Quote note (#241)

Robert Kaplan has received some thoroughly-deserved derision recently, but this argument is at least thought-provoking:

… globalization and the communications revolution have reinforced, rather than negated, geopolitics. The world map is now smaller and more claustrophobic, so that territory is more ferociously contested, and every regional conflict interacts with every other as never before. A war in Syria is inextricable from a terrorist outrage in Europe, even as Russia’s intervention in Syria affects Europe’s and America’s policy toward Ukraine. This happens at a moment when, as I’ve said, multinational empires are gone, as are most totalitarian regimes in contrived states where official borders do not conform with ethnic and sectarian ones. The upshot is a maelstrom of national and subnational groups in violent competition. And so, geopolitics — the battle for space and power — now occurs within states as well as between them. Cultural and religious differences are particularly exacerbated: as group differences melt down in the crucible of globalization, they have to be reforged in a blunter and more ideological form. It isn’t the clash of civilizations so much as the clash of artificially reconstructed civilizations that is taking place. Witness the Islamic State, which does not represent Islam per se, but Islam combusting with the tyrannical conformity and mass hysteria of the Internet and social media. The postmodern reinvention of identities only hardens geopolitical divides.

His core thesis seems quite obviously correct: “We are entering an age of what I call comparative anarchy, that is, a much higher level of anarchy compared to that of the Cold War and post–Cold War periods.”

April 25, 2016admin 19 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Chaos

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19 Responses to this entry

  • cyborg_nomade Says:

    meanwhile in Brazil, most of the population no longer (or still?) prefer democracy over other forms of government:

    http://g1.globo.com/politica/processo-de-impeachment-de-dilma/noticia/2016/04/pesquisa-ibope-mostra-que-62-preferem-novas-eleicoes-presidenciais.html

    there is a deepening divide among at least three different solutions for the current crises, neither is seeming to win out.

    interesting times are coming

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 25th, 2016 at 6:01 pm Reply | Quote
  • Quote note (#241) | Neoreactive Says:

    […] Quote note (#241) […]

    Posted on April 25th, 2016 at 6:11 pm Reply | Quote
  • grey enlightenment Says:

    globalization and the communications revolution have reinforced, rather than negated, geopolitics. The world map is now smaller and more claustrophobic,

    but who ever said it wasn’t

    …so that territory is more ferociously contested, and every regional conflict interacts with every other as never before. A war in Syria is inextricable from a terrorist outrage in Europe, even as Russia’s intervention in Syria affects Europe’s and America’s policy toward Ukraine.

    More like a tempest in a teapot .

    The upshot is that globalization and other factors seem to have reduced the number of Really Bad Wars, instead it’s more sable rattling, posturing, rogue groups and warlords, and proxy wars.

    [Reply]

    Seth Largo Reply:

    No, internet porn and Netflix have reduced the number of Really Bad Wars. As soon as one of those rogue groups turns the lights out, all that mediated saber rattling will spill onto the streets in a hurry—-see Syria and Iraq.

    [Reply]

    Garr Reply:

    I wonder how much of the violent-crime-rate-reduction in NYC is due to all of the kids being plugged into their headphones all of the time and constantly looking at Facebook or whatever it is they look at (I think that they do watch movies a lot when they’re on the bus or subway). It often bugs me that plugged-in people wouldn’t be able to hear anyone else’s call for help, but then on the other hand for the same reason there might be fewer occasions on which help is needed, because most of the people who’d otherwise be beating others up are plugged in and zoned out. (Although I wish people wouldn’t wear headphones in the weight-room; there wouldn’t be much violent crime down there anyway, and sometimes people get stuck under the barbell when they’re benchpressing without a spotter.)

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    Grotesque Body Reply:

    Maybe this is just me not understanding normie psychology, but on the train I always see everyone on their tablets/phones playing Angry Birds/Plants vs Zombies 9, essentially watching pixels change colour on a screen when they could be pirating old books and getting redpilled instead – I don’t get it.

    TheDividualist Reply:

    @Grotesque Body

    The increasing use of “normie” in NRx circles kind of rustles my jimmies because while it is certainly the most autistic-friendly movement on the right, it should not be too closely associated with that.

    Anyway, the fact that they play games is not particularly weird to me – I grew up on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Ninja – the part I don’t understand is how shitty those games are. Candy Crush Saga, really? The Google Play store looks like something meant for a kindergarten. I always assumed they are meant for actual children or rural Chinese teenagers who could never afford a PC and play real games before but I get invites to CCS from 35 years old Europeans… Beyond some older games ported from the PC – Transport Tycoon yay – there are hardly any Android games that don’t look unserious and cartoonish. Would it be so hard to make a version of Hearts of Iron II (or The Darkest Hour with Kaiserreich 🙂 ) or Steel Panthers or something meant for more serious people? To be fair, PC gaming is getting silly too, I just realized that every single Steam game I bought was released by Paradox even if not made by them (think M&B Warband) so I guess from my angle they are the last line of defense in gaming for mature-minded people.

    Tentative Joiner Reply:

    >The increasing use of “normie” in NRx circles kind of rustles my jimmies because while it is certainly the most autistic-friendly movement on the right, it should not be too closely associated with that.

    When you think of it, the right is probably inherently more friendly towards autistics than the left. Think the Red Queen’s race of social signaling, appeals to emotion and CHANGE vs. formalism, catallactic arguments and Chesterton’s fences.

    Sadly, I can’t any find articles on Google Scholar to confirm or disconfirm this intuition.

    >Candy Crush Saga, really?

    I have not been following the world of video games closely but from what I have seen the OP quote, i.e.,

    Cultural and religious differences are particularly exacerbated: as group differences melt down in the crucible of globalization, they have to be reforged in a blunter and more ideological form.

    describes precisely what is going on there. It is no coincidence the same thing is happening with the video game genres themselves as with the player communities.

    In a sufficiently cyberpunk world the two trends towards polarization should converge in a mutually reinforcing spiral, fracturing gaming along the fault line of mobile-casual-social-multiplayer-SJW-polished-vector-pick up and play-microtransactions vs. PC-hardcore-singleplayer-shitlord-rough-ASCII-research skills mandatory-patronage.

    Shlomo Maistre Reply:

    The primary factor that has caused there to be far fewer really bad wars is the advent of nuclear weapons.

    [Reply]

    Grotesque Body Reply:

    You say that, until the presence of nuclear weapons becomes the primary factor in the first actually bad war in human history. Tic tock.

    Aeroguy Reply:

    More specifically it’s a case of pushing war risk into the long tail. Though if you get a multipolar world it brings risk back to a manageable place where you might expect some to go off rarely but it’s just a specific area of the world that gets nuked. A situation that is infinitely preferable to unipolar stagnation into a whimpering end.

    Seth Largo Reply:

    The primary factor that has caused there to be far fewer really bad wars is the advent of nuclear weapons.

    I guess if you don’t think the million+ war dead in Korea and Vietnam count for anything, then sure, let’s chalk it up to nukes.

    No, the era of No Really Bad Wars begins in the late 70s/early 80s, i.e., with the era of mass media entertainment.

    Posted on April 25th, 2016 at 7:21 pm Reply | Quote
  • Seth Largo Says:

    Kaplan diagnoses the disease here but prescribes the wrong cure everywhere else. He thinks strong imperial rule (“night watchmen”) is the best strategy to keep vulgar tribalism in check. But to paraphrase Blue Oyster Cult, history shows again and again how geopolitical ambition points out the folly of men. Imperialism only lays the groundwork for later resentment among the ruled and guilt among the rulers. Christopher Beckwith even finds this basic cycle at work in Central Asia: peoples are conquered, they adopt a new identity for a time, only to rise up at some point to destroy the adopted identity.

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    Posted on April 25th, 2016 at 8:38 pm Reply | Quote
  • vxxc2014 Says:

    Doubt Kaplan is self trolling.

    Rootless urban sociopaths in the West are frequently and earnestly self-parodying without realizing it.

    If the rest of The West adopts Israel’s policies on defense and especially immigration all will quickly be righted in that regard.

    Mind you Israel is of course Sparta.

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    Posted on April 25th, 2016 at 10:21 pm Reply | Quote
  • Akira Says:

    Kaplan’s podcast on the book at the Carnegie Counsel (with transcript):

    https://www.carnegiecouncil.org/en_US/studio/multimedia/20160209/index.html

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 25th, 2016 at 11:51 pm Reply | Quote
  • Brett Stevens Says:

    contrived states where official borders do not conform with ethnic and sectarian ones

    He must mean the USA. #secede

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 26th, 2016 at 1:19 am Reply | Quote
  • Mark Says:

    This is a great piece, regardless of previous missteps. He’s elucidated what’s been on the tip of everyone’s tongue.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 26th, 2016 at 7:12 am Reply | Quote
  • TheDividualist Says:

    I love this picture: http://www.nationalinterest.org/files/styles/main_image_on_posts/public/main_images/Refugees_1.jpg because it shows perfectly how the Cathedral media manipulates people. That fence suggests – emotionally – that these guys were somehow locked up, fenced in. As far as I can tell from the pics, it was merely the safety fence separating the tracks and it looks a lot like they just got off for a photo shoot on that side, as most of the action was on the other side: http://imgur.com/EToCVcs and http://imgur.com/unhs7kA I really suspect it must have happened so, look, there are reporters on the other side, let’s get off that side and make a sad picture.

    Indeed, the cooperation between the international media and migrants was very well tuned. Look at what this guy was doing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5gc6FAghvc and then the Pulitzer-winning photo took in exactly the right moment to put the totally opposite spin on it: http://www.businessinsider.sg/pulitzer-prize-photos-refugee-crisis-2016-4/5 and I really can’t see any other reason for him doing it that he must have spotted the photo reporter behind the policemen.

    I wonder if we should start such a website (or tumblr or whatever): photos you saw in the mainstream media vs. the real photos / videos.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 26th, 2016 at 7:25 am Reply | Quote
  • pyrrhus Says:

    Kaplan does not mention the apparently verboten topic of dwindling resources, but the increasingly apparent shortages of fresh water, topsoil, and uncontaminated land and water in general, is already becoming apparent in parts of Africa, the Great Plains, and California. When the current energy bump disappears, all hell is going to break loose….

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 27th, 2016 at 8:14 pm Reply | Quote

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