A couple of comments to a recent post of mine made me write up this one to address and wreck some popular delusions concerning the real-life power of USA. As many regular readers know, my analysis of events is based in objectively measurable reality as opposed to parroting “conventional wisdom” or deferring to “credentialed experts”. My dislike and distrust for what passes as “wisdom” and “expertise” is based on witnessing many instances (in multiple areas of human endeavor) where they turned out to be disastrously and systemically incorrect. My prediction that Trump would win the republican nomination and presidency almost a year before those events occurred is one recent example where my detached objective analysis beat the predictions of pretty much every single highly-paid ‘journalist’ and ‘pundit’ in the main-stream media.
But enough of that. Let me now address some of the popular delusions (and talking points) of people who believe that the USA is a far more powerful country than objective evidence suggests.
While it is unlikely that “Not Born This Morning” is an especially strong believer in the power or competence of USA, as a country or as a military power, one of his comments contained a talking point that is quite popular among jingoists trying to rationalize the many unsuccessful and disastrous armed interventions by USA in other countries since WW2.
Many, many, many more Vietnamese, Iraqis, and Afghan, were shot, burned, bombed, slaughtered in various ways by the same race that committed genocide on “American” soil less than 200 years ago. So, who really “got their asses kicked”. Unfortunately, the popo will be very well supported by those who have driven Smith & Wesson and Rugers (and others) stock up about 1000% during the past 8 years.
As I mentioned in my reply to that particular comment, the relative number of casualties are irrelevant as long as they do not affect the final outcome of that war. Victory or defeat is almost exclusively determined by who prevailed once it was all over. So, USA lost the Vietnam war because the then North-Vietnamese state was still around after the USA left South-Vietnam. Even more humiliatingly, North- Vietnam then went on to defeat South-Vietnam a few years later resulting in their unification. In other words, all the american lives lost and hundreds of billions spent on fighting that war did not change the final outcome- and were thus spent in vain. Vietnam won and the USA lost..
The Iraq war(2003-2010?) and Afghanistan war (2001-present?) are two more contemporary examples of how the USA lost wars that it was supposed to win. In both cases, initially successful military occupations quickly degenerated into prolonged and bloody decentralized insurgencies that made USA basically pack up and leave in one country (Iraq) and quietly scale down to pave the way for an “honorable exit” in the other (Afghanistan). We can certainly talk about the number of dead on each side, but that does not change the outcome of either war. In both cases, the USA was unable to prevail over persistent and decentralized insurgencies. Perhaps more importantly, it was unable to prevail despite having far more money, weapons and technological resources than its adversaries.
I subsequently came across another common talking point of jingoists- this time from a commentator named “Yusef”. He wrote the following:
If U.S. objectives in Vietnam are understood regionally, it is possible to argue the U.S. did prevail. Most of the region, for example Indonesia, was just as ripe for Communism as Vietnam, yet never fell to Communism, even when the established regime was toppled in what appeared at the time to be a leftist coup. A lot of these other S.E. Asian countries are more geopolitically important to the U.S. than Vietnam, and some of them are very oil rich. Vietnam did suffer terribly and suffers to this day…Anyone but a crazed fanatic would look at the example of Vietnam and wish to avoid it at nearly all cost.
One of the more popular delusion among the jingoists is that the actions of USA, even when not successful, are part of some “clever” overall strategy. In the aftermath of their defeat in Vietnam, many “public intellectuals” in USA tried to pass of their failure as example of success. They made the claim that war in Vietnam somehow stopped the progress of communism in SE Asia. But is that claim even realistic let alone true? Well.. it is (like many other claims by “public intellectuals” in USA, total bullshit. Here is why..
Even at the height of its power and influence, state communism as an ideology was never exactly popular outside Russia. It is no secret that most east-European countries who were part of the ‘Eastern Block’ and Comecon had no great love for, or belief, in state communism. Leaders in China largely used state communism only as far it allowed them to receive assistance from Russia during the 1950s and facilitated mass murder of dissidents during the cultural revolution in the 1960s. The ostensibly communist movements in South-East (and East) Asia have an even weaker link to state communism. Indeed, it is fair to say that all those supposedly communist movements in Asia were actually anti-colonial and nationalistic movements. Their connection to state communism was largely a consequence of being supported by Russia and to some extent China and fighting against their erstwhile west-european colonizers and a USA that wanted to recolonize them.
The idea that USA entered and fought the Vietnam war as part of a grander strategic move against the spread of communism is therefore an ex post facto myth concocted once it became clear that they could not win that war easily in the mid-1960s. It also helped see that disastrous war to a fairly gullible audience at home- at least till 1968. There was never any worthwhile possibility for state communism to spread in South-East Asia- and they knew it. Post-colonial political movements in other countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines etc were always about establishing self-rule, enriching local elites and promoting dominant ethnic groups in those countries. As many of you know, a majority of those countries (even the ones on good terms with USA) also experienced a series of internal ethnic strifes and violent government changes during that time. Also many of those countries ended up implementing fairly socialistic policies for members of their dominant ethnicity.
To put it another way, the participation of USA in Vietnam war had no worthwhile influence on the trajectory, policies and governing style of other populous countries in that region. Those countries, if anything, used the american obsession with stopping communism to obtain favorable loans, industrial investments and other favors from USA. I could make a far better case for countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines using the USA to get what they wanted than the other way around. The belief in USA that they somehow stopped communism in South_east Asia by fighting the Vietnam war is therefore something the establishment in that country must tell itself to avoid confronting that it fought an unnecessary expensive war and then lost it to a bunch of people who were seen as racially inferior to them.
What do you think? Comments?
In the previous post of this series, I wrote about the high probability that Trump’s presidency will be a disaster of such epic proportions that it would eclipse the still infamous second term of Bush43. I also wrote about the many ways by which establishment republicans will consciously and unconsciously grease the tracks for that particular train of doom. There is, of course, a slim (and increasingly unlikely) chance that he could go true populist and sorta succeed. But then again, reality is stranger than fiction.
Just to be clear, I am neither a supporter nor a detractor of Trump. I see myself as a detached observer of events who uses his largely dispassionate and probably misanthropic analysis of trends, events and probabilities to make educated (and largely correct) guesses about the future. FYI- I was able to predict that Trump would win the republican nomination and the presidency almost a year before both events occurred. Also, I held that conviction in the face of incessant and coordinated bullshitting by the mainstream media about how Trump was going to lose the presidential election.
The current post is about establishment “liberals” (henceforth referred to as LIEbrals) will try to sabotage his presidency. A quick note for readers- LIEbrals should not be confused with Progressives. The former are neo-liberal corporatist shills credentialed from some “famous” university who can be best described as ‘republican-lite’. The later, in contrast, espouse the ideas and values that the democratic party, in the past, stood for- allegedly. It is no secret that the unprecedented defeat of HRC by Trump has exposed the impotency and emptiness of LIEbrals and their real belief system (which is actually neither liberal nor progressive).
But this does not mean that the LIEbral establishment will quietly accept a Trump victory and presidency. I predict that they will go all out and try to derail it by any and all means available, while simultaneously obstructing progressive attempts to do the same. It is worth pointing out that a Trump victory in the presidential election does not change the fact that large parts of the establishment (from financial institutions, corporations, mass media and universities etc) are still firmly in the hands of establishment LIEbrals and will remain so in the near future.
So how will their “resistance” to Trump play out? Here are my thoughts..
1] We are already seeing LIEbrals spread the meme that Trump lost the popular vote- which while technically true, has little consequence for who will assume the presidency on January 20, 2017. However, as far as LIEbrals are concerned, his inability to win the popular vote (as well as electoral college) makes Trump less than legitimate. You might have already heard about all those stories and insinuations about the election being hacked in certain states- and while that is not outside realm of possibility, it is far more likely that HRC lost because she was a highly unpopular candidate selling a product (status quo) that few wanted to buy- even among those who voted for her.
I predict that attempts to delegitimize Trump by such tactics will be largely unsuccessful outside of circles dominated by rabidly pro-establishment democrats. Perhaps more importantly, these tactics will have little to no effect on Trump assuming presidency and governing in his chosen manner. Also, all those “spontaneous” street demonstrations protesting his election will have little to no effect on his real-life legitimacy or power. Having said that, I expect that the LIEbral establishment will continue to encourage and support such “popular” protests till they run out of enthusiastic volunteers.
2] I predict the largely discredited main-stream media (or at least some parts of it) will continue on a stridently anti-Trump streak- kinda like the 2nd term of Bush43. While these types of sustained actions take more effort and money, they are likely to be more effective than protesting his legitimacy- simply because a Trump presidency will likely provide them with tons of usable material. This might also synergize nicely with establishment republicans filling important posts in Trump administration and attempting to implement their worst and most ill-thought out policies.
Many of Trump’s policies and actions on issues such as funding for sciences and education plus his administration’s likely crackdown on black people and people of mexican descent will provide a stream of endless and genuine material to de-legitimize his presidency. Also, these attacks are far more likely to stick than those made by MSM on his character and temperament. Perhaps more interestingly, the main-stream media could raise it to a level where they will encourage aggrieved minorities to take things in their own hands- which would create an accelerating downward spiral.
3] It is no secret that the dislike for Trump among establishment republicans is as high as that among establishment democrats. I would, therefore, not be surprised to see some future cooperation between these two alleged adversaries on attempts to sabotage a Trump presidency. Such ersatz cooperation might take many forms, including directly undermining his main campaign promises- especially those about restricting “free” trade and all types of immigration. Don’t be surprised if establishment republicans suddenly and selectively talk about “bi-partisan” cooperation and other assorted bullshit.
I also predict that Trump, once in office, will find himself first gradually and then publicly disowned by members of his party- just like they did during his campaign for republican nomination and the presidency. I also predict that this will synergize with my previous point about mass-media going on a more sustained anti-Trump campaign after he assumes office and starts making bad or disastrous decisions. It is also likely that many people employed in the Trump administration have far stronger loyalties to the republican establishment than they will admit- at least right now. Expect them to go along with the LIEbrals if it suits their long-term goals.
4] While some of Trump’s campaign promises, such as those related to blocking new “free trade” agreements and stopping or reversing outsourcing, are broadly popular- some such as deporting millions of mexicans and turning inner cities in open-air prisons are not. While it is possible that Trump himself does not really want to implement his less popular campaign promises, it is very likely that some of his retarded CONservative supporters might make him do so. This is especially likely because some of the people he is hiring in his administration are, for the lack of better words, living in a dream world where the american government has ultimate power without consequences- either unintentionally or intentionally.
The consequences of widespread increase in profiling and police-initiated murder of black people, especially in an age of ubiquitous social media, could have consequences far beyond what they realize. Let me put it this way.. any serious crackdown on black people in 2016 (with vocal support by Trump) might end up in a situation where people working in profession and their families get targeted for random de-centralized acts of lethal violence- which would result in a further intensification of police crackdown leading to a further increase in such retaliation by members of the affected community. Attempts at mas deportation of undocumented mexican workers in USA might also blow up in a similar fashion, since there are more documented citizens of mexican descent than there are of the other variety.
I should also mention that any attempt to break, or even renegotiate, the Iran agreement will be unsuccessful because the entire world now knows that USA lacks the ability to win a war against a determined adversary. Also the world, and economy, of 2016 is far less USA-centric than most people in USA realize. However both the previous facts are common knowledge outside USA. Similarly any attempt to roll back progress on normalizing relations with Cuba or reassert aggression towards Russia will only end up making the rest of the world reduce its interactions with USA. It is also no secret that the establishment LIEbrals will make sure everybody hears about such failures by the Trump administration- even if they are based on the prescriptions of those same establishment LIEbrals and CONservatives.
In an upcoming part of this series, I will write about how (and why) trying to address, let alone fulfill, some of his more popular campaign promises is likely to backfire in a spectacular fashion.
What do you think? Comments?
Earlier today, I came across this short clip containing a very accurate assessment of Barack Obama’s true legacy on TYT. While most people on TYT are dangerously close to being democratic establishment shills, two of them (Jimmy Dore and Jordan Chariton) do stand out for being actual progressives who are willing to say what most journalists won’t even admit in private conversation.
In case you are wondering, Jimmy Dore is pointing out the obvious- that Obama is an empty neo-liberal suit who has repeatedly betrayed the people and causes he claimed to champion when running for office. Jimmy also correctly makes the connection that disappointment of voters under Obama for almost eight years (and his support for HRC) is linked to the rise and electoral success of people like Trump.
What do you think? Comments?
In a previous post from another series, I had written about how my predictions about Trump winning the republican nomination and presidency came true. Many of these predictions, found in older posts, were made many months before those events occurred and more importantly before all those so-called “experts” even considered the possibility of said events occurring. I was also able to predict that HRC would lose because of a serious lack of enthusiasm among the ‘obama coalition of voters’ that made both his presidential victories possible.
As some of you are aware, many “pundits” and “experts” are now busy concocting ever more complicated explanations for Trump’s “unexpected” victory in the 2016 presidential election. These range from the semi-plausible such as a reaction to prolonged socio-economic stress to fanciful ones involving the russian government. Not to be outdone by credentialed bullshit artists of the establishment, many of the right and alt-right are also spinning their own fanciful explanations for Trump’s victory. These range from the wishful such as a resurgence of white power to the bizarre which see Trump as some sort of genius at “persuasion”.
My explanation for the rise of Trump, as documented in a previous series of posts, is not particularly fashionable or gratifying. Instead, it explains the rise of Trump (and similar people around the world) as an almost inevitable consequence of rapidly declining nation states filled with mostly less-than-human people and run by a sheltered and incompetent elite who cannot visualize of world that is not neoliberal. In other words, the rise of Trump and similar “leaders” is as inevitable as a rash of large forest fires during especially dry years in California . My point is that, the rise of people like him is a symptom of serious systemic problems rather than a temporary disturbance in otherwise functional systems.
Having said that, I will now make some initial predictions about the likely trajectory of a Trump presidency. But before I do so, here are two caveats. Firstly, I am assuming that the next four years won’t see any unpredictable and extremely significant events such as imminent comet strikes, super-volcano eruptions or something along those lines. Secondly, I am assuming that the american populace does not suddenly attain wisdom and enlightenment. Personally, I am far more certain about the second caveat holding true than the first one.. but that is just me.
1] Trump’s campaign promises for massively increasing spending on rebuilding infrastructure, make-work jobs and restraining corporations from outsourcing will receive far more push-back from establishment republicans than democrats. While he might be able to eke out a few token victories on those issues, it is unlikely he will be able to fulfill most of his populist promises- at least as perceived by the people in rust belt states who voted for him in 2016. In other words, unless there is some massive movement to stop establishment republicans from running again in 2018, his populist agenda is pretty much dead on arrival.
In case you have forgotten, establishment republicans and democrats are just two different flavors of neoliberalism. Both are supported by, and in thrall to, rich individuals and institutions devoted to asserting power over the masses by impoverishing them. The unpleasant reality is that neither group of elected officials have any interest in improving the lives of most people. Indeed, they would rather preside over a collapsing society as long as they are can stand on top of its ruins. The establishment types, especially in the republican party, have therefore no real incentive to go along with any plans that might improve the lives of most people- and every incentive to stop them.
2] The establishment republicans, on the other hand, have every reason to vigorously pursue all their unpopular neoliberal and neoconservative policies under a Trump presidency. These include privatizing social security and medicare, eliminating medicaid, undermining scientific research, crapifying education etc. They will also try to do it by linking to legislation meant to fulfill watered down versions of Trump’s populist promises. It does not take a genius to figure out that doing so will result in a massive increase in Trump’s unpopularity. The establishment republicans will however see this as killing two birds (boosting neoliberalism, hurting Trump) with one stone.
The added complication in this scenario is that some of Trump’s promises regarding deporting millions of hispanic residents and subjecting blacks to even harsher policing will also backfire in “unforeseen” ways. Let me explain that previous sentence in some detail. All system of governance, regardless of the lethal force they wield, can survive only as long as the majority of people see them as largely legitimate. Even openly totalitarian societies like former communist countries were largely seen as legitimate by their populations till the last decade of their existence, largely because they could deliver on their promises and maintain a functional and orderly society. That might no longer be the case in USA, if the republicans push forward with their corporatist and neoliberal agenda.
3] Trump, ironically, might never be widely seen as legitimate- but not because of the electoral college. As many of you know, almost half of eligible voters did not vote for him or HRC. This almost-half of the population does however participate in all other aspects of being an adult resident of USA. Consequently, any lack of improvement in their circumstances combined with establishment republican further abusing or impoverishing them will likely lead to an unprecedented loss of legitimacy for him and establishment republicans. The loss of legitimacy for him will likely be far stronger than that suffered by any president in living memory- largely because the USA has not experienced a decade of almost continuous decline of stagnation with patches of anemic “growth” in the last hundred years. Like they say.. victory has a thousand fathers while defeat is an orphan and always requires a good scapegoat.
It also does not take a genius to figure out that establishment republicans will start disowning him as his popularity and perceived legitimacy falls. Doing so will however also simultaneously corrode their own (and linked) claims at legitimacy, resulting in further rounds of disowning. Pence, despite all his establishment republican connections and frantic maneuvering, will suffer an even more severe drop in his public legitimacy- because he is seen as both an acolyte of Trump and an establishment republican. Also, there are many others republicans wgo would be eager to fill his position and wield his power.
4] Some of you might have noticed that those who are already part of a future Trump administration or are vying for positions in it are.. for the lack of a better word.. ideologues with a rather tenuous connection to the world as it exists in 2016. Even his picks to date such as Jeff Sessions, Mike Pompeo and Michael Flynn inhabit a world where the USA is still an indispensable nation which can get away with anything. In other words, his administration is going to to be full of people who mentally live in a world that does not exist. Indeed, the the period between 1946-1961 and to a limited extent between 1991-2001 was the closest reality came to the fictional world they inhabit. The reality is that the actual capabilities of the USA are a shadow of what these people (mostly white men who grew up in a different era) assume it to be. In case you think otherwise, I would like to point you to the recent thorough defeats of USA in Iraq and Afghanistan- both of which largely occurred under the previous republican president.
The reality is the USA does not have the financial capability, dominant influence, adequate number of soldiers, appropriate weapons, sufficient technological edge or industrial capability to actually win a war against any determined adversary- be that another competent nation-state or a popular non-nation entity in any part of the world. While people in the current Obama administration do seem to (if grudgingly) understand this reality, it appears that those being recruited by the Trump administration are prone to magical thinking. While it is possible that they might ultimately accept this new reality, it is more likely that their lack of connection to the real world of 2016 might result in them entering into new unwinnable and ultimately humiliating conflicts with nations such as Iran, China and yes.. even Russia. Also, going back on less than favorable multi-lateral agreements and treaties might make it basically impossible to enter into similar agreements in the short-term.. or possibly ever again.
To quickly summarize this post, I think there is a better than 90% chance than a Trump presidency might make the disastrous second term of Bush43 look competent and organized in comparison. Of course, there is a small chance that he might be able to become a true (agnostic) populist and succeed- but that looks less likely with each passing day. In an upcoming post of this series, I will try to enumerate the ways in which the neoliberal establishment will try to make him fail in a spectacular fashion.
What do you think? Comments?
I first came across this clip about three months ago. It was originally made after Trump won the republican nomination in July 2016. The skit (in the clip) is about one part of an ostensibly liberal person trying to make himself believe that Trump will definitely lose the election, while the other realizes that Trump has a pretty good chance of winning the presidency.
One of the funnier gags in this clip involves the main character’s computer screen displaying webpages from a variety of mainstream predicting an almost inevitable Clinton triumph or a Trump defeat. In the end, the character suffers a cognitive dissonance when he realizes that the election might be far closer than he wants to believe and that Trump actually has a pretty decent chance of winning the presidency.
What do you think? Comments?
As some regular readers of this blog might know, many of my predictions about the 2016 presidential election in USA have turned out to very prescient. But why take my word for it? Here are links to some older posts that predicted how the presidential campaign would shape up..
I first wrote that Trump was likely to the republican presidential candidate on August 31, 2015. Infact, I wrote a whole series of posts on why Trump was likely to win the republican nomination at a time when most people saw his candidacy as a joke or an act of self promotion. And it only gets better from there because I also wrote (on February 20, 2016) that Hillary Clinton would lose the presidential election against an even moderately competent Republican opponent. I also predicted that many blacks who voted for Obama would not vote for Hillary Clinton, in a post of February 11, 2016. I also predicted that the HRC ‘private email server and deleted emails’ controversy would be exposed as an example of legal corruption in a post on January 21, 2016.
I also wrote many other posts on why Trump’s numerous inflammatory statements and gaffes would not hurt his chances on August 9, 2016. I also wrote a short series on why all that fake moral Outrage by the ‘establishment’ against Donald Trump was unlikely to hurt his chances in the election. I even wrote about why HRC was losing in the raw polling data numbers to Trump and why attempts to prop her up my media and pollsters were likely to backfire on them. The point is that I was able to correctly predict the course of events weeks and months before they occurred. Most importantly, I did not back off on my predictions based on the latest flavors of bullshit propaganda propagated by the noise making machine known as the mainstream media.
So how was I able to make so many correct predictions, with proper reasoning, in an election season where almost every establishment presstitute, pundit , expert and pollster got it so horribly wrong? Well.. it is quite simple. I looked at all available evidence in an objective manner and without prejudice to its source- as long as said source did not try to hide its bias. Furthermore, some of my earlier posts on the decline of functional institutions in society had laid the groundwork for understanding this phenomenon. Having said that, let us look at the major reasons behind HRC’s loss to Donald Trump.
Firstly though HRC will eventually end up with slightly more total votes than Trump (who won the electoral college), she received somewhere between 9-10 million fewer votes that Obama in 2008 and about 5-6 million fewer votes that Trump in 2012. Think about that for a second.. HRC got a few million fewer votes than Obama in either of this two presidential campaign. In contrast to that, Trump’s final tally of total votes will be about the same as McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012. Perhaps even more problematically, HRC was not able to turn out all those supposedly democrat-voting white working class voters in ‘rust belt’ swing-states like Michigan and Wisconsin- which she lost. She even came close to losing supposedly ‘solid-blue’ states like Minnesota and Virginia.
Curiously, many of these working class white voters had no problem voting for Obama in 2008 and 2012- and were a large part of the reason he won the presidency with large margins in the electoral college on both occasions. Obama in 2008 and 2012 had also no problem winning the majority of votes of those making less than the average and median income, while HRC in 2016 barely won that demographic segment. HRC was not able to turn out as many black voters as Obama did in 2008 and 2012. Indeed, her inability to get enough black voters enthused by her candidacy probably cost her the election in states like Michigan, Wisconsin and North Carolina. Then there is the issue of the HRC’s inability to get younger voters to vote for her in numbers they did for Obama in 2008 and 2012.
I will post detailed figures and charts with graphical representation of these numbers in the upcoming post of this series. Until then, here is a quick synopsis of the immediate effects of HRC’s loss to Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
1] The Clinton ‘brand’ and money-raising machine in the democratic party have been damaged beyond repair. Though the current members of DNC are downplaying the monumentality of this defeat, it is clear that the DNC and democratic party will have to reinvent and re-brand themselves. They will have to do this by getting rid of most of their current Clinton- and corporation- friendly members.. one way or the other
2] Main stream media outlets in USA (and many other countries) has publicly lost whatever shreds of credibility they still possessed. The same goes for all those “public intellectuals”, “talking heads” and “credentialed experts” who were almost unanimous in incorrectly predicting a HRC victory. Most pollsters, campaign advisers and strategists have been exposed as the borderline frauds they always were.
3] Trump has managed to destroy the credibility and future of both the Clinton and Bush political dynasty. As some of you might realize, there has been a Bush or Clinton on the presidential or vice-presidential ticket for most elections since 1980. This american version of dynastic politics is now over- at least for those two families. Hopefully, this starts an era where people who are not so connected to the political machines of either party have a decent chance of succeeding in politics at the national level.
What do you think? comments?