The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Open Thread

Use to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – February 11, 2024


The Ant


  1. Mark Level

    I was never a Tucker Carlson fan for too many reasons to list, but he seems to have matured & not just be a right-wing Culture War Troll any more. His take on foreign policy seems pretty sharp (apart from the rabid Sinophobia he shares with his Republican extremist pals.)

    Counterpunch had an excellent summary of what came out in his thorough interview with Putin. Amazing that we have such a supine, state stenographer media that Carlson was the only outsider with the balls to get such a valuable meeting. Anyway, here’s the link to Jack Rasmus’ piece listing the 15 most important points, all solid & historically valid–

    Some morons in the US/UK/German etc. chorus line can’t drop the “Great Game” competition of 2 centuries ago– & do so entirely to their own economic & power detriment.

  2. Curt Kastens

    The comments below are a copy of a comment that I placed on on Saturday.
    The link below is about game theory. Though I think that what is getting called game theory should really be called strategy theory. Or maybe even perhaps ethics theory.
    In any case my key take away of the of the video is how when the participants of a game know how long a game lasts their strategies shift near the end because they know that there is less time for the other players to retaliate if you do not cooperate with them. Later versions of this Prisoner’s Dilema game added some randomness to when the game would end so that the players could not try to gain a final end of game advantage.
    I do not know if this random end of the game feature is something that I never knew about or if it is something that I had to relearn because I forgot about it. But if fits with what it happening now. All over the world politics is becoming even crueler and nastier than it has been since the middle ages. I say that not because wars were somehow less cruel for the period of 1600-2003. But that since 2002 then there has not even been a plausible fig leaf of attempts at diplomacy. The leaders of, at least the collective west, clearly do care one whit about the opinions of the masses nor of the opinions of non subjegated foriegn leaders, or of subjegated foreign leaders either. This dismissal of the need to appear civilized which is prevelent in this century is clearly different from the effort that was put in to seeming to be reasonable in the 1950s through the 1990s.
    Remember in the 1950s the United States told Britian and France to return the Suez Canal back to Egypt. Nixon told us that he was not a crook because he believed that it was actually important that people beliieve that he was not a crook. He was forced from office by people who agreed that it was important that people think that the system does not tolerate corruption. Jimmy Carter was all about human rights.
    Nowdays by contrast we have leaders that think it is a great idea to flaunt their criminality.
    This change in perception management makes sense if the world’s leaders are operting under the assumption that the world is comming to an end in not to distant future. In the best of times it is hard to hold the rich and powerful accountable for thier anti social behavior. There is little accountability in the best of times. But now if the world is commng to an end pretty soon. there is no threat of accountability because it takes time to biuld up the forces that can retaliate against the rich and powerful. It appears that the amount of time needed no longer exists.
    But one difference between the real world and the prisoner’s delima game is the number of players involved. I wonder if that could make a difference. Another thing is what happens if some of the players ar no longer primarily interested in improving their own well being but become primarily interested in retaliation. Normally retaliation is a means to an end. But what happens if retaliation becomes an end in itself? Is such a thing even possible?
    Also in the prisoners dilema game the players have only two options. In our game of life intermediate positions are possible. Is that important or unimportant?
    I think that i have to watch the link agaijn to see if I can understand things better.

  3. bruce wilder

    RE: The Tucker & Vladimir show – on the other thread I seconded NC in pointing to Gilbert Doctorow’s remarks, which included some insight about how Putin was shaping a message for his domestic audience.

    It was a lot of history and the mainstream, approved narrative jettisons all history beyond who hit Johnny last on the playground in favor of a “rules-based” morality play. That’s a hard shell to penetrate for People (the Americans especially) who know no history beyond movies from last week on Netflix.

    Doctorow makes the useful point that Putin’s domestic audience is ready for the romantic nationalism he dishes up, but not for the kind of realpolitick calculations that Tucker seemed to seeking (albeit somewhat clumsily). Putin systematically prepared Russia economically after 2008 and especially after 2014, working within the constraints imposed by the anti-militarism of the Russian people. He can reference some of that, but not comprehensively in answering Tucker, because that’s not what ordinary Russians are willing to fight and die for. And, of course, it undermines his naive pose: if Merkel and Hollande knew they were buying Ukraine time to arm, Putin was also preparing Russia, and working from a consciousness that Minsk 2.0 was never probably never going to be implemented.

    The War of the Narratives goes on: neocon righteousness does not negotiate because that’s not the story they tell.

  4. mago

    Saturday ushered in the Year of the Dragon according to the lunar calendar.
    May it be auspicious and defeat the enemy wrongdoing.
    May dark ignorance be dispelled
    May the light of loving kindness fill the hearts of all living beings
    May nihilism die and be reborn as awareness
    May all beings be inspired to work for the benefit of others
    These are a few of my New Year’s dragon wishes.
    With joined palms I bow down.

  5. Curt Kastens

    I found the link below better than a Dennis the Menace comic strip.

  6. Curt Kastens

    Nothing really interesting has happened since the first week of October 2023. This play about WW3 is actually getting boring. Especially when one compares it to the fire that is starting to rage behind the stage. There is no way that the fire can be put out now. And if the play does not get better soon the audiance is going to notice the fire and start a stampede towards the exit. But if the play does get better the audiance will just assume that the flames that they see devouring the stage and both opposing sides inside the screen is part of the play. Especially when some of the major actors start screaming in pain from third degree burns.
    That should keep tha audiance in their seats a while longer.

  7. Curt Kastens

    I saw a report from a Palestinian on the Garland Nixon show today Egypt is reporting that if Israel attacks Rafah that Egypt will terminate its peace treaty with Israel. What would that mean in concrete terms.
    One of the things that I had in mine as a good platt twist is a defection from the US camp by either Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan or Germany. If you look at the word’s of Erdagone it seems that he is trying to be a maverik independent. But judged by his actions that appearence of independence does not hold up very well.
    Another thing that i had in mine would be a Venezuelan invansion of Aregintina.

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