Quotable (#87)

The rise of the Islamic State was clearly anticipated by the American security establishment — it seems — in a manner that can only be considered remarkably relaxed:

According to Brad Hoff, a former US Marine who served during the early years of the Iraq War and as a 9/11 first responder at the Marine Corps Headquarters Battalion in Quantico from 2000 to 2004, the just released Pentagon report for the first time provides stunning affirmation that:

“US intelligence predicted the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), but instead of clearly delineating the group as an enemy, the report envisions the terror group as a US strategic asset.”

Anybody shocked by this probably hasn’t been paying serious attention.

The Unimaginable

A warning at The National Interest:

COULD A U.S. response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine provoke a confrontation that leads to a U.S.-Russian war? Such a possibility seems almost inconceivable. But when judging something to be “inconceivable,” we should always remind ourselves that this is a statement not about what is possible in the world, but about what we can imagine. As Iraq, Libya and Syria demonstrate, political leaders often have difficulties envisioning events they find uncomfortable, disturbing or inconvenient.

As a general principle, the future can be expected to deliver the ‘unthinkable’. (It’s in our nature to forget, very quickly, how much of that happens.)

TINA vs Demos

Now the fun begins.

Syriza-rally

For those (like this blog) who think Austerity® — when on those rare occasions when it isn’t a myth — is math, the outcome of this is already written vividly on the wall. By the autumn the new government will have been denounced as traitors by the left, and have become a teaching aid for the right.

Alternative predictions warmly welcomed in the comments.

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Japanese Lessons

Charles Hugh Smith and Gordon T. Long discuss the unfolding economic calamity in Japan, and its wider implications for the region, and the world. Its excellently done, with an abundance of charts, and links.

The most extraordinary socio-economic experiments in history are underway right now. From a coldly dispassionate perspective, it’s fascinating stuff.

(Source.) More on “Japan’s inevitable apocalypse” here, and here. Some background from Charles Hugh Smith.

Quotable (#36)

M K Bhadrakumar on the meaning of the Xi-Modi meeting:

… there had been a pronounced ‘militarization’ of India’s strategic outlook through the past 10-15 years, which was a period of high growth in the economy that seemed to last forever. […] In those halcyon days, geopolitics took over strategic discourses and pundits reveled in notions of India’s joint responsibility with the United States, the sole superpower, to secure the global commons and the ‘Indo-Pacific’. […] The underlying sense of rivalry with China — couched in ‘cooperation-cum-competition’, a diplomatic idiom borrowed from the Americans — was barely hidden.

Then came the financial crisis and the Great Recession of 2008 that exposed real weaknesses in the Western economic and political models and cast misgivings about their long-term potentials. […] Indeed, not only did the financial crisis showcase that China and other emerging economies could weather the storm better than western developed economies but were actually thriving. […] The emerging market economies such as India, Brazil or Indonesia began to look at China with renewed interest, tinged with an element of envy. […] Suffice to say, there has been an erosion of confidence in the Western economic system and the Washington Consensus that attracted Manmohan Singh. […] From a security-standpoint, this slowed down the India-US ‘strategic partnership’. The blame for stagnation has been unfairly put on the shoulders of a “distracted” and dispirited Barack Obama administration and a ‘timid’ and unimaginative Manmohan Singh government. […] Whereas, what happened was something long-term — the ideology prevalent in India during much of the United Progressive Alliance rule, namely, that the Western style institutions and governments are the key to development in emerging economies, itself got fundamentally tarnished. […] What we in India overlook is that the 2008 financial crisis has also been a crisis of Western-style democracy. There has been a breakdown of faith in the Western economic and political models.

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