South Africa

Back in the 1980’s, “ending Apartheid” was the celebrity cause of the Left. Every Hollywood nitwit was slobbering over the ANC and babbling about how the internal affairs of a country, on the other side of the globe, were the most important thing in America. In many movies, the villain was made to be an Afrikaner, giving work to all the actors, who used play Nazis in the previous era. Eventually South Africa buckled under the pressure and Apartheid was ended in 1991.

Sober minded people made the point that eventually, the blacks would do what they have always done and murder all the whites. It was a process that was well underway in the former Rhodesia. The white farmers were being harassed, having their lands seized and in some cases getting killed for being white. But, the good thinkers in the West claimed it was exaggerated and anyway, Nelson Mandela was black Jesus so nothing but good would come from the end of Apartheid.

Of course, Zimbabwe is a complete disaster under black rule as the white farmers were chased off and the economy then collapsed. Now, South African appears to be headed for a similar fate, maybe worse, as the lunatic running the place declares war on the white population. Jacob Zuma is all but authorizing genocide against the white population and other prominent black leaders are running around, openly advocating war against the whites. The result of this is inevitable. It will be a race war.

Today, whites are about 9% of the South African population. Fifty years ago they were just over 20% of the population. Those are important numbers. A well organized minority that is 20% of the population can defend itself pretty well, as long as they have the intellectual firepower to maintain discipline and a willingness to fight. Once a population falls below 10%, they can only survive by appealing to some faction of the majority for protection or by moving out to the fringe.

Jews in Europe are the most obvious example. They carved out a space on the fringe where they could survive as a tiny minority. They also had the cognitive skills in demand by the ruling elite, so a semi-peaceful existence was possible, despite their numbers and outlier status. Gypsies are a variation on this, except they have to exist even further out on the fringe, as they have nothing to offer the ruling classes. They exist as a semi-tolerated parasite population that is always on the move.

That’s not realistic in Africa, where the moderate black leaders are just a bit less homicidal than Pol Pot. Anyone familiar with sub-Saharan Africa knows that tribal politics still dominate the culture.That precludes peaceful alliance between out-groups. The best you get is a hostile stand-off. The questions for South Africa are a) How long before the blacks decide it is time to kill all the whites, b) How many blacks will the whites be willing to kill in order to survive? and c) How will the West respond?

The most likely answer to the first question is soon. Zuma will follow the Mugabe formula and keep ratcheting up the violence incrementally. Given that he is the moderate at the moment, he will play the triangulation game where he will promise to hold off the more insane elements of the black leadership, in order to get concessions from the white population. This will roll along until Zuma is killed, or decides he has to go for it in order to maintain his position.

Talk to a typical South African and they have a bizarrely optimistic view. Many just assume they will find refuge in English speaking countries if things get bad. That means there will be a large cohort of Afrikaners who will prefer working with Zuma. This is just paying the crocodile to eat you last. The answer to that second question is “no where near enough nor soon enough.” By the time it dawns on the Afrikaners that it’s fight or die, it will be too late to fight. Math and modern morality have sealed their fate.

That’s where the third question gets interesting. Barak Obama, of course, would never have allowed mass migration of whites from South Africa. If anything, he would have shipped arms to the black government along with a wishlist of whites he wanted killed. That list would have had one item, “all of them.” Similarly, a squirrel like Trudeau in Canada would block any escape for all but the trans-gendered Afrikaners. Australia would take them and Trump would probably accept them, but Europe? It’s no guarantee.

There’s a lesson here for the people currently in charge of the West. There are no right answers when it comes to biology and culture. The blacks in South Africa are not going to be talked out of genocide. There is no reasoning with them. They want what they want and it is not about wrong and right. it is about their will to do and their ability to do it. Similarly, the Muslims dynamiting Europe are not motivated by facts and reason. They are doing it because they want to do it and they can do it.

Humans have always been hierarchical, tribal and territorial. That means there is competition within the group for status and competition between tribes for territory. Your tribe does not hold what it has because of some piece of paper or the airy notions of dead ancestors. You hold what you have because you hold it against all challenges. That’s the iron law of life on this planet and we will get to see it play out over the next decades in South Africa. The winner will be the side willing to kill as many of the other tribe as it takes to win.

War In Asia

There is a class of pundit that lives to talk about various war scenarios, almost always involving the United States. In the Cold War, this was a lucrative profession as most people thought war with Russia was an inevitability. Back then, the scenarios were all built around a chain of events that would lead to a nuclear exchange. The big set piece battles in Europe would give way to one side or the other deciding to launch their ICBM’s. In retrospect, the only way that was going to happen was though human error.

Today, the focus of the great game is usually on Asia, particularly China. That’s because the formerly dirt poor Chinese are suddenly rich and spending tons of money on their military. That means they have started to bully their neighbors, most notably Japan and Taiwan. As the patron of North Korea, they also can push the South Koreans around a bit too. The Chinese also have a strange way of being unnecessarily hostile to the US by letting it be known they are ready for a fight, just as soon as they can start one.

The assumption in the West is that China has plans to displace the US as the regional hegemon. That’s not an unreasonable assumption. A civilization with a billion people and 5,000 years of history should swing a big stick in its own neighborhood. The mistake is in thinking they are in a big hurry to confront the US in order to take control of the Pacific Rim. That’s a Western way of looking at things and it ignores a lot of history. China has always taken a long view. They don’t have to rush into anything. Instead, they can wait and let nature takes its course.

There’s also the fact that the Chinese have never been a naval power. They are not a naval power now and even at their current investment rate, they will not be a naval power anytime soon. There’s also the fact that the Japanese can become a naval power by next week if they wish to do it. There’s also the Russian fleet headquartered in Vladivostok and a big naval base in Avacha Bay on the Kamchatka Peninsula, with a major submarine base located at Vilyuchinsk in the same bay. The Russians are a serious naval power.

All of this means that the Chinese are a long way from dominating the region and even further away from confronting the US military on the high seas. Even if they launch a first strike against US naval assets in the Pacific, The US sub fleet is beyond their reach. That means a counter strike that eliminates Chinese naval assets and closes off Chinese sea traffic. It also means the remainder of the conflict happens on Chinese soil. That’s a high price to pay when waiting probably gets the same result.

An important thing about China that Western thinkers ignore is that the Chinese leadership worries far more about internal threats than external ones. The “iron rice bowl” has been a fact of life for a long time in China, despite efforts to break this cultural practice. Closing off sea traffic and access to world markets is the ultimate breaking of the iron rice bowl and no one knows what would happen. There’s also a lot of wealthy Chinese who would suffer if trade is disrupted. Pissed off rich people is always bad for the state.

The bigger threat is from North Korea. They combine the worst elements of a rogue state, a paranoid dictatorship and East Asian technical savvy. Most of the crazy regimes in the world rule over low-IQ populations incapable of sustaining modern economies and the technological products that result from it. The Arabs are a nuisance, but they cannot project power without Western help. The North Koreans are smart and they are building a serious ballistic missile program to go along with their nuclear program.

The best intelligence suggests the regime is fragile. Kim Jong Un is still consolidating power and that is always a dicey proposition in an authoritarian country. There’s always the threat that those who fear being purged will move against him first, but that just makes him more paranoid and more dangerous. It also means the people around him are not the best and brightest, just the least threatening. It’s also possible that Kim Jong Un is crazy, or at least on his way, so the set of plausible outcomes is very large.

Here’s where China and her zeal for stability probably keeps things under control. There are thousands of North Korean escapees in China. The Chinese government repatriates many of them, but not all. The numbers are small now, but any serious instability in North Korea means millions of starving Koreans heading north. That’s a big incentive for the ChiComs to keep a lid on the North Koreans. That means financing whoever promises to keep the place under control and not launch a nuke against the US.

There’s also another factor working against war in Asia. All of these countries are getting old and they have very weird demographic imbalances. Japan is the most well known example of low TFR, but China is undergoing a similar transformation. A very rich country like Japan can manage through this sort of demographic transformation. Relatively poor countries suddenly getting old is a different matter. Chinese per capita GDP is $6500, while Japan’s is $39000. That’s a huge challenge for China that will take priority over military adventurism, assuming any exists.

La Muerte Blanca

The other day, I was told about a young girl who was found dead at her home by her mother. The girl had graduated high school and was attending junior college. She had been out with friends and, presumably, taking drugs. Somehow she arrived home and went to bed, never to wake up. The girl was otherwise a good kid from a lower class home, but she made a mistake that turned out to be fatal. The exact cause of her death is unknown to me, other than it was a drug overdose, but the story is a familiar one.

The cultural revolution of the 60’s is often celebrated by the Left and Baby Boomers, but it was a disaster for the lower classes in America. The most obvious example is recreational drugs. In the 60’s, smoking weed and experimenting with narcotics was for college kids living off their parents at a university. By the 70’s, the drug culture had settled into the lower classes, along with all the other excesses of the beautiful people. It’s not an accident that crime took off, violence rates increased and we got an underclass.

Ever since, the great fear facing every parent, but especially those in the lower classes, has been the call on a weekend night from the police, telling them their kid was dead or in the emergency room for a drug overdose. Being poor or working class has never been an easy life, but the corrosive effects of recreational drugs have put a trap door under these people. Most are lucky enough to avoid a horrible mistake, but for many, the drug culture proves too much. They make the fatal mistake or throw away their lives for a buzz.

According to Kaiser statistics, whites make up 82% of opioid overdoses. Most of the drug overdoses are among the young, but older whites are killing themselves at record numbers as well. That means the spike in drug deaths is not driven by youthful foolishness or ennui. Instead, it is being driven by more white people using more potent drugs. The consensus is that the over-prescribing of pain killers has driven a rise in heroin use. Once the Feds cracked down on prescription drugs, addicts turned to heroin.

The temptation is to blame the culture or blame the profligate degeneracy of the modern age, but that would not explain the spike in youth overdoses. A middle age man offing himself is understandable to anyone who has hit middle age. Young people, even in terrible situations, naturally have hope. The better answer is that this is a case where supply drives demand. There used to be high barriers to potent opioids. Today, they are cheap and you don’t have to jam a needle in your arm to use them.

All of that means little to that mother who went in to wake her daughter, only to find her dead from a drug overdose. People can come to terms with a kid going bad and throwing their life away on drugs and crime. When a normal kid who seems to be headed in the right direction drops over dead from something they got at a party, people wonder what’s going on in the world. They naturally look to their rulers for answers. If people were suddenly dying from a virus in these numbers, it would be a national emergency.

That’s not to say that the drug war is a good idea. After decades of squandering billions trying to stem the flow of drugs into the country, the result is the opposite of what was expected. Illicit drugs are cheaper, more diverse, more widely distributed and more normalized than when the drug war started. By any measure, the war on drugs was lost and drugs won. That’s why our rulers don’t talk about drugs or the drug war much anymore. It’s just one of those things that has been quietly forgotten.

There’s also the fact that drugs are mostly a downscale problem, something that does not touch the Cloud People so they don’t care about it. The mothers in Cloud Country are not fretting about junior riding the dragon. He’s parked in front of his XBox all day, playing the female character, because he is questioning. The drug issue is mostly a Dirt People problem now. It’s blacks slinging on street corners and crackers getting loaded in an apartment complex far away from the people who run things.

That said, it is important to note the direction of the drug flow. America has never had a problem with drugs pouring in from Canada or Iceland. The flood of cheap narcotics into America starts in Mexico. When heroin had to be imported from Asia, it was not easily attainable and the quality of the product available to the poor was quite low. Now that Mexico has take over the production and distribution, heroin is suddenly cheap, potent and plentiful. This is also true of meth, which is now made in volume in Mexico.

This sort of thing does not happen in Canada because Canada is a responsible country with mostly responsible leaders. They would use the tools of the state to cripple the large scale production of narcotics. That’s not the case in Mexico, where the political class provides cover to the drug cartels and helps them violate US laws with regards to banking and border access. Putting pressure on the Mexican political class, to crack down on their narcotics trafficking and their human smuggling over the border, would have an impact on the heroin problem in the US.

Up until now, our rulers have not seen fit to put any pressure on the Mexican rulers about the drugs and human smuggling. Real countries with patriotic leaders have no tolerance for other countries protecting pirates and drug cartels on their border. They hold the leaders of those border countries accountable. Globalists have no duty to their citizens as citizenship does not exist. America’s ruling class has nothing but empathy for the Mexican ruling class and nothing but contempt for the Americans people, especially the founding stock.

That may be changing as Trump is the first pro-American president we’ve had in close to three decades. Trump seems to get that the way to address the border problems, including the drugs, is to hold the Mexican elite responsible. They need America much more than America needs Mexico. If the cost of tolerating the drug cartels and human smuggling gets high enough, the Mexican government will do something about it. It can never be eradicated entirely, but it would not take much to sharply reduce the flow of drugs and people over the border.

Maybe then the White Death will begin to subside.

Dummkopfs

Americans get their views of the world mostly from TV and movies. Being separated by two big oceans from the rest of the world means we don’t get to rub shoulders with strangers too much. The result is those caricatures of foreigners we see on TV get seared into the our mind, even though they are often wildly inaccurate. The most obvious example is the way in which Germans and Germany are viewed by Americans. Germans are either avuncular clock makers or cold blooded automatons that are ruthlessly efficient.

Of course, Germans are mostly OK with this characterization as it works to their favor, except for the constant Nazi references. Having a reputation for exacting standards and ruthless precision is a good thing if you are in the business of making things like cars or machine tools. It also works when it comes to government. Most people, not just Americans, just assume that the well known German efficiency translates into making the trains run on time and keeping the streets clean and orderly.

The phrase “German engineering” has come to mean high quality and high precision, as if the Germans never made anything stupid or poorly designed. The Beetle was a cheap piece of junk for the most part, but everyone believes the Germans make the best cars in the world. Yet, the Mercedes C-Class is an unreliable jalopy that costs too much to buy and way too much to own. If Germans were anything like we imagine, they would have had the engineers who made those cars sent to a work camp in Poland.

Volkswagen used to have the reputation as the builder of solid, inexpensive cars for working people. Then they came out with the new Beetle. Their marketing efforts made VW the car of choice for hairdressers and homosexuals. If that were not bad enough, they are now accused of committing massive fraud that could be lethal for its North American operations. Not only that, these dummkopfs may have managed to set back the cause of clean diesel technology to the point where it dies out entirely. Way to go Germany.

Even if you want to dismiss this sort of bungling as inevitable, even for people generally good at making things, you can’t ignore the mass insanity that is the current German policy on immigration. Angela Merkel’s decision to unilaterally flood Europe with low-IQ barbarians from the Middle East is going to go down as one of the dumbest decisions in the history of Europe. The fact that the response to the predictable unrest is to turn Germany into a police state suggests the Germans have gone mad.

Calling Merkel’s Million Muslim invasion the dumbest decision means overlooking pretty much everything German politicians have done since Wilhelm I walked into the Hall of Mirrors. There’s any number of reckless moves in the Great War, including the decision to back the Bolsheviks in Russia. Of course, the all time blunder was putting the meth munching morons called the Nazis in charge of the country. Is there another country on earth with a worse record of self-governance than the Germans?

The fact that the Germans and their record of ineptitude are now in charge of Europe does not bode well for the Continent. The Greeks should have been expelled a long time ago, but the Germans insisted they remain and now that dumpster fire is about to reignite. Then there is the fact that the Italians are headed to a crisis and the French may be about to elected a populist government, mostly due to mad Merkel and her efforts to flood the continent with Muslims. The French wanted to build and lead the EU to defend Europe, but now under German leadership, the EU has become a suicide pact.

Getting back to where we started, Americans and most of the world, judging from the international press, have this view of the Germans that is wildly out of phase with reality. The bill of indictment against Germany being anything but a fountain of mischief is rather long. In a little under 150 years, a unified Germany has managed to cause more damage to civilization than the rest of the western people combined. The temptation has been to assign this to a small portion of Germans who are evil. What if Germans are simply stupid? Perhaps to be German means carrying a gene for reckless stupidity.

Whether or not the Germans are the Minus Race is immaterial. The point is we need to seriously rethink our image of the Germans. Yes, they made some of the greatest art in Western history, but then they will tried to invade Russia in winter. They make some of the finest manufactured good in the world today, but they have also elected a collection of suicidal lunatics hellbent on blowing up Europe. Germany may be the land of engineers and chocolate makers, but it is also the home of the world most dangerous morons too.

The Saudis and Israelis.

According to the CIA Fact Book, Israel is a country of 8,174,527 people, including the settler in East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. If it were a US state, it would rank 13th in population, behind Virginia and ahead of Washington. Interestingly, the population density of Israel is 377/km2 which is roughly the same as New Hampshire. The images of Israel on the news show it as a crowded place, but that is not the case. There’s lot of nothing between the cities and towns.

If you put Israel into a search engine it returns 888 million results. If you put New Hampshire into the same search engine, you get 168 million results. No one, of course, cares much about New Hampshire, but just about everyone cares about Israel. Every American politician is required to have an opinion of Israeli and its difficulties with the Arabs. More important, they are required to have the correct opinion about Israel. This is even true of liberals as we saw with Obama and his last minute UN gambit.

Many people on the Dissident Right think the US and the world pays far too much attention to Israel. While there is an obvious cultural and historical attachment for the place in the West, the Israelis can handle themselves. Pat Buchanan would have us cut the cord entirely and leave Israel to her own devises. That would be part of a larger policy of abandoning the Middle East entirely. After all, the oil would still flow onto the world market as it has not where else to go. Who care who pumps it out of the ground?

The paleo-libertarians have a similar view of Israel and the Middle East, but theirs is more from the economic side of things. The cost of meddling far outweighs the benefits. Ron Paul looks at the endless wars and sees nothing but pointless expense. All we are doing, according to Paul, is turning a billion people into enemies for not obvious reason. It is hard to know for sure, but Ron Paul seems to be a guy who roots for the Israelis, but thinks they can handle their own affairs.

That’s probably the right position, but it is hard to see how that can ever happen. The Israelis have become adept at influencing American foreign policy. It’s not just the elaborate lobbying efforts in Washington. They are good at getting their side of things into the news media. Naturally, many Jewish Americans in the media are more than willing to play along. David Brooks is a big shot columnist for the NYTimes and his son is in the Israeli defense Force. It’s not hard to figure where he comes down on Israel.

It’s not just the Israelis. That big Saudi “cultural center” outside DC is not there for no reason. As is the case with Wahhabi mosques all over the world, it is primarily an intelligence facility, but it also serves as a handy clearing house for Arab lobbying efforts in Washington. The Saudis have had a long relationship with the Bush family, of course, but they have good relations with many other prominent politicians. John McCain, for example, can always be counted on to carry water for the House of Saud.

That’s where many on the Dissident Right miss the mark. Israel’s lobbying efforts in the US, and their vast espionage efforts, are as much a response to the Saudi efforts as anything else. The US has been in bed with the House of Saud since the 1930’s. It was US oil companies that first exploited the Saudi oil fields in the 1930’s. Soon after the end of World War II, Aramco was formed and then the headquarters was moved from New York to Dhahran. The point being that the US has a much longer and deeper relationship with the Saudis than the Israelis.

Even if America abandoned Israel entirely, the Saudis would still find ways to entangle us in the Middle East. The fact that the 9/11 hijackers were all Saudis is probably not a coincidence. There’s pretty good evidence that the Saudi family was financing at least some of the hijackers. While Israel could probably get along just fine without US support, the House of Saud evaporates without Uncle Sam protecting them, the oil fields and the Persian Gulf. Therefore, the royal family makes lobbying the US and spying in the US a top priority.

If the US was ever going to get out of the Middle East, it would start with pulling the plug on the Saudis, but no one will ever do it because no one knows what comes next. Despite the problems, the West can do business with the Saudis. US defense contractors operate all over the kingdom, officially and unofficially. They maintain the signal intelligence operations and provide logistical support for US military operations in the region. They also operate as an inlet for intelligence passed from the Saudis. That’s not easily replaced.

The result is the Saudis will exert an outsized influence on US foreign policy and the Israelis will try to counter it and augment it when it works in their favor. The fact that the Israelis and Saudis often work hand and glove to supervise the chaotic Middle East is one of the many contradictions that defines the general lunacy of the region. There’s no escaping this as long as oil is the primary source of energy in the world. Blaming Israel or the many supporters of Israel in the US is not going to alter this reality.

If American wants to get out of the Middle East, it need to divorce the House of Saud.

Europe’s Bloody Future

One aspect of the continuing crisis in Europe that is never discussed is why the people allegedly responsible for the welfare of their people, continue to act so irresponsibly. Closely linked to this is why the people in these countries have been so passive toward their ruler’s flagrant disregard for their duties. In any previous era, the terrorist attack on the Berlin Christmas market would have led to a swift response from government, because doing anything else would have the people in the streets building a scaffold for their rulers.

Germany continues to have a reputation for effective and efficient government administration, despite the fact all the evidence suggests Germany is now run by a collection of thumbless boobs. As someone on Sailer’s site noted, this is not a new thing. Germany has been operating like a drunk on holiday for quite some time. Angela Merkel’s decision to import a million violent low-IQ barbarians is just the most egregious example of the reckless disregard for their duties by the German rulers and the indifference of the German people to it.

It’s not just the Germans, either. The French have been tolerating the importation of useless savages from North Africa for decades. Paris is now a small tourist area surrounded by Bronze Age cavemen. Every election, the French people come out and vote for the guy promising to murder more French citizens, because the alternative risks being called a racist and that’s worse than death. The fact that millions of otherwise sensible people can vote in favor of suicide like this speaks to the power of belief.

The Europeans, at least a great many of them, are infected by the same virus that has infected many Americans. They have embraced the most extreme forms of multiculturalism, where opposition to racism is the highest calling. In America, this results in finding the nearest black guy and parading him around the streets or putting him in the White House. Secondarily it has meant an embrace of open borders and the celebration of degeneracy, but the primary focus is always on race. In recent times, it’s been black history month twelve months a year.

In Europe it is a bit different as they don’t have the long shadow of  the English Civil War and slavery. Instead, the afflicted become convinced that there is no difference between people. Since difference is the sole reason for borders, any hint of a border is tantamount to bringing back Nazism. The result is open borders above all else. Even the small steps they have taken to control the flow of barbarians into Europe were done reluctantly and after many public proclamations about how awful everyone feels about defending themselves from the hordes.

How this has happened is not a topic discussed in polite company or by the chattering classes. Read through all of the news accounts and commentary about the Berlin attack and no where do you see any questions about whether it was wise to import a million barbarians. That’s just assumed. Instead, the speculation is over how the natives somehow drove this poor barbarian to fulfill his purpose as a barbarian. The European media reads like the patient newsletter at an insane asylum.

One cause of this is the Cold War. For close to fifty years, Western Europe was America’s daycare center. Americans did all the heavy lifting with regard to the defense of Western Civilization both militarily and economically. European elites were allowed to play dress up and pretend to be in charge, but everyone knew the Americans were in charge. If something broke, America fixed it. If someone got an ouchy, America would salve their boo-boo. The Pax Americana allowed the West to remain in a state of perpetual adolescence.

The result was at least one generation of leaders lacking any training in responsible government. They dress up like proper rulers, but they have no idea what it means to defend their people. In fact, they don’t even think about the hoi polloi as their people. They are just the great unwashed, an undifferentiated mass of greedy mouths and grasping hands. They were free to evolve this way because the Americans were always there to make sure nothing bad happened. As the protective bubble is removed, all of this being exposed.

At some point, people get tired of being murdered. The young German with a taste for politics is going to start to question why he is loyal to people, who show more concern for foreigners than they do for him. A lesson of the French Revolution is that once people begin to question the legitimacy of the system, everything is soon up for grabs. The reckless disregard for their duties, by people like Merkel, is planting the seeds for something much worse than the monthly Exploding Mohamed we see in the news.

Whether or not it is too late to save Europe is open for debate. It is also possible that more sober minded politicians will rise up, push aside the reckless and begin the task of rebuilding their countries. The future is not written and there is no such thing as the tide of history. Even so, it appears Europe is headed for a very ugly and perhaps bloody reckoning. No society can last when its rulers are perpetually at war with its people and that is what Europe is today. At some point, the people will join the war.

A World of Problems

Back when the Germans were threatening to shut down Greece and sell it off for parts, it was fairly obvious that there was no way to “fix” the Greek problem. Even it were possible to radically overhaul their public sector, the debt payments are too high to maintain the level of social services expected from a modern social democracy. Default was unthinkable because close to 80 percent of Greece’s public debt is owned by public institutions, primarily the EU governments and the ECB.

The “solution” was to kick the can down the road until a miracle happened, but now the problem is back.

ATHENS—Greece’s economic recovery is proving elusive, challenging the forecasts of the country’s government and foreign creditors still counting on growth reviving this year.

The International Monetary Fund said last week  that the economy is stagnating, in the first admission from creditors that Greece’s recovery is off track again. Growth will only restart next year, the head of the IMF’s team in Greece said on a conference call with reporters, without offering details.

Of particular concern is that exports, which are supposed to lead Greece out of trouble, are on a slow downward trajectory, hampered by capital controls, taxes and a lack of credit.

“There is no chance we will see a rebound unless we see some bold political decisions that would introduce a more stable business environment,” said Dimitris Tsakonitis, general manager at mining company Grecian Magnesite.

The bailout agreement between Greece and its German-led creditors assumes rapid growth from late 2016 onward, including an official forecast of 2.7% growth in 2017. Private-sector economists believe next year’s growth could be closer to 0.6%.

Weaker growth would undermine the budget, likely leading to fresh arguments with lenders about extra austerity measures.

Greece is still grappling with the measures it has already agreed to. Late on Tuesday the country’s parliament approved pension overhauls and other policy changes that have been delayed for months, holding up bailout funding.

Greek government officials are sticking to their view that the economy is on the cusp of growth. “We are at the turning point at which we can we say with certainty that we are leaving the recession behind us,” Economy Minister George Stathakis told supporters of the ruling left-wing Syriza party Sunday.

The economy will get a push from investors as of the end of the year, when lenders are expected to provide some debt relief and the country qualifies for a European Central Bank bond buyback program, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal last week.

In other words, the miracle did not happen and the problem is now worse. This comes at a time when Europe’s biggest bank is in very serious trouble.

Hedge funds have started to pull some of their business from Deutsche Bank, setting up a potential showdown with German authorities over the future of the country’s largest lender.

As its shares fell sharply in New York trading, Deutsche recirculated a statement emphasising its strong financial position.

European regulators and government officials have kept a low profile in public over Deutsche’s deepening woes. However, in private they have struck a sanguine tone, stressing that in extremis there is scope under European regulation to inject state funds to support the bank, provided it is done in line with market conditions.

Marcel Fratzscher, head of DIW Berlin, a think-tank, said: “If push comes to shove, the German government would contribute because Deutsche Bank is the only global bank that Germany has.”

There is one solid rule with banking and that is when the biggest bank is in trouble, all the banks are in trouble. The reason is a bank in trouble seeks to increase its cash by unwinding its holdings. This puts downward pressure on the price of those assets, which forces all banks holding similar assets to revalue and perhaps raise their cash holdings, by selling assets. This can easily set off a cascading effect, which is popularly referred to as contagion. The ghost of Lehman now haunts Deutsche Bank.

Deutsche Bank has something north of €42 Trillion in derivative exposure. To put that into perspective, the GDP of Europe is €14 Trillion. The phrase “systemic risk” is starting to pop up in news stories for obvious reasons. Presumably the German government would step in and bail out the bank, but this is the same German government that invited millions of Muslims into the country. That and no one really knows how big the problem is at Deutsche Bank. There’s nothing more dangerous in the financial world than uncertainty.

If that’s not enough to have you stocking up on potable water and MRE’s, the news brings word that the Obama Administration is trying its best to start a war with Russia over Syria. They are ending talks with the Russians over the bombing of Aleppo. The Russians are threatening to impose a no-fly zone, while John Kerry is making noises about sending troops to Syria. The US position is completely nuts, which is what makes it so dangerous. The same people who screwed this up are now tasked with avoiding a mistake that will lead to a shooting war with the Russians.

The world always has some problem that could get out of control and bring the whole thing crashing down, but the odds are usually long enough to not worry too much. Pakistan is now threatening to nuke India, but that happens often enough to not take too seriously. Pakistan’s military understands that they will lose a real war with India. India understands that they will gain nothing by winning a war against Pakistan. This is one of those problems that can be managed by the permanent diplomatic service, with little help from the political class.

The three crisis I’m following all have some things in common. One is they will require hard choices from the political class to contain. In politics, a hard choice is one that causes a politician to lose support. Merkel’s government is already teetering so how willing is she going to be to make a bold move to rescue Deutsche Bank? The ECB proved unable to deal with the Greeks the last time. If Merkel is facing a financial crisis, who will she play bad cop with the Greeks when Tsipris inevitably comes calling, demanding a break on Greek debt?

The Syria debacle is the most concerning because it resembles so many European problems of the past. There’s a Seven Year’s War quality to it where you have two main players with the rest changing teams after every stage. With the US now increasing the troop levels in nearby Iraq, presumably to fight in one theater of this conflict, the chances of a mistake increase. In these situations, mistakes are often not mistakes, but even when they are, they become reasons to abandon dialogue in favor of military options.

We live in a world of trouble. One can be forgiven for having a sense of foreboding.

The New Cold War?

One of the more curious parts of the American presidential campaign is the furious side battle over how to deal with the Russians. Many Republicans have adopted the neo-conservative line that Putin is some combination of Stalin, Hitler and that third grade bully who put gum in their hair. They are incapable of seeing Putin as anything but an inhuman evil. This says more about the Republican-aligned publications and think tanks, which have come to be dominated by the neo-cons, than anything else.

Trump has taken a less provocative stance than most Republicans so that has all the professional loonies out howling in the streets. Part of this is simply due to the anti-Trump virus that has infected Official Conservatism™, but it also reveals something about the political class. While neo-cons have always had greater influence over the Republicans, they currently dominate the foreign policy establishment. It was under Obama, after all, that Victoria Nuland helped throw the Ukraine into turmoil.

The puzzle is why the neo-cons have an obsession with the Russians. The Cold War has been over for a long time and the Russians are not much of a threat to anyone. They have a lot of nukes, but what reason would they have to nuke anyone? The Russian ruling class is living like Saudi Royals, mostly from selling natural resources to the Europeans. They control roughly 40% of the natural gas supply to Europe and that accounts for 68% of Russian exports. That means the Russians are in no hurry to stop selling gas to the rest of Europe.

Part of it is good old fashioned professional inertia. People like Frederick Kagan, Donald Kagan and Robert Kagan (husband of Victoria Nuland) have organized their lives around opposition to the Russians. They’re not alone. The whole neo-conservative project, as a political movement, was mostly about opposition to the Soviets. Most of the men who lead the neo-conservative cause these days are old men who started out in life as Cold War hawks. When the Soviets collapsed, they did not find a new career. They simply found new reasons to demonize the Russians.

There’s also an undeniable tribal flavor to it. Almost all neocons are Jews and specifically Russian Jews. There has always been a strong anti-Russian strain within American Jewry that dates back to to when Russian Jews started migrating to America. It’s not entirely irrational, given the way Jews were treated by the Czars. But, there has always been a divide within American Jewry. One one side are German Jews who emigrated in the 19th century and largely blended into the ruling class. On the other side are the Russian Jews who were treated like poorer relations.

While all of this is interesting background, it is no reason to restart the Cold War and there are some dissenters who think the neo-cons are nuts. Some on the Right point to the fact the neo-cons were outlandishly wrong about the Muslims and should not be trusted with Russia policy. Then there are critics from the Left who also think the neo-cons are nuts, but they mostly think we’re better off doing business with the Russians. Stephen Cohen is the most prominent voice on the Left warning that a new Cold War with Russia is a terrible idea.

There’s another element that explains the neo-con obsession with Putin. Irving Kristol’s brand of conservatism was intended to be forward looking and anti-traditionalist. It’s not an accident that the neo-cons are forever chirping about happy warriors and optimistic conservatism. They see traditionalism as pessimistic and limiting. Whatever else you want to say about Putin, he is very much in the tradition of European conservatism, which is traditionalist and limiting. The state is to defend citizens from one another, not guide them to the glorious future where they can reach their full potential.

Then there’s globalism, which has become something of a religion for western ruling elites. Irving Kristol’s brand of politics has easily folded into the globalist fantasies of American policy makers, because it gives the naked money grab the veneer of humanitarianism. The trillion dollar boondoggle that was the Iraq War was tarted up as an effort to install democracy and liberalism in the Muslim world. It’s a lot easier to loot your country’s middle-class when you are convinced it is to make the world a better place.

Even if the neo-cons continue to dominate the debate, it takes two to tango and there’s plenty of reasons to think the Russians are not all that interested in a new Cold War. Russian per capita GDP is $13,000. The poorest state in America is at $35,000, while the poorest state in the EU is Bulgaria at $18,000. Russia is not Albania, but it is a very poor country relative to the West. It’s also a country with horrible demographics and wide spread drug and alcohol problems. They also have a Muslim problem that gets little attention. In other words, the Russians are in no condition for a Cold War.

Thoughts on Turkey

In my youth, military coups and revolutions were not common, but they were not unheard of either. Real countries like France or Canada did not have coups, but banana republics in South America had them with some frequency. Then you had the intrigues in the Soviet Bloc. A leader would suddenly stop showing up at public events and that meant he was sick or he had fallen out of favor. Africa would have revolutions with some frequency. We called them revolutions, even though nothing ever changed, but that’s Africa.

The general assumption was that a real country did not have military coups or revolutions because they had democracy of some sort. If the people were unhappy, they could vote in people they liked. If elements of the ruling elite were unhappy, they could appeal to the public for change. The military, instead of being an instrument of the ruling class, was subordinate to the civilian government and excluded from politics. That’s not a bad place to start when defining a modern country. Real countries have elections, not revolts.

I think this is why the western news services were having so much trouble fitting the attempted coup in Turkey into their standard narrative. Turkey is supposed to be different from the rest of the Muslim world. Turkey is a real country with elections and globalism. Sure, the political leaderships sounds a lot like the lunatics from the Arab world, but that’s just an act. It’s their version of boob bait for the bubbas. Instead of guns and abortion, their rednecks want to hear about Allah and the Jews. Turkey is a real country, not a banana republic.

Following along via SkyNews, the BBC and CNN, I had to laugh at the confusion of the news people covering this thing. They did not know which side they were supposed to support. Initially, they were just baffled, as they don’t know anything about the world that is not fed to them through their earpieces. They were reduced to stuttering through live images of people walking around the streets waving flags. Then Obama came out in defense of the Islamists and the rest of NATO followed suit. Instantly, the new media was anti-coup.

Another thing I thought was humorous about the news coverage was the repetition of the claim this coup was not a “21st century coup.” I first heard this said on SkyNews and then all of the news services were saying it. Whether this was “monkey see-monkey do” or the official word from the party is hard to know. What I found amusing about it is Turkey is not a 21st century country, but it is in the middle of a 21st century civil war, of which this was a part. The fact that this is not obvious to the alleged experts, who rule over us, does not bode well for our future.

In this civil war, Erdogan is the Oliver Cromwell of Turkey and this attempted coup was something analogous to Penruddock’s Uprising. It’s not a perfect analogy, but it helps explain what’s happening in Turkey. The army is the defender of the secular legacy of Ataturk and the defender of the old order. Erdogan is the leader of the new order, the Islamists that believe they can have a modern technological society, under medieval Islamic moral codes.

Everyone seems to agree that this event makes Erdogan stronger, but Turkish politics are so opaque that outsiders can never really know what’s going on in the country. This could have been an operation run by the secular military to get the Gülen cult removed from their own ranks. The Gülen Cult is thought to have a stronger presence in the police than the military so this could be something more complex. In other words, this may not have been a revolt against the AKP but a revolt within the AKP.

There’s also the fact that ethnic Turks are a majority in Turkey for now. Kurds are the future, demographically. That’s a big part of what has put the AKP in power. The Turks view secularism as the cause of the demographic decline. The organization of the Kurds into a single political party, denying AKP a majority in the last election is a glimpse of the future and the Turks know it. That’s why the AKP sent in the army after the election to persecute the Kurds. It’s a part of what is driving the Turkish involvement in Syria.

The civil war among the Turks is about what to do about the future, a future that will have more Kurds than Turks if something is not done to arrest the low TFR of young Turks. Turkey has the Western disease, but it is still an Eastern culture. In the West, civilizational death is celebrated in the form of open borders and multiculturalism. In the East, it is met with religious revivals and bloodbaths. David Goldman makes the argument that the Iranian revolution was driven by similar forces.

The Turks are faced with a choice. They can be fully Western and go quietly into that good night. Or, they can be Eastern and fight against the dying of the light. The former means modern technology and prosperity, for a little while at least. The latter means men in robes ordering homosexuals thrown off buildings. That’s what’s happening inside Turkey today. It’s a version of what’s happening in the West, but only in a country that culturally is closer to Byzantium than Brussels.

Return of Heptarchy

We don’t know a lot of the British isles, prior to the Romans arriving. Archaeological and genetic evidence gives some broad outlines, but the details of daily life and the history of rulers and tribes is largely unknown to us. The best we can do is piece together some general ideas based on what has been dug from the earth and what the Romans recorded about what they found when they landed in Britain. There’s also genetics which can be used to trace the movement of peoples over time. This helps build a general picture, but it is filled with assumptions.

What we do know is that for most of her history, various tribes controlled areas of land and those tribes eventually formed kingdoms. The Picts, the Celts, the Welsh, the Angles and later, the Saxons, are familiar names to people fond of history. Similarly, Wessex, Mercia, Northumbria  and East Anglia probably ring some bells for most people. These were some of the kingdoms of the Heptarchy, a period in British history that lasted from the end of Roman rule until most of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms came under the overlordship of Egbert of Wessex in 829.

It’s useful to keep this in mind when looking at the changes that are coming to the UK if they follow through on the Brexit vote. The Scots are talking about independence again. The Welsh have been talking about independence for a while and may get serious about it again. Then you have the always difficult problem of the Irish. Membership in the EU was a disaster for the Irish in many ways, but they instinctively wish to go the opposite of whatever way the English are going so it is hard to know what happens with them. Then you have the Unionist issue, which is complicated in the best of times.

Whether any of this will come to pass is unknown at this point, but there’s no doubt that the UK is about to go through a period where it redefines itself to meet the world of the future. Those two great forces discussed in yesterday’s post are at work in the UK now. On the one hand, we have movements toward greater local control, even independence, and on the other hand we have a movement to fold the whole country into Europe as an administrative zone of Germany. For now, the smaller is better side is winning the argument, but how far it goes is up in the air.

The issue that lies beneath all of this is whether or not the United Kingdom as a concept is of much use in the modern world. A unified island made a lot of sense in an age when invasion was a reasonable concern. A divided squabbling people would not stand a chance against Norse raiders. The Continent has produced many threats that required a strong and unified Britain. Today, invasion is not a concern and the greatest threat from the Continent is a fresh batch of regulations that make flush toilets less efficient. It’s entirely plausible that the costs of being united outweigh the benefits.

Scotland voting themselves out of the UK is an obvious first step, but that may not be a great move on their part. The Scots remind me of the French-Canadians. They like waving flags around more than they like self-sufficiency. Similarly, the Welsh voted Brexit and seem to like being in partnership with the English. Preservation of local customs and language don’t require independence. The Scots and the Welsh would probably be happy with the symbolic parts of nationhood, but let the English run foreign policy, trade and the central bank, as long as they have a voice in Parliament.

The other side of this is the fact that the English may be tiring of the Scots. In the last two national elections a clear line exist between the Scots and the English. SNP is basically Labour with more Brave Heart references. The Scots vote for a populist left-wing party while the English are voting for what passes for a nationalist right-wing party now. UKIP in Scotland is a collection of fringe nuts, while in England it is a real party gently tugging the Tories back to where they belong on the Right. I bet more than a few English would like to vote the Scots out of the UK and be done with them.

Then we have the Irish. Currently, there is free movement between England, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Britain leaving the EU means a return of border controls to the UK and that means borders come back between Ireland and England. There’s also the fact that Norther Ireland voted heavily against leaving the EU and is making noises about gaining special EU status. That’s only possible if they are an independent country. How likely is it that Northern Ireland will follow the same path as the Scots and begin badgering for independence? How long before the English tire of them?

All of this is idle speculation, but the ground is shifting in the UK.