What, exactly IS the “Russian Challenge?”


Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter told an audience recently that the US now faces five defense challenges:  Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and terrorism.  In accordance with apparent Obamanite policy he did not say Islamic terrorism but that is what he meant.

That is quite a list.

China – They are acting poorly over their little island bases.  They make the neighbors fretful.  They implicitly state that they care not for the US Navy's sacrosanct freedom of navigation as an article of faith.  There are a lot of them Chinese.  They are really bad polluters.  They eat dogs in south China. OK,  I get this one.

Iran – The Israelis don't like them.  The Supreme Leader has a big mouth and he makes people nervous.  OK.  I get this one also.

North Korea – These characters with the funny military caps are actually trying to develop a nuclear armed ballistic missile force.  OK.  I get it.

(Islamic) Terrorism – Yes, it is true.  These medieval fanatics yearn for martyrdom and are  a significant threat to humans wherever they gather including in the USA.  OK This one for sure.

Russia – What?  Most of the people on SST believe that Russia is not engaged with its own forces in eastern Ukraine, Advisors – Probably.   Equipment – Some.  Russia has not invaded Ukraine.  Crimea – Khrushchev made an arbitrary decision to "annex" Crimea to the Ukrainian SSR.  It had previously been considered Russian.  Khrushchev probably thought it made administrative sense in the context of the USSR as one country and the propinquity of the two places.  OK, taking the Crimea back was naughty.  Russia might invade one or more NATO countries?  Is there any real evidence that they intend or even desire to do that?  Russia intervened quite effectively in Syria, thereby frustrating "The Plan"  to bring down the Syrian government.  In the course of doing their thing in Syria they have made a hash of US and Gulfie efforts to organize guerrilla forces that would finish off the Syrian government.  No – I don't get it.  Why is US policy so hostile to Russia?

Is this merely a case of nostalgia for the good old days when the USSR was so convenient as an easy justification for budgets?  Is this a juvenile case of schoolyard territorial rivalry?    As Patrick Armstrong wrote here on SST recently, the US is pushing Russia into a position in which it has no choice but organize itself for combat against the West.   Is that really what we want?  pl


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113 Responses to What, exactly IS the “Russian Challenge?”

  1. I do believe the Pentagon and especially the Borg Hegemony is still wedded to the idea of full spectrum dominance. Any challenge to this mythical dominance is seen as an unwarranted threat. Russia has stymied our plans for Ukraine. Sevastopol was supposed to be ours. Russia’s success in Syria is also a direct threat to our full spectrum domination of whatever we seek to dominate. Humility is such a dirty, dirty word to the Borg.

  2. different clue says:

    Its not what we here want. But I think it is what the OverClass governators want for us. A “credible” threat of “deadly Russian danger” can be used to browbeat the majority of citizens into a sullen grudging acquiescence to a brand new multi-decades Cold War . . . Cold War 2.0
    Cold War 2.0 can be used to discipline and discourage citizens out of pursuing improvements in our public lives and society . . . for example the sort of modest New Deal Revival measures which Sanders is scaring people by calling “democratic socialism”.
    No Democratic Socialism for you! We’re at Cold War 2.0 with Russia the deadly danger and its evil Crimea-conquering Assad-supporting evil thug strongman not-a-nice-guy Putin, remember?

  3. turcopolier says:

    different clue
    I tried to find a way to work in a title like “The Borg Strikes Back” but couldn’t quite manage it. pl

  4. turcopolier says:

    Really like the “Borg Hegemony” phrase. pl

  5. tjfxh says:

    Holdover from Mackinder-Spykman-Zbig?
    For unchallenged global dominance iaw Wolfowitz doctrine, the US needs to control Eurasia, and a Russo-Chinese strategic alliance threatens that. Adding Iran would complicate matters even more.
    So from the geopolitical and geostrategic POV, Russia, China and Iran are pivotal. Taking out NK would put the alliance on China’s border, just as bringing the former Soviet states into NATO wrt Russia.
    Looks like a pretty straightforward plan of encirclement. Probably began under Clinton with his decision to advance NATO toward Russia., as well as the US discussion to continue to pursue Reagan’s SDI, dubbed Star Wars.
    Is this just an extension of existing policy, possibly owing to things going wrong wrt to Russia, e.g., in Georgia and now Ukraine and Syria, and also the recent emergence of China onto the global stage from “hibernation.” The projected economic union from Shanghai to Lisbon featuring hi-speed rail would shake Anglo-American financial and economic supremacy as the (neo-British Empire) with control of the sea (and air).
    So I can see how US policy makers could see this as threat. The problem is that they seem to think it strategically worthwhile to risk a multiple front war in Eurasia against China, Russia and Iran. That’s s huge chunk to bite off.
    Or maybe just an excuse to ramp up military spending as an other gift to the military-industrial complex that along with finance powers the US economy. And the military would love the new toys, too.

  6. Kooshy says:

    Colonel LANG, firstly I must reiterate, that I have a lot of respect for SST, your opinions and this community. Secondly with regards to Borg, I have three questions if you care to reply. One is, that if Borg is the same as what others call deep state, and if not what’s the difference. My second question is if in your opinion the Borg controls and is in control of the federal bureaucracy. And my third question is: assuming a president is (can be) elected outside of the Borg dominance/influence, if so IY opinion/experience would he be able to direct and control the federal bureaucracy outside of Borg’ influence including policy, inelegance and information operations.
    Lastly can you please expand on this “I tried to find a way to work in a title like “The Borg Strikes Back” but couldn’t quite manage it. pl”

  7. Mishkilji says:

    The situation is similar to Rome and Carthage.
    Somehow we cannot accept their defeat in the Cold War and integration into the neoliberal world. Like the Romans we cannot accept the fact that we won; their existence offends the Borg.
    But Russia is not the broken power that Carthage was after the second Punic War. Russia has fight left in it and a smart realist in charge.

  8. turcopolier says:

    With regard to the last thing, I was attempting a possibly amusing reference to one of the Star Wars movies. IMO “Borg” roughly equates to what Obama seems to have meant when in his interview given to Goldberg he referred to the “foreign policy establishment.” For me the Borg collectivity is essentially academic and journalistic in nature. the consensus of these groups concerning the world extends into think tanks and the media. “Deep State?” I don’t know what that is. In the US the professional in government whether civilian or military obey the elected government. Occasionally someone will attempt to resist the policy of the elected government, but this rarely lasts long. All of these people are subject to dismissal by the elected government and they know how risky resistance is. Government people 9what you disrespectfully call bureaucrats typically live on the their pay. they have mortgages, children to educate and depend on the government for support in retirement. they rarely form dissident groups, very rarely. This is not a banana republic. we criticize policy a lot on SST but that does not mean we think the “bureaucracy” is deficient in its devotion to duty. pl

  9. Kooshy says:

    “the US is pushing Russia into a position in which it has no choice but organize itself for combat against the West. Is that really what we want”
    IMO, yes sir you are right, our choices is that, or voting in Trump or Bernie Sanders ( out side of establishment = Borg?). Colonel, may god help us with this election, if not we should be ready for a big one whatever the Borg thinks that maybe.

  10. Harry says:

    Once you see the Star Trek movie in question, what our host means becomes very clear. I recommend it to you.

  11. Kooshy says:

    Colonel as always, thank you for your reply, I must say I didn’t mean (and I never had) any disrespect for the federal bureaucracy/employees.

  12. Tigermoth says:

    The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is not mentioned too much in MSM if at all, but it is Wolfowitz’s worst nightmare:
    “The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is an international alliance that consists of 6 member states and 5 observers from Eurasia. It was established on 26 April 1996 as Shanghai Five. Of the 6 member states and 5 observers, SCO currently also have 3 dialogue partners and 3 guest attendance entries.”
    “is a Eurasian political, economic and military organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. These countries, except for Uzbekistan had been members of the Shanghai Five, founded in 1996; after the inclusion of Uzbekistan in 2001, the members renamed the organisation. On July 10, 2015, the SCO decided to admit India and Pakistan as full members, and they are expected to join by 2016”
    Notice it is also “military”. The first link gives a table of the observers which could apply for membership (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, Mongolia, India, Pakistan).
    “Observers India and Pakistan have been approved for membership, and are expected to join by 2016. Observer Iran has also submitted an application for full membership. Meanwhile, in 2012 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka applied for observer status within the organization. Egypt and Syria has also submitted an application for observer status, while Egypt, Maldives and Ukraine have applied for dialogue partner status.”
    Turkey is also a dialogue partner.
    When one looks at all of these countries grouped on a on a single map, the West should be trying to make friends here instead of pissing them off.
    “The United States applied for observer status in the SCO, but was rejected in 2005”

  13. turcopolier says:

    I just read the “Deep State” wiki. The idea is of a state within a state. Nothing like that exists in the US. pl

  14. Bill Herschel says:

    After the 9/11 attack, George Bush told the American people that any nation that harbors terrorists is at war with the United States. Thus was born the War on Terror, the war in Afghanistan (the longest war in the history of the United States), and the justification for all the subsequent military actions our country has initiated since then.
    Today, there are about half a million people in the United States addicted to heroin and at least 8,000 overdose deaths a year from heroin. Most of the addiction and deaths are in young people. 90% of the world’s heroin supply comes from Afghanistan. The United States does not lift a finger to destroy the poppy fields producing this fiendish epidemic, despite the fact that we still have troops, NATO still has troops, in Afghanistan. The reason given is COIN: it would hurt the feelings of poppy farmers.
    In other words, more people die in six months each year (and the number is skyrocketing) than died in 9/11 and we do nothing.
    In a few months, without a single boot on the ground, the U.S. could interdict the entire heroin export from Afghanistan, probably most easily by issuing a warning to the farmers that they would be bombed and killed if they were discovered farming poppies.
    Russia, Afghanistan’s neighbor, would cooperate in this project. They know what addiction is.
    But all that will not be. Young people will continue to die and bloviators like Carter will continue to spew nonsense. Afghanistan’s poppy fields are a far greater threat to the United States than any of the countries on his list.

  15. Trey N says:

    One of the factors not considered so far in all of the excellent comments: much of the Borg consists of neocons, most of the neocons are Jews, and many of these Jewish neocons have ancestral roots going back into Tsarist Russia, where their families suffered under periodic pogroms. An article I had bookmarked, “Why the Jewish Neocons Hate Russia,” delved into this topic; unfortunately, it seems to have disappeared down the memory hole of the internet.
    This subset of the Borg has a deep, personal, visceral antipathy towards Russia outside of all other considerations, which goes a long way towards explaining why Russia remains #1 on the list of US enemies.

  16. charly says:

    Taking out NK would lead to an SK that is only nominal an ally. Only a fool would do that.

  17. Brunswick says:

    As you yourself have noted, there is an absence of actual Russian Experts in all branches of the US Government, instead, analysis is dominated by the same shallow, Americentric Group Think.
    The Russian Experts probably did not all decide that once the wall came down, that their jobs and careers were now redundant, and elect to all take early retirement.
    One aspect of the idea of the “Deep State”, is that the Group Think at the top, becomes mirrored downwards through the whole organization. If you don’t mirror the Group Think, you don’t get hired, you don’t get promoted, your reports don’t get read, and you get pushed out of the organization.
    We have seen a lot of this over the past few decades, mostly in the form of prominant Experts either resigning in disgust or frustration, or being forced out.

  18. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to The Twisted Genius 08 April 2016 at 02:55 PM
    Humility? Daaaaaamn you’re ambitious. I’d settle for some realism.
    Like our host I like your “Borg Hegemony” phrase.

  19. VietnamVet says:

    You are correct. The American Empire is trying to destabilize Eurasia. Baiting nuclear armed Russia and China to benefit a very few is incredibly risky. Not to mention this has caused refugees to flood Europe from the proxy wars and the blowback attacks.
    Government has stopped serving the people. As a result, Americans can be divided into three camps. Those who want a restoration of good government, others who want to destroy its remnants and the crony corrupters. I am in the first group. I need my government pension to survive.
    The Public Health System is collapsing. Child care is deteriorating. Poor Whites are dying at an earlier age.
    Without a restoration of the power of the state to serve the people;
    1) future generations of Americans will not be as tall as their parents:
    and 2) sea level rise will force millions to migrate and destroy trillions of dollars of infrastructure:

  20. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There has never ever been a universal state let alone a universal civilization.
    Even though the Great King made strides in the direction of the Universal Empire, that project has always failed – never lasting more than 200 years – it seems to me.
    What is amusingly destructive about the Borg is its claim to the universality of the Western Diocletian Civilization.
    From that belief follows everything else.

  21. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Nixon warned against this: “They are down but not out.” and “We need to treat them with respect.”

  22. Chris Chuba says:

    1. Islamic terrorism – yes.
    2. Korea – Unpredictable guy with nukes developing ICBMS’s – yes.
    3. Iran – we should keep our eye on them but not hyperventilate. A U.S. judge recently awarded $10B to families and insurance companies because of 9/11 http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-10/iran-told-to-pay-10-5-billion-to-sept-11-kin-insurers I guess we are now competing with them for sham legal decisions. We seem to have two settings, either a country is our best friend or the second coming of Nazi Germany, there is no in between with us.
    4. China – China isn’t denying commercial navigation, just getting bent out of shape when we send a warship within 12 nautical miles of an island claim we don’t recognize. Yeah, I know they built some of them but freedom of navigation does not require being able to sail over rocky shoals. The Kingman reef is named after a wreck. We might end up pushing China into an alliance with Russia and create the enemy we fear, alternate currency the whole package. Iran would jump in to get out of U.S. dollars and they would all try to take as many countries with them as possible.
    Sure, China is being a bully to Vietnam, the Philippines, etc. but these are uninhabited islands. I don’t know who should get them; don’t want to borrow money from China just to keep carrier group on top of them. This is not a military problem. If China actually does get out of hand trade sanctions would bring them to heel, they are export dependent.
    5. Russia – I’m trying to decide which color I want for my Putin T-shirt. Not using Russia as an ally to take care of #1 is a huge blunder.

  23. scott s. says:

    IMHO the US, or at least the Borgian aspect of it, seems to see itself as protector of Poland-Lithuania. That inevitably moves us towards conflict with Russia.

  24. BraveNewWorld says:

    In my opinion, be it ever so humble there are at least 3 things going on.
    1. Like a super tanker gov.us is just to big to change course quickly. Heck it is just waking up to Cuba.
    2. Boogie man Russia is just the ticket to badger NATO into spending more money on military kit. Then once they have bought the kit we need to find a reason to use it other wise it is just wasted. This is called the “Buy American” plan.
    3. Some folks is just dumb.

  25. Tel says:

    “Is this merely a case of nostalgia for the good old days when the USSR was so convenient as an easy justification for budgets?”
    In my opinion, yes indeed that’s exactly the point of it. North Korea also falls into that category, really they have no capability to do anything and if they tried anything, the South Koreans could storm all of North Korea in about three days (it would be a disaster, but they could do it).
    Even Iran don’t have a whole lot of opportunity to get nuclear weapons, although they probably would want them if they could do it. The real danger of Iran for the USA is that Iran would impose a Shiite dominated stability to the Middle East, annoy Saudi Arabia, and block future US meddling.
    The USA is out there looking for enemies… for that matter so is China.

  26. Tel says:

    “I just read the “Deep State” wiki. The idea is of a state within a state. Nothing like that exists in the US.”
    I think there’s a lot that goes on within the administration that the public never gets to know about, and I also think there are corrupt groups that are able to keep their true purposes secret.
    Whether you want to call that “deep state” or just common or garden criminal enterprise is a bit arguable. I think Bill and Hillary are crooks.
    If you listen to Karen Kwiatkowski on the Tom Woods Show you can hear about some of the stuff that went on just recently with the neocons deliberately misleading the US citizens with regard to Middle Eastern wars.
    Also, follow the link to earlier Karen Kwiatkowski episode 606. Worth the time listening.
    By the way, I’d love to hear a turcopolier interview with Tom Woods about the poison gas attacks in Iraq and other things.

  27. YT says:

    Then what or who “deep-sixed” POTUS Kennedy?

  28. turcopolier says:

    There is no “state within a state.” there is only consensus and stupidity. pl

  29. Trey N says:


  30. Trey N says:

    The Taliban had eradicated the poppy fields in Afghanistan when they were in power. It appears that the “War on Terror” trumps the “War on Drugs.”
    Illegal drugs are one of the top sources of income for the major intelligence agencies in the world. Does anyone seriously think the CIA is willingly going to give up its present stranglehold on the major source of heroin in the world??

  31. Jag Pop says:

    Russian Challenge or Phantom Menace? – The Borg Strikes Back Against A Hall of Mirrors

  32. Mark says:

    Aye, there’s the rub, what?
    When NATO wants to expand, as it did dramatically under Clinton, then the will of the people toward self-determination is sacrosanct. During the Clinton years, a person in an Eastern European country needed only to murmur “NATO” in their sleep, and envoys would show up paving the way for membership.
    In this research paper for NATO, Alexander Golts and Heidi Reisinger advise us – after trotting out that trope that Putin told Bush Ukraine was not even a state, which he never said and which has never been substantiated – that “NATO was not hunting for new members, but found them knocking at its door.”
    Does that mean they must be admitted? Of course not – you have to be invited, by unanimous consent, and your addition to the NATO rosary must contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area. Says so in Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty.
    Adding some of these states, including the Baltics, was not a vote by all the NATO states, but a decision of the US Senate, which on April 30th, 1998, voted 80 to 19 to ratify Bill Clinton’s decision to enlarge NATO.
    But when Crimea expresses its desire to return to the Russian Federation – something the west has never argued was not genuine, although it blathers a lot about referendums at the point of a Kalashnikov and so forth, it has never attempted to argue the people of Crimea were coerced and knows very well they are majority ethnic Russian – well, then, suddenly the will of the people does not matter any more. Then, it’s an annexation – Russia stole it.
    It is no wonder Russia is so nervous of the west. It is schizo, and its leaders are reliably unreliable.

  33. different clue says:

    Bill Herschel,
    If we destroy the poppy fields in Afghanistan, the industry will return to sourcing poppy from the Golden Triangle, or from Mexico, or from many other places where poppy can be grown. A half-a-trillion-dollar-per-year industry is not going to let itself go extinct by virtue of one source of supply being bombed when any one of a dozen other once-and-future sources of supply can be turned back to.
    If one wants to reduce heroin use, one should focus on the user-base themselves. De-addict them from the heroin, if that is possible. Excercise better control of overuse of prescription opioids whose users become addicted and then turn to heroin because it is cheaper than the prescription opioids. We might also study what they have done in Great Britain and Portugal which is to register heroin addicts as such and allow them to go to well-defended or at least defensible addiction-management fortresses where they are given their single daily dose of heroin one day at a time by the watchful addict-management/ addict-containment personnel. This allows the registered addicts to do a few useful hours of some kind of work each day. It also removes their desperate pain-of-withdrawal incentive to commit high-take crime to pay for high priced heroin on the illegal heroin market. ( I assume the emergence of any illegal heroin market for addicts who don’t want to register and accept having their addiction managed and contained by the addict-management/containment personnel is very firmly prevented from emerging in Britain or Portugal. If I am wrong about that, then Britain and Portugal risk having the same old uncontrolled heroin-use problem with its uncontrolled crime-for-money-for-heroin problem cropping up all over again. And if that is happening, we need to know about that).
    But if Britain and Portugal have not had a re-emergence of unregulated outlaw heroin use by non-registered addicts, then Britain and Portugal have succeeded in making heroin unhip, uncool and ungroovy . . . a dingy gray drug for dingy gray losers. And if they have succeeded there, perhaps we could succeed at that here, and remove our heroin addicts from being a source of revenue for the heroin-industrial complex and the International Money-Center Money-Laundry banks which launder the many billions of dollars made by keeping heroin illegal, expensive and fashionable.

  34. different clue says:

    Trey N,
    If one can remember the exact URL at which that article was found, one can go to The Wayback Machine/ Internet Archive and type in that exact URL and find the attached article. But one has to have the exact URL because the people running The Wayback Machine/ Internet Archive do not have an index of word-based titles. They only have URLs. So you can’t find anything there by title. That is a total weakness of The Wayback Machine.
    It would be like having a library card catalog with zero book titles or author names . . . but rather ONLY having Dewey Decimal numbers. And telling you that you can find the book you want if you know the Dewey Decimal Number. And then wishing you luck.
    Of course Zbiggie-poo Burrzezinski(sp?) and his acolytes have done all they can from the “realist” end to foster the same eternal hatred for Russia. Their contribution to the problem also merits notice and analysis.

  35. Old Microbiologist says:

    I think that is an over simplification. There is, as always, rivalry going on within the government with factions supporting different goals. The CIA doesn’t necessarily have the same plans or goals as the State Department of DoD for that matter. Within Congress we have internally separate agencies operating using separate budgets which is why McCain can run around the world acting like a Republican Secretary of State yet under a Democratic administration. He often is pushing forwards goals and plans opposite of the administration. Even within agencies we can see factions fighting among each other for dominance. The problem is all of this is happening simultaneously and all are actively competing for money, influence, and dominance. When there is an administration change there is a resultant turnover of political appointees and the chaos that follows. The power grabs are amazing to watch, especially as the newly minted and woefully inexperienced new appointees arrive with their own agendas. Add in the influence peddling and corruption by corporations and lobbyists which only compound the problem. Put it all together and yes, it is like a leaderless Borg system.

  36. Old Microbiologist says:

    Not formally perhaps. The neo-con agenda as written by Kagan and Wolfowitz still seems to be the game plan. It doesn’t seem to matter who is in control but that agenda is still on track more or less with periodic foibles. This is why keeping someone like Nuland is dangerous. She often speaks exactly 180 degrees from Kerry who is her boss yet she is supported by Obama over Kerry. It makes our government look schizophrenic. Kind of like “White man speaks with forked tongue” which I suppose gives Obama plausible deniability. Yet, Kerry continues to perform and hasn’t resigned which I would have done the first time he didn’t support me. Therefore I conclude it was deliberate and coordinated. Her husband, Robert Kagan has enthusiastically endorsed Clinton which means she is a closet neo-con acting like an Obama R2P Democrat. Having a majority in Congress doesn’t seem to change anything. So maybe it isn’t a Deep State but really a single party masquerading as a two party system?

  37. Lyttenburgh says:

    Hi! Long time reader, first time poster!
    That’s true, that a lot of Western Jews has absolutely visceral Russophobia as their main drive. And placing all the blame squarely on “Russians” and “Russia” (no matter of what time period) without learning facts and instead playing the eternal victim is so much fun – and produces a hefty gesheft in the process.
    Let me explain how this concept of “Hurr-durr! Russia (always) pogroms the Jews!” is wrong in just 4 maps.
    1) The map of the Pale of Settlement in Czarist Russia (red line):
    That’s was the place where the Jews were allowed to settle (duh!) in large numbers while still practising their faith. As seen in this map, showing the % of Jewish population in various parts of the Pale:
    2) And this is the map of pogroms in 1871-1906:
    The article in Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Jewish_pogroms_in_the_Russian_Empire) admits, that ” and it was within [the “Pale of Settlement”] that the pogroms largely took place.” Article also mentions, that first pogrom to take place out of the Pale of Swttlement (in Nizhniy Novgorod) happened only in 1905 – during the time of the First Russian Revolution
    3) Finally, this is the modern map of Eastern Europe:
    So I ask you – how all of this is Russia’s/Russian’s fault?
    P.S. Hope my post won’t be eaten by a spam-filter.

  38. Kyle Pearson says:

    The Shanghai Cooperation Organization has already forged a defacto economic alliance between Russia, Central Asia (including Pakistan), and Iran. India has publicly expressed interest in joining it.
    The South China Sea imbroglio has been entirely concocted and provoked by the US. 95% of the ocean traffic that travels through that region is headed to or from Chinese ports. Japanese boats tend to travel around it. The entire affair was provoked first by Hillary Clinton’s declaration at the ASEAN conference that the US has “national interests” in “keeping the sea lanes open,” signing a mutual-defense pact with Vietnam and the Philippines, and then a year later referring to the South China Sea as the “West Philippines’ Sea.”
    It’s little wonder, then, that the Chinese took this as an overt threat by the US to enforce Chinese military submission in the region. Prior to Clinton’s aggressive moves, the region was peaceful, and there was little to no conflict in the area. There were occasional flare-ups, yes, but China was not moving to aggressively assert dominance in the region, but was instead – as is typical for China – working on a state-by-state basis to negotiate peaceful relations, all with the full knowledge that those countries who depend on the US navy for protection were diplomatically collaborating on all elements of every individual agreement via ASEAN, and with US promises of support to enforce any agreements that were concluded.
    As Sec. of State, Clinton changed all of that with what amounted to overt threats of US intervention if China did not submit, diplomatically and militarily, to US dominance there. Considering the economic importance of the area, and China’s refusal to allow US/uk Big Oil access to the region, it’s little surprise what the Chinese response was to these provocations.
    The South China Sea is, by any rational estimation, today firmly within the Chinese sphere of influence, and with the exception of the Warlord Era / Revolutionary Era, has been within the Chinese sphere of influence for at least four centuries. The current spate of Chinese annexations within the S. China Sea did not begin until well after Obama announced his intention to “pivot to Asia”: again, in the years leading up to this moment – when the White House and Dept. of State started making overt diplomatic threats (and encouraging the Philippines and Vietnam, for example, to provoke conflict there) – China was moving forward slowly, diplomatically, and without any direct military intervention. So this current situation was entirely provoked by what is so-often called the “Children’s Crusade” of “the Borg.”
    It seems pretty clear to me that the inclusion of Russia in this laundry-list of up-and-coming superpowers is a nod to its role in the SCO, and its developing role in supporting and assisting Iranian and Chinese military defense against attacks on those countries.
    >>>Is this merely a case of nostalgia for the good old days when the USSR was so convenient as an easy justification for budgets?
    Yes. It should not be a surprise, either: the entire 2d wave of the Red Scare was underwritten by the China Lobby, which was financed in good part with money of the Chiang (Jiang) and Soong families (i.e. – the KMT nobility who fled to Taiwan). These were the same people who attacked Gen’s. Marshall and Stilwell as “communists,” who led the purge of the old-guard “China Hands” from the Dept. of State during the 50s, who literally created Reagan’s, McCarthy’s, and Nixon’s political careers, and the group where Bush Sr, Cheney, and Rumsfeld (among many others) got their political start.
    The China Lobby is also the model on which AIPAC was built, i suspect (but have not had any opportunity to research) largely using Kissinger’s influence. Certainly, during the 50s, there were many, many Jewish-American right-wing Zionists who were intimately involved in the day-to-day practical operations of the China Lobby, whether in the media, in the legal arena, or in back-room political organizing.
    >>>Is this a juvenile case of schoolyard territorial rivalry?
    Hasn’t it always been? Gen. Marshall (then Sec. Marshall) made it quite clear why the KMT lost the revolution in China: they were corrupt, from toe to 頭頂 (“touding”, or “crown,” in Chinese), and were built entirely as a cult of personality fixated upon the Generalissimo Chiang (Jiang), who was himself an inveterate coward, bully, and thief, as one would expect of some guy who clambered most of his way up the social ladder by working as an assassin for the most powerful of the Chinese Triads.

  39. Kyle Pearson says:

    In case anyone is in doubt about the Borg’s obsession with China’s growing power – or with Clinton’s motivations in initiating the “pivot to Asia” – there is also this article, by Robert Kaplan, titled “The South China Sea is the Future of Conflict”. This was in 2011, about 9 or 10 months after Clinton first aggressive declarations at ASEAN (couched, as always, in terms of “Human Rights”, and “defense” of the “little people”).
    I have been watching the Neocons make aggressive declarations like this since at least 2004; i think the first time i saw it was when John Bolton declared that after the Middle East, the “next” war “would be fought with China.” Bolton has since traveled to Taiwan many times, usually at the invitation of Taiwanese “independence” advocates, though also at the invitation of the more conservative KMT (which favors peaceful resolution of the Taiwan-China impasse). Unfortunately, i can no longer find the article in question (i lost my bookmarks to it, and Google has since eliminated the capacity to conduct searches based upon time-periods longer than a year ago), so i’m not certain it was Bolton, but if memory serves me correctly his was the keyboard where the article originated.
    So in the context of such simmering, overt threats from core players in the Bush administration – what with Hillary’s comments in 2010 falling smack in the middle of the US’s first steps towards provoking “The Arab Spring” (and the war on Syria), and only 2 years after the Uighur and Tibetan uprisings just prior to the Beijing Olympics – Kaplan’s own article, falling as it did just after the US intervention in Libya, it seems understandable that the Chinese military and government would read this kind of rhetoric in the worst possible light and move to take proactive steps towards defending their most valuable sea lanes from the piracy and harassment of smaller nations that have recently been encouraged by promises of military support from the US government.

  40. Kyle Pearson says:

    Incidentally, one of the more ironic by-products of this “pivot to Asia” strategy has been a tremendous increase in clashes between the Taiwanese and Philippines navies. These clashes have really soured relations between the two countries at a diplomatic level, and the situation is not helped by the vast number of Filipino laborers that are currently employed in Taiwan. Filipinos (and other S.E. Asian laborers – mostly, Indonesian and Thai) generally suffer deplorable working conditions here, with little-to-no legal protections. Low pay, long hours, and nearly no protections by labor laws are the norm, here. Typical work-times for an au pair here are 8 to 10 hours a day, with only one day off each month. These women are typically considered subject to commands by the children (i.e. – they are not on equal status with the parents), and are not permitted outside without accompaniment for any reason.
    The conditions are similar in the factories, where workers are rarely allowed outside their dorms (two days a month is the standard, and that is often reduced to two half-days a month), and are subject to the same working hours. Pinays are well aware of these issues, and labor organizations there (which are as embattled, these days, as American labor groups were back in the late 1800s / early 1900s) have been known to protest the situation rather regularly.
    So if the idea was to shore up ASEAN unity in the face of Chinese aggression, in the case of Taiwan and the Philippines, the result has been rather wide of the mark.

  41. It is not a tortured argument to postulate that most of the U.S. effort in Afghanistan directly or indirectly supported the global drug trade in heroin IMO!

  42. aleksandar says:

    Iran would jump in to get out of U.S. dollars and they would all try to take as many countries with them as possible.”
    It’s already the case, Iran has decided its oil exports will be paid with all money you have, except dollars.

  43. Tigermoth says:

    Col. A question. Do you feel there is a coherent policy between the various US government departments involved in Syria with regards to what the ultimate outcome is that they want to achieve there? There seems to be little cohesion between the White house, State Department, CIA, and Pentagon in this regard.
    Contrast the “Russian withdrawal” news conference; the President, Foreign Minister, and Minister of Defence presented, and represented, a “unity” both in the content and in the visual aspects of the conference. They reinforced each other.
    Why I ask is that there is once again a situation where one US department is fighting the other. Along the Turkey /Syria border FSA affiliates and Al Nusra (Al QAeda) are being supported by Turkish artillery and US coalition airstrikes to seize ISIS held territory to prevent the US backed Kurds from taking it. Of Course the Kurds are also fighting FSA, Al Nusra, ISIS. US fighting US again.
    The State Department appears to want a political settlement but arms are being shipped into Syria from European countries according to this article:
    “U.S. Delivers 3,000 Tons Of Weapons And Ammo To Al-Qaeda & Co in Syria
    The British military information service Janes found the transport solicitation for the shipment on the U.S. government website FedBizOps.gov. Janes writes:
    The FBO has released two solicitations in recent months looking for shipping companies to transport explosive material from Eastern Europe to the Jordanian port of Aqaba on behalf of the US Navy’s Military Sealift Command.
    Released on 3 November 2015, the first solicitation sought a contractor to ship 81 containers of cargo that included explosive material from Constanta in Bulgaria to Aqaba.

    The cargo listed in the document included AK-47 rifles, PKM general-purpose machine guns, DShK heavy machine guns, RPG-7 rocket launchers, and 9K111M Faktoria anti-tank guided weapon (ATGW) systems. The Faktoria is an improved version of the 9K111 Fagot ATGW, the primary difference being that its missile has a tandem warhead for defeating explosive reactive armour (ERA) fitted to some tanks.”
    It this “fog of war” or “fog of minds” wanting different outcomes?

  44. jld says:

    Sounds to me like the working of cancer cells…

  45. jld says:

    De-addict them from the heroin, if that is possible.

    It IS possible but it is also, scary, dangerous and illegal in many places:
    It is yet another psychotropic which somehow erases all withdrawal syndromes from addictions of any kind, heroin, alcohol, tobacco, you name it… WITHOUT introducing it’s own addiction because the trip is really, really no fun.
    And anyway, this will just bring us back to the “square one” you mentioned:

    A half-a-trillion-dollar-per-year industry is not going to let itself go extinct


  46. divadab says:

    Yes – this. The Swiss model is IMHO the best – heroin addiction is treated as a public health issue, addicts register with the government program and receive their daily dosage from a public health nurse – the cost of the program is low, the drug cost is trivial – less than a dollar a day – and 80% of the addicts in the program are gainfully employed.
    Imagine that! Instead of wasting money criminalizing addicts, the Swiss treat them like the sick people they are, provide them with maintenance dosages of an inexpensive drug, and the addicts, rather than being a drag on society, are actual taxpayers.
    The “war on Drugs” approach is a failed policy – absolutely boneheaded, disrespectful of reality, and utterly wasteful of taxpayer money. It creates the corruption of a black market. And it inevitably corrupts the police. And other institutions – reputedly.

  47. Trey N says:

    “So maybe it isn’t a Deep State but really a single party masquerading as a two party system?”
    And the difference is…???

  48. Trey N says:

    “The “war on Drugs” approach is a failed policy – utterly wasteful of taxpayer money.”
    It’s certainly not a “failed policy” to those who are raking in the billions of $$$ of taxpayer money!
    Which explains why the war continues in spite of its obvious failure to come anywhere close to achieving its purported goals. After all, if the war did succeed in its stated aims, those DEA agents, the Wackenhut Corp and other prison employees, etc etc would all be out of jobs. And what would be the excuse for all the questionable “asset forfeitures” (blatant theft, in far too many cases) that enrich myriad law enforcement agencies?
    Nope, the War on Drugs is far from being a failure to various powerful interest groups that are getting quite rich off the scam, thank you (taxpayer suckers) very much….

  49. Pat Lang,
    How about the following as a metaphor for U.S. government?
    An eight oared shell with blind and deaf oarsmen who each knows only to pull his individual oar as hard and fast as he can. And, a coxswain who can shout confused and vague commands and not much else.

  50. turcopolier says:

    That is quite a good metaphor. pl

  51. turcopolier says:

    Trey N
    Yes. The Borg spreads across all kinds of parties, factions, interest groups. It is as Obama said “the foreign policy establishment” but its influence is everywhere. “Deep State” implies a coherent conspiracy of related individuals who operate within the larger government. In Turkey what is meant is a sub-stratum of army, police and intelligence people who have a common agenda and are essentially subversive of the existing government’s intentions. I don’t know if that really exists in Turkey but in the US there is no such commonality. The Borg is not a group. It is a consensus that excludes all other thought. The Borg believes that human society is rapidly progressing toward a utopian world order in which old cultures and old folkways are simply irrelevant. That is why Borgists prattle endlessly about “the arc of history” and “the right side of history.” They actually think that Afghanistan, for example, is yearning for liberation from its own nature. pl

  52. Trey N says:

    Thanks for the tip, dc (I am a hopeless techno-trog — as in troglodyte…).
    I went to the Internet Archive and typed in the URL from the bookmark, but it still took me to the same “Error 404! Page not found” message on the original site that I get using the bookmark. Did I goof up somewhere?
    BTW, here’s the URL from the bookmark:
    “Why the Jewish Neocons Hate Russia”
    Hope you can track it down. If you do, please let me know why my efforts failed.

  53. turcopolier says:

    “A question. Do you feel there is a coherent policy between the various US government departments involved in Syria with regards to what the ultimate outcome is that they want to achieve there? There seems to be little cohesion between the White house, State Department, CIA, and Pentagon in this regard.” IMO both the concept of regime change as a basis of US policy and the execution of various madcap schemes as to how to achieve that have left US policy in Syria in a sorry muddle and Obama cannot avoid responsibility for that. pl

  54. divadab says:

    All these “beneficiaries” (or rather, profiteers) of the failed War on (Some) Drugs are involved in completely non-productive activity – they are in fact not accomplishing their stated objectives – if they did, they would be out of jobs – rather they are exercising rent-seeking behavior enabled by legislative corruption and inability to form reason-based policies. Prohibitionists have captured the policy apparatus for their own benefit.
    As a nation we are facing significant generational issues (sea level rise of 2 metres by 2100, e.g.) which the current political leadership is avoiding at any practical level. Just sea level rise mitigation would require a national effort equivalent to several hundred Hoover Dams – it would put everyone to work in productive, useful, rewarding and satisfying projects which would make the world better for our posterity. How sick a society we have that rather creates counter-productive employment exercising unjust dominion over the weak and the sick and creating chaos and misery all over the world.

  55. Trey N says:

    During WW II many of the Jews in Poland, the Baltic Republics and the USSR weren’t murdered by the Nazis, but by their neighbors — the local police and security forces, who were quite willing to participate in the shootings. That fact was covered up and conveniently forgotten after the war.
    (Of course, many similar crimes were also conveniently blamed on the Germans, most notably the murder of thousands of Polish POWs by the Soviets in the Katyn Forest. The Soviets even had the gall to pin Katyn on the Germans at the Nuremburg Trials! Just another of the many blatant miscarriages of “justice” at that farce of so-called legal proceedings…).

  56. YT says:

    I dislike Filipinos but even I think this mistreatment is a little too much.
    Here I was thinking only singaporeans treat malaysians & other blue-collar foreign nat’ls like cr*p.

  57. YT says:

    The “West” is unable & unwilling to see Chinks, “mongoloid” Slavs, “sand niggas”, Ginks, etc. as equals.
    Probably never will…

  58. Chris Chuba says:

    There are actually U.S. sanctions in place making it prohibitive for Iran to use U.S. dollars so they pretty much don’t have a choice. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/d527c4f64b464801a2ed4573a13b4627/officials-us-mulls-new-rules-dollars-help-iran
    The gist of this story, for those of you who hate following urls is this. Iran cannot directly engage in transactions using U.S. $. To make things worse, if they trade internationally and need to convert Rupees to Euros and the transaction involves a temporary conversion of dollars in the chain, the U.S. govt can in theory sue the financial institution for violating U.S. sanctions. We have done this in the past and this puts quite the chill for even legitimate business transactions.
    In any case, I was referring to a possibility where the U.S. is so abusive in how we manhandle countries in this manner that China and Russia will become highly motivated to establish an alternative banking system that is dollar free. Iran would go to such a system yesterday and I suspect that there could be a stampede. How and what form this would take, I don’t know. I’m not a financial guy but we in the U.S. are creating a huge potential market demand for such a system and where there is a demand, eventually it tends to get met.
    Sadly I see our enemies list as a self-fulfilling prophesy with respect to these three countries. The more they react to how we perieve and treat them the more it reinforces our perception of them. If Russia/China worked to establish an alternative monetary system then that would be evidence of them being the second coming of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, oh, and I guess Iran is Italy in this analogy.
    So it’s important for us to have proper focus and not go overboard. We can only go to the ‘dollar playbook’ only so often.

  59. YT says:

    RE: “Iran is Italy”
    On behalf of M. Makkinejad,
    At least the Persians are chess-players, my experience (tho limited) with those from Italy are that they excel only at skirt-chasing.

  60. Lyttenburgh says:

    “During WW II many of the Jews in Poland, the Baltic Republics and the USSR weren’t murdered by the Nazis, but by their neighbors — the local police and security forces, who were quite willing to participate in the shootings. That fact was covered up and conveniently forgotten after the war. “
    Indeed, that was often the issue. Delfi.lt ran a series of articles about a recent book by Rutha Vanagaite “Mūsiškiai” (“Ours”) about the Holocaust in Lithuania. She was ostracized by everyone – friends, relatives, part of the family – even local priests. Needless to say – “patriotic” Lithuanians proclaimed her “Putin’s agent” and all that jazz. And all because of what? That she finally destroyed the cozy myth of Lithuanian victimhood, showing how young, sane, adequate people of her country murdered 200 000 of their fellow countrymen.
    But it’s all Russia’s fault. Somehow. Yep.
    I mean, who needs the truth? Newly freed Lithuania supports Israel in the UN and internationally by 120%! Isn’t it the best way to extort already loyal regime saving accusations for those who is uncooperative?
    BTW, similar number – about 200 000 Jews – had been killed during pogroms which accompanied Bohdan Khmelnitsky’s rebellion against Poland. Nevertheless, there is an equestrian statue to Khmelnitsky in the center of Kiev – and no Jewish organization had ever voiced a protest against its presence.
    After all, it’s much safer to topple Lenin statues (and then sell them on the black market) and desecrate the Great Patriotic War memorials. No lobby – no cry.

  61. Trey N,
    The article you are looking for may be an August 2008 piece by Kevin MacDonald entitled ‘The Neocons Versus Russia’.
    (See http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2008/08/the-neocons-versus-russia/ .)
    Unfortunately, MacDonald often plays somewhat fast and loose with historical fact.
    There was a useful discussion of questions to do with the role of Jews in the Russian Revolution in exchanges of comments on a post by Philip Weiss on his ‘Mondoweiss’ blog in February 2014, entitled ‘Scholar explodes ”canonic” American Jewish belief: Russian Czar was behind 1903 massacre.”
    (See http://mondoweiss.net/2014/02/explodes-american-massacre/ .)
    The short answer is that while there certainly was a distinctly disproportionate Jewish presence among the Bolsheviks, MacDonald’s suggestion that the Revolution ‘resulted in a period of Jewish dominance in the Soviet Union’ is way over the top.
    (Incidentally, one could also focus on other contributions – that of the Latvians, on whom Lenin relied as the ‘Praetorian Guards’ of the Revolution, and who saved it from going down to destruction in the summer of 1918.)
    What I did find quite extraordinary is the discover that myths about the 1903 Kishinev pogrom do seem to shape the identity of so many ‘liberal’ American Jews – and their view of Russia – well over a century later.
    From the summary by Weiss of the lecture by Stanford Professor Stephen Zipperstein which provoked his post:
    ‘Zipperstein said the belief in the czar’s role in the massacre became the ”resilient glue” of liberal Jewish identity in the U.S. ”Vast and large and emblematic,” Kishinev’s mythology informed the Jewish understanding of right and left and our relationship to non-Jews and to government. It produced Jewish support for the NAACP and Barack Obama, and rendered the word pogrom ”sketchily used before… into a phenomenon not less intrinsically Russian than vodka and the czar itself.”’
    In the event, the Czar was not responsible, Kishinev is not in Russia, most of those involved in the 1903 pogrom were ethnic Romanians, and most pogroms were committed in Ukraine by Ukrainians.
    If Professor Zipperstein’s really is correct in suggesting – and I am not in a position to know – that delusions about what happened more than a century ago shape the self-identity of ‘liberal’ Jews in the United States today, I think the appropriate response is ‘get a life’.

  62. Tyler says:

    54 posts into this and I’m seeing a lot of triple bankshot baroque theories.
    Russia is standing against the West’s religion of Social Justice and secular hedonism by refusing to pretend homosexuality and transgenderism is natural or a net positive. That’s where a massive amount of this animosity is coming from.

  63. Thomas says:

    Nah, The Exceptionals see all outside their stratified Club of Superiority as being unworthy.
    Psalm Eighty Two is sung for them.

  64. tjfxh says:

    “Deep state” was already taken wrt to Turkey when Mike Lofgren picked it up an applied it to the US. I think that what he is referring to we call an “old boy network.” At this level it is the leadership of the military//security/intelligence-industrial-financial-media-governmental complex unified by the revolving door. Basically it is inferred from the consistency and persistence of US policy across administrations regardless of platforms and campaign promises. It’s not a conspiracy but a shared understanding that results in a policy framework, albeit with various debates within that framework.

  65. Russia is part of the Russian Federation with its 82 members. China has almost 60 language dialects beyond Mandarin. I have long argued that the key to the 21st Century is Siberia not the Mediterranean littoral [although important in many ways].
    In the days of the Sovietologist few of them understood Soviet minorities. Still the same.
    But the world’s largest repository of experts on the RF Federation are Chinese and the largest repository of expertise on China are in the Russian Federation [although India continues to focus its FP and FP expertise on China].
    Russian landmass is its most important asset. Chinese population its most important asset.
    Could be wrong as always.

  66. P.L.! Any sense of Chinese and/or Russian readership of SST? Arabic? Persian?

  67. Kyle Pearson says:

    Filipinos and other foreign workers here look to Singapore and Hong Kong as a distinct and big step up from working in Taiwan.

  68. Trey N says:

    “China and Russia will become highly motivated to establish an alternative banking system that is dollar free”
    Don’t know where you’ve been the last coupla years, CC, but they’ve been working like beavers on meth on this since the sanctions over Ukraine were imposed in 2014. Catch up by googling:
    * China CIPS system
    * BRICS Bypass SWIFT system
    * BRICS trade in national currencies
    * BRICS bank to bypass World Bank and IMF
    * Russia and China energy deals bypass dollar
    * The death of the petrodollar
    * Iran to sell oil only in Euros http://journal-neo.org/2016/02/10/washington-again-underestimated-the-iranian-mind/
    * Mackinder and the new China Silk Road project
    A few hours of reading will catch you up on how badly the Borg screwed itself with the Russia sanctions, which kicked all this into high gear.
    Forbes had an excellent article in Mar 2012 about how the US used SWIFT as a financial weapon against Iran. I remember one Borgista idiot bragging several years ago how the Iran sanctions proved that the US could use SWIFT to impose its will on any country on the planet without using military force. China and Russia took note, and are now neutralizing that “weapon.” Unfortunately for the Borg, those two nations are not Iraq and Libya….

  69. BraveNewWorld says:

    They are using hydromorphone in Vancouver to great success as well. Some thing we could never have done if we stayed married to the war on drugs.

  70. different clue says:

    Just because a half-a-trillion dollar industry will not let itself go extinct voluntarily does not necessarily mean that we can not make it go extinct by brute social and political force if enough of us decide to understand how to do it and how to work all the levers and channels of power to force that industry into extinction.
    It will be very hard to do. But the first step is imagining that it could be done and then organizing to do it.
    We would have to spend a lot of money on careful high-observation high-treatment-and-care of de-addicting heroin addicts if we were to use ibogaine as the chemical side of guided de-addiction. But if enough people decided it would be worth the cost and price to exterminate the illegal heroin-industrial complex and its international money-laundry-industrial complex from the face of the earth, we could perhaps get it done.
    And if we could do it against heroin use, perhaps we could do the same thing against the other high-price/ high-profit drugs of addiction. Meth would probably be the very hardest drug to de-addict people from.

  71. Trey N says:

    Thanks for the reference, David. It’s not the article I was trying to find, which was an editorial last month on another site, but they seem to be saying the same thing.
    It is interesting to note how many revolutions/movments have been led by Jews in the last 150 years:
    * Emma Goldman in the US
    * Rosa Luxemburg in Germany
    * Bela Kohn in Hungary
    * many of the Mensheviks/Bolsheviks in Russia
    …to mention only the most notable.

  72. different clue says:

    Trey N,
    I agree completely. The War On Drugs is totally successful in terms of its “real” agenda, which is to keep the price of illegal drugs high by keeping them illegal and restricting supply just enough to keep the price high enough to keep the trillion-dollar-a-year MLIC ( Money Laundry Industrial Complex) skimming its share of the money by laundering the money. Also, guaranteeing jobs-for life for generations of war-on-drugs iron rice bowl owners in the DLEIC ( Drug Law Enforcement Industrial Complex). But hopefully the Drug Law warfighters could be redirected to fighting other problems and perpetrators which genuinely deserve to be outlawed and prevented or stopped. And if ending the War On Drugs actually disemployed so many War On Drugs warfighters that they could not find other crimefighting work, then we could give them full early retirement pensions-for-life in return for abolishing their jobs by changing the policy they have spent their working careers carrying out up to that point.

  73. different clue says:

    Trey N,
    David Habbakuk’s comment just below shows the collective power of the minds-put-together here at SST. SST has just done what The Wayback Machine could not do . . . . find an article you remembered but could not find.
    I too am a lost analog refugee in this digital world. The best I can do is to tap my way around the cave.

  74. different clue says:

    David Habakkuk,
    Indeed . . . and the same would apply to many ethnic grouploads of people who have maintained old fears and grudges for centuries and act on them to this very day. But how does one “get a life” without access to all the multi-level data and information and interpretation and analysis which would enable them to rethink the life they currently have? The problem is certainly worth solving and assisting-in-the-solution-of. Babak Makkinejad and others here have written about the persistence of the past. How does one assist any cultural memory inertia group in redirecting the direction and application of its cultural memory energy?

  75. different clue says:

    Kyle Pearson,
    You are not the only person who has noted Google’s very careful and deliberate degradation and destruction of any hint of usefulness from its once-useful search functions. Google is doing its best to turn the Internet from the Information Superhighway of Al Gore’s dreams into the InfoCommercial SuperSewer of today’s mainstream bussiness desires.
    But this creates an opportunity for any digital designers who care to create a search engine which can do all the search-assisting that serious searchers would like it to be able to do.
    Perhaps some digital engineers are even now reading these comments and might start thinking that they themselves might be the ones to create a genuinely searcher-friendly search engine. They could call it Shinola Search.
    ” Shinola Search. When Google just isn’t good enough.”

  76. different clue says:

    Kyle Pearson,
    My youngest brother was once in the Peace Corps in Batanes Province of The Philippines. The Batanes Islands were the very closest to Taiwan of any of those islands.
    He told me about how Batanian hand-labor fishermen complained about Taiwanese fishing fleets strip mining all the fish out of Batanian waters. I joked that when they discovered he had been National Guard for a while that they would ask his advice on how to blow up and/or sink the Taiwanese fishing ships. He told me that when they found out he had been National Guard that they did indeed ask for his advice on how to sink the Taiwanese fishing ships. He told me that he told them that he didn’t know how to do that, and that he really couldn’t tell them how to do it even if he did know. It would be a very unPeace Corps thing to do, and also highly illegal.

  77. SmoothieX12 says:

    “The situation is similar to Rome and Carthage.”
    Not even close. In fact, abusing historical “parallels” is one of the ways to keep one totally misinformed.

  78. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The so-called West has its own answer to Plato’s question: “What is Justice?”
    The Apache had their own answer to that question, Japanese, Chinese, Arabs, and many others in the world each have a separate and distinct answer.
    The Borgistas believe, I suspect, that they can obliterate these varied notion of Justice and replace it by their own – incoherent (since they claim to have gutted its Christian foundations) notions.
    Before them, Islam tried to supplant Hindu ideas of Justice with Muslim ones and it failed.
    The English, while in India, made no dent in those ideas either.
    The best that the Borg and Borgistas could achieve, if it could even be called an achievement, is to create reservations – like those around the Four Corners, for other cultures.
    But the non-Western population of the world exceeds the US + Western Europe; they cannot prevail, in my opinion.

  79. Margaret Steinfels says:

    Why Russia? How about this: people in charge of U.S. policy were in grad school in the 1970s and 80s. They are steeped in Cold War thinking, language and metaphors. They haven’t moved on.
    Today is there anyone in grad school studying Russia or Russians, their culture, their politics, their language. No more National Defense money for scholarships.
    Could it be as simple as that?

  80. Trey N says:

    “perpetrators which genuinely deserve to be outlawed and prevented or stopped.”
    Declaring open season on all banksters and politicians, no bag limit, would be an excellent place to start….

  81. YT says:

    I’m not so sure if the cretins from Hong Kong & S’pore will treat them any better…
    Tho at least the Gov’t of S’pore does protect foreign laborers far better than many others in Asia.

  82. Trey N says:

    “[How does one get people] to rethink the life they currently have?”
    The vast majority of people on this planet form their self-image and view of the world early in life, and no amount of empirical evidence, appeals to reason, or anything short of absolutely devastating personal tragedy can lead them to alter those views. The wrenching change is simply too painful to face; denial and refusal to even contemplate alternatives are the universal methods of defense.
    Columnist Fred Reed framed the issue perfectly:
    “In some four decades of writing columns of one sort and another, I remember only two or three readers who said that I had changed their minds on a matter of fundamental importance (the righteousness of America’s wars, for example). Columnists are often called “opinion leaders,” but actually our function seems to be to tell our readers what they already believe in stirring prose. Opinions generally are fixed, impervious to fact.”
    Though I have radically changed many of the views I held in my 20s over the ensuing decades, most of the people I have known over that time have not. As Reed tried to put it, I believe that it has to do with the way the brain is “hardwired”: half the people see a white wall, half a black wall, and no amount of reasoning, persuasion, or any other effort will get them to see that the wall is actually purple (of course, I always say, “What wall…?).
    That’s why I hold little hope for the future of the US. The sheeple are trapped in their mindsets of false alternatives (Democrat/Republican, liberal/conservative, etc), and there seems to be no way of shaking them out of this straitjacket. It’s like talking to a pig about the far side of the moon: he doesn’t have any idea what you’re talking about, couldn’t care less about it, and trying to get him to care only pisses him off.
    (I do hope that the Trump/Sanders phenomena indicates that the sheeple are finally miserable enough to want to actually fight back against the rigged system and change it. We shall see….)

  83. Trey N says:

    I love shinola! It’s one of the very few words I can use in polite company that still manages to express the deep feelings I have on whatever topic under discussion I find totally infuriating….
    “Shinola! A little goes a long way!”

  84. Margaret,
    I grew up surrounded by first and second generation Lithuanian immigrants. Their hatred of the Soviet Union was personal and virulent. I know the names of relatives that died fighting Stalin or ended up in Siberian gulag. I was steeped in this tradition. Somehow I managed to overcome this education and learned to respect the Russians and would gladly accept them as national partners and even friends. As far as I’m concerned, those who were only steeped in Cold War thinking, language and metaphors and can’t get past that education are stunted creatures. I pity their willful ignorance.

  85. Trey N says:

    I refuse to own a cellphone, have analog landline telephones at home, and still buy cheap DVDs of movies I want to watch at home.
    The internet is a great resource for my genealogical research (saves me from getting up at the crack of dawn to drive to courthouses and graveyards all over Texas like I did for years) and for interacting with knowledgeable people like you on this site. Otherwise, I could be quite happy without it (and find the time to read more of the hundreds of books in my library still waiting to have their covers cracked…).

  86. Margaret Steinfels says:

    “As far as I’m concerned, those who were only steeped in Cold War thinking, language and metaphors and can’t get past that education are stunted creatures. I pity their willful ignorance.”
    Yes, of course. What would you do about it? How did you overcome this tradition? Or perhaps more complicated, how did you use this tradition to adopt a more respectful respect for Russian as partners and friends.

  87. Babak Makkinejad says:

    No, no, no.
    Italy is a great country, very urbane and sophisticated. There is no place like Italy and the Italians in the world.
    I think the Italians are consistently underestimating themselves in the presentation of themselves and their country to the foreigners.
    They need to adapt the “Goethe Institute” approach of Germans and setup “Dante Scolaria” all over the world to promote themselves and their culture.

  88. SmoothieX12 says:

    Massive, but not all. The problem is metaphysical, part, and a very large one at that, to this question lies within the Soviet period of Russian history. The problem, however, is with complete lack of understanding (sometimes deliberate, sometimes genuine) of the Soviet period and its influence in the “generic” West. As George F. Kennan wrote:”Not all that went by the name of communism in Russia was bad, nor were those who believed in it.” Complexities of the epoch were deliberately thrown out in favor of accommodating a primitive narrative which survives to this day. Explaining, as an example, to some average Joe that Soviet society was an extremely conservative one may create a serious cognitive dissonance.

  89. Grimgrin says:

    You don’t even really need poppies:
    It’s theoretically possible to create a yeast strain that will convert sugar into morphine. The work has been published. You get rid of all the poppies, and it suddenly becomes worth it to spend the money on engineering that strain for production.

  90. LondonBob says:

    I have read Colonel John Hughes-Wilson’s book on the matter, whilst he has no specific inside information, he does bring an experts eye to the voluminous evidence people seem to have collected over the years.

  91. LondonBob says:

    There does seem to be a fair amount of ethnic resentment fueling it, whether it is Brzezinski or the neocons. Also ideologically Russia is one of the traditionalist states, alongside Poland, Hungary, and to a lesser extent Slovakia and the Czech republic. Hungary, the Czech republic and Slovakia have close relationships with Russia now, Poland is still very anti Russian. Be interesting to see what happens there because the new government is now being heavily demonised, so lets see if they turn to the East for new friends.

  92. Ulenspiegel says:

    The question is how much of the 500 billion USD market reflects actually production costs, how much is the result of the criminalisation of heroin or better morphin.
    Gedankenexperiment: If you import opium and extract in modern production facilities the morphin and acetylates it. What is the price?
    Could morphin produced domesticall at a competitive price? (I do not believe so.)

  93. YT says:

    Thank you, kind sir.
    ‘Nother addition to one’s library…

  94. Margaret,
    I’d like to think my “transformation” was due to some kind of personal enlightenment, but it’s more likely due to an inordinate amount of personal skepticism. I listen and read a lot and accept very little of what I hear and read as eternal truth. Just yesterday I read this comment by Neil deGrasse Tyson, “When you train your mind how to think, you inoculate yourself against those who desperately want to tell you what to think.” That’s a good start.
    I’ve also accepted the message of divine mercy. We are all sinners, but we are all children of God. I know I’ve said this before on SST and I believe it. But before anyone nominates me for sainthood, I also believe some of these children of God are just first class assholes… fully deserving of a good whooping.

  95. SmoothieX12 says:

    US foreign policy is formulated by ethnic mafias who couldn’t care less about real national interests. They bring with them to the table passions, hatreds and prejudices of which Founding Fathers warned about. Add here the messianic mindset of American “elites” and it wouldn’t really take much (and it didn’t) to initiate this messianic mind set by means of primitive flattery and voila’. You may want to find the article “Better Not Ignore the Poles at the Polls”, from July 14, 1997 Us News & World Report, the time when there was some integrity still around in US journo corps. It will give a good insight in how things work. It will take a huge post to just list the consequences (a real ones, not as concocted by imbeciles from think-tanks) of NATO expansion and aggression against Serbia. Those are strategic, nay tectonic, in their nature–the fact that very few in US are ready to acknowledge. Talk about sleepwalking.

  96. Kyle Pearson says:

    Yah – i’m under no illusions that the Taiwanese fishing fleet is probably among (if not “the”) the most ruthlessly exploitative and criminal in the world. The Taiwanese landlubbers are themselves blissfully unaware of that, though, just as they are completely unaware of how pervasive Taiwanese criminal organizations are throughout S.E. Asia / Australia.
    I can’t really blame the Filipinos for being angry over how their waters are treated by Taiwanese boats, but then, the Filipino boats are guilty of exactly the same behavior throughout the South China Seas. The two countries are contendenrs in a four- or five-way competition for the most Environmentally Destructive Countries in the region.
    We tend to complain about Japanese whaling operations, but in terms of environmental damage the Japanese whaling fleet is a tiny glitch on the chart in comparison to Asia’s commercial fishing fleets.

  97. different clue says:

    Trey N,
    It could certainly work for those who are old enough, or educated enough . . . to remember what Shinola was, and what the “not Shinola” would be in the “not-Shinola from Shinola pairing.”
    ” I may not know much, but I know the difference between chicken salad and chicken not-Shinola.”

  98. different clue says:

    I suspect very little of the price reflects production costs. For the illegal drugs, most of the cost would be in the various down-stream markups, plus the cost of overcoming or end-running the law enforcement barriers to shipping and delivering a certain percentage of the product. And then there are the taxpayer-funded costs of the law enforcement itself, which is designed to keep the supply of illegal drugs short enough to keep the price up. That could be considered a straight-up taxpayer subsidy to the global pairing of DLEIC and MLIC.
    As to the legal C2-4 drugs of potential abuse, I don’t know how much of their cost is cost-of-production versus all the downstream costs. I know that here in U of M Hospital Pharmacy where I work, we have to mark up every drug price charged to the patient or the third party payer because . . . the Dept. of Pharmacy gets zero “support” from the overall hospital budget, and the charge for the drug is the only point of contact between the Dept. of Pharmacy and the outside world. The price on the drug has to support every activity of the whole Dept. of Pharmacy from the Director and the Assistant Directors all the way down to the staff pharmacists and the technicians. Plus the dept. has to buy and pay for its own drug inventory out of the money raised charging for the drugs given out.
    ( And I see what somebody means now about replies not nesting beneath the comments being replied to. Hopefully the blog-service-engineering firm upon which this blog runs can fix the problem. Having the comment pre-appear with the “wait for moderation” advisory still seems a good thing, though).

  99. SAC Brat says:

    close italics?

  100. SAC Brat says:

    close italics

  101. rjj says:

    what did you do and why did it change – entry 44 was italicized once and then next time it was not.

  102. Kyle Pearson says:

    It appears that somebody re-set the display defaults for the site.
    “What are threaded versus flat comments? Threaded comments allow readers to reply directly to each others’ comments, fostering a more dynamic conversation on your weblog. Flat comments are the traditional, chronological comment display. See below: threaded vs. flat. – See more at: http://help.typepad.com/tpc_account_settings.html#sthash.XJ8pzBlP.dpuf
    Y’all can find more information under the “Typepad Connect: Settings & Account Management” page, here:
    Also, it looks like Aleksandar up there in post #43 failed to close the italics in his post, and it has somehow carried over to every post after that.

  103. Ulenspiegel says:

    What I have found in the German Wikipedia (for 2011):
    Morphin, the precusor of Heroin, costs only 2000 USD per kg(!) in Afghanistan.
    Let me be pessimistic: The acetylation/purification and marketing by expensive pharmacies add additional 1000 USD, then we have a price of 1 gram Heroin (100% puriry; the stuff that Keith Richrads wanted in his good old days :-))of 3 USD.
    This is more than one order of magnitude lower than junkies pay for the illigal stuff with much lower heroin content.

  104. YT says:

    In the backwater-neck-o’-the-woods where I’m at, I hear only of mainland Chinks intruding into the waters of Vietnam, Philipines, etcetera…
    I’m pretty sure that it was not on intent (besides who can tell when they’re out at sea?, lines-of-demarcation aren’t exactly marked out in the oceans, correct me if I’m wrong), IMHO these fishing crews & gov’ts need to “get their act together” somehow – but I reckon this will be most difficult because of arrogant nationalism & outright xenophobia.
    I can’t vouch for any gov’ts in south-east Asia but do they seriously want Uncle Shmuel to intervene militarily in event of mishap out in these waters?
    P.S.: Yes, surprisingly the damn Nips hunting for whale are causing the least ecological damage regardless of what the tree-huggers say, in contrast to these other asiatic parties fishing.

  105. different clue says:

    Colonel Lang,
    Borg is a hard word to rhyme or rhythm with. The best I can think of is ” The Empire Strikes Back: Wrath of the House of Borg.” But that is long and clunky.

  106. different clue says:

    Score another one for Genetic Engineering. Maybe if morphine-yeast cooking becomes widespread enough, opium poppies will become just a harmless
    garden flower, grown for their beauty.

  107. Kyle Pearson says:

    All the various countries here blame “the other ones”, because to admit wrongdoing by one’s own people would invite international condemnation.
    Asians are as adept at the game of “public vs. private politics” as anyone in Iran, Arabia, or Turkey; that is all a direct byproduct of highly concentrated populations, and a traditionally laissez-faire / libertarian model of local civil government.
    What chaps my ass so much is that the US simply picks sides based upon which side is most expediently manipulated to do its bidding. Overfishing is a tremendous problem; recent scientific reports have suggested that at current levels, we may literally fish out all oceans by 2048. Yeah, i know the models are debatable, but still there is a lot of evidence that indicates we really are in a crisis – and no-body in Asia is concerned about it, the US is still refusing to admit climate change is any kind of a problem (despite the Pentagon listing it as the greatest threat to US national security, bar none), and so the looming catastrophe is worsening exponentially with every passing year.

  108. YT says:

    In Asia, profit margin (as well as ability to bring food to the table) trumps all other considerations.
    It’s only understandable that the cretins [t]here care not whether their collective actions will eventually doom the planet.
    We won’t be able to survive should bees cease to exist, what of fish…?
    Enlighten me, for I am lacking on matters oceanographic.

  109. rjj says:

    from the department of the well-belabored obvious: when manually entering tags do the close whatever code first.

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