Link drop Feb 2020


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The big issue isn't that this one kills many people. The flu kills many more in parallel. The big issue is that this one isn't understood yet and might actually be much worse than the flu. At least the mortality rate appears to be no more than a couple per cent so far.
A 'couple per cent' such as 3% could still kill more than both World Wars combined when the infectiousness allows it to overrun the world. That's why contagiousness is so important. Sick people being able to infect others without showing symptoms devalues many containment schemes, and to date it's still not known for certain how exactly the virus can be transmitted. There's a very small chance that it may be airborne.

I suppose the wealthy Western countries will be able to deal with it even though we don't have a culture of wearing face masks to protect others.

Poor countries on the other hand have much less capacity to deal with outbreaks, and might not get much aid if we need our resources for ourselves.

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"camo is gender neutral"

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Lots of tensions and much economic damage, for no gain.

Foreign policy that promotes and respects international law and uses win-win cooperation as the standard operating procedure may be opaque, boring and devoid of spectacular events. Still, loud mouth low IQ bully foreign policy is a spectacular failure by comparison.

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I wrote about this before. The U.S.Army is the epitome of procurement incompetence in regard to armoured vehicles for combat and helicopters. All attention on their programs is misplaced, as they get cancelled anyway. The maximum the U.S. Army AFV efforts can create are MRAPs and Frankenstein's monsters à la M109A7.

The USMC rivals them in their incompetence. They're flying modified Vietnam era helicopters and have been unable to replace an amphibious Vietnam-era APC despite near-constant efforts.

The USN hasn't devised a truly good ship class since the Arleigh Burke design of the 1980's, and that one was based on the questionable premise that AEGIS with its semi-active radar homing missiles and dependence on huge shipborne radars rather than emphasising AEW made much sense. Their design also started off without a helicopter hangar. So even that supposed success story is a mixed one.

That leaves the USAF. The C-17 was never necessary, the C-5 design could have done the same job. C-130J was just barely a successful upgrade. The 135 series replacement was no show of great competence to say the least. The F-22 was essentially an 80s/90s effort and a mixed success - the aircraft is still unnecessary to this day. It would thoroughly surprise me if the F-35 story turns out to be successful. It sure doesn't match the early expectations well.

All that (procurement) incompetence nullifies much of American military spending. It should also inform the rest of the world - and Europe in particular - to not expect the Americans to advance military tech by much. They don't advance platform concepts. There are advances in munitions and electronics, but we would stagnate if we relied on the Americans to advance platform concept technology for NATO.

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"77% of Americans surveyed can't find Iran on a map"

That's just business as usual.

The support for killing a foreign general without the state of war was higher than the ability to locate the country on a map. I suppose that at some point, one has to ask whether the president is the threat to peace or the people as a group. Such polls sure point in the latter direction.

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German newspapers are reporting about an official government report that the Bundeswehr didn't improve in its problem areas much. This despite an extreme increase of military spending; plus a quarter from 2013 to 2018 alone.
Quelle surprise! Other countries had similar experiences. The readiness problem was never a fiscal problem. The bureaucracy has become rigid and its leadership is self-serving. There hasn't been a strong civilian leadership that forces them onto a path of pursuing national interest rather than self-interest.
To throw more money at them solves nothing. Sadly, that's all the current 'top politicians' are capable of - and the job of secretary of defence is rather a toxic waste dump than one for which the best possible candidate is selected.



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  2. Sven, in the US, the primary purpose of the DoD is to ensure that large defense contractors and certain parts of the country receive money. All else is secondary and perhaps accidental, including national security.

  3. Lots of yanks puffing their chests up and asserting, "If China or Russia want to get into an arms race, we will win it.". I dont get it, their last 40 years have been nothing but failed botched project after failed botched project.

    Seeing the same thing with the yankish discourse around Coronavirus, gloating. Attacking the Chinese as stupid, evil. Bat soup aquired (that was the 'daily heil' so not yankish), or leaked out of a bioweapon lab in Wuhan. Under this is some racist misassessment of current Chinese societal strength. It shouldnt be surprising to me that they still think this way, but I was surprised.

    Someone said a couple of years ago, 10m high screens should be erected in yankish population centers broadcasting 24/7 livestreams from global cities. Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing, Singapore etc... in an attempt to force the yanks to update their vision of the rest of the world. I imagine they would say the streams were fake news, CGI.

    Interesting question asked of yanks, what percentage of the global population is yankish. Answers, anywhere from 25-40%. Based on their answers, the arrogance is warranted.

    Been an EU citizen my whole life, now I'm a subject under the paedo queen and her aromatherapy loving chinless son. Not a nice feeling.

    Alba gu bràth.

  4. Good question, to what extent is public opinion shaped externally (thus implying Americans can be educated of their barbarism) or is a product of internal culture and forces, in which case Trump's beautiful Limes idea may not be the worst, if considered inverted. The idealist in me compels me to believe in the greater relevance of the first option.

  5. Fun fun fun: about the sociology of the Trump movement.


    I hadn't really grasped the depth of the problems they were going through. Or is this secretly normal everywhere?

    1. Republican party in general:
      - fearmongering
      - hatemongering
      - try to cheat in elections (on state level mostly through voter suppression and gerrymandering)
      - lying
      - no shame, no limits to hypocrisy
      - never apologize, maintain a facade of toughness, manliness

      Republican party when in power (White House):
      - huge tax cuts and other niceties for the Rich
      - in addition to tax cuts, huge federal spending increase (especially military - nothing that helps the poor) to create a fiscal stimulus through the deficit spending = sugar high for economy = better re-election chance for Republican president
      - result is huge budget deficit
      - bully the groups that were previously targeted by hatemongering (especially to satisfy single issue voters such as anti-abortionists, racists)

      Republican party when not in power:
      - strangle government with austerity when a Dem controls White House; this strangles the economy and thus reduces the re-election chances of the Dem President
      - blame public debt on social spending ("entitlements")

      It's quite cynical and dysfunctional. They certainly don't serve the majority of the nation well.
      The Democratic party looks like a largely useless European centrist party by comparison - excluding the aggressive foreign and military policy (a Republican readiness to launch major wars of aggression was the only real difference, but that changed).

    2. I suppose it's just the difference between reading about it and beginning to understand just how much hatred and fear that system now holds. I may post anti-American FP rants on the internet, but I'm very concerned.

    3. Americans can watch the very same news or very same speech and depending on what partisan group they belong to they see and hear completely different things. Both parties may claim that the news was devastating to the other.

      The amount of projection is unbelievable as well.

      The conclusions are very much preordained. What happens and generally facts do not matter. There's some trigger and the hyperpartisans release their usual prejudice. The less creative ones wait till partisan websites give them the talking points.

      I suppose the crazy is much worse among R, but D have their crazy as well (especially in the infighting and frequent overshooting on incomplete info).

    4. Unfortunately I don't think their problems are theirs alone, I worry we're only about 30 years behind them, maybe less, and the internet has exacerbated the intellectual bubble problem (say I, hypocritically). I often claim that American FP is off the rails, and doesn't mesh with reality, and that there should an off-ramp for re-assessment, but how to do this domestically? Reality always wins in the end, but there are many outcomes I'd rather avoid. Just to think theoretically, reform is logically either homegrown or imported from abroad, but I don't see any foreign model enjoying enough prestige to do so, neither do I really know enough to comment about the Americans internal renewal possibilities. I do know that their universities are in crisis, from personal contacts. Humanities subjects and languages are being robbed of the last of their funding, new cadres are drastically reduced and often insecure, a lot of what's left goes to political fluff like diversity studies, gender studies, etc. which are not bad in themselves but definitely need embedding in a much larger context, and in their current form are too explicitly linked to political factions. Ideas don't necessarily have to come from unis, of course, but it's not a good sign. Economically, their small exports to non-NAFTA countries also means fewer contacts and curiosity. Perhaps US America becoming an exporting nation again might help them out their crisis, but it's not happening any time soon.
      Last thing to ponder: how can one "safely discharge" the accumulated hatred without too much collateral damage? I've seen what I would understand as attempts at directing this abroad: namely up until now we've had Muslim ban, Russiagate, and a deep hostility to China, to some extent they look down on Europeans, where does it end?

    5. I see Germans writing similarly idiotic comments on newspaper websites as is common in American political discussions. That appears to be a small minority of the votes, though.
      The British with their Tories and UKIP have gone overboard with such nonsense about as much as the Americans, with whom they share language and Murdoch press influence. Both have elections that favour a two party system (though that's eroded in the UK).

    6. The situation in Italy is also not rosy. Nor in Spain, France, Netherlands... I can't comment about the others, but in Italy a big factor is the failure of the existing parties (actually fairly new ones, founded since the wipe-out of the early 90's). Hate and fear politics is also being played by the Lega, but I doubt their huge success would have been possible without a) 20 years of economic stagnation b) low-level xenophobia and a small, but significant, inferiority complex c) the huge, absolutely visible inflow of African refugees into the margins of society. There has been a lot of immigration into Italy in the last 30 years, but I think that was more or less manageable, despite e.g. Kosovar organised crime. We're overall quite welcoming, relatively speaking. But 2015 was a huge shock to the system. You can speak of unrealistic fears all you like, but it felt very much as though were abandoned by the EU, and had no means of controlling this tide of people for which we had no mechanisms and no ideas in place so as to provide them with an identity. Provided the influx is controlled, we can probably integrate them very successfully, and the xenophobes will lose influence, this also depends on the job situation. (And yes, I do think we're better at this than you :P )

      Mal sehen.

      Btw. I noticed that in Germany you've taken Arab refugees, but not many Africans. This might explain why Germans have a different perception of the crisis: You seem to think that it's solvable and finite and linked to the wars in the ME. I think in Italy the perception is that everyone and his brother from Africa want to move to Europe. They're perfectly nice people, but as you can imagine, it's a rather different magnitude issue.

    7. African immigrants are very visible in Germany as well nowadays, but I think that only brought those Fascists to daylight who had shied away from it so far. The majority of the voters of the relevant far right party appear to be rather protest voters. The Fascist/Racist core is still well below 10% of overall voters (who in turn are about 2/3 to 3/4 of population).

      There's not much in terms of a far right wing media bubble so far. Websites, one journal and a declining right wing (but furiously pro-semitic) daily pseudo-newspaper that was already in the hate&fear business in the 60's.

      Nowadays the greens are rising more in Germany than the browns (self-declared blues). Climate change is more of a mainstream concern now than immigration among the young and middle-aged Germans. This turned around in winter 18/19, even before the very dry and hot summer.