of building nuclear weapons would do so immediately. To put it another way, such a war would be an epic disaster on multiple levels and for all parties involved.

But have you ever asked yourself- how did things in that part of the world get so crazy in the first place? Why did the Korean war start and why did countries such as USA, China, Russia and many others get involved in it? But perhaps most importantly.. why was USA unable to win the Korean war just a few years after it was able to win WW2 against Japan and to a lesser extent against Germany?

To better understand the many reasons USA was unable to win the Korean war in the 1950s, it is necessary to first appreciate that the Korean war was the beginning of the end for white-majority countries being able to dominate the rest of the world via military force. It is no exaggeration to say the “west” has never since been able to win against a determined and mobilized non-white adversary since that time. But why not? Was it because the “west” became softer and more humane.. or any other bullshit reasons peddled by CONservatives and other assorted jingoistic idiots in USA?

Let us look at facts about the Korean war as they have been acknowledged by official sources in USA. It is known, for example that USA dropped more tons of bombs on N. Korea during early stages of Korean war than they did on Japan during the entirety of WW2. It is also a fact that USA bombed and destroyed every building in almost every single N. Korean city. It is also a fact that bombing by USA killed somewhere between a third and fifth of the N. Korean population. Here is an article with a slightly longer explanation of what USA did in the Korean war.

In other words, the inability of USA to win the Korean war was not due to it being ‘soft’ or ‘humane’. In fact, USA did something lost the Vietnam war in spite of doing something similar in Vietnam and Cambodia during the war. Another more recent example of this phenomenon is the USA losing the Iraq war even after directly and indirectly killing over a million Iraqis between 1991 and today.

So, why was the USA unable to win the Korean war? There was certainly no shortage of bombs, aircraft, tanks, soldiers, guns or even large staging areas and bases close to the theater of conflict. Yet, for reasons I shall get into soon, the best they could achieve was an armistice where the new boundary between the two Koreas was almost identical to the pre-war one. Why didn’t bombing N.Korea heavily in the first few months of war and killing people at higher percentages than in Germany and Japan during WW2 translate into a decisive military victory? Why did the military strategy behind american success in WW2 fail so quickly after that war was over? And why has it subsequently failed and in every war since then?

Well.. here are the reasons, in no particular order, behind the inability of USA and other western countries to win a war against non-white countries since the end of WW2. Regular readers of my blog might realize that some of my older posts have briefly touched on a couple of them.

1] Wars in which the local population of a country or region have a personal stake are very different from wars pursued by elites in those countries. For example, Saddam Hussein’s habit of promoting his own ethnic group in Iraq and getting into unwinnable wars with huge human costs had greatly diminished his popularity among most Iraqis a few years before 1991. That is why the Iraqi armed forces gave up fighting and mass-deserted so readily in 1991 and 2003. Contrast this to the unremitting armed resistance by Iraqis (especially Sunni Arabs) to american occupation from 2003 onward which were only temporarily suppressed between 2007-2009 by bribing Iraqis on a massive scale to not kill american soldiers.

My point is that, the Korean war was largely seen by the local population (especially in N.Korea) as an attempt to reintegrate the country and expel foreigners who had humiliated and almost enslaved them for a couple of generations. In case you do not know what I am talking about.. read a bit about all the wonderful stuff that went on in Korea under Japanese rule between 1910 and 1945. Koreans had, and have, every right to be angry about their treatment under Japanese colonization. Perhaps more importantly, the post-1945 occupation by USA of southern regions of Korea and their multiple attempts to install puppet governments within a short period while making no attempt to help rebuild the country made them look just like the previous Japanese colonizers of that country.

It is therefore no surprise that Kim Il-Sung and his followers had far less trouble convincing his own people to fight foreign occupiers of their country than getting China and Russia to provide military and other assistance for doing so. In many ways, this situation is very similar to what occurred in Vietnam a decade or two later. While we can certainly argue about whether the elder Kim was a “good guy” or “bad guy” it is clear that he had extensive popular support within the northern half of Korea in the early 1950s. In other words, the Korean war was about USA fighting an entire people rather than a system of governance- like they had in Germany and Japan.

2] The american strategy of leveling N. Korean cities by massive aerial bombing was ineffective and supremely counterproductive. As mentioned previously in this post, the USAF was involved in bombing N. Korean cities on a massive scale in the first few months of the war. However, unlike in Germany and Japan during WW2, massive and indiscriminate bombing of cities was not effective in disrupting the N. Korean war effort- largely because all their supplies and weapons were coming in from adjacent countries such as China and Russia. These mass bombing raids did, however, make many more N. Koreans willing to fight to the bitter end. To put it another way, mass bombing of cities and heavy casualties made it impossible for N. Korea and USA to reach a negotiated end to that war.

You might recall that the USA did something similar in Vietnam and Cambodia a decade or so after the Korean war and the end results were rather similar. In other words, aerial bombardment by conventional weapons is incapable of winning wars against adversaries who are not centralized and have the ability to keep on importing weapons and other supplies. Aerial bombardment, if anything, creates more popular support for the cause for which they are being bombarded. This is borne out by the continued inability of USA to win against the Taliban in Afghanistan, various tribal groups in Yemen, Iraq.. the list goes on and on. Bombing non-white people in faraway places does however create millions of jobs in USA and massively enrich a very small number of people. But that is a topic for another post.

3] Thirdly, the level of weapon technology of countries and groups fighting USA is within the same bracket. Colonial wars in 18th and 19th century typically saw Africans with spears mass charging white men with rifles and machine guns or Asians with far inferior gunpowder weapons and tactics fighting against people with better technology and organisation. Somewhere between WW1 and WW2, this started changing as “western” weapon technology and tactics diffused through the rest of the world. Consequently, white soldiers of a western power now face non-whites who posses weapons in the same technology bracket and tactics to match them. Furthermore, their non-white opponents have a much better understanding of their environment and motivation to keep on fighting.

The overall point I am trying to make in this post is a number of large-scale and systemic changes have made it impossible for USA, or any other western country, to win a military confrontation that is not on their own soil. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the population of western countries, especially the USA, still harbor the delusional belief that they can win military victories in other countries. More regrettably, if predictably, the military-industrial complex in countries such as USA keep on fueling the popular delusional idea that their extra shiny toys can win wars against people with more of the less shinier toys. I just don’t see it ending well for USA as a country or other governments stupid enough to support them.

What do you think? Comments?

Reports of Cyberwar against N. Korean Ballistic Missiles are Likely False

April 15, 2017 12 comments

Many of you might have, by now, come across “news” which suggests that the frequent failure of N. Korean ballistic missiles is somehow due to some elaborate “cyberwarfare” by USA. I am sure you must have seen mouth-breathing idiots.. I mean american patriots.. repeat that bullshit because they heard if from some MSM or some ‘alt-media’ shill.. I mean “reliable news sources”. Anyway, the point of this post is to explain why that idea reeks of propaganda and delusion.

But let us be clear about a few things first. It is no secret that N. Korean missiles, either fired by them or in the 1990s by Pakistan, always had a rather high rate of failure. However the reasons behind this rather high rate of failure is immediately obvious to somebody who has read about the general history of developing ballistic missiles and space launch systems. Long story short- it comes down to the choice of fuels.

N. Korean missiles have been traditionally powered by pretty dangerous (but effective) mixtures of old-style hypergolic liquid propellants. Since N. Korean missiles trace their ancestry to Scud missiles, they have traditionally used the same fuel mixture- namely, kerosene and corrosion inhibited red fuming nitric acid (IRFNA) with UDMH aka unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine as the liquid igniter. Once again, to make a long story short- this particular old-style hypergolic mixture does not scale up well for larger and longer-burning rocket motors

Apart from Russia and to some extent China, nobody has been able to mass produce relatively safe ballistic missiles which use hypergolic fuels of any kind. In fact, the rate of success of early american ICBMS using hypergolic fuels in the 1950s and early 1960s was pretty dismal. While it is possible to build pretty reliable space launch systems using more modern hypergolic fuel combinations, making scores of reliable ballistic missiles which use them requires a lot more experience.

That is why the majority of non-Russian (and now even Russian) ICBMS use solid propellants for their first and frequently also the second stage motors.

Returning back to the subject of ballistic missile control and guidance, let us be clear about a few basics. Firstly, the main guidance systems of such missiles is always internal and almost always based on some form of astro-intertial guidance. In case you are interested about the history of the non-computational side of guidance hardware, here is a link: The Soviet Union and Strategic Missile Guidance. Secondly, the computational part of such systems is quite simple and can be built without using integrated circuits, let alone CPUs.

For example, one of first electronic guidance computers for american ICBMS, known as the D-17B, contained 1,521 transistors, 6,282 diodes, 1,116 capacitors, and 504 resistors. Some of the older Russian designs for flight guidance computers on such missiles even used special rugged vacuum tubes instead of transistors. To put it another way, the flight control and guidance systems of ballistic missiles can be made of very rugged and simple electronic components, especially if you do not require a very high degree of targeting accuracy.

It is basically impossible to remotely “hack” a simple, hard-wired and hard-programmed control and guidance computer in which every discrete component can be repeatedly tested with a multi-meter and oscilloscope.

Furthermore, N. Korea is a pretty paranoid and conservative country. Therefore it is almost certain that they use somewhat primitive but extremely reliable indigenous designs. In any case, they seem to be aiming for targeting accuracy that is between 0.5-1% of distance covered- which is within the reach of such systems. It is therefore my opinion that the frequent malfunctions of longer range N. Korean ballistic missiles are largely due to their inability to scale up an obsolete hypergolic rocket engine technology.

Those problems will however go away once they are successful at building large solid fueled rocket engines. Some of you might know that they have already transitioned away from older hypergolic fuels for their newer short-range (upto 1,000 km) missiles. It is only a matter of time before they do so for their longer-range missiles. If things go the way they are going now, it is possible that they might be able to successfully test and start deploying such missiles in the next 2-5 years.

What do you think? Comments?

Trump’s NeoCon Foreign Policy Will End Badly for USA: Apr 13, 2017

April 13, 2017 5 comments

During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly told potential voters that he was against empire-building by USA and spending trillions of dollars in faraway wars with little consequence for USA. However as I had predicted in previous posts, he has reneged on this campaign promise and fully embraced the neoconservative warmongering establishment in Washington DC. Whether it is conducting an ineffectual “strike” on Syrian Airforce bases in Syria, dropping a very expensive (but worthless) firecracker on an alleged network of caves in Afghanistan or trying to intimidate N. Korea by sending a carrier battle group in that area- he is doing everything that his neocon puppet masters wanted him (or HRC) to do for furthering their cause and making them richer.

Now there are any retards in flyover states who still want to believe that his actions are somehow part of “making america great again” or something along those lines. Others believe that he is playing multi-dimensional chess or is using his “skills” as a “successful businessman” to negotiate “good deals”. Other his real-life cuckold Scott Adams (read a bit about his personal life in past) who accidentally regained some fame in 2016 by pretending to predict Trump’s upset win are trying to pretend that he is “winning”. In short, many people in USA are busy deluding themselves that Trump is somehow doing the “right” thing by pursuing a set of policies which have failed in a pretty spectacular fashion for the last two decades- In Iraq, Afghanistan Libya, Syria and many other countries.

Here is why I think, and predict, that Trump’s newfound willingness to pursue a neoconservative foreign policy will end very badly for USA- especially his supporters.

1] Trump may have tried to impress and intimidate Chinese premier, Xi Jinping, by ordering that ineffectual and farcical cruise missile strike on a Syrian airbase during his visit. The only problem with that approach is that Chinese premiers, especially somebody with Xi Jinping’s history, are made of far stronger material than western leaders. To put it another way, people who rise up through the party system in China are far more cold-blooded and objective than their western counterparts. Consequently, Xi Jinping probably said all the right and polite (but ambiguous) stuff expected of somebody in his position. He may even have made some positive but meaningless gestures towards Trump.

However none of what Xi pretended to say to Trump has any bearing on what he or the rest of Chinese government will do in real life. For example- in spite of all the empty promises to reign in N. Korea, the objective reality is that China has no interest in deposing Kim Jong-Un. And why would they? Do you think they want to share a border with an american puppet state in Korea? Incidentally that is also why China intervened in the Korean War during the early 1950s and pushed the american forces back upto the 38th parallel. To make a long story short, China simply has no interest in replacing Kim Jong-Un or eliminating the N. Korean nuclear weapon program because both suit their interests.

Furthermore, Xi knows that Trump has no ability to punish China economically since most of Trump’s advisers and stooges benefit greatly from the unbalanced trade of USA with that country. All the noises Trump is still making about trade imbalances with China must be seen in the light of people hired by his administration to date. It does not take a genius to figure out that an administration full of executives from Goldman-Sachs and other financial institutions or other large corporations who have made a killing by facilitating trade with China are unlikely to cut their own proverbial throats. Even the bullshit about China buying coal from USA instead of closer and more reliable suppliers such as Australia, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa is farcical.

2] While I have briefly touched on some of the medium-term effects of Trump’s decision to bomb Syria in a previous post, there a couple of points that need to be restated and explored in a bit more detail. Firstly, the Trump dysfunction.. I mean administration.. seems to lack a clear set policy with regards to Syria. While a few in the administration want to let the conflict resolve on its own accord, as long as it is contained in that region, others want to put tens of thousands of soldiers on the ground. We all know how the later course of action turned out in Iraq. It is worthwhile to note that the american occupation of Iraq failed even though the government of Saddam Hussein had virtually no external support and was not popular in most of that country.

Contrast that with Syria where Assad has control over most populous parts of the country, the support of most people living in those regions plus the explicit support or a large nuclear power like Russia. Russia in 2017 is rather unlikely to back down from supporting Assad despite any assurances or sops from USA- largely because Russian leaders do not trust a single word coming out of mouth of american leaders. It is also obvious that threatening a country with more nukes and delivery systems than yourself plus the ability to destabilize many other parts of the world is a stupid idea. In other words, the USA is not in a position to cut a deal with or threaten Russia over Syria or any other issue of importance to Russia. I should also point that Russia will support Assad, regardless of what they pretend to say, largely because the other options are not in their best interests.

Exploding one large and expensive firecracker to allegedly damage a few little-used mountain tunnels in Afghanistan will have no impact on that war. Heck, they could explode a 100 more of them over there and they still won’t be able to cause more damage than the cost of one expensive firecracker. Extremist groups in Afghanistan now control more territory than they used to before the american invasion of that country in 2001 (15-16 years ago). The simple fact is the USA lost the Afghanistan war many year ago, in spite of pouring over a trillion USD. It is however clear to me that the establishment types in USA still do not see it that way and have chosen to willingly live in a dream world.

To summarize this post- my prediction that Trump45’s first term would make Bush43’s second term look like a relative success is slowly, but very surely, coming true. While there is always a slim possibility that Trump might successfully pull of an 180 turn, it appears highly unlikely with each passing day. On the bright side, overt failure and global humiliation of USA as it gets involved in multiple unwinnable and expensive conflicts will speed up the implosion of its global empire- or whatever is still left of it.

What do you think? Comments?

Interesting YouTube Channel: Lazy Game Review

April 10, 2017 Leave a comment

A few months ago, I came across an interesting YouTube channel about older computers systems and games. Have a look around if you feel nostalgic or want to see how those things looked and worked in the 1980s and 1990s.

Link to Channel: Lazy Game Reviews

Clip 1: SGI Indigo2 Computer System Review

Clip 2: Quake – DOS PC Game Review

Enjoy! Comments?

Categories: Technology, YouTube

Medium-Term Effects of Trump’s Decision to Bomb Syria: Apr 7, 2017

April 7, 2017 19 comments

Yesterday was an interesting and historical day. Did you know that a hundred years ago, to the day, USA entered WW1 on the side of the Triple Entente. All jokes aside, I thought it was ironic that Trump’s first attempt to bomb Syria came on the 100th anniversary of the first concrete attempt by USA to become a global power. While the entry of USA in WW1 marked its beginning as a global power, it is very likely that Trump’s misadventure will be remembered as the beginning of its end as a global power.

You might have noticed that the title of this post tells you that it is about the medium-term (months to a few years) effects of his decision to bomb Syria. So, why did I not write about the short-term (days to a few weeks) effects of this decision? The simple answer is as follows: 1] There is realistically still too much uncertainty about which party will respond in what manner; 2] The short-term effects of such actions often (but not always) have little influence on the course of history.

Having said that, here are the likely medium-term effects of Trump’s ill-advised decision, in no particular order of importance.

1] Trump’s presidential campaign was based on promises to defeat ISIL, Al-Qaeda and similar fundamentalist Sunni Islamic outfits in the middle-east by cooperating with relatively secular or non-Sunni leaders in that part of the world. Well.. after yesterdays’ events it is now basically impossible for him to ever coordinate with Syria, Iran or Russia to defeat fundamentalist Sunni Islamist in this region. While the relationship between Syria and USA has always been complicated, prior to 2010 there was limited cooperation between both sides in attempts to combat such fundamentalists. Now that is unlikely to be ever revived.. and certainly not in the next 4-8 years.

2] One of the supposedly smart policies of the Trump administration involved trying to drive a wedge between Russia and Iran. Once again.. yesterday’s misadventure basically destroyed any credibility the new administration might have had with Russia. Russia now sees Trump45 as no better than Obama44 or a potential HRC45. To say this will have no effects of subsequent Russian policy towards USA and its puppet states like Germany and UK is wishful thinking. Expect more overt Russian intervention in countries bordering it, and unlike in Syria there won’t be much USA can do about that. The situation in Ukraine will also start getting interesting.

3] Trump’s rash actions lowers the threshold for N. Korea deciding to nuke Seoul. Yes, you heard that right. There is now a much higher likelihood that leaders in N. Korea will interpret any tough-talk or inflammatory actions from USA as an intention to attack them. Their almost inevitable response will involve increased threats and increased likelihood of actually using nuclear weapons. Unless S. Korean leaders kick the USA out of their country or greatly diminish its presence in it, things could get very exciting for them. I have a feeling that S. Koreans might soon decide that having USA military presence in their country is a now a far bigger liability than any potential benefits from keeping them around.

4] While Russia has been involved in the Middle-East at some level for years now, if not decades, they have so far avoided supplying massive quantities of weapons to religion and ethnicity based groups. Even in the current Syrian conflict they have largely avoided directly funneling weapons to the Hezbollah, other Shia Militias and Kurds. This restraint was largely a consequence of unofficial “understandings” between Russia on one side and countries like Israel and Turkey on the other. As you know, neither country has kept their end of these deals and now they support Trump’s action + tried to work around Russia. Therefore it is very likely that Russia won’t keep their end of the deal. Expect a large and fairly direct supply of weapons to groups like the Hezbollah and various anti-Turkey Kurdish groups.

5] Trumps’ impulsive actions also greatly increases the chance of serious armed confrontation with Russia, and not just in the Middle-East. I should remind all jingoists in USA that Russia still possesses more nukes, ICBMs than the USA- not to mention tactical nuclear weapons. Restraint during the Cold War was largely a consequence of the specter of Mutually Assured Destruction and the belief that the leadership on the other side were not bonkers. Subsequent events have shown the Russians that people in USA are untrustworthy and now mentally unstable. Expect them to adjust their military and nuclear strategies appropriately.

What do you think? Comments?