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JimD

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #200 on: March 15, 2014, 03:11:05 AM »
Rubikscube

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I used to be sure that the instabilities created by resource decline combined with AWG, would send the world tumbling into chaos. I'm not so sure about that anymore. In North-Korea the goverment manages to stay in power despite the country being a permanent hunger disaster for at least 20 years now, so I have begun to think, what if our billionaire masters are able to crush all kinds of rebellions that seeks to limit their power, what if they can actually cope with AWG by forcefully starving all the poorest people to death through neglect and oppression, kind of like in NK? I still think a system collapse is plausible, but I no longer a consider short-medium term decline of our 21th-century feudal system/oligarchy a certainty.

That is part of exactly what I think they plan on doing.  The 1% will sacrifice everyone else on the way down in order to save themselves.  And I completely agree that they use and plan on using the US as the prime mechanism going forward.  We have the best military for a reason and they will surely use it.     

I think some of our perceptions in what is happening and might happen with the empire are just slight differences.  When empires can no longer maintain their size they start to lose control of the periphery or they strip all they can from a place and then abandon it.  I see signs of that right now and feel certain that going forward the declining EROEI of our energy supplies guarantees that levels of complexity will have to be shed.  Even though I expect the US to remain the dominant player on the world stage for a long time it will not be dominant like it is today.  And once peripheral countries or regions deeply collapse they will be ignored unless someone needs to come in and strip some remaining resources.  A stair step down for the global system as different locations drop out of the world system and a slow decline in aggregate power and wealth for the US (and its prime allies) for 3-5 decades as growth will no longer be possible.  Then bigger steps down as AGW really kicks in.  So to my way of thinking the US is slowly weakening all the time and resistance to its wishes and needs will slowly spread.  Thus the US empire is in decline already, but still immensely powerful. 

A quote by Henry Kissinger the former US Secretary of State and National Security Advisor and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize comes to mind:

"Depopulation should be the highest priority of foreign policy towards the third world, because the US economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries."

Kind of says it all doesn't it.  Do we really want to save civilization.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #201 on: March 16, 2014, 12:01:43 AM »
A quote by Henry Kissinger the former US Secretary of State and National Security Advisor and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize comes to mind:

"Depopulation should be the highest priority of foreign policy towards the third world, because the US economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries."

Kind of says it all doesn't it.  Do we really want to save civilization.

I'm not sure we do want to save the current civilisation personally, even if it were an option. I'm also far from sure a majority of the existing human population would vote for saving it were they presented with an objective view of the facts and their context within those facts.

That doesn't preclude us from trying to build a better civilisation though.

The socioeconomic elites rely on one thing above all else - the passive and tactic compliance and collusion of those who they regard as expendable. With modern tools it is arguably easier for them (in developed nations) to retain control (particularly though more subtle and less obvious means than direct force and fear) but the bottom line remains the same - we all have choices.

I don't think the existing system requires action to bring down - it is clearly unsustainable and will bring itself down. The rich and powerful may dream of suppressing the masses enough to make the resources last their little group much longer - but I'm not clear even that is achievable at this point. They have all the same problems in trying to reduce population and simultaneously retain control that we run into when discussing the problem ourselves.

For me the bottom line remains simple - the vision and power of those at the top is still severely limited - and their scope not as generous as they might prefer. Captain of a sinking ship is still a person on a sinking ship.

As I see it - it is the domain of those of us without so much wealth and power to act in our own interests, rather than passively comply with those of the socioeconomic elites who are more responsible than most of us for things coming to the pass they are. Furthermore - only by withdrawing our cooperation and taking our own paths can we claim to have stopped supporting the system through our inaction. There is no middle ground here - you are for them or for humanity, and choosing inaction means choosing them.

sidd

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #202 on: March 16, 2014, 05:57:34 AM »
ccgwebmaster wrote: "There is no middle ground here - you are for them or for humanity, and choosing inaction means choosing them."

Smile, when you say that, pilgrim. I seem to recall very similar language from  a recent president of the USA. And from earlier times, probably as long ago as language was invented.

This particular phrase evokes unpleasant comparison.

sidd

JimD

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #203 on: March 16, 2014, 06:01:11 PM »
ccgwebmaster wrote: "There is no middle ground here - you are for them or for humanity, and choosing inaction means choosing them."

Smile, when you say that, pilgrim. I seem to recall very similar language from  a recent president of the USA. And from earlier times, probably as long ago as language was invented.

This particular phrase evokes unpleasant comparison.

sidd

Though the unpleasant nature of the phrasing cannot be denied that does not mean it is not valid and most times when it is used the speaker is not in any way joking.

I happen to agree with ccg about this.  We have pretty much reached the point where there is a binary situation of you're with us or against us.  If one supports versions of BAU or is just Buddhist like passive then they are not really working to stop AGW.  One does not have to be going violent (though I am not against that) but you do have to be actively resisting BAU and working tangibly towards zero carbon emissions or you  are on the against side of ccg's phrase.   

How are we in any way 'not' in a for or against us situation at this point?
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #204 on: March 16, 2014, 08:06:34 PM »
Though the unpleasant nature of the phrasing cannot be denied that does not mean it is not valid and most times when it is used the speaker is not in any way joking.

I happen to agree with ccg about this.  We have pretty much reached the point where there is a binary situation of you're with us or against us.  If one supports versions of BAU or is just Buddhist like passive then they are not really working to stop AGW.  One does not have to be going violent (though I am not against that) but you do have to be actively resisting BAU and working tangibly towards zero carbon emissions or you  are on the against side of ccg's phrase.   

I certainly wasn't joking. The passive compliance of the masses - however innocuous it appears at first glance - is a key foundation of maintaining the status quo and all the problems it entails. It is a necessary and essential condition for the socioeconomic elites of today to maintain control (and hence the current path to oblivion).

Furthermore with a clear danger and increasing immediacy - inaction carries a form of guilt too. If I let a person suffer who it was in my power to comfortably help - am I not guilty in some measure for failure to act? (in some nations in some circumstances I would actually be committing a criminal offence by failing to act, incidentally)

So when someone tells me they can do nothing, they are too small, too powerless, it is too futile - what I really hear - is that they are telling me they will not even try - and are quite content to consign my generation and those to follow it to darkness. Their little piece of passive compliance is part of the problem and failure to address it is a choice (not just as to their own fate but also to mine, and thus they are against).

I think our best chance now is people who can make hard choices and who do not always follow the easy path. Yet those people (where they are not part of the current establishment) are liable to be persecuted and oppressed, and to ultimately suffer violence at the hands of the system. The establishment will make examples to try to scare people into acceptable paths and to try to marginalise such people as much as possible. Standing with - or at least behind - such people matters.

I am not precisely advocating violence (even if I might have less problems with it than most), merely - as I think alluded to above - some meaningful action (hopefully commensurate to the scale of the problem inasmuch as individual circumstances permit). It isn't for me to be prescriptive as to the nature of the action I think is merited.

So I would say inaction is a form of criminal responsibility in this matter (certainly morally viewed, setting aside any theoretical test cases in any nations with suitable laws) however much those practising it would prefer to absolve themselves.

Rubikscube

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #205 on: March 17, 2014, 12:38:07 AM »

I think some of our perceptions in what is happening and might happen with the empire are just slight differences. 

Agreed.

If you ask whether or not we should try to save civilization, I'm not sure what to answer. I think that if everything went down the drain and we went back to a hunter gatherer society for the next 1000-10 000 years or so, we only risk seeing another failed civilization like ours respawn after some time, though, pulling the emergency brakes would allways be better that potentially ending up with an Owrellian world. The best would of course be the take our current civilization and reform it through revolution, whether or not that is actually possible, I'm not sure.

On the issue of whether of not violence is a justified mean, I would say that in principe it is, because in this situation the goal is more important than the means. Though, I would still encourage peacefull protest, both in order to gain public support, because it is not preferable to destroy, through violence, whatever tools you may use to rebuild a better world and because violence brings suffering. Violence can in my oppinion be justified whenever deemed necessary, and allthough I wouldn't say this is the case for anyone wanting of carry out a revolution against the capitalist elite, I wouldn't necessarily blame people for doing so, depending on the degree of such violence.

JimD

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #206 on: March 17, 2014, 02:04:52 AM »
I was being a little flip about the civilization comment.  I do not expect that the survivors of the coming collapse will do away with some less complex version of civilization.  Depending on when collapse happens and how long the BAU folks can keep things running determines how much carbon gets emitted and how bad AGW gets.  If they hold out a long time they could make the effects of AGW so bad in the out years (200-500 years from now) that the complexity of how people are living could still be going down.  But we will try as hard as we can I am sure to save something that is probably not worth saving.  It will certainly be complicated trying to find a method of successful living post collapse.

Thus there is an excellent argument for assisting the progress to collapse.  Resistance to BAU is  morally and ethically sound.  Resistance does not have to be violent, but it can be.  But even non-violent resistance must take the form of degrading the ability of the BAU civilization from continuing.  Pure pacifism is no different from being on the side of those destroying the world as ccg pointed out above.  One has a duty to act and we all must find a way to try and stop the madness.  Industrial civilization is fragile and it should be possible to trigger dislocations.

As to the hunter gatherer mode that is no longer possible like it was in olden times as we have destroyed so much of the world.  The Earth's carrying capacity has decreased significantly and is going down fast.  About 95% of the people would have to have perished before that was even a possibility.  And in the mess getting there I think that option is largely off the table.   

 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

sidd

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #207 on: March 17, 2014, 07:11:23 AM »
Re: "Smile, when you say that, pilgrim."

I realize belatedly, that i did not give the source of the quote. This is from a 1962 film, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", and John Wayne is the actor who says it.


sidd

JimD

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #208 on: March 17, 2014, 04:46:49 PM »
I am old enough that I actually already knew that.  Pretty sad.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Rubikscube

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #209 on: March 17, 2014, 04:55:05 PM »
I my oppinion a hunter gatherer society is very much a possibility, though it is something that can only be achieved after a complete breakdown in all levels of infrastructure, leaving people with no choice, but to try and survive of anything they can come across. As I said it should not be pursued, nor can it in my oppinion be achieved unless at least 99% of the population perish as a result of such a breakdown (probably much more than 99% will die before population decline will stop).

Though, the reason why I brought up this issue, is that I consider a complete breakdown of all levels of infrastructure a possibility in the case of large scale revolution. What I imagine can happen is that large sections of the population somewhere rises up as a result of AWG, while infighting erupts within the elite, ultimately resulting in a situation where two or more different alliances fight each other in a war where the stakes grow higher and higher by each day, culminating in a total war where none of the parts manages to get the upper hand and a subsequent breakdown of infrastructure, law and order. In other words, by instigating revolt against the BAU guys you risk ending up in a situation that no one can control, possibly ending with the use of weapons of mass destruction and the collaps of all aspects of civilization, forcing survivers to return to stone age living (a situation only a selected few can survive because of the earths limited carrying capasity).

As reasoned, the prospect of such things possibly happening should not prevent people from pursuing the overthrow of the "Pax Americana civilization" (if you can call it that). The point was, that I'm not sure whether or not it is possible to end the rule of the ultra rich without ending up where we initially started, in a low tech stone age world, but that such a result would allways better than the elite remaining in power.

wili

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #210 on: March 17, 2014, 05:39:19 PM »
I'm afraid that once the collapse really sets in, 7+ billion people will "hunt and gather" to extinction everything remotely edible, burnable, or otherwise usable to extinction rather rapidly.

I really see no remotely good options ahead. The best would be a sudden realization on all levels that we have to rapidly and in an orderly but very expeditious way draw down our use of all fossil fuels with whatever suffering that entails being as fairly distributed as possible. This combined with almost  no procreation for a while, very different and more positive views of euthanasia of various sorts, and a general abhorrence of unnecessary consumption.

I see essentially no chance of this. So there is either early collapse, which will be disastrous for humans and most other complex life form, or later collapse (perhaps in stages), which will likely be even more disastrous and for longer.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2016, 03:25:05 AM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #211 on: March 17, 2014, 06:22:30 PM »
As to the hunter gatherer mode that is no longer possible like it was in olden times as we have destroyed so much of the world.  The Earth's carrying capacity has decreased significantly and is going down fast.  About 95% of the people would have to have perished before that was even a possibility.  And in the mess getting there I think that option is largely off the table.

Personally, I expect we are going to see mass mortality on that sort of scale (high 90%s). I also think a hunter gatherer outcome is not impossible, but I don't see it as very likely - as I don't think it's unfeasible or even particularly problematic to retain agriculture (in a rudimentary and fragmented sense, I am not referring to modern industrialised practises).

I'm certainly planning on the basis of expecting to grow/raise something somewhere sometime.

Agriculture is too critical a technology for civilisation to abandon without fighting every inch of the way.

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #212 on: March 17, 2014, 06:25:25 PM »
I'm afraid that once the collapse really sets in, 7+ billion people will "hunt and gather" to extinction everything remotely edible, burnable, or otherwise usable to extinction rather rapidly.

Not everything. On the heavily populated landmasses - certainly, it may amount to that.

But can you really see enough people getting into places like the Siberian taiga or Antarctica or the high Arctic in Canada to wipe out literally everything? Or islands with useful elevations that are too small to support larger numbers of people and are in the middle of nowhere in the ocean?

Your statement might hold true for the experience of most people (almost by definition most people are in heavily populated areas) but I don't see that it is likely to hold true for literally everyone everywhere.

It isn't that people wouldn't do it if they could - it's that most people simply lack the ability to do so when we're talking about some of these places.

JimD

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #213 on: March 17, 2014, 09:32:40 PM »
The problem with the hunter gather lifestyle I think is just what wili said.  In the process of each region going through collapse there will be starvation.  That of course brings in the hunter part of the equation.  In short order in each region all animal life will be exterminated to a great degree.  And it does not take long.

By way of example when the great depression hit the US in 1929 there were almost no hunting regulations in the country.  Within a couple of years the wild game populations were almost exterminated and severe hunting regulations were implemented everywhere.  It was literally decades before many of the animal species recovered and some never have.  And that was with a population much less than 50% of what it is now.  If that situation hit the US today the game would be gone in a year.  The same would happen almost anywhere in the world collapse occurred and many of those regions actually no longer have any amount of game.  The Earth cannot support any amount of the hunter part of living any longer. 

Gathering meant non-agriculture.  I think it obvious that it is not possible for more than a small number of people any longer.  The vast majority of what used to be gathered for food has long been exterminated.  And then you have how many hundreds of millions living in deserts (like me) where neither hunting or gathering is possible under any circumstances.   

It is subsistence agriculture or low scale mechanized agriculture or nothing.  Maybe places like the US can maintain some level of highly mechanized grain growing for some time, but for a lot of places that will not be possible.

ccg, while it takes a boat to get to islands most of those islands are already overpopulated.  Now while the high latitudes are not heavily populated and could support greater numbers in the future it is not that difficult to walk there so those areas will not take long to reach maximum population levels.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #214 on: March 17, 2014, 10:27:58 PM »
ccg, while it takes a boat to get to islands most of those islands are already overpopulated.  Now while the high latitudes are not heavily populated and could support greater numbers in the future it is not that difficult to walk there so those areas will not take long to reach maximum population levels.

Nonetheless I contend that most people are incapable of "just walking there" - especially in the context of collapse, without vehicles, with hostility from those peoples already present or whom they are trying to pass through. There's no guarantee the carrying capacity of the high latitudes will improve before or while the capacity everywhere else falls either.

So really - what proportion of the developed world population do we think has the ability to walk thousands of miles north into the wilderness and survive? I'm guessing a few percent at best (and likely lower, possibly much lower).

As transportation networks and options diminish the distance people can migrate will rapidly diminish for most people - especially if they are trying to go long distance through regions with conflict. It ought to perhaps be noted that the modern institutions and national divisions will be fragmenting and disintegrating into much smaller units throughout this process.

I see the bottom line as quite simple - mass mortality.

And I don't really dispute the general premise that most of the available resources will be destroyed in the process - just saying not literally everything - there will be niches and areas that survive human depredation (at least through the collapse process, longer term is perhaps less sure).

Rubikscube

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #215 on: March 18, 2014, 12:09:48 AM »
I have to admit that primitive farming is initially a better option than hunting and gathering because it is able to sustain higher populations, though anyone that farms will be highly vulnerable because of their immobilities. If you are going to rely on farming in a post-collaps scenario, you either need to be part of a larger, well organized, group or you need to live pretty far away from everyone else, and if you live that far out in the wilderness, there probably won't be to many other hunters to compete with either way.

Overhunting would certainly be an issue many places, but I think extinction of species will be limited to denser populated areas. I really don't see people from the population centers further south come crawling across miles upon miles of Arctic swamp land to threaten people who hunt there, not until things settle down a bit, chances are that the changing environment in it self poses the biggest immediate threat to people surviving in such areas. In the end I think you will both find people surviving on farming and people suviving on hunting, depending on their geographic location and various chaos factors such as the degree to which war have spoiled farm land and regional faunas across the world, but that the hunters would be in majority because farmers are immobile stockpilers and thus become targets for scavengers.

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #216 on: March 18, 2014, 01:28:35 AM »
I have to admit that primitive farming is initially a better option than hunting and gathering because it is able to sustain higher populations, though anyone that farms will be highly vulnerable because of their immobilities. If you are going to rely on farming in a post-collaps scenario, you either need to be part of a larger, well organized, group or you need to live pretty far away from everyone else, and if you live that far out in the wilderness, there probably won't be to many other hunters to compete with either way.

I think either subsistence farming or hunter gatherer survival are far tougher and more brutal ways to survive than the vast majority of those inhabiting developed nations really comprehend (which is also part of my argument for limited numbers being capable of making it in the refuges/niches I identified).

No matter what you are doing, you will need to be part of a group to do it effectively. An individual or handful of people can at most merely survive, only a group can really go forwards longer term - and I'm sure the advantages of being in a group don't really need stated even taking a shorter term view.

I know this thread is meant to be about America - so I think America would make a good case study for this question. How many people living there can really adapt to the loss of fossil fuel powered infrastructure, air conditioning, etc. - and make the long hike into the canadian wilderness and manage to survive up there? This assuming a fairly abrupt climate change scenario where there isn't a lot of time in which to build new infrastructure and relocate people in an organised fashion etc (one would need decades to do that I imagine?). In any case infrastructure is also being negatively affected already even where it exists in the northern regions (as permafrost melts, coastlines erode, etc).

Let's suppose that the fossil fuel from overseas has stopped as other nations have failed, the domestic supply is increasingly exhausted (and fracking is a short term yield, so that isn't a long way away really), that agriculture is failing due to the climate in large sections of the country and problematic in others due to fading manufacturing and distribution channels.

How will the bulk of the population respond? Do we really think they can leave the cities and strike out into the wilderness? Or do they huddle together into desperate and dying masses perhaps looting the surrounding area but unable to go further? In my experience the majority of people in developed nations today don't have a hope of going out into the wilderness. Many of them don't even know how to grow food (in favourable conditions, let alone those of survival). Many can't comprehend the simple idea of killing their own meat. Local resources (both domestic and wild animals) will of course be rapidly exhausted as pointed out (simply too many people and too few animals).

In this way - again - how can large numbers of people move north? To do so they must pass through a land already turned into a resource desert? How easy would it be to travel thousands of miles from the south to the north passing through a landscape already stripped barren and populated by the most tenacious and desperate who survived there that far? How can a lot of people make that journey? Surely only those already fairly close to the northern area can easily move into it? (and even here I think the softening of civilisation will make it a lot harder for most of those from affluent nations - which as far as I can see is most of those bordering the northern lands under discussion).

It depends greatly on the rate of change of course. If the rate of change is slow enough human society will try to exploit and develop the north - build infrastructure - let people move in - etc.

Right now I would argue the rate of climatic change exceeds the rate at which the northern areas are being developed (and climate change is only likely to get faster, and that developing those regions becomes ever harder as we have more and more damage to resolve to the existing developed regions - where we are also already falling behind the curve).

Also, I question that most people are well enough informed (especially in the US) to understand what is happening or why they should head north... if the Americans among us will forgive the cheap shot.  ::)

JimD

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #217 on: March 18, 2014, 02:30:46 PM »
ccg

Largely I agree with your points.  I think in a couple of areas the mechanism might work a little differently than you described.  When adverse conditions have triggered migrations in the past what seems to normally happen is there is no pass through effect just as you indicated.  In the cases where those already established cannot resist the pressure of those migrating (as will commonly be the case as it is easier to defend than not) history seems to show double migrations occur.  Thus what happened in the British Iles several times in early history.  So the giant mass gets depleted as it pushes out the previous inhabitants (or exterminates as the case may be) until it no longer has the mass to do so any more.  Of course those being pushed out try and do the same to someone else until someone get pushed into the sea.

Now of course when this happens in our big collapse there is no guarantee that the mechanism will work like it used to given the levels of technology in the hands of those in the northern regions.  Most likely it will be a slaughter as you indicated.  But at the same time there could be significant migration by northerners moving further north.

In any case there will be no game left in short order and the problem with the far north is that for the first 100 years of AGW the weather variability up there is likely to make significant agriculture impossible.   
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #218 on: March 18, 2014, 02:35:18 PM »
Interesting.  It looks like the vote in Crimea is going to give the Russians control of Ukraine's undeveloped natural gas reserves.  A true empire play.

Russia Eyes Crimea’s Oil and Gas Reserves

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According to Reuters, Crimea may nationalize oil and gas assets within its borders belonging to Ukraine, and sell them off to Russia. Crimea’s Deputy Prime Minister hinted at the possibility that it would take control of Chornomorneftegaz, a Ukrainian state-owned enterprise, and then “privatize” it by selling it to Gazprom. “After nationalisation of the company we would openly take a decision – if a large investor, like Gazprom or others emerges – to carry out (privatisation),” Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliev said.

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The ongoing political standoff in Crimea has already halted Ukraine’s oil and gas ambitions. Ukraine came close to inking a deal with a consortium of international oil companies that would have led to an initial $735 million investment to drill two offshore wells. The consortium led by ExxonMobil – with stakes held by Shell, Romania’s OMV Petrom, and Ukraine’s Nadra Ukrainy – had been particularly interested in the Skifska field in the Black Sea, which holds an estimated 200 to 250 billion cubic meters of natural gas. If it can get the field up and running, Exxon hopes to eventually produce 5 billion cubic meters per year. Exxon’s consortium outbid Russian oil company Lukoil for the rights to the block.

Not a huge field but every little bit counts.  And it keeps it out of the hands of the US.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/03/russia-eyes-crimeas-oil-gas-reserves.html
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #219 on: March 18, 2014, 04:47:18 PM »
Interesting.  It looks like the vote in Crimea is going to give the Russians control of Ukraine's undeveloped natural gas reserves.  A true empire play.

Not exactly? Most people in the west don't seem to have much understanding of the complex historic background in the Crimea (and Ukraine generally to some extent).

I don't think I see Putin's move as more than consolidation and protection of what Russia has left, for the most part - but it's important to understand there is a lot of popular support in Russia for Crimea rejoining the country (and genuinely majority support in Crimea itself, even if the reported poll results are suspiciously high).

If Putin were to attempt to expand further into the Ukraine - yes, it would be increasingly empire motivated one suspects (though other eastern areas have a high population of ethnic Russians who might well want to unify - and rationally so in my opinion).

The whole thing in my view is liable to turn into a mess - but the key actor right now is the Ukraine itself - the west will mostly just bluster and talk (if they have any sense at all). America may think it is less vulnerable to the fall out from meaningful sanctions, but I question that - as Europe is a major trading partner of the US (and actually a bigger economy as a bloc if memory serves) - and so what hurts Europe necessarily comes home to hurt the US too.

Not so easy to sever energy relationships as the resources diminish and choices about where to buy with them. Which is exactly why Ukraine itself can make this interesting by unilaterally attacking the energy distribution infrastructure (and it doesn't need to be a rational strategy pursued by the nation, just a modest number of dissidents).

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #220 on: March 20, 2014, 04:14:28 PM »
Ukraine - Crimea

Well the simple part has sorted itself out now.  But wither the future?

Read this and tell me that the most likely outcome in Ukraines future is not a right wing fascist government, repression of ethnic Russians, the Russian language, political opponents, Jews and possibly further Russian encroachments.

Ukraine would have been better off if the US and the EU had left them alone.

Quote
One of the three oppositional parties with whom the European diplomats negotiated the agreement of February 21 was Oleh Tyahnybok, who lead the extreme right-wing Svoboda (Freedom), an anti-Russian, anti-Semitic party that wants Ukraine for ethnic Ukrainians who speak Ukrainian (which would thus exclude a little less than half of the population).  Svoboda obtained 12 percent of the vote in the 2012 parliamentary elections, mainly, but not exclusively, in the three western provinces, the main centers of militant nationalism.

Until 2005, when Svoboda underwent a certain makeover, the party bore the name "National-Social" and had as its symbol the "wolfsangel," emblem of certain Nazi SS units.  At various moments during the demonstrations, one could see the red-black banner of OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) on the stage at Maidan.  OUN collaborated with the German occupation in World War II and participated in the mass murder of Poles and Jews.  Tyahnybok himself was expelled from the right-wing parliamentary bloc in 2004 for remarks about the "Jewish-Russian mafia" that was controlling Ukraine...

But Svoboda has competition on its right from a much smaller but more violent group: the Right Sector, which is composed of fascist and football thugs and led by Dmytro Yarosh, a long-time fascist activist.  In the latter days of Maidan, Right Sector activists, who were armed, contributed to forcing the pace of the situation by taking over public buildings during the negotiations between Yanukovich and the parliamentary opposition...

At present, members of the Right Sector hold posts in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, responsible for the police and the internal armed forces.  According to some reports, Yarosh has become Assistant Secretary of the Council for National Security and Defense, an organism that advises the President on national-defense strategy.  The Secretary of that Council is Andriy Parubiy, a longtime far-right activist.  Recently, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk dismissed three Assistant Ministers of Defense for their refusal to integrate the Right Sector's armed bands into Ukraine's regular armed forces.

Thus, for the first time since World War II, neo-fascists hold posts in the national government of a European state.  And they do this with the blessing of the Western democracies.


Right-wing Activists Destroy Communist Party Office, Chernihiv, Ukraine, 20.02.14

Right Sector forces have seized government arsenals in the western regions and are the source of a wave of violence and vandalism that has swept Ukraine, directed at pro-Russian or left-wing organizations, personalities, and symbols.  Among others, the headquarters of the Communist Party and the offices of an anti-fascist organization in Kiev were ransacked.  There were failed attempts to burn down the Kiev home of the head of the Communist Party and a synagogue in Zaporozhye.  In some towns in the west of Ukraine (for example, Rovno) Right Sector thugs appear to be in control of the local government.

I have read reports that the folks above are showing up at German owned businesses in Ukraine and initiating the process of shaking them down. 

And I am watching the news right now and Obama is on the TV adding in US sanctions on Russia (which will of course be returned in equivalent terms) and threatening to invoked Art 5 of the NATO charter (the use of force in defense of NATO members - of which Ukraine is not a member of course.  Making that happen was the cause of this stupid mess).  Dumb and dumber. 

If this helps the global economy I will be surprised (sarc).  With China sinking into recession and dragging the global economy down with it, this mess is also going to also be a big drag on the global economy.  IN that situation there is going to be a lot less interest and money available for any kind of effort to deal with AGW and its threat.   

http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2014/mandel120314.html
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #221 on: March 20, 2014, 10:02:46 PM »
Read this and tell me that the most likely outcome in Ukraines future is not a right wing fascist government, repression of ethnic Russians, the Russian language, political opponents, Jews and possibly further Russian encroachments.

My understanding is the new government (if that's the right word) that took poiwer in the Ukraine had already started to move against ethnic Russians even before Putin sent in the troops (indeed their actions against the use of the Russian language was part of his excuses for doing so).

Right now though I'm wondering if Ukraine is likely to be capable of holding onto any stable government - fascist or otherwise. It seems to me that the nation is ripe for increasing instability and unrest at this point.

Ukraine would have been better off if the US and the EU had left them alone.

Better but still in a big mess. The pro-Russian government before this current iteration was really running things pretty badly...

When you're sitting where Ukraine is - you hold a lot of cards - sitting between two large power blocs. However the imperative in that situation is that you can play your cards wisely and avoid getting too close (or distant) to either side - sitting in the middle without definitively leaning too far one way or the other way - a fine line to walk, but one that can have its rewards if done intelligently.

It doesn't help that the Ukraine is bankrupt and the ethnically Russian areas that will want to reunify with Russia are the better parts of the country. So the resource base is liable to be either attacked by the government or returned to Russia - and the bills of the rest of the country - will be paid by whom? The US? EU? IMF?

Pretty soon the western Ukrainians will hate the west too...

Not so sure about effects on the global economy - I think that depends how stupid the US wants to be in trying to punish Russia - that's the main risk I foresee in terms of the global economy (other than the Ukrainians themselves severing the energy connections to Europe, and damaging their own agricultural output by fighting).

Certainly this old fashioned confrontational and aggressive approach (on both sides really) will do nothing good for any hopes of acting in a coordinated fashion on climate change...

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #222 on: March 21, 2014, 06:30:43 PM »
Quote
It doesn't help that the Ukraine is bankrupt and the ethnically Russian areas that will want to reunify with Russia are the better parts of the country. So the resource base is liable to be either attacked by the government or returned to Russia - and the bills of the rest of the country - will be paid by whom? The US? EU? IMF?

Pretty soon the western Ukrainians will hate the west too...

Not so sure about effects on the global economy - I think that depends how stupid the US wants to be in trying to punish Russia - that's the main risk I foresee in terms of the global economy (other than the Ukrainians themselves severing the energy connections to Europe, and damaging their own agricultural output by fighting).

Certainly this old fashioned confrontational and aggressive approach (on both sides really) will do nothing good for any hopes of acting in a coordinated fashion on climate change...

Well the Russians would have given them better terms that is certain and why the ousted President shifted their way.  The west will give them nothing and will set up arrangements that require the citizens of the west to pay for it out of their meager resources.  That is what the IMF is designed to do.  It is already stated that is how they intend to proceed.  For the regular citizen when the new oligarchs and klepto-politicians get going and steal from them along with the IMF and the US/EU they are going to eventually realize they made a big mistake.  But it is too late now.

I agree that the real issue here is that the US deciding to keep playing Empire with the Russians (the US triggered this mess) is counterproductive to dealing with the really important issue of AGW.  But it keeps the masses entertained I guess and we would not want them to actually start thinking on their own.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #223 on: March 21, 2014, 07:16:09 PM »
Any Aussies care to comment on this?

I must admit that I had never heard of this.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/22527-the-forgotten-coup-and-how-the-same-godfather-rules-from-canberra-to-kiev
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #224 on: March 22, 2014, 04:46:00 PM »
The worst place in the world.

Brought to you by who?

Quote
BAGHDAD: As recently as the 1970s, Baghdad was lauded as a model city in the Arab world. But now, after decades of seemingly endless conflict, it is the world’s worst city.

That is, at least, according to the latest survey by the Mercer consulting group, which when assessing quality of life across 239 cities, measuring factors including political stability, crime and pollution, placed Baghdad last.

The Iraqi capital was lumped with Bangui in the conflict-hit Central African Republic and the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, the latest confirmation of the 1,250-year-old city’s fall from grace as a global intellectual, economic and political center.

“It used to be a capital of the world,” Faili said, “but today, it has become one of the world’s most miserable cities.”

In February alone, 57 violent incidents struck the Iraqi capital, including 31 car bombs.

Massive concrete walls, designed to withstand the impact of explosions, still divide up confessionally mixed neighborhoods, while the government sits in the heavily fortified Green Zone, which is also home to parliament and the U.S. and British embassies, access to which is difficult for ordinary Iraqis.
 

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2014/Mar-22/251009-once-an-arab-model-baghdad-now-worlds-worst-city.ashx#axzz2whqxpX7o
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #225 on: March 22, 2014, 05:05:05 PM »
Corporate Interests Behind Ukraine Putsch

Quote
On Jan. 12, a reported 50,000 “pro-Western” Ukrainians descended upon Kiev’s Independence Square to protest against the government of President Viktor Yanukovych. Stoked in part by an attack on opposition leader Yuriy Lutsenko, the protest marked the beginning of the end of Yanukovych’s four year-long government.

That same day, the Financial Times reported a major deal for U.S. agribusiness titan Cargill.

Despite the turmoil within Ukrainian politics after Yanukovych rejected a major trade deal with the European Union just seven weeks earlier, Cargill was confident enough about the future to fork over $200 million to buy a stake in Ukraine’s UkrLandFarming. According to Financial Times, UkrLandFarming is the world’s eighth-largest land cultivator and second biggest egg producer. And those aren’t the only eggs in Cargill’s increasingly-ample basket.

On Dec. 13, Cargill announced the purchase of a stake in a Black Sea port. Cargill’s port at Novorossiysk — to the east of Russia’s strategically significant and historically important Crimean naval base — gives them a major entry-point to Russian markets and adds them to the list of Big Ag companies investing in ports around the Black Sea, both in Russia and Ukraine.

Now which corrupt oligarch got that 200 million?

Quote
Feeding Europe

But people gotta eat — particularly in Europe. As Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors assessed in 2011, Ukraine is poised to become Europe’s butcher. Meat is difficult to ship, but Ukraine is perfectly located to satiate Europe’s hunger.

Just two days after Cargill bought into UkrLandFarming, Global Meat News (yes, “Global Meat News” is a thing) reported a huge forecasted spike in “all kinds” of Ukrainian meat exports, with an increase of  8.1% overall and staggering 71.4% spike in pork exports. No wonder Eli Lilly is represented on the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council’s Executive Committee. Its Elanco Animal Health unit is a major manufacturer of feed supplements.

And it is also notable that Monsanto’s planned seed plant is non-GMO, perhaps anticipating an emerging GMO-unfriendly European market and Europe’s growing appetite for organic foods. When it comes to Big Ag’s profitable future in Europe, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

For Russia and its hampered farming economy, it’s another in a long string of losses to U.S. encroachment — from NATO expansion into Eastern Europe to U.S. military presence to its south and onto a major shale gas development deal recently signed by Chevron in Ukraine.

So, why was Big Ag so bullish on Ukraine, even in the face of so much uncertainty and the predictable reaction by Russia?

The answer is that the seeds of Ukraine’s turn from Russia have been sown for the last two decades by the persistent Cold War alliance between corporations and foreign policy. It’s a version of the “Deep State” that is usually associated with the oil and defense industries, but also exists in America’s other heavily subsidized industry — agriculture.

Quote
Nuland also told the group that the United States had invested more than $5 billion in support of Ukraine’s “European aspirations,” meaning pulling Ukraine away from Russia. She made her remarks on a dais featuring a backdrop emblazoned with a Chevron logo.

Privatization is a requirement of IMF loans.  Ukraine will have to cut pensions and govt spending on social programs about 50% and sell off control of their farm land to western business interests.  High unemployment, low wages, austerity, serfdom coming to a theater near you. Simple plan.

http://consortiumnews.com/2014/03/16/corporate-interests-behind-ukraine-putsch/
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #226 on: March 23, 2014, 05:23:17 PM »
If you really want to figure out how the IMF and west are going to steal from the Ukraine watch this video.

Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?

Quote
HUDSON: The objective of IMF loans is to deindustrialize the economy. It is to force the economy–meaning the government when you say the economy–the government has to pay the IMF loan by privatizing whatever remains in the public domain. The Westerners want to buy the Ukrainian farmland. They want to buy the public utilities. They want to buy the roads. They want to buy the ports. And all of this is going to be sold at a very low price to the Westerners, and the price that the Westerners pay will be turned over to the Ukrainian government, that then will turn it back to the Ukraine. So whatever the West gives Ukraine will immediately be taken back.

But not only will the money be taken back, but the Ukrainian factories, roads, infrastructure, bridges, farmland, and property will also pass into foreign ownership, just like it did in Russia, just like it did in Latvia, just like it does in all of the other post-Soviet countries. And then this is going to lead to lower wage payments. Many Ukrainians say they haven't been paid for two months. In Russia in 1994, during the Yeltsin selloff, labor went ten or 12 months without being paid. You can't pay labor and at the same time pay the IMF and pay the kleptocrats. Something has to give, and what gives is going to be living standards and labor.

So the result will be what it was in Latvia, Greece, and Ireland, where 20 percent of the population emigrated. Just like 20 years ago you had an influx of Polish plumbers into London, you're now going to have millions of Ukrainian plumbers pouring into Western Europe, saying, we want jobs at anything; there are no jobs at home......

An excellent read and it goes into the weaknesses of the EU economies and all sorts of potential blowback over this.  It is interesting to note that the neo-nazis in the new Ukrainian govt are threatening to blow up the natural gas pipelines to Europe now.  LOL  Maybe they can bring collapse on early all on their own.

Transcript first

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=11614

video 2nd

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/03/ukraine-will-benefit-imf-bailout.html
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #227 on: March 23, 2014, 05:29:12 PM »
An excellent read and it goes into the weaknesses of the EU economies and all sorts of potential blowback over this.  It is interesting to note that the neo-nazis in the new Ukrainian govt are threatening to blow up the natural gas pipelines to Europe now.  LOL  Maybe they can bring collapse on early all on their own.

That thought was an obvious one weeks ago when the Russians first invaded/annexed the Crimea.

I doubt it would bring about collapse in isolation but it would certainly ramp up food and energy stresses significantly. I guess it's quite plausible the price shock could act as an identifiable trigger for the next distinct iteration of collapse.

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #228 on: March 25, 2014, 08:14:02 PM »
If Germany can't get the US to give back the gold it has stored in the US imagine how hard it will be for the Ukrainians to get theirs  back?  They will never see that stuff again.

Quote
As the dust settles in Kiev, another money trail has been revealed…

According to reports out of Kiev (see links below), the US has quietly transfers 33 tons of Ukrainian gold out of the country and back to vaults in the US. Presumably, this sovereign wealth transfer would be counted as partial “collateral” for a fresh round of IMF, US FED, and ECB paper debt that is currently being organised for dumping into the Ukraine’s economic black hole.

http://21stcenturywire.com/2014/03/21/the-latest-heist-us-quietly-snatches-the-ukraines-gold-reserves/
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #229 on: April 06, 2014, 12:33:58 AM »
The Decline of Europe

Quote
While the US is the hegemonic state, and the sicknesses of the world largely emanate from it, Europe is falling apart as well, it is simply doing so more slowly–unless  you are Greece, Portugal or Spain.

Europe has unquestionably swung right, and England in particular was entirely complicit in the great financial collapse.  Neither were Germany, or France or pretty much everyone else not involved.

Germany’s behaviour since the financial collapse has been disgusting and cruel.....

Quote
Europe is on a downward trend.  They started from a better place than the US (universal healthcare, decent welfare systems), but that does not alter the trajectory.  Their fall is an odd mixture of an insistence on keeping the EU together, while refusing to actually make the EU a proper federal state and take care of everyone in it.  As it stands, the EU does not make sense: most countries, including Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, but not limited to them, would be better off leaving it.  Or, frankly, the rest of the EU should kick Germany out, and erect tariffs against their goods.

England should be kicked out as well, for serial bad behaviour.....

Quote
It is impossible, right now, to regulate the world economy in any way beneficial to ordinary citizens of the majority of states.  The doctrine of free trade, which is really about free financial flows and deregulation of labor, has made actual economic policy almost impossible unless a  country finds a way to opt out of the neoliberal consensus (aka. China), or use its structure to their (temporary) advantage (aka. Germany.)

Everyone is going to have to learn that impoverishing other nations is not a sustainable path to wealth.  We are destroying countries at a ferocious rate: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Greece, Portugal, the Ukraine; with many others tottering and in clear decline (Spain and Italy, for example).
....


http://www.ianwelsh.net/the-decline-of-europe/
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #230 on: April 06, 2014, 07:29:34 PM »
This is what being raped is like.

Bill Black: The Kamikaze Economics of Forcing Austerity on the Ukraine

Quote
We all understand why Russia is waging economic war on the Ukraine, but why is Obama doing so? ...

 “Ukraine PM Says Will Stick to Austerity Despite Moscow Pressure.”

The Kiev government will stick to unpopular austerity measures ‘as the price of independence’ as Russia steps up pressure on Ukraine to destabilise it, including by raising the price of gas, Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk told Reuters.

“Unpopular austerity measures” are, of course, among the best things Ukraine can do to aid Russia’s effort to “destabilize” the Ukraine.  Indeed, Yatseniuk admits this point later in the article.

The subtext of Russia’s message to Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population, he said, was that they would enjoy higher living standards in Russia, with higher wages and better pensions and without the austerity that the Kiev government was now offering

‘They’re saying: if you go to Russia, you’ll be happy, smiling, and not living in a Western hell,’ he said.

‘They (the Russians) are trying to compensate (for the Western sanctions). But we can pay the price of independence,’ he said, with financial support from the West.

So, our strategy is to play into Putin’s hands by inflicting austerity and turning the Ukraine into “a Western hell.”  Not to worry says our man in Kiev, because he’s sure that ten million ethnically-Russian citizens of Ukraine will gladly “pay the price of independence” to live in “a Western hell.”  That strategy seems suicidal.  Indeed, Yatseiuk emphasizes that he knows the strategy he is following is suicidal.

 [Yatseiuk] has called himself the leader of a ‘kamikaze’ government, doomed by unpopular austerity measures it must take, but he said Ukraine would stick to the measures, which include doubling gas prices for domestic consumers from May 1 and holding down state pensions and salaries against a background of a 3 percent contraction of the economy and double-digit inflation.........

The Ukraine would have been far better off with the Russians and in time even the folks in western Ukraine will come to understand that.  Perhaps.  Or, like an abused woman, they will come to think they deserve the punishment they are receiving and will just try harder to appease their abuser.    It kind of makes one a little nauseous.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/04/bill-black-ukraine-austerity-and-kamikaze-economics.html
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #231 on: April 09, 2014, 02:01:15 AM »
Railgun technology is within reach after some 30 years of development.  This technology was part of Reagans StarWars program in the 1980's,

100 mile range.  Mach 7...just about 5500 mph.  Pretty dammed amazing.

Quote
So why do rail guns matter, besides generating cool clickable video? Three words: impact, range, and reloads.

Impact. Accelerated electromagnetically down a set of rails — hence the name — that 23 pound projectile moving at March 7 has 32 megajoules of energy. The Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, likened the impact to “a freight train going through the wall at a hundred miles an hour” in a recent phone call with reporters. It doesn’t have an explosive warhead, but then it hardly needs one.

http://breakingdefense.com/2014/04/navys-magnetic-super-gun-to-make-mach-7-shots-at-sea-in-2016-adm-greenert/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl7%7Csec3_lnk4%26pLid%3D462493
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #232 on: April 11, 2014, 04:24:43 PM »
Overstated somewhat, but the trend is clear.

And it doesn't mean things are going to get better as the world seems to be suffering from double down syndrome.

Quote
The state of US foreign policy in the Middle East, but also around the world, cannot be described with any buoyant language. In some instances, as in Syria, Libya, Egypt, the Ukraine, and most recently in Palestine and Israel, too many calamitous scenarios have exposed the fault lines of US foreign policy. The succession of crises is not allowing the US to cut its losses in the Middle East and stage a calculated ‘pivot’ to Asia following its disastrous Iraq war.

US foreign policy is almost entirely crippled.....

...But the US is still being pulled into too many different directions. It has attempted to police the world exclusively for its own interests for the last 25 years. It failed. ‘Cut and run’ is essentially an American foreign policy staple, and that too is a botched approach. Even after the piecemeal US withdrawal from Iraq, the US is too deeply entrenched in the Middle East region to achieve a clean break....

...The US has truly lost the initiative, in the Middle East region and beyond it. The neo-cons’ drunkenness with military power led to costly wars that have overwhelmed the empire beyond salvation. And now, the US foreign policy makers are mere diplomatic firefighters, from Palestine, to Syria to the Ukraine. For the Americans, the last few years have been more than a ‘reality check’, but the new reality itself.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/10/the-new-american-reality/
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #233 on: April 13, 2014, 06:04:48 PM »
For anyone who still believes that Assad ordered the chemical attack in Syria that almost generated a US attack please read this.  It never made any political/military/strategic/tactical sense and there was always evidence there that Assad did not do it.

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Sy Hersh has a long piece in the London Review of Books detailing the strong evidence indicating that the Turkish government worked with Syrian rebels in a "false flag" operation of the worst sort: staging a chemical weapons attack near Damascus in August 2013. The intent was to throw blame for the attack on the Assad regime, thereby drawing the United States directly into the conflict; the use of chemical weapons against the rebels was a "red line" repeatedly laid down by Barack Obama as the trigger for an American intervention.

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...Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.....

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line

http://chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/2383-false-flags-and-imperial-facades-tales-of-progressives-in-power.html
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #234 on: April 15, 2014, 05:00:18 PM »
I mentioned in another thread this morning that the national news had a story about a Russian fighter jet repeatedly buzzing a US destroyer in the Black Sea.  Nice cold war stuff and all that.

I just got done reading that a retired 3 star AF general is making the rounds with JINSA and advocating transferring US B-52 long-range strategic bombers to Israel so that they will have the ability to effectively bomb Iranian nuclear installations.

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JINSA's Mandate:

JINSA was founded in 1976 as a non-profit, non-partisan organization to advocate on behalf of a strong U.S. military, a robust national security policy, and a strong U.S. security relationship with Israel and other like-minded democracies.


To do this would violate the strategic arms control agreements that the US has with the Russians.

The Russians, of course, could trump this move by sending a modern air defense battalion to Iran which would be easily capable of blowing the B-52's out of the sky.

What could go wrong? as they say.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

icefest

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #235 on: April 23, 2014, 09:02:44 PM »
You might appreciate this article soon due to be published in Perspectives on Politics:

http://www.princeton.edu/~mgilens/Gilens%20homepage%20materials/Gilens%20and%20Page/Gilens%20and%20Page%202014-Testing%20Theories%203-7-14.pdf

America is a functional oligopoly.

Open other end.

TerryM

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #236 on: April 24, 2014, 12:59:27 AM »
Thanks so much for the link!


Their methodology seems above reproach & if we assume that their conclusions are correct our efforts the alert all might better be spent in attempting to influence wealthier Americans rather than the general populace.
The wants of average Americans apparently has no correlation to the what comes out of Washington while issues supported by the elite have a huge chance of being enacted. Our attempts at educating the masses may have no influence on policy, apparently even issues that are backed by 80% of the people don't pass unless the elite get on board.
Framing AGW in such a way as to elicit support from the top 10% of the wealthy will have much greater effect than convincing the bottom 80% that something needs to be done. Perhaps this is where our efforts should be concentrated.


A caveat, the study applies only to the US. I fear however that a similar study would have similar findings in other western "democracies".


Terry

JimD

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #237 on: May 03, 2014, 04:04:07 PM »
Not a perspective I agree with, but an interesting read to see what more hawkish commentators think.  All in on empire.

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The weakened West

What would America fight for?


http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21601508-nagging-doubt-eating-away-world-orderand-superpower-largely-ignoring-it-what

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Geopolitics

The decline of deterrence

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21601538-america-no-longer-alarming-its-foes-or-reassuring-its-friends-decline
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

TerryM

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #238 on: May 03, 2014, 05:35:51 PM »
Ugly outlook.


Thanks to JimD I've been following the Ukrainian situation & America's involvement. It won't end well for any (except perhaps for the Crimeans), and Nuland's dirty hands are all over it. The IMF has now forced Kiev to attack their own citizens (although they may not have needed much prodding) & the Neo-Nazis have risen to the top at an astounding speed.
Hearing Obama criticize those that shot down attack helicopters as they were firing on civilians while not mentioning the Right Sector's immolation of protesters in Odessa reminded me of the worst propaganda that Bush and company spouted a decade earlier.
To say that I'm disappointed in Obama would be a huge understatement. I despair the policies of America & the path that the West is on as they follow in its wake.
Terry

JimD

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #239 on: May 05, 2014, 05:55:20 PM »
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/b7a1964c-d121-11e3-bdbb-00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=intl#axzz30pp3J0V4

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The story of our age is that the US is increasingly unwilling – and in crucial respects, unable – to continue in the role it has played for the past 70 years. After America comes multipolarity – not China. The question is, what type? Will it be based on a system of US-framed global rules? Or will it be “après moi, le déluge”?

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Therein lies the danger. The US will no longer have the capacity to uphold the global order, while China will always lack the legitimacy. In addition to being an autocracy, China is not built on immigration and has never sought to project universal values.

We are already in the early stages of a multipolar economic world. The postwar US global order was built around the international institutions that it launched – the UN, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and Nato

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But even this marginal reweighting has been blocked by Congress, which is also blocking Mr Obama’s leeway to pursue his trade initiatives. The US is behaving like a declining hegemon: unwilling to share power, yet unable to impose outcomes.

The same influences are visible in America’s approach to tackling climate change. As the world’s richest country, the US cut a deal to subsidise carbon emission reductions in the emerging world. But the so-called “cash for cuts” strategy is missing a vital ingredient – cash.

Neither the US nor its partners will come up with anything like the $100bn a year in climate aid promised in the Copenhagen talks in 2009. Again, Congress is blocking America’s leadership. Mr Obama is powerless to do much about it. Thankfully, China, India and others are beginning to see that energy efficiency is in their own interests. But they are making changes on their own initiative.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/b7a1964c-d121-11e3-bdbb-00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=intl#axzz30pp3J0V4
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Laurent

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #240 on: May 24, 2014, 08:16:27 AM »

JimD

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #241 on: May 25, 2014, 03:37:40 PM »
The Russia China Axis continues to form

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As I have noted before, the price of the Ukraine is a firm alignment of Russia with China.  Russia needs China’s goods, money and political support; China will also be happy to have a security council ally and buy all those Russian commodities.

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Europe has firmly aligned with America, indicating willingness to cut its own throat with trade sanctions against Russia, if necessary.  South America and central America is unlikely to align en-masse with America for obvious historical reasons: America has been the enemy of most states there for over a century, with its willingness to attempt to overthrow any government it doesn’t like.

The Middle East grows less important as solar and alternative sources for oil come on line, and as their own reserves deteriorate.  To be sure, it will matter for decades yet, but it is no longer the most important region on the earth.  Sub-Saharan Africa, sadly, is largely irrelevant: they will sell their resources to whoever pays for them.

This leaves India s the last major country in play.  But for them, the smart play is to stay out of it, keep good relations with both sides, and let China and the US slag each other, coming up the middle to be the next hegemonic power.

http://www.ianwelsh.net/the-russia-china-axis-continues-to-form/
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Laurent

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #242 on: June 06, 2014, 09:52:30 AM »

JimD

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #243 on: August 06, 2014, 01:46:28 AM »
For anyone who doubts that the situation generated in Ukraine by US maneuvering in the background is not related to American empire building check this out.

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Well, one of the things that has not been in the news is that a recent Senate bill, 2277, directed the U.S. Agency for International Development to begin guaranteeing loans for the fracking of oil and gas in the Ukraine. And Vice President Biden’s son has become the head of the biggest fracking company in the Ukraine. And what’s not usually known is that the armies from Kiev that are marching into the Eastern of Ukraine have been basically protecting the fracking equipment.

Remember what I said about the coming US grab of Ukrainian agriculture land?

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Meanwhile, in the Western Ukraine, the World Bank has been supporting essentially the large-scale alienation of agricultural land to foreign investors. The World Bank is a wonderful index. It’s the index of screwing labor and destroying the environment. They call it the ease of doing business index. But the index for agriculture, they have a special index just for ease of doing business in agriculture. And that means getting rid of rules against pesticides, getting rid of rules against labeling food, against additives, and against everything. And it’s very much like the Trans-Pacific Partnership proposal and the Transatlantic partnership proposal. The problem is that Europe is actually opposing all of these pesticides and all the laboring. So you may have the irony of the Ukraine following the World Bank’s directions and getting rid of the restrictions on agriculture and making it impossible to export its crops to Europe.

Rich isn't it?

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/08/michael-hudson-frackingworld-bankimfhunter-biden-dismantling-plan-ukraine.html
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #244 on: August 06, 2014, 05:19:19 AM »
For anyone who doubts that the situation generated in Ukraine by US maneuvering in the background is not related to American empire building check this out.

Is it still building when the wheels are starting to come off? Or more a vain attempt to retain control and influence?

johnm33

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #245 on: August 06, 2014, 11:08:55 AM »
An interesting take on the Ukraine here http://www.vineyardsaker.blogspot.mx/

JimD

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #246 on: August 08, 2014, 02:59:11 AM »
For anyone who doubts that the situation generated in Ukraine by US maneuvering in the background is not related to American empire building check this out.

Is it still building when the wheels are starting to come off? Or more a vain attempt to retain control and influence?

Clearly the latter.  And we will all be the worse off for it. 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

retiredbill

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #247 on: August 08, 2014, 11:38:48 AM »
Were it not for empire building, wouldn't it make sense to give Ukraine to Russia? Ukraine has
some nice farm land but is a basket-case financially. Let Russia spend it's money keeping
Ukraine afloat.

TerryM

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #248 on: August 09, 2014, 08:49:41 PM »
This has been the first time since late 2010 that I have not been following the Arctic ice on a daily basis. The situation in the Ukraine has become of such import in my mind that everything else has gone to the back burner.
The US apparently is shooting for regime change in Russia & Russia is attempting to end the dollar's rule as the worlds currency. Restarting the cold war isn't good for anyone wishing for a global response to global warming.
As well as the link to Saker's site above I'd like to recommend Niqnaq and Militaryphoto's.net. The later has over 5,200 pages with discussion from both sides. I'm not posting links because if things get serious in the near future real sanctions might be placed on sites linking to "enemy propaganda".
I hope this is paranoia on my part & i hope that somehow this will blow over.
I'm very curious as to why the US thinks that this is a good time to divide the world both militarily and economically. Russia and the West have been playing nicely for some decades with huge benefits to both. America and Europe are allies but Europe is poised to be hurt badly if Russia simply turns the valve on their pipeline. Why is Europe allowing the US to put them in such a position?


I haven't been less sure of the future since the Cuban missile crisis.
Terry

johnm33

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Re: Empire - America and the future
« Reply #249 on: August 10, 2014, 10:05:59 AM »
Widely reported after th $50m Yukos award, "One person close to Mr Putin said the Yukos ruling was insignificant in light of the bigger geopolitical stand-off over Ukraine. “There is a war coming in Europe,” he said. “Do you really think this matters?” " [from FT]. Certainly got my attention too. So faced with what looks like an almost inevitable escalation up to this http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/pdf/RobockNW2006JD008235.pdf suddenly the ice lost its fascination.