Posts Tagged ‘Strategy’

Oil War

This contrarian argument, on the resilience of America’s shale industry in the face of the unfolding OPEC “price war”, is the pretext to host a discussion about a topic that is at once too huge to ignore, and too byzantine to elegantly comprehend. The most obvious complication — bypassed entirely by this article — is the harsher oil geopolitics, shaped by a Saudi-Russian proxy war over developments in the Middle East (and Russian backing of the Assad regime in Damascus, most particularly). I’m not expecting people here to be so ready to leave that aside.

Clearly, though, the attempt to strangle the new tight-oil industry in its cradle is a blatantly telegraphed dimension of the present Saudi oil-pricing strategy, and one conforming to a consistent pattern. If Mullaney’s figures can be trusted, things could get intense:

… data from the state of North Dakota says the average cost per barrel in America’s top oil-producing state is only $42 — to make a 10% return for rig owners. In McKenzie County, which boasts 72 of the state’s 188 oil rigs, the average production cost is just $30, the state says. Another 27 rigs are around $29.

If oil-price chicken is going to be exploring these depths, there’s going to be some exceptional pain among the world’s principal producers. Russia is being economically cornered in a way that is disturbingly reminiscent of policy towards Japan pre-WWII, when oil geopolitics was notoriously translated into military desperation. Venezuela will collapse. Iran is also under obvious pressure.

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December 4, 2014admin 47 Comments »
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The Islamic Vortex (Note-3a)

This blog has doubtless generated rafts of unreliable predictions. The one that has been nagging, however — ever since Scott Alexander called me out on it in the comment thread there — was advanced in the most recent sub-episode of this series. Quote: “Baghdad will almost certainly have fallen by the end of the year, or early next.” Even if the time horizon for this event is stretched out to the end of March 2015, I have very low confidence in it being realized. The analysis upon which it was based was crucially flawed. I’m getting my crow-eating in early (and even if — by some improbably twist of fortune — ISIS is in control of Baghdad by late March next year, it won’t be any kind of vindication for the narrative I was previously spinning.)

Where did I go wrong (in my own eyes)? Fundamentally, by hugely over-estimating the intelligence of ISIS. The collapse of this inflated opinion is captured by a single word: Kurds.

Just a few months ago, ISIS enjoyed a strategic situation of extraordinary potential. It represented the most militant — and thus authentic — strain of Arab Sunni Jihad, ensuring exceptional morale, flows of volunteers from across the Sunni Muslim world, and funding from the gulf oil-states, based upon impregnable legitimacy. It was able to recruit freely from the only constituency within Iraq with any military competence — the embittered remnants of Saddam’s armed forces, recycled through the insurgency against the American occupation, and then profoundly alienated by the sectarian politics of the new Shia regime. It was also able to draw upon a large, fanatically motivated, Syrian Sunni population, brutalized and hardened by the war against the (Alawite, or quasi-Shia) Assad regime in that country. Both enemy states were radically anathematized throughout the Sunni world, deeply demoralized, incompetent, and patently incapable of asserting their authority throughout their respective countries. In consequence, a re-integrated insurgent Sunni Mesopotamia had arisen, with such historical momentum that it served as a concrete source of inspiration for energetic holy war, and a natural base for the eschatalogically-promised reborn Caliphate.

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December 3, 2014admin 31 Comments »
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Popcorn Activism

Partisan political stuff is as tacky as you can get, and if anything could get people chucked out of NRx (and into the garbage-compressor of history), that should be it. Having said that, and — of course — in a spirit of the loftiest imaginable detachment, here’s just the slightest morsel.

The Sailer Strategy is a model of sorts. This is due less to its concrete recommendations (fascinating even to those who disagree with it, perhaps vehemently), than —
(a) Its configuration of the political chess board as a puzzle, posing the question: Given this set up, is there any way for the GOP to win? Playing GOP is much more fun, because it’s actually a challenge. Sailer doesn’t need this encouragement, because he’s clearly a small-d democrat, and probably also a big-R Republican, in sympathy at least. Despite this, his disreputable noticing habit makes him radioactive, which brings us to —
(b) While a paragon of ingenuousness, Sailer is positioned by strategic necessity in a position of subterfuge. His ideas are discussed in fearful whispers, in shadowy corners of political think-tanks, and circulated only in heavy disguise. It would be quite impossible for a pursuit of the Sailer Strategy to be publicly admitted, short of a social and ideological catastrophe so profound that its recommendations would have already been rendered moot.

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November 6, 2014admin 27 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Democracy
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If NRx is spiraling back into a second phase of entryism paranoia, it looks as if it might be a lot more reflexively intense — and therefore more creative — than the last one. It’s still too early to get a firm grip at this point, and it is quite possible that the very nature of the threat makes confident apprehension an unrealistic expectation. Subversion is an abstract horror, or integral obscurity, presumed to be actively restraining itself from emergence as a phenomenon. However, some stimulating indicators:

The self-exemplification (by Konkvistador) here has surely to be taken as the provocation to a more abstract suggestion. If ‘I’ could do it, then others could too. The generalization is strongly encouraged:

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October 25, 2014admin 41 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction

Open Secret

NRx has been accused, by its friends more than its enemies, of talking about itself too much. Here XS is, doing that again, not only stuck in ‘meta’ but determinedly pushing ever deeper in. There are some easily communicable reasons for that — an attachment to methodical nonlinearity perhaps foremost among them — and then there are cryptic drivers or attachments, unsuited to immediate publicization. These latter are many (even Legion). It is the firm assertion of this blog that Neoreaction is intrinsically arcane.

We do not talk very much about Leo Strauss. Once again, there are some obvious reasons for this, but also others.

Steve Sailer’s recent Takimag article on Strauss makes for a convenient introduction, because — despite its light touch — it moves a number of issues into place. The constellation of voices is complex from the start. There is the (now notorious) ‘Neo-Conservatism’ of Strauss and his disciples, or manipulators, and the other conservatism of Sailer, each working to manage, openly and in secret, its own peculiar mix of public statement and discretion. Out beyond them — because even the shadowiest figures have further shadows — are more alien, scarcely perceptible shapes.

Sailer’s article is typically smart, but also deliberately crude. It glosses the Straussian idea of esoteric writing as “talking out of both sides of your mouth” — as if hermetic traditionalism were reducible to a lucid political strategy, or simple conspiracy — to ‘Illuminism’, politically conceived. In the wake of its Neo-Con trauma, conservatism has little patience for “secret decoder rings”. Yet, despite his aversion to the recent workings of inner-circle ‘conservative’ sophisticates, Sailer does not let his distaste lure him into stupidity:

We haven’t heard much about Straussianism lately due to the unfortunate series of events in Iraq that befell the best-laid plans of the sages. But that doesn’t mean that Strauss was necessarily wrong about the ancients. And that has interesting implications for how we should read current works.

As the approaching 20th anniversary of the publication of The Bell Curve reminds us, the best minds of our age have reasons for being less than wholly frank.

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September 27, 2014admin 1,387 Comments »
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Quote note (#111)

SoBL on the next stage for Japan:

The Japanese had their forty-first straight month of trade deficits. This is the problem when a nation imports raw materials and energy and exports finished goods in a world of sluggish demand. The Japanese are one of the export dollar recyclers. They are not reliable anymore, which might be why tiny Belgium holds hundreds of billions of US Treasuries now. The Japanese are now moving to invest more abroad, but curiously, they are not investing in hot spots like China but instead in America. The Japanese are investing in US insurance companies as a proxy for investing directly in the US. They want to use insurance companies as a way to learn about the US market more before digging in deeper. This is beyond direct purchases of manufacturing firms and what not. They did this in the ’80s when Japanese automakers partnered with US firms to learn the psychology of the US worker as they then invested in US sitused plants.

At the core of all of this is finding ways to earn non-yen denominated revenue. Currency diversification to prepare for a domestic shock. They are preparing for the devaluing of the yen, and they expect it to happen to the yen first and the dollar later. Many have bet against the yen and lost, including recently Kyle Bass, but if the Japanese themselves are starting to bail, the end must be approaching. It is an interesting island culture shaping up. Greying and shrinking population, growing robotics industry, worlds’ largest creditor nation with trillions in net assets, “xenophobic” immigration policy, shrinking working population… it is like they are setting up an island of a homogenous, rentier class.

If this analysis is correct, it suggests that Japanese capital is set to become a major resource for world-wide trends with an NRx (anti-demotic propertarian) orientation. Sustaining foreign investment revenue streams will become an existential necessity for a grayed Japan, which is enough to establish a definite agenda regarding governance models in the functional fragments of the world system.

Does a ‘rentier nation’ spontaneously produce a Neocameral geopolitical entity?

September 22, 2014admin 13 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy
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Chaos Patch (#23)

(Open thread, random links, spontaneous disorder.)

@antidemblog was the first voice I heard comparing Ferguson to a Rorschach blot. That seems right. Here are some communists (++), tortured left liberals, tortured conservatives (+), establishment libertarians, outer right curmudgeons, white nationalists. This line of approach makes a lot of sense to me. Ferguson (allusively) here, and (more overtly) at UF.

The bottom-line of the recent 4GW explorations being pushed by TNIO is that fertility becomes an unanswerable weapon under conditions of Cathedral dominion. The analysis needs a little more hardening up, but prognosis will remain elusive because it leads into biopolitical darknesses no one is keen to coldly investigate. Instead, there’s just elevated shrieking.

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August 17, 2014admin 35 Comments »
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The Islamic Vortex (Note-1)

An executive summary of Ali Khedery’s open letter to President Obama: Face it, ISIS is your ally bro.

August 13, 2014admin 12 Comments »
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… stands for agree, amplify, and accelerate. Initiated here, and escalated here, it opens an unexplored horizon for strategic discussion within NRx. No analysis of cultural conflict on the Internet can bypass a reference to trolling, and no understanding of trolling is any longer complete without reference to AAA. It raises the discussion of parody to a new level. (If it isn’t already obvious, this blog is seriously impressed.)

AAA works if strategic complication has favorable consequences. Whichever cultural faction has the greater capacity for the tolerance of difficulty, identity confusion, irony, and humor, will tend to find advantage in it. I think that’s us. It’s inherently toxic to zealotry.

As a sub-theme — but one keenly appreciated here — it marks a critical evolution in the Cthulhu Wars. (Check out the graphics on the TNIO post for recognition of that.) Rather than arguing over whether “Cthulhu swims left” AAA proposes amphetaminizing the monster regardless. If a “holocaust of freedom” is what you want, let’s go there. Take this operation to the end of the river … and see what we find.

ADDED: Slate Star Scratchpad comments.

July 22, 2014admin 12 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction
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Has Obama Administration geostrategy been based upon a cunning (and secret) plan? Richard Fernandez makes the case that a covert American attempt to subvert radical Islam crested with the September 11, 2012, Benghazi fiasco. Employing a mix of infiltration, drone assassination (to clear promotion paths), and calculated regime sacrifices (Egypt, Syria), the objective was to reforge an international Jihad under covert US control. When the take-over plan went south, nothing could be publicly admitted. Cascading failure has continued in the shadows ever since, jutting into media consciousness as a succession of disconnected — even inexplicable — foreign policy setbacks.

The curious thing about September 11, 2012 — the day of the Benghazhi attack — is that for some reason it marks the decline of the Obama presidency as clearly as a milepost. We are told by the papers that nothing much happened on that day. A riot in a far-away country. A few people killed. And yet … it may be coincidental, but from that day the administration’s foreign policy seemed inexplicably hexed. The Arab Spring ground to a halt. The secretary of State “resigned.” The CIA director was cast out in disgrace. Not long after, Obama had to withdraw his red line in Syria. Al-Qaeda, whose eulogy he had pronounced, appeared with disturbing force throughout Africa, South Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. Almost as if on cue, Russia made an unexpected return to the world stage, first in Syria, then in the Iranian nuclear negotiations.


Fernandez digs much deeper than Carney, but this is still worth adding.

May 14, 2014admin 12 Comments »
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