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2023-02-27 08:49 by Karl Denninger
in Foreign Policy , 4321 references
[Comments enabled]  

It was only a matter of time before our so-called foreign policy turned into a serious problem with someone who can punch back.

For decades the United States has arrogated to itself the capacity to tell other nations who they should have as leaders.  Who must run said nation, and who may not.  The alliances that are to be coddled, and those that are forbidden.  This is preposterous, of course, in that national sovereignty is precisely that, yet we have for decades believed we have the "righteous authority" to issue such diktat.

The CIA has toppled some 50 governments over time.  Some more-or-less openly, some on the down low.  Iran is an infamous one that ultimately blew up in our face.  Deciding that the Iranian government was unacceptable because it expropriated the property of a British company, not even a US concern, we interfered, toppled the government and installed the Shah.  This ultimately led to the Iranian revolution and the seizure of hostages at our Embassy, never mind a whole bunch of other terrorism.

We are very anti-narcotic and anti-serious drug -- except, of course, when the use of the money generated suits us.  Then its "oh well" or "oh, that's sad", even if the people that die from said drugs are in the United States, and they often are.  Oliver North and the cocaine trade that was at the center of Iran-Contra anyone?

The United States was the initiator of events that led to the war in Ukraine.  We were fully behind the overthrow of the government there back at the time of Maidan less than a decade ago.  Said government was incorrigible, but that's none of our business, right up until it apparently is and someone gets a wild hair in their backside about where someone's using the money -- or really, really likes the idea of being able to launder some as a US interest.  Anything that gets in the way of that is, of course, unacceptable.

But for Maidan there would be no war in Ukraine.  But for our continued attempts to do what we did with Turkey and missiles right near Russia there would have been no Cuban missile incident either.  Yes, that was a crisis, but it was our making -- not the USSR's.  Would you sit back and let some foreign nation put nuclear missiles in Mexico within a few minutes flight time of LA?

Didn't think so.

Fundamentally the Ukraine problem lies there.  Ukraine has always been an ungovernable cesspool; there are roughly four ethnic groups, all of whom hate each other, and one of them is essentially Russian.  The land itself is a trade crossroads that has served as such for over a thousand years, so that this occurred is not really a surprise.  The USSR delegated nearly all operating authority to the territory for this reason; Moscow simply didn't have the desire to try to tame that which was always trying to bite from one direction or another, as they understood the only real way to make that happen would be to kill 3/4 of the population there or enslave all of them.

Crimea was purchased by Catherine the Great as it was a gateway for a strategic, warm-water 12 month port.  Without it Russia was at risk of a pincer on said port at any time, and this was unacceptable.  Therefore rather than take it, she bought it.  This is historical fact and no amount of revisionism will ever change it, any more than you can un-do the fact that the United States purchased Alaska; even though it is non-contiguous with the rest of our land, it serves as a buffer between North America and the Russo/Asian landmass.  It's ours; we bought it through legitimate consensual negotiation, just as Russia bought Crimea through the same process.

The Turkish mess with NATO (since when are they in the North Atlantic?) and that part of the Cuban mess ought to be obvious, but that's in the rearview mirror and we managed to avoid blowing each other up, even though we provoked it -- and were in the wrong.

Well, now we have a problem.  You see, over the last three decades or so we've offshored huge parts of our supply chain to China.  We did it out of idiocy, but that's in the rear view mirror too.  Its done and while we could reverse course we can't do it tomorrow, and whether we like it or not it takes five to ten years to build a fab and get it online for chips and such, never mind other areas of manufacturing.

China doesn't like our point of view when it comes to the Russia/Ukraine dust-up.  In fact they're thinking that if we can send weapons, ammunition and such to Ukraine, they can send them to Russia.  Oh, by the way, they share a border so its quite-convenient and unlike our shipments, which can be blown up the minute they go into Ukraine, that's a much-more dicey proposition for Chinese shipments into Russia.

This is a problem and one we have no good answer to.  Our government has threatened, including our Treasury Secretary (Yellen) that there will be "serious consequences" for China if they do this.  Oh really?  What consequences would those be?  Are you going to shoot or sanction?  Good luck with either; shooting leads to WWIII and sanctioning is an empty threat when you need the supply pipeline to operate or you can't make, well...... just about anything.

We seem to often think of ourselves as an empire of sorts, but unfortunately there's an issue that arises when men and women get old and their various "virtues" start to slip away.  Men start to lose their "stick" as they get older and some of them are very unhappy about this.  The man who accumulates a lot of money, as he ages, often uses it to essentially buy younger women's attention, which is a business transaction of sorts.  Who am I to argue with either?  I have a bit of personal experience with this; when I lived in Florida I owned a decent-sized boat for a good while -- a 45' Hatteras.  She was a nice vessel and served me well.  I also got a lot of attention from women who were a lot more-cute and younger than was rational for a dude in his 40s; what is a woman who is still in her child-bearing years doing wanting to be with a 40+ year old man?  If "somehow" there is a child produced what are the odds that I can actually raise said kid through to adulthood and meaningfully participate in the sort of activities that a teen boy would be part of, for example?  Not very good odds, right?  Yet there they were.  Hmmmm.... funny thing is the day I sold that boat all that attention instantly disappeared.

Did I suddenly get uglier or less-wealthy?  No, and actually I had more disposable wealth that could be spent on various pursuits (including her) because I now had cash instead of the boat and the drain on my checking account from owning and operating said boat, which anyone who has owned a larger vessel knows is not small, disappeared.   But the symbol disappeared and that was what she found attractive despite the fact that objectively today I am in better physical condition than I was then (this was before I ditched the 60lbs too!)  Probably a good thing I'm not all screwed in the head eh; I might have done something rather evil otherwise.

You think women don't see the same thing?  Like hell they don't.  A 20 year old cutie isn't so cute when she's 50.  I don't care what you start with, over time it becomes less in that department; a woman's fertility peaks at 24, like it or not.  If she acquires great power (aka a Treasury Secretary or chair of The Fed) she might try to get back the ego boost she got from being leered at by some hunk, just like the dude does who used to have some cognitive power and decent looks but now its all slipping away.

Power tends to attract people who would abuse it, just because its there.  Its not that the Priesthood turns men gay and predatory toward boys; its that access to alter boys comes with the job and the constraint on marriage means men who like males are more-selected there, simply because a man who wants women knows he'll never openly get one in the Priesthood without being instantly defrocked.

The same applies on a national level and scale.  Ukraine doesn't have a "government" that operates with the consent of the governed.  We undertook acts that led to this, directly.  Their government has stripped the right of the people to have opposition political parties, to free speech against the government's policies, has forbidden men to leave the nation (gee, forced conscription anyone?) and more.  These are acts we claim to broadly stand against and in fact are equal or worse than those of both Russia and China.

Well, now China has said "no, we will not stand with you, United States."  And unlike little Nicaragua or Iran, we deliberately and foolishly intertwined our economy with their supply capacity, even though we knew a big part of it involved forced labor (that's slavery by the way), forced displacement of portions of their population and intentional ecological destruction as all three were inherently necessary for them to be "competitive" in said supply (read: cheaper.)  We did it anyway, and then we went even further and offshored our inflationary impulses through so-called "free trade" which was anything but when the other side is using slavery and environmental destruction to be the low bidder.

Poking a bear repeatedly is a bad idea.  Eventually it will bite, no matter whether it wants to or not, as your continued insults become intolerable.

No, Russia is not the "good guys" and Putin is and always has been a thug.  But his interest, and that of his nation's Parliament, which I remind you really does exist and really does hold legislative power in Russia, is very realistic in maintaining a buffer zone between NATO and their nation sufficient to prevent another Turkey-style incident.  Their position in that regard is reasonable and our continued insistence for nearly a decade now that this buffer must be destroyed is, quite-reasonably, seen by those in Russia as an existential threat to Russia as a nation.

China sees the same thing and views it the same way -- and objectively, both are right.

What started as a "don't become part of NATO, leave Crimea as it is and stop shelling people who identify as Russian and we'll leave you alone" -- which was Russia's initial position -- is no longer acceptable to Ukraine and the United States.  Now our position is "Russia's government must go, Crimea must be forcibly taken even though Russia bought it and NATO must be able to put missiles 5 minutes from Moscow."

Russia will not accept this no matter the cost and China stands with them in that regard -- justly so since they justifiably believe they'll be next if they stand back and let it go on.

Wake up America; the road we're on leads to WWIII, and with a supply chain that is incapable of fighting said war as one of our opponents will cut it off, never mind that everyone involved has nuclear weapons and someone, eventually, will use them.  In the meantime the money we've wasted thus far over there could have absolutely sealed off the entire southern border against all illegal crossings, provided two years of community college to every single graduating senior who can do the work at no cost and had plenty left over (to, for example, replace the lead water feeder pipes that still exist into homes and businesses.)

Rather than do any of that we're taking actions that could easily lead to our cities -- and people -- glowing in the dark.

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