Archive

Posts Tagged ‘declining power’

Couple Of Obvious Predictions about Potential Military Conflicts in 2020

January 12, 2020 9 comments

Since making predictions about the future is often the main reason for people writing online, let me make a couple of really obvious predictions about potential military conflicts in 2020. To make things easy, I am going to restrict myself to those which directly involve the USA- because there is no shortage of potential military conflicts which don’t involve USA. For this post, I have chosen the two most obvious, and long-standing, conflicts which this country is involved in- and have the highest potential for disastrous flareups. But before we go there, let us talk about the common thread which runs through both of them- namely, the inability of american establishment to accept that their empire is circling the drain and that it is not 1991 or 2002.

Irrespective of what the american establishment believes, the power of its empire has been in a terminal downward spiral since Sep 11, 2001. It is important to note that there are many reasons for this death spiral, and most have nothing to do with spending on military matters. In fact, one could make the argument that the ideologies of neoliberalism and financialization have made a much larger contribution (directly and indirectly) to loss of power by the dying american empire than increased defense spending or development of newer weapons by other countries. I plan to address this particular topic in an upcoming series, but getting back to the one at hand- why is the american establishment so deeply in denial about the rapidly diminishing power of its empire?

Once again, there are many reasons- but the most important comes down to the consequences of acknowledging reality. See.. the cushy and sinecured livelihood of the american establishment is totally dependent on their ability to convince the public (at least most of them) that “USA is still number 1”. To put it bluntly, they would lose all their power and status the instant most people in this country realized that USA is not a superpower, let alone the only one. And this is irrespective of what it still spends on weapon systems, USA ceased to be a superpower about a decade ago when the Chinese economy and their industrial capability surpassed them. In case you want to understand my supporting argument in a bit more detail, here is a short series.

But getting back to the topic at hand, how does the profound inability of american establishment to inhabit the real world make military conflict more likely? Well.. let us start by talking about the peculiar situation between DPRK and USA since Trump and Kim Jong-un decided to first meet in mid-2018. While this first face-to-face meeting between Kim Jon-un and Trump in Singapore was a big step forward, at least diplomatically, subsequent meetings haven’t produced anything beyond photographs of both men shaking hands. But why not? Shouldn’t this big symbolic have resulted in worthwhile progress on real-life issues between the two countries? What is main stumbling block for real improvement in relations between DPRK and USA?

In my opinion, it comes to the american establishment unwillingness to accept reality, at multiple levels. See.. after watching american behavior and actions between 1991 and 2003, only an idiot would trust any treaty signed with it. Which is another way of saying that DPRK is not going to give up its nuclear weapons and ICBMs.. ever. Let me remind you that DPRK went down the path to acquiring nukes only after 2003, after watching USA invade Iraq. Between 1994-2003, DPRK was interested in acquiring nukes but not seriously committed to that goal. If the idiots in DC had lived in the real world, and behaved accordingly, they could have achieved their alleged goal of denuclearizing DPRK. But their whiteman egos prevented them from offering any compromise which would be acceptable to DPRK, and that opportunity was lost forever after 2003.

Flash-forward to today and DPRK has thermonuclear warheads and the means to reliably deliver them to any american metropolitan area of its choice. And guess what.. both countries bordering it (also nuclear powers) aka China and Russia are fine with it, largely because USA has been also busy antagonizing them for over a decade. No amount of sanctions have changed that outcome and none will. It should also be noted that at this stage Kim Jong-un is fully aware that there will never be any worthwhile relief to economic sanctions by USA and has chosen a different path for his countries future. I would add that previous attempts by idiots such as Bush43 and Obama44 to wait for the “inevitable collapse” of the DPRK government have failed miserably.

So why do I think that this conflict might heat up in 2020? Well.. because KJU has indicated his desire to restart testing of newer ICBMs, and maybe even nukes- and he is a man of his words. Expect KJU to restart testing long-ranged missiles, specifically solid-fueled ICBMs sometime this year. He is fully aware that doing so will make Trump look weak and ineffectual, but he does not care because he has an insurance policy- aka enough nukes and missiles to reliably target large urban centers in Japan and USA. The real question then is, how will Trump and the delusional and largely Zionist neocons around him response to such actions in an election year and under the shadow of his impeachment. It will be interesting to watch..

Then there is the conflict with Iran, which I have written about previously (link 1, link 2 and link 3). Without going into a ton of detail, it is fair to say that Israel and USA are trying to provoke a war with Iran. Given economic sanctions imposed against that country and the fact that Iranian leaders are not idiots to wait them out when they have other options- a conflict is likely sooner than later. The bone-headed Zionist-inspired assassination of Soleimani is not going to make war less likely. Furthermore Iran has demonstrated that its ballistic and cruise missiles are now very accurate. To put it another way, it will be basically impossible for USA to conduct airstrikes or even house troops within a thousand km (or more) of The Iranian border.

Let me remind you that Saddam never had missiles that were as numerous, accurate and varied as what Iran posses today and its domestic air defense system is no slouch either. To put it bluntly, it is not realistic for USA to launch a successful land-based invasion of Iran. Also, any airstrikes against targets in Iran will almost immediately result in the war spreading to countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia. Since I do not wish to repeat my previous posts, let’s just say that a conventional war against Iran would be uncontrollable and bad for the economy of west-European countries, who will quickly find out how important all that imported oil is for running their economies. By now most of you might be thinking- won’t cooler heads prevail? Well.. maybe they will, but history suggest another possibility.

If you have ever read the history of large and consequential wars within the last hundred or so years, one thing quickly becomes obvious- most were not started intentionally and almost nobody expected them to develop in the manner they did or result in the final outcome- for both sides. USA is an empire in rapid decline that is run by a bunch of credentialed idiots who do not want to admit the obvious and presided over by an orange buffoon with the mental maturity of a 16- year old boy. To put it another way, things are far more likely to take unexpected routes and result in disastrous outcomes- especially in an election year. Did I mention that current american policies and attitudes are certain to worsen the ongoing conflicts with DPRK and Iran? In summary, 2020 promises to be interesting year.. perhaps, a bit too interesting for some.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Jingoistic Delusions of Arstechnica Fanboys about SpaceX: 1

July 11, 2018 8 comments

As regular readers know, my longer posts are usually about large-scale trends, systemic issues and other ‘meta’ phenomena. This one is about something far more specific and kinda obscure. However, as you will see, it does eventually connect with a few meta- trends. So what is it about, anyway? Well.. I am going to cast the harsh light of reality onto absurd and delusional fanboy-ism displayed by “journalists” at technology oriented websites (especially ArsTechnica) towards SpaceX and Elon Musk.

In case you require a quick refresher, here are a couple of links to my previous posts on SpaceX (link 1, link 2). Also, as many of you know, my cynicism about Elon Musk is largely due to the outrageous claims mabe by him about future of his enterprises as well as his P.T. Barnum-esque PR efforts. As I have said before, the dreams of endless profits, market monopolization and “disruption” which he is selling to rubes are also darkly funny. But enough about him, let us talk about his fanboys (paid or otherwise) in american “journalism”.

To understand what I am talking about, have a look at some of the fanboy-type articles posted on ArsTechnica about SpaceX. While I am no stranger to the concept of “journalists” promoting and pimping whatever product or ideology their corporate masters require of them, the sheer amount and degree of magical thinking, fake positivity and informercial-level promotion of SpaceX by alleged “journalists” working at ArsTechnica is reminiscent of supermarket tabloids (the ones only old people seem to read nowadays).

Some of this “journalistic” booster-ism is extreme enough to become unintentional parody (example 1, example 2). The articles which pissed me off, and were the reason for writing this post, concern their willingness to lie about the space programs of other countries- often displaying no understanding of the geo-political and historical considerations underlying the funding of national space programs. While ArsTechnica “journalists” (metaphorically) sucking Elon Musk’s dick might be “normal”, lying and making up bullshit to massage the delusions of its more jingoistic readers is a bit too much.

A few recent articles such as ones about the “inevitable collapse” of the Russian space program and its future prospects are particularly illustrative of what passes for “journalism at ArsTechnica. Let us first talk about their “journalistic” posts about the Proton launcher- which for many years was a cheap, if inherently problematic, commercial launcher. For example- if you read this piece of propagandist bullshit without knowing enough of the background, you might be led to believe that there was something newly wrong with the Proton launcher system. Unfortunately for the presstitutes at ArsTechnica, the reality is quite different. On a side note, feel free to browse some of their other recycled jingoistic posts which pass for “journalism” at ArsTechnica.

The Proton launcher family was always the red-headed stepchild of Russian space program. To make a long story short- the fact that it used hypergolic fuels and was promoted by Vladimir Chelomei, made it particular unpopular with Sergei Korolev and his faithful proteges. In fact, it would never have been developed if Korolev had not died in 1968. Well.. he died unexpectedly and Chelomei ensured that it got developed. And yes, it had tons of teething problems and failures in its early years. Eventually they were able to make it work reliably. But there is more..

The two main reasons USSR did not develop a RP-1/LOX equivalent of the Proton was because the later was cheap to manufacture and quite reliable after 1972. So there was no point in spending more money to develop, test and validate yet another new launcher system which was not significantly better or cheaper than the Proton. It also helped that the launch sites used by the Proton were situated in regions where an occasional catastrophic failure was not a big deal. Why fix something that is not broken?

Anyway.. after the dissolution of USSR and commercialization of space launch facilities by Russia, it became a fairly popular launcher because it was reliable enough and cheaper than equivalent Ariane launchers. FYI- Commercial launches by Boeing and others in USA had been almost dead since mid-1980s because of their exorbitant prices. So Russia just kept on cranking out more launchers inspite of many looming problems, especially Kazakhstan’s increasing reluctance to let them keep using the Baikonur launch site.

To make matters worse, they made the decision to transition from Proton to Angara launchers without first properly developing and validating the later system. To make a long story short, poor management (and graft) by those in charge of the Angara program in combination with mismanagement (and graft) of those in charge of the now deprecated Proton program predictably caused issues with reliability and costs of the later. Furthermore, Chinese rockets were already competing with the Proton for low-end of the launch market. The entry of SpaceX in the launch market merely sped up the process.

To quickly summarize this part, the Proton launcher family is Russia’s equivalent of the Titan III rocket family. In other words, good and important enough to last far beyond when it was meant to be replaced, but always fundamentally problematic. To claim that issues relating to half-hearted attempts at winding down its production and replacing it with Angara are somehow different from similar delays and screw-ups experienced by USA while transitioning from Delta-2 and Titan III to Delta-4 and Atlas-5 is intellectually dishonest.

And this brings me to another bullshit story being peddled by the presstitues at Arstechnica. As I briefly mentioned earlier, they are trying to push the claim that Russia somehow lacks the money and will to keep funding its space program. I see this one as an index example of how many jingoistic americans are incapable of thinking in addition to being severely deficient in their knowledge of history. The development and funding of pace launch systems, you see, have always been primarily about strategic prerogatives- not “free market” bullshit.

The development of space launchers by USSR (now Russia), USA, EU, China and India is largely driven by considerations such as maintaining and developing technological capabilities, employing their own people, developing related industrial sectors and nationalistic pride. I cannot think of any space program which has consistently turned a “profit”. And for good reason.. capability in projects and programs related to national security and strategic capability is far more valuable that any arbitrary monetary value.

To put it another way, no large country with any degree of strategic independence is going to shut down its space program and outsource it to SpaceX. And they all have far deeper pockets and infinitely more staying power that SpaceX. It is also worth mentioning that almost everything developed by Russian space program in the past has been about strategic considerations and national pride. I should also mention that in the 1990s, many “respectable” western news outlets were full of endless stories about how Russia would lose ability to make nuclear weapons, ICBMs, nuclear submarines, would be invaded from east by China etc.

So what happened since then in the real world? Well.. it turns out that it was USA which got involved in and lost wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Syria. It was USA that got de-industrialized through “free trade agreements” and now has serious problems fielding reliable next-generation military aircraft and aircraft carriers. It is people in USA who keep on getting screwed over by rapidly rising costs in the education, health and housing sector. It is USA that is now experiencing record low fertility rates in native-born women and a rapidly increasing number of deaths from drug overdoses, alcoholism and deferred medical care. It is cops in USA who now behave like their power-crazed versions in other countries were supposed to behave.

To put it another way, it is the USA (not the rest of the world) which is now in terminal decline. And this brings us to the issue of who is the real audience for this laughable propaganda and fanboy-ism from american technology “journalism”. Spoiler: It is meant for an American (and perhaps British) audience, who might be delusional and desperate enough to believe that ‘their team is still winning’. The thing is.. most people in countries which matter haven’t believed in anything coming from western (mostly american) “news” outlets for over a couple of decades- at the very least.

In the next post of this short series, I will focus on how “journalists” at ArsTechnica and other american “news” outlets write about other countries.

What do you think? Comments?