Category Archives: History

America Is More Fragile Than the Left Understands, by Victor Davis Hanson

Ayn Rand said the U.S. was more fragile than it looked . . . back in 1957. She also had a pretty good idea of why that was so. Writers and commentators have recycled her arguments for years, usually without attribution and usually without delving into deeper causes. Victor Davis Hanson does the same, but this article won’t take you as long to read as Atlas Shrugged. At least he cited Adam Smith. From Hanson at amgreatness.com:

Like a stunned adolescent whose reckless incompetence totaled the family car, the Left seems shocked that America proved so fragile after all.

“There is a great deal of ruin in a nation.”
— Adam Smith

The Left has been tempting fate since January 2021—applying its nihilist medicine to America on the premise that such a rich patient can ride out any toxic shock.

Our elites assume that all our nation’s past violent protests, all its would-be revolutions, all its cultural upheavals, all its institutionalized lawlessness were predicated on one central truth—America’s central core is so strong, so rich, and so resilient that it can withstand almost any assault. 

So, we can afford 120 days in 2020 of mass rioting, $2 billion in damage, some 35 killed, and 1,500 police injured. 

We can easily survive an Afghanistan, and our utter and complete military humiliation. There was no problem in abandoning some $70-80 billion in military loot to terrorists. Who cares that we tossed off a billion-dollar new embassy, and jettisoned a $300-million refitted air base, as long as our pride flags were waving in Kabul?

Certainly, we can afford to restructure all our universities, eliminate free expression and speech, and institute Maoist cultural revolutionary fervor in our revered institutions of higher learning—once the world’s greatest levers of scientific advancement and technological progress. 

We can jettison merit in every endeavor, from banning the world’s great books to grading math tests to running chemistry experiments. And still, a resilient America won’t notice.

We assumed that our foundational documents—the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution—our natural bounty in North America, our cherished rule of law, our legal immigration traditions that drew in the most audacious and hardworking on the planet, and our guarantees of personal freedom and liberty led to such staggering wealth and affluence that nothing much that this mediocre generation could do would ever endanger our resilience.

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BRICS Summit Reaffirms That Russia Not As Isolated As NATO Suggests, by Tyler Durden

You’ve got something when you’ve got over half the world’s population and well over half the world’s natural resources either tacitly or explicitly on your team. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The recent BRICS summit managed to run its course this past week with very little fanfare, despite the fact that Russia is in the midst of a conflict with Ukraine that has led to a worldwide economic war. China is edging towards a potential invasion of Taiwan, and much of the planet is in the middle of a stagflationary crisis in the meantime.

The one major takeaway from the summit was the reaffirmed stance of the BRICS that they would continue to work closely with Russia in economic terms.

Since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, there has been a running narrative in the western media that sanctions and the removal of Russian access to the SWIFT network would crush the country within a few months, leaving them penniless and unable to project military power.  This has not happened.

A picture was painted by journalists and politicians of a completely isolated Russia, destroyed by a global cancel culture campaign that would de-nation them.  In reality, Russian trade, specifically their oil trade, has actually expanded.  Both China and India have increased their purchases of Russian oil while enjoying discounted prices.  Simultaneously, Europe and the US are suffering from oil and gas inflation and the EU is cutting vital oil and gas supplies from Russia.

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How Bad Will the Food Shortage Get? by Dr. Joseph Mercola

If you haven’t already, start stocking up. From Dr. Joseph Mercola at theburningplatform.com:

food shortage 2022

Story at-a-glance

  • It’s becoming increasingly clear that severe food shortages are going to be inevitable, more or less worldwide, and whatever food is available will continue to go up in price
  • The cost of agricultural inputs such as diesel and fertilizers is skyrocketing due to shortages — caused by a combination of intentional and coincidental events — and those costs will be reflected in consumer food prices come fall and next year
  • Mysterious fires, alleged bird flu outbreaks and other inexplicable events are killing off livestock and destroying crucial infrastructure. Since the end of April 2021, at least 96 farms, food processing plants and food distribution centers across the U.S. have been damaged or destroyed
  • The global food price index had risen 58.5% above the 2014-2016 average as of April 2022, due to a convergence of post-pandemic global demand, extreme weather, tightening food stocks, high energy prices, supply chain bottlenecks, export restrictions, taxes and the Russia-Ukraine conflict

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The Age of Discord, by Charles Hugh Smith

We’re sure not living through the Age of Sweetness and Light. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

It’s very difficult to find common ground that supports cooperation in the disintegrative stage of scarcities, rising prices, catastrophically centralized power and social discord.

Today’s topic echoes Peter Turchin’s 2016 book, Ages of Discord, which I have often referenced in blog posts.

I’ll also discuss two other books I’ve often referenced, Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century by Geoffrey Parker and The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History by David Hackett Fischer.

Turchin proposes repeating cycles of history of social integration (people finding reasons to cooperate) and disintegration (people finding reasons to not cooperate).

Clearly, we’re in a disintegrative stage.

Fischer proposed a repeating cycle of history in which humans expand their numbers and economy to consume all available resources.

Once all the low-hanging fruit has been consumed, scarcities arise, pushing prices above what commoners can afford, and the result is economic stagnation and social/political revolution.

Either humans exploit a new energy source at scale to provide for the larger population and higher consumption per person, or the population and consumption decline to fit available resources.

Parker covers the mutually reinforcing climate, political, social and economic crises of the 17th century. A long cycle of cold, wet summers reduced crop yields, leading to hunger and strife.

Parker also identifies another cause of the tumultuous, war-plagued 1600s: political leaders had consolidated too much power, enabling them to pursue disastrous wars without any restraint from competing domestic social-political interests.

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The Causes and Consequences of the Ukraine Crisis, by John J. Mearsheimer

This is an excellent in-depth analysis of the Ukraine situation. From John J. Mearsheimer at nationalinterest.org:

The war in Ukraine is a multi-dimensional disaster, which is likely to get much worse in the foreseeable future.

Let me now turn to the matter of escalation. It is widely accepted among international relations scholars that there is a powerful tendency for protracted wars to escalate. Over time, other countries can get dragged into the fight and the level of violence is likely to increase. The potential for this happening in the Ukraine war is real. There is a danger that the United States and its NATO allies will get dragged into the fighting, which they have been able to avoid up to this point, even though they are already waging a proxy war against Russia. There is also the possibility that nuclear weapons might be used in Ukraine and that might even lead to a nuclear exchange between Russia and the United States. The underlying reason these outcomes might be realized is that the stakes are so high for both sides, and thus neither can afford to lose.

As I have emphasized, Putin and his lieutenants believe that Ukraine joining the West is an existential threat to Russia that must be eliminated. In practical terms, that means Russia must win its war in Ukraine. Defeat is unacceptable. The Biden administration, on the other hand, has stressed that its goal is not only to decisively defeat Russia in Ukraine, but also to use sanctions to inflict massive damage on the Russian economy. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has emphasized that the West’s goal is to weaken Russia to the point where it could not invade Ukraine again. In effect, the Biden administration is committed to knocking Russia out of the ranks of the great powers. At the same time, President Biden himself has called Russia’s war in Ukraine a “genocide” and charged Putin with being a “war criminal” who should face a “war crimes trial” after the war. Such rhetoric hardly lends itself to negotiating an end to the war. After all, how do you negotiate with a genocidal state?

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President Biden Asks the Saudis to Bail Him Out, by Benjamin Zycher

Even if you can’t stand Biden, it hurts to see a U.S. president kowtow to the Saudi regime to help alleviate the consequences of his own idiocy. From Benjamin Zycher at realclearenergy.org:

President Biden Asks the Saudis to Bail Him Out

President Biden will attend the Gulf Cooperation Council meeting in Saudi Arabia next month, with the explicit goal of convincing the GCC — that is, the Saudis — to increase production of crude oil as a tool with which reduce gasoline prices in the U.S. From a recent press conference:

Q: And my question on Saudi Arabia: Why not have the President go there and just not meet with the Crown Prince?

MR. KIRBY:  The President is going to Saudi for the GCC — the GCC+3, to be honest.  It’s nine states in the region.  There’s a big agenda there, Kaitlan, on the Gulf Cooperation Council.  It’s counterterrorism.  It’s climate change.  Certainly, it’s — oil production, obviously, is going to be on the agenda.

OPEC production of crude oil and other liquids is about 34-35 million barrels per day (mmbd), of which Saudi output is about 10 mmbd, out of global production of around 100 mmbd. OPEC surplus production capacity is about 3 mmbd, of which the Saudi share is about 1 mmbd.

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Explosive Report Confirms Expansive CIA ‘Stealth Network’ Of Spies & Commandos Inside Ukraine, by Tyler Durden

Why would Russia regard Ukraine as anything but a U.S. proxy war with all the U.S. intelligence agents who are in Ukraine doing who knows what?  From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

A fresh New York Times report has confirmed what many already suspected – that the CIA is still very active inside Ukraine – especially with training as well coordinating weapons among its Ukrainian allies. The Times report details “a stealthy network of commandos and spies rushing to provide weapons, intelligence and training,” based on US and European intelligence officials with knowledge of the operations. The report says Ukrainian forces are reliant on this Western clandestine network “more than ever” while outgunned by the Russians.

This comes months after investigative journalist Zach Dorfman’s bombshell expose in Yahoo News which detailed how a prior 8-year long CIA covert program to train Ukrainian fighters helped provoke the Russian invasion. The only question that remained after that March report was the extent to which the CIA was still active in the ongoing fight against the invading Russians.

Special operations file image, via Sandboxx

The new Times reporting confirms that the US program is not only active and ongoing, but appears larger in scale than previously thought given the CIA’s close cooperation with the Ukrainians is happening both inside and outside the country, across multiple locations.

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False Hope in the Republican Party? Where Do We Go from Here?, by Boyd D. Cathey

Republicans can compromise any principle, smash defeat from the jaws of any victory, and lap up the crumbs from any Democratic banquet. From Boyd D. Cathey at lewrockwell.com:

It did not dawn on me until I walked out to my mailbox Monday, June 20…and there was no mail. “What’s up?” I thought. “It’s Monday, and I always get mail on Monday, since it piles up on Sunday when there is no delivery.” What had happened, I wondered.

Then, I witnessed one of those special delivery postal agents who work on holidays, and I flagged her down. And come to find out that Monday was “Juneteenth,” a new Federal holiday (actually it was Sunday, but the Feds, as is their wont, postponed the observance until June 20th). So, there was no regular mail delivery.

That explained it; I had forgotten the latest government concession in the name of “equity” and “liberal democracy,” and advancing the “ideals of America” as exemplified somehow in the Declaration of Independence.

As a national Federal holiday “Juneteenth,” this latest paean to political correctness and abject apology for our past sins as a nation, was enacted by the US senate unanimously on June 17, 2021, and by a vote in the House of Representative of 415 to 14. Literally no one stood forth to explain what actually was occurring: politically craven expediency and servile acquiescence to ideology.

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Will Lithuania Rail ‘Blockade’ of Kaliningrad Have Unintended Consequences? By Robert Bridge

You have to ask, how could the blockade of Kaliningrad not have unintended consequences? One side thinks one thing is going to happen, and the other side thinks something else entirely is going to happen. From Robert Bridge at strategic-consequences.org:

For the EU to impose even a partial blockade of Russian territory presents a tremendous risk to regional stability and world peace. Some are beginning to talk about the risk of World War III.

Lithuania has blocked a number of rail-transport goods from reaching the Russia exclave of Kaliningrad. Vilnius says it is merely adhering to the EU-mandated sanctions regime, but Moscow warns it has broken international law. Is this a casus belli?

Efforts to punish Russia for defending its territory from encroaching NATO forces, as well as a very real neo-Nazi threat in neighboring Ukraine ratcheted up this week as Vilnius halted the flow of goods into Kaliningrad, the Russian exclave that is bordered by NATO members Poland to the south, Lithuania to the north and east, and the Baltic Sea to the west.

Kaliningrad Governor Anton Alikhanov says the ban affects some 50 percent of all imported goods, including energy resources, metals, construction materials and advanced technology. Official pleas against panic buying went unheeded as frantic shoppers were seen hoarding products.

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Russia To Transfer Nuclear-Capable Missiles To Belarus “Within Months”: Putin, by Tyler Durden

Russia ups the ante. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

At a moment US media and much of the West is consumed with the historic Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Russian President Vladimir Putin just issued what’s possibly the most alarming and escalatory statement thus far in the four-month long Ukraine war.

On Saturday Putin for the first time informed his close ally Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that he has approved supplying Belarus with nuclear capable long-range missiles. Minsk has long offered to host Russian nukes as a ‘deterrent’ against the West – a prospect which Lukashenko had very provocatively offered even in the months leading up to the Feb.24 invasion of Ukraine. This move will likely be viewed from Washington as a first step in moving toward a heightened nuclear posture in Eastern Europe.

Image source: BelTA

Reuters writes of the announcement, “Russia will supply Belarus with Iskander-M missile systems, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a televised meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Saturday. Delivery will take place within a few months, he added.”

Putin referenced nuclear-capability, according to a transcript of the televised remarks: “In the coming months, we will transfer to Belarus Iskander-M tactical missile systems, which can use ballistic or cruise missiles, in their conventional and nuclear versions.”

The report underscores further that “The Iskander-M is a mobile guided missile system with a range of up to 500 km (300 miles). The missiles can carry conventional or nuclear warheads.”

Currently, Putin and Lukashenka are meeting face-to-face in St. Petersburg on the 30th anniversary of the two countries establishing diplomatic relations, which eventually led to the so-called ‘Union State’ pact of 1999, and has persisted till now, which also enabled Russia to muster much of its forces on Belarusian territory just ahead of the Ukraine invasion.

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