Peak Israel, Peak Empire

There is an old expression about the Bolshevik revolution that says it was made by Jewish brains, Latvian bayonets, and Russian stupidity. There is a lot of truth to it, as the ethnic makeup of the revolution was not very Russian. One way to look at the revolution is as a revolt of subject people against their old masters. This was made possible by the cupidity and stupidity of the Russian elites. A very similar thing is happening in the American empire, just at a slower pace.

This formulation can also apply to the Middle East. For a long time now, the history of the region has been shaped by a combination of Israeli strategy, Saudi Arabian oil, and American force. It is reasonable to say that America would have no presence in the region if not for Israel. The creation of the Jewish state in 1948 set the region on fire, drawing in the Americans and Russian. Oil and gas, of course, is what made the region vital in the long battle between the two empires.

Since the Cold War ended, the primary reason for US involvement has been Israeli intrigue and Saudi oil production. The first crusade in Iraq was about protecting the oil and gas interests. The second crusade was about changing the balance of power in the region to meet Israel security needs. The crusade in Afghanistan was mostly about containing Iran, despite the rhetoric. Look at a map and it is easy to see that it would be a useful launching pad for air strikes against the Iranians.

The collapse of Afghanistan is getting a lot attention, but it is part of a larger collapse of the regional order. Israel, for example, has undergone a political revolution of sorts with the end of the Netanyahu regime. The new prime minister is the product of the neo-liberal order, rather than the fight for independence. He got rich selling software in America and his parents were left-wing fanatics from San Francisco. He is a man of the global managerial class rather than the local elite.

On the Saudi side of things, the walls continue to close in as their stranglehold on the oil and gas market collapses. New technology has opened up vast reserves in North America, so the need for Saudi oil has declined. Iran’s Caspian Sea natural gas deposit will put her on even footing with the Saudis. That leg of the triumvirate driving regional politics is no longer the gatekeeper of the world’s energy supply. Soon, they will be just another gas station selling a commodity on the world market.

Taken together, the old combination of Israeli strategy, Saudi Arabian oil and American force is about to unravel. America still has troops staged in Syria and Iraq, but the writing is on the wall there too. It also means Israel as the primary mover and shaker in the region is coming to an end. Without American firepower and the Saudi control of energy politics, Israeli is just another country in the region. Throw in the Russian-Iranian partnership and the Middle East is going to look very different.

This is one reason the neoconservatives have been trying to restart the Cold War with the Russians. Given the their involvement in the Middle East, a new contest with them would draw America back into the region. It was also why Israel talked Trump into dumping the Iran deal. Normalization of relations between Europe and Iran makes war with Iran impossible. If that is not an option, then there is little point in America maintaining a military presence in the region.

What we may be seeing is peak Israel. For generations, Israel has occupied the center of American politics. During the Cold War, the three “I’s” of politics were Israel, Indiana, and Ireland. After the Cold War it was Israel, India, and Investment Banking. It is fair to say that what passes for conservatism in America is just low-tax Zionism. The collapse of American involvement in the region means there is little reason to make Israel the focal point of American politics.

This is no small thing. The Republicans are celebrating the bad fortune of Biden and the Democrats over Afghanistan, but this is very bad for them. During the Cold War, the left-side of the American ruling elite was allowed a free hand in domestic affairs and the right-side ran foreign affairs. The end of the Soviet empire left the right-side without a reason to exist, so we got the crusades against Islam for the last 30 years. Suddenly, the only reason to vote Republican has gone away.

It is not all roses for the left-side either. Without the distraction of endless war, the focus will be on domestic issues. All of those people who were titillated by the prospect of “glassing” various countries can now focus their energy on the people trying to turn their sons into girls. America has been at war with someone for close to a century now and this has allowed the Left to remake the country. It also allowed them to underwrite their schemes with the proceeds of empire.

For seventy years, Israel has played an enormous role in the politics of the American empire, but that seems to be coming to an end. It may be that Trump’s decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem was the top of Israeli influence. The fading of the American empire, particularly in the Middle East, means the influence of Israel on the world must fade with it. It also means the Israelis will have to seek new partners in their endless game of neighborhood politics. America is no longer useful.


The crackdown by the oligarchs on dissidents has had the happy result of a proliferation of new ways to support your favorite creator. If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


The Benjamin Button Times

Note: This coming Saturday, there will be an on-line debate between Jared Taylor and E. Michael Jones. The topic, “Is Race an Important Reality or a Fiction?”, will have Taylor on the race realist side and Jones on the race denialist side. The debate will be LIVE on Saturday, August 21, on EntropyDLive, and Odysee at: 1pm L.A. / 4pm New York / 21:00 London / 22:00 Stockholm.


In The Inequality of Man, the great evolutionary biologist J. B. S. Haldane noted that fanaticism was one of the great inventions of the pre-modern world. Obsessive enthusiasm, especially for an unattainable thing like paradise, makes the fanatic a violent force of nature. We see that with the current Afghan debacle. The open borders fanatics have immediately seized on the crisis to justify importing millions of Afghans into your neighborhood. They never miss a beat.

Similarly, the same people responsible for losing yet another war for the empire are now using the Afghan mess to demand money for their China project. The logic here is that the willingness to abandon Afghanistan, as if it was the crown jewel of the empire, means China will think the US will abandon Taiwan. They may make a play for reclaiming the island nation as a result. The remedy is to give the brain trust of the military industrial complex more money for more new stuff.

The “heads we win, tails you lose” psychology of the military industrial complex is one of those signs of rot that does not get enough attention. The truth is, Afghanistan fell victim to the same disease that afflicts everything else. It quickly became a racket for rich people to skim money from Americans. Billions went to NGO’s and civilian contractors, who then used some portion of it to reward their favorite politicians back in Washington for their support of Afghanistan.

Putting that aside, how realistic is it that China will look at this as their chance to make a move on Taiwan? The answer depends upon your view of China, rather than what is happening with the empire. The old Sinophiles still see the healthy young dragon of their youth, so they assume she will make her play sooner rather than later, because she is not getting any younger. The new Sino-skeptics see an aging dragon that has a pot-belly and smokes too much to fight anyone.

In both cases, China’s demographics are important. China’s one child policy and her sudden fertility collapse is creating a demographic disaster. The Sinophiles think this means she has to move now before it is too late, and the Sino-skeptics think it is already too late. The typical Chinese person right now is a 39-year-old man. He most likely lives in a city which means he is enjoying city life. The collapse of Chinese fertility means China is the fastest aging population in history.

You can see why the Sinophiles think China has to move now if she ever plans to move on Taiwan, but you also see why that may be impossible. That bottomless pit of young males that make good fighters is quickly drying up. Compounding it is the fact that China now has a very restless middle-class. So much so that the party is now plotting to give the billionaires a haircut in order to redistribute wealth. This is a move to shore up popular support with the middle-aged, middle class.

The worst possible thing the party could do for this demographic is launch of pointless war of choice to seize Taiwan. This would mean diverting resources from that middle-class to the war effort. It would also lead to an economic collapse, as China needs access to the Pacific to trade with the world. They also depend on the dollar and access to US markets. There is popular support for retaking Taiwan, but middle-aged support tends to be a mile wide and inch deep.

This is why the West has gone along with the kooky schemes of the radicals in charge of the institutions. Protesting the government is a young man’s game and the West is short of young men. When you are 25 with nothing to lose, you will bet your life in a better future. When you are 45 with everything to lose, you will risk very little. The is the situation in China. It is increasingly a land full of middle-aged people who don’t want to lose what they struggled so hard to acquire.

Of course, there is the military reality. Even though the US military is run by lunatics and goofballs, the war-making disparity is massive. China, for example, has two aircraft carriers that require air support from land to operate. The US has nuclear powered carriers that can attack from beyond China’s reach. Then there is the massive submarine fleet that can reach out and touch every point in China. An attack on Taiwan would be a disaster for the Chinese military.

When you start looking at the reality of current China, rather than the romantic image of 1990’s China, there is a good case that she is in decline. She went from medieval to modern in a couple of generations, which was impressive. This is why so many still see her as a marvel of central planning. The thing is though, that speed of progress is now quickly taking her past her peak deep into the modern disease. China has a bad case of “Benjamin Button” syndrome and there is no known cure for it.

That does not rule out war in the Pacific. One lesson from Afghanistan is that the military industrial complex is a massive money laundering operation. It needs low-grade wars to keep it going. In fact, the political system needs it as well. Now that the crusades against Islam have run out of steam, the war machine needs a new racket to launder the trillions. That most likely means a cold war with China that requires trillions in new toys and new experts to “keep American safe.”


The crackdown by the oligarchs on dissidents has had the happy result of a proliferation of new ways to support your favorite creator. If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


Lessons From Afghanistan

Note: There is new content behind the green door. If you are not signed up, please consider it as it will bring you happiness and save your soul. Sunday Thoughts covers the Afghan situation and some other interesting new items. The Taki post is up and it is about the Afghanistan debacle. There is a pattern here.


Over the last week, the world has watched the great project of the American empire fall to pieces as if it was a controlled demolition. The Taliban has swept across Afghanistan, facing little more than token resistance from the official government. In fact, the official government fled the country without even pretending to care. As of Sunday evening, the U.S. government was scrambling to figure out how to evacuate the people with American citizenship while begging the Taliban for relief.

This week, regime elements will be playing the blame game, no doubt settling on the previous administration as the real culprit. Faced with disconfirmation of their beliefs, the new religion of our rulers triggers a process whereby they are convinced that the latest setback is actually part of the great plan. It is a sort of test of faith and the only way to get past it and continue the flow of history is to believe harder. In time, this will become a bloody shirt in the way Vietnam was for a generation.

Putting that aside, the collapse of the Afghan model reveals some things about the ruling regime that are useful to dissidents. The big lesson is that the Washington regime never felt it necessary to subvert the culture of Afghanistan. Instead, they spent twenty years celebrating it. Sure, they did the superficial stuff like flying the flags of various sexual deviants over the embassy, but they never tried to impose it on the Afghans in the same was we see them do it to white Americans.

If the Afghans were white, the empire would have accused them of Afghan privilege or maybe Afghan supremacy then set about destroying their culture. There would have been gay imams in rainbow colored tunics preaching about how Muhamad was really into sodomy. Of course, there would have been a heavy emphasis on women’s sports, perhaps fielding an all lesbian soccer team. None of that happened because that would have been insulting to the Afghans and their ways.

The big thing that the empire did not do that they are doing in their alleged home base of America is replace the people. A big part of the war on whiteness is the importation of millions of nonwhites into white countries. It is part of the dialectic made real, where mass immigration is the negation of white culture. The empire could have done this in Afghanistan with no trouble. There are a billion Africans looking for a better deal, so they could have imported some of them to celebrate diversity.

That really is the telling feature of the twenty year occupation. The rules in place over there were the exact opposite of the rules in place over here. There was no systematic statue toppling, no mass media campaigns against Afghan culture and no chanting about diversity being a strength. One could be forgiven for thinking that the people in charge of the American empire have more respect for Afghan culture and Afghan people than they have for the American people and their culture.

These are things most people probably knew, if they took the time to think about it, but the events of last weekend provide a good reminder. In the weeks to come, the ruling class will care more about the fortunes of people in Afghanistan than the victims of their opioid crisis they inflicted on rural America. They will work harder to preserve the “rights” of collaborators left behind in Kabul than the rights of American being held in dungeons around Washington. They hate us that much.

The useful lesson in all of this is these people have once again revealed that they really do believe their own nonsense. The old paleos remain convinced that the elites know their preaching is all nonsense, but the Afghan debacle is proof that they do get high from their own supply. The plan was to celebrate the exit on 9/11 as “mission accomplished” and then forget about the whole thing. Biden would get credit for finishing Obama’s project and ending the Bush war.

Over the weekend, their lack of preparation was on display, as the regime media was not provided with a script to follow. Instead, they were allowed to think for themselves, a dangerous prospect under ideal conditions. They sent Biden out to take questions not vetted in advance and it was another humiliation. The sight of an eighty year old man struggling to do the basics is symbolic of the empire. Like Biden, it is old, senile, and operating on the fumes of past glories that never really happened.

This is not the first time the ruling elite have fallen for their own rhetoric. Back in the Obama years, they were sure the summer of 2010 was going to be “recovery summer” for the economy. They even had a campaign all ready to go. That ended the same way the Afghan withdraw ended. Recall that Biden promised this summer would be the end of the Covid panic. Everyone would get to party again. The prophesies of the new religion have a bad habit of never coming true.

Of course, the big lesson in all of this is that a small, dedicated minority can win against all odds if they refuse to surrender. The irony of the American foreign policy establishment not remembering the story of David and Goliath is one of those things that tells us something about the people in charge. They are just so sure they are on the right side of history, that they never take a moment to consider their role in it. They were the Goliath this time and the Afghans were the David.

Granted, the American military would happily abandon the rules of engagement they labored under in Afghanistan when it comes to whiteness. You can be sure General Milley has a speech ready about how white rage is really a part of some secret connected between white people and the Taliban. That said, men living as they did when Alexander the Great was in Afghanistan fought the mighty U.S. Military to a draw and then drove them from their lands. An inspiration to us all.

In the end, this is how dying empires look from the inside. The people at the top fear self-examination, so they commit to a zealous form of the mentality that made the empire possible in the first place. The empire and their place atop it are the center of their belief system and no disconfirmation will shake that belief. They will die with the empire that makes them possible. What comes next is up to the people who survive the inevitable collapse in order to fill the void of empire.


The crackdown by the oligarchs on dissidents has had the happy result of a proliferation of new ways to support your favorite creator. If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


The Great Mistake

Note: I was on the Restoring Order podcast last night. It was a lively conversation about events of the day. The audio on my end was not good for some reason. It was like I was making an old fashioned long distance call. Patrick has me connect with Skype, which is probably the reason for the poor sound.


The renewed interest in the origins of the Covid virus is a good reminder of several threads running through the modern political discourse. The most obvious being the reactionary nature of the establishment Left. Trump pinned the blame on China, so the establishment Left made it their mission to defend China. This fit in well with their corporate paymasters, who are happy to wash the feet of the Chinese government in exchange for access to Chinese consumers.

Of course, that leads into another subplot to the modern age. The willingness to submit everything to the marketplace, real and imagined. This is a root cause of the current crisis in America. Just because it is good for the economy in the short term to do business with China does not mean it is good to do business with China, but in the hyper-marketized world of today, no one questions it. Like everything else, right and wrong is left to the market to decide.

The hyper-market also leads to another issue. When all that matters is the highest bidder, then nothing matters. In the case of Covid, many of the people responsible are Americans, who are doing business with China in order to get around the ethics rules in the United States. You see, when morality is decided by the highest bidder, things like patriotism are just another commodity. Even Ben Shapiro’s version of patriotism is just another item to bought and sold.

The Chinese have figured out that they can buy all the technological vigor and creativeness from the West. They just invite researchers from the West to work in Chinese labs with the promise they can follow their curiosity, free of the ethical limitations placed on them in the West. Manufacturers took the same bargain, except the promise was they could pollute the environment and treat the workers like it was the 19th century. Apple led the way on this decades ago.

This was something the Soviets always tried to exploit. Their interpretation of Marxism told them that Western capitalists cared only for quick profit, so they could be easily bribed. The West would sell the Bolsheviks the rope they would use to hang the capitalists. It did not turn out that way as in the 20th century morality was still a thing that operated outside the marketplace. Even capitalists felt a loyalty to their people and their country. Most of them did, leastways.

That was then and this is now. China is like a kid in a toy shop these days, as everything in the West is for sale at discount prices. Everything must go and no offer will be refused. Need a member of Congress who sits on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence? Short on cash? No problem! How about someone to run cover for letting a deadly virus loose on the world? You are in luck, as they are in stock and priced to sell! Everything must go!

All of this disguises a much more serious problem. Anyone familiar with Chinese business practices knows that following the rules is not their thing. You see, China has always been a culture that is organize around power. The people with power threaten severe punishment for breaking their rules. Success is usually defined by navigating around the rules, while avoiding detection by the powerful. Violating the rules is not just a necessity. It is a way of life.

This is why China is the world’s most prolific patent thief. It is why they are the world’s primary exporter of counterfeit goods, as well as narcotics. Nothing about these practices strike the Chinese as wrong. In fact, they think it immoral to respect the abstract rules and conventions that form the basis of prohibitions on making knock-off consumer goods and illicit drugs. Western ethics, as far as the Chinese see it, are just more rules to work around for fun and profit.

When the product is women’s fashion, it is tolerable. When it is the rules governing serious biological agents, then it is a different matter. Now we can add the handling of nuclear technology to the mix. The one thing we can be sure about with this story is that the Chinese are lying about it. The second thing we can be sure of is they are paying American journalists to repeat the lies. The way to bet is this nuclear “accident” is a lot worse that being reported.

A culture that prizes rule-breaking above all else is not compatible with technology that requires strict adherence to a specific set of ethics. When those ethics are rooted in a long cultural tradition, the conflict is even more acute. If you think Covid was bad, imagine a Chinese version of Chernobyl. Instead of giving the world a case of the sniffles, she starts pumping out radioactive waste. A society that is willing to pollute its own air is not going to flinch about dumping nuclear waste.

China has always been a coercive society. The central authority has total power and there is no way to challenge it. The West has always been based on persuasion, but willing to stoop to inducement. When truth telling does not persuade, then propaganda is used to persuade. When that fails, then offering rewards or punishments is what works. These two types of societies are not just alien. They are incompatible with one another at every level.

It is becoming clear that welcoming China into the global “community” was a terrible blunder by the West. Assuming the American empire figures this out, it will take a generation to reset the relationship with China. If the next lab leak lives up to the Covid hype, then generations of obsequiousness will prove to have been a great mistake of the empire. If it is something worse, then we will know that the truly great mistake happened in the fall of 1969.


The crackdown by the oligarchs on dissidents has had the happy result of a proliferation of new ways to support your favorite creator. If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


The Endless War With Russia

Without formally announcing it and for reasons no one has bothered to explain, the American empire has declared war on Russia. That is the clear message the Biden administration is sending with the new round of sanctions. They have also kicked out some Russian diplomats. More importantly, the US is telling US banks they cannot have any dealings with companies working on Nord Stream 2, the big natural gas pipeline the Russians are building to supply gas to Europe.

In fairness, the war with Russia started before Biden was installed. You could argue it started back in the Bush years when they convinced the former Soviet republic of Georgia to annex parts of South Ossetia. The Bush people were making noises about adding Georgia to NATO, which did not sit well with Russia. From their perspective, this was a provocative act of aggression. It was correctly seen as an effort to surround Russian with states loyal to the American empire.

Team Obama promised to cool things down with the old enemy. They made a big show of the “big reset” with the Russians. Hillary Clinton did a photo-op with the Russian foreign minister in which they jointly held a big red button labeled “reset” on which each had their hand. Of course, administrations come and go, but the usual suspects that actually run imperial foreign policy never change. By the end of the Obama years, they were claiming the Russians rigged the presidential election.

Under Trump there was a real effort to call off the attacks on the Russians, but the usual suspects responded to that with two impeachment efforts. First there was the coup effort led by the FBI to get Trump removed. The claim was that he worked with the Russians to rig the election. Then there was the effort launched by the usual suspects in the State Department. It is easy to forget but pretty much everyone involved in the first impeachment trial had a connection to Ukraine.

Now of course, Ukraine is at the center of the Biden administration’s efforts to start a shooting war with the Russians. They have encouraged the Ukrainian president to declare his intention to return the Crimea to Ukraine, by force if necessary. Then they offered military guarantees in the event of war with Russia. The Russians have responded by putting their military on high alert. They have moved forces onto the border of Ukraine in preparation for a shooting war.

As if the guarantees to Ukraine are not enough, the Biden people immediately deployed long range nuclear bombers to Norway. They put bombers in Portugal as well and raised the strategic posture at the same time. Russian and NATO air forces are having regular incidents on the border of Russia. These are deliberate provocations. The hope is there is an incident that would warrant escalation. The fact that this happened as soon as Biden took office says it was not the doing of his people.

One obvious conclusion that can be drawn from this now two decade long effort to start a war with Russia is the President no longer controls foreign policy. Obama and Trump tried to normalize relations with Russia, but both were thwarted by the semi-permanent foreign policy establishment. Many of these people now have financial dealings with Ukraine, which goes ignored by Congress. Joe Biden is a vegetable and his family is literally on the payroll of the Ukrainians.

Of course, there is the madness of it all. Why is the American empire trying to start a war with Russia? One reason is money, of course. The usual suspects would like to raid Russia for natural resources. The parasitic financial system of the West is running out of domestic capital to burn, so Russia is seen as a new opportunity for plunder. There is also the grudge they have with Putin, who put an end to the looting. No one holds a grudge like the people running the American financial system.

There is also the fact that the foreign policy establishment is packed to the gills with people who were selected for their hatred of Russia. This goes back to the Cold War when foreign policy was simply about Russia. When the Cold War ended, those people did not retire. They did not stop selecting for people who shared their views on Russia and have the same cultural connections to the East. The maps have changed, but the people who see themselves as map makers has not changed.

One not so obvious reason is the need for liberal democracy to have an enemy. Like the Athenian Empire 2,000 years ago, the American empire is the result of conflict and as such it is designed to have an enemy. For half a century, the Russians were the enemy around which the empire was organized. They tried to replace Russia with Islam, but the Muslims proved to be a poor adversary. Cultural inertia has brought the American empire back to Russia as the enemy they need to survive.

Ironically, this new fight with Russia could turn out to be the disaster that seems to be the natural end of all empires. A shooting war with Russia will end in disaster for the empire because it would be a disaster for Europe. Russia would seize Ukraine in short order and this would result in an air war in the skies over Europe. Then Syria would unleash a million migrants from the south. It would be a catastrophe that would be blamed on Washington, one that would probably end NATO.

This is why the Germans are not rushing to support the empire on this. Germans have been dealing with the Russians for a very long time. they will be dealing with Russians long after the American empire is gone. Backing the yesterday men of Washington does not look like the best move for the Germans. America’s Varian Disaster may not be a military defeat, but instead be a diplomatic catastrophe. This attack on Russia could be what breaks the NATO coalition.

There is also the domestic situation. Despite the blaring from the regime propaganda organs, the Biden regime has limited support among Americans. Half the country thinks he is illegitimate, while the other half is instinctively dovish. They are also more focused on the domestic pogroms against their enemies. A war now would be a disaster domestically for the empire. Half the country would be rooting for the Russians, just because they hate the American government.


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


Chinese Ethics

Note: There is a cornucopia of new items in various places today. There is the regular Monday post on Taki. There is a new feature behind the green door for podcast fans that will be a regular Sunday feature. There is also a review of the classic movie, The Jazz Singer, which may be the most Jewish movie ever made.


One of the interesting side bars to the Covid panic is the extreme lack of interest in the origin of the virus. The story a year ago was that it sprung from so-called “wet markets” where provincials trade exotic meats. One version said it was from bats and another claimed it was the pangolin. Then the story shifted to the lab in Wuhan where the outbreak started. That was dropped as the Chinese Communist Party instructed the American media to stop talking about the lab in Wuhan.

Conventional wisdom says the wet market stuff was always just a way to divert attention from the fact that the Chinese have a bioweapons operation. The Biological Weapons Convention not only prohibits the use of biological agents, but it also prohibits the development of them as well. In light of the worldwide panic over the Covid virus, it is not hard to see why everyone is trying to shift the focus from the lab to exotic meat markets. This public health emergency could easily become a political crisis.

The thing is though, the lab itself and the work that is probably going on there is really just the tip of the iceberg. What the story has revealed thus far is that many Western researchers have had contact with that lab and several others in China. There have been a few arrests of researchers in the West on the grounds they were working on behalf of the Chinese or spying for the Chinese. In other words, there are a lot of Western scientist working in China for some reason.

The reason gets back to that lab in Wuhan. There is no doubt that most Western governments operate biological research facilities. The fact that China is doing the same is no surprise. The difference is Western governments have to worry about whistleblowers who will spill the beans on anything illegal. They also have to worry about anything unethical. The Chinese, in contrast, arrests whistleblowers and harvest their organs. Scandal is not a concern for the ChiComs.

Western bioethics are not a big concern either. Last week, a team of researchers working in China announced they took six-day-old macaque monkey embryos and injected 25 human cells into each of them. The researchers claimed they conducted this study as part of an effort to discover new methods of creating organs. The idea is to use the patient’s DNA to grow new parts. This would not only solve the organ shortage, it would also solve the challenge of finding suitable matches.

The ethics are the obvious concern. In the West, this type of research is considered unethical because it raises questions that we have yet to answer. What if such a hybrid was brought to term? Should a monkey with a significant number of human cells be treated as human or as an animal? Even if it is clearly an animal, deliberately creating monsters just to do it is also unethical. We use animals in lab experiments, but it is not just for the thrill of tormenting them. There needs to be reason.

Again, bioethics are not a concern for China. What matters most to the Chinese is acquiring as much technology as possible as quickly and cheaply as possible. This is why China has become the wild west of bio-research. Western researchers know they can do whatever they want in China. They will be free of Western ethics and get all the money they need. They just have to share their work with their new masters. For many Western scientists, this is not a difficult dilemma.

Of course, they cannot be blatant about it. When the world complained about the use of CRISPR to create the world’s first genetically altered baby, the Chinese arrested the researchers involved and sent them to prison. The message being sent was that the research is fine, but it needs to have a Western face attached. In other words, the imported researchers from the West are not just bringing technical skills, they are providing China with some public relations assistance.

What the Chinese have figured out is they can use the same methods on the Western scientific community as they used to lure Western manufacturers. The promise of cheap labor and loose environmental laws, along with subsidies from the Chinese government, lured business from the West. Sure, it often meant that local Chinese firms pirated the products they were making for Western companies, but that was just a cost of doing business in China. It was still good business.

The tech industry fell for the same deal. They were initially lured to China in order to build out the infrastructure. They got access to a pool of smart engineers, who worked for pennies on the dollar, relative to American engineers. They also got the sweet contracts from the government. The tech companies also got to learn the finer points of population control from the Chinese. This was good business for the Chinese, who were able to accelerate their tech sector.

Some would argue that China is simply freer now than most Western nations, which is why intellectual capital is flowing there. If the Chinese are fine with creating human-monkey hybrids in the lab, then so be it. After all, human medicine advanced to a great degree from grave robbers supply corpses for doctors to dissect. In the 19th century this was immoral, but today we think nothing of it. Bioethics are a social construct and as such they will evolve over time. China is just ahead of the curve.

Whether we like it or not, we will soon learn if those ethical limitations popular in the West are necessary. The Chinese will keep forging ahead, buying Western researchers so they can experiment in the East. Maybe Covid was the wake-up China needed to put some limits on this research. Maybe it was just viewed as the cost of becoming the dominant player in the field. Maybe that cost will be regular pandemics of man-made viruses leaking from Chinese labs.

Most important, what we are seeing is what happens when a society decides that the value of everything is what someone will pay for it. In America, everything has a price, so nothing has value. The elites are happy to trade technology to China, because the only thing that matters is short term profit. From the Chinese perspective, the American empire is not a competitor. It is just a big candy store that she can systematically pick clean until it finally collapses. This is the war China knows it can win.


A new year brings new changes. The same is true for this site as we adjust to the reality of managerial authoritarianism. That means embracing crypto for when the inevitable happens and the traditional outlets are closed. Now more than ever it is important to support the voices that support you. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you prefer other ways of donating, look at the donate page. Thank you.


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

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Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


The China Question

Note: Lots of doings to start the week. I have a review of the classic musical My Fair Lady up behind the green door. There is some new audio on G. Gordon Liddy and the Matt Gaetz case as well. The regular Taki post is up here. Today at 1:00 PM I will be on Guide to Kulchur to discuss The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.


A popular topic among Sinophiles since the installation of Joe Biden as president is the possibility of war with China over the status of Taiwan. The Chinese have been obsessed with Taiwan since Mao. With the American empire in sharp decline and the Biden regime unpopular at home and abroad, now could be the perfect time for the Chinese to make their move. As John Derbyshire is fond of pointing out, “Taiwan is like two feet from China … We are eight thousand miles away.”

While there is little doubt that China could retake Taiwan whenever it likes, the cost would be extremely high. For starters, Taiwan and the US have been preparing for such a move for generations. Some of the most sophisticated early warning systems on earth are installed in Taiwan specifically keep an eye on China. There is the very strong possibility that Taiwan has underground missile systems capable of reaching targets on the mainland in the event of an attack by China.

Whether or not the US would actually go to war to defend Taiwan is debatable, but that is the official position. Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Australia are also technically committed to the defense of Taiwan. An all-out assault on Taiwan could very well result in attacks on Chinese infrastructure along the coast. It would most certainly result in massive economic retaliation. The Chinese regime would be forced to explain to her people why they are suddenly poor again.

Of course, the Chinese could counter with attacks on Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Australia. Her navy is the largest in the world now, even if it lacks the forward capability of the American empire. It could deliver attacks on her neighbors, including Hawaii. In an all-out war, she could attack the west coast of the United States with submarine based missiles. The point is, China is not Iraq, some pipsqueak the US military can kick around without consequences.

That reality, however, is why such a full-blown confrontation is unlikely. Despite what many believe, China is hooked on the dollar like the rest of the world. She cannot afford war with the US at this time. The reason the Chinese flooded the American election system with cash in 2020 is the Trump administration was causing real problems for the Chinese with their trade policies. No one can be sure if the Covid plague China unleashed was an accident, but you cannot rule it out.

The point being is that an economic war with the American empire would be catastrophic for the Chinese economy. The usual suspects love crowing about the Chinese economy, but her per capita GDP is $10,839. That is down there with Costa Rica and Bulgaria. China has a lot of poor people. The rich people she has are obligated to make sure those poor are provided with the basics. The iron rice bowl is a real thing, and the Chinese regime takes it very seriously.

There is also the fact that China is smart. She can take the long view with Taiwan as she knows in a generation the American empire will be gone. Given the physical condition of the ruling class and the mental condition of the probable successors, the American empire will be out of Asia in a decade. Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Australia all know this and have been planning accordingly. China can just bide her time and Taiwan will come to her, hat in hand.

There is also the possibility this happens much quicker. It is clear to the world that Joe Biden is non compos mentis. Whoever is calling the shots is not bothering to consult the White House. This is why there is a crisis in the Ukraine. Someone from the semi-permanent ruling class encouraged Kiev to declare her intention to retake the Crimea, which has resulted in a stand-off with the Russians, who have no intention of allowing Ukraine to make any moves on the Crimea.

Then there is the dispute over Nord Stream 2, the new natural gas pipeline being built to supply western Europe. Shadowy financial interests in the American empire have been trying to stop this project for a long time. Biden administration figures have been dispatched to Europe to deliver a message from those shadowy financial interests that the Washington regime will pull out all the stops to prevent this project. This is further undermining the credibility of the Biden regime.

From the Chinese perspective, she has no reason to make any moves on Taiwan, as the puppet government in Washington is unlikely to stagger on much longer. Despite the claims by regime media, the world fully grasps the reality of the situation. The American regime is in deep crisis. The American empire is the sick man of the world right now and everyone is just waiting for the inevitable. History shows that the end comes much sooner than the patient ever expects.

The point of all this is that China has no reason to force a confrontation with the American empire over Taiwan. Through bribery, maneuvering and the general incompetence of the American ruling elite, China can quietly dictate policy to the regime in Washington. If she is patient, this reality will become clear to her neighbors in the region, and they will peacefully detach from the American empire and align with the Chinese empire. There is no need to fight the inevitable.


A new year brings new changes. The same is true for this site as we adjust to the reality of managerial authoritarianism. That means embracing crypto for when the inevitable happens and the traditional outlets are closed. Now more than ever it is important to support the voices that support you. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you prefer other ways of donating, look at the donate page. Thank you.


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


Answering War Hysteria

According to just about everyone, we are either at war with Iran or about to go to war with Iran. The droning of the Iranian general at the Baghdad airport has unleashed a lot of pent up war hysteria, as well as anti-war hysteria. The neocons are dreaming of another pointless war in the Middle East. The paleocons are warning about how the Iranians will enact vengeance. The anti-Zionists are completely off their leash, making the usual claims about who is really behind all of this.

The truth is, we are not at war with Iran, at least not a conventional war. We have been in a cold war with them since the 1970’s. The temperature rises and falls as domestic politics requires, but it never gets too hot. The main reason for that is Iran is run by fairly competent people. Iran is also much more cohesive than the neighboring countries in the region. Persians have a strong sense of identity that transcends the tribal alliances that dominate in the rest of the Middle East.

Of course, the Iranians now have important ties with Russia and China. The Russians are helping them build nuclear capability and the Chinese are providing them with conventional military technology. Both countries are in bed with the Iranians because Iran sits on large oil and gas reserves. China is starving for oil and the Russians are a player in Europe because they control the gas supplies. Those are strong incentives to prevent a US – Iran war.

At the same time, America is in no position to launch another war in the Middle East, at least not a ground war. Trump can call in drone strikes and maybe air strikes from subs and carriers, but that would be very risky. To get a ground force together would require prepping the public and getting Congress to sign off on it. It would also mean talking Trump into something he has opposed. War is always bad politics. In an election year where his prospects are even money at best, that’s a foolish gamble for him.

History is full of examples where countries bluffed themselves into a war that neither side wanted, so it is not completely out of the question. Israel could blow something up and the neocons running the State Department could talk Trump into believing the Iranians did it. Some rogue element in Iran could do something foolish. Then there are the many guerrilla and terrorist groups supported by Iran. One of them could do something provocative and set us on a path to war.

Even so, the odds are very low that this current crisis lasts more than a week, other than some hotly worded tweets from Trump and bellicose rants from Iran. This raises a few questions. One is why the anti-war people have flipped out as if they were just waiting for a reason to get back in the streets. They were not going crazy when Trump lobbed missiles into Syria. They were silent when Venezuela was on the brink. It’s as if someone flipped a switch and reactivated the anti-war people.

The bigger question is why Trump has decided to take this step. It’s clear he has no interest in starting a war. He has been trying to get troops out of the Middle East for three years now. Taking out this general is a high risk move that could lead to terrorist attacks this year. The White House is warning Congress that retaliation in the next weeks is a possibility. Even if a full blown shooting war with Iran is unlikely, it does not mean there will be no fallout from this venture.

One possibility is that Trump is just dumb and he got bamboozled by the neocons into attacking Iran. They cooked up a story about how this general was plotting a terror attack and he fell for it. This is popular with the anti-Zionists. They believe the neocons are like super-villains, able to hypnotize politicians. They have finally figured out how to maneuver Trump into going along with their schemes. It’s possible. The distinguishing feature of Trumps’ time in office has been incompetence.

The trouble with this theory is that Trump has been pretty good at dodging the neocon war plots thus far. This is not the first time they cooked up a plot to attack Iran. He has even joked about guys like John Bolton wanting to bomb the world. He also avoided the various traps they set with Syria. Trump may not be very good at governing, but he seems pretty well aware of how the neocons operate. He has been as good at shining them on as he has the immigration patriots.

Another answer is that Trump saw this as a chance to break the deadlock over nuclear negotiations with Iran. Think back to how he broke all the protocols in order to get the North Koreans to the table. All prior presidents refused to meet with the North Korean leader, but Trump not only agreed to meet, he pushed for it. His erratic and unconventional management style is an extension of his negotiating style. He likes to throw over tables and create chaos as a prelude to deal making.

Evidence of this is his tweet after the droning of the general. In addition to the boiler plate stuff, he made the point that he preferred to negotiate and the Iranians should prefer it too. In other words, this high risk, high stakes gambit is about breaking the stalemate and getting all the various players to rethink their position. Trump is a legendary bluffer and this is basically a big bluff. He’s threatening unconditional drone warfare unless they come to the table.

The other side of this is he gets a boost with his base who love the fact he took out this general with a drone strike. Despite what the anti-Zionists think, this is a winner for him with his core supporters. If nothing comes of it, he will be able to say he has tried to bring the Iranians to the table, but they will not budge. He played the same cards with North Korea. As a political matter, he gets to be both the tough guy, who drones bad guys, and the peacemaker seeking to talk rather than fight.

Finally, there is the possibility that this is tied into the impeachment process that will get going again this month. Senate Republicans like Mitt Romney and Ben Sassy are wholly owned by Jerusalem. In order to get their vote in the impeachment fight, Trump may be forced to give into the forever war crowd. This attack and the subsequent bluster about more attacks may be the real quid pro quo. If anyone thinks this is too conspiratorial, just look at the anti-BDS campaign.

The likelihood of this scenario leading to war, however, is low as the impeachment lever has a clear expiry date on it. There is an election brewing and Washington needs to dispense with the impeachment issue by February at the latest. That’s enough time to do some drone strikes and saber rattling, but not enough time to gin up support for a war with Iran. Instead it will just make negotiating with Iran impossible for the remainder of Trump’s tenure, which may be the real point.


For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!


Cartel Land

A popular item of discussion in some quarters of the dissident right is what will be the thing that puts the current regime in crisis. The instability we see in the West is largely due to the instability of America. The economy staggers on, but no one really believes it can continue as currently constructed. The political class is looking like a pirate ship, rather than orderly democracy. The elites operate like America is a smuggler’s cove and they are the pirates. Everywhere you look you see instability.

Usually, the two top answers for what will be the spark that sets the world ablaze are economic collapse and military failure. Maybe the economy will spin out of control, resulting in a great depression. This will be the spark that ignites public anger toward a ruling class they already despise. On the other hand, maybe a great military catastrophe, something like the Varian Disaster. This will destroy the America military reputation and the order that depends upon it will begin to unravel around the globe.

Another possibility is something small that at the time seems insignificant, but in the long run turns out to be an inflection point. There is the trajectory before the event and the trajectory after the event. A great example of an event that was interpreted one way at the time, but was later seen as a great turning point was the Roman defeat of Carthage and Corinth. The consequences of these two victories changed the trajectory of Rome, creating the conditions for the shift from republic to empire.

If we are looking around for some small event, or seemingly small, that could turn out to be an inflection point today, the Mexican failure to deal with the Sinaloa cartel this past week is a good choice. The operation by the Mexican government to arrest Ovidio Guzmán López, the son of former drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, and then turn him over to the U.S, may be more than a typical Latin bungle. It has revealed that Mexico is a failed state, largely controlled by large criminal cartels.

At some level, even the dullest member of the America foreign policy elite understands that Mexico is not a normal country. The Mexican government does not have control of its territory. Much of the population is ruled over by local warlords, who operate various criminal trades. Some of those warlords wear expensive suits and show up at Davos to party with the global elites. The vast manufacturing and distribution operations in Mexico are there because global business can operate there outside the law.

From the perspective of global business and the flunkies they employ in our government, this lawlessness has been a boon, but it comes with a price. That was made clear last week when the Sinaloa cartel forced the Mexican government to hand back their leader. If you live in Mexico, you now know who is actually in charge of that part of Mexico. More important, the Mexican government and the cartel now know who is in charge and they know the other side knows too. It was clarifying.

Well, it should have been clarifying. Judging from the reactions of official Washington, it appears they barely noticed. In the long run, this staggering ignorance of what is happening just over the border may be the most important item of this age. While serious-faced politicians lecture us about the need to build a wall between Syria and Turkey, we have a new Afghanistan forming up to our south. Like Afghanistan, Mexico is now run by warlords, willing to do business with anyone.

The stupidity of the American ruling class will no doubt result in doing the dumbest thing possible in Mexico. That’s helping the Mexican government assassinate and arrest some leading cartel figures. Rather than address the problems of Mexico, it will be an effort to maintain it as a free zone for well-connected pirates to operate outside the law, but with more compliant warlords in place. The result will be an acceleration into anarchy and eventually the collapse of Mexico as a country.

Killing the local warlords was a strategy American employed during the War on Drugs in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Most urban areas were run by a local heroin kingpin, who controlled the drug trade in the city. He also controlled the people in the drug trade, which meant limiting the street warfare. The urban black population fell back into the normal pattern of governance. This meant big man rule, where the heroin kingpin operated like a local chieftain. He kept things under control.

In order to look good on television, the authorities decided to combat the drug problem by arresting these local drug kingpins. That allowed them to make flashy arrests, where they would display stacks of drugs, cash and guns. This, of course, was about getting bigger budgets by gaining public support for their efforts. The result was a busting up of these local cartels, but they shattered into thousands of small gangs. The result was the urban warfare we still see today. A place like Baltimore is a tribal war zone.

Turning large swaths of Baltimore into a no-go zone is easily overlooked, as people can just move away and avoid it. The same is true of the Middle East. As we have seen, the occasional exploding Mohamed has not caused the public to turn on the ruling class in great numbers. Mexican cartels taking over American towns and turning cities into war zones would not go overlooked. That is what’s coming as the American ruling class tries to maintain Mexico as a free zone for their pirate buddies.

On the other hand, if there are some sober minded people left in the American ruling class and they wake up to what is happening to our south, it could be the turning point in the ruling elite. The collapse of Mexico could force the American ruling class to sober up and start acting like a ruling class. That means protecting the interests of the people over whom they rule, by making sure the ruling class always has the public interest at the forefront of their mind. We become our greatest ally again.

The future is not written, but for those who like to think about what comes next, what bookends this interregnum, the chaos of Mexico is a good study. It is that reality which will not go away if our rulers stop believing in it. At some point, they either address it and solve it or it forces a change in rulers. There’s simply no way the public will tolerate the chaos of Mexico spilling in their cities and towns. That means the rulers, if they wish to remain rulers, will not be able to tolerate it either.


For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!


The China Questions

The trade war with China is heating up, so the usual suspects are now turning up in the media to pronounce on the issue. There is the sense that many of the pundits are relieved to take a break from discussing the culture war that surrounds the Trump presidency and the Progressive response to it. Talking about trade and global economics feels like old times. Here is a longish post from David Goldman, the man behind Spengler of the Asia Times, addressing the trade war.

As is always the case in these matters, the Michael Crichton observation about the media should be kept in mind. The growing rift between China and the United States is a complicated matter by itself. The impact it will have on global trade, the US economy and geopolitics is even more complex. Even people paid to risk real money in these areas don’t have a firm grasp of all the moving pieces. The people posting in the media know even less. Often they know nothing at all.

That does not mean there is nothing we can know. The first question, in any heated trade dispute between two countries, is “who is buying and who is selling?” and the related question is, “What is being traded?” In this regard, trade disputes are not a lot different from disputes between customers and vendors. How they proceed and how the end is entirely controlled by the relationship and the products in question. That determines who has the most leverage in the dispute.

In this case, the relationship is easy to sort. U.S. imports from China totaled $539.5 billion in 2018. U.S. exports were $179.3 billion. That export total is about 7% of all U.S. exports for 2018. Put another way, the U.S. market is about 5% of the Chinese economy, assuming the fake Chinese economic numbers are even close to reality, which is surely not the case. The Chinese market is less than one percent of the U.S. economy in 2018. Imports are about 3% of the U.S. economy.

Right away, the relationship between China is the U.S. is not an equal one, in terms of dollars, but also in terms of impact. Then there is the nature of trade between the two countries. Almost all of the U.S. exports to China in 2018 were aircraft parts, electronic components and car parts. In many cases, these are either high precision items the Chinese cannot produce or they have intellectual property that the Chinese will try to steal, so they are made in the U. S. and sent to China.

This is why Trump is playing hardball. He believes he has far less to lose than the Chinese in a trade war. Even if all trade with China comes to an end, the cost to the U.S. economy is not going to be devastating. In fact, it will be hardly noticed. Much of that trade will be replaced with other cheap labor countries, as it is not really trade in the conventional sense. America’s economic relationship with China is about off-shoring manufacturing to dodge labor, tax and environmental laws.

This is a point that cannot be made enough. When American producers sell good to Canada, and Canadian producers sell good to America, that’s trade. When American producers move manufacturing to Mexico, then bring those goods back home under a tariff free regime, that’s not trade. China is not selling the world anything the world does not have or cannot make. What China is selling is a safe haven to avoid the labor, tax and environmental laws that exist in the West.

That does not mean there can be no impact. That’s the other set of questions that can be examined from the outside. China can play a long game, as the Chinese leaders are not facing annual elections and endless media scrutiny. The West, particularly Trump, are in an endless election cycle. Any little blip in the economy is magnified by the media and then fed into the political calculus. While this trade war will inflict more pain on China, they have a much higher pain threshold than Trump.

That’s the theory. It is not all that clear just how much pain Trump will suffer from this standoff with China. The timing actually works in his favor. The slow buildup not only gives American business time to adjust, it gives the political class time to cast it as the typical good guy versus bad guy story. Xi Jinping is not exactly a lovable Jackie Chan type of guy, so casting him as a villain will be easy. In other words, Trump may be trading a little economic capital for a lot of political capital.

Then there is the question of just how much pain China can take and for how long. It is just assumed by Western analysts that the Chinese can absorb any amount of suffering for as long as it takes. After all, China weathered the Cultural Revolution without a mass revolt by the people. Mao had to die before the party moved to end the madness. Why would the Chinese people revolt over a slight down turn in the economy? Why would the party move against Xi Jinping, if the trade war contracts her economy?

No one can know this, but we do know that wealthy people are far more sensitive to small changes in the economy than poor people. We see this in the West. A small down turn has the middle class turning against their party, but a generation long depression in coal country has not caused a revolt. That same reality may be true in China. There are a lot of people living bourgeois lifestyles along the Chinese coast, all financed by one-sided trade with the United States and her allies.

While all of this economic 4-D chess will occupy the pundits, there may be a simple answer to what is going on with China. It could simply be that China has become a liability to the West. The benefits of moving manufacturing to China has been consumed at this point. What’s left is the liability, which is currency manipulation, IP theft, espionage and financial shenanigans. China is running out of friends in Western capitals. The appetite for tolerating this stuff may be waning.


For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!