Friday, April 9, 2021

The Dictatorship of Numbers, by Andrei Martyanov - The Unz Review - (DaBoomer economy catches up with REALITY! - CL)

Here are few numbers, we’ll start with two: 447 million and 4.67 billion. These two numbers speak volumes, and are in the foundation of the America’s decline and increasingly irrational behavior which may, quoting Bachman Turner Overdrive’s famous hit, get us to the point of a proverbial ain’t seen nothing yet. The first number is a population of European Union, while the second one is a population of Asia. Asia’s population constitutes around 60% of all the world’s population. Second place in this count is taken by Africa, around 1.37 billion, and the third–by Latin America and Caribbean with respectable 659 million which is considerably larger still than the population of the European Union. The Northern America’s population is around 371 million, which in the larger scheme of things doesn’t look that impressive. In fact, it isn’t.

The history of colonialism—I deliberately omit here this qualifier “Western”, there were all kinds of colonialisms—as related to classic capitalism was more than just about exploitation of colonies for the benefit of metropole. While images of extraction of natural resources from colonies and shipping those to metropoles are correct, they do not form a complete picture. In the end, colonies were viewed as markets where metropole would sell its products. The larger the colony, the more numerous its population was, the larger was the market for products manufactured in metropole. This all made a complete, however often bloody, economic sense in the times of a good ol’ industrial capitalism when metropole would get resources from colony and turn them into finished product and then will ship this finished product, with a huge value added, to be sold in colony. For Native Americans who sold Manhattan to Dutch in 1626 for allegedly, and hotly contested by historians, $24 worth in finished goods, whatever was offered was a huge value for them because they could not produce those items, be that, as mythology states, shiny glass bids or whatever else much more technologically advanced Dutch would offer them. That is how it worked more or less for centuries. The more and better items one produced the richer one would become. That is until FIRE economy and simulacrum of the post-industrialism were revealed to the world by people most of who would have difficulty passing a general contractor exam, not to speak of getting industrial engineering degree.

Fast forward to May 2000 to the passage of House Resolution 4444 China Trade Bill. In one of the most profoundly mindless and ignorant statements of America’s foreign and economic policy, Bill Clinton proclaimed that:

“Today the House of Representatives has taken an historic step toward continued prosperity in America, reform in China and peace in the world. If the Senate votes as the House has just done, to extend permanent normal trade relations with China, it will open new doors of trade for America and new hope for change in China. Seven years ago, when I became president, I charted a new course for a new economy—a course of fiscal discipline, investment in our people and open trade. I have always believed that by opening markets abroad we open opportunities at home. We’ve worked hard to advance that goal of more open and more fair trade since 1993, all the way up to the landmark legislation I signed just a few days ago to expand trade with Africa and the Caribbean Basin.”

Cringeworthy in its sheer falsity and insufferable pathos—the economic equivalent of Chamberlain’s “Peace in Our Time” 1938 proclamation, after signing the Munich capitulation to Hitler—Clinton’s declaration rattled even those who otherwise wouldn’t even pay much attention to the economic affairs of the United States. China, wasn’t upset; why would it be? Both NAFTA and China’s accession to the WTO served as a massive vacuum cleaner sucking the life from American industries and, to be sure, these weren’t banking or financial consulting “industries” which were being shipped abroad. American manufacturing started to leave its own shores. America started to lose its only tool which was and even today remains the only valid mean to an end of economic prosperity—manufacturing capacity. A concept which is beyond the grasp of most American economists and political pseudo-scientists most of who today wear Chinese tailored suits, carry iPhones manufactured in China and use laptops and PCs assembled there as well.

To be sure, America still produces some things—civilian aircraft, as an example. But since the whole Boeing 737 Max affair, which can only be described in strongest profanity, the shining from the polished outward façade of Boeing is largely gone and the stalwart of the American commercial aviation has de facto lost competition to its EU rival Airbus. Cars? Sure. America still remains competitive at manufacturing trucks. The rest? America’s sedans are not competitive and lose out to Japanese and Korean car makers both domestically and internationally, enough to take a look at Ford losing Russian market to Asian, Russian and EU automakers, with the last Ford Focus plant closed in Russia recently. In other, rather startling development, America’s main soft power export, Hollywood is losing its piercing power in China and in Russia. In fact, it is not just losing it, it already lost it. If such a proposition would have been laughed at 20 years ago, the fact that Russian-made movies dominate today Russia’s box office is accepted as absolutely normal. Same is true for Chinese movie market, so much so, that Hollywood is forced to pander to China to have a shot at gigantic Chinese movie audience. Even before the pandemic, Hollywood performance was not impressive and was on decline. Hollywood’s “values” of a radical feminism, anti-male misogyny and promotion of the sexual deviancy are hardly in demand in largely conservative Chinese and Russian societies.

Sure, there are some items which the United States manufactures today which are in demand, or, if one gets to the reality of it all, forcefully imposed on customers—America’s hugely overpriced and dubiously effective weapon systems. This is what remains of once America’s mighty industrial plant which could produce anything from socks and kitchen combines to good combat and excellent commercial aircraft. Today this capacity is no more, since it is China who is the world’s consumer goods main manufacturer, and the only way the United States is capable to secure any market for its weapons is to retain Europe, NATO that is, as its main customer and vassal. NATO will gladly (if not, color revolutions are a good tool for convincing those who have doubts) “buy” America’s weapons and “defense” of Europe, but America needs Europeans to believe that hordes of democracy-hating, only two-gender accepting, backward bearded Russian Ivans are ready to pounce to deny Europe her favorite values of a complete sexual depravity, her cities, also known as dirty multicultural cloacae and declining economy for the reasons only Americans know, while Russians overwhelmingly, especially Russian youth do not want to identify themselves as Europeans.

So, to convince those 447 million EU’s residents that they need America’s protection and weapons, America needs Russia to get into the war in Ukraine and if it will end up with utter destruction, and it will if Russia really decides so, of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and, likely, Ukrainian statehood, so be it. Americans never really cared how many aborigines die, as long as it works for the US bottom line. Or, if one may, a condition of American condition, which is deteriorating steadily because not only the United States increasingly has very little of substance, that is of high value added, to sell to the world, but forming economic and military monster of Eurasia removes the United States from its, grossly exaggerated to start with, self-proclaimed status of global hegemon to the status of, at best, one of the few big shots on the planet. At worst, the United States is removed from Eurasia as a viable competitor and is relegated to a status of a regional power—still powerful relative to its continental neighbors but not having a shot at this second number of 4.67 billion. This is a big chunk of population and customers. Now imagine if the United States loses EU. Suddenly 4.67 billion become 4.67 billion + 447 million = 5.117 billion, it is 65% of Earth’s population. It is a huge majority of world’s population and, most importantly, population much of which can pay for goods, unlike it is the case with gigantic population of Africa. Moreover, this population is concentrated within a single continental mass which is insulated from the United States by two oceans. The United States cannot allow this consolidation of the market to happen and the loss of Europe, Washington’s thinking goes, is tantamount to capitulation. So, the United States must hold on to EU, or whatever it will become once EU inevitably collapses, and NATO remains the only tool to drive European weaklings into submission. Making Russia obliterate Ukrainian Armed Forces is a perfect way to scare Europeans into abandoning any attempts to economically compete with the United States and deny them access to Russia’s energy.

Considering an extremely low level of Western scholarship in the field of practical geopolitics and its pseudo-scientific offspring—geoeconomics—which failed for the last 30 years to come up with even the fuzziest description of the emerging world, it doesn’t matter if the United States “retains” Europe or not anymore. The reasons for the utter failure of those “academic” predictions and resulting policies are numerous but few of them are worth focusing on.

  1. Europe is not anymore a crucial trade partner for Russia and mutual trade plummeted in the last few years. The trend will continue and it is not only due to America’s pressure, albeit that too, on EU but is a result of Russia steady change of both economic model and her reorientation towards Asia which is now largely complete. Russia simply doesn’t need anymore many goods she used to buy in the EU. The policy of import substitution on average is a success and Russia economically insulating herself from the West will continue.
  2. A much-discussed pipeline of Nord Stream 2 is, actually, not a crucial economic project for Russia anymore. Russia can absorb losses if the project eventually sabotaged by the United States and its European poodles such as Poland, but for Germany, and EU in general, this sabotage will result in catastrophe, due to European greens’ suicidal energy policies which make European goods costs extremely energy-dependent. In realty, America’s attempts to sabotage Nord Stream 2 are primarily directed against EU in general, and Germany in particular, not against Russia per se.
  3. The United States lost the arms race. America’s weapons acquisition process and military doctrine-mongering cannot be viewed anymore as a normal, that is logical and justified, process. While still being able to produce some state-of-the-art platforms and enablers, such as signal processing, combat computer and communications networks, recon assets, in terms of actual weapons the United States begins to lag behind Russia not just in years but in generations. As recent, February 2021, Congressional Budget Office report on missile defense admitted, the United States is defenseless against salvo of combination of new Russia’s cruise missiles and that there is nothing to stop them. There isn’t. US air defense systems lag behind Russian ones dramatically and the gap only grows with Russia’s S-500 getting into serial production and the latest S-350 already being deployed into the first line units.
  4. The United States simply cannot develop modern supersonic anti-shipping missile and the US Navy is forced, incomprehensibly, to buy Norwegian Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile—an underwhelming subsonic missile which is no match for modern high supersonic and hypersonic strike weapons Russia deploys, and is not survivable in modern air defense and ECM environment.
  5. Lastly, the intellectual level and the level of awareness of modern American elites is in a precipitous decline, which inevitably resulted in the embarrassment of America’s last elections, especially scandalous debate between two geriatric candidates in 2020, which paraded the US as Springeresque tawdry TV show. Resultant loss of a legitimacy and yet another confirmation of the America’s position as a non-agreement capable entity hardly serve as boosters for America’s already tarnished reputation as a big-mouth bully and its elites being uncultured and uneducated.

The United States already fails to meet a number criteria imperative for the status of superpower, among which a military one is crucial. If some American military “strategists” still exercised a suicidal idea of fighting Russia conventionally in Ukraine in 2014, today in 2021 such an idea is downright mad, because the United States cannot win conventional war in Russia’s vicinity and any US force will be annihilated. This leaves the United States only two options:

  1. Indeed, believing its own propaganda, try to unleash mayhem in Ukraine, provoke Russia into a direct military operation and then introduce whatever the force US and NATO will muster into the theater of operations. Any such plan is bound to fail miserably because not only such a force will be annihilated but participating NATO nations will face the possibility of their military installations destroyed by stand-off weapons. That raises the possibility of US escalating to nuclear threshold which means that the United States may cease to exists as a country. This is an undesirable plan and majority of US policy makers, bar some severe cases of psychological Russophobic disorders which are numerous in the current Administration and America’s elites, understand what it means. So, while not completely impossible, a probability for such a plan being implemented is fairly low. Not to mention the fact that for the US to fight conventionally around Russia will require assembly of the force which will dwarf whatever was assembled for the First Gulf War. There, the United States had almost 6 months to do so.
  2. So, what’s left realistically is to push Ukraine into the suicidal campaign with Russia being designated aggressor before even the first shots are fired. What the United States does not recognize is the fact that this unties Russia’s hands who already has an overwhelming escalation dominance not only over Ukraine, but whatever might be attempted in terms of “support” for irrational regime in Kiev. Russia has many options, the United States has one—it needs war in Donbass, which, Washington’s thinking goes, will allow to drive Europeans into submission, which allegedly should allow the United States to save her hegemonic status. It will not even if Europe is driven into submission.

United States today has the only one resource left which allows it to stay relevant—virtual reality of both money “printing” press and of the media propaganda which is increasingly ineffective. One could hide America’s decrepit cities, mass riots, destruction of the education system, incompetence of political and military top echelons, suicidal social practices and breakdown of law and order, aggravated by huge lines to food banks for only so long. Now it is in the open and even subjugation of Europe and, allegedly, opening Europe’s markets to those few items the United States can still provide for its clients there, does not change the fact that the United States as it exists today has no future with or without Europe and that it still has to recon with China’s immense manufacturing capacity and Russia’s advanced military might which drive unification of the Eurasian market whether the United States unleashes war in Ukraine or not. Even without EU this market dwarfs whatever the United States will be able to “salvage” in order to avoid relegation to a lower league. It cannot stop a process which was ongoing for years now, once Russia, after, the bloody coup in Ukraine, understood that there is nobody to talk too in the combined West which apart from losing its military and economic power, started to disintegrate from the inside due to Western societies becoming increasingly totalitarian and unable to face the reality that we still live in the highly industrialized world which needs energy, industrial plant and weapons which will defend them. Both China and Russia seem to accumulate all that and with it the fate of the United States is sealed. Bill Clinton may have thought that he “charted the new course for a new economy” in 2000, too bad for him, and the US, the “new economy” turned out to be an old one. What? You didn’t think that jeans, smartphones and rocket engines grow on the trees, did you?