Saturday, August 27, 2022

Links — 27 August 2022 Part 1

The Vineyard of the Saker
All the way to Odessa (Important. Where things are most likely headed based on Russian pronouncements.)
Pepe Escobar

India Punchline
Ground beneath Zelensky’s feet is shifting (It may be that the US strategy is shifting away from the initially assumed destruction of the Russian economy using "sanctions from hell," and the succeeding assumption about arming Ukraine to one of assuming that longer terms, the sanctions will bring down the Russian economy. Neither the US nor NATO wants to see this escalate to war in Europe, which is tantamount to WWIII. They know that Russia is serious and has the wherewithal to make life very uncomfortable for the West — read "escalation dominance" — in the case of expanding hostilities. So sanctions over the long term may be the last, best hope, even though sanctions have not worked to dislodge the policies or governments of Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, Russia, or China. And Europe, especially the UK and Germany, are already buckling under the effects of the attempt to isolate Russia. Meanwhile, Ukraine's military is being ground up day by day. Give it up, guys.)
M. K. Bhadrakumar | retired diplomat with the Indian Foreign Service and former ambassador

Moon of Alabama
Ukraine - 'Game Changing' Policy Moves That Ain't Game Changing (picking through the details, with the devil being in the details, including why Scott Ritter's initial prediction that the 40 billion USD for Ukraine's defense would be a game-changer and why it was not.)

How Ukraine is using warfare developed by the US to fight back against Russia (One side's "insurgent" is the other side's "terrorist." Anyway, it is also interesting that this approach is US developed and it actually goes back a long way. BTW, I would not say that he has either operational or strategic implications. It's purely tactical unless the insurgency is huge, which requires a resistant population, and that doesn't apply to the largely ethnic Russian territory being contested in Ukraine.)
Oren Liebermann, CNN
Gilbert Doctorow — International relations, Russian affairs

Schadenfreude? Iran television casts ‘Spotlight’ on UK and European Union energy crisis (faulty assumptions and failure to think things through. The article doesn't mention that the situation is backfiring on the perps.)
Gilbert Doctorow

RT — Question More (Russian state-sponsored media)
Sanctions war isn’t going as planned – The Economist (The Economist gets one right. Faulty assumptions and failure to think things through, which requires system awareness.)

One World 
(The following two posts are broad-brushed but the subject matter is nuanced. They are useful distinctions if this is kept in mind. Unipolarity and multipolarity are not only different policy choices but they reflect a fundamental difference in worldviews. The charge is that the 
 view of the West is systemically "racist," reflecting its colonial past and path dependence. Of course, the issues are far more nuanced, but at the same time, the fundamental distinction is now the perception in the Global North/West and the Global South/East, speaking generally. Why is this important? Clashes in worldviews indicate mismatches in perception of reality, which can lead to conflict.)
CNN Defamed Darya Dugina As A “Disinformation” Agent To Discredit Her Multipolar Legacy

Russia Correctly Described The US-Led West’s Golden Billion As Racist To The Core
Andrew Korybko, American geopolitical analyst and independent journalist based in Moscow, and member of the expert council for the Institute of Strategic Studies and Predictions at the People’s Friendship University of Russia

Sputnik International (Russian state-sponsored media)
Turkey Urges France to Recognize Consequences of Colonial Past (Of course, Turkey had its own imperial history in the form of the Ottoman Empire.)

Russian FM Lavrov Slams Western Neo-Colonial Order in Address to Young Diplomats Forum (Russian hammering hard on this in spite of Russia's imperial past.)

TASS (Russian state media)
Western-imposed order provides for racist division of world — Russia’s top diplomat (de-colonization)

Kiev preparations for conflict with Russia became clear in early 2020 – Lugansk ambassador (Russia's intervention as pre-emptive.)

Defend Democracy Press
‘Soon the world will be unrecognisable’: is it still possible to prevent total climate meltdown? (I have been focusing in the links on the conflict in Ukraine and mostly ignoring the other two horsemen of the apocalypse, one being "famine" (climate change) and the other "pestilence" (pandemic). All three are still operative. and climate change is now coming to the fore fast with massive flooding from glacier melt in Southeast Asia, a heat wave in China, and drying rivers in Europe. Craig Murray sees the elite as preparing to survive the coming catastrophes by tightening security.)

Bracing Views
Vote for What You Believe In, Not for Crumbs (Yeah, I know, US politics, which I supposedly don't cover here since it is a can of worms. But this is an important contribution by a rational voice about the state of political system in the US. It's broken. To vote for candidates that could win, i.e., who are two-party affiliated, one is forced to choose not the better candidate but rather the least bad, or else either not vote or vote for someone that has almost zero probability of winning. A lot of people feel helpless to effect change, and this is not good for the national psychology. After all, this is supposed to be the rationale for superiority of the democratic system over other systems.)
W. J. Astore, Lieutenant Colonel (USAF ret.), taught at the Air Force Academy, the Naval Postgraduate School, and currently at the Pennsylvania College of Technology

Craig Murray Blog
The Great Clutching at Pearls (Craig Murray: I am not now a Marxist nor was I ever one, but it is turning out that Marx was right about capitalism. As neoliberalism, capitalism is inexorably self-destructing.)
Craig Murray, formerly British ambassador to Uzbekistan and Rector of the University of Dundee

Understanding Society
Philosophers and Marx in the 1950s (I attended a grad school — Georgetown — that specialized in the history of philosophy, one of the few that did in the 6o's. While it is true that Marx was paid scant attention, but not none, so were many other thinkers of greater prominence than Marx. In the history of philosophy, Marx is not even second-rate, although his historical importance might belie this. But in the system of rational enquiry characteristic of Western civilization, he and many other just are not that great given the competition. He may have been world-class in social and political philosophy, but still had no breadth and depth in comparison with many others. Marx stands in the shadow of Hegel, for example, who was and is considered second-rate in comparison with top-rated Kant. One simply cannot read philosophy without Kant any more than without Plato and Aristotle. 
Actually, Marx is much more influential as an economist than a philosopher, and the economics profession in the West has excluded his work and that of his followers. It should also be noticed that "philosophy" in the West means the output of the Western rational tradition pioneered by the Greeks. Now there is a push toward "world philosophy" to include non-Western thinkers. Similarly, Marx is being great recognition now. Actually, I backed into economics in the same what that Marx did, realizing that it was impossible to approach social and political thought without a grasp of economic beyond Econ 101 and that conventional economics doesn't cut it. So expect to hear more about Marx as well as Eastern thinkers like Shankara and his Advaita Vedanta, for instance.) In fact, this "invasion" is already well underway.
Daniel Little concludes his post with: "So maybe the neglect of Marx was not entirely ideological, but more a question of “knowledge frameworks” or paradigm shifts. Marx’s theories did not fit readily into the conceptual frameworks of mainstream Anglophone philosophy. (Imagine J.L. Austin trying to make sense of the Grundrisse.) But that paradigm shift did eventually occur, and social philosophers came to recognize the ground they needed to share with social scientists, biologists, and historians — including Marx. Substantive theories about how the world works — including the social world — are indeed relevant to the main problems of social and political philosophy." I think this is about right. Thankful some of my professors were of a similar mind back then, especially the Europeans, so I was exposed to many thinkers that were not treated in the Anglo world then, with some not even considered "philosophers.")
Daniel Little | Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the Chancellor for the University of Michigan-Dearborn 2000-2018


Peter Pan said...

What pandemic?

Peter Pan said...

The Dawn of the Eurasian Century.

Pepe Escobar is delusional.

In parallel, The Lords of (Proxy) War will continue with their own strategy, which is to pillage an enfeebled, fearful, Europe, then dressing it up as a perfumed colony to be ruthlessly exploited ad nauseam by the imperial oligarchy.

What can Europe be exploited for? Laughs?
It's an energy poor, resource limited, bureaucracy.

Moscow does not even entertain the notion of negotiating with Brussels because there’s nothing to negotiate – considering puny Eurocrats will only be hurled away from their zombified state when the dire socio-economic consequences of “the end of abundance” will finally translate into peasants with pitchforks roaming the continent.

It may be eons away...

It may only be one winter away. Then they'll be joining your Eurasian fantasy football league.

As for the end of abundance, there is no place on Earth immune from that outcome.

Tom Hickey said...

What pandemic?

CDC is warning that Covid transmission rate is increasing in the county where I live. I just heard from a friend in a nearby county that he got — for the second time. This is not over around here.

Tom Hickey said...

What Makes the Latest Covid Variants More Contagious?
The Incidental Economist by Tiffany Doherty

Peter Pan said...

Well why not? Flu season is approaching.

There may not have been a pandemic. All cause mortality doesn't indicate that an event occurred. Diagnoses are overwhelmingly among patients who have several co-morbidities. Almost no one is dying "from" Covid, and nearly everyone is dying "with" Covid. These are the elements of an overblown public health crisis.

That being said, we have an increasing number of vaccine injuries.
Go figure.

NeilW said...

"I just heard from a friend in a nearby county that he got — for the second time."

We will do. It's an endemic respiratory illness now.

We have to treat it like all the others - and instead get the general anxiety levels down.

Matt Franko said...

Since we now have the PCR test equipment that can select for specific viral proteins (I assume we didn’t have this for SARS-1 10 years ago) there is a risk the policy makers will keep destroying the economy like this every time they can isolate a specific viral protein…

Without the test equipment none of the policy could be imposed..,

Fauci and others due to retire and perhaps be prosecuted if GOP takes back over so that might give the new people pause…

Matt Franko said...

“ What Makes the Latest Covid Variants More Contagious?”

Some scientists out there saying the boosters designed for the previous versions make the immune system more selective to that previous version… less responsive to then subsequent configurations of the viral protein… iow the boosters deter a more broad immune response .,,

I have not been boosted (contracted the original and 2 mRNA Pfizer’s which imo caused lingering right shoulder inflammation) and have never picked up any of the new configurations to the point I was ill… I’ve been on aircraft, indoor concerts, gyms, restaurants, hotels, etc…

Matt Franko said...

“ Actually, Marx is much more influential as an economist than a philosopher, and the economics profession in the West has excluded his work””

How can he be influential when his work has been excluded?

Matt Franko said...

Tom you continue to appear only aware of the existence of half of the academe…

Tom Hickey said...

How can he be influential when his work has been excluded?

While Marx is of minor interest in Anglo-American academic philosophy and "orthodox" Anglo-American academic economics, there is much more going on in the world of influence that either of these fields. It is possible there are more people familiar to some degree of Marx and Marxism than any other thought-tradition and Marx's political influence has been and continues to be worldwide.

In fact, in grad school my familiarity with Marx was mostly self-acquired since Marx was considered a minor philosopher. But this was during the late '60's and early 70's when most student who were either political active or "with it" knew some Marx, e.g., Grundrisse (Foundations of a Critique of Political Economy). I also read Erich Fromm's Marx's Concept of Man, which I think is pretty good. Fromm emphasized that Marx's social and political program was about human freedom, since he was a libertarian of the left although not an anarchist.

In the early '70's I wrote an MA Thesis in social and political philsophy entitled, Evolution or Revolution: Toward a Theory of Social Change, in which Marx was treated in some depth. There are actually two strains in Marx, one developmental and the other revolutionary. This a paradox, that is, an apparent contradiction.

Another way Marx's influence broadened was through his influence on subsequent thinkers and activists. A lot of these were influenced by Marx although they are neither Marxists nor Marxians. Close to home, Bill Mitchell has blogged about this, for example.

Interest in Marx is now undergoing a resurgence with the explosion of inequality and the implosion of neoliberalism.

I haven't kept up with the state of social and political philosophy in academia but interest in his work is growing in economics and it is already well-established in sociology, where he is recognized as a co-founder of the discipline.

Tom Hickey said...

It's an endemic respiratory illness now. We have to treat it like all the others - and instead get the general anxiety levels down.

It looks to me like that is happening. But most people are still aware that Covid is not quite like the flu, where most people just recover and are fine. Conversely, about 20% of the cases appear to involve long Covid, and a lot of people are still taking precautions because of that, in addition to potential morbidity. So while people in general no longer seem to be in pandemic (panic) mode, many aren't in the 'back to normal' boat either and are "being careful," whatever that means to them. I think we may be in a wait and see phase.

mike norman said...

Western arms have absolutely been a game changer. Russia cannot even secure Donbass. Not even Crimea. The Ukrainians will soon blow up the "Putin bridge." Watch. The Russians are fighting like weak idiots.

Peter Pan said...

Marx has been influential with mass-murdering lunatics, but perhaps they were reading too much into his work.

Tom Hickey said...

Mike, this is the view of the major opposition to Putin in Russia and among fighters for Russia in Ukraine. They want Russia to unleash hell in Ukraine and the most most extreme of them want to include NATO, with the Russian Army marching to the shores of the Atlantic this time instead of stopping at Berlin.

Conversely, Putin, like Biden, would prefer on the other hand not to have WWIII. He is unlikely to escalate unless the Russian military says it is necessary. So now we are in a situation of brinksmanship, with the US/UK escalating incrementally using a "salami technique." Steps small enough not to provoke large-scale retaliation but enough of the them to hurt the adversary. This is the plan wrt Taiwan and the South China Sea, too. Russia and China are well aware of it, and we saw what happened when the Russian military told Putin that NATO, the US really, had crossed the line in Ukraine. So this is a dicey game especially since Russia has escalation dominance in Europe with NATO unable to counter Russian hypersonics. NATO only viable choice is to nuclear, and we know what happens then.

The most visible person among the Russian nationalists is Igor Girkin aka Strelkov ("shooter"). Interestingly, there is no pushback from the Kremlin to his appearing on national media to push this view in opposition to the government. The Western leaders wanting to replace Putin with Russian opposition should be careful what they wish for. These folks have powerful allies in the Russian military and intel.

Like Putin, Strelkov is apparently a former colonel. Here is the Wikipedia entry on him.

Igor Girkin

Matt Franko said...

Why doesn’t Putin run in a Russia election on a platform of saying F Europe and hello China?

See if Russians vote for that?

Otherwise he looks like a dictator.,,,

Peter Pan said...

Putin's old platform:
Seeking ineffectual peace agreements, as ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine are being slaughtered.

Putin's new platform:
Protecting Russians by killing as few of their Ukrainian "brothers" as possible.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Putin's new platform is more popular with the Russian people. Go figure.

Peter Pan said...

It looks to me like that is happening. But most people are still aware that Covid is not quite like the flu, where most people just recover and are fine.

Apart from killing fewer children than the flu, Covid is exactly like the flu.

Conversely, about 20% of the cases appear to involve long Covid, and a lot of people are still taking precautions because of that, in addition to potential morbidity.

Chronic health problems have several causes, including respiratory infections. Chronic health problems kill many more people, yet public health emergencies are mostly concerned with communicable diseases with acute and deadly symptoms.

Or should we say, that was how pandemics used to be defined. There are signs that future pandemics and "emergencies" will be more liberally interpreted.

So while people in general no longer seem to be in pandemic (panic) mode, many aren't in the 'back to normal' boat either and are "being careful," whatever that means to them. I think we may be in a wait and see phase.

The human race always seems to be in a wait and see (and hope for the best) phase.
What could go wrong?

Matt Franko said...

And it was an election year and Democrats wanted to sabotage the economy don’t forget…,

Peter Pan said...

The Dims went from not wanting to take the 'Trump vaccine' to mandating it for everyone.

Hypocrisy eh?

Tom Hickey said...

Brookings (Aug 2022, study to June 2022)
New data shows long Covid is keeping as many as 4 million people out of work
Katie Bach

Peter Pan said...

Extending SSDI to long Covid victims, or cracking the whip to get them back to work?

Even though there's no cure, they'll choose the latter.

To paraphrase Mitt Romney: we have too many useless eaters.

Caring about worker health and safety is bad for business - except when it comes to mandating vaccines.

No cure (but lifelong treatment) for long Covid and vaccine injuries is good for big pharma.