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Posts Tagged ‘China’

On the Difference in Outcomes for China and India in Post-1945 Era: 3

February 16, 2019 9 comments

In the previous part of this series, I wrote about how post-1949 Chinese leadership put in a lot of effort to improve the conditions of its people, even if their motivations were not purely altrusitic. Then again, the same is true of every government which has every existed in human history and the present. In sharp contrast, the Indian leadershit has remained mired in their self-chosen role as darker white sahibs carrying the “white mans burden” and lording over an allegedly hopeless bunch of subhumans. One commentator in the previous post of this series made a comment to the effect that it sounded like how things work in south and central american countries- where an incompetent whiter elite (with the assistance of dying white countries) mismanage and lord over less whiter people, who they see as less than human. Yep.. that is about right.

In the previous post, I also wrote about how the Chinese leadership took a pragmatic approach to improving literacy through a variety of reforms and programs. They also built, and in some cases rebuilt, institutions and bureaucracies to function for them and their people. Sure.. they had to break a few hundred thousand eggs to achieve that- but you cannot deny that the results are quite impressive and functional. More importantly, these institutions now either do what they are meant to do, or do not interfere in what other institutions are doing. In other words, the Chinese leadership was able to build and maintain a unitary and coordinated governmental system with a pretty decent level of accountability. And all this within first three decades after 1949. So why were they able to achieve something which their Indian counterparts thought to be impossible.

Conventional explanations for this, usually put forth by allegedly “credentialed” white idiots, try to paint this as some sort of exception or aberration. However that is not the case, as some version of this had been previously implemented in Japan and the Koreas. For example, modernization of Japan starting in Meiji era and its rebuilding after WW2 was achieved by implementing a watered-down version of what China started doing after 1949. The same is true of South Korea after the early 1960s. You might have noticed that all these examples have something else common to them- other than being east-asian. Ready.. they were, or are, mostly single-party systems.. yes, even Japan. But didn’t India also have effectively have a single party system for first 2-3 decades after 1947? Yes, they did and the Congress party won most elections as the state and federal level for 2-3 decades after “independence”. So why did it work in east-Asia but not in India?

Which brings us to the part about accountability- for elected officials as well as bureaucrats. As I mentioned in previous parts of this series, almost every single Indian politician and elected official came from families who collaborated with the British colonizers of India. They had risen to their positions without facing any real challenge, struggle or conflict. Most had no real skills beyond regurgitating what they learned in British universities and they saw themselves as darker whites rather than Indians. As I said in previous part, they believed anything some white guy in an expensive suit would tell them. The Indian bureaucracy was no better and filled with sad excuses for human beings who enjoyed abusing and screwing over their own people by using rules and regulations written up for that purpose by their erstwhile colonial masters.

Long story short, both the political class and bureaucracy of India was made up of incompetent losers who saw themselves as lesser whites rather than Indians. And there is one more thing.. the bureaucracy and political system continued to exist as two independent and antagonistic centers of power. Contrast that to successful east-asian countries where the political leadership and bureaucracy are different faces of the same system. There is a good reason why I used the words such as unitary and coordinated to describe the Chinese system. But why does any of this matter? Also, does it matter that much? Well.. let me show you with a couple of examples.

Very few of you know that India was first Asian country to build its own supersonic combat aircraft. Ya.. India built the HF-24 Marut and successfully tested it in the early 1960s. While the team leader of the project was Kurt Tank, almost everybody else in the project was Indian and they went from nothing to flying prototypes in about 6 years. So what did the Indian political leadershit and bureaucracy do in response to this success? The sabotaged it in every way they could- from denying funding for better imported engines to crippling the organisation setup for developing indigenous engines. Even worse, they spent a lot of effort trying to make sure that all the knowledge and expertise gained through that project was lost. But why?

The “conventional” explanation for this behavior is that USSR offered them decent inexpensive combat aircraft. However that is not true since the USSR which made such aircraft in multiple thousands was not really bothered by this indigenous effort. Moreover, it filled a role distinct from the aircraft they supplied to India at that time. The real reasons have far more to do with the Indian psyche, especially those of its white-worshiping idiot politicians and bureaucrats. The thing is.. they could not believe that people of their skin color could make world-class products. To make matters worse, they had no ability to understand concepts such as iterative development and using the insight gained in one project to advance others. But most fatally, they believed in what white scammers told them about the nature of money.

Now contrast this to what China did during the same time period. After getting all the equipment from USSR to manufacture Mig-15s, 17, 19s etc they first kept cranking out replicas. While not the best combat aircraft of that era (mid 1960s), they were good enough. But far more importantly, they used that opportunity to train a shitload of engineers who would then go on to improve these aircraft and eventually build far better ones. They did this at a time when they were as poor as India and in politically worse shape. They also did the same with soviet diesel-electric submarines, infantry weapons, artillery etc. Did you notice that they never stopped these projects or disbanded their experienced teams regardless of domestic upheavals and other issues. Why not? And where did they get the money to do all these things?

The answer to first part of those questions is that they, unlike their Indian counterparts, were not incompetent white-worshipping idiots. The second and related answer is that they saw money in a very different way to their Indian and white counterparts. To make another long story short, they implemented a form of what we today call modern monetary theory, which is fancy way of saying that they printed money and allocated resources as necessary to get important things done while making sure that this new money did not enter the general circulation at levels large enough to cause runaway inflation and currency devaluation. So ya.. they pretty much printed money and rigged their system to deliver what they wanted, which they could do because of the size of their country. Their Indian equivalents chose to believe “credentialed” white eCONomists.

In the next part of this series, I will show you (with more examples) how a unitary and coordinated government policy gave China a huge advantage over India in other sectors.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Difference in Outcomes for China and India in Post-1945 Era: 2

January 30, 2019 5 comments

In the previous part of this series, I wrote that India and China started from about the same level, and with a host of systemic problems, as nascent modern nation states in 1947 and 1949. While India might have initially seemed to be the more successful of the two, China slowly but surely outpaced it in almost every aspect from about the mid-1960s. The gap has now grown to such levels that the real difference between these two equipopulous Asian nations now appears unbridgeable. In the previous part, I also said that majority of difference in outcome between the two can be attributed to difference in quality of leadership and administration between them. For starters- Indian leaders, while superficially more erudite than their Chinese counterparts, came from families who had previously gotten rich by collaborating with British colonizers.

The majority of those who came to power in India had also never been tested under real life-and-death situations. In addition to displaying uncritical belief in whatever any white person wearing a suit told them, they had no real interest in improving the condition of their fellow country men and women. Indeed, most of them did not see themselves as part of India.. well at least not ‘that other’ India. They saw themselves as darker white sahibs carrying the “white mans burden” and ruling over a hopeless bunch of subhumans. Some of you might wonder as to how I reached this rather dim view about that allegedly “great” generation of leaders which India had in aftermath of gaining independence in 1947, from the now defunct British empire. Easy.. look at their behavior and actions, rather than their words- because the later is cheap unlike the former two.

1] Both India and China started life as modern nation states with very high levels (over 80-85%) of illiteracy. So how did Indian leaders go about trying to fix this problem? How about.. by doing almost nothing. That is right! While Chinese leaders put a lot of effort and force into projects such as simplifying the Chinese script, ordering translations of everything they could find into Chinese, improving primary school attendance and childhood literacy among its population by any means (including force)- their Indian counterparts gave speeches and raised slogans about removing illiteracy. While it is true that Indian leaders did fund a few elite universities and educational institutions (IITs, IIMs etc) earlier than China, they largely ignored the primary and secondary educational sector. But why? Well.. think about which educational institutions their progeny, and those of their flunkies, would attend. It is that easy.

So why didn’t the Chinese leadership behave in such an utterly selfish manner? The answer is.. because they were pragmatic. While creating elite educational institutions for your own children sounds like a good idea, doing so without creating an equally extensive non-elite educational system would almost certainly lead to them remaining a poor country. Chinese leaders were always interested in true global power and prestige. It is not possible to be powerful and feared (or respected) on the international level if your country is an un-industrialized and materially poor country full of illiterate people. Indian leaders, on the other hand, were incapable of visualizing themselves as anything other than second-rate ‘whites’ in charge of a country predestined to be poor because some white guy in an expensive suit told them so.

2] It is no secret that the administrative system and bureaucracy in India, along with its laws and regulations, had been designed to exploit and abuse Indians for the benefit of the now extinct British empire. Any person with half-a-brain who was genuinely interested in improving conditions in India after independence would have liquidated everyone in the administrative system, except its junior-most employees, and built a new one- if necessary by copying from countries where things worked. That is, however, not the path taken by Indians leaders after ‘independence’. Instead they retained almost every single part of the incredibly abusive and dysfunctional system including its pathetic white-worshiping personnel. And this is how India ended up with a shitty and incompetent bureaucracy which benefits nobody other than its employees.

Their Chinese counterparts, on the other hand, went on quite the cleaning spree after 1949. They started by getting rid of bureaucrats who were, should we say, not sympathetic to the new order or problematic collaborators to previous regimes. They reformed laws, rules and regulations to make them more useful and internally self-consistent. Moreover, they were willing to reform their system as the situation changed- for example after 1971 and 1979. Some people say that it was helpful that China has a long history of competent bureaucracy, unlike India. However, after the ‘century of humiliation’ they had to start from scratch to build a modern secular bureaucracy and so their history is not especially relevant to what happened after 1949. Let me reiterate that the Chinese leadership did not educate their people and build a good bureaucracy because they were altruistic. They did so because they wanted to be leaders of a powerful and respected nation.

In the next part of this series, I will write about how the lack of imagination and ability displayed by Indian leadership over every single decade since ‘independence’ contrasts with the willingness of their Chinese counterparts to take calculated risks, persevere along initially suboptimal routes, keep thinking big and have a viable plan (or two) to get there.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Difference in Outcomes for China and India in Post-1945 Era: 1

January 20, 2019 13 comments

Approximately three months ago, I wrote about my plans for a couple of series on topics which I had either not tackled or done in a less-than-through manner. In case you are wondering, one series would focus on the reasons why China became the world’s largest economy (in real terms) almost a decade ago while India is.. well.. stumbling around in that general direction. While most of the blame for dismal post-1947 performance of India can still be assigned to the first-, second- and third- order effects of the ‘jati’ system, there are clearly other factors at work- some of which are ‘intersectional’ to the continued existence of that wretched system. Let us start this series by examining them- starting with a comparison leadership cadre of both countries.

But before we go there, let me reiterate a few relevant points and spend the next 3-4 paragraphs giving you some background on the topic. As I wrote in a previous post, the majority of informed outsiders looking at the situation in both countries in 1950 would have put their money on India ending up as the more prosperous of two in 50-70 years. Yet in 2019, the Indian economy is still only 1/4th or 1/5th of its Chinese counterpart in real terms, despite containing an almost identical number of people. Did I mention that they started out at almost the same level in 1950. Let us also be clear that things had not gone well for over a century in either country at that time. In the case of India, it was a heavily exploited colony of now defunct British empire.

In the case of China, it was well.. a whole host of other problems. We can start with the various large and highly damaging rebellions towards the end of the Qing dynasty. One of these, known as the Taiping Rebellion, resulted in about 20-30 million deaths over a period of 14 years. Then there was the problem of western countries such as UK and USA pushing Opium in China which resulted in probably 20-40% of the population becoming dependent on that drug. There is some irony about tens of thousands of mostly white people dying from synthetic opioid overdoses, each year, in contemporary USA- given the major source of that drug. Add into that the humiliation caused by numerous military setbacks against 19th century European colonial powers culminating in the Boxer rebellion. And it got even worse in the early 20th century.

It started with the formal collapse of the Qing dynasty and lead to the Warlord Era– which was much worse than it sounds. And then there was that other unpleasant period due to the partial colonization by Imperial Japan, which culminated in events such as the Nanjing Massacre in addition to many millions more deaths due to that invasion, including many thousands due to activities of Unit 731. And we are not even getting into all the problems caused by on-again off-again alliance between various factions of the nationalists and communists in pre-1950 China. There is a very good reason that the Chinese see the hundred odd years between 1839-1949 as the Century of Humiliation. Long story short, China started from scratch after WW2. And we have not even talked about the Great Famine of 1959-1961 and the Cultural Revolution.

My point is that the modern nation states of India and China started at almost the same time (1947, 1949) and from about the same relative situation. Both had low literacy rates (12-15 % and 15-20 %), not much of an industrial base, very few universities and technical schools etc. Both experienced chaotic conditions during and shortly after their formation (India-Pakistan Partition, final stage of civil war on mainland China). Neither country had experienced unitary self-governance for over a hundred years. Most of the lay people in both countries still believed in tons of superstitions and bullshit. Long story short, both nation states started under equally dismal conditions. And yet in 2019, the economy and global stature of India is a fraction of China.

So let us now start talking about the types of people who ended up in leadership positions in both countries, starting with those involved in their respective independence movements.

The Indian “independence” movement, at least its modern form, can trace its origins to the establishment of the Indian National Congress in 1885. Ironically, it was established by a retired British civil service officer- Allan Octavian Hume. Think about it for a moment, the organisation which came to lead the Indian “independence” movement was not started by an Indian. But it gets better, or worse. Here is something many of you might know about many of the subsequent important leaders of the Indian “independence” movement.. most were the sons of people who had grown rich and powerful from enthusiastic collaboration with the British colonizers of India. Ya.. all those “great” leaders of the Indian “independence” moment were almost exclusively the sons of greedy and treacherous collaborators.

And most did not demand total independence until the early 1940s.. just varying degrees of autonomy from the now defunct British empire. And now you know why I decided to use quotation marks for independence. Sad.. isn’t it? And it gets worse.. if that is even possible. Unlike their Chinese counterparts, most leaders of the Indian “independence” movement were oxbridge educated lawyers with close to zero ability or experience to do anything beyond giving stirring speeches and writing elaborate letters in protest. They had a serious inferiority complex vis-à-vis white people in general and the British in particular. But most importantly, they simply wanted to rule instead of the British and had no real desire to improve the condition of most people in the country, and just wanted to be seen as equal to British on an individual level.

Now let us compare this sorry bunch to their equivalents in the Chinese national movement of early 20th century. Note that I am not implying that their Chinese equivalents were any less power-hungry, double-dealing, generally corrupt and sometimes thoughtless. But there are some very important and relevant differences between the two groups. For starters, most of their leadership did not arise from a group of traitors who collaborated with colonizers. Neither were most of their leaders born in very prosperous families. Sun Yat-sen, Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek came from somewhat comfortable but not unusually rich or politically connected families. Even the second and third order leadership of the national movement was largely derived from people born into poor, middling to somewhat prosperous bourgeois families.

Furthermore, they all agreed that expulsion of foreign colonizers, restoration of unitary authority and building a new secular technological society was not negotiable. Compare this to their Indian counterparts who were fine with continuing caste divisions, widespread poverty, little to no economic development, low literacy, semi-independence etc as long as they were in power. Leaders of the Indian “independence” movement.. you see.. just wanted an equal seat at the table of their British masters so they could regale them with tales with how stupid and poor all those “other” Indian were and have a laugh about it. While it sounds harsh, this is how things went after 1947. The leadership of the Chinese national movement, on the other hand, understood that only leaders of powerful and prosperous nations wield true power.

This is why, for example, the government of post-1949 China put so much effort into improving literacy levels, setting up universities, funding research institutes, building their own weapon systems, investing in infrastructure projects etc- even when they technically did not have the “money” to do so. In contrast, multiple generations of Indian leaders used the excuse of “no money” to either not do those things or do them in an anemic and half-hearted manner. That is also why India retained the shitty colonial system of laws and administration which was designed to exploit and abuse Indians rather than build a new one to benefit them. The darkly comic part of all this is that most of them lack the ability to understand their own pathetic behavior.

Will write more about this issue in the next part of series.

What do you think? Comments?

State Communism was Based in Capitalism and Social Conservatism: 1

March 11, 2018 8 comments

A few months ago, I decided to write a short series about how socio-economic problems which plague post-2008 USA are oddly similar to those which brought down ostensibly “communist” countries in the late 1980s. While I did complete and post the first article in that series, a feeling that I was close to uncovering an even deeper basic similarity between the two allegedly different systems made me hold off writing the second part at that time. While I do plan to finish up that one soon, the topic I am going to discuss today is distinct enough to deserves its own separate post or two.

Let me start by making a claim, which might initially sound rather strange to most of you. It is as follows: ‘State Communism, in both, ideology and practice, is just another flavor of Capitalism in combination with a certain kind of social conservatism’. Some will counter by pointing out that state communism didn’t allow official large-scale private ownership of property or money. Others will highlight that countries under state communism were often socially more progressive than their capitalist counterparts. While both are factually correct, neither one addresses the central reasoning behind my claim.

In my opinion, the key to defining capitalism, state communism, socialism or any other ‘-ism’ lies in observing how that ideology functions in real life and what unspoken assumptions are made by its principal practitioners. With that in mind, let me ask you a simple question- Why was the quality of life for the median person living in countries under state communism in eastern Europe always inferior to those in western Europe? While a good portion of blame can be placed on the design of almost all institutions (functional monopolies) in those countries and “professional managers” who ran them into the ground, it is worthwhile to ask ourselves- How, and why, was all of this normalized and “rationalized” by those in power?

In other words, how did those in power within those countries justify their relative inability to provide their citizens with nice apartments, sweet cars and other consumer goodies? To make a long story short, such glaring deficiencies were usually explained away as being the result of “not enough resources” or “other more pressing priorities”. Oddly enough, this is the same reasoning used by politicians and establishment pundits in USA to explain how the “exceptional” country which spend trillions on useless defense related toys somehow cannot afford to provide universal healthcare, inexpensive higher education and a decent social safety net for its citizens.

So how can countries in western Europe continue to provide all of those goodies to their citizens? Also, why were they generally unable to do that before 1945? What changed? Also, why are public services in first-world countries generally of good quality, relatively inexpensive and universally accessible? Well.. the simple answer to most of those questions is that services which are considered and treated as social goods rather than as opportunities to make ever-increasing amounts of monetary profits end up being inexpensive, universally available and of high quality. Conversely, those treated as avenues for the enrichment of a select few end up becoming expensive, scarcer and of lower quality.

But how does any of this work in systems where official accumulation of wealth and property was banned? Under those conditions, shouldn’t all public services be seen as social goods and be therefore universally available and of high quality?

No.. not really, and here is why. Any official ban on private accumulation of property or money has, by itself, little impact on the practice of capitalist ideology. All laws and regulations will be compromised and circumvented by clever crooks- if they are allowed to get away with it. To understand what I am really talking about, we have to first spell out the end goal of capitalism and the ideology beyond it. The end goal of capitalism and many other -isms is to impoverish others by depriving them of resources while simultaneously accumulating resources created by the labor of others for no reason than to deprive those others.

In that respect, the only difference between capitalism and feudalism is that the later uses overt direct force and appeals to tradition and religion, while the later uses the pretense of “liberal enlightenment”, impersonal violence by a “secular” state appeals to the greed of willing idiots. Have you ever noticed that capitalism did not improve the quality of life for the median person in western countries until after WW1. So why did over a hundred years of unbridled capitalism, “free trade” and the industrial revolution have little positive effects on the lives of most people in the “west”? Maybe we should have given it more time? Perhaps it was not “pure enough”?

And this brings us to why the aftermath of WW1 and WW2 witnessed a lot of progressive and sustained improvements in the quality of life. To (once again) make a long story short, both wars and their aftermath destroyed and discredited old institutions, hierarchies and ways of thinking to the point where a lot of the previous status quo was simply unsustainable. It just happened to be the case that ethic nationalism, “free trade” and laissez-faire capitalism was the previous status quo. And that is also why ‘neoliberalism’ (aka recycled liberal capitalism) did not become respectable till the mid-1980s which is almost four decades after the end of WW2.

But, what does any of this have to do with my claim that the ultimate failure of state communism had a lot to do with it being based in capitalist ideology?

Well.. remember how earlier on in this post, I talked about the excuses used by the elite (1%) in countries under state communism to explain their inability to provide enough quality consumer goods to their citizens. You might remember something about how they justified chronic shortages, shoddy products and general deprivation by invoking excuses about “available resources” and “other priorities”. Now tell me, why did they choose excuses that are linked to cost and utility, when the government in those countries was free to create extra money to fund building of new houses, nice apartment blocks, sweet cars and other consumer goodies?

Isn’t that what China did to build up its industrial and consumer base in the last three decades? How could a country like China see the obvious solution and implement it in a manner that eluded all the countries under state communism in eastern Europe? Why did not Russia decide to do something similar in the 1960s and create enough extra money within its border and utilize that to build nice apartments, modern cars and consumer goodies for its citizens? I mean.. they certainly did that for building lots of modern weapons systems and other prestige programs during that time period.

I think that the reason why 1960-ear Russia did not do what 1980-era China did on a large-scale comes down to that counter-intuitive fact that elites in the former believed in capitalism far more than those in the later. The former could not think in ways which violated the sacrosanct beliefs and assumptions of capitalism. The later simply saw capitalism as another make-believe ideology which could be manipulated to facilitate whatever they wanted. And that is why China was able to seamlessly pull off something which the erstwhile USSR failed at, even though it was a far better position to do so.

In the next part, I will write about my thoughts on how the strong urge to enforce conservatism and traditionalism in erstwhile USSR to maintain social harmony and conformity ended up having the reverse effect and contributed to the ultimate failure of state communism in that country.

What do you think? Comments?

Three Erroneous Assumptions Made by Most Americans about DPRK

October 25, 2017 7 comments

As regular readers know, I have written more than a few posts about the current situation caused by DPRK aka North Korea testing nuclear weapons and ICBMs. The gist of those posts is as follows: Accepting DPRK as a bonafide nuclear weapon state with a rational foreign policy and acting towards it accordingly is infinitely better than pretending otherwise.

Having said that, I have noticed that a lot of americans keep on making a number of erroneous, and unrealistic, assumptions about DPRK and the current situation. While we certainly cannot go over every one of them in a single post, I thought it would be a good idea to cover the three most important erroneous assumptions (or beliefs) about that country and the current situation.

Erroneous Belief # 1
: Current situation between DPRK & USA can be resolved by military force.

While jingoists, keyboard warriors and many west-point educated generals might want to believe that the USA could resolve its current situation with DPRK through military force, even a basic reality check and some knowledge of relevant history suggests otherwise. Let me remind you that the decision by USA to not attempt a Korean War 2.0 after the 1953 armistice was based in military calculations, rather than humanitarian considerations- to put it mildly.

As many of you know, DPRK has hundreds (if not thousands) of artillery pieces capable of bombarding Seoul on a moment’s notice- not to mention the tens of thousands of rocket artillery and swarms of short-range missiles. The acquisition of nuclear weapons by DPRK in the later half of 2000s makes the destruction of Seoul Capital Area (about 25 million people) almost inevitable if a serious war was to break out between DPRK and USA. To make a long story short, Korean War 2.0 = No Seoul

Then there is the question of whether large urban aggregations in Japan, specifically the Greater Tokyo Area, would get nuked in the event of such a war. It is no secret that DPRK has a number of liquid and solid fueled SRBMs which could deliver a few nukes on top of such large urban aggregations. While Japan claims to have many types of “effective” anti-ballistic missiles, it is highly doubtful that they can do much against a swarm of dozens of warheads within a 2-3 minute window, especially if only 5-6 of them were nuclear.

My point is that even the most optimistic projections of casualties caused by DPRK’s response to a military strike by USA involve millions of dead and dying people in South Korea and Japan plus long-term (potentially irreversible) damage to two of the largest and most prosperous urban areas in the world. And we have not even started talking about the effects of a few nuclear weapon tipped ICBMs going off over large cities in mainland USA.

Erroneous Belief # 2: DPRK is a vassal state of China.

One belief constantly resurfacing in regards to the current situation with DPRK is that China is somehow the real power behind the show. Another version of this belief is that China possess extraordinary leverage over DPRK. The reality is, however, quite different. While China has always been the most important trading partner for DPRK and was its most important weapons provider in the past, its actual leverage over DPRK has been rather limited. Even worse, the political relationship between them has never been especially warm.

China’s support for DPRK has to be understood through the lens of history and pragmatism. To put it bluntly, China intervened in the Korean war because it did not want an american puppet state on its eastern border- which is also why it got involved in the Vietnam war. Of course, China is quite happy to let DPRK poke and prod South Korea, Japan and generally undermine the rationale for american military presence in that region. But let us clear about one thing, Beijing does not control Pyongyang. Nor do they want, or can afford, the current regime in DPRK to fail.

A related delusion still popular among americans is the belief China will help the USA secure DPRK after a “successful” invasion of DPRK. Even if we discount the possibility that major urban centers in South Korea and Japan will be nuked within the first few minutes of a serious armed confrontation, we have to contend with the reality that DPRK’s leadership (or their population) do not see China as their master and will not hesitate to use their weapons against China. Yes.. you heard that right. If DPRK feels that China is cooperating with USA to invade it, there is a pretty high likelihood that some of their nukes will go off over Chinese cities.

Erroneous Belief # 3: DPRK will agree to give up its nuclear weapons.

Another popular delusion harbored by the establishment in USA is that they can somehow convince DPRK to give up its nuclear weapons. While this delusion is especially funny, it is worthwhile to point out that “denuclearization” of DPRK is still the main and only focus of any talks USA is willing to have with DPRK. Let us be clear about one thing, only one nation (namely, South Africa) has ever voluntarily gave up its arsenal of self-developed. Also they had less than a dozen of very primitive nuclear weapons- so it wasn’t exactly a big sacrifice to begin with.

In spite of all the sanctimonious talk about global denuclearization, no other nuclear weapon power has seriously considered giving up its nuclear weapon arsenal. In fact, all nuclear weapon powers have kept on improving their weapons even if two of them (Russia and USA) did reduce the absolute numbers in their inventory in the 1990s. However the total number of nuclear weapons in the world had remained largely constant since those early post-cold war reductions. It is not realistic to expect any nuclear weapon power, let alone one who needs such deterrent capability, to give up nuclear weapons- especially if they were developed indigenously.

Furthermore, the experience of DPRK of negotiating with USA in the mid-1990s, and then again in the early-2000s, has left them with the correct impression that any treaty with the USA is not worth the paper on which it was printed. They correctly recognized that credible lethal force is necessary for any future talks with USA. In other words, DPRK now rightly believes that acquisition of a credible capability to launch a nuclear attack on american cities is a prerequisite to any worthwhile talks between the two parties. The recent fiasco over Trump decertifying a multinational nuclear deal with Iran has simply demonstrated that their strategy towards USA is correct.

In this situation and environment, it is supremely delusional to believe that a regime whose survival is predicated on possessing a credible nuclear deterrent will give it up to satisfy another country which has consistently demonstrated its unwillingness to respect the terms of any agreement it has ever signed. In other words, DPRK (and many other countries) will require a credible nuclear deterrent as long as the USA continues to exist in its current form. Also, USA is no longer seen as an omnipotent military power- especially after its recent humiliating defeats in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

What do you think? Comments?

Some Thoughts on Why USA Cannot Win Cold War 2.0: Part 1

September 18, 2017 2 comments

One of the major undercurrents running through a number of current standoffs and conflicts involving the USA (supported by its west European vassal states) and a number of other countries such as Iran, North Korea, Russia, China etc can be stated as follows: USA is acting as if it can “win” all these conflicts in a manner similar to how, it believes, it “won” Cold War 1.0.

To put it another way, the establishment in USA believes that it can win conflicts against other countries (small and large) through a combination of economic policy and propaganda. A corollary of that is the widespread belief among establishment-types in USA that those conflicts will never reach the point where are an existential threat to the survival of USA.

While I have previously touched on this topic in some previous posts such as why comparing income across countries in USD is detached from reality, the focus was mainly on socio-economic effects of this disconnect rather than its strategic implications. I also wrote another post about why Russian military capability was far stronger than its GDP as measured in USD would otherwise imply.

The gist of my argument was that comparing the GDP of countries in USD dollars is quite meaningless if the costs of functionally equivalent products and services, as measured in USD, was substantially different. Furthermore, the ability to produce certain products (such nuclear bombs and ICBMs) are far more valuable than their cost in resources or manpower- especially if both are almost completely indigenous.

Anyway, getting back to the topic of this post- you might have noticed that establishment in USA is devoting a lot of effort in an attempt to start another Cold War by actions such as implicating Russian journalistic ventures as devious propaganda outlets, endless blathering about Russian interference in the 2016 election, arming Ukraine against Russia, economic sanctions on Russia for taking back Crimea, defaming Russian sport starts and Olympic athletes through western regulatory bodies, targeting Russian companies selling products and services in USA and more.

You might also have noticed that these measures have not really affected the resurgence of Russia as country since Putin came to power in 2000. Such behavior has, however, done a wonderful job of convincing even otherwise skeptical Russian citizens that they can never have good relations with USA. We can see a similar, if less public, conflict developing between China and USA on a number of issues such as maritime boundaries in the south china sea, trade disputes and many others. Yet, they do not address the central issue linking these seemingly unrelated conflicts- which is the irreversible decline of economic and military power of USA versus China and, more generally, the rest of the world.

It is no secret that the USA, in its current form, is a nation and system in terminal decline. While there have been a few years (like the mid to late 1990s) when things looked good for USA, the overwhelming long-term trend is towards decline and this has been especially obvious since the financial crisis of 2008. As I frequently pointed out in my older posts, the inability of USA to win (or even appear to win) wars in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan have not helped its public image.. to put it mildly. In fact, the USA has not been able to decisively win a single war since the end of WW2- which is a bit over 70 years.

The current standoff between North Korea and USA is another example of the huge gap between the projected public image of USA and the reality as seen by the rest of the world. As an example, consider the bullshit and propaganda spewed by american mainstream media about the capabilities of their anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems. Now ask yourself- if american ABM systems were as effective as claimed by the establishment, why would USA give a flying fuck about DPRK developing and deploying ICBMs?

The thing is, american ABM systems “seem” to only work under highly rigged test conditions and are probably worse than useless against even a small-scale attack by IRBMs and ICBMs. China or Russia, both of whom incidentally border DPRK, are unwilling (and unable) to do anything about DPRK’s nuclear and ICBM program. In fact, all those missile launches and nuclear tests by DPRK have helped them humiliate USA on the world stage and expose its real-life weaknesses.

And this brings me to the central idea of this series of posts, namely that USA is incapable of winning Cold War 2.0.

But before we go there, let us quickly recap the reasons why USA thought it “won” Cold War 1.0. As many of you know, the establishment in USA believes that it was largely responsible for the collapse of USSR in 1991, which marked the end of Cold War 1.0. While this belief might sound pleasing to jingoistic ears, the reality is rather different as the USSR started experiencing serious socio-economic problems because of the rigid and unresponsive nature of their version of state communism as early as the late 1960s. It was these systemic problems, rather than american pressure, which ultimately led to the collapse of USSR in 1991.

China, on the other hand, was able to avoid all those problems because of systematic socio-economic reform during the same time period. These reforms have been so successful that China, adjusted for PPP, is the largest economy in the world today. The point I am trying to make is that the apparent “victory” of USA in Cold War 1.0 had more to do with the failings and sclerosis of one particular version of state communism in Russia and eastern Europe than the american system “winning” anything.

This inconvenient fact has not stopped the american establishment and its lapdog “intellectuals” from proclaiming ‘the end of history’ and ‘beginning of a new world order’ in 1991. Of course, things did not go as “planned” especially after 2001, Iraq War 2.0, Afghanistan War and then the financial crisis of 2008. Such setbacks have, however, not dimmed the ardor of establishment types in Washington D.C to re-establish a ‘new world order’ centered around USA. As many of you are only too aware of, the ground reality in USA for the 99% simply does not support the establishment belief that USA will be able to maintain its current position in the world.

In the next part of this series, I will explore how rapid industrialization in the rest of the world within the previous two-three decades (in combination with simultaneous un-industrialization of USA and the ‘west’) has fundamentally shifted the real power balance and possible outcomes for any Cold War 2.0-type strategies deployed by establishment in USA. Spoiler alert: real-life outcomes of such conflicts are heavily rooted in real-life capabilities and abilities rather than impressive but empty posturing and bullshit.. I mean propaganda.

What do you think? Comments?

The Next Likely Escalation in USA vs North Korea Conflict: Sep 12, 2017

September 12, 2017 13 comments

As regular readers of this blog know, I have written a few posts about the ongoing ‘situation’ between USA and North Korea over the previous year. For those who are relatively new to this blog, here are a few examples: On the Inability of USA to Stop North Korean Nuclear Weapon Program; Reports of Cyberwar against N. Korean Ballistic Missiles are Likely False; A Quick Analysis of the First North Korean ICBM Test: July 5, 2017 and most recently Continued Inability of USA to Stop N.Korean Nuclear Missile Program.

I have also written a few posts about the factors behind the genesis and continuation of this particular confrontation: The West Has Always Lost Against Determined Adversaries Since WW2; Why was USA Unable to Win Korean War in the 1950s: Apr 22, 2017 and How Racism and Magical Thinking Could Lead to War with North Korea.

To make a long story short, it is my opinion that a mixture of american ego, hubris, racism and magical thinking have been the main factor which created and then sustained this conflict. Now this does not imply that the North Korean regime (especially the Kim Dynasty) are great human beings, to put it mildly. But it is quite clear that their behavior and actions over the previous seven decades have been consistently and highly rational.

I should also point out that USA never had any qualms being super friendly with despots, assholes and mass murderers such as the Saudi dynasty and other Gulf Emirs, Saddam Hussein (before 1989) and Bin Laden (before 1993). In other words, the idea that USA cannot get along with the Kim Dynasty and North Korean regime because of personality cultism and totalitarianism is utterly ridiculous since there is tons of evidence that USA has no problems with despotic regimes, as long as those relationships are profitable to american corporations.

But back to the topic at hand. As you might have heard, yesterday the USA has gotten the security council to approve one more in a seemingly endless series of economic sanctions against the North Korean regime. Of course, these sanctions which were not vetoed by China and Russia were significantly diluted from the first drafts. They do however pose an open challenge to Kim Jong-un and the NK regime, in the wake of their successful hydrogen bomb test.

Based on how things have unfolded till now, I think that North Korean regime will respond in a somewhat unique way. To be more specific, they will test an ICBM at almost-full range such that its warhead will land in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of USA (or Mexico) just outside the Exclusive economic zone of either country. In other words, they will test an ICBM which will overfly Japan (something they have already done) to land about 250-300 miles of the west coast of USA- likely near its southern border with Mexico.

But it gets better.. I think there is a real chance that they will use a live nuclear warhead (likely a H-bomb instead of a A-bomb) and make it go off over the target area. Yes.. you heard that right. I think that there is a pretty good chance that North Korea will test a nuclear warhead tipped ICBM off the west coast of USA in a way such that it does not violate any of the maritime boundaries and zones of either USA or Mexico.

Here is why I think they will do it..

1] The North Korean regime understands that its survival is linked to the possession of a credible nuclear deterrent- specifically one that can wipe out at least a few large cities in USA. Perhaps more importantly, they know from their previous interactions during the Bill Clinton presidency that the USA cannot be trusted to honor any agreement, treaty or promise it makes with the North Korean regime. So far the USA has been able to bullshit and lie to its citizens that North Korean nukes cannot reach the mainland of USA.

A live nuke-ICBM test will show that all anti-ballistic missile systems deployed by USA are expensive boondoggles. Also, the american government and its “credentialed experts” will no longer be able to claim that North Korean ICBMs and Nukes are not technologically advanced enough to work reliably. After that, USA will not be able to hide behind “expert” techno-babble and other linguistic sophisms designed to minimize the nuclear capability of NK in the eyes of its citizens.

2] As long as the warhead explodes 50-100 km outside the exclusive economic zone of USA or Mexico, neither country can credibly claim that it was an act of war. A nuke going off over the ocean 50 km outside the economic zone of USA is legally no different from a failed satellite or spacecraft crashing into the same point on ocean. Also, the regime in NK has withdrawn from any international treaty which would limit its ability to conduct an atmospheric nuclear test. While the fallout from such a test might reveal some details about the nuclear device being used, it will only bolster previous claims made by North Korea about their nuclear capabilities.

At this stage, the government in USA will be in a pretty odd situation where they cannot really go to war over a test which did not violate the legal boundaries of their country while having to simultaneously face the majority of their angry and scared citizenry. Perhaps more importantly, its vassal governments in South Korea and Japan will realize that any military action by USA will result in the destruction of at least a couple of their major metropolitan areas (example – Seoul Capital Area and Greater Tokyo Area) and the death of tens of millions of their own citizens.

3] While China and Russia have tried to play both sides of the conflict, their recent willingness to vote for economic sanctions against North Korea (even if they are watered down) has pissed off the regime in Pyongyang. Conducting a live Nuke-ICBM test puts both countries in a situation where they have to choose sides. As far as China is concerned, unwillingness to respond to any unprovoked military action or attempt to occupy North Korea would be perceived as extreme humiliation by a western imperialistic country- something that would seriously screw up the public image of the ruling party in that country. Also China has no interest in a refugee influx from North Korea in the event of a war or, even worse, having an american puppet regime on their borders.

Russia, too, has appeared a bit too willing to please the USA even after all the attempts by the later to humiliate it and besmirch its name. The risk of a nuclear conflict and a potential american puppet state on their eastern borders would force them to choose sides. Basically, they are put in a situation where they, like China, would have to side with North Korea to protect their own interests. All that talk about international solidarity, arms control treaties and reestablishing normal relations with USA will mean squat once the moment of truth arrives. In other words, North Korea can force China and Russia to side with it by conducting such a provocative but legally acceptable test.

The clincher, in my opinion, is that it closes off every time delaying option used by USA to prolong this conflict and hope to win by economic attrition. The only option available to USA after such a test are as follows: declare war against North Korea and expose tens of millions of people in South Korea, Japan and USA to almost certain death, in addition to drawing China and Russia into the resulting conflict OR accept that North Korea is a nuclear power and start negotiating with it. The stark and binary nature of choice in the aftermath of such a test is precisely why I think Kim Jong-un and the regime will go for it.

What do you think? Comments?