Posts Tagged ‘Triangles’

Rough Triangles III

Déjà vu time at XS, courtesy of the Mesopotamian death spiral, and Fernandez’s strategic framing. The background is important, and relates the topic to a wider question of conservation laws.

The collapse in the Middle East feels like Black April, 1975, the month South Vietnam fell [*]. And it should, because just as the collapse of Saigon did not happen in Black April, but in a political American decision to allow South Vietnam to fall after a “decent interval”, so also is the ongoing collapse rooted, not in the recent tactical mistakes of the White House, but in the grand strategic decision president Obama made when he assumed office. […] This is the plan. It would be crazy not to acknowledge it.

A humanitarian foreign policy is as much a hostage to dark humor as any other affront to Gnon. Hell doesn’t go away just because you don’t like it. So instead it slides diagonally in the only direction left open, from bloody (and incompetent) hegemonism into radically cynical catastrophe tweaking:

Deep in their hearts the Washington Post and the New York Times must realize they endorsed Obama precisely because they knew that when this moment came he would harden his heart and refuse to re-engage, except for show. Since this is the plan, the only effective strategy, the only sane thing to do is to accept the liberal gambit and continue it. […] The obvious continuation is not to dampen the sectarian conflict, but to exacerbate it to the greatest degree possible. America, like Britain in the Napoleonic age, should adopt the policy of supporting first one side then the other, or preferably both at once, so that the combatants inflict the maximum degree of damage on each other. […] … To a cynic, what follows next is quite simple: to be the winner stand back and watch while the Arabian peninsula, Levant and North Africa destroys itself. Take every opportunity to make it worse. Clearly a humanitarian catastrophe of unprecedented scale will result. Hundreds of thousands are already dead and millions of displaced persons are on the road. That will only grow in scale and number to millions of dead and tens of millions of refugees. Therefore steps like preparing to sink the people smuggling boats, as the EU is doing, are in order. […] If you can stomach it, it can work like a charm. […] The main problem with this strategy is that Obama may not be able to contain its effects. …

(For the Rough Triangles XS log, see 1, 2, 3.)

* Cited over-excitedly here, with walk-back here.

May 19, 2015admin 16 Comments »
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Chaos Patch (#50)

(Open thread + links)

Masters of the NRx energy cycle right now: Hurlock (on economic history, 1, 2, 3) and Poseidon (on significant triangles, 1, 2). Dampier has settled into a marathonrunner pace. Mango politics. “You want to save the world? Have the strength to walk away.” Never trust a non-biologian. Meanwhile, in the Augean Stables of absurd lies. The Christian Question. Teleotheology, and cyclical demography. The worse, the better. Chatting with Chesterton. No NRX for Mike (loosely related). Still speciating. Finally! Reaction rounds.

The slow, painful death of democracy. Russia is cooked. A fairly massive Greek-chicken dump (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) — when it’s time to finally go over the cliff, you get the drivers you deserve. US and China on opposite paths. The strong dollar illusion. Into the crack-up phase?

When Keynes spoke the truth. Classic left libertarian irritability (more here).

On the Internet, darkness will win (with some intriguing twists).

That’s the stupidest, most easily avoidable path to self-destruction ever. And yet it seems to be the one we’re on.” Disparate impact dogma is going to hurt. When minorities attack (each other). Stubbornly non-ethnic whites (stubbornly not looking for understanding). The truth will set you free.

Alain de Benoist on fascism. Submission reviewed. Luther is back.

When Swatch tried to decimalize global time.

Newton’s papers.

February 22, 2015admin 28 Comments »
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Let It Burn …

… (the Middle East version):

Why can’t America be more like China?

(a) Stay out
(b) If you have to interfere, help whoever’s losing (but not too much)
(c) Recognize there’s an intricate theological argument going on that we can’t hope to understand:

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June 20, 2014admin 16 Comments »
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Quote notes (#85)

Marc Andreessen on the triangular dynamic tensions of tech innovation:

These technologies escalate the power of government, but they also escalate the power of business, and they also escalate the power of individuals. So everyone’s been upgraded. And it’s a recalibration of who can do what, and everybody can do new things, so everybody’s uneasy about it. Governments are very worried about what citizens are going to be able to do with these new technologies. Citizens are very worried about what governments are going to do, and everybody’s worried about what businesses are going to do. It’s this three-way dynamic that’s playing out. And so for any of these individual issues, it’s not just “What is one leg of this triangle going to be doing?” It’s, “What are all three of them going to be doing, and how will the tension resolve itself?”

Much of interest also on the NSA, net neutrality, and especially Bitcoin:

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May 22, 2014admin 10 Comments »
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Trichotomocracy

By 2037 the harsh phases of The Upheaval have finally ended. Western Eurasia is ruined and confused, but the fighting has burnt out amongst the rubble. In the Far East, the Chinese Confucian Republic has largely succeeded in restoring order, and is even enjoying the first wave of renewed prosperity. The Islamic civil war continues, but — now almost entirely introverted — it is easily quarantined. No one wants to think too much about what is happening in Africa.

The territory of the extinct USA is firmly controlled by the Neoreactionary Coalition, whose purchase is strengthened by the flight of 20 million Cathedral Loyalists to Canada and Europe (incidentally toppling both into terminal chaos). The Provisional Trichotomous Council, selected primarily by a process of military promotion and delegation from within the major Neoreactionary  guerrilla groups, now confronts the task of establishing a restored political order.

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October 9, 2013admin 50 Comments »
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Quote notes (#33)

Rough Triangles analysis from William Lind:

… we think of jihad as something waged by Islam against non-Muslims, but quite often it has been between one Islamic sect and another. Now Islamists are once again declaring jihad on each other. In June the New York Times reported on an influential Sunni cleric who “has issued a fatwa, or religious decree, calling on Muslims around the world to help Syrian rebels… and labeling Hezbollah and Iran” — both Shi’ite — “enemies of Islam ‘more infidel than Jews and Christians.'” David Gardner’s Financial Times piece tells of a  “conclave of Sunni clerics meeting in Cairo [that] declared a jihad against what it called a ‘declaration of war on Islam’ by the ‘Iranian regime, Hezbollah and its sectarian allies’.”

How should the West react to all this? With quiet rejoicing. Our strategic objective should be to get Islamists to expend their energies on each other rather than on us. An old aphorism says the problem with Balkans is that they produce more history than they can consume locally. Our goal should be to encourage the Muslim world to consume all its history — of which it will be producing a good deal — as locally as possible. Think of it as “farm to table” war.

All we should do, or can do, to obtain this objective is to stay out. We ought not meddle, no matter how subtly; if we do, inevitably, it will blow up in our faces. Just go home, stay home, bolt the doors (especially to refugees who will act out their jihads here) …

September 26, 2013admin 3 Comments »
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Quote notes (#32)

Fernandez:

In other words America is gone, replaced by this tricycle of strife. And the paternal hand wheeling it down the road is Vladimir Putin’s.  Andrew Sullivan thinks this is proof, if any more were needed, of Barack Obama’s surpassing genius. He writes that America’s ejection is not a bug but a feature; that “Obama, reflecting American public opinion, is perfectly happy to have Putin assume responsibility for the Middle East. Let Russia be drained, bankrupted and exhausted by managing that fractious and decreasingly important part of the world.” In Sullivan’s view Putin is hurting his fist against Obama’s jaw.

But Sullivan doesn’t quite understand that Russia is not going to “manage” the Middle East but raise it up against America. Totalitarians don’t do management. They do conquest.  They do agitation. They do trouble. As for upkeep, Putin will be sending the bill to the White House. He will get Obama to pay for it. When Egypt starves expect the bill to come to Washington. After all, why use “food as a weapon?” Yet when the time comes to kiss the ring, Putin will receive the obeisance of the sheiks while Obama will be sent to the back of the bus, even if America is paying for the bus. That is nothing new. Perhaps Sullivan has never heard of Lenin’s bon mot “when we hang the capitalists they will sell us the rope we use.”  Putin is probably familiar with the phrase:  heck, he probably went back by Time Machine and ghostwrote the original line for Lenin.

I’m not at all sure how much of this I agree with, but it’s brilliant, and indisputably thought-provoking.

September 15, 2013admin 14 Comments »
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Quote notes (#27)

Whatever the moral philosophy that underpins this, it ends up in the right place:

Now in the large I’m for the bombing of foreigners  — partly on principle and partly just personal satisfaction. … But sometimes there really is nothing at all in it for us and we’d all be better off if they brutally slug it out for a few years. 

[Edited to eliminate the off-key quasi-qualmy part]

The sensitive version.

ADDED: RAND does rough triangles: “Divide and Rule focuses on exploiting fault lines between the various Salafi-jihadist groups to turn them against each other and dissipate their energy on internal conflicts. This strategy relies heavily on covert action, information operations (IO), unconventional warfare, and support to indigenous security forces. …  the United States and its local allies could use the nationalist jihadists to launch proxy IO campaigns to discredit the transnational jihadists in the eyes of the local populace. … U.S. leaders could also choose to capitalize on the “Sustained Shia-Sunni Conflict” trajectory by taking the side of the conservative Sunni regimes against Shiite empowerment movements in the Muslim world.”

September 5, 2013admin 6 Comments »
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Rough Triangles Redux

Is it conventional wisdom yet?

ADDED: Peter Bergen at CNN: “Doing nothing will not be treated kindly by future historians writing in the same vein as Power.” (Every time you read that sentence you’ll get more out of it.)

August 26, 2013admin 4 Comments »
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Our Ally, the Enemy

It’s not exactly a formal pact between the United States and Al Qaeda, but no one honestly thinks it’s anything really different. Either it’s a rough triangles play, or it’s sheer insanity.

Time won’t tell, but it will hint, as the intervention proceeds. If it makes things worse, before guttering out into indecision, stalling resolution, then it might make sense. In any case, it’s big.

(Drew M. at AoS is a seriously hard-core rough triangles guy: “We should help whichever side is losing at any given moment but only to the extant that it enables them to fight on to take and inflict more casualties. There’s no scenario where one side winning helps us.”)

June 14, 2013admin 15 Comments »
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