Posts Tagged ‘World’

Buy/bye Petrodollar

The master jigsaw puzzle piece connecting US domestic and foreign policy together is the petrodollar. Federal debt production depends upon credibility in the US currency that is anchored by its privileged role in global hydrocarbons commerce. Knock out that privilege, and US dollar holdings become one speculative asset among others. The fiat house of cards begins to tumble (perhaps with shocking rapidity).

In this context, US monetary policy begins to look like a side-line of ‘friendship’ with the Saudis, which is dissolving into quick sand. Pepe Escobar at AToL explores some of the possible consequences. (It’s especially notable that the fracking revolution could accelerate a petrodollar crisis, rather than retarding it.) There’s also a China angle, which is always fun.

Disconcertingly for almost everybody, in different ways, the awkward retraction of US power from the Middle Eastern wasps’ nest tends inevitably to destabilize the global monetary regime. The more the Saudis feel jilted, the less their commitment to the petrodollar pact, but if this was ever a low-maintenance relationship, it certainly isn’t anymore.

Bomb Iran or your currency bombs. — Things might not quite reduce to that yet, but it increasingly looks as if they will.

October 27, 2013admin 25 Comments »
FILED UNDER :World
TAGGED WITH : , , , ,

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 »
FILED UNDER :World
TAGGED WITH : , ,

Pacific Rim

Well-engineered, formidable, yet also lumbering constructions are directed into battle against horrific monsters, with the fate of the world at stake. Guillermo del Toro’s movie Pacific Rim is one of these entities, and the ethno-political review by ‘white advocacy’ writer Gregory Hood is another.

Within this cascade of monstrous signs, a convulsive re-ordering of the world from out of the Pacific is a constant reference. With the shocking scale of a tsunami, and the insidiousness of an obscure intelligence, it inundates the Old Order, starting from the ocean’s coastal ramparts. “When alien life entered the earth it was from deep within the Pacific Ocean. … the Breach.” City after city falls prey to the Kaiju. “This was not going to stop.”

Continue Reading

September 15, 2013admin 16 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction , World
TAGGED WITH : , , , , ,

Quote notes (#29)

Neoreactionary crime-think twitches in an unlikely place:

I am well aware of how this statement is likely to play among my liberal friends: to say something like this is to be orientalist/patriarchal/arrogant/imperialist/racist, but could it be that it may also be true?

(3QD tacks quite determinedly Islamo-leftist, but this whole piece — on the US Syria decision — is well-worth reading, and the first half, in particular, is excellent.)

ADDED: Another unlikely crime-think eruption.

 

September 10, 2013admin 4 Comments »
FILED UNDER :World
TAGGED WITH : , , ,

Broken Pottery

An irritated Pottery Barn disowned the Pottery Barn Rule — “you break it, you own it.” Colin Powell sought to create some distance, too:

It is said that I used the “Pottery Barn rule.” I never did it; [Thomas] Friedman did it … But what I did say … [is that] once you break it, you are going to own it, and we’re going to be responsible for 26 million people standing there looking at us. And it’s going to suck up a good 40 to 50 percent of the Army for years.

Wikipedia concurs with Powell, in attributing the phrase to Thomas L. Friedman (in a February 2003 column for the New York Times). Those with a diligent sense for historical detail might be able to accurately trace its spread amongst journalists and foreign policy officials, including Bob Woodward, Richard Armitage, and John Kerry. Regardless of such specifics, it captures the spirit of grand strategy during the Nullities, and explains why the US military is no longer of use for anything.

In its rational usage, the military is a machine for the production of negative incentives. It is designed to hurt people and break things, with the understanding that in its optimal — deterrent and intimidatory — function, the actual exercise of these capabilities will not be necessary. When considered from a Clausewitzean perspective, as a policy instrument, usable military power is directly proportional to a credible threat of punishment. It sets boundaries to the behavior of (rational) potential antagonists, by projecting the probability of extreme negative outcomes if diplomatically-determined triggers are activated — or ‘red lines’ crossed.

Continue Reading

September 9, 2013admin 16 Comments »
FILED UNDER :World
TAGGED WITH : ,

Quote notes (#28)

Some  ‘who-whom’ sense from Andrew C. McCarthy:

To me, the shrieking over weapons of mass destruction is the international version of the Left’s domestic campaign against guns, and of a piece with its trendy revulsion against land- and sea-mines. This is the delusion that discord is caused by the song, not the singer.

(Yes, sorry, it’s from the National Review, but it’s right.)

ADDED: Why stop at National Review?

September 7, 2013admin 11 Comments »
FILED UNDER :World
TAGGED WITH : ,

Quote notes (#24)

Adam Garfinkle makes an obvious point beautifully:

… whatever the Administration has said about the purpose of an attack being to “degrade and deter” Syrian capabilities, but not to change the regime, everyone expects the attacks to be modest and brief, thus not to much affect the battlefield balance, and once ceased to stay ceased. That is because the Administration’s reticence at being drawn into the bowels of Syrian madness is both well established and well justified. The attacks, then, will likely not degrade or deter anything really; they will be offered up only as a safety net to catch the falling reputation of the President as it drops toward the nether regions of strategic oblivion.

This has all been so vividly sign-posted it is getting hard to see how even a ‘cosmetic’ effect is going to work. How can an operation pre-advertized as an awkward spasm of embarrassment be realistically expected to restore honor and credibility?

Handle brims with sense on the topic.

August 30, 2013admin 2 Comments »
FILED UNDER :World
TAGGED WITH : , ,

Great Games …

… you have planned, shame if something bad were to happen to them.

Tyler Durden (of Zero Hedge) casts some harsh light on the lead up to WWIV recent diplomatic engagement between Saudi Arabia and Russia — countries that seem to be uniquely serious about the outcome of the Islamic civil(izational) war.  Roughly a month ago, these countries had a less than complete meeting of minds on the future of the region. TD quotes Al-Monitor on the conclusion: “At the end of the meeting, the Russian and Saudi sides agreed to continue talks, provided that the current meeting remained under wraps. This was before one of the two sides leaked it via the Russian press.”

Since we know all about this, it means no more talks, an implicit warning that the Chechens operating in proximity to Sochi may just become a loose cannon (with Saudi’s blessing of course), and that about a month ago “there is no escape from the military option, because it is the only currently available choice given that the political settlement ended in stalemate.” Four weeks later, we are on the edge of all out war, which may involve not only the US and Europe, but most certainly Saudi Arabia and Russia which automatically means China as well. Or, as some may call it, the world.

Russian leverage is aligned with inertia, so it can be exercised with some subtlety. The Saudis, on the other hand, are in an awkward spot:  they either back down, or they have to make ‘a splash’. Anyone looking for upcoming trigger events knows where to pay attention.

(For graphic context, try this.)

August 28, 2013admin 9 Comments »
FILED UNDER :World
TAGGED WITH : , ,

Scale-free Reaction

Kaplan goes full Moldbug:

Unless some force can, against considerable odds, reinstitute hierarchy … we will have more fluidity, more equality and therefore more anarchy to look forward to. This is profoundly disturbing, because civilization abjures anarchy. … without order — without hierarchy — there is nothing.

Perhaps, in the field of international relations, Kaplan is more Moldbug than Moldbug, presenting an uncompromisingly hardline reactionary model of world order, completely undisturbed by domestic considerations or even the slightest hint of libertarian descent. If sovereignty is conserved globally, as well as nationally, a worldwide Patchwork order looks as improbable as a stable constitutional republic, and exit options evaporate. Scale-free Moldbuggian analysis could prove more than a little blood-chilling.

April 18, 2013admin 24 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Neoreaction
TAGGED WITH : , , , ,