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

The US. Europe, China And the New Poorer Western World

February 23rd: Russia invades the Ukraine. The Western world responds with massive sanctions, which it hopes China will cooperate with.

Five days later, February 28th, Reuters: “U.S. President Joe Biden will send a delegation of former senior defense and security officials to Taiwan on Monday, a senior official of his administration said, a sign of support for the island claimed by China after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

February 28th:


A new data-rich report by the National Science Foundation (NSF) confirms China has overtaken the United States as the world’s leader in several key scientific metrics, including the overall number of papers published and patents awarded.

(The history of scientific leadership is that it moves to where the manufacturing is, with a time delay. This was true of Britain and the US in the 19th century. Britain maintained its advantage in science for about 30 years after America became the greatest manufacturing power.)

March 19th: This tweet was re-tweeted by Zhang Meifang, Consul General of China in Belfast:

March 4th:

March 17th:

April 6th: Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, to visit Taiwan in first such trip in 25 years.

“Do as we say, or we’ll hurt you” seems to be the primary American “diplomatic” method.

Is it working? Well, sanctions have never removed a single government, but then, that probably wasn’t their point: they were done for the same reason countries use torture. The message of torture is “we torture people.” It’s intended to instill fear in others so they won’t oppose you. Same with sanctions.

But this time countries outside the West aren’t going along with US sanctions, they’re doing what they can to build to alternative financial routes to continue trading with Russia, and this is especially true of China.

The Liu Xing tweet is probably the most important one: “Can you help me fight your friend so that I can concentrate on fighting you later?”

This is how China must see American diplomacy. America slapped on tariffs and sanctions under Trump, never removed them on Biden, is crossing China’s reddest of red lines (Taiwan) and continues to make threats. It’s never “we’ll reward you for helping us” it’s always “do what we say or we’ll hurt you.”

Meanwhile Europe has become an American satrapy. When re-arming they have chosen to buy American weapons. Buying American natural gas to replace Russian will mean a price increase of about 30%, which will hammer European industry, making chunks of un-competitive, and will increase political instability in European countries, and as Arnaud Bertrand insightfully notes:

AI is driven by how much data you have. The EU has handed its data over to the US, without getting data in return, and also given up its digital sovereignty; its right to determine its own digital policies.

April 1st:

The EU told Beijing during the virtual summit with Li and Xi not to allow Moscow to circumvent Western sanctions imposed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We called on China to help end the war in Ukraine. China cannot turn a blind eye to Russia’s violation of international law,” European Council President Charles Michel told a news briefing with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen after the first EU-China summit since Dec. 30, 2020…

…Von der Leyen said Beijing needed to defend the international order that has made China the world’s second-largest economy. The West says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a violation of the United Nations charter.

“It is a defining moment because nothing will be like it was before the war. It’s now a question to take a very clear stance to support and defend the rules-based order,” she said.

Imagine China’s surprise that Europe, who did nothing about Iraq and who had members involved in taking out Libya, among many other crimes, is concerned with the “rules based order” and against invasions of other countries. No one can take this seriously: it is a clear case of “it’s OK when we and our allies do it.”

(Among other things, Saudi Arabia is currently peeling off a piece of Yemen.)

In the past two months, Europe has managed to:

1) cement its status as an American vassal;

2) savagely damage its own economy.

3) increase LaPen’s chance of being the next French leader.

It’s hard to be more incompetent than American leaders, but EU leaders have managed it.

As for the West in general, they have managed to cement a Russia/China alliance, by repeatedly threatening China and crossing the Taiwan line. India is supporting Russia more than the US. Imran Khan, in Pakistan, is running his election campaign based on “we are not the West’s slaves and will not sanction Russia.” Most of the global South has refused to sanction Russia. A new payments system is being created, threatening US dollar hegemony. Americans and Europeans can expect even more inflation than before. Anti-Russia sanctions plus the war will cause famines and hunger in many countries, increasing political instability.

For years I have been predicting a new Cold War. This is the precipitating event and I am almost certain that future historians will see it as such.

The West is not the presumptive winner of this new cold war. We are not the stronger side, in real economic terms (do not use GDP, it is artificially inflated, especially in the financialized West.)

Welcome to the future.



Simple Ethics For Groups And Individuals


Open Thread


  1. different clue

    I didn’t ask EUrope to hand over its data and its datarules. I didn’t even want to see EUrope do it. I had always assumed EUrope would stand tough as the Better Example which Americans for Data Privacy could somehow force American Law to level up to.

    Could the DC FedRegime MAKE EUrope do it? Somehow I don’t think so. The Lords of EUrope WANTed to do it. Why?

  2. bruce wilder


    they “do it” because they are neoliberal jerks, high on their own supply

    democracy may be dead in the U.S. — the only sign of life being Trump’s popularity with the unwashed, which is to the “life” of a democracy like the flopping tail of a beached fish fallen from the fisherman’s pail — but in Europe democracy is dead and buried.

    In the U.K., a Tory government has proudly presided over a storied name in British shipping bringing in scab labor for £1.80 an hour. Ursula von der Leyen became President of the European Commission in 2019 without having run for the office or participated in a European election. The unelected Prime Minister of Italy, formerly President of the European Central Bank (ECB) from 2011 until 2019, leading the Economist magazine to name Italy “country of the year” for 2021.

    I really think European “leadership” has lost any intuition for political or economic causality. Like the banksters, they know what they get rewarded for, personally, but not what they are doing to their countries and the world.

    And, they feel righteous about it all. They are right at home in the moral panic sparked by Ukraine, blithely unconcerned by the cries of “whatabout??” over their once and future lack of principles and completely bereft of political realism of any kind.

    It is a consequence of elevating all the institutions of European governance beyond the reach of voters and putting the institutions of national government into grand coalitions where the fading left mirrors the washed-out center and there is no alternative (except the neo-fascists in the few countries lucky enough to cultivate them — after opinion polls predicted a knife-edge result, Orban pulled off a landslide in Hungary and Hungary announced it would pay for gas in rubles — go figure!).

  3. Soredemos

    In the first cold war we had at least some not completely insane people in DC. This time we might all end up getting nuked over a worthless shithole like Ukraine.

  4. Blueberry Hill

    This time we might all end up getting nuked over a worthless shithole like Ukraine.

    If it’s a “worthless shithole” as you say, why is Putin making a mockery of Russia’s Potemkin Military by invading and occupying it? Putin’s destruction of Ukraine puts Syria and the Assad Regime in further peril considering the effect on wheat supply and wheat prices. MENA will be particularly hard-hit and that especially includes Syria which is hanging by a thread.

  5. Ché Pasa

    How does it feel to be teetering on the knife-edge of nuclear annihilation again? Ukraine is the current pivot as, say, Berlin was what seems like a thousand years ago, Quemoy and Matsu and then Cuba once were, and so many other proxies for the “Free World” warring against “Totalitarian” regimes were pivots.

    To have all regurgitated like this is grotesque.

    When so many were running around screaming that Hillary was going to start WWIII, I pointed out that it takes two to tango, and there would be no WWIII if Russia didn’t play — and every sign was that Putin wasn’t about to.

    Now we have a situation where the Russian bear has been goaded into invasion and war (“against the West”), and it is very much game on. It’s only a question of who does the first strike now, and it needn’t necessarily be the US or Russia. Which the gamers don’t seem to realize.

    But then they were never known for their brilliance. Whether or not the ultimate button is pushed, the follow on consequences of this episode bodes very ill for the many, very well — for a while — for the overlords.

    And then?

  6. GM

    Every major war has been won by the side with more natural resources, manpower and industrial capacity.

    In retrospect you look at WWI and WWII and you think “What the hell were those idiots in Germany thinking? And what were the even bigger idiots in the smaller countries that supported them thinking?”

    The outcome was a forgone conclusion from the stat given the fact that there is no oil in the central and western parts of Europe and that the manpower disparity was up to an order of magnitude.

    The Cold War was a different story as a hypothetical stable communist USSR+China alliance could have actually won it had they stuck together and managed to attract even more allies, but they didn’t, and in the end the Eastern Bloc alone didn’t have the manpower to support technological advancement in both the military and the civilian sectors, so it fell behind.

    You look at the alignment now from the same perspective and the US + Canada + Europe + Australia + Japan/SK alliance doesn’t stand a chance against Russia+China, if it comes to such an alignment, the latter alliance holds, and the rest of the world does not support the West or even joins the other side.

    So why would you possibly trigger a new Cold War (getting quite hot now) along such lines?

  7. someofparts

    Sorry to say, but I think the linked article above explains the US mindset. Effectively this is a colonizing, racist nation that bases its culture and economy on killing and robbing races considered inferior.

  8. anon y'mouse

    the leaders are not incompetent. it’s just that they’re doing what they intend to do, which is not what they’re telling you they are doing. and they are doing it for their own reasons, which are not the reasons they are telling you they are doing them.

    that people insist that this is not what these people intended, and that they are just bumblers, after decades of the same path of policy and action direction is attempting to be willfully naive in the face of reality.

    the best con artist is one who can make it look like they unintentionally blundered into having their way. you can’t really find fault with a “bumbler” because you can’t expect one to rise above their own inability. in the end that becomes another “we got the wrong people, and if we just get the right people…” and we all know—they’re all in on it. there are no “right” people because the words and actions and intentions don’t match up.

  9. Feral Finster

    1. The United States is an empire.


    Like every other empire, it behaves in a way that could best be liked to that of a sociopath. This is why Pat Buchanan(!) was in fact correct when he said that you can have a republic or an empire, because an empire cannot allow itself to be restrained by any law or morality or it will not remain an empire for long.

    2. Europeans are the biggest weenies on the planet. Atlanticism is so knee-jerk in the European mentality that questioning US hegemony is a taboo on the level of interrupting a Papal High Mass to ask the assembled faithful who just farted.


  10. Feral Finster

    re: LePen. Marine Le Pen, for better or worse, is absolutely unacceptable to the American, European and French elites.

    Therefore, Macron will be allowed to do whatever it takes to hang onto power. By hook or crook, cheating or violence if it comes to that.

    Should Macron accomplish this, we will be assured that The Voice Of The People Has Spoken.

  11. StewartM


    This time we might all end up getting nuked over a worthless shithole like Ukraine.

    Imagine yourself back in time in the West–1956, 1961, 1975, etc. Now imagine that someone would propose to you that we could have a Europe where all the Soviet forces were in the USSR, and that all the countries of Eastern Europe behind the Iron Curtain would be free to choose their own governments.

    What would the reaction be of the typical Westerner? Giddy delight? Would we have cared about Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus, Moldavia, the Baltic states, or whatnot still being part of the USSR?

    Oh, but now we are told (especially by Zelensky and the Ukrainians) that unless NATO can have missiles pointed at Moscow that are a mere 6 minutes away from impact, that NOT achieving that is intolerable, and thus worth risking nuclear war. It is now important to protect and advance NATO territory far beyond what it was conceived at its inception.

    By any rational assessment; Ukraine ain’t worth it. Heck, neither are the Baltic states, nor anywhere else. Despite the heavy breathing, even using Masha Gessen’s axiom of “believe the autocrat” Putin (as bad as he is) is not Hitler. That’s because Hitler *DID* openly proclaim his dream of a Germany stretching from the Urals to the Atlantic, whereas the very worst Putin has been accused of by his critics is…to merely restore the boundaries of the old USSR, and not a step beyond that. If we ourselves were fine with those boundaries, say, in 1975, there is no reason why we shouldn’t be fine with them in 2022.

    As for the Ukrainians, the very fact that they demand that we all risk WWIII *for them* raises my eyebrows. To me that translates to “we’re not really your friends”, as a friend recognizes your interests and needs and doesn’t try to elevate his interests above yours. A friend doesn’t demand that you bankrupt yourself to pay his/her bills. This reeks of other past US “friends” like the Islamic fundies who Reagan helped in the early 1980s that really had no love for us at all, and similar stupid alliances we’ve made. There’s also the long perspective—might a re-united “USSR” eventually (not under Putin) be a more peaceful and prosperous nation than a divided-up mosaic of independent states?

    According to a poll in an article Ian has on his site about the old Soviet Union, about 3/4ths of those polled said “yes”. I suppose that poll included Ukrainians.

  12. Willy

    An enemy of my enemy is my friend. But what if that friend is himself, a neoliberal genocidal dictator, as carelessly incompetent at war as the neoliberals ever were?

    Fortunately, there are still leftists who are more discerning. I don’t think you can go wrong siding with the people, with the innocent majority who never want war. But finding the right spokesmen and leaders for them is harder than it seems.

  13. bruce wilder

    @ Willy

    It seems pretty damn hard.

  14. StewartM


    You look at the alignment now from the same perspective and the US + Canada + Europe + Australia + Japan/SK alliance doesn’t stand a chance against Russia+China, if it comes to such an alignment, the latter alliance holds, and the rest of the world does not support the West or even joins the other side.

    The problem with your analysis, is this:

    I hear similar stories from other young Russians I meet. When Misha told his father that he ran from Russia to Turkey, he was met with radio silence. His father hasn’t spoken to him since.

    “He has not been interested in anything all his life. He sits in a room all day and watches TV,” Misha says, including one of Putin’s most influential propagandists, Vladimir Solovyov.

    “I tell him: ‘Dad, let me watch Solovyov for an hour with you, and you, in turn, watch Navalny’s YouTube investigation with me for 10-15 minutes.’ And he says that this is evil, that the Internet is evil,” Misha tells me.

    As someone who plans to leave the US too in a few years, as I think “our Putin” will be very likely in the near future, and that the Trump Wall was more about keeping Americans IN than immigrants OUT (as Trumpism will create a ‘shithole country’, and who wants to live in one of those?)–I understand their sentiments. I am surprised Putin is letting them go, at some point he’ll realize he can’t afford to lose them (see below) just like with stupid anti-immigration policies in-place we can’t afford to have our young people defect.

    Russia already had a demographic crisis. That’s perhaps why their invasion was infantry-poor. They have a lot of either non-working older people, or those who will stop working soon. Putin’s base of support is like Trump’s, this is his aging base. Russia is not a anti-capitalist regime, it’s one where certain looters may be chased out if they oppose the regime but other who support the regime will be given free reign. Just like any future Trumpist presidency, and just like fascist regimes.

    This is one of the reasons I’m reading for Russia’s military lack of success—the oligarchs have been looting the military just like they loot everything else. Should this be surprising from our perspective, where the Pentagon admits it can’t account for X trillion(s) dollars and the lists of US companies who plead ‘no contest’ to cheating the government? Why the US spends near-WWII inflation-adjusted levels for a military a tiny fraction of the size of WWII? I would also add that the result the looting on our side is similar–an unbiased and less-fanboy view of our Cap Weinberger military is similarly unflattering. We may only be a bit more competent because we’re richer and can better afford the looting.

    Both Russia and the West have the same problem–the steadfast belief, popularized by Reagan, that it’s the people who sit on their asses all day trading stocks and manipulating paper who are the great ‘movers and shakers’ of an economy; that wealth is measured by these. Not by the realistic view that it’s labor, not not paper manipulations, that create wealth and that the wealth of ordinary people and the shared physical and intellectual infrastructure of an economy are the best measures of true wealth. By the latter standards the US is poorer since the 1970s, not richer. But the paper manipulators only know how to loot, they can’t create and indeed the results of their looting undermines the ability to create.

    That leaves China. But China too is facing a demographic time bomb, plus will be hit very hard by climate change. So I don’t see any obvious winners. The winner will be the country that loses least badly. One of the problems with hegemonic states is that they create their own mythology, and in this mythology they’re great because everything they did was great in the past. That’s rarely true; usually they too were doing some very dysfunctional things and their hegemony was the result of their ‘competition’ being even worse. The mythology thus tends to preserve their bad habits just as much (and often more) than the good.

  15. Willy

    Yet for others, easy? Don’t know why this is so. For me, the part where the Ukraine videos show refugee camps full of mothers, children, and the elderly begs the question: But where have all the able-bodied men gone?

    There are other videos showing Zelinskyy staying behind to lead, instead of following the more typical example of fleeing to exile as so many other “leaders” have done throughout history. I say who cares if he’s a Jewish Nazi. He and his got big balls, in the face of what you’d think would be overwhelming odds. There’s gotta be a teachable moment in that, somewhere.

    I know. There are those who’ll try and complicate things by proclaiming that Zelinskyy is actually fighting for Jewish NATO Nazi overlords, perhaps unwittingly, so that Ted Cruz can flee to Cancun, Trump to Mar a Lago, and Pelosi to a ranch in California. Others will proclaim that just because Palestinian and Afghan freedom fighters were darker (and perhaps more dusty and smelly-looking) than their Ukrainian counterparts, that they didn’t deserve to be proclaimed children of a lesser freedom fighting god.

    Maybe that’s true. But all that complication seems like the waste of a perfectly good teachable moment to me.

  16. Mark Level

    “The Future is Here,” indeed– as GM points out based on precedent, the US Blob “Five Eyes” power has no long-term prospect for success, but . . . the US is now a Late Settler-Colonialist, Senile Bully, & the leadership class brays about its “exceptional” state and all the “freedom” it has created for somebody. I guess for the Elites themselves, the Investors, TPTB are also TPTM, that matter . . . the rest of us can die for lack of health care and the spread of Covid . . . Back to the braying– no less than “Progressive” PoC Ro Khanna screeches for Empire’s saving mission to the no-bullshit, take-no-prisoners Max Blumenthal. To add to GM’s simple, obvious facts, note Chris Hedges’ observation that decaying Empires invariably overreact and seal their own fall— he cites mainly Athens, a very early case, but other examples were the Spanish, Napoleon, Britain and France in the failed British-French-Israeli attempt to take Suez (which no less than Eisenhower shut down) . . . glad I lived long enough to see the true Empire of Evil fall, & just crossing my fingers I don’t die in a nuclear annihilation that they create “protecting” the Money Power that is USA’s true “national security interest”.

  17. Soredemos

    @Blueberry Hill

    In reality the Russian war effort is doing just fine, but there’s not much point is waiting time trying to explain that to someone so recieved by propaganda.

    I’m guessing there’s a better than even chance that you also believe that Russia just bombed a train station on a rail line it had already cut, with a weapon it no longer has in its inventories, fired from a direction where it has no forces.

  18. StewartM

    Found this comment on Quora from a writer living in Moscow:

    More than half a trillion dollars allocated to the much-touted modernisation of the army, Russian generals stole and spent on mansions and luxury vehicles.

    Generals had reckoned self-riotously: if Putin steals why can’t we? This slogan is the very foundation of Putin’s system of total corruption.

    My friend’s uncle works at the Ministry of Defence in Moscow said that there were literally old Soviet Volgas and cheap second-hand Korean cars parked by the hulking building on the bank of Moscow River one year, and brand new G-wagons, Porsches and Mercedeses Benz the next.

    Generals couldn’t stop stealing, and fooled Putin that they were building modern weapons (while working on rehashed projects from 1970s) and he believed them.

    Contractors stole from officials and generals. Subcontractors stole from contractors. Everyone was out there stealing, stealing, stealing. A chance to make a killing outweighed the risk of getting caught for everyone stole such was the system Putin had built.

    Generals didn’t want war with Ukraine, and it WAS supposed to be a special operation for their whole plan relied on panic of the populace, same as happened at Maidan when Russian puppet president ran away. They didn’t take into account self-organized skills of Ukrainians, heroism and president Zelensky who didn’t run. United resisting people turned out to be the most powerful force Russian army suddenly faced.

    The following six days exposed old hardware from the Chechen War, lack of tactical and strategic planning, and lack of professional soldiers who would fight for the motherland in Ukraine.


    Many ask why oligarchs selected Putin of all people?

    The answer is simple: he was a fellow thief. Only of smaller proportions, but he would outdo them all. They chose one of their own. A thief.

    Thievery has become so common that not to steal became an issue, a crime. And that’s why Russia has a pathetic army – everything has been stolen! And why soldiers are hungry, unpaid, with old military gear taken out by new Western weapons.

    Generals had to send into battles eighteen year old conscripts with zero or bare minimum training. They were the easy catch for Ukrainians as they didn’t want to fight in the first place.

    Ukrainian soldiers took photos and videos and the whole world learned who fights in Russian army, and even had them call their moms to come and collect them.

    Ministry of Defence declined to bring them home. That’s how the state cares about its citizens and demographics.

    It includes photos of captured Russian boys.

  19. Lex

    The leaders are doing what they intend and them being rather incompetent at it aren’t mutually exclusive. They’re accustomed to chess as a one player game. They are apparently quite confused by the presence of a second player. If they had a real plan, they wouldn’t be so reactive since the SMO began. They wouldn’t do one thing and then change their mind or try to cut a back door in after the fact.

    Written by a former Swiss intelligence officer with time in the UN, NATO and a specialist in Eastern Europe. Far and away the best contextual analysis of the Ukrainian facet of WWIII that I’ve read yet.

  20. Soredemos


    What a ridiculous answer that Quora post is. Putin is one the siloviki; former Soviet intelligence and military officials. He’s an enemy of the oligarchs, not a tool of them.

  21. Frogger

    Seems you’ve staked a lot on Putin being a competent and just leader with a strong military under his command. But like the rest of us you get your information from biased sources that are pushing an agenda. Trading the propaganda and wishful thinking of one side for the propaganda and wishful thinking of another side is very popular these days. But just because “our” side is corrupt and inept doesn’t mean the other side is the opposite of that. It could very well be that both are fucked in their own way and that there are no good guys in this fight.

    The possibility of both sides being run by deluded monsters is frightening and shatters the just world delusion which is why comforting lies almost always win out over uncomfortable truths. Your angry reaction to StewartM’s post shows that at some level you probably do understand this.

  22. vmsmith

    GM wrote: “Every major war has been won by the side with more natural resources, manpower and industrial capacity.”

    Unless you define “major war” as a war in which the winner had more natural resources, manpower, and industrial capacity than the loser, history is full of so many counter-examples that it would be hard to know where to start refuting this statement.

    United States history is practically bookended by two counter-examples: the War for Independence, and the Vietnam War.

    There are a lot more things in war that matter than natural resources, manpower, and industrial capacity.

  23. Lex

    The issue with your counter examples is the distance those armies with greater resources had to move them. For Britain in 1776 they didn’t actually have the resources internally. It had to be collected from the colonies. At the time, something like 80% of exported economic output of most things in the US were supplied to Caribbean sugar plantations, where the British empire of the time made its real money.

    In this situation, Europe does not have the resources to fight Russia. How long would Europe last if Russia turned off the gas much less attacked European hydrocarbon infrastructure? It’s a little discussed issue in the proxy war too. Sending tanks to Ukraine isn’t much help without enough fuel to operate them and the ability to get the fuel where it needs to be.

  24. StewartM


    He’s an enemy of the oligarchs, not a tool of them.

    The writer of that post is someone who lives in Moscow. Go to his page, read his stuff. While I don’t agree with everything he writes, I think he gives a very useful insight into Russia (and also, something echoed by online Russian friends I have; none of them so far are Putin fanboys). But again, most of them are young and urban, not rural and old.

    Putin is Russia’s Trump. Oligarchs who play along, and who also cut him in on the deals, get favorable treatment. Those who don’t get chased out of the country or imprisoned. Just like our future Trump twenty-year “presidency”; Bezos might be hounded out of the country but Peter Thiel and others on this list:

    will find their looting just made easier. That is how he rules. That is indeed how Hitler ruled. Play along with the new regime, and you get rewarded, often at the expense of the workers. Ian is right about this, when Hitler took power real wages declined 25 % during the German economy “recovery” from the Great Depression, and even before the sanctions Russian per-capita GDP had fallen about 40 %. The parallels are striking.

    Anyone who thinks Putin, like Trump, is some hero of Russian workers, is deluding themselves. The same guy (Misha Firer) also posts photos of Russia’s dilapidated infrastructure and points out their leaders (like ours) have plenty of money for yachts but no money to fix these things or invest in Russia’s people (again, just like Trump didn’t either).

  25. vmsmith

    Lex said: “The issue with your counter examples is the distance those armies with greater resources had to move them.”

    But the problem, you see, is that your original contention did not account for that. You simply said that natural resources, manpower and industrial capacity were the deciding factors. Now—oh yeah—distance matters, too.

    But that was an old war when distance mattered. What about Vietnam? America had everything you named in spades, and distance didn’t matter one whit. And still, the little guy won. That’s because other things do matter. In particular, the fighting spirit of the people matter. As Napoleon said, “The moral is to the physical as three is to one.” And that is one of the key reasons why Ukraine has been tearing Russian forces a new asshole.

    Europe won’t fight Russia on its own. If it comes to that, it will be a NATO fight, involving the U.S. and Canada. If Russia turns off the gas? Last time I looked Norway and Britain had the North Sea petroleum reserves.

    Short of a conflict going nuclear, Russia would have it ass handed to it on a silver platter if it got down to NATO vs Russia.

  26. Soredemos


    “Anyone who thinks Putin, like Trump, is some hero of Russian workers, is deluding themselves.”

    Which isn’t what I said. But he isn’t a tool of the oligarchs either. They’re competing powerblocs. One of the things Putin did early on was to throw an oligarch in prison and force the others to back away from overtly playing in politics.

  27. Burnable

    America uses “stick” diplomacy because it has no other choice. It’s the only thing the world trusts them to reliably apply, regardless of who is in power.
    You can only use “carrot” diplomacy if people trust you to keep your word and pay up. Iran trusted America to keep their end of the nuclear deal.
    Russia trusted America to keep their word and not expand NATO eastwards.
    The only thing you can trust America’s word on (so far) is if they say they’re going to bomb the shit out of you.

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