Monday, July 20, 2020

Arming Up

Brazil is arming up.

In Major Defence Policy Shift, Brazilian Defence White Paper Advocates Preparing For Possible War With Neighbouring Countries

See also

China steps up shipbuilding with two more aircraft carriers under construction towards 2035 navy goal [of six]

Sputnik International
Photos: China Begins Final Assembly of Next Two Advanced Aircraft Carriers, Aims for 2021 Delivery

China expands amphibious forces in challenge to U.S. beyond Asia

TASS Navy Recognition
Russian Navy to commission more than 40 ships in 2020 

Putin Says Nuclear-Powered Submarines Will Boost Russia's Combat Potential

Meanwhile, the country is so divided politically that the US is becoming no longer governable. Neither side accepts election results any longer, and the both sides are more and more willing to break laws that they disagree with politically.


NeilW said...

What's the thoughts here about whether the US is now too big and too diverse to operate as a single country?

It seems to be as divided as the EU.

lastgreek said...

"It seems to be as divided as the EU."

Solution is easy: just invert and multiply. It works wonders when dividing fractions ;)

Excuse me for being flippant, NW, but the situation in the eastern Med. (EU territory) is very precarious at the moment and the fools in Brussels are sleeping. Forget the US; their problems are self-inflicted.

lastgreek said...

[off topic, so apologies in advance :)]

If anyone ever wondered what it takes to win a bad writing contest:

The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into he thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony is bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power."

-- by Judith Miller professor of rhetoric [snicker] and comparative literature at the University of California at Berkeley, in an article entitled Further Reflections on the Conversations of Our Time, published in the scholarly journal Diacritics (1997)

Tom Hickey said...


Neil wrote: "What's the thoughts here about whether the US is now too big and too diverse to operate as a single country?"

That is a foundational problem in organizational behvior. As groups become larger they become more difficult to organize under rules simply as a matter of complication and in social system, compexity. Successful large groups are more or less homogenous. Physical systems are based on homogneity and ergodicity. Biological systems less and social systems not at all since, being complex adaptive systems, they lack homegeneity and ergodicity and are subject to reflexivity and emergence.

Humans try to get around this by designing social systems dominated by a status quo. But owing to the historical nature of social interaction, a status quo is dynamically unstable.

The underlying challenge in the US is the assumption of "freedom" as foundational. But in social systems freedom is inversely correlated with stability and functionality.

The assumption that "free markets" in a market state will result automatically result in spontaneous natural ordering across time is just wrong, for the simple reason that human beings do not conform to the assumptions associated rational choice based on equating economic interest with human interest. Homo socialis is not reducible to homo economicus.

IN the US, there is also the flawed ideal that one person acting as president has the ability to make decisions concering whole systems, the nation, on one hand, and the world on the others. This requires a level of intelligence not available to those proposed for selection, if it is even possible at all given the present evolutionary development of humans.

The solution is to reduce the level of freedom cutlurally or adopt a more authoritarian mode of governance, such as technocracy. But this leads to social challenges as a population used to "free choice" rebels against what it views as arbitrary, unless a vast majority of the population is satisfied with the leadership. (The CCP pays close attention to this, for example, and the population is generally supportive the leadership based on their polling.)

IN the US there are many competing interests based on many factors, in particular ideology and cognitive-affective bias. A result at present in a bifurcation into two camps that view the world through differnt lens and construction views of reality that are oppositional if not mutually exclusive. One consequence of this is blind spots, one one hand, and blinders on the other. So even groups with the same blinders don't all have the same blind spots. That is to say, there is a division of political parties and also fragmentation within the parties.

This is now approaching a critical stage, presaging a breakdown of the status quo and a phase transition before a new status quo is arrived at. In terms of the historical dialectic, this is the moment when one moment is ending and new one beginning. One could call it not so much a social, poltical and economic crisis as a "spiritual" one in which a people and here also the world is called upon to redefine itself to meet emerging challenges. The exissting concept of American "democracy" has reached its limit as presently conceived and organized, e.g., resulting in plutocracy.

Antonio Gramsci: "The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear."

English translation: Selections from the Prison Notebooks, “Wave of Materialism” and “Crisis of Authority” (NY: International Publishers), (1971), pp. 275-276. (Prison Notebooks Volume II, Notebook 3, 1930, (2011 edition) SS-34, Past and Present 32-33)