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.


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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.


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The IQ

The state of Israel holds a special place in the American political consciousness for a number of reasons. One is the fact Israel puts enormous effort into lobbying the political class in Washington. They are the most effective lobbying machine on earth. The other is the phenomenon of Christian Zionists, who have created a form of Christianity that seems to venerate the modern state of Israel. Then there is the anti-Muslim aspect to the whole thing. Most Americans back Israel, because they don’t like Muslims.

It was not always this way. In the 1950’s both political parties were skeptical about Israel, but for a number of reasons the political class was convinced to back the Israelis against the Arabs. Even so, the Left remained anti-Zionist into the 1970’s, siding with the Palestinians as members of the coalition of the oppressed. There remains a whiff of this on the Left with the old guys. A guy like Bernie Sanders is comfortable being anti-Zionist, without being a self-hating Jew. He just keeps it to himself these days.

Right-wing Progressives, on the other hand, have gone completely insane with their love of Israel. They are pushing through laws in states like Florida to ban criticism of Israel or support for critics of Israel. It’s tempting to say these are unconstitutional, but the courts are so corrupt now, that’s a phrase without meaning. Still, the right-wing Progressives make a fetish of the Constitution, so for them to embrace the barbaric practice of proscribing certain topics underscores their fanaticism for Israel.

The anti-Semites, of course, look at this as part of the greater plot by those crafty Jews to destroy the West. It is certainly true that Israel is happy to support Zionist movements in the United States, as it keeps the American government on their side. The truth is, being pro-Israel is one of the few areas where Christians can participate in public life, so they do so with rabid enthusiasm. Similarly, Republicans are allowed to give it to the Left on this issue, so they go overboard on their love for Israel.

That said, Israel is happy to see it. They have become dependent on the United States in ways that get lost on this side of the world. Billions flow from America into Israel every year. The amount of private charity from Christian groups in the US exceeds the foreign aid from the US. Then there are the wealthy Jews, who are not often all that observant, but they make up for it by writing checks and getting others to writes checks to Israeli causes. Remittances means as much to Israel as they do to Mexico.

The trouble with this dynamic is it is an aging one, where the most enthusiastic supporters of Israel in America are getting old. On the Left, the younger generation sees Jews as white and white people are all bad. Instead, they side with Arabs, who are not white, so they are good. Chuck Schumer may run the Democrat party, but Ilhan Omar is the future of the party. Even if she is an exception, the brown coalition simply sees Jews as part of Team White, which makes them and their interests the enemy.

On the Right, mentally unstable left-wing Jews create more anti-Semites on a daily basis than Hitler did in a century. As the younger left-wing Jews, especially the women, try to burrow into the brown coalition, by going over the top in their anti-white rhetoric, whites young whites are reacting to this rhetoric. To say that Michelle Goldberg is bad for Jews is to say that cancer is bad for people, but so far Jews have yet to figure out how to think about addressing that problem, much less curing it.

That’s another problem for Israel, maybe the most serious one. The Michelle Goldberg type is a dying breed. Reformed and Conservative Jews in America stopped having kids, just like occidentals. They also started marrying out of the Tribe. As a result, the ratio of Jews to non-Jews in the country is half what it was at the middle of the last century. The explosion of birth rates and immigration on the Orthodox side promises to change the complexion of Jewishness. Demographics is everyone’s destiny.

To understand this dynamic and what it means for Israel, think about how the Jewish vote broke in the 2016 election. Trump won the Orthodox voters, as he is pro-Israel, but he lost the rest of the Jewish vote. The old gag was that the Jews lived like Episcopalians and voted like Puerto Ricans. Today, the non-Orthodox vote like blacks and live like homosexuals. That vital coalition for Israel is now backing anti-Israel candidates and erasing themselves from the book of life. That’s bad for Israel.

Of course, these demographic changes are driven by the same forces that are undermining occidental communities. The reason there is such a thing as alt-Jew is the same reason there is an alt-right. What it means to be Jewish in modern America is under assault by modern America. The reason the Orthodox have so many kids is they see a bright future. The reason the rest of the Diaspora in North America is not having kids is they wish they had never been born. Self-loathing is their religion.

There’s something else with Jews that is unique to them. A big part of Jewish identity is seeing themselves as the plucky underdog put upon by a hostile world. As they rose to the top of American society, they were changed by their immersion into the Progressive cultural outlook. Just as Jews were Hellenized by the Greeks, Jews in America were changed by those ruling class Protestants they found themselves competing with and working with in the high ground of American society.

There’s good reason to mock the term Judeo-Christian, but there is such a thing as Judeo-Puritan. That’s the ethos of the America ruling elite now. The almost berserk obsession with collective judgement and the need to subvert their own system in order to perpetual a state of constant revolution, draws from both traditions. The moralizing prudishness has been inverted to attack traditional morality, while the outsider instinct has been weaponized to create a perpetual state of crisis.

This warping of Jewish identity is most obvious with the neocons. Their enthusiasm for crusading around the world to spread democracy is written off by anti-Semites, as part of their plot to help Israel. In reality, it is the result of internalizing the missionary zeal and universalism of their Protestant brothers in the Judeo-Puritan orthodoxy. The Protestants send missionaries to torment the bad whites inside America, while the Jews send those bad whites out to impose liberal democracy on the rest of the world.

Overall, the dynamic in America is not a good one for Israel. The disintegrating old white America is undermining general support for Israel. It is opening the doors to left-wing anti-Zionists among the coalition of the ascendant. The Jews most supportive of Israel financially, and best able to influence government policy, are fading into a demographic oblivion. The partnership of Trump’s over-the-top civic nationalism and Netanyahu’s over-the-top Zionism is like the last concert for an old band about to retire.

For Israel, it means figuring out how to work with nationalist movements in Europe and white identity movements in the United States. Jews in the Diaspora have the luxury of railing against these movements, but Israelis are far more sober minded. They have no choice but to be pragmatic, as their survival depends upon it. What seems like an unlikely partnership today, is most likely the path forward for Israel. The world’s only ethno-state will have to support the concept of ethno-nationalism for everyone.

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A New Delian League

The Delian League was an alliance of Greek city-states formed in 478 BC in order to confront and defeat the Persian Empire. Persia had conquered Asian Minor, including the Greek city-states, which were collectively known as Ionia. The Greeks had defeated the Persians at Marathon, Salamis, and Plataea in the early 5th century BC, but the threat of Persia remained a concern and the fate of the Ionians was a primary concern of Athens, which saw itself as the defenders of the Ionian Greeks.

As is often the case, the Delian League lost its purpose after the Persian threat had been addressed, but the league never went away. Instead, it quickly turned into the Athenian Empire, as Athens came to dominate the member states. First the Athenians took control of the navy. Member states either supplied ships or money, but the navy was completely controlled by Athens. This made the member states entirely dependent on Athens for defense against Persians, pirates and other Greek city-states.

Then the Athenians took control of the money supply. Initially, a treasury was established on the sacred island of Delos in the Cyclades, hence the name of the alliance. Every member state was assessed an amount they had to contribute annually to the common treasury. The treasury was moved to Athens and each member state was required to pay tribute, based on an assessment set by Athens. For all practical purposes, the league was now an empire ruled by Athens.

This bit of ancient Greek history is useful to keep in mind when looking at what is happening in the West. The EU is the new Delian League, with Brussels playing the role of Athens. The European Union is an economic empire, so controlling the military is not important, especially since Europe is entirely dependent upon the United States for its defense. Any attempt by one state to use force against another would bring in the United States. That and Brussels does not control any military assets.

Instead, the European elite uses money to control the empire. Former Belgian prime minister and current leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe, Guy Verhofstadt, said as much in a recent interview. In the view of European elites, the member states of Europe must abandon all of their sovereignty and become members of a European empire. Just as the member states of the Delian League would exist, but as subjects to Athens, the nations of Europe will be subjects of Brussels.

There are three problems with this analogy, as well as the motivating philosophy behind the concept. One is the Europeans have no military to speak of, at least not one that Brussels could use to project power. The Italians have a respectable military and the French still have some useful military units, but Brussels has nothing. It is one thing to crater the Greek economy, as Brussels did when SYRIZA tried to revolt. It is another to pull down her walls and take hostages as Athens did to Naxos in 476 BC.

Another problem, perhaps the biggest problem, with this analogy is the Delian League had a clear idea of the enemy. First they had the Persian Empire against whom they were defending the Greeks. That gave the League a clear purpose. Then in the war with Sparta, Athens was defending Greek democracy against tyranny. The current European elite is anti-democratic and it is unwilling to defend Europe against the Persia of this age, which is peripatetic Arabs and Africans.

The final problem with the analogy is the fact that Europe remains a province of the American Empire, which is the continuation of the British Empire. The Anglosphere continues to control the world, militarily, economically and culturally. That last bit is probably the most important regarding Europe. Walk through a shopping district in Europe and it reeks of American ghetto culture. The news in Europe is more about America than Europe. Brussels is playing at empire, but remains a vassal.

In that regard, this reality may explain why the American foreign policy elite is silent on Trump’s support for Brexit. His idea for a free trade and travel zone for the Five Eyes nations would solve a problem for dealing with Europe. If Brussels wants to have access to the vast trove of signal intelligence held by the Anglosphere, they have to play ball with the Anglosphere. This would allow the United State to reduce its footprint in Europe, thus lowering the cost of controlling the Europeans.

Putting that aside, the utility of this analogy is that even with control of the military and the money supply, the Athenians were never able to make their empire work. Even controlling some of Greece put them at odds with Sparta. The Peloponnesian War ended with the defeat of Athens at Battle of Aegospotami, but the cost of maintaining their empire was bleeding them dry. Most historians think the strategy of Pericles would have bankrupted the Athenians in a year or two, even if they won at Aegospotami.

That seems to be what is happening with the European Union. The revolt of the Greeks when SYRIZA came to power was a glimpse of what was coming. Now it is the Italians that are challenging the economic rule of Brussels. The cost of putting down that revolt will be orders of magnitude higher than suppressing the Greeks. The eventual withdraw of Britain will undermine much of the legitimacy and authority of Brussels, as Britain is unlikely to perish without protection from Brussels.

Then there are the populist movements that keep boiling up in every EU country, even core countries like Germany and France. As we see in the United States, the ruling class is petrified of these movements. They are willing to go to great lengths to suppress them, but the cost is becoming increasingly high. More important, suppression efforts seem to be converting more people to populism and nationalism. At some point in the near future, Brussels will be faced with its Aegospotami.

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When The Truth Is True

In recent times, probably since the Bush years, people we now associate with the alt-right have claimed that Israel controls American foreign policy. Anti-Semites, of course, have always made this charge, but usually without much proof. They just hate Jews and by extension hate Israel, so claiming American foreign policy is run by Zionists has an emotional appeal for them. Paleocons and now the alt-right, in contrast, point to various adventures and neocon statements as proof Israel runs the show.

Still, even with an increasing amount of data to support the general idea that our political class is more concerned with Israel than America, most people don’t believe it. Instead they look for other reasons that are more fun and satisfying. Part of it is most white people just don’t want to agree with the anti-Semites on anything. They have been tuned by generations of conditioning to respond negatively to anything critical of Jews. Another part of it is the aluminum foil hat stuff about the deep state.

The gag during the last presidential election about the conspiracy theories surrounding Hillary Clinton was that it would be easier to dismiss them if they were not true. That’s the issue with the theory that Israel controls American foreign policy. It would be a lot easier to dismiss the claims if they were not true. For example, Trump said he was withdrawing our troops from Syria. Now, all of a sudden, Trump says he has changed his mind and we’re staying in Syria because of Israel. Score one for the anti-Semites.

In his book, Tucker Carlson recounts the fights between the neocons and the paleocons over Iraq. The neocons publicly argued that the paleos were anti-Semites for opposing these wars. In private, neocons like Bill Kristol laughed and said the wars were all about defending Israel. The neoconservatives hate Carlson with a passion, but they have not bothered to dispute this claim. Instead, they accuse him of being a shill for Putin. Put another way, they concede he is correct in his recollections.

In fairness, a lot of Americans have been conditioned to put the interests of Israel above all else, but it is not a majority. Most people voting democrat are anti-war. The rainbow coalition of non-whites on the Left has a strong whiff of antisemitism. On the Republican side, most voters are done with foreign adventurism. It’s why no GOP pols talk about the two decade long war in Afghanistan. The only people who support forever war in the Middle East are Evangelicals, who have made Israel an obsession.

Still, while most Americans would welcome a withdrawal from the world, most also think helping Israel is a good thing. They see her as the plucky little country surviving in a sea of hostile barbarians. That’s why Trump blurted out that line about staying in Syria to defend Israel. He’s pretty much a BoomerCon, so his instincts are in-line with the MAGA hat wearing type who show up at his rallies. They will forgive him for reversing course on Syria, because they share his general sensibilities on defending Israel.

That’s a good rationalization until you take a look at what is going on with Tulsi Gabbard, the Hawaiian politician now running for president. Given the state of the Left and the circus that will be the Democrat primary, she should be a star. In fact, when she first won office, the Left was selling her as the future of the party. She’s young, good looking, heterodox in her politics, without straying too far afield. She served in the military, which is now a weird badge of honor for female politicians. She is the female Barak Obama.

Then they started to look past sex and skin tone. Her father is anti-gay, advocating things like gay conversion therapy. Gabbard herself was never on-board with the assault on marriage, which makes her a homophobe on the Left. More important, she was anti-war and not for the goofy reasons popular on the Left. She opposed the endless wars in the Muslim world because she thinks they are bad for Americans. Even worse, she was willing to meet with Assad, Israel’s sworn enemy. That’s unforgivable.

That’s why on the day she announced her intention to run for the nomination, every single big shot in the Democrat party denounced her. It was so obviously coordinated, it recalled that gag about the Clinton conspiracies. It was if they wanted the world to know that they were reading the lines from a script handed to them by headquarters. Howard Dean was probably the most amusing. His statement on Gabbard suggested that maybe someone was holding his family hostage and he was forced to denounce her or else.

It’s not just the pols trashing Gabbard. The media has been instructed to open up the big guns on her. Here we are a year from the first voting and the Prog media is spending big money to trash one of the fifty candidates. It’s one thing to start throwing mud at one of the favorites, but to attack a minor candidate this far out is weird. The outfit running the shenanigans against Gabbard is in so tight with the Deep State-Democrat Party nexus, it probably has offices at the DNC. New Knowledge is an arm of the party.

Just to be clear, in case anyone is confused, the phrase “Kremlin controlled” or “Putin Stooge” is code for anti-Semite. Anytime you hear the usual suspects linking an enemy with Russia, they are speaking from tribal interests, not Americans ones. It’s why everyone who tumbles out of the NeverTrump clown car starts hooting about how Putin controls Trump. Russia is the great bogeyman of the tribe, so the worst thing you can be is a tool of Russia. We will hear a lot about Gabbard and her Russia ties this year.

Again, it is understandable that people would be slow to notice that a foreign country is dictating American foreign policy. Those anti-Semites are icky and mean. The conspiracy theorists are weird and creepy. No one wants to be associated with them. The thing is though, the truth is true, even if bad people believe it. The truth is, Israel may not control American foreign policy, but they have a tremendous amount of influence. Given what just happened in Syria, it is fair to say Israel has veto power.

The Russian Stain

During the Cold War, popular culture portrayed the Soviets in two ways, often at the same time. There was the ruthless ideologue, efficiently going about his business as an implacable enemy of freedom. The other type of Soviet character was the morally conflicted guy, whose honor compelled him to serve his country, but he also understood that communism was immoral. As far as villains go, both types of Soviet were given a lot of respect, mostly because liberals in Hollywood were sympathetic to Bolshevism.

Today, Hollywood never uses Russians as bad guys, but our political class sees them as the epicenter of evil in the modern world. Steve Sailer noted the other day that the pundit class has rewritten recent history to fit this narrative. The neocons are celebrating the tenth anniversary of something that never really happened, at least not in the way they currently tell it. In addition to the former neocon puppet Mikheil Saakashvili, we have Robert Kagan and here is Condoleezza Rice repeating the same whopper.

The funny thing about this myth-making is that it is unnecessary. The number of people in the political class who could locate South Ossetia is a very small number. Most normal Americans would be puzzled to learn that there is a country named after the peach state. As a public relations item, this ten year old non-event is useless. There’s also the fact that the actual events are easily accessible on-line. It looms large for the neocons, though, so they can’t stop thinking about it. In fact, they seem to be haunted by it.

The neocons have been mucking about in that part of the world for a long time. Some would say their interests go back to the pale of settlement days. That’s an amusing theory, but probably not very accurate. Still, there’s pretty good evidence that the American foreign policy establishment has been meddling in the region since the collapse of the Soviet Empire. The Boston Marathon bomber was probably recruited by US intelligence at some point. His uncle seems to know a lot of people in the CIA.

The thing that no one has yet to explain is why has the American ruling elite become fixated on Russia. Even if the reason for the neocon obsession is ancient hatreds, why is the America Left nuts about the Russians? It could simply be convenience, but there are better villains in the world for them to hate, at least in practical terms. China, for example, makes for a much better villain, given their economic and military status. Iran or Saudi Arabia work much better with the Left’s current deep dive into matriarchy.

Even if you want to believe that the Left has been infected by the ancient hatred that allegedly animates the neocons, the tenor of the Left’s hatred of the Russians is completely different. The neocons see Russia as a problem to be controlled so it does not revert back to its imperial habits. The Left now sees Russia as the manifestation of all that opposed the great Progressive project. Russia is not a problem to be managed. The very existence of Russia is seen as an affront to the neo-liberal world order.

This visceral hatred has some similarities to the Progressive loathing of the imperial governments of Europe prior to the Great War. Wilson and his people despised the old order, which is why they were so aggressively vengeful toward the Austrians and Germans after the war. American Progressives seem to have developed the same view of Russia and to a lesser degree the Visegrad counties. Their resistance to the neo-liberal order is viewed as an ideological challenge and that can never be tolerated.

The difference is that a century ago, Wilsonian democracy was ascendant, while the monarchical order was in decline. America and American leaders were the new kids on the world stage, pushing aside the old guard. Today, the neo-liberal order is in a defensive crouch, under assault from biological reality and populist revolts. Meanwhile, Russia and Eastern Europe are pretty much just normal countries. Perhaps part of the hatred for Russia is the need to find something to blame for the current troubles in the West.

Of course, it is a reminder of the absolute intolerance of secular religions. When people assign the natural order to divine forces, they can be indifferent to alternative forms of worship, as a part of the great mystery of life. When the natural order is a man made creation and  the moral code is created and maintained by man, any deviation must be viewed as a challenge to the creator’s legitimacy. The stubborn existence of European countries practicing the old ways is an insult to the neo-liberal creators.

There also may be the issue of reach. Russia is poor and relatively weak compared to the West, but it remains out of reach culturally and politically. It’s ability to thrive outside the new world order suggests the new world order cannot include the whole world. Central to the liberal impulse, going back to Wilson, has been the notion that it must conquer the globe. Russia is like a stain that they cannot get out of the fabric of global society. Putin is a new Tsar, the return of that same stubborn problem they cannot resolve.

¡ Viva México!

In the years just after colonialism ended, Europeans who worked in Africa would say, “Africa Wins Again” whenever some project went sideways. The point was that no matter how well-intended or well designed, the best ideas of westerners trying to help Africa would fail. The implied reason was that Africa was the way it was, because it was full of Africans. This expression may have been common during colonialism, but it turns up all over in accounts of the post-colonial years. There was simply no way to beat nature.

That’s what comes to mind whenever a Latin American country makes the news for some reason. A decade ago, libertarian economists like Tyler Cowen were sure that Argentina and Brazil were on their way to first world status. Sensible people knew that the Latin Way would eventually bring these counties back to their natural state. Argentina is back to begging the West for bailouts and Brazil is teetering on social and political collapse. It turns out that the Latin Way always wins too. There’s no beating nature.

Mexico just had an election and the winner is promising to prove every cold-hearted Anglo north of the border right about the nature of Mexico.

Veteran Leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been elected president of Mexico, winning the largest landslide in his country’s recent history in a remarkable routing of what he terms “the mafia of power”.

Promising to combat corruption and drive down record crime rates, Mr Lopez Obrador captured 53 per cent of the vote, according to preliminary results – a historic victory for the party he created.

Voters decided in their millions to turn their backs on the two parties which have ruled Mexico for almost 100 years, and finally give him a chance – sending his supporters into a frenzy.

The American media will never honestly report about anything, so we can expect them to celebrate this guy as the antidote to their great nemesis, Donald Trump. You just know they will find some way to link his rise to the election of the Puerto Rico bimbo in Brookly, who beat the old white guy. Alternatively, they will swear Trump caused it. It depends upon how things unfold. If chaos ensues, then you can be sure it will be blamed in Trump’s rhetoric. In reality, this is just Mexico being Mexico. Here’s a summary of AmLo’s platform:

  • Amnesty to all drug cartels.
  • No longer will work with U.S. immigration enforcement.
  • Nationalize oil industry.
  • Farm subsidies.
  • Elimination of multinational corporate influence on farming.
  • Support and assistance for economic growth plan:
    • using •mass migration of Mexican nationals into Southern U.S.,
    • create AmeriMex border region, and
    • remittance of earnings back to Mexico as initiative for rapid domestic economic growth.

Now, in fairness to Mexicans, the two main parties have become so corrupt that voting for either is just a vote for the status quo. That means a country largely controlled by two murderous drug cartels and a political elite willing to protect them. Just how much money the Mexican ruling elite makes from the drug business is hard to know, but they have grown very rich off the free trade scams operating at the border. They have also helped facilitate the waves of migrants entering the United States every year.

Obrador is probably a good result for Americans. He will no doubt make an excellent bad guy in the coming war with Mexico. That’s where things are headed, whether anyone realizes it. The Mexican government is incapable of ending the flow of drugs into the US and they have no choice but to facilitate the flow of migrants.That means the border will have to be closed and most likely guarded by the US military. That’s an option the public will support, if Mexico is led by a nutty Marxist who hates America.

Putting that aside, it is another reminder that Mexico is a failed state. The central government retains control of Mexico City and the immediate area surrounding it, but the rest of the country is controlled by drug cartels. One reason the political elite facilitates migration is they skim from the remittances back to Mexico, from their people living in America. Carlos Slim, the owner of the New York Times, owns the Mexican phone company, which means he gets a taste, every time Pablo calls home from America.

Those old enough to remember, will note that NAFA was supposed to prevent this from happening. Instead, it has been a disaster for Mexico, making the people poorer, while their elites grew rich. Mexico was never going to withstand unfettered contact with the first world, for the simple reason it was never a modern country and is never going to be a modern country. The human capital of Mexico cannot sustain it. This is a reality of the human condition that people used to know, until there was money in pretending otherwise.

Now, America has a failed narco-state on its southern border, thanks to the greed heads we politely call globalists. You’ll note that everything these pirates of the new economy touch eventually falls to pieces. That’s because this form of economic activity can only thrive in chaos, so it works to create it. A disordered world, where sovereign people no longer have control of their borders, lurches inexorably toward chaos. Instead of Vikings raiding the West, the last 30 years has been men in suits raiding the West.

Chaos always results in a reaction and that reaction is usually authoritarian. That’s what is happening in Mexico and will happen in Brazil and Argentina. If those countries are lucky, the authoritarians will be like Pinochet and the result will be a pruning of the political elite and the imposition of order. It’s always a coin flip with strongmen. For every Peisistratus, who restores order and economic balance, you get a Nero. The track record of Latin America suggests the latter is the way to bet, but maybe this time will be different.

Clown Country

John Derbyshire often says that his home country is lost. That it is far past the point of reforming itself and becoming anything like its original self. That’s probably true, but not because it has imported a Muslim ruling class. If the Brits shut off that spigot today, they remain no worse than 80% white, assuming current fertility rates. If they could muster a little national pride, they could easily get back to 90% and relegate the Muslim hordes to a despised minority status, something like the Irish travelers or the Welsh.

That’s not going to happen without a revolution, one that results in the wiping out of the British ruling class. The public is clearly turning against the lunacy of the prevailing orthodoxy, but they are saddled with a generation of lunatics, who remain firmly in charge of the institutions. The whole Tommy Robinson affair makes the point. In a country with a sane ruling elite, there would be no need to a Tommy Robinson and his situation would never happen. But, the British ruling class is full of crazy people worried about nonsense.

Too few women and people from ethnic minority groups cycle in London and more must be done to promote diversity among a largely white, male and middle class biking community, the city’s walking and cycling commissioner has said.

Grand schemes, such as the Cycle Superhighway network of partially-segregated routes linking the suburbs with the centre, are too often perceived as simply a way of getting “middle-aged men cycling faster around the city”, Will Norman acknowledged.

He said he was considering setting diversity targets for London’s cycling population to ensure progress was achieved.

Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups account for about 15 per cent of the city’s cycle trips – around two-thirds less than Transport for London estimates it could be.

Speaking to The Independent, Mr Norman, whose job it is to deliver on Sadiq Khan’s pledge to make walking and cycling safer and easier in the capital, said: “There is a problem with cycling and the way it is perceived of getting middle-aged men cycling faster around the city, which is not the objective at all.

“It touches on something which is a real challenge for London cycling, which is diversity.”

For starters, in a real country, there is no such thing as a “walking and cycling commissioner.” That’s a job for a retired volunteer at a charity 5K. That’s not a job that should ever exist and it is not a job that a fully grown adult would ever accept. The city’s dog catcher has a more respectable title. More important, this simpleton is yammering on about diversity as the native population is being chased off by hordes of savages that have no business in Europe. In a serious country, he would have been shot by now.

This is the heart of the matter. The Pax Americana, which has guaranteed peace in Europe for the last 75 years, has done more than pacify the continent. It has turned the political classes of Europe into children. They are not real leaders in any meaningful sense, because no matter what they do, Uncle Sam is there to make sure they never get a serious boo-boo. Because they are insulated from serious consequences, they have become the Eloi, playing dress-up and pretending to be big boys and girls.

This is why the Brexit negotiations have come to a halt. The renegotiating of Britain’s economic relationship with the Continent is difficult and complicated. No one on either side of the table is capable of doing anything other than showing up at a candlelight vigil following the latest Muslim attack. These are not serious people. Instead, they are silly people who worry about diversity on the bike path. The only way Brexit gets finalized is if Trump decides to get involved and forces the issue. Otherwise, it never happens.

The clownishness does not stop at the political class. The vaunted British security apparatus has also degraded into play-land. It’s obvious now that they were roped into helping that old fool John Brennan’s scheme to spy on the Trump campaign. There was a time when the Brits would have seen that for what it was and not got involved. Instead, they put on daddy’s old suits and played James Bond, causing a serious riff between the two countries. Notice Trump’s treatment of Theresa May versus Emmanuel Macron.

In a better age, when the king realized the court he inherited was not up for the job, he would get a new court. On the other hand, when it was clear the new king was dangerously feeble-minded, the king fell off his horse and they got a new king. In this age, when the people realize their rulers are supercilious poseurs, incapable of doing the basics of government, they are supposed to vote for new rulers. The trouble is, this is not a political problem. It is a cultural problem. Britain is ruled by a clown culture now.

There’s only one way to fix that.

Fences Make Good Neighbors

Way back during the election, when Trump was still just an annoyance in the Republican primary, the obvious way to cut him off at the pass was to co-opt his issues. This is a tried and true way for establishments to neutralize outside challengers in electoral politics. In the case of Republicans, they just needed their guys to take immigration and trade seriously. A guy like Kasich was perfect, as he had been pretty good on both issues in his career. He could have been the reasonable guy and stolen both issues.

That did not happen, of course. Instead, all of the candidates went the exact opposite direction, thinking that their ticket to the winner’s circle was to be the most over-the-top anti-Trump loon on the ballot. It was a crazy thing to watch. No matter the reason, the decision has turned out to be a big one. In the fullness of time, it will be looked upon as one of those small decisions that had world changing, downstream consequences, and not just for Americans. News brings word that Mexico is looking for a Trump of their own.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s campaign rhetoric can make him sound like a Mexican Donald Trump.

The left-leaning front-runner in Mexico’s presidential race is overtly nationalistic, pushes “Mexican people first” policies and peppers his speeches with anti-establishment slogans that thrill the working-class Mexicans who flock to his rallies.

But while his style might be distinctly Trumpian, his policy prescriptions could not be more different. Indeed, the election of the former mayor of Mexico City could be disastrous for Trump and his administration, creating an even more charged relationship between the two countries that could reduce cooperation on border security, trade and immigration.

That worries U.S. politicians and business leaders, including House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas), who was not shy about expressing his disdain for López Obrador at an event last fall hosted by the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce.

“I do not want to see President [López] Obrador take office next year,” McCaul said, adding he fears the Trump administration could increase those chances if it mishandles talks on revamping the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada.

We live in a time when every event will be cast as bad news for Trump, every Trump move will be bad news for us and all the good news will be pitched as bad news in the long run. This was the pattern in the Reagan years.The booming economy was always bracketed by stories about the homeless and stories about middle-aged men working at fast food joints. That’s what we see here. Mexico electing a nationalist may or may not be bad news for Mexico, but it is unquestionably good news for Trump and America.

The one card the globalists have to play against the nationalists is that globalism promotes peace and cooperation among national elites. The rulers of European countries meet over cocktails and wildly expensive appetizers, rather than on the battlefield. Cooperation, between Mexican elites and American elites, means cordial relations between the two countries on issues like trade, drugs and migration. If every country is going for nationalists leaders all of a sudden, the globalists no longer have that card to play.

In the case of Mexico, their elites are so corrupt they make our elites look like good government idealists by comparison. As Steve Sailer is fond of pointing out, Mexico has been run by an organized crime family for generations. The Bush family is monstrous, but they are nowhere near as toxic as the Salinas family. That said, populism in that part of the world tends to mean crazy Marxists and deranged academics, who also happen to be Marxists. Making Mexico Venezuela is the most likely result of populism.

Still, the right answer for Americans is for our rulers to put pressure on Mexican elites to stem the flow of drugs and migrants into America. The dirty little secret is that the migrants coming over the border are not Mexicans. These are Central Americans given safe passage and aid by the Mexican government. The same is true of the drug trade, which is a key source of revenue for the Mexican ruling class. It’s not an accident that Mexican Donald Trump is promising to amnesty drug war criminals.

The bigger issue though is a tough talking Mexican president would crystallize support in America for a hard line with Mexico. Americans may have doubts about Trump, but they will rally to his side in a dispute with a foreign leader. With a booming economy, fear of economic repercussions lose their bite. That and good times give American presidents more room to maneuver on the world stage. The last thing the Mexican ruling class needs right now is a head of state who is going to be a foil to Donald Trump.

The truth is, the Mexican ruling class needs to be on good terms with America. If the cost of doing that is reining in their criminal element, that’s good for the people of both countries. Mexico does not have to be Afghanistan, where warlords run the countryside, living off criminal enterprises. If Trump’s rhetoric helps put pressure on the Mexican political system, forcing a degree of responsible government on them, that’s good for Mexicans and Americans. if not, then we just need to build a big wall on the border.

The Norks

Is North Korea about to collapse?

That’s the question Don Surber asks in this post last week. He is looking at the recent defections of soldiers and civilians. We have at least one soldier, an elite soldier no less, who simply walked across the border unmolested. Maybe this happens from time to time, but the impression from news reports is that the Norks guard that border ferociously. The Norks have special units that do nothing but roam the border looking for anyone trying to flee. Here’s a recent video of them shooting a guy trying to escape.

Surber is looking at these recent incidents where North Koreans have managed to escapade unmolested and compares it to the last days of the Soviet empire. There’s also the fact that the one soldier was from an elite unit. That seems unusual. There was also the solider that escaped and was found to be infested with parasites, suggesting the regime is struggling to care for even the soldiers that protects it. The Kim regime can only survive if it has the absolute loyalty of the military, so they have to make sure they are fed.

I think we can also wonder if the recent Chinese cooperation may be another signal that all is not well in the hermit kingdom. It’s reasonable to assume that the Chinese know the most of any outsiders about what is going on inside the country. The assumption in the West is that they were willing to prop up the Norks, in order to avoid dealing with the collapse. Maybe they have decided that Kim’s days are numbered, no matter what they do, so they are now looking to turn the inevitable into an opportunity.

American military intelligence probably knows a great deal about what is happening inside North Korea, but it is tightly held information. As a result, the public defense experts have no idea what’s happening. Trump’s dramatic ramp up of pressure is reminiscent of what we did with the Russians in the 1980’s. Reagan’s great insight, and it was truly his insight, was that the Russians simply could not compete with the West, if we got our act together economically. That proved to be correct. The Russians were spent as an empire.

Maybe that is what Trump is sensing. A generation ago, standard operating procedure in the US was to try and negotiate with the Russians. It was done on the assumption that the Soviets were strong. Reagan’s insight was that they were weak, so he abandoned appeasement. Trump seems to be going down the same path with the Norks. He has said that negotiations are a waste of time. That would explain the build up of assets in the region, along with the moves to cut off the North’s access to hard currency.

It’s all speculation, but we can tease out some things from what we do know about the Norks. Countries have a finite amount of resources. Some portion are used for the necessities of maintaining society. Some portion are used for defense. Some other portion is used by the ruling class to maintain their positions. Similarly, the ruling class will use some portion of their available capital to expand their position, both internally and externally. A country is not a closed system, but about 90% of its resources are internal.

It is assumed that the Norks have a lot of human capital, relative to rogue regimes in the Arab world. This is based on the unspoken assumption that Asians are smart, while Arabs are dumb. The Norks have split the atom and developed respectable missile technology, which is more than Saddam was able to do and more than the Persians have mustered to this point. The Norks have also shown themselves to be very resourceful in gaining access to the global arms market and the global drug trade. The Kim regime is clever.

That said, we know that most of the population is living with barely enough to eat and the bare minimum of health care. So much so that the North Koreans are shorter than the South Koreans. We know from Western history, that as nutrition improved in the West, Europeans got taller. People also got smarter. The Flynn Effect is most likely a result of nutrition and health care. The Norks are probably experiencing a reverse of this, where starvation and poor sanitation are lowering the average IQ of the population.

Then there is the math of every extraction regime. North Korea is closer to a feudal society than a modern country. Every level of society sees the excess from its labor siphoned off by the layer above it. This not only stifles productivity and innovation, it encourages corruption at all levels. This was the experience in the Soviet Union, where trust in institutions fell to zero. That was the joke among Soviet workers. The government would pretend to pay the workers and the workers pretended to work.

The point here is that the sum of human capital in North Korea is probably an order of magnitude less than many assume. They have a large enough smart fraction to build crude nuclear bombs and launch some long range missiles into the sea. They don’t have enough of a smart fraction to do that, feed their people and provide the basics of health care. Throw in the fact that Kim may have been forced to kill off many of the regime’s best people in order to solidify control, and North Korea could be very weak right now.

In fact, the saber rattling may be an attempt to get South Korea and China to put pressure on the US, in order to get some food and medical relief. That has worked with past presidents. Clinton, Bush and Obama were all willing to cut a deal. Trump calling the bluff may be why the Nork solider was allowed to just walk across the border to the South. He is carrying antibodies for anthrax, suggesting he has been exposed to it. That could be intended to send a message that the Norks have it and will use it in a war.

It’s impossible to know the true state of affairs in North Korea. One feature of all authoritarian regimes is a high degree of secrecy and deception. The same skills used to lie to the people, are used by the political factions inside the regime to lie to one another and to the outside world. The one thing low trust societies are good at producing is gifted liars. Still, the fundamental math of society strongly suggest the Norks are much weaker than they wish the world to know. That may explain the shift in US policy under Trump.